What personality trait are you? Take the test to find out if you’re a water, earth, wood, fire or metal person, then activate your inner element to create greater positive energy at home

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: I know that one aspect of feng shui is about the different elements such as water, wood, fire, earth and metal, and that we can use them in our home to create positive energy. I also heard that we have elemental personality traits. What does this mean and how do I find out what element I am?

The five elements exist in nature and within us. Based on our personality, past and present circumstances, and complex life experiences, we tend to identify with and express certain elemental qualities more than others.

Elemental personality traits

Water people: Intuitive, imaginative, persuasive, competitive and good communicators who go with the flow.

Wood people: Hard working, diligent, always busy, productive, cooperative types who, at times, tend to overspend.

Metal people: Straightforward, intense, pursue goals with great focus, success-oriented and unwavering in determination.

Fire people: Magnetic, happy, often the center of attention, risk-takers, leaders and always on the move.

Earth people: Nurturing, caring, practical, logical, helpful, calm, responsible, reliable types who love stability.

Looking back at your life, you may notice that you expressed one element more than another at different points. When you were in your 20s, you may have been bolder and more daring (fire); once you had children, however, you may have transitioned into the nurturer and taken on the role of stable parent (earth). Then the kids leave home and you find you’re more interested in time alone, deep conversations and quiet spaces (water).

By recognizing the elements within us and in our lives, we gain insight into our present nature. I have created a series of questions about each element as it relates to where you are currently in your life. Take this mini-test to help you get a sense of which elemental traits are dominant or least expressive in your personality. (The full version of this test can be found in my book, Feng Shui Your Life!)

What is your dominant element?

Answer the questions below in terms of where you are in your life presently, not how you think you should be, or want to be, or used to be. Don’t peek to see what element you relate to until the end! Use the following scale of 1-5:


1. No! Definitely nothing like me
2. Not really like me
3. On the fence/not sure
4. Yes. Quite like me
5. Yes! Exactly like me


• Are you an achievement-oriented person?
• Do you like environments that are active?
• Do you initiate things naturally?
• Do you get irritated when others are slow?
• Do you like being first and best?
• Do you like to be the boss?


• Do you tend to go with the flow when plans change?
• Are you creative and imaginative?
• Do you enjoy things that are offbeat and unique?
• Do you prefer to stay out of the spotlight?
• Do you have strong concentration powers?
• Do you find large social circumstances intimidating?


• Do you like things to be precise?
• Are you always on time for appointments?
• Do you worry about things not going perfectly?
• Are you picky about things when you travel or eat out?
• Are you a perfectionist in some areas of your life?
• Do you hate chaos and love organization?


• Are you just plain fun to be around?
• Do others see your life as exciting?
• Can you speak in front of people quite easily?
• Do people see you as someone who is optimistic and enthusiastic about life?
• Do you often invite your friends out to do something “fun”?
• Are you impulsive and spontaneous?


• Do you love helping others out when they need it?
• Are you a nurturer and a caregiver?
• Are you a “hugger”?
• Do you like to be in charge but behind the scenes?
• Are you the peacemaker of the family?
• Do you love to be needed by those around you?

Your score


Add up the total from each element and list the elements in order from your highest to lowest score. The element with the highest score is the dominant elemental quality you currently express in your life, and the element with the lowest score is the least expressed energy in your life. You may also find that you are balanced in all categories.

Mystery element key: 1 is Water, 2 is Wood, 3 is Metal, 4 is Fire and 5 is Earth.

Do not judge your results as “good” or “bad.” If you desire to strengthen the element within you that received the lowest score, use more of that element in your environment as a reminder to balance and awaken your inactive traits.

Elemental representations

Water: Fountains, fish tanks and images of water

Wood: Plants, live flowers and wooden furniture

Metal: Metal items, including home accessories

Fire: Candles, sunlight, incandescent light Earth: Landscape images, pottery and solid-looking items


We all have a little bit of every element within us. If you want to stimulate a shift in yourself, activate the appropriate element by using it your environment for support!

Alice Inoue is a life guide at Alice Inoue Life Guidance LLC, a company committed to assisting people in living empowered lives. Alice shares her wisdom as a professional speaker and personal consultant, and offers a series of instructional DVDs and award-winning books on feng shui, happiness and spiritual life wisdom. Visit www.aliceinspired.com.