Myers Briggs Personality Types
The Myers Briggs personality types were created to help us all. Imagine a world where everybody would be doing what they are naturally gifted for and enjoying it! This was Isabel Briggs Myers quest.
Strongly interested in psychology, she drew on the work of Swiss psychologist Carl Jung to design an instrument that could tell people what their natural strengths and their areas for improvements were.
Your Myers Briggs type is based on four sets of preferences, which describe how you relate to the world:
- introversion / extraversion,
- sensing / intuiting,
- thinking / feeling,
- judging / perceiving.
Whilst we all use these attitudes and functions, we are definitely more capable with some of them than others. An analogy commonly used is that of your writing hand. If you are right-handed, it doesn’t mean than you can’t use your left hand to draw a picture. Just don’t expect the result to be your masterpiece.
You can have an idea of your type by seeing which preference of each pair better suits you.
Introversion / Extraversion: your energy flow
The first attitude of the Myers Briggs personality types is the Introversion / Extraversion pair: what energizes you.
If you are the extraverted type, then you are energized by the outer world. Spending time “out there”, meeting new people and trying new things will keep you buzzing and fully charged. So whilst spending some quiet time on your own is nice once in awhile, it tends to deplete your energy levels.
For introverted people, it is the other way around and spending time in your inner world is what energizes you. Having some “me time” to read a good book, spend some time thinking or do something quietly on your own will make you feel replenished. This gives you the energy to face the outer world and doing things like being in social situations, which can tax your energy levels.
This means that extraverted people tend to be rather sociable and introverted people rather shy. But this is not systematic. Also we live in a society which values extraversion more than introversion. So just a special note for the introverts out there: there is nothing wrong with you, you have the strengths of your type. More on this later.
In case you wonder why this set of preferences is called an attitude, it is because it gives rise to an observable outside behaviour.
Sensing / iNtuiting: your vision of the world
The first function of the Myers Briggs personality types is the Sensing / iNtuiting pair, which it describes how you see the world.
If you are a sensing kind of person, you take information through your five senses. This makes you an attentive person who lives in the present moment, is very aware of details, however small, and accurate with facts and with a good sense of practicalities.
On the other hand, intuitive people see the big picture and perceive associations and connections rather than facts. This makes you a person who lives in the land of the possible rather than the present moment.
The reason why this set of preferences is called a function is because it gives rise to an internal activity, the taking in of information, rather than an externally observable behaviour.
Thinking / Feeling: making decisions
The second function is about decision-making.
People who are of the thinking type make decisions based on logic rather than the circumstances and the people involved. This makes you very good at analysing situations, standing your ground when necessary or find flaws in systems or reasoning.
Feeling people make decisions based on their values or the feeling of other people involved. This makes you very good at persuading, selling or defusing conflict.
Judging / Perceiving: organising you world
The second attitude is about organising your world.
The judging type are so called because they make quick decisions and like to have matters settled. This has nothing to do with being judgemental by the way (Myers Briggs personality types are about describing your relation to the world, not about passing judgement on it). Judging people are usually neat and tidy and are good at making and following plans.
Perceiving people are the ones who like to keep on perceiving information. They are happy to keep their options open, adapt well to change and have a knack for improvisation.
Having read through this, you should now have a rough idea of your preferences and the insight you can get for yourself and others from the Myers Briggs personality types.
Your type is determined by the strongest element of each pair. Simply take the capitalised letter of each dimension to find out. Somebody who is Extraverted, Sensing, Thinking and Perceiving, is an ESTP. Somebody who Introverted, iNtuiting, Feeling and Judging is an INFJ.
This is just an overview of each set of preferences. However, all Myers Briggs personality types have own dynamics which amount to more than the sum of each of their preference.
Here are the 16 combinations:
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