You have probably heard about Myers-Briggs and deviations of their analysis of Carl Jung’s personality types. I remember taking the complete Myers-Briggs test during a team working class when I was pursuing my masters degree. It turns out there are 16 distinctive personality types, made up of 4 letters. My type is INTJ, which I’ll explain in some detail later. The breakdown of these letters is as follows with each letter having two possible values:
First letter “Favorite World” indicates if you prefer to focus on the outer world or on your own inner world?
E – for extroverted
- I like getting my energy from active involvement in events and having a lot of different activities. I’m excited when I’m around people and I like to energize other people.
I – for introverted
- I like getting my energy from dealing with the ideas, pictures, memories, and reactions that are inside my head, in my inner world. I often prefer doing things alone or with one or two people I feel comfortable with.
Second letter “Information” indicates if you prefer to focus on the basic information you take in or do you prefer to interpret and add meaning?
S – sensing
- Paying attention to physical reality, what I see, hear, touch, taste, and smell. I’m concerned with what is actual, present, current, and real
N – intuition
- Paying the most attention to impressions or the meaning and patterns of the information I get. I would rather learn by thinking a problem through than by hands-on experience.
Third letter “Decisions” indicates that when making decisions, do you prefer to first look at logic and consistency or first look at the people and special circumstances?
T – thinking
- When I make a decision, I like to find the basic truth or principle to be applied, regardless of the specific situation involved. I like to analyze pros and cons, and then be consistent and logical in deciding.
F – feeling
- I believe I can make the best decisions by weighing what people care about and the points-of-view of persons involved in a situation. I am concerned with values and what is the best for the people involved.
Fourth letter “Structure” indicates that when dealing with the outside world, do you prefer to get things decided or do you prefer to stay open to new information and options?
J – judging
- I use my decision-making (Judging) preference (whether it is Thinking or Feeling) in my outer life. To others, I seem to prefer a planned or orderly way of life, like to have things settled and organized, feel more comfortable when decisions are made, and like to bring life under control as much as possible.
P – perceiving
- I use my perceiving function (whether it is Sensing or Intuition) in my outer life. To others, I seem to prefer a flexible and spontaneous way of life, and I like to understand and adapt to the world rather than organize it. Others see me staying open to new experiences and information.
Usually you can determine your own type by just looking at the explanations of MBTI types and there are also some pretty good free tests you can take. I would recommend taking the Quistic test if you are unsure from the MBTI types. So why is it important to have some understanding of your personality type? For many of us it will help us understand our behavior and what areas we might want to consider working on. In Observations about Personality Types Part 2 we will look into how you can use this information to your advantage, but for now I ask you take some time to determine your personality type and do a little research. For me the small amount of time invested in understanding my personality type has helped me enormously.
Check out Part 2 to learn more.