In Part 1 of Observations about Personality Types we gave you an overview of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). Each person can will be assessed to have some combination of 4 letters, for me this was INTJ. I have also taken the DISC assessment which in my view is less useful, but that is a whole other subject. What the Myers-Briggs assessment does is provide you with some in-depth information about your personality. From my perspective this meant what my natural inclination would be, my preferences if you will. I will use my own personality type INTJ to explain why this is useful to understand. What we are trying to do is get some insight into our preferences and how they affect our behavior. Armed with the information from one of these assessments and the explanation of each personality type you can begin to be more introspective about your own behavior and start playing to your preferences and strengths. Using my own Myers-Briggs Type let’s break it down:
“INTJs approach life by analyzing the theory behind what they see, and are typically focused inward, on their own thoughtful study of the world around them. INTJs are drawn to logical systems and are much less comfortable with the unpredictable nature of other people and their emotions. They are typically independent and selective about their relationships, preferring to associate with people who they find intellectually stimulating.”
I – INTJ’s are somewhat introverted and over exposure to people can cause them to withdraw. Here is the lesson; you must make sure you have some alone time as an INTJ, otherwise you may become stressed and angry. When given a choice between going to a party and reading a book the INTJ would prefer to stay home and read a book.
N – INTJ’s need to think a problem through themselves, needing to understand how something works by logically thinking it through. The INTJ wants to understand the logic or principles behind something. As someone with a “N” in the second position of the four letters you will need time to process things, and do not just blindly believe everything you see or that is said to you.
T – Decisions are made logically by the INTJ, not based on emotion. They will weigh the pros and cons of a decision, using logic and analysis to come to a conclusion. A typical INTJ then operates based on logic versus emotion. They may seem a bit distant and unsympathetic, but it is because they are always thinking. The INTJ may have issues with living in the moment, and may appear to be less empathetic than some other personality types.
J – The J in the INTJ personality type indicates that the person prefers order to chaos, organization to the disorganized. When an INTJ is forced to live in a messy home or workplace they will often become upset with the mess, and cannot understand how people can live this way. You will often hear things like “Why can’t you put these things away or if you would just put them in the same place you could find them”.
By knowing your preference you can begin to understand what might be triggering some not so flattering behavior. You should at least begin to see if you can control the stimuli, if not you might be able to offset the impact and lessen your reaction. My example is that for the past year my daughter, son in law, grandson, and their two dogs have been living with us. As you might imagine this gives me very little quiet time, and often impacts my sense of organization. Knowing that this can cause me to become frustrated because I am going against my “I” type, and being for me overexposed to people, noises, clutter, and animals I needed to find a way to get more time to myself. I started doing yoga in the morning before everyone is up, followed by 20 minutes of meditation, and this seemed to help. I would often come home and go upstairs by myself and do strength training, or retreat to my bedroom and watch something on the television. I could then interact like a normal human being during the rest of the day, while still respecting my inclination for quiet and organization. Finding ways to respect your natural personality traits is important but you must first understand what those traits are, and this is why the MBTI assessment is so valuable. This doesn’t mean that you should not challenge those tendencies from time to time, but you must understand that they exist. Once you know your personality type you can begin to make changes in your life that support your personality type. For instance there is guidance on possible careers that can support your personality type. If nothing else you will start to gain some insight into these triggers or events that may be causing you to react in a negative way.