Since the beginning of this blog, I wondered when I would introduce Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). Myers-Briggs is on my mind a lot. I probably think about it more than music.
MBTI is an academically-refined personality assessment used in human resources, marketing, and professional development; teaching; marriage, life, and career counseling; and even in legal contexts. When you know your type, resources like this can help you discover aspects about yourself you may not have explored.
One important thing to note about Myers-Briggs: It’s about nature, not nurture. Your type is hard-wired. It doesn’t change. If you think you’ve changed type, it’s because you’ve underestimated the dynamicism, diversity, and flexibility within your actual type. MBTI type is not a box. It’s an incomplete (but useful) framework on which to hang the life experiences that form the rest of your personality.
Ayn Rand — Oft heralded as the prophet of free market economics. An INTJ.
Karl Marx — Prophet of communism. Also an INTJ.
The breakdown: Four dichotomies of personality.
Extroversion vs. Introversion (attitude dichotomy) — Which typically energizes you, the outer world or your inner world. Do you act, reflect, act again? Or do you reflect, act, then reflect once more?
Sensing vs. iNtuition (perceiving dichotomy) — Do you tend to perceive information concretely (S) or abstractly (N)? When you look at an orange, do you see how vibrant it is, or do you miss the vibrancy and unintentionally focus on ideas related to the orange?
Feeling vs. Thinking (judging dichotomy)– When making decisions, do you have a tendency to validate emotional input (F), or do you invalidate emotional input (T). Do you desire making decisions impersonal and detached, or do you prefer a more humanistic approach?
Judging vs. Perceiving (lifestyle dichotomy) — Do you tend to keep your outer world organized, structured, and planned out, with your inner world open-ended–even disorganized–(J), or are you adaptable, spontaneous–even messy–with regard to your outer world, and decisive and principled in your inner world (P)? (J’s often seem more organized but rigid; P’s tend to seem “chill.”)
All possible permutations between these dichotomies result in sixteen distinct, psychological hard-wirings / types that are each abbreviated into four letters.
Instead of going into further detail. Here are some of my favorite MBTI links:
Type Coach — This page is a great resource for giving you an “at-a-glance” description of each permutation of the four letters, as well as accurate, in-depth descriptions for each.
Cognitive Processes – Goes into the intricacies of how the attitude (I vs. E) and lifestyle (P vs. J) dichotomies determine the prominence, and inward vs. outward orientation, of your perceiving (S vs. N) and judging (F vs. T) preferences. Nerdy stuff. (Also called cognitive functions, or Jungian functions).
Celebrity Types — Type examples of famous people, with supporting quotes exemplifying their type characteristics. At the bottom of each type’s page is a graph displaying the order and attitudes (see “attitude dichotomy”) of each type.
***Warning: The next two paragraphs are a little geeky–even though I tried to tone it down. Look at the pretty graphs and skip over the words if you must.
ESTP –source: celebritytypes.com
ISTP — source: celebritytypes.com
With the other three dichotomies controlled for / kept the same, the above graphs show how the “I vs. E” dichotomy determines which functions “lead.” If an introvert, then your introverted functions occupy the first and third positions while your extraverted functions follow in the second and fourth positions. Vice versa for extroverts.
These graphs demonstrate the changes the lifestyle dichotomy (J vs. P) makes on the cognitive functions. As shown, each of the functions’ attitudes (inward vs. outward orientations) are “flipped” to the opposite orientations. Since the ESTJ is also an extroverted type, “Thinking” and “iNtuition” move to occupy the first and third positions–otherwise, the latter graph would be describing an ISTJ.
***Geeky scariness /off.
Okay, so how do you find out your type? Don’t just take an online test. It will only give you a meaningless four-letter abbreviation that may be inaccurate. You will have to do research and self-reflection anyway to figure out what your letters mean, so skip the test. I vs. E is usually the easiest one to pin down, but not for everyone. Hopefully, T vs. F will be simpler if I vs. E isn’t. The other two dichotomies are harder to figure out. Give those some time.
Because I know that some of you will take an online test anyway, these tests tend to be more valid than others: cognitivequiz & teamtechnology. Invalid tests litter the internet. By definition, a test’s validity is determined by whether it actually measures what it seeks to measure, and many tests feature questions that don’t really get to the heart of the dichotomies they are supposed to be determining.
So, 800 words later, I haven’t mentioned music. We’ll get there in part two of this post. For now, figure out what your type is and do some research and self-reflection.