SPLIT | PERSONALITIESPosted: March 20, 2011
I had two political posts planned for today, but I just have not had the time lately to do anything other than my schoolwork, housework, and creative projects. So I’m writing a quick post on this instead: a type of test I’ve come across via THREE people in the last week (on fb, in an email, on a train!). It is called the MYER-BRIGGS TYPE Indicator (MBTI) test.
WHAT IS IT?
The test is based on personality types proposed by Carl Jung in the 1920s. It is a psychometric questionnaire designed to measure psychological preferences in how people perceive the world, process information, and make decisions.
DISCLAIMER: Carl Jung’s theories have been widely contested and challenged by sceptics and statisticians.
Frankly, I DON’T CARE. I just find personality tests fun to take!
WHAT DOES IT MEASURE?
Carl reckoned there were four dimensions to the way we perceive the world that the MBTI questionnaire assesses:
There are therefore 16 types:
WHO ARE YOU?
You can take the test online here:
I’m always amused at how positive and flattering descriptions of personality types are in these kinds of tests – they always read as kind of the “highest view of ourselves”, and are therefore over-the-top. If you want a self-esteem boost, do the test and read your profile 😉
Personality tests are also one way of ascertaining where your weakness areas are, so that you can be mindful of them and work on them. There is an abundance of literature out there on how you can maximise the strengths of your personality type, if you are at all inclined that way.
I’ve obtained two results. My dominant result: INFJ.
Other names for INFJ on the murky, murky internet:
The Confidant, The Protector, The Counselor, The Mystic, The Author
INFJs apparently make up 1-5% of the population. The rarity and introverted/intuitive nature of INFJ’s make them misunderstood. Which, frankly, explains my entire life:|
In the past I have also obtained the result INTJ, bizarrely. Also a tiny percentage of the population. In compatibility tests INTJ is sometimes described as the rational, scientific MIRROR to the INFJ.
Other names for INTJ on the internet:
The Strategist, The Scientist, The Mastermind, The Freethinker. (you see what I mean by ‘flattering descriptions’?)
Hmmm. Perhaps my core nature is a combination of the two… feeler and thinker? Perhaps we are all this way?
And I consistently get ‘introvert’ in tests, yet, I find I do actually gain energy from being around people, socialising, and interacting (introverts are supposed to lose energy from too much interaction with other people). So, a mixture of introvert and extrovert too… as most of us probably are.
Actually, looking at the characteristics of all the personality types, I see a little bit of me in all of them. Or, rather, a little bit of all of them in me…
THE VALUE OF PERSONALITY TESTS? AND THE NECESSITY OF DIVERSITY.
People take surveys such as the Myer Briggs test often to suss out their strengths, maximise their performance, or better understand themselves in order to find a suitable vocation.
The real value of this particular test for me (according to my own perception of reality) is in speculating (in yet another way) how whilst we are all different, we are all (necessary) parts of a bigger picture. Moreover, not only are we necessary to that bigger picture, we are also necessary to each other.
Let me explain my tangent.
First, for arguments sake, let’s say this Carl fellow was onto something with his personality types, and that they are real and accurate. A stretch, I know, but humour this storyteller for a bit.
If we take this as a given, and read through the personality types, we see that, according to Jung, the seeds for division & conflict lie deep within our personalities. Some people are feeling oriented and empathic, others are strongly rational. Some people are introverted, others extroverted. Some people are conservative, some liberal. Some people are active, some passive. Some are intuitive, others take in only through the five conventional senses. Some people are concerned about responsibility, sobriety and convention, others shirk it and seek to satisfy their senses or pursue a more free-wheeling life. What we tend to do is disapprove of, baulk at, or fail to understand those who display very different personality types from us (not talking about cultural difference here, but personality). We naturally are repelled by the point(s) of difference, and might not get along with them. Misunderstanding and separation ensue. Perhaps this will always be the case.
And yet, just think about this beautiful duality/oneness for a second: According to some compatibility theories…
…Every personality type has a DUAL type: dual pairs are like two halves of a whole unit, and are said to be completely psychologically compatible.
Every personality type has a MIRROR type: Mirror pairs have similar interests and ideas, but a slightly different understanding of the same problems. Each partner can see only half of one problem. Combined, they get a more complete picture. (eg. INTJ is the mirror to my INFJ).
Every personality type has an OPPOSITE type: another personality type that functions on an entirely different level to their type.
And there are several other types of ways personalities can gel or repel each other.
But the positive attributes of all the personality types combined and balanced (i.e. moderated) in one entity would create one beautifully balanced, chakra-aligned, science-fiction superhuman!
Of course, this is impossible, and not necessarily desirable. But imagine for a second if each individual instead strove to manifest the most positive attributes of their type. (i.e. worked their shit out). And recognised that they have something valid to contribute, that they are okay as they are, and should therefore not feel insecure or intimidated by anyone else’s different skill set? To be at peace within and hence not competitive with others… that is the first hurdle.
Now imagine if every individual sought to balance the excesses of their type by accepting, learning from and incorporating some of the positive characteristics of their polar opposite type. For me, this is the ESTP. The Extroverted Promoter versus the Introverted Counselor. Donald Trump type versus the Ghandi type. The Franklin D Roosevelt to my Eleanor. That’s the second, BIGGER hurdle.
And then imagine how great it would be if every individual sought to do this with every other individual that we came into contact with – used the interaction to listen, balance ourselves (our perspectives) in whatever area we needed to, teach whatever we needed to, and maybe even recognise the value in someone not like us – someone we might not even like? And, hence, see another usually obscured part of a much bigger picture?
How much better would our interactions with each other be, if we all were respectful of the various ways we process the world and, hence, communicate? And took the time to work out our own shit before setting out to correct another person? How much better would our society be?
Ah, a big, BIG if only.
A fanciful thought, I know… but I’m an INFJ. That’s how we do.
That concludes my tangent. Back to the real world 🙂 dining out now…