WHAT IS YOUR MYERS-BRIGGS® PERSONALITY TYPE?
Your personality type determines how you prefer to go through life. It influences small matters like whether you prefer to unwind in a large party or a quiet get together, as well as life-changing things like the kind of career in which you will be happy functioning in or even what features you should look for in a long-term partner. In essence, your personality is who you are. As such, taking the time to understand the characteristics of your Myers-Briggs personality type can help you live a more fulfilling life.
The best way to get started is with a simple question: What is your Myers-Briggs personality type?
While every person is a unique individual, a population-level analysis reveals certain patterns in tendencies and proclivities. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI®) Test, which is based on Carl Jung’s theoretical psychological research, identifies 16 different personality types. Decades of research and thousands of published peer-reviewed studies demonstrate the accuracy of the Myers-Briggs Personality Test. Today, the MBTI® is used by millions of people around the world to build strong organizations and teams, to develop impactful communication and leadership styles, to cultivate meaningful personal relationships, and so much more.
Discovering Your Myers-Briggs Personality Type
The official Myers-Briggs Personality Assessment is a survey-style test consisting of a series of questions that examine different types of personality preferences as well as how you interact with other people. For example, the survey may provide a statement (e.g., “I prefer to complete chores immediately.”) and ask you to rate how well this statement describes you on a scale of 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). Once you complete the survey, you will receive your comprehensive analysis and a report that outlines what your preferences are as well as how you can apply the findings to your daily personal and professional life.
Throughout this process, keep in mind that Myers-Briggs Assessments are designed to examine preferences rather than capacity. Someone who is naturally introverted could still be a public speaker, for example, but may not feel as fulfilled or naturally comfortable in that career as they would in a vocation that afforded more privacy. Again, the primary purpose of a Myers-Briggs Personality Assessment is to help you become more self-aware of what your preferences are so you can make decisions that reflect those preferences.
How It Works: Measuring Personality Preferences Using the Four Scales
Each MBTI® Personality Type is a four-letter acronym. You might have heard of INTJs or ESFPs, for example. Each of these letters represents one of four different personality dimensions measured by the Myers-Briggs Personality Assessment. Let’s take a closer look at each of these dimensions or “scales” and what it means for your personality.
(#1) Extraversion/Introversion: Where do you get your energy?
The first scale or personality dichotomy is Extraversion/Introversion. Contrary to popular belief, Introverts are not shy recluses who hide away in laboratories or libraries, and Extraverts are not always wild partiers. Instead, an Introvert is someone who prefers to recharge individually, perhaps by reading, going for a walk, or even people-watching, while an Extravert derives energy from interacting with other people or with the world around them. If you prefer to go dancing after a long day at work, you might have more extraverted preferences, while if you prefer to read a book or watch a movie, you might be more introverted.
(#2) Sensing/Intuition: How do you process information?
The second scale has to do with how you gather the details about a situation or scenario. If you think like a detective and look for specific quantitative data or hard facts about what might be going on, then you likely have Sensing preferences. On the other hand, if you tend to attune to body language, facial expressions, or even general energy, then you may be ranked higher for Intuition. A sensing person is likely to believe their partner if they say they want pizza for dinner, while an intuitive person may notice their hesitation and make another suggestion.
(#3) Thinking/Feeling: How do you make decisions?
People make decisions in many different ways. If you typically think about others and your value system- that is how your decision might affect loved ones, friends, co-workers or even the world at large when making decisions then you likely lean towards the Feeling end of this scale. In general, Feelers are known for being spontaneous and highly adaptive to changing circumstances. In contrast, if your decision-making is systematic and methodical, carefully considering costs and benefits of each possible choice, then you are more of a Thinker.
(#4) Perception/Judgment: How do you manage your life?
The last scale has to do with how you move through the world. People with Judgment preferences are planners. They may make packing lists or detailed itineraries before taking a trip, for example, or may update their work calendars with intermediate milestones for each of their projects, especially if they manage a team. On the other hand, their colleagues who rank higher in Perception are often more flexible and comfortable adapting to new and changing circumstances, preferring to “live in the moment” rather than plan their every move.
Putting The Scales Together: Your MBTI®
When combined, these scales create a four-letter Myers-Briggs Personality Type that can shape how you might behave in response to different situations. Here are some examples.
In a work meeting, an ESTJ is likely to voice opinions readily (Extraversion) and justify their position based on empirical facts (Sensing), in addition to articulating why other options are inferior (Thinking). In contrast, an INFP may be more reserved (Introversion) and inclined to consider how their contributions might affect the physical and mental well-being of other people (Feeling).
On a date, an ISTJ might prefer to go to a museum, distillery, or other place where they have the opportunity to learn something new with their partner while also having a new sensory experience. On the other hand, an ENFP might prefer to go dancing or to a concert, where they can get to know their partner on an intuitive and emotional level.
In lieu of a complete profile of the 16 Myers-Briggs Personality Types, the table below displays a grid of the 16 Myers-Briggs Type Indicators Personality Types as well as key characteristics of each one. Which personality type do you think fits you the best? Why?
|Introverted Types||Extraverted Types|
Applying Your MBTI®
You can implement findings from your MBTI® in many different ways and in a variety of contexts. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:
- Optimize your learning: Internalize more information faster and apply it more efficiently. If you are extraverted, consider participating in discussion groups or group projects rather than dedicating yourself exclusively to independent study.
- Strengthen personal relationships: Discover what traits complement your own. If you have Thinking tendencies while your partner is a Feeler, then try to be patient and understanding, even if they cannot always explicitly articulate why they made a certain decision.
- Develop deeper friendships: Understand others so you can meet their needs too. Plan a diverse range of activities so everyone feels included.
- Grow your profession: Highlight your strengths and continue to improve your weaknesses. If you are more introverted or feeling personality type, bolster your leadership skills so you can direct your employees more confidently, effectively, and efficiently.
A Few Reminders
While it is tempting to treat the MBTI® as an all-knowing guide to your and others’ behavior, there are a few things you should keep in mind. We’ve already touched on some of these, but they are important and bear repeating:
- Every MBTI® personality type has its own strengths and challenges. There is no “best” type, and no type is better or worse than any of the others.
- The MBTI® Assessment is about preferences not ability. Judging types can still make impulsive decisions and Thinking types can be highly emotional under certain circumstances. That said, The MBTI® can to some extent predict how someone might behave in each situation.
- You are more than your MBTI® Type. Your MBTI® type is a tool. It does not determine your future so use the MBTI to learn more about yourself and others.
- As we age toward mid-life and later, we tend to get more comfortable using our more non-preferred functions. An example may be perhaps an introverted MBTI® Type who never enjoyed public speaking might gain more comfort in doing so over the years towards mid-life or later. In fact, there are even Introverts who enjoy speaking to groups when they are knowledgeable with the information they are providing. Therefore, it is important to understand that your MBTI Type is here to help you get to know yourself and not to confine you as parameters but to explore yourself and learn who you are.