Your Personality Matters
About 20 years ago, I took a break from college in hopes of experiencing the fun side of life before journeying into the real world.
I was living in rural Maine (what part of Maine isn’t, I guess?) and trying to determine what I wanted to study upon my return to school. The small town’s community center offered free vocational skills workshops and career training. The initial assessment and intake process required that I take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.
I sat down with the paperwork and forms (long before these tests were available online) and penciled in my responses to each question in each category. It seemed never-ending. When the test administrator “scored” my results, I was disappointed and confused:
The test revealed that I was an introvert and that my best career choice would be teaching.
Really!!?? I did not want to teach nor did I want to be an introvert. I took inventory of my education path up to that point and thought, “I didn’t study and work hard to get good grades to become a teacher! Why didn’t this test tell me I should become a doctor or a lawyer?! And no wonder I don’t have friends! I’m a boring introvert.”
I was determined to prove that test wrong. I was determined to be more sociable and become an extrovert (people only like extroverts, I thought) and to study something other than becoming a teacher. Teacher’s are not respected, I thought. Besides, I was not patient enough to be a teacher. This test was bunk!
How stubborn, immature, and naive was I? The test was not designed to show me what I needed to change about myself. It was designed to inform me of the qualities I should nurture.
The Myers-Briggs system identifies one’s unique personality types by considering which approach in each of 4 paired opposing approaches used to measure and perceive the world best fits the individual.
1. Are you an Introvert (I) or an Extrovert (E)?
2. Do you use your Intuition (N) more or your five Senses (S) to understand the world?
3. Do you make decisions by considering the Feelings (F) of others or based on solid facts acquired from concrete Thinking (T)?
4. Do you feel accomplished when you Perceive (P) things as flexible and adaptive or do you prefer to Judge (J) something as complete when it is in a fixed and organized state?
Depending on how you answer the questions, you could be an ISFP, INTJ or any one of the other 16 possible combinations, each well-defined by the Myers & Briggs Foundation.
Regardless of the test results, no combination is right, wrong, better or worse. Whatever the combination, you will acquire a clearer understanding of how you innately perceive and interact with the world and the types of activities, career options, friendships, and hobbies that best fit your personality.
Above all, when you understand how you see the world and your preferred ways of interacting within it, you have a better understanding of how you perceive and interact with yourself. Once you understand this, you become empowered to dissect and deconstruct those perceptions of yourself (often misconceptions or limited perceptions) and ultimately overcome your past conditionings and move away from pain and isolation and toward peace and fulfillment.
When I took the test almost 20 years ago, my results were INFJ. Not much has changed other than I now accept that it’s okay to be an introvert, and becoming a teacher is a dream.
Learn more about what the results mean, how to take the test, and how to become a test administrator.
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