I like any tool that helps me to better know and understand myself. So I particularly love different personality type theories. Whilst some people find them limiting, I find them liberating. I have a feeling personality type is going to pop up a fair bit in this blog, so I thought I’d take the time to introduce you to some of my favourite theories. In this post I will give an introduction to the Myers Briggs personality types.
Where the Myers Briggs personality types came from
The Myers Briggs theory personality types theory was created by Isabel Briggs Myers and is based on Carl Jung’s theory of psychological types. In Jung’s theory there are three key dichotomies.
Jung’s theory says out of each dichotomy we each favour one side more. More introverted than extroverted, for example. The first dichotomy is seen as your general attitude. The second your functions of perceiving the world around you. And the third your functions of judging – or what you do with the information you’ve perceived about the world.
Isabel Briggs Myers adapted Jung’s theory by adding judging/perceiving as a fourth dichotomy influencing personality.
The Myers Briggs 16 personality types
In the Myers Briggs theory of personality there are 16 personality types. These are shown in the image below.
What the heck do all those letters mean?
These letters are like a fun little code to unlock an understanding of your personality. They relate to the three dichotomies Jung proposed, and the additional fourth one introduced by Isabel Briggs Myers.
I or E – this tells you if you’re more INTROVERTED or EXTROVERTED. It relates to whether you get energy from the external or internal world.
S or N – this relates to whether you’re more likely to believe information you receive from the outside world, or from the internal or imaginative world. S stands for SENSING and relates to the external and N for INTUITION which relates to the internal.
T or F – do you process information based on logic, THINKING, or on emotion FEELING?
J or P – I find this one the hardest to get. It’s to do with what you do with the information you’ve processed, how you implement it in your life. Is it by JUDGING or PERCEIVING? Judging means you judge what’s coming up and plan accordingly. Perceiving means you take in what’s happening and improvise around that.
Which of the Myers Briggs personality types am I?
I’m an INF J: Introvert, Intuition, Feeling, Judging.
“INFJs tend to see helping others as their purpose in life, but while people with this personality type can be found engaging rescue efforts and doing charity work, their real passion is to get to the heart of the issue so that people need not be rescued at all.” – source
I took the test over on 16 personalities and they break the types down into 4 different groups. In this breakdown you can be an Analyst, Diplomat, Sentinel or Explorer.
You might be one of those people who find the concept of this a big ball of hooey. But take the test, and I bet you’ll recognise at least some familiar traits in the description of your type.
It gives me comfort to know the way I act is because of my personality type, and not because I’m a weirdo. It means I can work the way that’s best for me, and play to my strengths. In terms of relating to other people, it can help in understanding their side in a conflict situation. Plus it can just help in generally relating to others. If you know what type someone is you can phrase things in a way that will make sense to them.
Take the Myers Briggs personality types test and tell me your personality type and any observations in the comments below!