Thank you @timeless
for allowing me to share my thoughts on MBTI. They just might be wack
- but they are mine and hopefully they help those who read it.
A reflection of MBTI application in my life.
A helpful and enduring tool (that does not define me.)
I took my first MBTI test 20 years ago, on the job. I worked for a large, progressive company and all the newbies took it. I typed the same then as I do today. My company did not use the MBTI data they collected toward team or workforce decisions of any sort. It was a tool to be used for the individual to understand their functions and how they might play out in their long-term career plans at the company. This was great, but I always felt the investment of testing everyone would have been better served had they applied the knowledge in a more strategic way, to help build fluid, balanced teams taking strengths and / or preferences of those in their employee pool into account.
In relationships, MBTI has helped me to understand the people in my life and how they might perceive the world and internalize information. It explained a lot of things for me and continues to do so. It also provides me with a deeper quotient of empathy for those I’m dealing with as I try to view the world through their eyes. I’ve learned the importance of not looking at people, or labeling them if you will as their type. This is a trap to easily fall into. “My ISFJ friend ... “ Sally is not ISFJ. She’s Sally. There is a lot more to Sally then her ISFJ essence. It certainly does not define her just like any of her life experiences do not define her, nor her birth order, nor the place she was born, nor the color of her skin. Everything about her makes her Sally. If we were all defined by our type, there would be a lot of clones (a whole 16 variations) walking around, and this is simply not the case. And as much as delving deeply into personality theory can be quite a constructive endeavor, it can also serve to give us tunnel vision. So I keep myself in check to not fall into this trap when I am applying MBTI to my relationships.
MBTI has helped me personally to accept who I am. Like so many others have said after learning about types and functions/preferences, “I’m not crazy.” I’ve embraced the way I naturally see the world and make decisions. And I have looked back over my adulthood in comparison to the studies on growth for my MBTI type and can understand and accept the challenges I went through to get to where I am today emotionally, spiritually and inter-personally. And it will continue until I die. And as much as I identify with my MBTI, I refuse to view it from a separatist standpoint. There is no room for an “us versus them” mentality in MBTI because when this trapped door opens up, you are back to defining your whole being as your type. And viewing others as different from you. And allowing personal biases to enter the picture and creating exclusivity ideals in your mind and in your actions with others, giving you a false sense of power. (Or falsely giving away your power.) And it can be infectious.
Understanding MBTI in terms of learning can surely be an aid, where educators who understand that students take in information differently from other students as well as from themselves as educators can make adjustments to their learning environments. A person who is taking in information in a way that is natural and comfortable for them will enjoy themselves more and hopefully experience deeper learning as well as be a positive force for those around them. It also has helped me to understand how I take in information, how I most effectively learn. This has allowed me to learn things more quickly as I’m not wasting time trying to learn something in ways that are not most effective for me. I also no longer have to “feel badly” that I do not learn things the way others do. I learn things the way that I do. And that’s okay.
“Whatever the circumstances of your life, the understanding of type can make your perceptions clearer, your judgements sounder, and your life closer to your heart’s desire.” Isabel Briggs Myers
MBTI has been a great tool for me, particularly in recent years, and will continue to be. And although like anything else that peaks one’s interest, I can get caught up in it at times. But it does not define me. It does not define the people around me. And just like anything else, too much of a good thing can limit you and cut you off from other developmental outlooks and strategies that you can apply to your life.
As a long-time student of MBTI, I would tell those who are just getting into the studies to not let it consume you or take hold of your identity. Don’t hide behind your type description and don’t use it as a crutch. Just like any tool in your life, use it to better understand yourself and those around you. And hopefully you will apply this knowledge for the greater good for yourself, for your relationships and for the world at large.