Most of us are introduced to MBTI by taking the online test recommended by a friend or family member. That is also how I was introduced to it a few years back, and of course, I was amazed by the accuracy of my results. (If you haven’t taken the test yet, you can take it here.)
I consider that moment to be one of the more defining moments in my life. It sparked a curiosity that soon developed into a passion and now plays a huge role in my worldview.
First, MBTI helped me make sense of my own mind and how it functions. Then, using my gained knowledge combined with MBTI as a tool, I’m able to make better sense of the people I encounter.
How to Approach MBTI
“But every individual possesses both mechanisms - extraversion as well as introversion, and only the relative predominance of the one or the other determines the type.” - Carl Jung, Psychological Types
I’ve met a lot of people who are turned off by MBTI because they don’t like the idea of labeling people a certain type. While I do understand the concern, it’s a misconception of the way MBTI works.
Individuals with this concern extremely value individualism and truly see the beauty in the unique qualities of people around them. It appears logical then to assume that categorizing people into just 16 types cheapens our uniqueness and individualism.
In reality, it’s quite contrary.
“The further we go back into history the more we see personality disappearing beneath the wrappings of collectivity. And, if we go right down to the primitive psychology, we find absolutely no trace of the idea of the individual.” - Carl Jung
As the understanding of psychology has developed over time, it’s actually grown to celebrate the idea of the individual more and more. It recognizes that everyone has different preferences, ideas, and functionalities. MBTI is simply a tool we can use to better understand one another, but that doesn’t take away or cheapen the idea of the individual in the slightest.
2. Understand the test isn’t always accurate.
The first time I took the online test, my results were INFP (introverted, intuitive, feeling, and prospecting). It was extremely close and I related to most of it. However, the more I studied and the more I talked with a close friend who also studies MBTI, I learned that I am actually an INTP (introverted, intuitive, thinking, and prospecting).
That being said, the more you study the more you’ll understand what your natural preferences are. And you’ll see that as you mature, you may get different results because of the phases of life that we all go through. However, it is true that everyone only has one true type that never changes.
3. There’s more to it than you think.
Understanding your type alone is a lot to grasp if you want to dig deep and immerse yourself in the information. Eventually, you’ll grow confident enough about your own type and begin to venture out to the other 15. (Also, keep in mind that the farther you drift from your own type, the more foreign the others will seem.)
It may seem overwhelming, but I can assure you it’s such a fun process with a beneficial outcome. I’m still learning and I love every bit of it.
So, what is MBTI really?
Myers Briggs Type Indicator is a tool that was developed by Isabel Myers and Katharine Briggs to help individuals find where they belong in Carl Jung’s theory of typology.
It’s based on the book Carl Jung wrote in the 1920s called “Psychological Types or the Psychology of Individuation”.
As a general overview of how MBTI works, it is composed of these qualities:
This allows for a possible total of 16 personality types.
Really observe the people around you. Pay attention to how they gain energy, what their interests are, what their facial expressions usually entail, etc. What is their body language like? What’s comfortable for them? Are they usually away from the crowd? The life of the party? Displaying lots of emotion, or do they have a more relaxed demeanor?
These are all questions I ask when I meet new people and try to guess their types or preferences. Obviously, it takes practice and a better understanding of each type to guess more accurately each time. But eventually, you’ll get better and hopefully, you’ll find MBTI to be as useful as I have in my own life.
Best of luck to you. I promise the fun is just beginning. ;)