We are all the authors of our own lives. We are responsible for writing our own stories and making our own unique choices. These choices are distinct from the actions and decisions of our peers. At some point or another, children are taught by either their peers, their parents or their hero’s that no two people are exactly the same. They are told that everyone is significant and has a special and unique quality that individualizes them from the rest. Although this remains to be true as far as anyone has seen we can make some general statements about personality. When we make these generalizations we are talking about the extensions of different personality types in humanity and by doing so we are provided with useful information about ourselves and other people. The first step to our future success is to understand our personality type. Several different psychologists have established some theories of personality that further our knowledge on how personality type relates to our choices whether it is our education, careers, or relationships.
The personality theory started with Carl Jung (1875-1961). He believed that we are born with specific personality preferences that make us who we are and that these preferences could be nurtured throughout our lifespans to uphold our success. (Provos & Anchors, 1991) These theories were later further developed by psychologists Katherine Briggs and her daughter Isabel Myers who came up with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) to measure different personality types. (Provos & Anchors, 1991) Knowledge of our personality and the personalities of others is not only valuable in understanding ourselves, but also in appreciating how others are different. Based on the work of Carl Jung, Katherine Briggs, and Isabel Meyers, personality has four different proportions: Extraversion or Introversion, Sensing or Intuition, Thinking or Feeling, and Judging or Perceiving.
The main feature to recognize when it comes to extraverts and introverts is where they get their energy. (Provost & Anchors, 1991) Extraverts absorb energy from the people around themselves. They are sociable, talkative and vigorous. After social interaction they feel energized. You can spot the extroverts as children because they are often the ones who have the ability to approach random people and start a marathon conversation. They are very curious by nature and glow from being in the spotlight. They tend to talk first and think later which often can get them into trouble for simply saying the first thought in their head and offending people. Contrary to that introverts obtain energy from their inner world. They are shy, independent and harder to get to know than an extrovert would be. They are more often drained from a social gathering and prefer to stay isolated or be around one or two close friends. These types are often described as quiet or reserved. On the first day of school as children they are often seen clinging to their mother’s legs, bawling about how they don’t want to go. They often miss out on saying what they want to from overthinking and respond very slowly to people. It is common for people to use both characteristics of introverting and extroverting in the different situation that they are placed in. Being an extravert or an introvert is simply a matter of preference, like being left-handed or right-handed. We are capable of using both hands, but may feel slightly uncomfortable from using the less dominant one. For instance Introverts are not total unsociable hermits. They can adapt in large social setting, but might later need time to rejuvenate the lost energy. Each type has a number of special talents that can be applied in different areas of the work force. An extrovert is more likely to enjoy working with lots of other people where as an introvert may choose to be something a little more independent like a writer. As with all the personality types it is possible for a person to have characteristics from both. (Kroeger & Thuesen, 1989)
The element of sensing or intuition explains how we take information. (Provost & Anchors, 1991) A sensor prefers to base things off of what they know. They use their senses; what they see, hear, taste, touch, feel, and smell. A sensor trusts only what is concrete and palpable. It has to be staring them right in the face for them to believe that it’s real. However, an intuitive bases their instincts on “what could be”. An Intuitive as children are the kids in the class who are constantly zoning out or who had imaginary friends and believed in the impossible. In class it often appears that they are paying attention, but don’t be fooled. They are usually daydreaming about something whether it be an idea for a story, a new song, beliefs, hopes, dreams….There the ones who go with their gut when it comes down to making decisions. An intuitive is fascinated with relationships, potential, connotations, and implications. We all use both of these modes in our daily lives, but we usually have a preference for one mode or the other. Both types have characteristics that can be entered into the job. For example, you would probably want your lawyer to be a sensing type who focuses on concrete information and fills out your casework form correctly. An inventor or painter would be more fitting for an intuitive. (Kroeger & Thuesen, 1989)
Thinking or Feeling. It’s the quality of thinking and feeling that classifies how we decide to make choices. 60 percent of males are thinking types and 40 percent are feeling types. For females, 60 percent are feeling types and 40 percent are thinking types. (Provost & Anchors, 1991) Do you know the difference between the saying “what I think is right” and “what I feel is right” and when it comes to listening to your “heart” or your “head”? That’s the line drawn between a thinker and a feeler. A thinker makes decisions based on logic. They love to argue and persuade. They prefer rules and structure. They look at all evidence before finding an impersonal conclusion. They are concerned with what they think is right rather than what they feel. They don’t really understand logical thinking or statistics. They don’t analyze and evaluate the way Thinkers seem to do. They just close their eyes and go with their gut. Their values and morals are often the most important factor to the decision making process. A feeler makes decisions based off of morals and values. It’s like that quote from Wuthering Heights, “I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!” They often are accused of being too emotional and caring about people (people pleaser). They make their choices by what they feel rather than what they think. Logic and emotions both play a part in everyone’s decisions, but based on the two personality types there is a preference for each. (Kroeger & Thuesen, 1989) when thinking about careers, a thinking type would make a good judge or logic teacher. A feeling type would probably be a good social worker or kindergarten teacher. (Kroeger & Thuesen, 1989)
Judgers and Perceivers are all about how you organize your environment. In other words, do we prefer the world to be structured or unstructured? In the general school population, the percentage of each of these types is approximately equal. (Provost & Anchors, 1991) Since Judgers and Perceivers have very different outlooks of the world, there is a large amount of conflict between them unless there is a respect of both. Judgers like to live in an organized, structured and planned way. Their lives are often based on a schedule. They get up, they go to school or work, and go home…their days are repetitive and lack change. They tend to freak out when someone messes up a plan and prefer to know exactly what they are in for. They like control over their lives and don’t appreciate any kind of form of inconstancy or change. In relationships a judger has a tendency of coming back over and over again. Judging does not mean to judge others. A Perceiver is impulsive; they don’t appreciate rules or making decisions. They are inconsistent, spontaneous and happy-go-lucky. For example if they were to drive somewhere they would prefer not to have a destination planned out. They would most like just keep driving, picking right or left to see where they would end up. They come and go as the please, wandering from place to place. They are satisfied with their lives being open to possibilities. They try to understand life rather than control it. They are flexible and can go with any situation that they find themselves in. We can always gain something from people who hold a different perspective. For example, when dealing with a company a judger would most likely be well adapted to handling money or the tedious work that must be taken care of daily. A perceiver would be equipped on dealing with the changes of the company and how to keep it marketable. (Kroeger & Thuesen, 1989)
By understanding our four different personality types: Extraversion or Introversion, Sensing or Intuition, Thinking or Feeling, and Judging or Perceiving we are able to transition into our choices whether it is our education, careers, or relationships. Building on your strengths provides the energy and motivation required to put in the effort need to accomplish any worthwhile task. Some people may feel skeptical about the MBTI, believing that they couldn’t be defined on a sheet of paper or four words in that case. However, the similarities and comparisons between the person and the score are always extremely accurate which has led people to believe that the test is plausible. It is important to take what we learn about ourselves and apply it into the journey so that we can find the ending to our stories while maintaining a satisfying and successful life.