Sunday, August 23, 2009

Embracing All Myers-Briggs Types in Your Personality

Everyone it seems wants it all; but was is it? Having it “all” means many different things to different people. It suddenly dawned on me only recently that the only thing or ‘possession’ of eternal goodness is the character developed toward a full personality i.e. one that can embrace every person and every situation possible with love, respect and understanding, in a word—unconditionality.

In essence, this means the acceptance of, and ability to work with, all kinds of different situations; it’s essentially the antithesis of bigotry, ignorance and arrogance. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a well established personality profiling tool. “Type” as it’s known, explains our innate preferences regarding how we like to live, work, and interact with people and life in general.

Its sixteen types cover essentially a complete sweep of the human psyche. Some of us are very tightly described in one of these sixteen areas, by virtue of strong preferences along the four continuums:

Introversion (I) at one end versus extroversion (E) at the other;

Sensing (S) at one end versus intuition (N) at the other;

Thinking (T) at one end versus feeling (F) at the other; and,

Judging (J) at one end versus perceiving (P) at the other.

Each of these four continuums, at its extremes, describes a dichotomy.

Some again sit closer to the mid line in one or two areas (lessening the effectual dichotomies), meaning that in some situations they’ll go one way, and in other situations they’ll go the other. Being closer to the mid line on any one of the four continuums is a distinct advantage in life as it means we’re more adaptable and flexible, and possibly more mature.

This is all assuming that we can change our personality profiles marginally over the lifespan—a belief that I hold. None of us are so set in our ways that we cannot, or won’t, change. It’s our choice at the end of the day.

The theory of a “fuller” personality is that we’d come close to the mid line on one, two or possibly more of the four continuums. The ideal, of course, might be close-to-mid line results on all continuums though it’s hard to see that occurring in many people in reality.

But, just think. The closer our preferences are to the mid lines, and the more we can appreciate life situations naturally from all sixteen perspectives, the greater scope we might have in our relationships, and the less conflict we might encounter, overall.

Is this the ultimate expression of humility i.e. acceptance of others’ viewpoints?

At the end of the day “Type” theory is most important for recognising how differences between us can enhance our lives and our contributions, mitigating misunderstanding and miscommunication.

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