Type Basics


The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI) is based on Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung’s theory of personality, which was published in 1921.  After a great deal of research, Katherine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers developed the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator in an effort to make Jung’s theory into a useful and accessible tool.  The MBTI was first published in 1943, and it is now known as the most widely used personality assessment in the world!  Today, the assessment is available in many countries and languages, and it is used by most colleges and many Fortune 500 companies.

What is the MBTI?

The MBTI is a personality assessment.  It is not a test because, unlike the MBTI, tests have right and wrong answers, and they can be failed.  The assessment looks at 4 pairs of opposites that describe how you gain and spend energy, how and what kinds of information you prefer to take in, your preferred method for making decisions, and what type of organization you prefer for your outside world.

The MBTI, along with a proper interpretation of its results, will help you decide which of 16 possible types is the best fit for your personality.  There are no good types or bad types.  All types have strengths and challenges, or as some people say, strengths and stretches.

Jung believed that type is a part of people’s nature.  In other words, type is something that you are born with, and it stays with you and the same throughout life.  While you won’t start off in life and change to another type, that does not mean that you don’t grow as a person and learn new skills outside of your type.  Of course, environment, relationships, family, work, and school impact who we are as people, and you will find that you have to use your non-preferred preferences to perform various tasks in life.  That being said, you will likely always find that doing things within your type preferences is more comfortable and less draining than performing tasks outside of your preferences.

Why should I learn about type?

Knowledge of Myers-Briggs types can help you in a variety of ways!  First, it can help you learn about yourself in a way that is meaningful.  A lot of people who learn about their types find that it helps them feel normal in ways they did not feel before.  It can give you a sense that you are not alone in the way you do things, which can be a pretty amazing feeling.

Knowledge of your own type can help you understand how you respond to stress, how you learn best, and your leadership style.  One of the most common uses of the MBTI is to help individuals in the process of choosing a career.  This does not in any way mean that your type will dictate what you have to do as a career, but it can guide you to explore careers that other people of your type find satisfying, and it can help you clarify the types of environments and activities you may find appealing in a career.  As a bonus, learning about type can provide you with meaningful ways to describe yourself to perspective employers!

Of course, as you learn about your own type, you will not be able to help but notice differences between how you function compared to other people.  This is a great thing when it comes to working with others in school groups and work environments.  The knowledge can even be healing in romantic, family, and other relationships because it can help you see that what once seemed rude is simply a different way of being.  Basically any activities that benefit from improved understanding and/or communication can benefit from knowledge of type.  The possibilities are almost endless.

The 8 Preferences


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  1. Pingback: Type Basics & The 8 Preferences | Personality Playbook

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