Personality Type: How It Impacts 3 Key Areas of Your Life

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Do you know your personality type based on the Myers-Briggs personality assessment?

If not, this is a tremendously beneficial tool in helping you understand yourself, your motivations and behavior, and how you interact with the people around you. And knowing the personality types of the people close to you is extremely helpful in understanding them and how you can best relate to them.

Based on the personality type theories of Carl Jung, The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment is a questionnaire designed to measure a person’s preferences in how they perceive the world and make decisions. The original developers of the personality inventory were Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers, as a way of helping woman during WWII identify the sort of war-time jobs where they would be happiest and most effective.

Jung’s type model suggests that individuals are either born with, or develop, certain preferred ways of thinking and acting. The Myers-Briggs test sorts some of these psychological differences into four opposite pairs that arrange into 16 possible psychological types. Briggs and Myers determined that a person naturally prefers one overall combination of type differences.

The four preferences identified by Jung are:

1. Extroversion (E) or Introversion (I): Do you prefer to focus on the outer world or your own inner world? Do you draw energy internally or externally?

2. Sensing (S) or Intuition (N): Do you prefer to focus on the basic information you take in or do you prefer to interpret and add meaning?

3. Thinking (T) or Feeling (F): When making decisions do you prefer to first look at logic and consistency or first look at people and special circumstances?

4. Judging (J) or Perceiving (P): In dealing with the outside world, do you prefer to get things decided, or do you prefer to stay open to new information and options?

Once your preference is determined in each category, your personality
type is expressed as a four-letter code. For example, I am an INFJ (introverted, intuitive, feeling, judging).

You can take a look at the 16 possible personality types here with a brief description of each type. You might be able to guess your own type by reading these descriptions, but to get a thorough result of your type, you will need to take the Myers-Briggs assessment.

What I like most about the Myers-Briggs assessment is that it has stood the test of time and is known for accuracy and reliability. It has been well-researched and continues to meet accepted standards for psychological instruments.It’s the gold standard.

Therefore, the results you get for your personality type are a reliable key to the door of self-awareness, as well as understanding and relating to others. I’ll use my own personality type (INFJ) as an example.

Here’s a very basic description of an INFJ:

Seeks meaning and connection in ideas, relationships, and material possessions. Wants to understand what motivates people and is insightful about others. Conscientious and committed to their firm values. Develops a clear vision about how best to serve the common good. Organize and decisive in implementing their vision.

So let’s take a look at how knowing my type can help me in three key areas of my life.

Personal Growth

Knowing and understanding your type can support personal growth, achieving life balance, self-awareness, and creative endeavors. Although your personality type doesn’t change over time, each preference helps you in different ways at various stages of life, from puberty to old age.

According to personalitypage.com, here is one area of personal growth that is important to the development of an INFJ:

To grow as an individual, the INFJ needs to focus on applying their judgment to things only after they have gone through their intuition. In other words, the INFJ needs to consciously try not to use their judgment to dismiss ideas prematurely.

An INFJ who is concerned with personal growth will pay close attention to the subject of their judgments and their motivation for making judgments.

Therefore, understanding that intuition plays a key role in how I assess situations, make decisions, and interact with people helps me know to spend more time in reflection and inner awareness before I reach conclusions.

Relationships

When you understand these 16 personality types and know your own type and the types of those close to you, you can more readily appreciate and accept the differences between you. Instead of labeling a person’s behavior and personality as “good or bad” or making value judgments about them, you can begin to view their behavior as a natural part of who they are.

For couples, this knowledge allows you to identify areas of difference that may cause conflict so that you can proactively navigate these differences with love and understanding. It can also help you understand how to best guide your children or have empathy for “difficult” family members who simply approach life differently than you do.

Here’s what personalitypage.com says about INFJ’s and relationships:

INFJs are warm, considerate partners who feel great depth of love for their partners. They enjoy showing this love and want to receive affirmation back from their mates.

They are perfectionists, constantly striving to achieve the Perfect Relationship. This can sometimes be frustrating to their mates, who may feel put upon by the INFJs demanding perfectionism. However, it may also be greatly appreciated, because it indicates a sincere commitment to the relationship, and a depth of caring which is not usually present in other types.

INFJ’s natural partner is the ENTP or the ENFP. INFJ’s dominant function of Introverted Intuition is best matched with a personality type that is dominated by Extraverted Intuition.

Having an understanding of your type can help you make the best possible choice in a life partner. But more importantly, it can help you learn to respect each other and manage differences amicably. When all members of a family understand type, they are less likely to assume polarizing, defensive positions that lead to conflict or misunderstandings.

Career

Understanding your type is essential to successful career planning, even while you are a student.  It can steer you to the best choices of subjects and majors in school, as well as provide a framework for choosing your career, advancing in your job, or even changing careers later in life.

People often have have trouble finding their passion and defining the work they enjoy and feel comfortable doing. Personality type is a practical tool for narrowing the field of careers and jobs within particular career fields that are best suited to your natural preferences.

Here’s what personalitypage.com says about INFJ’s and career:

The INFJ is a special individual who needs more out of a career than a job. They need to feel as if everything they do in their lives is in sync with their strong value systems – with what they believe to be right. Accordingly, the INFJ should choose a career in which they’re able to live their daily lives in accordance with their deeply-held principles, and which supports them in their life quest to be doing something meaningful.

The Myers-Briggs test was what inspired me to change careers at age 48. Although I was in a good INFJ career (public relations), it wasn’t the perfect fit. Counseling and coaching were the two careers that kept popping up for me, and I ultimately went back to school to become certified as a personal and career coach. And I continue to use my public relations, marketing, and writing skills here on my blog! It’s the perfect combination for me.

If you already know your type, I encourage you to read as much as possible about it so that you can gain more understanding about yourself and those around you. If you don’t know your type, consider taking the assessment to find out. You can take it through the Myers-Briggs Foundation. For more information on types, I’d suggest reading Please Understand Me II: Temperament, Character, Intelligence.

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Comments

  1. I recommend anyone to take the Myers-Briggs to gain a little insight into their personality. Although I would also warn to take it with a grain of salt. Often personality theory is limited in it’s ability to fit people into categories. I happen to be an INTJ though, and that description fits me really nicely.

    • Paige | simple mindfulness says:

      As a fellow INTJ, I would have to agree with you, Steven. If we have a limited pool of categories, we will somehow ensure that we fit into the pool, even if it’s not a perfect fit.

      While the Myers-Briggs can be a great tool, my hesitation comes when people use their new label to limit themselves.

      As an INTJ I’m not supposed to be much of a people-person but I love meeting and supporting new people in my life. I learned this from pushing myself outside of my comfort zone and disregarding the ways I labeled myself in the past.

      It’s great if the test gets you to test your thinking and preconceived notions of yourself. Just don’t use it as an excuse to stay where you are if you’re not happy. Every person is unique. Use whatever it takes to discover your unique combination of talents and passions that you can offer the world.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Steven,
      I agree with you that it is just one tool to help you understand yourself. But it shouldn’t define you completely. Because it helps us understand our limitations as well as our strengths, it is a great tool for recognizing where we need to stretch ourselves. One of the greatest benefits of understanding type is recognizing that people who are different from you aren’t “wrong” — they are just wired differently. :)

  2. Judy Walker says:

    I was frustrated with your article today, as nowhere could I
    see where one could indeed take this personality test FREE and on their own, and yet you go on and on about it and the results, etc. This has little meaning for “us the common man”

  3. Even though I took this assessment many years ago, I am only just now understanding how very much my “type” should be considered in my work and in my relationships!

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Rose,
      I think it’s worthwhile revisiting both the test and the results every few years. It can really help you refocus your life goals.

  4. I’ve been spending quite a bit of time over past few months looking at where I’m going professionally. Now that I’m focusing on my natural preferences (ours are very similar btw!) everything seems to be flowing vs. struggling uphill. Wish I would have actually applied what I learned from my assessment when I took it several years ago. Guess it’s never too late!

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      No it isn’t too late at all Angela. As I mentioned, I used it at age 48 to make a career change. It is never to late too re-create yourself. :)

  5. I should have known. No wonder I am attracted to your work and it hits home almost all the time. I am also an INFJ. I also learned mine time later on life. All of a sudden everything made sense! I have taken other highly recommended test too and those too makes sense and actually supports this one. Another good one though a bit long is http://www.viasurvey.org/. Thank you for your work.

  6. Noch Noch | be me. be natural. says:

    have always liked these tests. i find them sometimes too generalzized, but nevertheless gives insights into who we are and helps us understand ourselves better

    Noch Noch

  7. ” To grow as an individual, the INFJ needs to focus on applying their judgment to things only after they have gone through their intuition. In other words, the INFJ needs to consciously try not to use their judgment to dismiss ideas prematurely.

    An INFJ who is concerned with personal growth will pay close attention to the subject of their judgments and their motivation for making judgments.”

    I am an INFJ who is really struggling with this very concept right now. Why can I ‘see’ things so clearly that others can’t – and telling the truth always seems to be to my detriment.

    Arrrgh

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