You are truly unique. There is not one person among the billions alive now, or in the past or future, who is identical to you.
Even if there were someone who looks like you, little details would be different. And even if someone looked exactly like you, what is inside your head would be different. And also no one has the same life experience you do, from the day you were born until now. There is only one you.
One of the most important and valuable things to understand about your uniqueness is your personality, especially your personality type. While everyone’s personality is unique as a whole, there are 16 different personality types in the Myers Briggs Type system, the most scientifically verified personality profiling system in the world. Although there are “only” 16 personality types, they vary in degrees of preference, and so it is important for you not only to know your “type” but also the degrees of preference. For example you may be extremely, moderately or slightly introverted or extraverted.
If you have never taken the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), there are several ways you can do that:
- Take it for free online. If you search for “free Myers Briggs test,” you’ll find several online resources. However, these are not the “official” Myers-Briggs test, and results may differ. The real thing can only be administered by an authorized consultant, like me and thousands of others around the world. So your next option is:
- Find a psychologist, organization development consultant, career counselor or other professional in your community who can give you the test and explain the results.
- Your third option is to buy a copy of the classic Myers-Briggs book “Please Understand Me” by David Keirsey and Marilyn Bates. (You can find it new and used at amazon.com with this link: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0960695400/wwwlciwebcom
Keirsey and Bates were experts in the Myers-Briggs test, and their book contains a simplified version you can take and score yourself. Since publishing that book, Keirsey has separated his system from the Myers-Briggs and now offers his version online at www.keirsey.com. (Recently he passed away.) There you will find both a free reduced version (not the full results) or you can pay to get a full report.
Here’s a brief summary which you can use informally (not as accurate as the full version) to better understand your natural personality type. The MBTI is divided into four scales, representing opposite tendencies; most people fall somewhere in between the two extremes, but some are all the way at one end. The four scales are:
Each of these eight terms has special meaning within the MBTI and should never be taken literally using dictionary definitions of those words. Let’s look at each one a little more closely.
|Extravert – More oriented to the outer world of people and things. Energized by interacting with people.||Introvert – More oriented to the inner world of ideas and thought. Energized by peaceful time alone.|
|Sensing – More oriented to concrete facts, objects and things observable by the senses.||Intuitive – More oriented to possibilities and connections, including abstractions not observable by the senses.|
|Thinking – Making decisions based on impersonal analysis and logic||Feeling – Making decisions based more on personal values and feeling|
|Judging – Preferring to be highly organized, a tendency to separate things into lists and timelines||Perceiving – Preferring to remain open to possibilities, a tendency to not be highly organized or deadline oriented|
Extravert-Introvert is where we get our energy.
Sensing-Intuitive is how we take in or process information.
Thinking-Feeling is how we make decisions.
Judging-Perceiving is how we structure our lives.
These different preferences are typically abbreviated with the first letter of each word, except the letter N is used for Intuitive to distinguish it from Introvert (I). Thus an ESTJ is a natural business manager, organizer of facts and equipment. An INFP is a natural creative, perhaps a musician, artist, creative writer or designer.
Some people including me are “down the middle” on some of the scales. They can go either way, depending on the situation. The term “ambivert” has been used sometimes to describe people who are down the middle, especially on the introvert-extravert scale. Others have strong preferences and always go one way regardless of the situation. Neither one is good or bad. Our Creator made us all different. Each personality type has unique strengths that no other type has. The more you understand your personality type and its unique strengths, and the more you set goals consistent with those strengths, the happier and more successful you will be.
This is NOT something you will find in most books about mind control or creating your own future! Many of them lead you to believe you can do anything or be anything you want – that sells more books! But this sets many people up for unhappiness and frustration. So they don’t take control of their lives and they don’t change anything.
If you are strongly introverted, you will probably not be happy roaming the world as a public speaker. It’s possible, but unlikely. If you are a free spirit, someone with a strong Perceiving preference, you will probably not be happy making lists before you act every day. However, some people do learn to compensate for their natural tendencies with corrective habits. I have known some ENFP’s – usually warm, outgoing people who are not natural organizers – to carry around big notebooks or smartphone apps in which they have their whole life and work highly organized. Like many others they have learned to compensate for their natural tendencies by forming habits that keep them in check to they can achieve desired objectives on the job or in their personal lives.
So here’s some valuable Life Advice – get to know your personality type, the things you naturally gravitate toward, and arrange your life as much as practical to build on your strengths and compensate for any preferences as needed. Love yourself as you are, and realize that most people you encounter in life will NOT have the same type that you do, so embrace their differences as well instead of expecting them to be like you.