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  1. #1
    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    Default Typology Central Scholarship Winners

    I’d like to announce the winners of the 2016 Typology Central Scholarship. The selection process involved a review by the moderation team of applications from 60 students. There were so many strong applications and exceptional essays that we are awarding three scholarships instead of two.

    First Prize of $2,000 – Cecily Grace Lahey of Alma College



    Cecily is an INTJ who loves learning way too much. Studying personality types has been an interest of hers ever since she accidentally picked up a stack of books on the subject six years ago, and she always enjoys discovering new tools for understanding others better. She is currently transferring from her local community college to Alma College in hopes of finding more elaborate and expensive ways of learning unnecessary but fascinating information while majoring in New Media Studies. Her other pursuits include hiking, reading, acting, gardening, and thinking . . . and analyzing the personality types of random passersby on the street.



    Second Prize of $500 - Ian Madden of Truman State University



    Ian Madden is an INFP who will enter his junior year at Truman State University this fall, majoring in psychology and minoring in sociology. He loves to read, write and drink coffee. In the future, he hopes to work in counseling or journalism.



    Third Prize of $500 - A Student at Vassar College



    She is an INFP and upcoming sophomore at Vassar College and a prospective Religion and Studio Arts Double Major. She is originally from St. Louis, Missouri and enjoys painting, writing, reading, and contemplative studies.

    Congratulations to this year’s winners!! Their bios and essays are shown below.

    The 2016 scholarship was limited to the United States. The 2017 Scholarship is now in effect with an application deadline of June 23, 2017 and will be available globally.
    Last edited by highlander; 09-03-2017 at 12:00 PM.
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  2. #2
    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    Cecily Lahey
    Alma College

    A Dangerous Guess

    “It’s all nonsense, you know!” I teased my mother.

    “Why?”

    “Because it’s pointless. You list all your personality traits, find a label for a person with those traits, and then—what does it tell you? That since you’re that type of person, you have all the traits you just listed. So useful.”

    “That’s not the point,” my mother always insisted. “You learn more from knowing your personality type, because it helps you find traits you didn’t know you had.”

    “It helps you guess that you have traits you didn’t know you had. And it’s a dangerous guess,” I always maintained.

    My mother and I repeated that sort of conversation many times. She believed solidly in the importance and usefulness of personality type systems, and I suspected she was half-right—but I worried. I know now that I was wrong, of course; personality typing is not by any means “all nonsense.” And my mother was right in saying that the point of personality typing is to learn more about ourselves and about others. But my concern was valid. What worried me, as I told her, was that it’s guesswork. We list the details we know about ourselves, receive a label for a person with those qualities, and then extrapolate the qualities of other people with that label to find other qualities we may hold in common. We infer the unknown from the known. That extrapolation is the helpful part—but it’s also the risky part, as well. Sometimes the guesses are right; sometimes they’re dead wrong; sometimes they lead to generalizations and stereotypes. So I struggled for some time with the question of how much we can rely on type theories, and what use we should make of them. But now I think the question hinges on how we treat extrapolation, that dangerous guess. We know, of course, the benefits of extrapolation. After all, without the inference, personality typing only tells us what we already know. But we must recognize the risks and understand how much we can rely on it in order to properly use the results of that dangerous guess. The key to using it, I believe, is to balance our use of the systems with careful observation of real life and real people, because observation plus careful extrapolation equals perception. And perception is what personality theories are really all about.

    The great risks of extrapolation are that we will end up with incorrect inferences or that we will generalize our extrapolations too much and end up with stereotypes. The results of such careless blunders are always ugly. Let’s consider incorrect inferences first, since they’re simple and straightforward. I must immediately admit that I’m frequently guilty of incorrect inferences myself. For instance, I thought for years that my younger brother, Daniel, was an extrovert, because he loves talking, so I always asked him to deal with people for me, assuming he would enjoy it. After several years of what I thought a clever bargain for both of us, he began studying personality types for himself and eventually told me my guess was wrong. He is just an introvert who loves talking, as he now informs me too often for me to forget. I’ll take his word for it. I can see now that I took a quality of his, corresponded it to the incorrect type, and then assumed, based on that type, that he had qualities that he in fact did not. I also know what it can be like to be treated as someone you’re not, based on your type, rather than your real personality. For example, our father, who is intensely interested in birth-order theory, often treats Daniel and I as “typical” middle-born children—indecisive, unobtrusive, and secretive. This causes trouble for us, because the “typical” middle-born is nonexistent—it is an average and an estimate, and certainly not a description of either one of us. So the dangers of incorrect extrapolations are clear enough and fairly simple to understand. The remedy, of course, is observation—look carefully and always be sure of your facts.

    The other essential function of observation is to counteract generalization, the second danger of extrapolation, which stems from how we use those facts. Generalization is the basis of what I consider the greatest misuse of personality typing: stereotyping, or treating people based on assumptions or generalizations about their types, rather than on their own personalities. I’ve had unpleasant experiences with this kind of misuse. A few months ago, my mother was spending more time than usual researching and using the Jungian, or Meyers-Briggs, system, and she thought and talked about everything in terms of the MBTI types. In a fit of excitement about her new hobby, she made my younger sister, Elizabeth, take a number of tests to discover her personality type. Elizabeth, a clever, humorous, and imaginative thirteen-year-old with a complex personality, had enormous difficulty uncovering a result that made sense to her. Every quiz she took gave her a different result, and she ended up with four different possible types—ENTJ, ISFJ, INFJ, and ENFJ—which all described her just a little bit. This mystified my mother, who became fascinated by Elizabeth’s enigmatic personality. Elizabeth, however, was less fascinated. After a couple of weeks, she confided in me that our mother’s quest to solve the mystery was making her life miserable. “I don’t know what to do,” she said unhappily. “Mama treats me differently every time I change my mind about what my personality might be.” I asked her what she meant. “Well, for example, right now, I think I’m an ENFJ. And since ENFJ’s are feeling types, Mama keeps acting like I’m really emotional and sensitive. But I’m not. I’m still just me.” After I spoke to my mother about the incident, she resumed treating Elizabeth like Elizabeth, rather than as an ENFJ. Elizabeth did, in the end, turn out to be a feeling type, but she doesn’t want us to treat her differently than we did before we discovered the fact.

    I wondered for some time about the incident. What did my mother do wrong? Why did her use of personality typing color her view of Elizabeth, and how could she have prevented that unfortunate side effect? I strongly believe that the best counterbalance to prevent generalizations is the same as the best balance overall for extrapolation: observation. It was hard for my mother to see clearly that Elizabeth was just Elizabeth, no matter what her type, and it can be difficult to interact with people as they are. And it’s a difficult balance overall between, on the one hand, treating someone as the stereotype of their personality and, on the other, ignoring theory entirely and thus ignoring what can be a highly useful tool for understanding each other. But balance is possible. We simply need to pay attention. We need to look carefully at what others really do, say, and think, instead of letting ourselves rely on our inferences.

    So we have seen that the extrapolation, the helpful part, must be balanced with observation. But the strange thing is that the guess isn’t the only helpful part. I’ve found that the very process of typing someone can lead to better character understanding, because it can actually help us learn to observe better, of all things. For instance, I learned a great deal about my sister from our adventure in trying to figure out what type she was, because we had to think so carefully about her specific qualities. What was more helpful than deciding on her type was discussing with her examples of how she thought and reacted to things in order to type her. It is, I suppose, an unintended benefit of thinking carefully about people. It can sharpen our powers of both observation and deduction. And when we balance inference with observation, we have perception, which can be a priceless tool to help us understand each other . . . and maybe even to make us into better people overall.
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  3. #3
    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    Iam Madden
    Truman State University

    Typology: A Celebration of Diversity

    Paper bubble after paper bubble, I tacked my residents’ names on the bulletin board. My friends Emily and Christian worked hurriedly beside me, struggling to meet my building’s deadline. I was only a few weeks into my sophomore year of college and my first year as a Student Advisor (SA), a live-in peer guide for about 50 residents in my dorm. Every SA had to change their board’s theme regularly, just to keep things exciting. This one in particular was based on a personality test I’d learned about in Positive Psychology, the Values in Action Classification of Character Strengths & Virtues. As we put up the names, we placed colorful bubbles labeled with strengths across the board. The idea was that every resident would take the online test, then move their name to their top strength, showcasing the floor’s diversity.

    Every time I placed a name on the bulletin board, I thought about the resident, about where they might fall on the board. There was the resident who, when he wasn’t soaring around campus on Heelys, often yelled at strangers passing through our floor’s lounge from his designated spot on the couch. He was sarcastic and blunt, but one of the most genuine people I’d ever met. There was the one whose eyes lit up when he talked about his favorite bands. On a whim, he’d take off for a concert on a weeknight. The next day, after about 26 sleepless hours, he’d tell me it was “definitely worth it,” a content smile stretching to the bags under his eyes. There was one of my favorite residents, the one who always seemed to be wearing a John Deere hat and a smile. He once wrote around 70 pages of research on grass, not for a class, but because he loved agriculture that much. What made him so special wasn’t just his passion for agriculture, but his tremendously kind spirit as well. Once I said offhandedly that sleep was productive, and weeks later at 2AM, when he saw my light was on, he slipped a note under my door in fine, meticulous cursive: “Sleep is productive. Get some rest.”

    I love diversity. My exposure this year to such a wide range of people only made me love it more. Our unique interests, quirks, strengths and weaknesses are the seasoning of life. Through comparison, through our similarities and differences, we can use diversity to appreciate how we contribute to the blend of flavors in the world. What traits do we bring to the table that others struggle with, and vice versa? I love personality inventories because they provide a framework for that search, that self-discovery, and celebrate diversity. In my role as an SA, I have seen firsthand what a valuable tool they can be for personal growth, communication, and empathy.

    Some of my fondest memories as an SA are of meetings with my supervisors called one-on-ones. There’s a large emphasis at my university on personal growth through Residence Life, and one-on-ones are a weekly time for counsel and guidance. One of the supervisors I worked with had a wonderful, infectious energy about her. She loved life, she loved people, and she loved the Jungian types. We would sit together in her apartment, and with large eyes and a wide smile, she would gush about the power of typology for growth and understanding. Both of us INFPs, we talked regularly about our shared experience. We shared in the struggle of being introverted as an SA, the importance of carving out time for yourself. We vented about the difficulty of organization as a perceiver and collaborated on specific strategies to tackle more administrative SA tasks. We reveled in the benefits of being a feeling type, in our natural empathy that could be strengthened through SA work. With the framework of our shared type, we worked together on specific weaknesses, we found a language to communicate our struggles, and we found connection through our similar way of looking at the world.

    As my supervisor and I discussed typology, I started to look at the world differently. I began to appreciate the diverse perspectives and needs of my residents. When I disagreed with a resident’s political views, I found it easier to stay calm and to stay loving, to understand they had a different way of seeing the world and interacting with society. When I failed to connect with a resident, I stopped rationalizing it as a personal failing on my part or theirs, but started to accept it as a consequence of our innate differences. When a resident was critical of me, I could identify the characteristic INFP sensitivity rising up and work to control it, work to make the criticism constructive.

    I recruited another SA and soon we were harassing all of our coworkers to take the test. Although some of them fluctuated between types, the more people who took the test and shared their results, the more I understood the unique way we fit together as a team. People could say, “I fall somewhere between P and J,” and without much elaboration, I understood them more as people. I learned what could irritate them that wouldn’t frustrate me, what little disorganized, scattered things I did that might damage relationships. I started to appreciate my coworkers’ specific strengths, to value the contributions every one of us made as SAs and as people.

    I don’t think personality typology is perfect; people don’t always fit into every test’s confines. But I do think that typology can start a conversation, a journey of growth that fosters understanding. Personality testing could prove a powerful tool for crossing the ideological, philosophical lines that divide our world so sharply today. No, typology is not perfect, but it can be beautiful, just as people are imperfect, but beautiful all the same.

    When my friends and I tacked up the final paper bubble to my floor’s new bulletin board, we took a step back to look over our finished product. The colorful bubbles with my residents’ names popped from their black backdrop. Over the next few weeks, they would spread from neat rows to every corner of the board. Of course there were a few bubbles that never shifted, but nearly everyone took the test and moved their name. More than once I walked into my floor’s lounge to find someone staring up at the board, just taking in the diversity, the beauty, of our community. The INFPs, the ESTJs, the ISFJs, the band-worshipper, the Heelys-rider, the grass-lover. Despite their differences and because of their differences, what wonderful ways they contributed to that floor. Despite our differences and because of them, what wonderful ways we contribute to this world.
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  4. #4
    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    A Student at
    Vassar College

    I was introduced to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator as a junior in high school by Maya. Maya and I shared all of our classes, though we spent most periods averting eye contact and ignoring each other. She was short with dark hair and a flat, round face. Behind her glasses, her eyes were dark, nearly black, and penetrative—anytime we met eyes, only ever by accident, I immediately felt an overwhelming sensation of invasion. In high school, I was consumed by a desire to be unnoticed. Maya’s presence in all my classes was lurking and unwanted. I knew she saw through me, and I knew my invisibility was expiring.

    The first conversations Maya and I had were about Myers-Briggs. We courted each other as friends almost entirely through her explanation of type characteristics and cognitive functions. She drew charts and wheels and lists, explaining the different functions and how they were activated within interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships with both conviction and trust in my own intuition (“Isabelle—I don’t need to explain it to you, just think about it”). Through Maya’s introduction, I began an in depth exploration of the function of personality types within societies as outlets for inter and intrapersonal analysis. I studied both religious and esoteric classification systems, from doshas to astrology, and psychoanalytical classification systems, from Enneagram to temperaments in Socionics.

    Myers-Briggs has been highly influential in my life for the past few years. Through Myers-Briggs, I was able to create a structure for introspection, which was very helpful in channeling self-analysis into manageable categories. When I was sixteen, there were so many facets of my personality I hadn’t yet explored, or was too afraid to confront. Through a Myers-Briggs lens, I was able to learn about my subjective experience within a more objective context. The more I learned about the cognitive functions and typical behaviors for INFPs, the easier it became for me to predict my behavior and reaction within different contexts. I also was able to reflect on past experiences, and relate these experiences to other INFPs, or other NFs, or other introverts, and so on. I started to feel more normal—though I was part of a very small community of Intuitives Feelers and an even smaller community of INFPs in my high school, other people like me existed, and these people shared a lot of my fears and anxieties. Myers-Briggs made me feel not as alone.

    Once I developed a better understanding of myself through Myers-Briggs, I became fascinated by the interactions between different types. I began to notice the roles different types play in life. For example, INFJs take on a leader or counselor role for me, providing structure, absoluteness, and reciprocity to thoughts and feelings I cannot always articulate. I observe this in my relationships with the INFJs I know, from my mother to Maya to my favorite religious leaders to every person I’ve ever dated. Once I observe these patterns within my own relationships on a microscopic scale, I enjoy observing relationships between these types in a more macroscopic sense. For example, I might learn about the compatibility of Introverted Feeling and Introverted Intuition within INFPs and INFJs, how the Quasi-Identical relationship manifests (see figure), famous INFP-INFJ duos, and so forth.


    Figure: Intertype Relationships
    Source: Complete relationship chart between psychological ("personality") types

    Knowledge of intertype relationships also becomes helpful in a work and school environment. Through Myers-Briggs, I have been able to learn how to more effectively communicate with coworkers and fellow students. For example, I work part-time at a retail store where my boss is an ESFJ. By learning her type, I was able to think about how I communicate with ESFJ friends, and how I could apply learned useful techniques to my communication with her. By examining common miscommunications in INFP-ESFJ relationships, I was able to work to improve weak areas between us. Ultimately, despite some fundamental differences, my boss has become my favorite boss and one of my favorite humans.

    Despite success with Myers-Briggs in high school, in college I have encountered a lot of pushback from other psychologically minded friends. They find the methodology and categorization to be limiting and “too corporate.” Amongst other art majors, this idea of systemization is largely frowned upon. And while I do agree that Myers-Briggs categories should never be viewed as an end-all be-all, I do think that categorization has usefulness. Because of Myers-Briggs, I have been able to create a systemized network through which to understand people and myself. I do not find this network to necessary be limiting as long as we all acknowledge that it is not the only lens through which to view a person or oneself. There have been times when Myers-Briggs has been extremely helpful in my interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships. There have also been times when Myers-Briggs could not explain someone or something that I was feeling. Both these experiences are equally valid—though Myers-Briggs is helpful, we would be remised to not also examine the other things that contribute to people’s personalities, from their upbringing to their socio-economic status to their exposure to education, with equal weight. I believe that this is a common misconception with Myers-Briggs, or personality typing in general. We should never expect a system to fully explain our entirely unique selves. There are not just sixteen types of people; there are billions, each distinctive. However, that does not delegitimize Myers-Briggs. There can simultaneously be billions of unique people and sixteen Myers-Briggs personality types—these are not exclusive clauses. The Myers-Briggs test only seeks to be a systematic, psychological, comprehensive lens through which to understand our uniqueness and potentially predict future behaviors. It does not seek to replace our individuality, or to create a hierarchy. Ultimately, it is just a method to better understand interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships.

    This desire to understand is fundamental. Innately, we desire to cognize others and ourselves. We are social, we desire to relate, and hopefully we desire to relate amicably. Personally, Myers-Briggs satiates my desire to understand other’s motives and psychological processes. It also helps me to be my best within relationships by highlighting areas of conflict and strength within intertype relations. A love for Myers-Briggs has also worked to bring close to so many other people who seek to know and to understand the world around them. Through Myers-Briggs, Maya recognized my internal world, even before she knew me. And through Myers-Briggs, I hope to see others, beyond the façade they present to the world. Myers-Briggs is an outlet for understanding and relating to people, a way to see and to be seen.
    Last edited by highlander; 09-03-2017 at 12:01 PM.
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  5. #5
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    I'd like to announce the winners of the 2017 Typology Central Scholarship. We had applications from over 160 students with a large number of highly impressive applications and essays making it challenging to choose. Thanks the the forum members who assisted in the selection process.

    This year, we have two people who tied for first place Each will get a scholarship of $2000.

    First Prize - $2000 - Elise Seldenrust (INTP)



    Elise grew up in Texas and Oklahoma where she loved learning, theater, music, and badgering her friends and family about their personality types. She received her undergraduate degree in English Literature from Oral Roberts University. She is currently studying for her MLitt in Intellectual History in the United Kingdom at the University of St Andrews.

    First Prize - $2000 - Christopher Guadalupe (INTJ)



    Chris is a MBTI practitioner, and while he is not working with individuals to help them understand their personality type, he enjoys making MBTI videos on his YouTube channel, AsuraMBTI. He is currently in the process of transferring to Old Dominion University focusing on obtaining his bachelors in psychology. He enjoys playing video games in his spare time as well as hanging out with his ENFJ girlfriend and her son. His long term goal is to one day become a licensed psychologist.

    Please provide feedback on my Nohari and Johari Window by clicking here: Nohari/Johari

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    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    The End of the Pygmalion Project: Personality Types and Inroads to Understanding

    Elise Seldenrust - University of St Andrews

    My mother walked into the kitchen, saw a dish, and called us to clean. While we cleaned, she roamed the house picking up misplaced items, listing aloud tasks that needed doing, and then mentioned her hope that she hadn’t failed as a mother to teach us how to live neatly. I rolled my eyes inwardly (and probably outwardly) and, once again, subconsciously congratulated myself for being so sensible. I am ashamed to say it, but it is true. In my mind, I had figured it out—the key to correct life—and she hadn’t. In fact, no one in my family had that key but me. They had their moments, of course (my mother is probably one of the most loving and compassionate people living), but my mind was the one that was calm, imaginative, and unsullied by the wreck of unjustified emotion that seemed to so plague my family. Naturally, I assumed that that intensity was a flaw. “If they could only get fixed,” my little self assumed, “then they would be like me.” This is, perhaps, one of the most seductive thoughts that slides, ubiquitously, into human interactions. For some, that mantra determines not a part, but the whole of their connection with others. I have thought it, in all of its varieties, at every stage of my life.

    Years later, my college roommate was to walk through our room in a very similar way to my own mother. For our three years together, she had trouble studying unless the dishes were washed and the clothing was off the floor. She spoke of practical things—events, people, her needs and determinations—and asked me practical questions. And, through those years, I kept our room clean (even unasked) and allowed her to arrange my bookshelves by height and my decorations in the homiest way possible. The eye-rolling was gone, along with the assumption that she was wrong for loving neat and aesthetic domestic arrangements when I didn’t care quite so much. The way she was wired, it made perfect sense for her to love (or even need) those things. I had it in my power to make her life easier, and also the understanding of myself to explain my own perspective should the need arise. Our friendship blossomed, and now I have graduated from school confident that she will forever be a part of my life.

    Something is drastically different between these two scenarios. In the first, I assumed upon my own rightness. In the second, I faced a person drastically different from me with understanding. When my mother, an ESFJ, spent so much time pacing the house with improvements on hand, I thought she was overly-presentational and had too high of expectations. When my roommate, also an ESFJ, did the same, I thought no such thing. Between the two memories, my family had taken and understood the Myers-Briggs/Kiersey/Jungian personality test. When I read about the ESFJ, I realized that physical surroundings were extremely valuable to her, not arbitrarily, but for distinct reasons. As an INTP (and total opposite of my mother and roommate) I didn’t care about the house—but then, I didn’t have her reasons at all. When I read about the rest of my “S”-filled family, I understood some basic frustrations they had always had with me and I with them. As, gradually, each member of the family began to take the test and understand each other’s results, something wonderful happened. While the personality test certainly became my own particular area of interest, the rest of my family also began to use them as a reference point in general conversation—especially when it clarified a misunderstanding or a wrong assumption. My and my sisters used the terms themselves frequently, but my parents also adopted a general policy of seeking understanding, instead of forcing change in others. The match of the personality test, as a resource, with the desire of my parents to understand the uniqueness of their children was a fortunate and timely one. My parents are both guardians (SJ), as is my brother. My eldest sister is an artisan (SP) and my younger sister and I are both rationals (NT). We have each developed our own personality and our own interests in ways that capitalize on our skills and tendencies, and while no family is perfect, I can honestly attribute to the personality test a generous portion of the credit for the individuality that my siblings and I exhibit. Without that tool, such a mutual understanding between us may have been quite difficult to accomplish simply because of the very intense nature of each member of my family.

    My ESFJ roommate, who so loved the practical side of things, has herself become a prime example of the use of the types as a relational tool. Initially, she had no interest at all in the conversation or propensities that tended to dominate my own conversation. Art, stories, theories, and philosophies didn’t pierce the realm of concrete action and events: her world. Luckily, I have been raised and surrounded by S-types since birth, and found that I had some clue about how to express myself in a way relatable to her. Our friendship is strong (one of the strongest I’ve ever known). Her mother passed away shortly after we met each other, and she became a part of my family. A year ago, that closeness grew. For some indefinable reason, she suddenly had a revelation about the practical use for the personality types, and it transformed her way of communicating. She, like my long-ago self, realized that the differences she saw between herself and others were not mistakes: they were simply differences. More than that, these differences could be mastered in a way that created previously-hidden inroads into the people around her. In a very ESFJ manner, she has since constructed an inner manual of particular questions and speech habits for her conversations with N-types. I chuckle when I catch her using them, but I also cannot help but reply with excitement and detail when she intentionally dives into my world. Now, she asks me probing, abstract questions, intentionally, to allow me to open myself up to her in a way that she has never received before. When we are discussing an event in my own life, she folds her hands, leans forward and asks me, “How did that change the way that you think?” or “What do you think she meant by that?” or “I remember when this happened last year; how has your own change since then made it mean more now?” It may be difficult to convey in writing, but in experience the difference is profound.

    This lesson is a small one, but its implications are almost incalculable. In a world scrambling for definitions of tolerance and self-promotion, the Jungian types provide a simply solution: a quiet balance of seeking understanding while not losing self. The seeming paradox of the personality system is also its elegance; it categorizes and frees at the same time, if used well. As an INTP, I have limitless opinions and thoughts—and usually no problem expressing them. My certainty in my own rightness, however, does not make a life. Relationships make a life. The relationships around me have served to free me from the moments when my own perspective ceased to be right and became a hindrance instead. For me, the Jungian types opened the door to a much larger process that, I suspect, would have taken years more of life wisdom and mistakes to find on my own. Thanks to that opened door, the wisdom and mistakes of the future won’t be made “on my own” at all.

    Please provide feedback on my Nohari and Johari Window by clicking here: Nohari/Johari

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    Part 1- My Story

    Christopher Guadalupe - Old Dominion University


    I looked down at the black and white paper with sixteen boxes on it, all of them with four lettered labels and descriptions within. INTJ. This is what I was. This is what the test had given me. It was my junior year of high school and we were given the actual MBTI written assessment as a project in our health class. I had no prior knowledge at the time of what the MBTI was. I took the test, I answered honestly, and I got my results. INTJ. Four letters that would change my life forever.

    I looked at the results of the assessment and I stared in amazement at the description of my so called “Type”. It was explaining me in such precise detail. “Independent, decisive, imaginative, finds energy in ideas and expressing thoughts, often enjoys spending time alone”. I was blown away that by answering a series of either-or questions this assessment could tell so much about me. That was only the beginning of my thirst for understanding though.

    The teacher gathered the results of every student who had given their permission to share their personality type and she wrote them on the board. One by one she wrote every students name under their assigned type. She got to the end of the list of students and something immediately caught my eye. I was the only INTJ on the whiteboard. We were not told of any types rarities and she made it quite clear that all types are equal, some simply prefer to do things a different way. That said I could not stop thinking about it for the rest of the day. Why was I the only person in the class who was an INTJ? Why was I so different from the other students? This was a common thought for me back then. I always knew I was different but it never influenced me negatively. Whereas other people found sadness in isolation I found strength and comfort. I enjoyed spending time alone much more than any person I knew. It was a concept that even people I considered close friends had trouble understanding.

    So, that night I went home and the research began. Like most people new to MBTI I began simply by researching my own type. I spent months trying to figure out what it meant to be an “INTJ”. With research came a basic understanding of how the system works, Dichotomies. Suddenly things became clearer. So, I was an Introvert, who is iNtuitive, who prefers Thinking, and Judges. Understanding just this basic concept suddenly made the entire system make sense. An ENFP for example was an Extrovert, who is iNtuitive, Prefers Feeling, and Perceives. But, as anyone who studies MBTI for more than a short period of time will tell you, the dichotomies only just scratch the surface of who we are. I picked up the book Gifts Differing by Isabel Briggs Myers and Peter B. Myers. What most people would call the essential start to understanding Briggs type theory. From there the cognitive functions came alive. Suddenly I was no longer just an INTJ. I was an Introverted iNtuitive dominant personality type who used their auxiliary judging function thinking in the external world. The world began to make sense to me, PEOPLE began to make sense to me. Every person I watched suddenly became their type. I started to notice distinct characteristics of how people acted and began applying them to how they related to the cognitive functions within types. I could PREDICT peoples’ behaviors simply by finding their type and performing behavioral experiments.

    MBTI became more than just a theory. It became a lifestyle.

    I began to apply MBTI theory to communicational skills. Through understanding a person’s type, you could potentially find ways to more easily interact with them. You could call this silly but my communicational skills skyrocketed upon understanding advanced cognitive function stack theory.

    Alongside that I did something I don’t see many people do with MBTI. I attempted to use it as a tool for self-development. When I began researching the tertiary and inferior functions I of course learned that types typically might struggle with these. In an attempt to overcome my own weaknesses, I tried to become consciously aware of how I used my cognitive functions in everyday life. If I noticed myself allowing Te(Extroverted Thinking) to take over a conversation I was in I would stop and reconsider how this conversation might look from the other persons point of view. I would attempt to gauge my own emotions in the very situations I was in as an attempt to promote the development of tertiary introverted feeling.
    This past paragraph is one of the biggest misunderstandings people have when they come into the world of MBTI. People assume that once you have your type you are assigned to act just like that for the rest of your life. They could not be any more wrong.

    MBTI is a starting point, not a destination. MBTI is not a box you are being forced into, it is a key to the door of self-understanding.

    It is through the understanding of one’s self that we can find what our natural strengths and weaknesses are. We can begin to understand how we might be able to zoom in and focus on problem areas in not only our personal lives but our professional ones as well. From something as simple as understanding that as an iNtuitive you are going to have to find a way to explain your idea to a Sensor so that they might feel it has realistic backing and grounding all the way to understanding how to handle yourself when you fall into an inferior function grip. MBTI is a tool of self-discovery but also one of self-improvement should you choose to make it that.

    As of last year, my MBTI journey came to a new level as I decided I wanted to begin teaching MBTI theory. I started a YouTube channel dedicated to teaching MBTI(AsuraMBTI), and then as of this year I became professionally certified by the MBTI Foundation to administer the MBTI Step I and II test as well as teach MBTI theory. I paid for the MBTI class out of pocket, over $2000, traveled out of state on my own and attended a training week directed by MBTI master practitioner Elizabeth Murphy. There I learned all the aspects of MBTI that you just wouldn’t be able to learn online. I learned about the Step II approach which was almost entirely new to me. I got see scientific research history and validity data for the MBTI. Some of the other students in the class were psychology majors, some had full on Ph. Ds and I was teaching them MBTI theory. Neither the instructor nor the other students could believe someone at my age knew so much about the theory. I left the class with the highest grade on the exams.

    Then something life changing happened to me. As I was leaving the last day of the program, after receiving my certification my instructor approached me. She said to me, “I’ve not seen many people with as much knowledge and passion for the MBTI as you. That said, you are going to need to get a degree if you want to make the changes in the world that you do. It’s not fun, it is difficult, but you need that degree”.

    I took those words to heart and I contemplated them. The next week I was back in college after being out for three years and am now pursuing a degree in psychology. Alongside that I work with clients in a professional setting as a private consultant administering and interpreting the MBTI.

    So, that is my story when it comes to MBTI. I want to share a lesson I wrote on MBTI before I finish though. An aspect I feel is largely overlooked.

    Part 2- A Lesson Overlooked

    MBTI is about energy.

    When we discuss the dichotomies and functions not only are we finding out which parts of us are present in our personality we are also finding how we prefer to express energy in the external and internal world. One of the first things a practitioner tells someone they are prepping to take the MBTI is that when you answer the questions you want to answer them as if there is zero outside influence on your choice. A person sees an example question like “I prefer things to be scheduled and orderly”, against “I prefer to leave things open”. They might actually prefer to live relaxed and not schedule things but that might not be an option for them. Imagine a parent with multiple children. They might prefer heavily to not worry about schedules but they schedule their life because it is important to the wellbeing of their children. This is considered an outside influence. So, when answering the question, it would be better for the person to respond that they prefer to leave things open if they want to find their true type.

    This is important because if the person from the previous example scored as a J, or someone who prefers structure, it wouldn't really be them. When they express or use energy to organize their external world it is not natural and may even be taxing on their mental state. This absolutely does not mean they will be bad at organizing their external world. This only means they will not prefer it to leaving their external world open to new experiences readily.

    A lot of people newly introduced to MBTI theory and cognitive functions immediately assume that they tell you how you interact with the world. This is not the case as much as it is why you interact with the world in the way you do.

    Take the common example of introverts vs extroverts, or I vs E. People new to MBTI theory assume that this is associated with social ability and one’s willingness to be outgoing and social. That is not the case. This is more so a possible and likely result of each dichotomy. You see, the I E axis actually focuses on in which direction a person prefers to express their energy. People who are extroverts express energy outwards but also receive energy from external stimuli. People who are Es often find it hard to ignore external stimuli as they are so attuned to it. Whereas Is direct their energy inwards but also receive energy from internal stimulation such as their ideas and feelings. In doing so they are so attuned to internal stimuli that they are often able to ignore external stimuli while focusing. On the opposite end of this though when external stimuli is simply too much for an I to handle it becomes a source of stress and anxiety for them, often causing them to revert to areas where they can relax and recharge… such as alone or with a close friend.

    Get where I am going?

    The extrovert on the other hand might find stress from introspection or looking inward. This in turn will cause them to look to external stimulus to relax and recharge, such as going out or being in active environments.

    You see preferring to be social is not directly related to being an I or E but more so highly correlational because that is how people of those types typically prefer to express their energy.

    It is very important to note that
    –Preferred ways of expressing the self and energy>How that energy is expressed—in MBTI theory.

    A person who is an intuitive dominant is going to be very excited at the thought of a new concept or idea but it typically going to be bored when looking at something involving statistics or current reality that is unchanging.

    A Ni dominant is going to be more so interested in processing ideas internally than expressing ideas or noticing frequent external connections. They might also struggle more so with external stimuli than a Ne dominant.

    Please provide feedback on my Nohari and Johari Window by clicking here: Nohari/Johari

    Tri-type 639
    Likes yama, FutureInProgress liked this post

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