What a Difference a Personality Makes
by Dina Sleiman
News flash. God has wired each of us with a unique personality!!!
My undergraduate degree is actually in a little known field called Interpersonal Communications. Probably the most valuable tool I took from that education is a personality indicator used by psychologists called the Meyers Briggs assessment. I love this test for a number of reasons. In general, personality tests help us better understand ourselves and our unusual little quirks. They also assist us in understanding others who have vastly different personalities than our own.
I prefer the Myers Briggs test because it breaks down to sixteen different personality types and is more targeted and specific than any other test I have found. Another reason I prefer it, is because it is well known and you can find a number of excellent websites and books that talk in detail about these personality types.
The Myers Briggs assessment looks at four aspects of human characteristics. Keep in mind that everyone has all of these traits to some degree, and it’s good to be balanced, but that we lean more heavily towards one or the other.
Introvert vs. Extrovert – This has to do with how you are energized. It is not about how shy or social you are. An extrovert is energized by the outward world of people and things. An introvert is energized by their inner world. An extrovert is always up for a party and comes home excited and full of energy. An introvert may enjoy the party, may even be the life of the party while there, but will be exhausted by the end and need to go home and regroup. Extroverts need to process things with others. Introverts need to process things alone. Extroverts quickly grow lonely and have a stronger need for others. Introverts are content with their own company.
Sensory vs. INtuitive – This has to do with what you pay attention to. Sensors focus on the five senses and on facts. Intuits focus on what might be called a sixth sense. Sensors are very aware of their surroundings whereas intuits might drift off into their own head. Sensors tend to seem more grounded in realism than intuits. Sensors deal with basic information and intuits tend to take in information, but interpret and add their own meaning to it.
Thinkers vs. Feelers – This has to do with how you make decisions. A thinker takes into consideration logic and reason only. A feeler takes into consideration people and their emotions. Feelers incorporate values and beliefs into their decisions. If you change how a thinker thinks about a subject, their feelings will naturally follow. If you change how a feeler feels about a subject, their thoughts will naturally follow. I have found you can best tell your preference in this category by asking yourself, “If logic and feeling are in opposition to each other, which would I regret not following?”
Judgmental vs. Perceptual – This has to do with how you live and work. A judger prefers to be planned and organized. A perceiver prefers to be spontaneous and flexible. Judgers are strict on themselves about keeping commitments and following rules. Perceivers view commitments as something they will probably do and view rules as suggested guidelines. Judgers tend to be on time and be early for deadlines. Perceivers tend to be late and procrastinate. Judgers like to know where they are going and how to get there. Perceivers like to go with the flow and respond to where life might take them.
If you would like to take the Myers Briggs test for free, here is a good version http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/JTypes2.asp
* Now, an extra note for all the writers in the audience. As writers, these tests can help us to write consistent characters with distinct personalities and clear motivations. My new contemporary novel is a sisterhood type of book with three main female characters. These three women needed to have enough in common to be drawn to one another, yet still have distinct personalities. So I chose a Myers Briggs type for each of them and used that to help with their characterizations. When I wanted to know what would be a good career for one of my girls, I could easily look it up online. When I wanted to know what type of man would be a match for them or how they would respond to stress I could look it up. Pretty cool, huh. And for a bonus lesson on how your personality type affects you as a writer, read the last portion of this similar post from my personal blog. http://awesomeinspirationals.blogspot.com/2010/09/personality-types-writing-class-series.html
So whether you are a writer or not, I strongly recommend that you learn more about the unique wiring that God has given to you and those around you. Learn how to maximize your strengths and minimize your weaknesses. Learn how to communicate better. Learn about the special characteristics in your friends, families, and co-workers, and allow each of them to shine as the unique individuals God has created them to be as well.
Do you recognize yourself or someone you know in any of these preference types? Do you know your four letter type and would you share it with us? What unique gifts and wiring has God given you?