Personality test: why you need to know your Myers Briggs type
Knowing your personality type can empower you to make more informed decisions about how you live and work. Learn more (and get your free test).
How would you describe your personality? Do you consider yourself outgoing, ambitious, cheerful? Or shy, blasé, moody?
How do others view you? Are you thought of as energetic, logical, dependable? Or do people see you as silly, optimistic, aloof?
Whether by nature or nurture, you likely see yourself as a combination of inherited or developed traits that make you distinct.
And though they may or may not align with your perception of self, others also categorize you by assigning traits.
Personality is commonly thought of as all the ways of thinking, feeling and behaving that make us unique.
However, more and more the field of psychology is revealing that we are not as different as we think we are — and even where we differ, gaps can be bridged.
Now it may sound a bit disconcerting at first, but this insight into human behavior is quite liberating.
That's because, with the right tools, it means we can understand what makes us tick and make decisions accordingly.
The personality test is one of those tools and taking it was one of the most eye-opening things I've done, as it has contributed to my personal development in ways that wouldn't have been possible without this knowledge.
In this article I'll discuss the personality test and why, more specifically, you should know your Myers Briggs types.
I’ll also provide an overview of the company I use to provide personality tests based on the Myers Briggs framework.
What is a personality test?
Why do you need a personality test?
What is Myers Briggs?
What are the Myers Briggs types?
How to use your personality type?
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What is a personality test?
Some of the most groundbreaking work in psychology was driven by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung and his theory of psychological types.
First, Jung posed that there are two sets of cognitive functions (i.e. mental processes):
rational or judging functions — thinking and feeling
irrational or perceiving functions — sensation and intuition
Second, he believed that humans expressed these functions in either an introverted or extraverted way.
Diving into this further, Jung offered the following definitions of the judging (decision-making) functions, which you can think of as reason-based cognitive processing:
thinking — use of intellectual faculties to form logical conclusions (the head)
feeling — subjective conclusions based on value-driven thought processes (the heart)
He also defined the two perceiving functions (information gathering) which is unconscious, stimuli-driven cognitive processing:
sensation — perception of reality through the five senses (the external)
intuition — gut-level unconscious drives and motivations (the internal)
It's also important to define the two manners of expressions (or attitudes) as their technical meanings are somewhat different from how they are used colloquially:
introverted — inward-focused and thought-oriented; gains energy from self and solitude
extraverted — outward-focused and action-oriented; gains energy from interacting with others
In short, Jung's framework is all about how we collect, process and perceive information about the world.
Personality types are psychological classifications based on clinical evaluations of how the functions and attitudes from Jung's framework tend to show up in individuals.
A personality test is a method of assessing your dominant cognitive functions and attitudes and how they combine to influence your interests, desires, values and actions.
Why do you need a personality test?
If you believe in the notion that knowledge is power, then you can view the personality test as a tool that will lead to a greater understanding of yourself.
This self-knowledge will empower you to make more informed personal and professional decisions that may lead to increased productivity and possibly happiness.
Just as important, the outcomes of a personality test help you understand how you perceive and are perceived by others. As a result it is deemed as an excellent means of improving emotional intelligence and interpersonal dynamics.
From a personal perspective, before I took my first personality test I always felt a bit like an outsider. I was not unpopular or unliked, I just sensed that my way of being was somewhat off from the norm.
When I discovered that I had the rarest personality type (I'm an INTJ, which I'll explain below) it was a relief. There were elements that made me proud and elements I knew to be true but didn't want to accept.
But all in all, I came to own my strengths and weaknesses, got great at making decisions and became much better at managing my energy, especially vis-a-vis other people.
Whatever your reasons for taking a personality test, whether required for school or work or voluntarily, it will uncover insights that will help you navigate the world more efficiently.
What is the Myers Briggs test?
Taken by over 2 million people annually, The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), named after its creators, is the most popular personality test in the world.
Because the MBTI is the most used and its nomenclature most accepted by the mainstream, I deem it or reputable tests based on it, as the best assessments to use for identifying your personality type.
Most of the personality tests available are administered as introspective self-reported questionnaires, the MBTI included.
To get the most accurate results, you answer the questions as honestly as possible based on how you are now not how you want to be. There are also no right or wrong answers.
The creators of the MBTI extensively researched Jung's work to determine how personal preferences on each of the dimensions in his framework would combine to create predictable patterns in thinking, feeling and behaving.
Myers and Briggs then assigned letters to the core elements of Jung's framework and combined these letters into 16 different personality types.
The Introversion (I) or Extraversion (E) dimension describes how a person manages their energy.
The Sensing (S) or Intuition (I) dimension describes how a person processes information.
The Thinking (T) or Feeling (F) dimension describes how a person make decisions.
The Judging (J) or Perceiving (P) dimension describes how a person approaches structure.
Though no personality test is without flaws that have been uncovered as the field of psychology has advanced, to-date the MBTI has been the most thoroughly tested for reliability and validity.
What are the Myers Briggs types?
As mentioned there are 16 MBTI personality types and all types are equal.
The goal of knowing about your personality type is to understand yourself but also appreciate how people differ (though in predictable ways).
Don't go into into this thinking that certain types are better than others as you'll miss the point of the exercise.
Moreover, the personality types are not indicators of character or competency and should not be treated as such.
With that disclaimer out the way, summaries of the MBTI personality types are as follow:
Quiet, serious, earn success by thoroughness and dependability. Practical, matter-of-fact, realistic, and responsible. Decide logically what should be done and work toward it steadily, regardless of distractions. Take pleasure in making everything orderly and organized - their work, their home, their life. Value traditions and loyalty.
Quiet, friendly, responsible, and conscientious. Committed and steady in meeting their obligations. Thorough, painstaking, and accurate. Loyal, considerate, notice and remember specifics about people who are important to them, concerned with how others feel. Strive to create an orderly and harmonious environment at work and at home.
Seek meaning and connection in ideas, relationships, and material possessions. Want to understand what motivates people and are insightful about others. Conscientious and committed to their firm values. Develop a clear vision about how best to serve the common good. Organized and decisive in implementing their vision.
Have original minds and great drive for implementing their ideas and achieving their goals. Quickly see patterns in external events and develop long-range explanatory perspectives. When committed, organize a job and carry it through. Skeptical and independent, have high standards of competence and performance - for themselves and others.
Tolerant and flexible, quiet observers until a problem appears, then act quickly to find workable solutions. Analyze what makes things work and readily get through large amounts of data to isolate the core of practical problems. Interested in cause and effect, organize facts using logical principles, value efficiency.
Quiet, friendly, sensitive, and kind. Enjoy the present moment, what's going on around them. Like to have their own space and to work within their own time frame. Loyal and committed to their values and to people who are important to them. Dislike disagreements and conflicts, do not force their opinions or values on others.
Idealistic, loyal to their values and to people who are important to them. Want an external life that is congruent with their values. Curious, quick to see possibilities, can be catalysts for implementing ideas. Seek to understand people and to help them fulfill their potential. Adaptable, flexible, and accepting unless a value is threatened.
Seek to develop logical explanations for everything that interests them. Theoretical and abstract, interested more in ideas than in social interaction. Quiet, contained, flexible, and adaptable. Have unusual ability to focus in depth to solve problems in their area of interest. Skeptical, sometimes critical, always analytical.
Flexible and tolerant, they take a pragmatic approach focused on immediate results. Theories and conceptual explanations bore them - they want to act energetically to solve the problem. Focus on the here-and-now, spontaneous, enjoy each moment that they can be active with others. Enjoy material comforts and style. Learn best through doing.
Outgoing, friendly, and accepting. Exuberant lovers of life, people, and material comforts. Enjoy working with others to make things happen. Bring common sense and a realistic approach to their work, and make work fun. Flexible and spontaneous, adapt readily to new people and environments. Learn best by trying a new skill with other people.
Warmly enthusiastic and imaginative. See life as full of possibilities. Make connections between events and information very quickly, and confidently proceed based on the patterns they see. Want a lot of affirmation from others, and readily give appreciation and support. Spontaneous and flexible, often rely on their ability to improvise and their verbal fluency.
Quick, ingenious, stimulating, alert, and outspoken. Resourceful in solving new and challenging problems. Adept at generating conceptual possibilities and then analyzing them strategically. Good at reading other people. Bored by routine, will seldom do the same thing the same way, apt to turn to one new interest after another.
Practical, realistic, matter-of-fact. Decisive, quickly move to implement decisions. Organize projects and people to get things done, focus on getting results in the most efficient way possible. Take care of routine details. Have a clear set of logical standards, systematically follow them and want others to also. Forceful in implementing their plans.
Warmhearted, conscientious, and cooperative. Want harmony in their environment, work with determination to establish it. Like to work with others to complete tasks accurately and on time. Loyal, follow through even in small matters. Notice what others need in their day-by-day lives and try to provide it. Want to be appreciated for who they are and for what they contribute.
Warm, empathetic, responsive, and responsible. Highly attuned to the emotions, needs, and motivations of others. Find potential in everyone, want to help others fulfill their potential. May act as catalysts for individual and group growth. Loyal, responsive to praise and criticism. Sociable, facilitate others in a group, and provide inspiring leadership.
Frank, decisive, assume leadership readily. Quickly see illogical and inefficient procedures and policies, develop and implement comprehensive systems to solve organizational problems. Enjoy long-term planning and goal setting. Usually well informed, well read, enjoy expanding their knowledge and passing it on to others. Forceful in presenting their ideas.
Note that the above excerpts were pulled directly from Introduction to Type® by Isabel Briggs Myers and published by The Myers-Briggs Company.
Now don't be tempted to just read a summary and think you have a certain personality type because it resonates.
You must take a written or online assessment from a reliable provider to ensure the results are accurate.
How to use your personality type?
First, I think it's important to discuss how not to use your personality type. It is not doctrine so don't reduce yourself down to these four letters.
While learning your personality type is a powerful means of self-discovery that could be potentially life-changing, there are many facets of who you are and your personality type should be just one of many tools you use to grow.
That said, here are four ways you can start using your personality type right now:
Manage your energy
Knowing where you pull energy from (either internally or externally) can help you be more mindful of how you expend it.
For instance, despite being an introvert I'm a quite social individual (it's one reason I love coaching). So I'm sure to pencil in lots of personal time to recharge, especially after long bouts of socializing.
Understand your emotions
Some personality types are naturally more emotionally expressive than others. With your emotional disposition in mind, you'll become more aware of your feelings and how you tend to exhibit them.
In my case, I know that people often perceive me as nonchalant because I don't typically display my emotional state. However, understanding this has led to me being more forthcoming about the way I feel in certain situations.
Some personality types are more apt to making decisions from their heart while others with their head. Knowing this can help you determine when you need to favor one way of making decisions over another, or bring them back in balance.
I'm quite a heady person so I balance this by distinguishing the areas where I prefer or need more rational thought vs. those where it's probably best to just trust the gut. This prevents me from overthinking everything.
Strengthen your relationships
Understanding how you may be perceived by others is one of the greatest benefits of knowing your personality type.
Moreover, being aware of another person's personality type helps you identify and bond over similarities while also overcoming any differences.
Do you want assistance on how to better understand and leverage your personality type? Book a complimentary session and let's explore how coaching could potentially help.
Want to take your personality test now?
For user-friendly purposes, I recommend taking your personality test from a reputable online psychometric company, such as Truity, which bases their tool on the MBTI.
The MBTI website and test tool interface is somewhat dated, so I prefer Truity's clean and sleek website and the easy way they collect answers and deliver results. You can also take the test free and get a fairly detailed report.
I have taken the Truity Typefinder Personality Test and found the outcomes to be in line with past MBTI tests (I consistently test as INTJ).
I also gift the premium Truity test report to my life coaching clients as a bonus as it ensures we have an understanding of their dominant traits early on in the coaching process.
If you don't care about the interface and want to go straight to the source, then take the MBTI test here.
Note that I do have a professional and affiliate partnership with Truity that I initiated after using and being impressed with their interface and test quality.
Take inspired action
I've taken the MBTI (or similar) personality test every few years for the past 15 years. I've consistently tested as an INTJ which is rare particularly for a woman (less than 1% of the population).
I wish I could wear this "rarity" as a badge, but my personality type has presented many challenges particularly with understanding the type of work and work environment that's right for me.
It took a focused effort on personal development — including coaching — to understand how to play up my strengths and minimize my weaknesses.
One of the reasons why I became a coach is because I was so thrilled by my own development and felt like helping others develop would be a fulfilling way to use my gifts.
If you want assistance with understanding your personality type and how to use it, I'd be beyond happy to help. Simplify set up a complimentary coaching session to learn more.