A historical overview of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and all you need to know before taking the personality test:
“Knowing thyself is knowing the universe”
When one gets deeper and deeper into himself, he gets such an amount of unparallelable clarity about himself and consequently about everything. One starts to embrace what he is.
Every question in him seems to have been answered. Knowing yourself is the process of understanding the real you – the human being – on much deeper levels than just the surface .The Myers-Briggs personality test was initially developed to help women during World War 2 to take up jobs suited for them. No one ever knew it would be developed into such a portal, for taking the first step towards inner knowledge.
It was just a normal day when I took the test. I live in a hostel and my friend had been pestering me to take this test for many days. At about 8:30 in the evening after dinner I checked it out. It was just a 10 minute test (it was fun actually) and then I got my result as “ENTP”.
I had no idea what it meant. I started studying about my personality and believe me or not, those words were able to describe me completely. Every word of it was true of me…my preferences, my interests, whom I prefer to be with everything, was impeccably clear. And only then I took this incredible journey of researching on every other type too and the history or everything.
So let me give detailed colorful description of the origin of this historical personality classification, so that you will be able to get an idea on what it is going to be before you take the test.
Carl Jung and his theory:
Carl Gustav Jung – The one who framed the basis for this classification – a born genius
“Your vision will only be clear when you look into your heart…who looks outside, dreams…who looks inside, awakens”
Said the man who as a boy had a life filled with a whole lot of “Why’s”
Why is my mom so eccentric?
Why can’t I mingle with the other boys when all the others seem to love it?
Why do I love being lonely?
Why is everyone’s preference so different from the others? After all, all were humans.
Little did he know then these ‘why’s’ were to make him, one of the greatest psychiatrists to have ever lived. He laid the basis for some of the most widely used psychiatric studies. As a boy Jung had to deal with a lot. He had this eccentric mother who also suffered from depression. He wasn’t able to get along with everyone so well. When he was 12 he was pushed down by a boy which made him experience occasional fainting spells. He used to faint when he reads (seems rather common doesn’t it? It’s different. He actually faints.. We sleep). He was even claimed to have multiple personality disorder with two personalities.
Carl Jung as a Child. That’s some hairstyle. Isn’t it !?
Jung’s theory of psychological studies mostly involved clinical observation since Jung seemed to be inspired by the ‘myth’ of anything rather than the science of it.
Carl Jung and his family. He was the fourth child but was the only one who survived until adulthood.
“My entire life consisted in elaborating what had burst forth from the unconscious and flooded me like an enigmatic stream…My life is a story of the self-realization of the unconscious. … I cannot experience myself as a scientific problem. What we are to our inward vision can only be expressed by way of myth. Myth is more individual and expresses life more precisely than does science”
He once even took a trip to a desert in search of his soul and in one of his later letters said “I’ve found it, the existence of my spirit . Don’t ask at what price”.
He was able to describe every psychological character possible but he didn’t work on classifying them.
And then came the ladies…
Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers
These two lovely ladies – Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers – mother and daughter were the developers or the modern Myers-Briggs type indicator. After an extensive research on Jung’s theories these two were able to extrapolate those theories into something even bigger – “Classification of men and women based on their preferences of character”.
They classified the personalities into 16 types. Each type described in a four letter word. Those four letters are the different dichotomies with which they were able to classify.
For now let us assume someone’s character is given by a four letter word ‘[X1][X2][X3][X4]’ , where X1,X2,X3 and X4 are the four letters or the four dichotomies where, either one of them can be either of a set of two functions. So 16 personalities in total. Confusing? Let me explain.
First let’s try to understand what can replace these four X’s in order to get our true type.
Now X1 (Attitude):
The first letter can either be ‘E’ for extraversion or ‘I’ Standing for Introversion
- People with ‘E’ tend to be gain energy through social interaction rather than by being alone. Talking or discussing with people gives them an energy outburst.
- People with ‘I’ tend to be gain energy through interaction with the inner self. They prefer to be left alone with just them and their thoughts.
|Action Before Thought||Thought After Action
When Information in any way is given to you, how do you prefer to process or perceive it?
In the form of known facts and familiar terminologies (Depicted by an ‘S’ -Sensing) or In the form of possibilities or new uses (Depicted by an ‘N’ – Intuition)
The third feature X3(Decisions):
- If you tend to decide on anything based on logical and from an objective point of view, you get a ‘T’ – Thinking
- If you tend to decide based on personal ethics or feelings then you get an ‘F’-Feeling
|Decides On Principle||Decides Using Values
|Long Term View||Immediate View
And the final Letter X4 (Lifestyle function) :
- The ones with ‘J’- judging functions tend to be more organized, plan everything and stick to it, try to decide things then and there.
- The ones with ‘P’-Perceiving function tend to be more flexible, try to keep an open mind and always have their decisions open for further interpretation and modification.
This is all you have to know about before an introduction to yourself. The test is just the key, your heart is the door. Exploring it after opening it is solely on you. Have fun Knowing what you really are. It’s not an easy path but the end result is so cool, that only then would you understand that it was all worth it.
There are many sites which have this test. The most trusted one till now has been 16personalities.com
It even gives a comprehensive list of all the celebrity with you particular type and has beautiful info graphics.