A few weeks ago, we looked at the first two of the preferences that are considered when someone has taken the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). Just as a quick reference, they have to do with where we get our energy (from the outer world of people and things versus the inner world of thoughts and reflections), and how we take in information (by way of the five senses versus by way of insight and intuition). To complete the picture, I will tell you about the third and forth dichotomies: Feeling vs. Thinking, and Judging vs. Perceiving.
The Feeling and Thinking preferences have to do with how you make decisions. Those people who prefer the Thinking preference tend to make decisions by using logic – they make decisions with their head. They like to analyze and critique, they tend to be firm and tough-minded, and they focus on justice and fairness. People who prefer Feeling tend to make decisions based on personal values – they make decisions with their heart. They seek harmony with values and others, and focus on people and relationships. Consideration of the impact of decisions on people involved is high on their list of priorities.
The last preference, Judging vs. Perceiving, has to do with how much structure we need in the outer world. People who prefer Judging like a definite order and structure. They are organized and planned and like closure – in other words, they like to make decisions sooner rather than later since they like to know what is going on. On the other hand, people who prefer Perceiving prefer a flexible life style – they adapt easily to change and like to respond in the moment. They tend to be casual and easygoing and oftentimes finish projects at the last minute.
What makes these preferences so fastening, and at the same time challenging, is that oftentimes the way we are living our life is not really our preference, but we have been living that way for so long that it feels “natural”. As an example, we may work in a job that requires us to work in a structured, organized way, when what we would really like to do is have more flexibility in our lives. It is these types of questions that oftentimes come up when this assessment is done, and the reason that it is critical that we work with a person who has been certified to work with this instrument.
The real gift in knowing our true selves is that we can take all this information a step further to not only really understand ourselves, but to explore the challenges that come with each type and learn how to work around them. Of course, the critical thing to remember is that there is NO RIGHT OR WRONG TYPE. They each have their plusses and challenges, and we can learn to appreciate ourselves and the other people who whom we share our lives.