Five things you didn’t know about the MBTI ®

The video on youtube: Five things you didn’t know about the MBTI®

Welcome to The Ultimate Survival guide of the 21st century. Today I want to talk about The MBTI®. For those of you unfamiliar with this, it’s a tool to identifying personality traits and support personal development. I’ve been working with the MBTI® for a while and am a certified MBTI® coach. I notice that the online community around the MBTI® is huge, but also that many of us do not know the MBTI® very well which leads to wrong usage and assumptions. With this video I’ll tell you five things about the MBTI® you didn’t know.

Number 1 – It’s The MBTI®.

The Myers Briggs Type Indicator. Not just MBTI, so if you want to use it correctly, refer to it as The MBTI instead of just saying MBTI. Why this important? Well mostly because it shows what where the letters stand for, The Myers Briggs Type Indicator, the worlds best known personality assessment tool available.

Number 2 – Your result is not telling you how much.

This is an important one. You have probably done an assessment, or test as some of the free tests call themselves, and it gave you an indication of your preference in each of the four personality traits. Let’s say you scored very high on introvertion, you might think you must be very introverted. And you’re wrong. The MBTI® or any of the assessments or tests available does not tell you anything about how much of a certain trait you prefer or how much you use a certain trait, it merely shows you how big the chance is that you prefer to use this trait. So back to scoring high on introvertion: It means the chance is big that you prefer introversion over extraversion. This is important, because the MBTI was never designed or made to tell you how good or bad you are at something, or how much a certain personality trait is developed. It only shows you your preference. Let this sink in, most of the people online do not seem to understand this and it is so important to know what it means.

Number 3 – The MBTI® is like the proof of the pudding.

Or eating the cake. It shows you your preference in personality traits after your life of development and your genetic heritage. It does not however explain why you developed like this. A lot of discussion online is about using the MBTI® preferences to explain why you behave in a certain matter, or use it as a reason why you show this behavior. There is no support to do this in the theory behind the MBTI® or in the assessment approach itself: therefor the people behind the MBTI® keep repeating never to use the MBTI® for something else then personal or team development. It’s unethical to use it to try to psychoanalyze someone or use it as a reason or excuse to behave in a certain way. Once the ingredients are mixed, and the cake is baked, you can tell how the cake looks, tastes and smells with the MBTI®, but it tells you little to nothing about the baking process or the ingredients. It also means hiding behind the MBTI® preference that you choose is basically saying that you’re unable to develop any further and got stuck in your own little MBTI® paradigm.

Number 4 – To follow up on that: You use all your processes or functions as they where called before.

As you might have learned there are 8 cognitive processes. Following Jungian theory you prefer to use four in a certain order, which result in your preference in personality. As Jung and later Myers and Briggs explained, these our only your preferences. That is why the MBTI® stands for Type Indicator, an indication of your preferred usage of these cognitive processes. Both the theory behind this and the neuroscience behind this support this. So everything you tend to think you cannot do something because you have a certain preference, do the following exercise: Take a piece of paper and a pen and write down your name. Now take the pen in your other hand and write your name again. How did this go? Probably cost your more energy and took a bit more time, but you could write your name with your other hand right? It’s exactly the same way you use your brain to use the other processes: it’s not so hard as many of us have convinced themselves or others. You can learn and develop using those processes and that is actually pretty cool. And again: never an excuse not to do develop yourself as you like.

The brain maps made by Dario Nardi: showing us our differences in brain usage.

Number 5 -We can measure personality – there is proof!

And again I made a bridge to the fifth and last thing you didn’t know about the MBTI®: our preference in personality is actually measurable by an EEG! I have been reading everything there is to read about the work of Dario Nardi, a neuro scientist that has published research and books about personality and how personality tools like The MBTI® where measurable with his neurological equipment in a lab environment. What is also nice, that along the way he proofed the point I made before: we use all of our brain, but especially with test subjects with a very clear preference and early in their development he could see their preference based on brain activity in most of the cases. For my this was the proof I needed to know that the MBTI® is actually something I want to use in my daily life, but also a good indication of what the limits are. Nardi also found out that people with certain development used different parts of the brain to solve situations differently then their peers, that typed with the same preferences. So if you would put 10 INTP’s in the same room, most of them would use the same brain parts of the same challenges, but some of them would have developed other parts of the brain to solve these and still have the INTP preference. It explains the difference between people with the same preference as well, and also answers point out that we all use all of our functions if we want to.

But also: when in a ‘flow’-state, we use ALL of our brain. And not just our ‘preferences’.

So these where the five things you didn’t know about the MBTI®. If you did know them, awesome, and thanks for sticking with me anyway. Please subscribe, share and comment, since that’s the thing we’re doing this for right?

You may also like...

Leave a Reply