The Myers & Briggs Foundation

"It is up to each person to recognize his or her true preferences."
Isabel Briggs Myers
Learning About Your MBTI®

How can understanding personality type help you in your everyday life? As a tool for learning about yourself and about others, type can be applied to any area in which you are involved. And that is quite a broad scope!

Understanding and appreciating yourself. Many people find type is a useful way of understanding themselves and how they respond to the circumstances in their lives. Type can help individuals develop acceptance of themselves and an appreciation of their own likes, needs, or developmental paths.

Typically, upon their first introduction to type, people say “Oh, that's why I like these things, don't like these other things, and behave this way at work and at home.” Through knowledge of type you can have a better understanding of your need for privacy or your need for activity, your need for hands-on versus book learning, and so on. An appreciation of your own natural strengths and challenges is an asset to self-development and growth.

Understanding and appreciating others. Unless we are hermits or live on a deserted island, most of us are always involved in relationships of one kind or another (family, work, interpersonal). Whether those relationships are with acquaintances, co-workers, or significant others, we find that other people have different type preferences from our own. Each type has its own strengths and potential blind spots, which allow for a variety of perspectives for any activity or task. The different types complement each other because each expresses a valuable although different perspective. For example:

  • A Sensing preference provides pragmatic realism, while a preference for Intuition provides a view of the possibilities.
  • A Thinking preference provides an impersonal analysis of the situation, while a Feeling preference provides a look at the personal and human consequences of an action.

When we realize that each type has something valuable to offer, and that people act in ways that are natural extensions of their type preferences, we are less likely to see differences as personal affronts. We are also more likely to understand that someone of another type provides a viewpoint that we may be missing.

Adapted from Looking at Type: The Fundamentals by Charles R. Martin (CAPT 1997).

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