Why Learn About Personality Type?

If you are new to personality type, the first question you may ask is, why take the time to learn about it? Considering how many personality systems exist, that's a good question and we have answers for you. In learning and working with MBTI® personality type, many people find their natural sense of self affirmed—many discover that it affirms that it is valuable to be the way they are.

Personality type is the term used to describe the 16 personalities in the Myers-Briggs® system based on the work of Isabel Briggs Myers. Myers created the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) instrument to measure the 16 personality types in C. G. Jung's theory of psychological types. Importantly, MBTI personality types describe healthy, normal, and natural differences between people. The insights of personality type distinguish the natural differences between people and gives us positive language to discuss and respect these differences.

Jung's Types and Myers's Dream

Jung was a psychiatrist and in his clinical practice he noticed that people had significant differences in how they used their basic mental functions, i.e., taking in information and evaluating that information. He saw that these differences then led to distinctions, in personality, of qualities and characteristics between people. Jung's theory of psychological types put the words extravert and introvert into our collective vocabulary.

Myers's MBTI instrument made psychological type accessible and usable by everyone on the planet. Myers's dream in creating the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment was to help people know themselves more deeply in order to create a life in line with their true nature and heart's desires. She saw in Jung's theory of psychological type a (deceptively) simple model of insight into how the human mind works, i.e., our preferences for what we focus on to take in or perceive the world, and our preferences for how we evaluate that information and make decisions.

The Insights of Personality Type

So, what does personality type tell you about yourself that people have found so valuable for a century? Personality type gives you insights into how you are predisposed to use the basic processes of your mind—how you prefer to perceive or take in information and how you prefer to make evaluations or decisions on that information. Sounds simple, doesn't it? It is simple but don't let that fool you—this system is also deep and broad.

Here's an example: there are two essential preferences for taking in information, a preference for Sensing or a preference for Intuition. A person who is predisposed to prefer Sensing will naturally focus on concrete details and facts in the present moment, when taking in information, and will also rely on drawing up those facts from memory. A preference for Sensing gives certain qualities to a person, such as being literal, concrete, and methodical, with a refined sense for details, especially visual details.

Whereas a person with a preference for Intuition, when taking in information, will naturally focus on the innate patterns they see between facts and details, leading them to a sense of the future potential of an idea, event, or situation. A preference for Intuition also leads to certain qualities in a person, such as being future oriented and imaginative, with a refined sense for vision and theory.

For example, let's say two colleagues—one with a preference for Sensing and the other for Intuition—are discussing a project they are working on together. In their meeting, the one with a Sensing preference focuses on discrete details, such as an image on a website or some text of an email message from a customer. The person with a preference for Intuition, however, keeps talking about the vision and intention of the website as a whole, or how responding to what one customer said in an email impacts the organizational process of customer service.

It is easy to see how each person can be frustrated in this situation, how each one might feel as though their coworker is not listening to them. They may even assume that their coworker does not value their knowledge or perspective. From a type perspective, we can see that each person is naturally focused on different aspects of the project. A person with a Sensing preference sees the value and needs of the concrete details in the present moment, whereas one who prefers Intuition will consider the larger vision a detail fits within or the future impact of responding to a detail.

Applying knowledge of personality types and preferences, in such a situation, enables someone to articulate how their particular focus fits with their colleague's focus. The sting of the interpretation that one's perspective is not listened to or valued can be alleviated and a more productive conversation can be had, while respect between colleagues can be deepened.

16 MBTI Personality Types

The differences that appear in personality from having different preferences for taking in information are clear to see, and, you probably already know or have a hunch which preference you may have. The Myers-Briggs system has 16 personality types that come from the different combinations of four preference pairs: Extraversion and Introversion; Sensing and Intuition; Thinking and Feeling; Judging and Perceiving.

The 16 MBTI personality types are identified by the famous four-letter combinations you may have already heard of, for example, ENFJ, ISTP, ESFP, INTJ. The MBTI types can be expressed as labels, but your personality type is far more than four letters. It can be applied to deepen self-knowledge and knowledge of other people, improve relationships, positively impact quality of work and career, and more.

One reason the theory and system of personality type is popular the world over is because it is accessible. Most people find descriptions of their personality type easy to understand and can act on the insights immediately.

Why Use the MBTI Instrument to Discover My Personality Type?

The popularity of the MBTI assessment globally over several decades has generated a lot of imitations. Most of these imitations are free online tests or surveys. So, another relevant and important question is, why use the MBTI instrument to discover my personality type?

The MBTI assessment is the most used personality instrument in the world; it has been applied to people's personal and professional lives for more than 70 years. Over 2 million people take the MBTI tool every year. The official MBTI tool is the doorway to a universe of high-quality support materials and certified professionals for your long-term and deep personal growth.

The MBTI System Works for People

The unmatched longevity of the MBTI instrument is because it works for people, plain and simple. The Myers-Briggs system consistently gives people valuable insights into themselves, their lives, and the people in their lives. If it didn't work, it wouldn't be used.

But there's more to the answer of why use the MBTI instrument than its proven longevity and meaningful results. The MBTI instrument has decades of research backing it. This is why we say that the official MBTI assessment is not a test. Most free personality tests online have not had research conducted on them. This is because the free surveys are primarily for entertainment value enticing you to simply get a personality type label!

The official MBTI assessment stands out in another significant way from imitators: only certified professionals or those who are educationally qualified can purchase and administer the MBTI instruments. The MBTI instrument is a tool for genuine self-knowledge and growth, and it requires a person who is serious about being educated on it to use it.

Why use the MBTI instrument to discover your personality type? We would ask you; how seriously do you take your self-growth? If you want to make discoveries about yourself that can be used to build a life you love, then working with the real MBTI assessment and system is a good choice.