In my last blog I stated that “growing up” as an adult means going through stages of development. To do so one must become “conscious”. This means understanding yourself. Discovering that voice in your head and the unconscious patterns that drive you; learning more about your  internal psychology. Using personality assessments can help.

I learned about the Myers Briggs Type Indicator in my late forties and gave feedback to hundreds of people on their type. Rather than explain it, see the above link to take the test for yourself.

Here is what I learned about myself from the MBTI.

I am an extrovert who gets energized by interacting with others and the environment. If I am by myself for long periods, I want to get out and be in social situations where I can be with people. I enjoy interacting with people. I learned to appreciate introverts who prefer to recharge by being with themselves. My son can have a great weekend by himself. My wife needs alone time in order to stay centered and not drained. I have learned to respect that people are different from me. .

I approach things conceptually and globally. Details are not my strong suit. I am anything but precise. I much prefer to talk about ideas than things. An example is finding myself at the Offshore Technology Conference and having absolutely no interest in the machinery. I learned to admire those who enjoy working with their hands on practical concrete problems. The same with those who do detailed work with numbers. I prefer to read a history or philosophy book than change the oil in my car or do my taxes. Others prefer these practical endeavors. In conversations I can get bored with the mundane and detailed. Others can see me as too pie in the sky in my thinking, always focused on the future rather than practical day to day stuff.

The filters I use in decision making are facts and logic and in doing so I tend to dismiss the values based decisions of others, when in fact values based decisions are rational as well.  I delude myself into thinking that I don’t make decisions emotionally when at some level I do. I learn to appreciate that others have a different way of making decisions and having opinions and, just because of that, they are not wrong.  

I am not particularly structured in my external world. Clothes seem to get disorganized in my closet all by themselves. My desk is cluttered. This is my natural tendency and I have to find systems to  overcome this tendency. This is why technology has become so important to me for staying organized.

I prefer to keep my options open and I feel constrained when I have to commit to a decision. While I plan a lot, I prefer it to be my plan rather than someone else’s.  Others prefer to have a tight schedule and stick to it. I am not inclined to do that. I tend to be “pressure prompted.”

Here is the write up on my profile.

One of the benefits I got from the MBTI is having concrete language to see how I differ from other people and to see the value from these differences.   In addition, the simple act of truly exploring one’s inner psychology helps one relaxed patterns that have been unconscious. I will talk more about this later  as I go into two more assessments.

Meantime think about taking this assessment. Do more than just read the report. Read it multiple times and think about it and correlate your daily inner states and behaviors to what the report reveals. Let it soak in. Let me know you have taken the MBTI and we can talk about it. 


  1. I, too, have learned from the Myers Briggs survey. My initial result was ENTJ. Over the years the result became INTJ. And, therein lies my beef with personality surveys.
    The conventions of our language converts these results to a statement that begins ” I am a ___” . Now, that blank after taking the MBTI is one of eight personality traits as you’ve so skillfully described, Bruce. If one takes the Strengths survey the blank is one of 34 talents. If one takes the Enniegram the blank is one of 9 types. All of these are false when placed in the language convention of “I am a ____”.
    I be me. Bruce be Bruce. We “are” distinct, unique human beings who, at one time, obtained common results from the MBTI. When we are imprecise with our language, (I am a ___) we misinform ourselves because each of us is much more than a trait/talent/type. Each of us is much more than the combination of traits/talents/types that these surveys reveal. This misinformation becomes a bigger disservice when we accept the implication that the results are indelible. Once an ENTJ, not always an ENTJ as my own experience exemplifies. Few are the same at 30 as they are at 60 by any measure.
    This same language convention does a bigger disservice when feelings are considered. When, say, Bruce and I enter the Amusement Park haunted house and the first goblin suddenly appears our language fails us because after we gasp, we say “I am afraid”! Nonsense, hogwash! Dave is still Dave and Bruce is still Bruce, even though we both experienced fear in the surprise appearance of the goblin. However, saying “I am afraid” sends the message that fear is our being. It’s one with me. That is very different from “I experience fear”, which sends the message that I have a feeling, which is but one part of me. When “I am afraid” the fight or flight or freeze or fornicate response occurs without reflection. When “I experience fear” I can reflect upon the choices and select a most appropriate response.
    Vygotsky asserted and found the evidence to support his hypothesis that language precedes thought.
    Therefore, the value in surveys like the MBTI comes forth only when we acknowledge that at this point in our living, we tend toward four traits or “x” talents or “y” types. And, in this context, the surveys have value if for no other reason, expanding our vocabulary so we can more precisely think about aspects of who are and who we can become.


  2. For those interested in learning more about themselves, most personality assessments offer insight as to who we are. During my corporate career I had several MBTI assessments and found them interesting. But, I have since found MBTI resources outside of the corporate environment that were more helpful. I wish I knew if MBTI assessments used in the corporate setting were slanted towards “working together” and less about the “whole” person.


  3. Most interesting.

    I notice that the first person focuses on the importance of using selecting words correctly.

    I have just completed an autism assessment courtesy of the the NHS.

    The whole process took 8 months from start to final report.

    I am genuinely pleased to have a diagnosis that makes sense to me.

    To be frank, I felt like jumping for joy!

    I have also used the MBTI assessment.

    Since I am a confident user of the English language …

    ..whilst I agree that word selection is important…

    Meaning for me begins at sentence level.

    I am selfemployed as a teacher of the English language.

    I am familiar with the contributions of Vyotsky too.

    When one is teaching vulgar persons the importance of using the English language, one is aware of the importance of each word in the context of the sentence…

    .. and of course the meaning of individual words change their individual meanings overtime.

    For example, when I first came across the way that Chaucer used language in the his famous work, The Canterbury Tales, I almost drove my colleagues “batty” attempting to pin down precisely how the word, “green” was used…

    However, once I came across the writings of Doris Lessing, I was more content to see that because she and I had more in common, than Chaucer and I did,

    …ie we were both conscious that individual words do matter…

    It is critical to ensure that one has one’s current and potentially, future readers in mind, before publishing most items.

    In law, we refer to this as “taking all material considerations in to account…”

    Once again we are back to meaning residing in the context.

    Therefore, I conclude that the first poster is labouring under a misapprehension.

    If his point was about where meaning is located, I am satisfied that I shall continue to teach in the way that I have been teaching for the past 30+ years.

    Nice to across someone who had an unspoken question, that I was able to relate to. Goodbye.


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