Wednesday, November 3, 2010

My Myers-Briggs Type is CBUD

I'm at NFATC for a short course this week, and was discussing FSI's use of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test with a friend at lunch today.

I've taken the MBTI a few times at FSI (although not for the course I'm in right now), and always had the same reaction: is this for real?

It's a twenty-minute session of 'forced choice' questions that assigns you to one of four paired personality traits - Extroversion-Introversion, Sensing-Intuition, and so on - with the final result being that you are classified as belonging to one of 16 personality types. That right there scores very high on my Suspicion-Incredulity scale. There are only 16 personality types to go around among the Earth's five billion people? That's a little better than Astrology's twelve personality types, but not much. If I tell someone I'm an INTJ on the Myers-Briggs scale, is that any more meaningful than saying I'm a Gemini?

I get it that the MBTI is basically Carl Jung For Dummies. But, Jung wrote that healthy people are capable of integrating the opposite tendencies in their innate personality traits, so I'm pretty sure he would disapprove of his personality typology being used to group people into boxes of traits which, according to MBTI adherents, do not change over time.

My own observations of people agree with the unexpurgated Carl Jung. We are capable of going out of our comfort zones and learning to do new things that do not come easily at first. Most people would even call it desirable to do so. Something about being well-rounded, developed, an adult.

So why do we have to do the ritual MBTI dance before so many FSI courses? It would be a better use of your twenty minutes to read Jung's chapter on personality and then make up your own unique personality typology. Here's mine:

curious (C) - skeptical (S)
bemused (B) - indifferent (I)
quizzical (Q) - unconvinced (U)
leery (L) - dismissive (D)

With this simple framework I can scientifically categorize my reaction to any input. In regard to the MBTI, for example, I am CBUD.


Anonymous said...

Somebody sold that -- er oil to FSI?

TSB said...

Big time.