There are questions which we all ask ourselves which are perhaps an essential part of being human. Who am I? What is my purpose in life? How can I give back to the world? How do I fit into society? Even when we think we know the answers to these questions, our lives change, circumstances change, and we begin to ask the same questions again.
Many of us turn to pop psychology for the answer. Yes, I’ll admit it, for a while, I was a Facebook survey addict. Hey don’t judge me – a lot of you took those quizzes, too. Which Book Character Would You Be? What’s Your Social I.Q.? How Well Would You Survive the Zombie Apocalypse? (Okay, really, why are people on the internet so obsessed with zombies? Is it because we all fear that deep down, we are all zombies? Hmm…a topic for a later blog post, perhaps).
Not very long ago, I was able to complete an actual personality test – the Briggs-Meyer Type Indicator (MBTI) Assessment. The one that many employers have their employees take in order to weed out who will do well in management positions based on their personalities. Just a theory. For those of you living in caves, the MBTI is a questionnaire developed in the 1960s by Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers. It consists of about a zillion questions which, after compiled, can be used to place you into your very own little personality box, neatly labeled and sorted into groups of people with similar personality traits, based on the theories of psychologist Carl Jung. Ha! And you thought you were an original.
Your Briggs-Meyer personality type is comprised of four letters, each representing one of the eight preferences: Introvert or Extrovert, Sensing or Intuition, Thinking or Feeling, and Judging or Perceiving. These preferences are combined to produce one of sixteen neatly packaged personality types. Some of these types, such as ISFJ or ESFJ, are quite popular, shared by 9-14% of the US population.
I, however, am an INTJ. Not only is this personality type somewhat rare (about 2% of the population), but the nickname for this type is The Mastermind. What immediately jumps to my mind, of course, is some mad scientist working feverishly in his lab, creating evil potions to take over the world. Really. The antagonist is almost always an INTJ. Don’t believe me? Try a Google Image Search for INTJ and tell me what you find.
Words that summarize a person with the INTJ personality type: Highly independent, analytical, creative, pragmatic, insightful, unsociable, reserved, cold, perfectionist, strategist. Yikes! That sounds like Voldemort. Even worse, that really does sound like me. I guess being a teacher of young children was not the best career path for someone like me. Maybe it’s time to start plotting my world takeover.