The Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator (MBTI)
In the Myers-Briggs Indicator there are four basic questions to ask. Within each question there is a continuum. You will fall to one side or the other of middle. You may fall far to one side a have a strong tendency toward that side of the question, or you may fall closer to the middle and have a moderate, more balanced tendency toward one side over the other. Given these four questions, with two sides to each question, there are 16 basic possibilities. Within each of the 16 possibilities there are infinite shades of grey, as each person will have different levels and blends of each of the four tendencies.
The introvert needs to be alone in order to charge up the energy batteries. This does not mean that introverts don’t like people or can’t be outgoing. It means that being with people will eventually drain them and they will need to withdraw in order to be healthy.
The extrovert needs to be interacting with other people in order to recharge the energy batteries. Sitting for long periods of time with no human interaction or external stimulus will drive an extrovert crazy. This doesn’t mean that the extrovert is always loud and vivacious. It means that they need human interaction to charge them up.
The intuitive thinker is always asking the questions, “Why?” and “What if?” They are abstract thinkers who delve into the realm of possibility and have very little time for the hum-drum of concrete, practicalities of every day life.
Sensate thinkers are strongly anchored into the reality of life in the here and now. They are practical, common-sense thinkers who are asking the question, “How does it work?” and “How is this useful?” They are interested in the details of real life and have very little time for “pie-in-the-sky” thinking and “dreamers.”
Thinkers base every decision upon logic and deductive reasoning. They have a strong sense of “right” and “wrong” being determined by what makes the most logical sense. They believe that emotions can betray us and are of very little use in making decisions.
Feelers base every decision on how it will impact the community. They are constantly checking the emotional temperature of the group and will do everything in their power to bring the best decision for the most amount of people. They believe that there are “intuitions” that are deeper than pure logic, feeling that pure logic can be disastrous to people.
Judging, in this context, does not mean to point a finger and condemn. The judger is a person who weighs every decision very carefully and has a strong desire to map out the next course of action. Judgers are planners and calendar-keepers. When things are well planned, then they can be at peace.
Perceivers see life as a surfing expedition. There is no telling what will happen next, so why plan? Perceivers want to live life in a spontaneous sense of adventure. When they are free to react to life as it comes, then there is a sense of freedom and peace.
The Four Temperaments
These 16 types have been categorized into Four Temperaments by David Keirsey in his book Please Understand Me. While Keirsey does not come from a Christian perspective, his work on the temperaments and how they impact human interaction is outstanding. Take a Myers-Briggs test online.
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