One of the several books I have with a bookmark in it right now is The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything. I’m not finished with it yet, and I’m really on the fence as to whether or not I like it. The title was intriguing and it got great reviews at Amazon, but I’m not sure it’s doing anything for me.
I was a little surprised when the author kind of trashed the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). He called it a “box-placing tool” and stated that according to some studies, when people re-take the test, up to half of them end up in a different box. (I took the test twice within less than five years and come out with the same result both times.) He concludes by stating that he doesn’t find it a very useful tool.
Now, who am I to disagree with him? He’s a published author with a PhD and I’m … so totally not.
Then yesterday I read a blog post by Nina at My Introverted Life. She was having a disagreement with a friend who was offended that they didn’t agree on something; he thought she should agree with him because of her astrological sign. She wrote:
First, I’m a person not a sign and I’m entitled to my own opinions. Second, being born under a certain astrological sign doesn’t reveal who I am or what my beliefs and opinions are.
I’ve always thought of MBTI as a tool to help me better understand myself. It’s not a restrictive box. It’s not a guide for determining your behavior.
Everyone – introvert or extrovert – is unique. Don’t think of your Myers Briggs type as an end-all explanation who you are. Don’t let it place you into a box that doesn’t fit you. Especially don’t let the negative connotations around being an “I” affect you.
Use it as a starting point for better understanding yourself. Use it to connect with the like-minded people around you. Use it to develop empathy and understanding for the people who are different from you. It can be a very powerful tool.
Have you ever been placed into a box that you thought didn’t fit you? How did you get out?