MBTI nerd alert*
You may have heard about the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator of a 4 letters description of one’s personality of the 16 personalities.
Well, what many may not know is that while the 4 letters do describe the appearance of people’s personalities, it’s merely a symptom of their possible behavior. That’s where Carl Jung’s theory of the 8 cognitive functions comes into play.
Basically, every type uses 4 functions, including a Thinking, Feeling, Sensing, and Intuition function. Each function is either Extraverted or Introverted.
For example, ENTPs functions in order of the type’s general preference: Extraverted Intuition (primary function), Introverted Thinking (secondary), Extraverted Feeling (tertiary), Introverted Sensing (inferior).
Notice the functions flip-flop; for every extraverted function, the next function will be introverted. Hence in this sense, everyone’s an extrovert, everyone’s an introvert, everyone’s a thinker, everyone’s a feeler, everyone’s a perceiver, and everyone’s a judger, but what’s different is that some people may prefer or feel more comfortable with one function over another.
If you are interested in learning what the 8 cognitive functions actually are, here’s a pretty accurate and down to earth description of them.
However, I am at odds. Although I have been learning about the MBTI starting in my 7th-grade year, I can never “type” myself into one of the 16 types. I seem to struggle between ENTP vs ENTJ, sometimes even INTP or INTJ when I am not interested in socializing. (Note: then there’s the theory of 4 different temperaments, I seem to fit more consistently with the NT temperament.)
The ENTP side of me:
Extraverted Intuition: I used to like to debate (not argue) everything especially with my elders. Teachers, counselors, parents all once became the “victim” of my joy. I also like to troll people at times. Most recently prank calling a lot of my friends with this app called “PrankDial”, I even paid $12 for it because I believe it would give me “the experience,” which it did. I also seem (by others) to have a wide-range of interests, but in the past few years, I believe to be much more focused – entrepreneurship and technology as my main areas of interest, and digital nomad and minimalism as my lifestyle. I constantly have the outburst of ideas during random times (so many ideas for a new way/business to solve a current problem), sometimes making spontaneous connections (where others don’t see where it came from). I can act very silly, childish, and playful at times; fun fact, a lot of people thought I was 14 or 15 before they knew me. One of my role models is Pieter Levels who’s an extremely successful digital nomad and started 12 startups in 12 consecutive months – possible ENTP; heck this site’s domain was inspired by his.
Introverted Thinking: I am almost always interested to know why things happened, and I really love to read, with the preference in nonfiction than fiction. It fills up my curiosity to understand the world and to include it in my “information center”, making me an “information hoarder”.
Extraverted Feeling: OK. To be honest I can be a people-pleaser. Being able to see that I’ve contributed some way in another’s life that moment secretly makes me really joyful and accomplished. I tend to smile often, but at the same time, I tend to want to express my true feelings. If the joke wasn’t that funny, I won’t pretend that it is (in fact I might straight out say that it wasn’t funny, but that it was lame). Down inside, I am pretty sensitive to the “mood” and “atmosphere” of the environment.
Introverted Sensing: Sometimes I can just describe a setting or people in details, even the things that happened when I was 3 years old. Sometimes I am better than others at memorizing people’s names. And sometimes I like to use the same jokes over and over.
The ENTJ side of me:
Extraverted Thinking: My band director, after knowing me for 3 years, described me as “one of the most stubborn people” he has ever seen in his life, in front of the whole class. Friends have described me as assertive, blunt, confrontational, and outspoken many times. I am also all about organization, with things step-by-step planned out in chronological order and developing a strategy to achieve all of them in the most efficient way; if a designated thing was not achieved that day, I will feel quite unsatisfied and empty that night when I go to sleep. If I wasn’t smiling, I tend to have an “angry face”, as described by others (for me I am just not expressing any emotions). Sometimes I have a slight OCD and paranoia about things that are not tidy and clean, so practicing minimalism helps me to free away from the anxiety.
Introverted Intuition: I am a big future thinker. I feel like every day I am living to build the “future dream”. I already have things planned out from this week, this month, this year, to the next 3 years, 10 years, and 20. I will constantly have the thought of “what will happen after this?”. Sometimes I need to remind myself to slow down and enjoy the present.
Extraverted Sensing: I used to be quite reckless and thrill seeking, getting into fights and injuring myself when I was really young in elementary school. I am also quite athletic and sporty. In middle school, I competed in track (sprints and hurdles), and beat every guy at the fitness exam in push ups, doing almost 80 of them (with no preparation beforehand). Now I can’t imagine most ENTPs with their quirkiness will exhibit this type of behavior 😛
Introverted Feeling: I am quite opinionated with what I believe in – the comings of a global remote working age with less focus on a degree but more with skills and experience, being a minimalist and ridding of all the unessential, and the inevitable change in the education and health care systems. Although at the same time I am still very open to others’ beliefs. I believe that opinions are not fixed and the “truth” may not always be absolute, because it depends on the standings of its origin.
Instead of being strictly one “type”, I see myself as a Rubik’s cube of multiple sides, each side with different layers. In fact, that might be what most people are, layered and dynamic. (Note: It is worth mentioning that the MBTI community understood this issue too, that’s why everyone essentially will use all 8 functions, but in order of preference and shadow functions.)
So the general idea might be: Yes, be an expert at something you enjoy, but the next level isn’t necessarily a deeper understanding of the direction you are going in, but perhaps let go, have some flexibility and be able to see the other side.
P.S. If you are an MBTI expert and want to help “type” me, feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Proofread by Anna Johnson.