As I understand it, MBTI personality assessment answers need to derived by understanding what we find most natural, easy and success-inducing. We have to answer test questions based upon what we’re most comfortable with. Not what we actually might have to, or choose to, do…
Here’s my perception of it:
I’m an INFJ. I used to be a military officer. I am a veteran. I played representative-level rugby. I taught MMA and Jiu-Jitsu. I worked as a ‘bouncer’ when I was at college. My current work is elite performance coaching in an extreme sport. All of those activities heavily challenge my inferior functions. None are inherently comfortable for me, nor meet the ‘stereotypes’ for an INFJ.
I’ve learned how to do things. To wear an appropriate mask. To make it work. I’ve thought I was a slow learner at times, – and wondered why I was seemingly incapable or awkward compared to others. My peers seemed so naturally gifted. They “got it” so quickly.
At other times, in other aspects, I learn amazingly fast; fluidly and easily. I’d be ahead of the game, ten steps ahead and seeing solutions that nobody else sees.
What I realize now was that some of my slow learning experiences.. and mistakes.. were when I was forcing myself to develop and use inferior and shadow functions. At times they’ve challenged me to the point of burnout. To such an extent that, without knowledge of MBTI, I even became concerned I was seriously ill. What I did exhausted me inexplicably.
I’ve also always adapted and nuanced my approaches to work, activities and socializing – unconsciously to maximize the use and input of my leading functions. People remark on my unique approaches. Many don’t understand them. The results though, are superlative.
If I answered an MBTI test based on WHAT I actually did… I’d test incorrectly. WHAT I do doesn’t define who I am, or how I best function cognitively.
If I answer based on WHY and HOW I instinctively do things, what’s easy and what’s challenging… then I’ll always test consistently – as INFJ.
To be effective, MBTI testing needs to have the right focus.. and a certain amount of personal insight. Drilling down inside yourself to identify these factors isn’t necessarily an easy or natural process for many. Especially so if they’re not completely sold on the notion or benefits of MBTI.
After all, who invests their intellectual and emotional effort into something they don’t inherently value? That’s why professional guidance and counselling can be a necessary supplement to testing. But even that doesn’t guarantee the participant will really invest and open up with their self-analysis when tested.
In a nutshell though, my point is that some people might do things precisely because it challenges them.
The challenge itself can arise from using less natural functions. Some people enjoy challenging themselves physically, emotionally or intellectually. Some people do marathons because they love running, others because they loathe running. I’m personally terrified of heights. That’s why I took a parachuting course and climbed mountains.
Others might challenge themselves cognitively. They do what’s least natural to them – to improve upon it.
Again, that’ll lead to mis-typing, if those challenges are drawn upon as a basis for answering MBTI tests.
When considering what your cognitive preferences actually are – bear in mind the analogy of being right-handed or left-handed. This is a physical preference that makes one hand more dexterous and dependable than the other. Obviously, we prefer to use the most successful and dependable hand – because it gives us the best consistent results. That doesn’t stop us using the other hand, but it’s usually in a supportive capacity only.
The same is true for our minds. We will inherently prefer to use those cognitive functions that most easily deliver us the best consistent results. Look for when you’ve achieved both good and bad results in life – and try to identify which cognitive functions were responsible for those outcomes.
Originally posted 2019-06-10 18:45:34.