Myers-Briggs in the shredder (2)

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Myers-Briggs in the shredder part 1

I had failed the famous MBTI test, but I decided to not pay any attention to it anymore. ¨There are more important things in life than to discover who I am¨, I thought incorrectly. Years passed. In the meantime I had quit my job and was desperately looking for a new job. After a few failed interviews it started to affect me. ¨What I am doing wrong?¨

The self doubt grew. It seemed like every interview ended with a ¨very close, but you just didn´t make it¨. For sure it wasn´t my qualifications or my work experience. Would I be the issue then?

In fact, who am I?

A rather painful period of my life commenced. It became more and more difficult to explain to myself that again another job interview did not turn out into an offer. I could rationally explain every time what went wrong on the side of the employer, but I felt more strongly that the real problem

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was me. But I had no idea what was wrong with me. Pure out of frustration and with a lot of shame, I started working on the question ¨who am I?¨.

I remembered that I once did a test that gave me the answer to that. In an old box I found my notes of the MBTI test. Immediately it brought me back to that discovery. I started to investigate. Who

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is Myers-Briggs?

Myers-Briggs research
Very interesting! Myers en Briggs were a daughter and a mother

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who were so impressed with psychologist Carl Jung that they created a practical test of his work. Coincindentally I had just read a book of Carl Jung about synchronicity (I can really recommend this book) and had seen a documentary about his life. In my eyes a true hero in his field! But how could he possibly support this test?

My research continued and this is what I found:

Jung claims that “there is no such thing as a pure extravert or a pure introvert. Such a man would be in the lunatic asylum. They are only terms to designate a certain penchant, a certain tendency…the tendency to be more influenced by environmental factors, or more influenced by the subjective factor, that’s all. There are people who are fairly well balanced and are just as much influenced from within as from without, or just as little”

So it is not quite as clear-cut as the people that sell the test claim it to be.

Jung: ¨I came to the conclusion that there must be as many different ways of viewing the world [as there are psychological types]. The aspect of the world is not one, it is many–at least 16, and you can just as well say 360. You can increase the number of principles, but I found the most simple way is the way I told you, the division by four, the simple and natural division of a circle.¨

Excellent, so instead of 16 there could very well be 360 personality types; at least more in agreement with my idea that every individual is unique.


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my great joy I also found this quote of Jung:

Jung seems to have realized the limitations of his work and may not have approved of the MBTI had he lived to see it developed in his name. “My scheme of typology,” he noted, “is only a scheme of orientation. There is such a factor as introversion, there is such a factor as extraversion. The classification of individuals means nothing, nothing at all. It is only the instrumentarium for the practical psychologist to explain for instance, the husband to a wife or vice versa”

Need I say more?

Fortune Magazine also tells something that I had discovered myself:

“The interesting — and somewhat alarming — fact about the MBTI is that, despite its popularity, it has been subject to sustained criticism by professional psychologists for over three decades. One problem is that it displays what statisticians call low “test-retest reliability.” So if you retake the test after only a five-week gap, there’s around a 50% chance that you will fall into a different personality category compared to the first time you took the test.”

Apperently there is quite a lot of controversy around the MBTI if you read the Wikipedia page.

The big danger
There is something useful in the MBTI test. It triggers you to think. It provides you with questions that let you go inside of yourself to find the answers to who you are – and if this tool does exactly that, there is nothing wrong with it, right?

But there lies the big danger. MBTI gives you a clear cut answer, where no answer should not be given at all! You will never be able to put in words to describe your understanding of who you are. You are so beautifully complex, words do not and will never suffice! It is a

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merely an intrinsic feeling that tells you that you have understood a little bit more of who you are in the context of this world and beyond.

Also, the MBTI type description is always positive, causing the Forer effect. It immediately makes you feel good about yourself and therefore you happily render over your responsibility for self-analysis. You start to believe the incorrect answer and you stop the inner discovery to who you really are.

And that is for me the biggest reason to put the MBTI in the shredder.

Okay, bashing MBTI is a lot of fun, but it doesn´t help discovering who we are. Fortunately, a friend comes to the rescue.

Continue reading part 3!

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