Some people can be downright infuriating – they seem to be wired differently and do things in inexplicable ways. Perhaps it’s indecision or maybe a preoccupation with detail in others that drives you mad. At times like this, it’s easy to slip into an Animal Farm mind set – four legs good, two legs bad – where anyone who does not think and behave in the same way as you is either misguided or downright wrong.
This is where models of personality such as the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) provide helpful insights into human behaviour. According to the model, there are no right or wrong types – just different types. This is because Myers Briggs describes individuals in terms of their preferred behaviours; it does not measure traits or states such as intelligence, ability, openness to change or mental stability.
While we may prefer to behave in a certain way, Myers Briggs opens up other possibilities which not have been considered previously. For example, an individual may prefer to make decisions emotionally or subjectively, but with a little knowledge and application can learn to bring balance to the process by taking a more detached and objective view.
By way of an analogy, if an injury stops you using your preferred hand for writing, you can generally learn to use the opposite hand. Your writing may not be as fluid or neat; it may even appear child-like. The point is, that with some application, you can start to use the opposite hand and with time become it becomes easier and you become more proficient. The opposite hand is unlikely to be your preferred or natural choice, so it is with behaviours.
The benefit of considering personality from a behavioural preference perspective is that it improves understanding of others, uncovers blind spots and can accelerate personal development.