Ideas and inspiration for efficient living.

Figuring out who you are to be the best you can be

Do you know what your strengths and weaknesses are? Do you know why you behave certain ways, why you react to various events the way you do?

Being the analytical person that I am, I’ve been asking these questions about myself for a long time. Wanting to be the most efficient person I could be, I wanted to know how I operated and why.

Today I’d like to share with you one tool that has really helped me define who I am. It has led me to focus my energies on my strengths and better understand and accept my weaknesses.

This tool is the Myers-Briggs Typology Indicator (MBTI). A plethora of websites are devoted to it, but to get your started, here are links to an informative site, The Myers & Briggs Foundation and to a free online test. Ideally, one would get tested by a certified professional, but if you want a basic overview first, a free test can be a useful starting point.

MBTI uses 4 categories of preferences (or dichotomies):
1. Extroversion (E) vs. Introversion (I)
Simply put, extroverts get their energy from opening up to the world while introverts recharge by looking into their inner world.
2. Sensing (S) vs. Intuition (I)
Do you take information at its face value, or do you interpret it, adding meaning to it?
3. Thinking (T) vs. Feeling (F)
Rational, logical decision-making vs. involving feelings and other people’s perceptions to make decisions.
4. Judging (J) vs. Perceiving (P)
Planning before acting, uses deadlines, timetables vs. a flexible outlook, planning as you go.

Once you take a test and figure out where you are on the spectrum, you can read the definition for you 4-letter type (for example, INTJ).

All the members of my family and a few friends have taken a MBTI test, and we’ve all been pretty amazed at how accurate and insightful it is. Of course, each person is unique and no one fits 100% into a predetermined profile.

Knowing which type you are can help bring your strengths to light and help you highlight them even more. When I found out I was an INTj (small J because it crosses over into P some days for me), I realized that Intuition is my strong suit. I know certain things without really knowing how I know them… just not in a psychic kind of way! I simply know how some things work or should work, then I research the subject and lo and behold, it is that way, if that makes any sense for an explanation!

Using this tool can also pinpoint your weaknesses so you can improve on them, or at least understand them better. My type is known for its social awkwardness. I always wondered why it was so hard for me to know what to do in social situations. Why say “How are you?” only to get a half-hearted “Yes”? Why talk about the weather when it’s so pointless? Once I knew this aspect of my personality, I started working on my social skills. I bought a book called How to Talk to Anyone and started applying its principles. I’m still no social butterfly, but at least, less people find me rude now!

Have I piqued your interest enough for you to take a test?

What MBTI are you and how have you used it to be the best you can be?

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