One of my favorite bloggers, Patrick Ross at The Artist’s Road, reviewed the new book Creative You: Using Personality to Thrive by David Goldstein and Otto Kroeger. The book breaks down creativity across the sixteen personality profiles found in the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). The MBTI personality profiles are a combination of four dimensions:
1) Direction of Energy: E(xtroversion) or I(ntroversion) – E’s prefer to attend primarily to the outer world of people and things, whereas I’s prefer the inner world of ideas and thoughts
2) Tools of Perception: S(ensing) or iN(tuition) – S’s are interested in applied and pragmatic endeavors whereas N’s prefer more abstract and theoretical endeavors.
3) Tools of Judgment: T(hinking) or F(eeling) – T’s are more interested in a technical-analytical approach to life and F’s are more interested in the communications-relationship aspects of life.
4) Lifestyles: J(udging) or P(erceiving) – J’s prefer a lifestyle that is more structured and decided and that allows them to bring closure to things, whereas P’s prefer a lifestyle that is more flexible and adaptable and that allows them to continue to gather new information
From the time I took my first battery of personality and career-interest assessments in college, my MBTI has been INTJ. These letters roll off my tongue as easily as my childhood home address. They are engrained in my brain like the product of 8×7 (56!) has been since 2nd grade. My boss is a certified MBTI consultant and gave us the assessment in February 2011, where I was once again, INTJ. Fast forward to June 2013–four new people at work and another opportunity to take the MBTI, where I was an INFJ. A what? When did I become a F?
I certainly blame poetry for the transition (seamless as it was). One of the major differences between T’s and Fs is this: T’s believe telling the whole truth is more important than being tactful and F’s believe being tactful is more important than telling the “cold” truth. As a poet, I certainly believe in the words of Emily Dickinson, “Tell all the truth but tell it slant.” Poets are more concerned with the big T universal truth and sometimes have to change the facts to reach that goal. I guess creative non-fiction writers like Patrick are INTJ’s because their work has to find that balance between the big T and the little T of truth.
Here are a few more insights about INFJ’s
- often have deep interests in creative expression as well as issues of spirituality and human development
- they live for insight and imagination, and they move freely in the inner world of ideas
- have a love of learning and they are typically academically inclined
- their great powers of concentration can make them excellent researchers
- often have facility with the written or spoken word, and with foreign languages, and reading is usually a source of great joy for them
Ok, so maybe the INFJ shoe fits. What’s your MBTI type?
The real MBTI cost $150 to take, but Personality Pathways offers a cognitive style inventory that approximates your MBTI preferences.