Allow me open a window to your personality, as well as your character's. If you already know all about the Myers-Briggs Personality Test and the sixteen personality types, you can skip down to the stars, below.
I'm no psychologist and I want to remind you that while I find this interesting, I'm a mathematician first and I reserve the right to be skeptical of everything without proof. Oh, that does come out in my type. You'll see later.
If you're like me, you're going to want to know about you before you worry about those characters in your head, so here's a link to a free questionaire and report. Answer the questions quickly and honestly. Go with your first gut reaction--not what you wish you were like. Do not go back to "check" your work. It's not a math test. There is no wrong answer to any question.
Your report will include four letters in a specific order:
- I(ntroversion) or E(xtroversion)
- N(iNtuition) or S(ensing)
- T(hinking) or F(eeling)
- P(erceiving) or J(udging).
Don't panic--it's not as bad as you might think just from these words!
Let's look at those first two letters E or I, which refer to how you draw your energy from the world around you. If you're an E, you draw energy from people, things, and activities. You tend toward breadth rather than depth. You have a need for people. If you're an I, you draw your energy from the internal world of thoughts and ideas. You prefer depth to breadth and pause to think about things. You have a need for privacy.
Now for how you take in information, your second letter: N or S
If you're in the N crowd, you prefer to take in information through a sixth sense, a gut feeling, your iNtuition. You think about what might be. You like the big picture. You need possibilities. If you are with the S crowd, you prefer to take in information through your five Senses. You like concrete and practical ideas. You have a need for evidence.
The third letters, T or F, (no, not true or false) refer to how you make decisions.
The thinking T emphasizes logic and reason, truth and fairness in decision-making, looking for objective balance. T's are unconsciously pre-occupied with truth. The feeling F makes decisions based on personal values and people-needs. F's are unconsciously preoccupied with harmony with others.
The final letter J or P shows preferences for lifestyle.
J's prefer to live in a planned, organized style. They like to come to conclusions quickly. Their bottom line is control. P's enjoy spontaneity. They're flexible and adapt rather than needing to control. They prefer to keep their options open.
If you're like me, you're happy with your letters and wouldn't want to be "the other one" of any pair. However, each type has potential strengths and potential blind spots. As with any personality type (and horoscopes!), take what can help you grow and reach your goals.
Since we're writers, let's look a little more closely at the fourth letter. Here's a comparison of helpful traits and non-so-helpful traits for each. Remember, there's always room for development.
Judging (J)-Potentially helpful:
- able to plan and schedule
- being deadline conscious
- able to think on your feet
- making decisions quickly
- sticking with a task even when it gets boring
- valuing orderliness
- ruled by deadlines and becoming inflexible
- jumping to conclusions before you have enough information
- being over-interested in control
Perceiving (P)-potentially helpful:
- keeping options open
- able to influence people without too many pre-conceived ideas
- willing to start over again if the first ideas don't work
- tolerances for others (bosses, included)
- willing to adapt to others
- gets bored quickly
- can appear sloppy and unprepared
- finds it difficult to make decisions
- more interested in beginning a project than seeing it through
Welcome, back, you psychology test-savvy readers. Here at WITS we agreed to share our types with you. Since I have the psychology degree, I got to write this and go first. In college I had a raincoat that was clear plastic with white, quarter-sized dots. It barely covered my mini skirt and you could see right through it. I feel like I've got that raincoat on now.
What the heck! I'm a proud INTJ; I'll admit it.
Instead of telling you more about how I think (boring) or how emotions surprise me, I thought I'd share with you my "to do" list of how an INTJ can become more effective. Those of you who know me will be able to nod your head at these suggestions. I have to admit that as I was reviewing them, I thought, "Uh-huh, that's why I had trouble last year." I could take these as my New Year's resolutions.
How INTJ's can become more effective:
- Praise more, criticize less
- Postpone making a decision (sometimes) and just go with the flow
- Accept how much detailed work has to be done by others before the ideal can become a reality
- Be alert to the danger of constantly escalating standards
- Accept that things are all right as they are (sometimes)
- Genuinely involve and consult others when your decisions will affect others
- Tell the people close to you about your feelings
- Learn to control your impatience, or let another manage it
- Get work into perspective
- Arrange genuine leisure activity which is just fun
- Get enough exercise
- Smile more, frown less
- Ask for help before something becomes a crisis
Okay, one on the list I've mastered. Really. Not telling you which one because I don't want arguments. That leaves one thing to work on each month. That's doable. I'm smiling now.
What if you were to have your characters take the Myers-Briggs test? You could look at ways they could become more effective, to know how they operate, and what pushes their buttons. You can see the potential for conflicts when a Thinking T has to make a joint decision with a Feeling F. There are sixteen different personality types. That's a huge potential for conflict.
Next week, our own Laura Drake reveals her letters.
So, what's your type? Or your protagonist's type? Did you find something that makes you say, "Aha?" If you have a question, throw it out here. We know it's about one of your characters, not you! 😉