MBTI: Why Does MBTI Matter Over Other Personality Assessments?
Pictured above: My spirit animal.
Hey, do you know what color your soul is? How about what your mythical creature counterpart is? I bet mine is a dragon or something. Do you care? No? I don’t get why not, finding that stuff out would explain so much about you. Sarcasm!
What about your Enneagram? Or which of the Big Five your personality best fits with? No, not into that either? Well, neither am I! Of course, if you wanted to, you could take all those “tests” also and maybe learn something else out about yourself, but what will it do for you? Here’s a brief examination of why MBTI is not only the preferred personality assessment on this site but also how one should be enough.
It’s not an argument over “Who’s is better? My way or yours?” That’s a waste of time and chances are, if you’re on this site at all, you weren’t looking for anything other than MBTI (As far as profiling goes). But the vastness of information that is the internet, you’re bound to come across some of the other methods of explaining why you are the way you are. And just to be clear, no, I’m not actually comparing actual theories of personality to some quiz you’re invited to take on Facebook about what type of car you’d be.
But when it comes to personality, I’ve found that MBTI, at times, can be insufficient in its explanation of my behavior or actions. It doesn’t get me to a tee and it doesn’t fully explain everyone else either. People seem to be very happy with choosing what they like about a type over what they actually are…and that’s to say they’ve gotten the proper results in the first place. On top of all this, there’s only so far a theory can go in describing a person anyway. Everyone is their own individual and a simple design of questions and results can’t possibly say everything their is to know about each one of us.
None of them can, right?
For example, The Big Five, as its called, which stands for the five major aspects of our personalities, is often more accepted in Academia much more so than Type Theory. It relies on specific facets of everyone’s personalities that we all carry and put simply, are as follows:
Openness- This factor is the part of your personality that keeps you open to new experiences. There are six degrees of this, with people who score highly in this area tend to be very open to new things and those scoring low tend to be closed off from new experiences. Prefer the novel and exciting.
Conscientiousness- People who score highly here are known to be dependable and dutiful. Scoring low means you’re laid-back and possibly even lazy.
Extraversion- You can figure this one out. Scoring high on this would mean you tend to be outdoing and energetic, with a love of social interactions.
Agreeableness- Dealing in cooperativeness, scoring high here would mean the test taker is trustworthy as well as trusting in others. Scoring low may mean you’re difficult to get along with and maybe untrustworthy. Agreeableness is the helpful side of your personality.
Neuroticism- Scoring high here is actually more of a negative thing. Scoring high on neuroticism may mean you’re too sensitive and the more negative emotions come all to easy and scoring low may mean you’re more emotionally stable.
How do these all fit in together? Well, as in Type Theory, you have all of these traits, it’s just a matter of the order they come in. What’s my problem with this system? I’ll explain.
Scoring high on Neuroticism, as mentioned, would make you a touchy person. And scoring high on this would make neuroticism your defining trait. And though their are varying degrees of it, ultimately, changing your attitude and routine in life is the way to make other traits your dominant ones.
So you can change yourself in the long run. While people scoring high on neuroticism can be happy to hear that, what we’re dealing with seems to be a system that just as likely to place you in a group that you could just as soon get out of. The helpfulness of this seems limited. It’s like putting on a red shirt only to realize you want to wear a blue one. But then that green one looks nice too…
Many have expressed issue with Type Theories placing as well. The fact that being typed as an ESFJ for example, means that you are not and cannot be, an INTP. While some argue that you can change your type over time and even the founding father himself, Carl Jung agrees with this, not all types had been clarified in his time; much like how he asserted that there is no “How-to” guide for interpreting dreams which we have an abundance of in the present day, thanks largely to Jung’s own work.
But changing type would defeat the purpose of type in that being sad today might make you an ISFJ, but being a proud leader that persuades others easily over time might turn you into an ESTP. This just isn’t the case. An ISFJ is an ISFJ, an ESTP is an ESTP. Your general mood is not determined by your type, no matter how common the stereotypes are.
Where am I going with all of this? In essence, for whatever problems people find with Type Theory, analyzing it properly will lead to the most fruitful results. Being a type you’re not happy with means you’re simply not happy with yourself or being analyzed in the cold light of day, it does not limit you to only doing things that the particular type is usually known for doing. Are you a neurotic ISTJ? Well, you can better yourself and it doesn’t change your type because that’s your type…but your neuroticism, agreeableness,etc. is all up to you. Your type doesn’t define you, much less a trait.
And getting involved in multiple personality theories should only be researched so much. Aside from becoming a kind of religion in their own right, knowing your results in every assessment can only benefit you so much. After a while, they’ll all run together and you’ve stopped using them to better yourself and started finding ways to have some faceless psychologist validate your every word.
You can be any kind of person you want to be and your type doesn’t limit you; it’s only there as a basic guide on the foundation of your personality rather than an instruction manual that will cause you to break down if you don’t follow it implicitly. But what’s the point of a personality assessment if it can change the next day? In that case, all you did was find out what you’re mood was.