MBTI: Adapt What is Useful


If you know me, you know I’m a fan of Bruce Lee. Most of you don’t know me so most of you don’t know that. Now you do.

We’ll get to that.

I was talking to a friend on MBTI who felt that they had it all figured out. I didn’t put “figured out” in quotations because he didn’t use those words but the attitude was there. He felt that MBTI could only provide a limited about of information in which to go by and that other personality indicators were broader, therefore better.because hey, only 16 personalities? That’s not enough to encompass the human race.

Yes it is.

So Bruce Lee is pretty famous for saying and doing a lot of cool things. When you’re really good at punching things, some people fear you, but everybody respects you.

Physically about the only thing I’ve been more impressed by than this man playing ping-pong with NUNCHUKS is probably Samson killing a thousand soldiers with a donkey’s jawbone. Many people know about Lee’s punches being so fast that older cameras couldn’t pick them up and they would just appear as flashes, but you may not have heard that during the filming of his last finished film, and certainly his biggest, Lee kept being challenged by extras who were also fighters. After supposedly dozens of fights in between takes, the dude was still undefeated.

If you don’t want to click on the link that leads to an interview with the on-set photographer of Enter the Dragon, David Friedman says “I do not know what was said since it was all in Chinese. All I know is that it pissed Bruce off enough to kick the guy’s teeth out. He told me afterward that he should have killed him and we continued on to lunch.”

You’ve got to hand it to a guy who is reported to have been killed by a brain edema yet still has believers that it was actually a delayed reaction from a death punch brought on by a super secret ninja cult that decided Bruce had given away too many of their secrets. Ah, it’s up there with the best of them. Elvis is with the aliens, Tupac is living it up on an island…and Bruce Lee being killed by ninjas. Or the Chinese mafia, depending on what site you’re on. Some of the man’s pallbearers include Chuck Norris, James Coburn, Steve frikkin’ McQueen, and George “One-time James Bond” Lazenby. Why? Because aside from Norris, they were his students.

"The winner must carry the loser's dead body to his grave." "Agreed."

“The winner must carry the loser’s dead body to his grave.” “Agreed.”

I could go on and on. Point is, whether it happened or not, the fact that he’s inspired these stories is impressive enough in itself.

But for all of Lee’s exploits and the legend that he is, the guy had problems. Aside from the anxiety of making a major film that made him difficult to handle at times, Lee was getting to the point of being so healthy that he was unhealthy. For all the rumors of his death, most medical opinions generally revolve around the multitude of diets routines and more experimental practices of basically making himself into the perfect fighting machine. After being found dead in his mistress’ home, the rumors spread like wildfire and still go onto this day, with avid fans proclaiming the death of their hero couldn’t have been by something as simple and plain as an edema.

Heck man, the guy had a girl’s name. His real name was originally Sia-Fon which is of feminine pronunciation and is kind of like having a boy named Sue. Not to mention that while he was taken to China at a young age, Lee was born in California rather than being born into the sacred homeland of high kicks and lightning fast punches.

But whatever the truth is, anything you may find interesting about the guy still stands, doesn’t it? If you actually knew Lee, don’t you think you’d probably have disagreements about something? Chances are, your beliefs and his wouldn’t align exactly. But that doesn’t really make the stuff he did any less impressive does it?

Or, since we’re on a similar topic, Civil rights hero Martin Luther King, Jr. was also reported to have had been staying at his own mistress’ place the night before he was killed. This fact alone really seems to mess with a lot of his followers as King, Jr. is normally thought of as a legendary saint rather than just some plain ol’ boring guy.

But as Bruce Lee himself says about life and his own form of fighting, Jeet Kune do- “Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.”

Like this actual kick applied to a real human's side.

Like this actual kick applied to a real human’s side.

I’ve been going on for a while about Bruce Lee with near no relation to MBTI so here we go.

While I don’t have an issue with enneagram or the Big Five or whatever else people have recommended to me over the time I’ve been writing on here (Heck, keep’em coming if you think I’ll find it at all interesting), much of the reason many MBTI users give up and move onto something else is because they see MBTI as limiting, as opposed to other type indicators that offer change. Many others see the descriptions of their type as fitting them in some areas and not fitting at all in others.

Far be it from me to argue with you about your own personality (Though admittedly, I’ve done it before), but I can’t help but think this is where the misunderstanding of MBTI comes in and hits those would-be well-versed practitioners hard in the figurative nuts, and then they move on.

But it really shouldn’t feel so simple. If it is, you’re not paying enough attention.

You’ll notice a lot of “general” terms used throughout this site and other MBTI-related sites, be they official or not. Why? It shouldn’t be seen as track-covering as much as it is meant to be taken lightly. People can’t be organized and filed away to their last tiny detail no matter how you try to categorize them. As we’ve talked about, MBTI is just the base by which to start.

We use general terms so that they’re applied loosely. Meaning that while not all ISTPs will be into “X-treme Sportz,” there will be a side to them that needs the occasional rush. ISFJs don’t all love cooking and cleaning but there will be a desire to have certain detailed aspects of their life highly organized even if it’s done so in a way people around them don’t like.

"Traditional?? Eat one of these cookies, tell me if you can taste the arsenic." -ISFJ

“Traditional?? Eat one of these cookies, tell me if you can taste the arsenic.” -ISFJ

Many people read this, agree with some and don’t like the rest so they’ll drop the system altogether when in fact, it’s not supposed to be taken so heavily. Not all ESTJs will be your boss and not all INTPs will be closed-off weirdo geniuses that don’t let the sun touch their skin. But they’ll always be some truth to the descriptions that are worth reading as opposed to “I don’t agree with this so it’s a crappy site.”

Point is, even if MBTI don’t hold your fascination for very long, many of the lessons or ideas contained in it can still be of value. Just because Bruce Lee or Martin Luther King, Jr. had their personal problems or weren’t all that their legends were inspired by doesn’t mean you can’t take something positive away from their overall message whatever that may have been. The source of something being or at least seeming contaminated doesn’t mean it’s all pointless; you can still take what’s of value and leave what you have no use for.

Just make sure what you’re discarding isn’t something that’s worth more time spent so that you can really understand it.


4 Responses to “MBTI: Adapt What is Useful”

  1. Kristen Says:

    But if I fit into one of 16 personality types I’m no longer speshil.

  2. yojimbo Says:

    Yeah, reading this article… It even seems applicable to life in general, Spike totally quotes BL in an episode. Something about being “fluid.” It really is a legitimate philosophy/guideline. Being adaptable means not becoming tethered to notions or pillars that you think you know as truth.

    I find people can often lack a threshold for such a malleable mindset. I consider tho, that peeps who grow up after the internet became a more consistent part of reality, may have an easier time grasping a mental “playfulness” or free flowing brainwavelength(that’s right, I made that all one word.) like this.

    • Taylor Says:

      Yeah I actually became a fan of Bebop because of the connections to Lee and a few of his movies. Attention to detail is everything. Spike quotes Lee, lives the philosophy of him, and does Jeet Kune Do.


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