Since its arrival in the 1950s, at least 100,000,000 Americans have taken a personality test known as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Based on Psychoanalyst Carl Jung’s theories of personalities and their shadow sides, the MBTI is alternately loved and hated. Endlessly expanded and endorsed, it is also endlessly derided—and distorted.
You can find applications for: leadership, sports, dating, money management, teaching, being a student, time management, aging, and practically anything else you can think of.
I love the MBTI—but with three gigantic qualifications.
First, like all personality tests, you can overdo it.
It’s descriptive, not prescriptive. But some people treat it like a fundamentalist religion. “She’s an ENFP; she would never do that,” someone who oversells it might say. Or, “He’s an ESTJ—they always do that.”
As one author, David Keirsey, said: it’s best to think of personality as a game of tag. Your core personality is home base. You wander away from home all the time—but you tag up frequently.
In other words, personality testing might determine that—at the core of my identity—I am 100% in love with authenticity, the arts, and creativity. People’s identities are firmly established by the age of 4 or 5. And although, all my life, I may not always during every waking moment be involved with those things, I will always find myself returning to them as much as possible. If I live past a century, I’ll have spent as much time as possible my entire life engaging in all three.
Second, many people are unaware that the MBTI acknowledges that in addition to our primary personality type, everyone also has a secondary, third, and fourth style, or preference. If we grow wiser as age, we richly develop these additional styles. By age 30, we’re on our way for our secondary personality. By 40, onto the third. And by 50, we are a very well-rounded individual.
(That’s in a life well lived. In a life of torment or dysfunction, we may never even adequately develop our primary personality. In other words, even in the most basic way, we never become ourselves.)
Third—and most amazingly—Dr. Delunas’s book offers something truly new: 280 pages describing the dark side of the 16 personality types.
As far as I know, in a field of hundreds of MBTI books, Survival Games Personalities Play is one of a kind. And this unicorn is utterly indispensible.
99.9% of all MBTI literature emphasizes the positive aspects of people—which I love. Personally, I strive to be a creator, not a critic; a giver, not a taker; producer, not a consumer.
But this portrait leaves out half of the sky. We all fall short. And Dr. Delunas explains: each personality type does so in predictable ways.
First, the basics:
MBTI states that there are four basic personalities, just as people discovered in ancient Greece. They are the Idealists (NFs, or “Blues”), Rationals (NTs, or “Greens”), Idealists (SPs, or “Oranges”), and Guardians (SJs, or “Golds”).
The Idealists (ENFP, INFP, ENFJ, & INFJ) have a core need for Authenticity, Kindness, and Becoming Who They Are. They are attracted to people professions like: ministry, counseling, teaching, writing, acting, and the arts. Think: Gandhi.
The Rationals (ENTP, INTP, ENTJ, & INTJ) have a core need for Developing Brilliant New Systems, Perfecting their Competencies, and Invention. To do these things, they must also Stay Resolved. They are attracted to brilliant professions like: architecture, technology, the creation of new things, and the exploration/development of new knowledge. Think: Einstein.
The Artisans (ESFP, ISFP, ESTP, & ISTP) have a core need for Freedom, Spontaneity, Action, and Excitement. They long to appear Graceful or Impressive. They are attracted to hands on, here-and-now professions like working with tools, firefighting, cooking, sales, politics, and the military. Think: Teddy Roosevelt.
The Guardians (ESFJ, ISFJ, ESFJ, & ISFJ) have a core need for Duty, Responsibility, Order, and Service. They like the word “Accountability.” They are attracted to traditional professions with established procedures for doing things. They like to join groups, and to advance within established hierarchies. Favorite professions can include accounting, law, teaching, and the military. Think: George Washington.
But what about when we behave in terrible ways?
Dr. Delunas believes most horrible behavior comes out of overwhelming stress. Perhaps. She doesn’t discuss Joseph Stalin or cold-blooded murder, so she doesn’t use the word “evil.”
Since I believe evil exists (like ISIS), let’s compromise and say that evil behavior causes stress—usually in many people simultaneously.
And when under horrific stress, here’s how our behaviors fall apart:
The Idealists (ENFP, INFP, ENFJ, & INFJ) violate their core need for Authenticity by playing a “Survival Game” entitled Masquerade.
Ordinarily, Idealists always seek to become more honest, generous, and true to their deepest nature. They can’t stand lies, posing, and other social masks. They want to be their best possible self. So, it is ironic that when horribly stressed, they become deceptive. They avoid the truth about themselves, others, and their situations. Because this is a reflex, in the moment, they may not even be aware that they are doing it.
Masquerade has these six variants:
* Mind Reader
The Rationals (ENTP, INTP, ENTJ, & INTJ) violate their core need of Pursuing Perfect Competence by essentially freezing their minds. They play a “Survival Game” entitled Robot.
Ordinarily, more than anything, they are always seeking ways to develop their skills, competencies, and systems. They can’t stand thoughtlessness or mediocrity. Always, their minds are in high gear. So, it is ironic that when severely stressed, they become unthinking. Mentally paralyzed, they go on a perverse autopilot.
Robot has these six variants:
* That’s Illogical
* Blanking Out
When the Artisans (ESFP, ISFP, ESTP, & ISTP) fear that they are about to lose their Freedom, and with it their opportunities to be Graceful and Impressive, they “appear to be under the influence of some uncontrollable and irresistible impulse to do something that is either destructive toward the self or something destructive toward someone else’s person or property” (27). Their payoff? Restitution. They get high and get even. This “Survival Game” is called Blackmail.
Ironically, however, by being destructive, they frequently end up violating their own core needs. They can lose their freedom, look disgraceful, and impress no one with their sometimes immoral and/or illegal revenge. But they blame it on the other person, saying, “You made me do it,” and “I don’t care.”
Blackmail has these six variants:
* Con Artist
The Guardians (ESFJ, ISFJ, ESFJ, & ISFJ) play the Complain game, although they also can play slightly different game called Prosecutor. That’s “when their ability to continue to be accountable, unselfish, and to belong is at risk” (31). When over-stressed, they “decommission” (31) themselves “by complaining loudly of being sick, tired, worried, and/or sorry.” Paralyzed, they seek to “entangle” (31) others into taking care of them. Ironically, their desire to do their duty, be responsible, and to serve has flipped 180 degrees.
Complain has these six variants:
* Poor Me
I would love to detail all 24 variants—but you would be much better off ordering the book, reading it five times, and writing in the margins. You will be utterly fascinated.
What Type Am I? by Renee Baron.
As stated, you can buy hundreds of books on the MBTI. This is one of the best. Because it employs bullet points and cartoons, it looks simple. But it goes straight to the essence of:
* People’s core needs
* Dating & romance
* Marriage & kids
* Personal pitfalls
And it gives advice based on thousands of other people who share your type who have been in your situation.
What Type Am I? is not a one-of-a-kind book. But in its crowded help, it’s one of the best of its kind.
News You Can Use.
Save money: Do you know what the most expensive thing in the world is? Atrociously stressed out (or poorly behaved) people. Save a fortune by knowing how people tend to misfire when under stress.
Save time: Ditto.
Reduce stress: “An ounce of prevention,” Benjamin Franklin said, “is worth a pound of cure.” Implied: A cent of prevention is worth a dollar of cure. And five minutes of prevention is worth six hours day of clean up.
Is there anything more practical than understanding how the people in your life truly are, and how their personalities and character drives their behavior?
Both books are fun and practical—provided you don’t make the MBTI far more rigid than its creators ever intended. The MBTI is about tendencies, not certainties.
On the other hand, what are the three greatest pieces of advice anyone can ever give?
- Get to know God.
- Get to know yourself.
- Deeply understand others.
More than anything else, the MBTI has deepened my love of people and their irreplaceable individuality. One of my close friends wants to “meet everyone in the city, and get to know them deeply.” The MBTI gives us all a quick sketch. If every person we meet is like a diamond with 10,000 angles, then the MBTI gives us the rough contours and the first 10 sides. That gives us a head-start as get to know them better, and get to see what the other 9,900 sides look like when they catch the light.
Little Green Book is a newsletter written by Tim Wuebker. Once a week, Tim describes an astonishing book, a real game changer, and/or a riveting read. Not only are these books thrilling, sometime they save you time, save you money, and increase your peace.
No author paid to receive a review. Tim wrote this for free because he loves these books.
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Link to Survival Games Personalities Play.
Source: Tims Old Blog