Mark Gilbert's Blog

Science and technology, served light and fluffy.

Type-writer

Many years ago, at my former company, I took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, or MBTI, personality test.  I relieved to report that I’ve passed this test every time, so you can be assured I have a personality.  For a more serious overview of the MBTI, please visit http://www.myersbriggs.org.

I think I’ve gone through this exercise four times in my life, and the result has been the same in all cases – INTJ.  There is a lot of meaning behind those four letters, but the points that I frequently come back to are these:

  1. The "I" stands for "Introvert", which despite popular belief does not mean I shun other people.  Rather, being around large groups of people is exhausting for me, while interacting with small groups or just being by myself is frequently energizing.  An extrovert would tend to react in the opposite manner in these cases.
  2. The "N" stands for "Intuitive" and "T" for "Thinker".  One of the traits of an "NT" is the ability and drive to constantly improve upon everything around them in the pursuit of perfection.

I most recently went through the MBTI evaluation this past week, and to my great surprise, I found I have apparently mellowed with age.  All of the previous times taking this test showed an incredibly strong preference for all four aspects of the type – I would usually peg at least two of the letters at the end of the spectrum, and the other two would be close behind.  This time around, the INT all showed moderate or weak preferences (the J was still in the nearly 90 percentile).

What do I make of this?  As far as the "I" goes, I don’t run screaming when a party invite comes across my desk.  I might still come home and feel exhausted afterward, but I don’t (as frequently) use that as an excuse to avoid them.

As for the "NT", I don’t try to achieve perfection as much any more. I might still aim for it, just so I can say I got "in the neighborhood" of being perfect, but I can still ship something at the end of the day.  Looking back, I definitely see a change in how I approach a software release now versus even 5 years ago.

At any rate, if you’d like to take the test, go here first: http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/JTypes2.asp.  Then visit the Myers-Briggs Organization’s site for information on the 16 possible types.

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December 5, 2011 - Posted by | General

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