Does it really matter what you MBTI type is?

Does The MBTI Personality Indicator Actually Work?

Is there concrete science behind it?

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The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator has been widely used by businesses, universities, the military, and other organizations for decades to assess personality.

When I looked it up, I hadn't realized that Myers and Briggs were the names of two women. Like many people, I had assumed that they were two men who had found themselves working together in a clinic or a laboratory, had come up with this questionnaire and had popularized it through their networks in the business world, in the military, in the church, all of the different institutions where Myers-Briggs is really prevalent today.

Captivated by Jung's ideas, the mother-daughter team of Katharine Briggs and Isabel Myers published the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) questionnaire in 1943.

Myers and Briggs invented a way to translate Jung's theories into a practical tool that individuals can use to understand their particular personality type.

Now, over 20 million individuals take the MBTI assessment each year. According to The Washington Post: "More than 10,000 companies, 2,500 colleges and universities, and 200 government agencies in the United States use the test. From the State Department to McKinsey & Co., it's a rite of passage. It's estimated that 50 million people have taken the Myers-Briggs personality test since the Educational Testing Service first added the research to its portfolio in 1962."

What's interesting is that there are many more tests out there, many more models of analysis than Myers-Briggs. Yet Myers-Briggs is still the one that has the most powerful pull on our imagination. You don't often see people putting in their online dating profiles, for instance, their Big Five profile, or their Enneagram type. You do see them putting their Myers-Briggs type in there. You see Buzzfeed quizzes and type tables about Myers-Briggs and what your Myers-Briggs type says about which Game of Thrones character you are. This is the product that has continued to have the most endearing and persuasive pull on our imagination of who we are.

"In 1993, 89 of the Fortune top 100 companies were administering the Myers-Briggs test to their employees. The philosophy behind personality tests is that they don't want you to be in the wrong kind of job. The tests have been completely exposed as nonsense."-- Barbara Ehrenreich

Best-selling author and muckraker Barbara Ehrenreich is right -- the very familiar and widespread Myers-Briggs personality test has indeed been denounced in recent years as not valid or useful. Many still believe, though.

A Vox critique of Myers-Briggs points out that each type's description is positive ("thinker," "nurturer," etc.), painting a rosy picture for anyone taking the test. Thus, part of its popularity might lie in the pleasure of taking the test and reviewing results.

Multiple studies have found the system ineffective in being able to predict how successful various people would be at various jobs.

So, does your Myers-Briggs personality type really matter? The answer is probably not. Some employers and others may put a lot of stock in it, but a careful review of it suggests it mainly offers entertainment value.

Ultimately, I think if it's not Myers-Briggs then something else will fill its place. I think we are hungry for the kind of self-knowledge that it presents. We are seduced by the fact that it presents that knowledge in a painless and easily digestible way. I think we are also incredibly compelled by the fact that enough people around us know the language of a type so that if I tell you I'm an ENTJ (yes, this is my actual type, if you were wondering), you know exactly what that means. You might even be able to conjure up some famous people or literary characters or TV stars whose types are also ENTJ. It is a way of making meaning of a world that is messy and complicated for the need of putting people in boxes is something the human race is known for.

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To The Teacher Who Was So Much More

Thank you for everything
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I think it's fair to say that most people remember at least one teacher who had a lasting impact on them. I have been incredibly lucky to have several teachers who I will never forget, but one individual takes the cake. So here's to you: thank you for all you have done.

Thank you for teaching me lessons not just in the textbook.

Although you taught a great lecture, class was never just limited to the contents of the course. Debates and somewhat heated conversations would arise between classmates over politics and course material, and you always encouraged open discussion. You embraced the idea of always having an opinion, and always making it be heard, because why waste your voice? You taught me to fight for things I believed in, and to hold my ground in an argument. You taught me to always think of others before doing and speaking. You showed me the power of kindness. Thank you for all the important lessons that may not have been included in the curriculum.

Thank you for believing in me.

Especially in my senior year, you believed in me when other teachers didn't. You showed me just what I could accomplish with a positive and strong attitude. Your unwavering support kept me going, especially when I melted into a puddle of tears weekly in your office. You listened to my stupid complaints, understood my overwhelming stress-induced breakdowns, and told me it was going to be okay. Thank you for always being there for me.

Thank you for inspiring me.

You are the epitome of a role model. Not only are you intelligent and respected, but you have a heart of gold and emit beautiful light where ever you go. You showed me that service to others should not be looked at as a chore, but something to enjoy and find yourself in. And I have found myself in giving back to people, thanks to your spark. Thank you for showing me, and so many students, just how incredible one person can be.

Thank you for changing my life.

Without you, I truly would not be where I am today. As cliche as it sounds, you had such a remarkable impact on me and my outlook on life. Just about a year has passed since my graduation, and I'm grateful to still keep in touch. I hope you understand the impact you have made on me, and on so many other students. You are amazing, and I thank you for all you have done.

Cover Image Credit: Amy Aroune

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It's Time For You High Schoolers To Invest Your Time Into Your Careers

It may seem too early to specialize, but there will be a point where it's too late.

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If you're in high school, odds are you're approached by friends, family and more family about your plans after. For many of us, this can mean college. From convincing a college to admit you to convincing them to foot your entire tuition bill, you need to be marketable.

You should start with writing out your resume. Write it specifically oriented towards your career path. My resume, for example, is music themed. If you are anything like younger me, you might have a couple things that fit. I had marching band, concert band, honor band. But the majority might be things you signed up for to round yourself out.

A candidate too well rounded is directionless.

My participation in science club was fun, I will admit. But it didn't do much for me. It didn't teach me leadership, nor cooperation nor did it help with my career path.

High school is a lot more limited a time to both express and market yourself than you might think. Before I knew it, I was sitting in my junior year without much to my musical name.

If you have an extra curricular that you participate in because you enjoy it, you don't have to drop it. If you have developed as a person or as a leader, then it might even be something you can include in your list.

I just want to caution people from getting into the same situation I was in. I spent the first three years essentially of high school to feel out different areas, and this was too much time.

Productive uses of your after school time should be things you talk about when you say what sets you apart from other students in your field. And yes, this means you have to utilize tools outside of your school offerings most of the time.

When I go to apply for college and for musical internships, I plan on listing my participation in Atlanta CV (professional drum corps in DCA), high school marching band and marching band leadership, MAYWE (Metropolitan Atlanta Youth Wind Ensemble, an auditioned honor band), GYSO (Georgia Youth Symphony Orchestra), AYWS (Atlanta Youth Wind Symphony), Youth Bands of Atlanta, county honor band, jazz band, twice state applicant for Governor's Honors Program Music, JanFest music at UGA, the Academy of Science, Research and Medicine (Biotechnology certification and science fair), math bowl and HOSA - Future Health Professionals.

When I go to apply for college and for musical internships, I plan on listing the most relevant activities as well as the ones I've chosen to regardless stick with. Relevant activities in regard to my music major include honor ensembles and marching activities.

My most applicable activities for music include marching bands. I am a contracted baritone marcher of Atlanta CV Drum and Bugle Corps as well as trombone marcher and two year Trombone/Baritone Section Leader for the Pride of Paulding marching band. These show relevancy because these organizations provide rapport as well as the marching activity in itself shows another level of musical capability.

My honor ensembles are relevant likewise because they show higher musical skill and provide some legitimacy to your path. I have been involved in Metropolitan Atlanta Youth Wind Ensemble, county honor band, jazz band and I was also a Two-Time State Applicant to the Governor's Honors Program.

I plan to also be with the Symphony of the Georgia Youth Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Youth Wind Ensemble, Youth Bands of Atlanta and JanFest at UGA. Auditions are coming up for each of these and I hope to be considered for membership. These would round out my music application by showing versatility (via orchestra along with wind ensembles) and more time dedication. Both universities and employers value this level of hard work.

Of course, even I on my soapbox have some activities I've stuck with despite it not being directly related to music. Despite this, you can make them relevant by touting your experience with it. I've been an officer and competitor for our chapter of HOSA - Future Health Professionals despite not going into healthcare and I've been certified in Biotechnology through my school The Academy of Science, Research and Medicine despite not going into STEM.

My experiences in biotechnology and healthcare have provided me a round academic experience, more high rigor classes and leadership opportunities. I was co-treasurer of our HOSA chapter and my Magnet school gave me access to more AP classes and the biotechnology classes. Anything can be useful, but the extent is determined by its relevancy.

The vast majority of my activities are both outside of the school and directly related to my career path. Activities such as these can make any student automatically more competitive than an equally academically-standing student.

Finding these activities involve a combination of involving teachers and mentors in your career field as well as self research. Luckily for me, I was able to fairly quickly compile a list of Honor Bands to audition for due to the abundance in the area. My directors also named a few. Most areas should have something at least tangentially-related to your specialization.

Some opportunities require knowing the right people and being in the right place at the right time. For example, my involvement in one of my most valuable activity assets, Atlanta CV, was a result of knowing a guy that knew a guy that knew about an opening for the right instrument halfway through spring training.

What I hope readers gain from my story is to start early. I've found myself struggling to meet the market's standards in the last year of high school immediately before applying for college. Specializing would have been more effective a tad bit longer term and I hope others take my heed.

Moving on from high school can be an intimidating process. It's hard to find the right college, and even harder to convince them they want you. Harder still is convincing them to pay for your education. But all this can be made easier by specializing and becoming marketable.

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