my personal blog

April 8, 2005


Filed under: personal,thoughts — Tags: , , , , — Alfonso Surroca @ 6:46 pm

At a friend’s request, I took a personality type test this afternoon in unison with that said friend. It turned out to be one of the Myers-Briggs-esque tests based on the Carl Jung personality type model. This was familiar because I had taken one of these tests as an assignment for an business class a few semesters back. In a nutshell, here’s what these tests are all about:

Psychiatrist Carl Jung created a model wherein one could categorize personality types by three criteria: extrovert-introvert, sensing-intuition, and thinking-feeling. Later in the 20th century, Isabel Briggs-Myers refined the model with a fourth criterion, judging-perceiving, and throughout the century, various personality tests have evolved from this Jung model. They’re typically found in career centers at school, or in some relation to the workplace or job placement.

The first criterion generally describes where a person’s method of expression lies, externally, or internally. The second defines the way in which a person perceives information. A sensing person relies mainly on information gathered from the external world via the senses, and an intuitive person relies on information gathered internally. The third criterion defines how a person processes this information. A thinking person uses logic to make a decision, and a feeling person uses emotion. And the fourth criterion defines how a person uses the information he has processed. A judging person organizes this information into plans and acts according to those plans, and a perceiving person instead tends to improvise.

There are a possible sixteen combinations of these four criteria, each of which determines a specific type. Various types of tests based on the Jung model are floating around, and like the usual psychiatrist-written inventory, it consists of several questions about how you work in certain situations, your habits, and the like. Ahh, those predictable psychiatrists—if you’re quick, you can almost figure out what result you’re going to get by the time you’ve read the questions.

I got INTJ, or the mastermind

This means Introvert iNtuitive Thinking Judging, or in a nutshell, that I have the unusual capability of doing everything from creating a theory to actually implementing it in the real world. This is one of the more rare personality types (it describes less than one percent of the population), and seems filled with contradictions. This is because we INTJ/mastermind personalities tend to have a manner of thinking and point of view that is different from everyone else’s.

According to one analysis I read on this personality type, my mind is constantly crawling the external world, combing for information, and associating and ranking bits and sources of information, not unlike Google. As such, I’ve got a hard-wired knack for understanding concepts. Furthermore, I can compile this information into a plan of attack such that my ideas may lead to actual results instead of wishy-washy theories. Because of this ability to form internal vagaries into external orders, and keen ability to strategize and see the big picture, I’m a natural leader. In spite of that, since I prefer the internal world, I remain in the background unless I absolutely must take over command.

On the downside, if you must call it a downside, masterminds, so focused on their own internal world that all those social mores like falling in love tend to be forgotten. This page explains that for us masterminds, “love means including someone in their vision of the world.” That’s a pretty tough criterion! Obviously, as has been my experience, masterminds aren’t prolific lovers. Masterminds also tend to have a romantic archetype of a relationship in their mind, and “withhold their deep feelings and affections from the public and sometimes even from the object of their affections.” And when scorned, we tend to retreat back to our own world, and “lash out with criticisms of their former loved ones.” That cycle from falling for someone to hating them is probably descriptive of every girl I’ve met since middle school.

Now, about that friend I mentioned at the outset. I’ve taken this test before, but she’s the one who had me thinking about this whole Jungian model. She took the test, posted the results on her blog, and to my surprise, she also fell into the mastermind category. Now, if the lot of us add up to somewhere below one percent of the population, then the odds against us both being INTJ personalities are pretty numerous. All the articles I read about this personality type said nothing of what happens when two INTJs put their heads together. Look out!

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