Quick Exercise to Find Your MBTI Type

By following through each of the 4 sections below, you will be able to clarify your MBTI type as well as gain a quick overview of the 4 dichotomies. This is not meant to be a definitive MBTI test, but rather to accelerate your understanding so you can arrive at that aha moment to acknowledge your own type faster as you journey through the learning of the MBTI and Jungian functions.

Tips to achieve the best results:

As we tend to strive to become more balanced with age, we often “stretch” our cognitive preference under the situational stress of work and social demands. To identify what is “natural”, it’s best to contemplate about what naturally come to you when you were younger (as a teenager or young adult) and when you feel truly at home & being yourself. Also, think about it in term of your consistent behaviors across time and not the “ought to”, “ should” adaptive behaviors.

Introversion – Extroversion (I – E)

  1. Learn about the fundamentals through the video above.
  2. Are you able to decide on your preference based on the video?
    If you are still undecided or want better clarity, go to step 3 below.
  3. Go through the clarification table (you might need a pen and paper)
  4. Give one tick either on the left or right of each pair of statements.
  5. Give two ticks if you strongly believe with the statement.
  6. If it’s too difficult for you to decide , you may leave it blank.
Tick if applies to your more Tick if applies to you more
Regarding your overall attitude towards society or socially endorsed values and systems
 Have a general dislike and often question popular ideas, standards, or tastesSeek to achieve socially approved concepts and objectives, prioritizing the needs of the group 
Quantity vs quality (hobbies, jobs, social circle…)
 Prefer quality, being picky (job, relationship…)Want to experience it all, the more the merrier 
Generalist versus specialist
 Often take pride in being a specialist and expert in a niche fieldOften prefer working in more generalist position with variety of tasks like management and people-facing roles 
How you gain energy
 Energized by thinking and contemplating about a single topic alone or working one-on-oneEnergized by interacting with and managing several on-going activities and people 
Your approach to sharing and communicating
 Reserved and private, thoughtful,  contemplative, share only if necessary, you find people share too muchMore ready to share personal info and enjoy brainstorming and responding quickly to others 

7. Tabulating results:

The total number of ticks on the left is your score on Introversion.

The total number of ticks on the right is your score on Extroversion.

Whichever side has more ticks represents your degree of preference.

INtuition – Sensing (N – S)

  1. Learn about the fundamentals through the video above.
  2. Are you able to decide on your preference based on the video?
    If you are still undecided or want better clarity, go to step 3 below.
  3. Go through the clarification table:
Tick if applies to your more  Tick if applies to you more
When given a new task, how would you want to receive the information?
 Prefer maximum details, specifics, step-by-step instruction to ensure clarityPrefer to know the big picture and end goals first and as little details or instruction if possible 
The type of information you tend to notice first
 Notice what is apparent through the 5 senses or concrete, factual detailsNotice patterns, concepts, ideas, metaphors, implications, possibilities, hidden meaning 
Are you more pragmatic or visionary?
 You tend to notice and trust what is tangible and measurable and your past experience  You are more energized by imagining what could be and possibilities in the future 
Your problem-solving approach and strengths
 Better at identifying the most efficient common-sense approach & focus on optimizing existing processesTaking pride in generating many ideas or unconventional method to understand and solve problems 

4. Tabulating results:

The total number of ticks on the left is your score on Sensing

The total number of ticks on the right is your score on iNtuition

Whichever side has more ticks represents your degree of preference.

Feeling – Thinking (F-T)

  1. Learn about the fundamentals via the video above.
  2. Are you able to decide on your preference based on the video?
    If you are still undecided or want better clarity, go to step 3 below.
  3. Type clarification table:
Tick if applies to your more  Tick if applies to you more
What approach should often be given a higher priority for the most satisfactory outcome?
 First step back & analyze the situation impersonallyFirst consider how it impacts each person involved or your own value system 
The thought processes that come to you naturally
 Critique, evaluate & identify flaws for improvementNotice & mention what is working well to build on it or offer moral support 
In problem solving, what do you think naturally is the best way to work with others
 Primarily focused on achieving set goals/outcomesPrimarily focused on developing & preserving connections with others 
In presented with differing points of viewers and opinions
 Comfortable asking probing questions to understand and generally comfortable with argumentsAvoid disagreements to preserve the relationship and harmonious atmosphere unless necessary to argue or fight back 

4. Tabulating results:

Total number of ticks on the left is your score on Thinking

Total number of ticks on the right is your score on Feeling

Whichever side has more ticks represents your degree of preference.

Judging – Perceiving (J-P)

  1. Learn about the fundamentals through the video above.
  2. Are you able to decide on your preference based on the video?
    If you are still undecided or want better clarity, go to step 3 below.
  3. Go through the clarification table below:
Tick if applies to your more  Tick if applies to you more
Your overall philosophy and approach to life
 Value order, predictability, structure, and milestonesValue going with the flow, see how things go, adaptability and flexibility 
When plan for a trip or project
 More comfortable when schedules are set and fix, milestones and deadlines are adhered to with minimal unexpected changesPrefer loose deadlines with plenty of room for improvisation and last-minute adaptation and energy bust 
Inclination for multi-tasking
 Rather focused work on a single topic or project until finishLike juggling and multi-tasking with short bursts of inspirations 
Preference on starting and finishing projects
 Prefer more measured and steadier pace from start to finish, especially with an emphasis on early start and timely finishExcited by starting a new project but perform best with deadline and last-minute motivation to finish 

4. Tabulating results:

Total number of ticks on the left is your score on Judging

Total number of ticks on the right is your score on Perceiving

Whichever side has more ticks represents your degree of preference.


I hope this exercise has been helpful and educational for you. How is your result? Do you have any feedback on its accuracy? Leave a comment below!

Mediator (INFP) – Type Description

INFP, often nicknamed the Healer or Mediator, stands for Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving. It is one of the 16 personality types in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), a popular psychological tool used to measure personality traits. INFPs are known for their deep sense of inner values, empathy towards others, and their ability to understand complex ideas. INFPs tend to be open-minded and nonjudgmental, and value authenticity and individuality in themselves and others. 

INFPs are introverted and tend to focus inward, seeking to understand their own feelings and values before turning outward to engage with others. They are often described as sensitive, compassionate, and open-minded, and are drawn to artistic endeavors. They are highly creative and have the ability to see multiple perspectives. INFPs are perceiving, meaning they tend to be open-minded and flexible, and may struggle with decision-making & procrastination. However, they are often highly imaginative and can bring a unique and original perspective to their work and relationships. 

Cognitive Functions of INFPs:

To better understand where INFP’s characteristics come from, it’s important to understand the main cognitive functions of this type. In the MBTI system, each personality type has a specific set of dominant and auxiliary cognitive functions that people use most frequently, resulting in stable cognitive patterns and characteristics. For INFPs, 

Dominant Fi: INFPs use their dominant Fi function to process information, which colors strongly who they are and their overall perspectives about the world.  Healthy Fi users are very in touch with their own emotions and may have a strong sense of personal ethics and morality. They may be private and selective about who they share their feelings with, and they may struggle with expressing their emotions in a way that others can understand. 

Due to their dominant Fi function, INFPs may rely on their own internal compass to guide their actions and decisions and may often go against social norms or expectations. 

Auxiliary Ne: Auxiliary Extraverted Intuition (Ne) allows an individual to generate new ideas, explore possibilities, and see connections between seemingly unrelated things. This function is always looking for ways to bring new elements into a situation, to create new patterns, to relate one thing to another in a new way. This function also makes an individual sensitive to the needs and feelings of others and great at understanding and empathizing with people. 

The combination of dominant Fi and auxiliary Ne creates a person who is both idealistic and innovative, constantly seeking new ways of expressing and fulfilling their own values. Such people are likely to be imaginative, original, and independent in their thinking and action. They will be very interested in exploring new possibilities and in creating their own unique solutions to problems. 

Strengths

Like all personality types, INFPs have a combination of strengths and weaknesses. Some of strengths of INFPs include: 

  • Creativity and innovation: INFPs tend to be highly creative and innovative, as they are able to generate new ideas and explore possibilities. Their auxiliary Ne equips them with skills to anticipate potential outcomes and plan for the future.
  • Flexibility and adaptability: INFPs are flexible and adaptable. Their dominant Fi combined with auxiliary Ne helps them adjust their approach to fit changing circumstances or needs. They think on their feet and come up with novel solutions to problems. 
  • Strong values and principles: People with a dominant Fi may be guided by strong values and principles, and may be driven to express and fulfill these values in their work. They may be committed to ethical and moral standards, and may be motivated to make a positive impact on the world.
  • Empathetic and Compassionate: INFPs help people stay connected to their humanity and promote complete self-acceptance. They are deeply empathetic and compassionate towards others and have a strong sense of justice and fairness.

Weaknesses

INFPs may have some potential weaknesses that could impact their personal life, relationships, as well as their performance and effectiveness in their workplace. These weaknesses may include the following.

  • Difficulty with decision-making: People with a dominant Fi and auxiliary Ne may have difficulty weighing the pros and cons of different options and making decisions. Due to their dominant Fi, they may struggle to choose a course of action that aligns with their values and principles. This may interact with their auxiliary Ne, which may cause them difficulty in narrowing down their options from a wide range of possibilities. 
  • Difficulty with structure and routine: People with auxiliary Ne may struggle with structure and routine, as they may prefer to work in a more flexible and open-ended way. INFPs may find it difficult to follow established procedures, protocols, and rules.
  • Difficulty with teamwork and collaboration: A dominant Fi and auxiliary Ne may cause difficulty in collaborating with others, as INFPs have a tendency to be independent and self-directed in their thinking and actions. Their Fi may make it difficult for them to adapt their values and ideas to fit the  perspectives of others. They may also have difficulty with authority and hierarchy for the same reason, and may resist being told what to do or how to do it, especially when it doesn’t align with what they believe in. 

However, in the right environment with the right people, INFPs tend to get along well with others and are often quite understanding of different opinions.

Career choice

INFPs may be well-suited for careers that allow them to express their individuality & align with their personal values (because of Introverted Feeling)  and creativity and ingenuity in problem solving. (to suit their extraverted Intuition – Ne) . Overally, they truly enjoy and excel in listening & understanding deeply and use that understanding to help others heal and grow through creative impactful communication. Some common and suitable careers for INFPs include: 

  • Counselor/therapist or social work: INFPs may be drawn to careers that allow them to help others and make a positive impact. They may be well-suited for roles as therapists or social workers, where they can use their empathetic and compassionate nature to help and guide others.
  • Writer or artist: INFPs may be imaginative and creative and may enjoy expressing themselves through writing or art. They may be well-suited for careers in these fields, where they can use their talents to create original and meaningful works. 
  • Educator: INFPs may be passionate about learning and exploration and may enjoy sharing their knowledge with others. They may be well-suited for careers as educators, where they can inspire and guide others to learn and grow.
  • Marketing: More career-oriented INFPs can find satisfaction in the promotion and sales of products and businesses that they truly believe in.

Workplace

INFPs in the workplace are typically creative and imaginative, which makes them a valuable asset to any team. They are usually very supportive of their colleagues, and prefer to work in environments that are non-competitive. 

As employers, INFPs are understanding and flexible, owing to their auxiliary Ne. They tend to value their employees and strive to provide a positive and comfortable working environment. They are usually good at delegating tasks and helping their employees to reach their potential. 

On the other hand, as employees, INFPs are loyal, reliable, and their dominant Fi makes them go the extra mile to ensure that the job is done correctly. 

INFPs typically respond to criticism in a thoughtful and self-reflective manner. Because of their dominant Fi, they may also be resistant to criticism if it challenges their strongly held values or beliefs. INFPs need to understand the reasoning behind criticism in order to accept it. 

INFPs may thrive in workplaces that allow them to be creative and independent, and that align with their personal values. They may also appreciate supportive and collaborative work environments that allow them to work with others in a harmonious way.

Relationships

In relationships and friendships, INFPs are likely to be deeply caring and supportive, and may go to great lengths to help those they care about. Their dominant function, Fi, helps them to process and understand their own emotions, as well as to deeply feel the emotions of others using mirroring (imagine themselves in that situation). This can make INFPs deeply understanding and compassionate towards their friends and loved ones. This combined with their auxiliary Ne makes them accepting and non-judgmental partners, who are able to see multiple perspectives and understand others’ feelings and needs. 

However, INFPs may struggle with being overly sensitive and taking criticism personally in a relationship. They also may have difficulty with expressing their feelings or speaking up when they are hurt or frustrated. They sometimes tend to be too idealistic, which may lead them to expect perfect harmony and ignore any potential issues in a relationship. 

It’s important for INFPs to be aware of their own feelings and take time to process and express them in a healthy way. It is also important for them to be patient with their partner and to make sure their communication is clear and honest. Compromise and understanding are key elements in any relationship, and INFPs should strive to be open to these.

Some prominent INFP figures include Mother Teresa, William Shakespeare, Prince, and J.R.R. Tolkien. Fictional INFP characters include Newt Scamander from the Fantastic Beasts Series, Frodo Baggins from The Lord of the Rings, and Dr. Spencer Reid from Criminal Minds. INFPs’ strong sense of morality and the strong desire to understand and help the world and its people are clearly evident in all these people and characters. 

In conclusion, the INFP personality type is a unique and very special one. They are sensitive and often idealistic, and put their heart and soul into the things they care about. They have an innate ability to see the potential in everything and strive to make the world a better place in their own unique way. 

How To Find Your True MBTI Type

Are you curious about your personality type and how it influences your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors? One popular tool for understanding personality is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), which is based on the theory of cognitive functions developed by Carl Jung. If you’re interested in learning more about your MBTI type, there are several different ways to do so. In this article, we’ll explore some of the most common methods, including taking an online personality assessment, working with a qualified practitioner, and taking the official MBTI assessment.

Here is a summary of some of the most common methods, along with some pros and cons of each:

  1. Taking an online personality assessment: One of the most popular and convenient ways to determine your MBTI type is to take an online personality assessment. There are many free and paid options available, such as 16Personalities and PersonalityPerfect.

    Pros: Convenient and easily accessible; can be completed in a short amount of time; often provides detailed feedback about strengths and potential career paths.
    Cons: May not be as reliable or valid as more formal assessments; results may be influenced by self-perception and self-awareness.
  2. Working with a qualified practitioner: Another option is to work with a qualified practitioner, such as a psychologist or career counselor, who is trained in administering and interpreting the MBTI. To find a qualified practitioner, you can try searching online directories of psychologists or career counselors in your area, or you can contact professional organizations such as the American Psychological Association (https://www.apa.org/) or the National Career Development Association (https://www.ncda.org/) for recommendations.

    Some pros of working with a qualified practitioner include:
    • Personalized feedback: A qualified practitioner can provide more personalized and in-depth feedback about your personality type, as they are able to take into account your unique experiences and background.
    • Reliability: Working with a qualified practitioner may result in more reliable and valid results, as they are trained in administering and interpreting the MBTI.

      Some potential cons of working with a qualified practitioner include:
    • Cost: Working with a qualified practitioner may be more expensive than taking an online assessment.
    • Time and effort: Working with a qualified practitioner may require more time and effort, as it typically involves multiple sessions or meetings.
  3. Taking the official MBTI assessment: The official MBTI assessment is administered by trained professionals and is considered the most reliable and valid measure of personality type.
    Pros: Highly reliable and valid; provides detailed feedback about strengths and potential career paths.
    Cons: More expensive than online assessments; may require more time and effort to complete.
    To sign up for the official test, visit website: https://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/take-the-mbti-instrument/
  4. Getting typing service from enthusiasts who specialize in MBTI and typology. This is different from option 2 above in the sense that, many of these people are more of social influencers and celebrities who gain trusts and followers through their social media channels over the years. They tend to not have serious professional qualifications but their services are often cheaper and less time-consuming. It’s recommended that you check out their channels to see whether you like and agree with their content and maybe read the reviews of the other customers.

    Some of the well-known channels and people you can check out are Dave and Shannon from Objective Personality, Lindsey Johnson (Lijo), Gray Capen Cietek (Augmented Personality) or Joyce Meng.
  5. Type yourself based on your own understanding of the MBTI.
    This might be the more time-consuming option but it’s free given the vast amount of content available online and will tremendously aid you in your personal growth journey through accumulated knowledge in this wonderful system. The simplest form is to understand the cognitive functions and determine which functions you identify with the most. The dominant and auxilarry function will then point you towards the corresponding type.

    For a quick guide to understanding the various cognitive functions, click here. To find the corresponding MBTI type for each cognitive function, read here.

    Another even better method is to combine your self-knowledge with online test. You can take any of the online test below and see if the description fit you. You can read the description of other types that possibly might fit you better by varying the result you get by 1 or 2 letter depending on whether you think you might be actually different. For example, if your test result is INFP, you might want to check out ENFP, INTP or ISFP etc.

Recommendation of other options for Online MBTI Tests:

  1. 16Personalities: 16Personalities is a free online personality assessment tool based on the MBTI theory of personality. It offers a detailed personality report and includes information about an individual’s strengths, weaknesses, and potential career paths. One potential drawback of 16Personalities is that it is based on self-report and may not be as reliable or valid as the official MBTI assessment. Website: https://www.16personalities.com/
  2. PersonalityPerfect: PersonalityPerfect is a free online personality assessment tool that is based on the MBTI theory of personality. It offers a detailed personality report and includes information about an individual’s strengths, weaknesses, and potential career paths. Like 16Personalities, PersonalityPerfect is based on self-report and may not be as reliable or valid as the official MBTI assessment. Website: https://www.personalityperfect.com
  3. Typefinder: Typefinder is an online personality assessment tool that is based on the MBTI theory of personality. It is not free, but it is widely available through a network of qualified practitioners and licensed organizations. Typefinder is a reliable and valid measure of personality type and is widely used in a variety of settings. One potential drawback of Typefinder is that it is based on self-report, so the results may be influenced by an individual’s level of self-awareness and self-perception. Website: https://www.typefinder.com/

Ultimately, the best way to determine your MBTI type will depend on your personal preferences, needs, and budget. Each of the methods discussed in this article has its own pros and cons, so it’s important to consider your goals and resources when deciding which option is best for you. Whether you choose to take an online assessment, work with a qualified practitioner, or take the official MBTI assessment, you can gain valuable insights into your personality and how it influences your life.

Jung’s Cognitive Functions Handbook

Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, developed a theory of personality that included eight cognitive functions that he believed influenced the way individuals perceive and process information. According to Jung’s theory, each individual has a dominant function that strongly shapes the personality.

His theory on cognitive functions are closely related to the personality types described in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). The MBTI is a psychological assessment tool that is based on Jung’s theory of personality and is used to identify an individual’s personality type based on their preferences for certain cognitive functions.

According to the MBTI, each individual has a dominant function, followed by a an auxiliary function, which work together to form their personality. The eight cognitive functions identified by Jung are:

  • Introverted Sensing (Si)
  • Extraverted Sensing (Se)
  • Introverted Intuition (Ni)
  • Extraverted Intuition (Ne)
  • Introverted Thinking (Ti)
  • Extraverted Thinking (Te)
  • Introverted Feeling (Fi)
  • Extraverted Feeling (Fe)

Here is a brief overview of how the MBTI personality types correspond to Jung’s cognitive functions:

  • ISTJ (Introverted, Sensing, Thinking, Judging): Dominant function is Introverted Sensing (Si), auxiliary function is Extraverted Thinking (Te)
  • ISFJ (Introverted, Sensing, Feeling, Judging): Dominant function is Introverted Sensing (Si), auxiliary function is Extraverted Feeling (Fe)
  • INFJ (Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging): Dominant function is Introverted Intuition (Ni), auxiliary function is Extraverted Feeling (Fe)
  • INTJ (Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Judging): Dominant function is Introverted Intuition (Ni), auxiliary function is Extraverted Thinking (Te)
  • ISTP (Introverted, Sensing, Thinking, Perceiving): Dominant function is Introverted Thinking (Ti), auxiliary function is Extraverted Sensing (Se)
  • ISFP (Introverted, Sensing, Feeling, Perceiving): Dominant function is Introverted Feeling (Fi), auxiliary function is Extraverted Sensing (Se)
  • INFP (Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving): Dominant function is Introverted Feeling (Fi), auxiliary function is Extraverted Intuition (Ne)
  • INTP (Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Perceiving): Dominant function is Introverted Thinking (Ti), auxiliary function is Extraverted Intuition (Ne)
  • ESTJ (Extraverted, Sensing, Thinking, Judging): Dominant function is Extraverted Thinking (Te), auxiliary function is Introverted Sensing (Si)
  • ESFJ (Extraverted, Sensing, Feeling, Judging): Dominant function is Extraverted Feeling (Fe), auxiliary function is Introverted Sensing (Si)
  • ENFJ (Extraverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging): Dominant function is Extraverted Feeling (Fe), auxiliary function is Introverted Intuition (Ni)
  • ENTJ (Extraverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Judging): Dominant function is Extraverted Thinking (Te), auxiliary function is Introverted Intuition (Ni)
  • ESTP (Extraverted, Sensing, Thinking, Perceiving): Dominant function is Extraverted Sensing (Se), auxiliary function is Introverted Thinking (Ti)
  • ESFP (Extraverted, Sensing, Feeling, Perceiving): Dominant function is Extraverted Sensing (Se), auxiliary function is Introverted Feeling (Fi)
  • ENFP (Extraverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving): Dominant function is Extraverted Intuition (Ne), auxiliary function is Introverted Feeling (Fi)
  • ENTP (Extraverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Perceiving): Dominant function is Extraverted Intuition (Ne), auxiliary function is Introverted Thinking (Ti)

Definitions & Examples of the Functions

  1. Extraverted Sensing (Se) – This function involves the use of the five senses to gather and process information about the physical world. People who are strong in this function are practical, detail-oriented, and focused on the present.

Example: A person who is strong in sensing might be a skilled craftsman who is able to accurately measure and cut wood using a ruler and saw.

Or a person who is strong in sensing might be a successful farmer who is able to observe and understand the needs of their crops and animals, and use their practical skills to care for them.

  1. Extraverted Intuition (Ne) – This function involves the ability to process information through pattern recognition and the interpretation of symbolic meaning. People who are strong in this function are imaginative, open-minded, and focused on the future.

Example: A person who is strong in intuition might be a successful entrepreneur who is able to see the potential in a new business idea and take risks to bring it to fruition.

Another example is, a person who is strong in intuition might be a successful writer who is able to generate new ideas and explore multiple possibilities in their writing, and use their imagination to create compelling and engaging stories.

  1. Extraverted Thinking (Te) is a cognitive function that involves the ability to organize and implement ideas in a practical way. People who are strong in this function are organized, efficient, and action-oriented. They tend to focus outwardly on the practical implementation of their ideas, and they are skilled at getting things done.

Example: A person who is strong in extraverted thinking might be a successful project manager who is able to develop and implement plans to complete projects on time and within budget. They might be adept at organizing tasks and resources, and at communicating effectively with team members to ensure that projects are completed successfully.

  1. Introverted Feeling (Fi) is a cognitive function that involves the ability to understand and process one’s own emotions, values, and beliefs. People who are strong in this function are self-aware, independent, and true to their own values and beliefs. They tend to focus inwardly on their own emotions and values, and they are skilled at understanding their own feelings and motivations.

Example: A person who is strong in introverted feeling might be a successful poet who is able to express their own emotions and values through their writing. They might be adept at understanding and exploring their own feelings, and at using their writing to express those emotions in a deeply personal and authentic way.

  1. Introverted Sensing (Si) – This function involves the ability to recall and compare past experiences to inform present actions. People who are strong in this function are reliable, grounded, and detail-oriented.

Example: A person who is strong in introverted sensing might be a successful chef who is able to recall the flavors and textures of various ingredients and use that knowledge to create new dishes.

  1. Introverted Intuition (Ni) – This function involves the ability to foresee and predict the most likely outcome and scenarios, using the whole brain to unconsciously see the hidden patterns and to see the aha moment.

Example: A person with strong Ni can be a visionary business man who foresees potential shift in the market and invest in the right market and products way ahead of his competitors.

  1. Introverted Thinking (Ti) – This function involves the ability to analyze and understand complex systems and concepts. People who are strong in this function are independent, analytical, and logical.

Example: A person who is strong in introverted thinking might be a successful scientist who is able to conduct experiments, analyze data, and develop theories to explain natural phenomena.

  1. Extraverted Feeling (Fe) – This function involves the ability to understand and respond to the emotions of others. People who are strong in this function are outgoing, empathetic, and sensitive to the feelings of others.

Example: A person who is strong in extraverted feeling might be a successful teacher who is able to connect with and understand the emotional needs of their students, and use that understanding to create a positive and supportive learning environment.

I hope the above has shed more light on the various cognitive functions in Jungian psychology & MBTI. Have questions? Feel free to comment below and I will answer promptly!

Quick Crash Course on MBTI Cognitive Functions & Function Stacks

The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is one of the most popular personality tests and frameworks since the 1950s, created by the mother-daughter duo Isabel Myers and Catherine Briggs. Officially licensed under the Myers Briggs Company, the MBTI becomes even more popular due to the proliferation of (questionable) free online tests and generic type descriptions, often known as 16P or 16-personality test.

Why You Should Go Beyond Tests and Type Descriptions

sample results from 16personalities.com of an MBTI type
A typical result chart from 16personalities.com

As a result, there are generally two levels of understanding that we have seen. In the first group are those who came across the popular 16P personality quiz, or similar sites like truity.com. These sites peddle a type of personality assessment that simply asks “are you Extroverted or Introverted”, “are you an Intuitive or a Sensor”, “are you a Thinker or a Feeler”, “are you a Judger or a Perceiver” with percentage scores and give you your “MBTI type” based on those results.

It is a dichotomy (“strictly one or the other”) method that leaves much to be desired, because in a dichotomy system, you cannot have balance in your capability for sensing/intuition, or thinking/feeling. The end result is that many test-takers feel like they do not fit the extreme definitions of “introvert” / “extrovert” / “thinker” / “feeler”, because naturally every person is a bit introverted at times, a bit extroverted at times, and uses logic and inner values depending on the situation at hand.

Picture of Carl Jung
Portrait of Carl Jung

In the second group are those who look further back to the origins of the modern MBTI, to the original theory introduced by Carl Jung in his 1921 book “Psychological Types” and expanded by Jungian analysts like John Beebe. Based on this theory, all our psychological thought processes can be categorized into 8 different cognitive functions.

This group also recognizes sixteen different types, but organizes each of the sixteen types by a unique combination of these 8 cognitive functions. It is a more holistic and nuanced understanding of personality types that accounts for the fact that everyone has a bit of everything, and the difference between types lies in the different order of strengths and weaknesses.

Here’s where the confusion arises: both groups have 16 types with the same 16 names, but a very different and incompatible understanding of what defines each of those 16 personality types.

Funny memes: seeing the cognitive functions as savior light in the distince
Have you seen the light of the cognitive-function perspective?

We are firmly in the second group, and we have seen that generally, people in the first group who start to learn about cognitive functions will almost always “see the light” and join the second group, seeing the types through the lens of cognitive functions rather than the simple dichotomies.

Once a person sees the more robust and comprehensive system, they will naturally accept it over the simplistic dichotomies. In writing this post, I hope to bring you from the shallow pools of the 16P and truity.com to the real nuts and bolts of Jung’s theory of personality!

What are Jungian/MBTI cognitive functions?

Perception can be done in two ways; it can be in the present, the “here and now” (Sensing) and it can be looking beyond into the future and inferring patterns beneath the surface (Intuition)

Sensing means looking more in to the here-and-now and concrete details instead of abstract patterns

On the other hand, judgement can be also done in two ways; it can be done for quantifiable things, judging value between two black-and-white comparisons (Thinking). It can be also be done for unquantifiable things, judging value in aspects like love or personal values (“do I love Alice or Bob more?”) (Feeling)

So as a result, we have 4 functions (Sensing, Intuition, Thinking, Feeling) and for each of these four functions , there is an introverted and an extroverted version.

Picture of a swimming person to illustrate the idea of introversion vs extroversion
Think of introversion and extroversion like water and land, for introverts, the inner mind is the relaxing land while it takes effort to “swim” in the outer word

The extroverted functions are oriented outwards towards the external world, they are:

  • Extroverted Sensing (Se): Enjoying the finer aspects of life in food, fashion. Being physically in tune with the world
  • Extroverted Intuition (Ne): From one observation, deriving ten different ideas and possibilities
  • Extroverted Thinking (Te): Real-world practicality, results-driven, things that can be written down on a resume
  • Extroverted Feeling (Fe): Being able to “read the room”, attuned to the social atmosphere, tailoring your words to your audience

The introverted functions are oriented inwards towards the subjective personal world

  • Introverted Sensing (Si): Seeing and remembering things as they were in the past, taking things step by step
  • Introverted Intuition (Ni): From ten observations, deriving one single theory that explains everything. Projecting the one future path that most likely will happen
  • Introverted Thinking (Ti): Logical and consistent, having various categories to ensure that everything has its own place in a water-tight system
  • Introverted Feeling (Fi): Having a clear idea of individual desires, values, tastes. Living life authentically without being affected by what the rest of the world does

A more detailed explanation of each of the functions can be found here.

Flow chart of how Jungian psychology branched into the 8 mbti functions
A flow chart that summarizes how Jung theorized the existence of 8 cognitive functions

How to determine the Function Stack of an MBTI Type?

  1. A person’s combination of functions (i.e. the function stack) can’t simply be randomly picked from the list of 8 functions (otherwise we would have 8^8 = 16,777,216 types! There are commonly accepted rules for the positions and pairings of the functions developed by readers of Jung such as Myers Briggs and John Beebe.
  2. Each function has a partner: its “opposite” within the same Judging/Perceiving category.
    • Perceiving function pairs
      • Introverted Intuition (Ni) + Extroverted Sensing (Se) Contextual
      • Extroverted Intuition (Ne) + Introverted Sensing (Si) Universal
    • Judging Function Pairs
      • Introverted Feeling (Fi) + Extroverted Thinking (Te) Contextual
      • Extroverted Feeling (Fe) + Introverted Thinking (Ti) Universal
  3. Every person’s first four function slots are comprised of one Perceiving function pair and one Judging function pair
    • Thus four possible combinations; there are four different ways to pair one Perceiving function pair with one Judging function pair
DemocraticTheocratic
Ne/Si + Fi/TeNi/Se + Fe/Ti
AtomicMonarchic
Ne/Si + Fe/TiNi/Se + Fi/Te
  1. Within a person’s first four function slots, one function pair will occupy the 1st (“Dominant”) and 4th (“Inferior”/”Primitive”) slots. The other function pair will occupy the 2nd (“Auxiliary”) and 3rd (“Tertiary”) slots
  2. Between the Dominant and Auxiliary Functions,
    • There is one extroverted and one introverted
    • There is one perceiving (N/S) and one judging (T/F)

To put everything together, here is an example of how we determine the functions of the ENFP type:

Step 1: Determine the orientation of the dominant function:

First letter tells you the orientation of the dominant function

The first letter “E” means Dominant function is Extroverted

Position

Orientation

Function

Dominant

Extroverted

(Intuition or Sensing or Thinking or Feeling)

Auxiliary

(Introverted or Extroverted) 

(Intuition or Sensing or Thinking or Feeling

because the dominant function is Extroverted, the Auxiliary function must be Introverted

Position

Orientation

Function

Dominant

Extroverted

(Intuition or Sensing or Thinking or Feeling)

Auxiliary

Introverted

(Intuition or Sensing or Thinking or Feeling

Step 2: Use the fourth letter narrows down the extroverted function

Fourth letter “P” means the Extroverted function is a Perceiving function (either N or S)

Position

Orientation

Function

Dominant

Extroverted

(Intuition or Sensing)

Auxiliary

Introverted

(Intuition or Sensing or Thinking or Feeling)

because the Extroverted function is a Perceiving function, the Introverted function must be a Judging function (T or F)

Position

Orientation

Function

Dominant

Extroverted

(Intuition or Sensing)

Auxiliary

Introverted

(Thinking or Feeling)

 Step 3: Use the second letter to decide whether the person is “Intuition” or “Sensing”

ENFP: “N” stands for Intuition rather than Sensing

Position

Orientation

Function

Dominant

Extroverted

Intuition

Auxiliary

Introverted

(Thinking or Feeling)

 Step 4:  Use the third letter to decide whether the person is “Thinking” or “Feeling”

ENFP: Letter F stands for Feeling rather than Thinking

Position

Orientation

Function

Dominant

Extroverted

Intuition

Auxiliary

Introverted

Feeling

 Step 5: Determine the tertiary function

Each function has a partner: its “opposite” within the same Judging/Perceiving category.

The Tertiary is simply the function pair of the Auxiliary

Position

Orientation

Function

Dominant

Extroverted

Intuition

Auxiliary

Introverted

Feeling

Tertiary

Extroverted

Thinking

 Step 6: Determine the inferior function

The Inferior/Primitive is simply the function pair of the Dominant

Position

Orientation

Function

Dominant

Extroverted

Intuition

Auxiliary

Introverted

Feeling

Tertiary

Extroverted

Thinking

Inferior / Primitive

Introverted

Sensing

Do you get it? Why not try to apply the same process above to determine the top four cognitive functions of your MBTI function stack? For a quick cheat sheet to look up different types’ stacks, click here.

So I hope you have had a better understanding of the other “deeper” aspect of MBTI and the commonly accepted model of the function stack in each type. This will unlock a more in-depth level of self-understanding for yourself based on your type.

The next step is to relook at your specific function stack and familiarize yourself with the definition and usage of each of these functions. Then, you can reflect on how these functions manifest in your life, then learn the theory further, and repeat. It will be a fulfilling and amazing journey of self-discovery with the aid of MBTI and Jungian functions!

References

  1. Myers, Isabel Briggs, and Peter B. Myers. Gifts differing: Understanding personality type. Consulting Psychologists Press, 1980.
  2. Beebe, John. Energies and patterns in psychological type: The reservoir of consciousness. Routledge, 2016.
  3. Jung, Carl. Psychological types. Routledge, 2016.

This was a guest article written by CS Ng. For more content from the author, check out here.

A more detailed explanation by him on the function stack can be found here

Cheat Sheet: Function Stack of Each MBTI Type

The 8 cognitive functions

The four extroverted functions are oriented outwards towards the external world, they are:

  • Extroverted Sensing (Se): Enjoying the finer aspects of life in food, fashion. Being physically in tune with the world
  • Extroverted Intuition (Ne): From one observation, deriving ten different ideas and possibilities
  • Extroverted Thinking (Te): Real-world practicality, results-driven, things that can be written down on a resume
  • Extroverted Feeling (Fe): Being able to “read the room”, attuned to the social atmosphere, tailoring your words to your audience

The four introverted functions are oriented inwards towards the subjective personal world

  • Introverted Sensing (Si): Seeing and remembering things as they were in the past, taking things step by step
  • Introverted Intuition (Ni): From ten observations, deriving one single theory that explains everything. Projecting the one future path that most likely will happen
  • Introverted Thinking (Ti): Logical and consistent, having various categories to ensure that everything has its own place in a water-tight system
  • Introverted Feeling (Fi): Having a clear idea of individual desires, values, tastes. Living life authentically without being affected by what the rest of the world does

Cheat sheet: Use this table for quick reference to see which functions are in each type

DominantAuxiliaryTertiaryInferior / Primitive
ISFJIntroverted Sensing (Si)Extroverted Feeling (Fe)Introverted Thinking (Ti)Extroverted Intuition (Ne)
ESFJExtroverted Feeling (Fe)Introverted Sensing (Si)Extroverted Intuition (Ne)Introverted Thinking (Ti)
INTPIntroverted Thinking (Ti)Extroverted Intuition (Ne)Introverted Sensing (Si)Extroverted Feeling (Fe)
ENTPExtroverted Intuition (Ne)Introverted Thinking (Ti)Extroverted Feeling (Fe)Introverted Sensing (Si)
ISTJIntroverted Sensing (Si)Extroverted Thinking (Te)Introverted Feeling (Fi)Extroverted Intuition (Ne)
ESTJExtroverted Thinking (Te)Introverted Sensing (Si)Extroverted Intuition (Ne)Introverted Feeling (Fi)
INFPIntroverted Feeling (Fi)Extroverted Intuition (Ne)Introverted Sensing (Si)Extroverted Thinking (Te)
ENFPExtroverted Intuition (Ne)Introverted Feeling (Fi)Extroverted Thinking (Te)Introverted Sensing (Si)
INFJIntroverted Intuition (Ni)Extroverted Feeling (Fe)Introverted Thinking (Ti)Extroverted Sensing (Se)
ENFJExtroverted Feeling (Fe)Introverted Intuition (Ni)Extroverted Sensing (Se)Introverted Thinking (Ti)
ISTPIntroverted Thinking (Ti)Extroverted Sensing (Se)Introverted Intuition (Ni)Extroverted Feeling (Fe)
ESTPExtroverted Sensing (Se)Introverted Thinking (Ti)Extroverted Feeling (Fe)Introverted Intuition (Ni)
INTJIntroverted Intuition (Ni)Extroverted Thinking (Te)Introverted Feeling (Fi)Extroverted Sensing (Se)
ENTJExtroverted Thinking (Te)Introverted Intuition (Ni)Extroverted Sensing (Se)Introverted Feeling (Fi)
ISFPIntroverted Feeling (Fi)Extroverted Sensing (Se)Introverted Intuition (Ni)Extroverted Thinking (Te)
ESFPExtroverted Sensing (Se)Introverted Feeling (Fi)Extroverted Thinking (Te)Introverted Intuition (Ni)

Are You A Thinker Or Feeler?

Can I ask if you are left-handed or right-handed? The chance is you are a right-handed person, because it is the majority of our population. How do you know that you are right-handed? It is a very obvious question almost without a need to explain. If we need to break down the reasons, there are three ways you know that your type is a right-handed: 1) The frequency of you using your right hand in a day is higher than your left and 2) Your right hand feels a lot more natural and real and 3) Your right hand will objectively be better at handling heavier objects or more complex tasks. 

That is how you should think about your opposing function of Thinking and Feeling as well. Do keep the above ideas of left and right hand in mind as we further learn about the true definition of Thinking and Feeling in Jungian psychology.

If you are a visual learner, you can also follow this video below:

The definitions

Carl Jung

Besides Introversion and Extroversion, Thinking and Feeling are the second dimension in analytical psychology (the third dimension is Intuition versus Sensing). These concepts were first introduced in the early 20th century by Carl Gustav Jung (1875 – 1961), a famous Swiss psychiatrist who developed the idea of Psychological Types, the precursor to the extremely popular Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test and framework.

My philosophy for Our Human Minds have always been to adhere as much as possible to the original understanding and work of Carl Jung to help readers understand accurately the cognitive functions. It is a longer path, but trust me, it is more rewarding and surer way to achieve more accurate self-understanding than purely taking the online test and read the descriptions of the 16 MBTI personalities!

Unlike left and right hand, Thinking and Feeling preferences in analytical psychology are more distinct, serving very different purposes. Your two hands do not oppose each other, but Thinking and Feeling do by definition. Hence, being aware of them and knowing how to develop your weaker function and learn to make them synchronize holds the potential for not only more productivity but also psychological maturity and wholeness.

The definition of  “Thinking” and “Feeling” in Jungian psychology are easily confused with the more layman definitions that we use in our daily languages. They should not be confused with logic versus emotion. You need to understand them in a more fundamental way, that they are evaluative & rational processes to judge incoming information, whether something is right or wrong, good and bad…

Thinking and Feeling aim to clearly distinguish between the two distinct preferences for decision-making: impersonal versus personal/interpersonal respectively. The easiest way to visualize this difference is in the common stereotype between men versus women in our society. Men are known to prefer to “solve problems” and break down problems “logically” while on the other hand, women simply want to be listened to, to be empathized and understood. 

Thinkers (both men and women) prefer to solve problems objectively

While this is a stereotype, indeed, some of the surveys  have shown that there is a slight preference (55%) among men for Thinking and a strong preference (75%) of women who have a Feeling preference. How much of this is the surveyed individuals’ true preferences and how much is a result of social expectation & conditioning, is for another debate. However, I would like to add that based on this survey, thinking that all men are or have to be super logical or women have to be relationship-oriented is a gross simplification and unfair treatment to both sexes.

To break it down further, thinking manifests itself as preference for using objective and measurable frameworks for clear-cut decision making. It is about using objective criteria, conceptual frameworks, pros and cons, structures, logical systems… People with Thinking preference value and take pride in being efficient, precise, goal and task-oriented. Something is good if it is placed in the right category, gives better measurable results, more efficient etc.

On the other hand, Feeling places stronger emphasis on human’s welfare, values and preferences. As an introverted function, it’s about knowing a strong moral sense of right and wrong, of feeling an urge to help the less fortunate, to be humanitarian, to overcome unfairness and restore equality. Extroverted version is about about maintaining a harmonious atmosphere (when hosting a house party for example), making sure common pleasantries and “civilized” etiquettes are adhered to, while making sure everyone has a good time.

ThinkingFeeling
DefinitionImpersonal evaluationInterpersonal and value-based decision-making
Related conceptsobjective criteria, pros and cons, measurable results, conceptual frameworks, logical systemsvalues, morality, harmony, personal preferences, gut feels of right and wrong

Quick Exercise : What is your true preference based on the above definition?
You might need to think about when you are younger or in a more comfortable place at home without any stress of work or “have to” pressure. Social expectation and work stresses might force us to over-compensate to the point of losing sight of who we truly are, like Feeling men are often expected to appear logical and tough, or your jobs have required you to develop your weaker function, even if in your younger years you are the opposite.

Develop Thinking

This section is more relevant for Feeler who has a natural strength in making decisions based on personal values or harmony, but as a result, devoting less consciousness energy in using systemic/impersonal perspectives. We will look at concrete steps that you can take to gradually build up confidence in using the skills and become more holistic in decision making.

Playing a big part of your ego, Feeling – the preference for using value and personal-preference based approach, is part of your identity. The cause that you care about, friends and family, the social connection and status that represent your deepest conviction and meaning of life, are valid. As much as it’s important to acknowledge the other side of the equation, in the end, Thinking should serve in a supporting role and not to dominate your preference for  personal values or interpersonal harmony.

Just like this two-people bike, you should let your dominant function to take the lead and guide the other function, not the other way round!

The development of your weaker functions and achieving wholeness is a life-long quest, so the instruction below serves as a general direction and examples of the kind of steps you can take to develop Thinking.

Remember that the basic definition of Thinking is the use of impersonal systems, framework and measurable results and data. Hence, you can:

  1. Learn from someone close to you who is strong in Thinking like your family members or colleagues. Talk to them more or reflect on the time you guys spend time together. Learn about how they conduct themselves differently, understand why they do it and see if you can learn and integrate some of their techniques or philosophy.
  2. Develop interests in activities that require strong impersonal reasoning and decision making such as chess, finance, computer games…
  3. Integrate productivity tools such as planner, calendar, deadlines and KPIs clearly for both personal work and managing others.
  4. Take courses, read books, watch videos… on productivity, time and project management.
  5. Learn to say No. It’s very natural for Feeler to go with the flow and say yes to keep harmony. Saying No doesn’t mean being harsh or rude if you can explain yourself clearly. It doesn’t have to be black and white either, you can also negotiate what you’d like to do and what you cannot do or you feel is not fair. It’s hard at first, but it’s an essential skill that will go a long way!

Knowing other ways to develop your Thinking side that can help other readers? Feel free to comment below!

Develop Feeling

This is more relevant to Thinking dominant type. Again, it’s important that you acknowledge and embrace your identity as a Thinker and develop Feeling as a support for a more holistic decision making process. Your Thinking function should still be in the driver seat!

  1. Find friends, family or colleagues who you know well and you are fairly certain they are stronger in Feeling. Get to know them more and reflect on how they conduct things differently and see whether you can integrate some of their physiology and methods to your daily life.
  2. Engage in reflective activities like meditation, arts, writing… to reflect on your values and what’s important to you. Remember, it’s a gradual process that requires patience and regular practices.
  3. Engage in social activities and roles that you have to interact more with people. Recognise some of your biases and see it from a more positive light when it comes to social relationships. 
  4. Immerse yourself in nature, away from distraction of work and technology, to hear and embrace your inner voices, values and feelings.

Are you a Thinker that has other ways that work? Feel free to share below.

I hope you now have a clearer understanding of the distinction between these rational dimensions of Thinking versus Feeling. In reality, these two preferences never exist as standalone in a healthy person’s psyche but work in tandem. But since they are mutually exclusive/cancelling out, it’s natural to prioritize and put your conscious energy into one while “send to exile” the other, giving little conscious energy to nourish and maintain it.

If possible, you should learn further about how Introversion and Extroversion are combined with Thinking and Feeling to give rise to 4 distinct Cognitive Processes/Functions: Introverted Thinking, Extroverted Thinking, Introverted Feeling and Extroverted Feeling. This breakdown will bring in a whole new level of depth and opportunities for self-understanding and development. Good luck!

References

Type Fundamentals Guide @mbti-notes

Psychological types by CG. Jung

How To Motivate An Introverted Employee

Do you have an employee who gave the first impression that they are a very thoughtful, creative, and smart person?  Even though this person can produce high-quality work from time to time, they seem a bit distant and uncommunicative or even arrogant…

The chances are your new employee is an introvert!  You wish there was a way to motivate them and make that employee more productive and communicative.  The solution is first to understand how and why they are different, to realize that their minds are made-up differently from the mind of an extrovert.  

Introversion versus extroversion:

The basic definition of introversion versus extroversion is that extroverts are more comfortable with and prefer to direct their mental energy toward the outside world, other people, or objects.  In contrast, introverts tend to prefer living in the world of their minds and their thoughts.  When introverts are forced into a team or a very crowded environment for too long, the situation will deplete their energy, and they will become very drained. 

Introverts gain energy from the comfort of their inner thoughts and feelings

Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Gustav Jung (1875 – 1961) was the first to distinguish extroversion and introversion, the two major orientations of personality.  We continue to learn from Jung’s findings and ongoing psychoanalytical research leads to greater understanding of personality types to help managers in the workplace.

Cognitive sciences have discovered two main ways that introverted minds are different:

1.    Introverts process incoming information more slowly because they filter information thoroughly before considering the input. Their neural pathway to process information is longer than that of extroverts.  This is because they use the parasympathetic side of the brain, and the pathways are much longer, meaning they need more time for the information to be processed.  Hence introverts can easily become over-stimulated with too much external information from the environment. 

Scientists can detect the differences between introvert and extrovert babies as early as four months old. Extroverts easily take stimulation because the two parts of the brain they use have a much smaller pathway than introverts. This neurological difference explains why extroverts tend to be active and action-oriented, actively seeking out stimulating experiences. While, in contrast, introverts tend to be more idiosyncratic in their preference for a slower and manageable pace.

Scientists can detect introverted babies as early as 4-month old!

2. The second difference is that because the part of the brain used to process information and the part of the brain connected to communication and processing verbal input are quite separated in introverts.  Hence, they can go on for long periods of time without talking or communicating with other people.   Conversely, an extrovert will get the juices flowing, think, and speak at the same time.  They will enjoy brainstorming with other people, thinking and talking simultaneously.  

So, when you know these differences, you can begin to understand why there are behavioral differences between introvert and extrovert team members.  You see, it’s not that your introverted employee is having an attitude or trying to be distant on purpose; it’s just how their brain works.

How to spot an introverted employee

They tend to be

  1. Calm: He or she exudes a calming presence.
  2. Listeners: They tend to listen more than they talk.  This is especially noticeable in a team meeting when they appear more reflective.
  3. Having subdued Dress Style: Introverts tend to dress subtly.  Their clothing is usually understated, preferring dark colors.  They don’t want to stand out too much.  Compare this with extroverted employees who dress in more vibrant, outstanding colors and styles.

In fact, a lot of people think that introverts are a minority in the population.  However, many surveys have shown that introverts and extroverts are actually about 50/50 in a population.

The reason they seem to be the minority is that they don’t compete with the extroverts for attention.  They don’t speak up that much, preferring to think through the information before voicing an opinion.  They’re the silent half of the population! Another possible explanation is that many introverts would put on an “extrovert mask” on social settings to blend in better (even if it’s pretty draining), giving the impression that there are ways more extroverts to the untrained eyes.

Introverts bring unique strengths to the team

Now you know the differences between introverts and extroverts, you can appreciate the unique strengths of the introverted employee:

  • Because they spend more time reflecting and coming up with something that is truly unique, you can expect their work to be more creative and original.
  • You can also expect them to be thorough and meticulous because they think things through and process a lot of information inside their head before they talk about and show the result.   
  • Lastly, introverts have high moral principles.  Most of the time, introverts value their integrity and authenticity very highly.  It’s a useful attribute to balance the team in the workplace, especially against the fast-paced and cut-throat cultures of many workplaces nowadays.

How to motivate the introverted employee

So, how do you as a manager nurture and encourage better productivity and motivation from an introverted employee?  There are four ways you can do it:

1. When you assign them some work or a task, give them a lot of upfront information so they can process it, but then give them space.  There is this golden rule of two to forty-eight hours, depending on the complexity of the task, that works very well with introverts.  Give your introverted employee the time to think through all the input and process the information. In return, they will give you very thorough and very considered work results. 

2.  The second way you can help them is to complement their weaknesses.  Since they are a more reflective and somewhat individualistic employee, you can support them with your own strengths or that of another team member:

For example, you can provide them with social connections to others in the team.  Because it’s usual that introverts find it challenging to initiate social contact themselves, you can quickly introduce them to other team members.  By introducing them to other stakeholders that are relevant o the project, you help them to be able to touch base and integrate into the team.

You can assist an introverted employee by introducing him or her to other stakeholders/coworkers

3. You can assist them by giving clear deadlines and KPI expectations.  Because introverts are so reflective and usually perfectionistic, they are not good with deadlines.  So, you need to be clear regarding when you need the result.   When you have clear KPIs, they are certain of your expectations, and you can best optimize their thought process and creativity.

4.   Lastly, keep your introverted employee motivated.  Once they have finished their work, it’s important to praise the work, but moderately, because they can easily detect unnecessary and superfluous compliments.   So give them the praise that they deserve for their originality and creativity.  Praise them for their hard work and their meticulousness.  This valid, genuine praise will be a sure way to make sure you keep your introverted employee happy and motivated.

Conclusion

When you are aware of introverted characteristics you are better able to manage introverted team members.  Doing so is a case of considering how the different personality types function.  Introverted employees are motivated by receiving information in advance of meetings, enabling them to think about the content prior to the meeting.  Introverts will also think about ideas and get back to you later with their contributions.  A manager who considers personality types of the whole team are rewarded with wider contributions and a happier team.  

References:

https://www.lifehack.org/412467/why-introverts-are-introverts-because-their-brains-are-different

https://www.insperity.com/blog/managing-introverts/

How To Overcome Perfectionism

If you are someone who struggles to get started on a project or to complete complicated projects, you may be a perfectionist.  Things can never feel good enough and you may get stuck in a painful spiral of paralysis by analysis! Perfectionism is a much more complex personality trait than many people realize.  Ultimately, it is the desire for perfection that drives the perfectionist mindset. 

The perfectionist personality can be healthy and highly effective when high standards are required.  Healthy perfectionism can drive a person to achieve success, and it can be a valuable trait for overcoming adversity for some, it sets high self-motivation skills.  However, perfectionism is frequently a self-sabotaging behavior; perfectionism can also be a toxic trait that leads to a downward spiral of despair, anxiety, obsession, and feeling overwhelmed.

The root causes of perfectionism

Perfectionism likely stems from genetics or experiences in early childhood.  Opinions vary around whether perfectionism is a learned behavior or if some people are predisposed to perfectionism.  Some believe that a person may be genetically predisposed to perfectionism.  Scientific studies of twins indicate that genetics rather than upbringing and circumstance predispose a person to perfectionism.  The studies discovered that identical twins had a much closer perfectionism score than non-identical twins.   

However, many experts maintain that perfectionism can also be a learned behavior.  When a child is raised with high or even unrealistic parental expectations or those who never felt good enough or who learned to gauge their value by their achievements may learn to embrace perfectionism and show classic perfectionist traits. 

4 strategies to effectively overcome perfectionism:

1.   Acknowledging that perfectionism isn’t perfect

Whether the source of perfectionism is genetic or learned from environmental factors in early childhood, it is frequently a problem to be overcome for the successful completion of projects. Many people believe that the psyche of the perfectionist leads to high standards. However, that is not always the case because the high standards set by perfectionism may come at a price. Perfectionism can be a barrier to effective, efficient productivity. Furthermore, perfectionism is likely to stunt creativity, delay action, and create unnecessary stress for those involved. 

The first approach to dealing with your perfectionism is understanding the perfectionist trait. The better you understand perfectionism, the better you can work through the negative aspects of your perfectionism while utilising the advantages that perfectionism brings.

Perfectionism is a single personality trait that exhibits in three ways:

  • The self-oriented perfection which sets unrealistic aims to be perfect oneself  
  • Other-oriented perfectionism which is imposing unrealistic perfectionism onto others
  • Social perfectionism is having a perception that others require perfection from them.

A manager with perfectionism sets themselves or their team unrealistic goals. Frequently, the hardest part is getting started. The perfectionist usually sees things as success or failure; there is no in between. The problem is that this idealistic outlook means that you do not always live up to the exceptional standards you set yourself. You become so fixated on the end goal and making sure that the end project is perfect that you fail to start the project at all.

2. Pareto Principle or 80/20

As well as overcoming procrastination and failing to get started through over-analysis, there are recognized principles that can help you get started, including the Pareto Principle or 80/20 system. Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist, developed the Pareto principle in 1896. Initially relating to the ownership of land in Italy whereby 80% was owned by only 20% of the population. He also observed the principle in other areas of his life. As well as economics, you can observe the phenomenon in sports, business, and time management.

Identify highest-impact priorities first

The Pareto Principle is a system worth investigating when you want to work efficiently. The trick is to work smart, not work hard; working hard and always being busy is not always as effective as working smart. The 80/20 rule is about doing the things that make the most significant difference to the project. In other words, use 20% of your time to achieve 80% of your work. It’s worth reminding yourself of this rule whenever you find yourself procrastinating. You can use the Pareto principle to help with time management. Work out the 20% that will have the most impact on the creativity and effectiveness of the project. Break these down into easily managed sub-tasks that help to streamline the project. By concentrating on the most effective areas for moving the project forward, you take giant leaps forward in productivity.

3. Addressing your exaggerated fear of failure

The element of perfectionism seldom encountered when learning about perfectionism is the fear of failure, yet that is the crucial element of the trait that is stalling you when you need to get started on a project. Perfectionism is subjective, and your idea of perfection as a perfectionist is holding you back!.

Ultimately, your fear of failure is holding you back, so you have to strategize to overcome your fear of failure. Finding the courage and resolve to accept that failure is not something to fear, that it is a normal part of growing the project will empower the perfectionist manager to find balance. Furthermore, mistakes along the way are not failures.

As a perfectionist, your fear of failure is so intense that it could hijack the whole project. It’s what holds you back from getting started. However, by learning to utilize the positives of perfectionism in a way that doesn’t negatively impact the project, you effectively manage your perfectionism and have the opportunity to learn from any mistakes. 

The perfectionist mindset will want you to hold onto the project until it is completely ready and perfect. Yet, it may never seem perfect to you. So what will you do then? 

  • Never complete the project and hand nothing in
  • Let down your team
  • Have nothing to show for all the hours spent procrastinating?

Not handing the work in is the biggest failure of all. The worst-case scenario is that it is preferable to do something, to have something to hand in rather than nothing at all. Correctly managed failure is a prodigious step towards the required outcomes.

How the concept works:

  • Firstly, realize that the only real failure is to hand nothing in. 
  • Realize that the project you perceive as not ready is acceptable to everyone else.
  • Realize that we learn through mistakes. 
  • See failure as a neutral, not a negative. Do this by rewording ‘failure’ when you think of it to ‘learning opportunity’.

4. Gain Continuing Feedback for Approval

Regular reporting to your manager or client is a valuable method to stop procrastinating and get the project started, then throughout the project to prevent your perfectionism from impeding progress. Don’t be afraid to ask a member of your team for advice and input. 

Approval from your manager or the client offers a confidence boost when you are at risk of going over and over the plan for the project or the pitch. To overcome the fear of failure requires letting go of control. Plan to report to your manager or client in steps along the way. Accept that each stage is a step towards completing the project. By asking for and gaining feedback at each stage, you will gain their input and ultimately approval about how the project is progressing. You learn from the feedback; it’s a tool to improve the work. 

Feedback helps you adjust your goals quickly

This methodology is similar to the concept of Minimum Viable Product (“MVP”), which is from Eric Ries’ book ‘Lean Startup’. MVP is a mechanism for validated learning through testing market reactions. MVP is a system built around feedback and validation. You use the feedback and validation at each stage of the project in the same way. You can find out more about MVP here.

When you select a trusted person from the team to co-work with, they can reassure you when the work is good enough. By co-working with another person in the team to go over the draft pitch, you may be surprised that the plan or pitch is actually completely acceptable. As a perfectionist, your mindset is biased to look for and concentrate on what needs fixing, looking for the faults and what is wrong. Another mindset will see all that is good about the work. When their honest opinion is that it is good enough, it probably is ready for submission.

Sharing stages of the project along the way will take some getting used to, but once you conceptualize and accept that doing so is a necessary strategy to get the project underway and to its satisfactory conclusion, you will overcome the resistance. 

By gaining approval when the stages submitted are acceptable, you teach your mind to work in a more accepting way. By accepting feedback when a stage is not quite right, you learn from it. You can’t learn without mistakes. Failure or mistakes are an option in stages; by breaking the project down into stages and acting on the feedback given, you are actually getting closer to achieving the perfect outcome for your manager or client.    When you break the project down in this way, each stage becomes a mini-project in its own right, thus simplifying the project into smaller goals which in turn, help it to become less insurmountable.

Conclusion

Various conceptual methodologies help you when you recognize the pull of perfectionism in your personality. We have shared these highly effective methodologies above. When you realize why the perfectionist’s perceived failure is frequently not failure at all, just part of the natural progression of the project, it’s how you learn from the failures along the way that counts. Being solution focussed and thorough are helpful to a project, but being overzealous about perfectionism is not. When you manage your perfectionism effectively, you actually move closer to the perfectionism that you seek through the mistakes made along the way.

References:

https://www.liquidplanner.com/blog/7-secrets-highly-productive-project-managers/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/basics/productivity

https://asana.com/resources/pareto-principle-80-20-rule

https://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2021/12/08/a-review-of-the-minimum-viable-product-approach/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/basics/perfectionism

https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/understanding-hypnosis/202204/overcoming-perfectionism-can-lead-enhanced-achievement

https://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/being-a-perfectionist-may-lie-in-your-genes-scientists-112110500378_1.html

https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/basics/perfectionism

https://allthingstalent.org/2019/07/24/managing-perfectionist-workplace/

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ert.21370

https://www.webmd.com/balance/features/how-to-overcome-perfectionism

Intuition vs Sensing: Two Distinct Ways Our Mind Takes In Information

The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality test and framework have popularized the concepts of extroversion, introversions and the cognitive processes that you probably have heard of: Thinking vs Feeling, Intuition vs Sensing. However, these concepts were first introduced in the early 20th century by Carl Gustav Jung (1875 – 1961), a famous Swiss psychiatrist who founded analytical psychology.

Understand the fundamentals of these processes is crucial for any further learning and reading of MBTI-related theories and Jungian psychology. At the very least, you will be able to decipher the various functions that make up your personality type and how they interact together to form your unique cognitive patterns.

So let’s dive in to the first pairs of two opposite processes: Intuition and Sensing! If you prefer to watch instead of reading, below is a detailed video explanation I have made on the same topic:

The Definitions

This dichotomy is how we perceive and make sense of information, either in a dominantly concrete or abstract manner.

Concrete information is tangible sensory information, something that you can feel, see, taste, hear. With regards to time, it’s also related to what is here and now, what’s currently going on in society and most immediate environment. Jung termed this process of accessing concrete information: sensing and those with this preference are called sensors

Abstract information is intangible conceptual information, such as reading between the lines, metaphors, meaning behind things, future possibilities … The person likes to think far ahead, using past data to foresee future outcomes and behaviors. The process of using abstract perception is termed Intuition and the people who prefer it over sensing are called intuitives.

We both can use sensing and intuition at will, we have preference to prioritize one over the other. Our preferred side is more dominant, natural, and more developed like the left and right hand. Sensors are generally better at noticing and remembering details of a discussion while intuitives often only remember the key points or vibe. 

 Intuition dominantSensing dominant
How an intuitive and sensor notice a book in bookshop differently (in order
of what the person see first)
Essence of what’s it about
Relevance to me
Seem a bit worn out
Eww one corner is torn off!
The cover design is corny
What is it about?
Example of how an intuitive and sensing person would notice an object differently

According to statistical studies, Sensors significantly outnumber Intuitives in the general population.(70-75% of the population are sensors). It is a big advantage if you are aware of the sensing-intuitive difference because this dichotomy is often a common source of misunderstanding in work and personal relationships.

Sensors look for concrete facts and details and take things as they are and work with them. Intuitives look for abstract patterns and connections because they prefer to deal with the potential of objects, believing that reality can be different or changed, with a hopeful lens for the future. Sensors are more realistic and grounded while intuitives are more idealistic.

When Sensors intuit for too long, they feel impatient with too much theory and abstract thoughts. Meanwhile, intuitives can easily be put off by feeling forced to explain or sequence “every little detail” and would rather get back to entertaining new or interesting possibilities to restore equilibrium to their personality.

Evolutionary and social roles

Many would think that Intuition – the ability for more abstract thinking should exist only in humans or modern humans but the truth is both Intuition and Sensing exist in animals too. A lot of animals are known for their gut feeling or ability to memorise patterns (like salmon or birds that migrate thousands of miles to the places they are born). Of course, abstract thinking is more pronounced in humans because we have developed tools like languages and the concept of time, which significantly boosts our capacity for abstract thinking.

Any MBTI types are capable of both, as mentioned above. The average humans, regardless of types, are capable of comprehending and using way more abstraction than any other species on planet earth. I suspect that the part of Intuition and Sensing in our brains are pretty distinctive and mutually exclusive. However, why don’t we all evolve to become abstract thinkers? 

Because both ways of thinking are important to get any society or any project to function. It is a matter of spectrum. For example, Einstein came up with the E=MC2 formula, which is an example of highly abstract work! But society don’t just exist out of a formula! We need to further “concretize” the abstraction into practical and applicable tasks – the realm of Sensing. We further apply it to build space craft, atomic bomb… then we need people who like to take specific instruction on how to make that part of the space craft, what color is the craft, what materials is it made of… down to the smallest details!

What does it mean for you?

I hope the overview above gives you a more accurate and objective view of the two primary modes of information perception in the population. Keep it in mind when you interact next with other people and see if you can tell if they are sensors or intuitives. Two people of the same types will have an easier time communicating while you should be a bit more mindful of people who do not share the same preference. In essence, intuitive people love abstract and somewhat theoretical discussion while sensing-dominant people want to know the details and concrete steps.

No preference is better than the others. We have our respective social roles and strengths and weaknesses. In particular, if you are an intuitive, you might be the minority but with great potential for big-pictured thoughts and acquisition of abstract and innovative information. If you ever feel misunderstood or broken in some ways cause you are not in tune or don’t care about the latest social trends or norms, it’s ok. There are other people like you and there are exciting discovery ahead when things start to make sense and you will finally discover your true identity and purpose, even if it takes slightly longer than usual.