As part of the developing Spiritual Formation Program at CRTS, personality tests were administered to us freshmen the other day. It was the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test that divides all people into sixteen personality types. These types are denoted by four letters, each of which represent one characteristic of your personality. So, for instance, you might be an ISTP, or an ENTP, or an ENFJ. These letters are derived from four pairs; you are either I or E (introvert or extravert), S or N (sensing or intuitive), T or F (thinking or feeling), J or P (judging or perceiving). Because there are sixteen possible combinations of these eight letters, there are sixteen personality types. You are one of them, and so am I.
We took the test with Mr. Henk Van Dooren, a social worker, who first gave us a lecture on the MBTI and the importance of personality in ministry. After the lecture we took the test, which had 90 questions or so, each one having an A/B, either/or, answer. Would you rather have your day planned out or be spontaneous? Do you prefer creative writers or clear writers? Do you like being away from home all the time or at home all the time? Questions like that. At the end of the test, before we handed it in, Mr. Van Dooren asked us to guess what our personality types were and to write our guesses on the paper.
After a few days we got the results back, and you’ll be happy to know that I passed. However, the personality type that the test showed was not the one that I had guessed. I was one letter off. Further, along with our test results we were given a sheet that had a short description of each of the sixteen personality types so we could see how well these descriptions fit us. However, Arenda and I did not think that the personality that the test said I was fit with the personality description on the sheet. We got to write a reflective paper on the whole thing, and in that paper I wrote that we felt that my tested personality was not accurate. Instead, we felt that there was a personality type on that sheet that better described me. Mr. Van Dooren and Dr. de Visser read my paper and agreed with me.
So here are four personality type descriptions from that paper. One of them is my personality. Which one do you think it is?
Flexible and tolerant, they take a pragmatic approach focused on immediate results. Theories and conceptual explanations bore them – they want to act energetically to solve the problem. Focus on the here-and-now, spontaneous, enjoy each moment that they can be active with others. Enjoy material comforts and style. Learn best through doing.
Have original minds and great drive for implementing their ideas and achieving their goals. Quickly see patterns in external events and develop long-range explanatory perspectives. When committed, organize a job and carry it through. Skeptical and independent, have high standards of competence and performance – for themselves and others.
Warmly enthusiastic and imaginative. See life as full of possibilities. Make connections between events and information very quickly, and confidently proceed based on the patterns they see. Want a lot of affirmation from others, and readily give appreciation and support. Spontaneous and flexible, often rely on their ability to improvise and their verbal fluency.
Tolerant and flexible, quiet observers until a problem appears, then act quickly to find workable solutions. Analyze what makes things work and readily get through large amounts of data to isolate the core of practical problems. Interested in cause and effect, organize facts using logical principles, value efficiency.