At the age of 15 Antonia picked up a book on personality psychology and her world changed forever. She began to see the patterns of why people do what they do – not based on behavior alone – but based on how their mind works.
We were last talking to Joel and Antonia about importance of “knowing yourself.” Fully understanding yourself is a Key for personal growth. Personality typing can help unlock your unknowns. It can give you clarity in understanding not only the way you behave, but how you understand and learn. It can guide you to the make the best decisions, and how you can begin to leverage and grow skill sets in areas of your natural strengths and talents.
In this interview learn:
Personality Typing Theory in depth
Criterias to help make good decisions
How understanding yourself can energize you
Whether you need to engage your inner or outer world
Can you give an introduction to the Personality Typing theory?
Antonia: There are 8 Cognitive Functions in total. A Cognitive Function is how the mind processes and acquires knowledge and understanding through thought, experience and our senses. Four of them are a Judging process, used for making decisions. The other four are a Perceiving process, used in learning and how we understand the world.
Each of the 4 Learning processes and 4 Decision making process go about doing things differently. The criteria we use to determine how we make a decision is different, depending on how it makes sense for us. The same goes for learning new information.
With the Myers Briggs, there are 4 main dichotomies. So for each pair, people are usually one or the other.
Introversion (I) or Extraversion (E)
Intuition (N) or Sensing (S)
Thinking (T) or Feeling (F)
Judging (J) or Perceiving (P)
Everybody has a different stack of 4-Letters for each personality type, depending on which end of the dichotomy they are leaning towards.
Being an Introvert or an Extravert is more than just being shy and quiet or outgoing and social. It is about how their mind perceives and interacts with the world.
Extraverts need to engage their environment, people and objects around them, the outer world. They learn by receiving feedback from the outer world and become energized by interacting with it. They perform best and reach balance or equilibrium when interacting with outer stimuli.
Introverts are more sensitive to the outer world and need to escape from it to become at their best. They become easily drained of energy when in social situations for too long. They need to escape and interact with their “inner” world, to be alone with their thoughts and feelings, to contemplate and mull over their experiences.
Intuition and Sensing is how your mind learns and processes new information. If you’re a Sensory, you are more in the here and now. More practical and good at details, facts, and what’s happening now or has already happened. Sensors are uncomfortable with anything (including thought) that isn’t concrete and reliable. They like verifiable facts that can be relied upon.
Intuitives live more in their minds. They easily get caught up in fantasies and dreamworlds they create. They are imaginative and often think of possibilities or “what if” scenarios. They like to think in terms of abstract concepts or theories. They like to look at patterns and can easily visualize images and see the “bigger picture.” They often have their “head in the clouds” and may sometimes overlook things in the moment. They get energized by discussing abstract ideas and immersing themselves in this state of mind.
Thinking and Feeling is used in how you make decisions. Thinkers like to focus on logic over emotions. They hide their emotions so that they can think rationally. They make decisions based on logical thought, rather than on emotions. Feeling individuals are more in tune with their emotions. They base their decisions more on how it makes them feel, they follow their hearts.
Judging and Perceiving is more about organization. Judging people like to have their outer world clean and organized, so that their mind or inner world can be free and unrestricted. They are often decisive and value clarity, predictability, and closure. They like structure and planning over spontaneity. Perceiving people are the opposite, they don’t like being restricted in the outer world, they value spontaneity and flexibility. They like to keep their options open. But their inner world is highly organized and very logical.
All by themselves, each dichotomy can have a lot of powerful information. Just by someone knowing they’re an introvert or an intuitive can be a game changer for them. Knowing that as an Introvert you get energized by focusing on your “inner” world, or as an extrovert focusing on the “outer” world, can be extremely helpful.
The dichotomies were actually not intended to be the end of the story, but the beginning. Isabel Briggs Myers originally meant for the 4 letter word to be used as a decoder ring to help you understand your cognitive function stack, to uncode how your mind is wired and the mental processes your mind uses.
So basically it shows us how we make unique decisions and learn the best?
Antonia: Right, but more than that. For example, of the 4 Decision making processes, 'Feeling' often prioritizes the human element. They consider how their decisions will impact the people around them, taking into account their feelings and social situations. The 'Thinking' process makes decisions based on data and resources. It tell us how to think in terms of impersonal criteria, resources, metrics, and data.
That alone, just understanding that people are wired to either think about prioritizing people, or prioritizing impersonal terms can be game changing.
The people who are wired to think in personal terms, if they’re pressured to think in impersonal terms, about data and resources, they’ll actually become sloppy and make worse decisions. On the flip side, if the people who think in data and resource criteria are told to make decisions based on the emotional component, how it will affect other people around them, they’ll also make worse decisions.
So it's not about which function you are using, but which function you use that you’re naturally wired for. The type of decisions you’re naturally good at making. When you do that, you get in your flow state and end up making better decisions.
The Perceiving (learning) processes show whether you’re wired to be an abstract thinker or more of a concrete thinker. If you’re a concrete thinker, you learn and understand information best when using your senses and rely on concrete, tangible, verifiable and reliable information. That’s what catches your attention and have a tendency to look at. It engages you more and is interesting to you.
Or are you wired to think more in abstractions and ideas? Thinking in theories, speculations, and “what if’s,” looking at possibilities rather than the here and now.
The people who are wired to think in this way are usually more attracted to speculative abstract ideas and 'what if' scenarios, than concrete thinkers who are drawn to verifiable and reliable information.
Again, it’s how you’re naturally wired. If you’re encouraged to go towards your natural wiring, you will be very good at manipulating that space and area. The kind of thinking and way of perceiving and understanding in that space will get more and more sophisticated. So there are differences in the level of maturity and skills you develop in using each of these mental processes.
How does Extraversion or Introversion come into play?
Antonia: So each of the processes will have an extroverted way or an introverted way of using it.
If you make decisions based on impersonal objective criteria, you will do that with either an introverted attitude or an extraverted one. If you think with an introverted attitude, you’ll be mulling over thoughts based on logical consistency and make decisions based on the objective criteria. You will make decisions based on how it makes you feel or what makes sense to you as an individual.
Extraverts are wired to think in terms of the outer world. How will the decision affect the outside world. How will other people feel based on your decisions or how are resources or projects going to be impacted in the outside world.
This same rule applies to the learning or perceiving process.
There are concrete thinkers that take information they’ve learned and see how it impacts them internally, mulling it over and over, trying to figure out what it meant to them as an individual or how it affects their outside world and the people around them.
Then there are people that take this information and turn it outward. They do that more by engaging with their environment in a kinesthetic way. They live in the moment and want to engage with the outside world in a sensory way. This is how they get in their flow state.
The abstract thinker that turns their thinking outward are constantly looking for new possibilities in the outside world. They test and experiment with the outside world to see if new possible scenarios emerge.
Abstract thinkers that turn their thinking internally are able to understand more in terms of how they see patterns forming inside their mind, running simulations in their mind. They are usually the “visionaries” of the world as they try to turn their visions into reality.
Every person has one best way they learn and one best way they make decisions. Learn more about the different ways people process information and make decisions.