Appreciating Differences - Jack Falt - Ottawa area, Ontario, Canada

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#1 - Appreciating Differences

by Jack Falt

This column, written by Jack Falt, is the first article on personality types and a regular feature of Energy Medicine. It was first was published October 1998, Volume 1, Issue 1. See the subsequent articles on this site that describe the meaning of the four dimensions of behaviour that personality types measures.

In this column we are going to discuss what personality type is all about, and what you can do with it. In later issues we will be discussing how temperament fits into this as well. I hope to show you a way of looking at yourself and others that for some of you, at least, will be a new way that can be very beneficial. Often when someone reads the description of their personality type, they are amazed at how closely it fits them. When a couple read each otherís type, there is greater understanding between them.

Wouldnít it be great if we came with an ownerís manual? We could understand ourselves and maybe even understand the other guy. While I canít promise to provide you with such a manual, I can give you clues about yourself that may enable you to write your own manual. The good news is, that what you learn about yourself, you can also apply it to other people. The other good news is that even though we share many traits in common we are all still unique individuals.

One personality method of typing looks at mental patterns. Inventories help you decide: where you get your energy from: Extraverts from the outer world and Introverts from the inner world; how you gather information: Sensing sees the details and Intuiting sees the big picture; how you make decisions: Thinking is based on objective criteria and Feeling is based on subjective criteria; and how you act in the outer world: Judging wants closure and Perceivng want process.

If you knew that I was an INFJ, you would be able to tell that I probably like some time alone to think things over (I). I prefer to consider the big picture (N) rather than getting bogged down in details. When I make decisions, I tend to base them on my values (F) more than on a logical basis. Using Judging means that I tend like things planned out (J). The INFJ type is relatively rare, about 1% of the population. Now I know why there arenít too many people who think like I do.

In the work setting: I would prefer to look over a proposal (I) before discussing (E) it. I would be more interested in the overall plans of a project (N) first before getting into the particulars (S). When making decisions, I want to know how it will affect me and others (F) and then consider the bottom line of facts and figures (T). I tend to be organized and follow a timetable (J) rather than playing it by ear or waiting for the idea time to act (P).

Within the work setting, an understanding of personality type is very helpful in team building, leadership, sales, conflict resolution, stress management, problem solving, goal setting, time management, and dealing with change. Everyone would benefit from knowing one anotherís personality type. You could work so much more effectively together.

This brings up the question: Couldnít my boss use my type against me? That is why ethically someone administering a personality type inventory gets a commitment from the boss that the results are given directly to the employees and you can choose whether to share your results. This way everyone is more willing to share. Generally the boss takes the inventory too and shares his or her results with the group.

Since there are four letters in each type, the letters can combine in 16 different ways.  That means there are sixteen different types. However, each individual is still unique. If you met me in person and then met another INFJ, with a bit of experience you could see how we are alike, but you would also see us as very different expressions of the same type. Martin Luther King Jr. and Oprah Winfrey are thought to be INFJ types by some speculators.

With just these four letters you have a great deal of information about yourself. For example: each type learns in a different way; you do your job in a different way; and your relationships will be different because of the type you are.  Imagine if you and your significant other knew each otherís type. So many of your arguments would vanish. You would realize that what your partner was saying was from his or her point of view and was not necessarily meant as a personal attack. (Thatís what I mean by Appreciating Differences.)

Have I got you interested? The concepts are simple and in the next issues of Energy Medicine weíll cover the basics and how to apply them to your life and the world around you. Next time weíll look at what it means to be an Extravert or an Introvert.

See the next article: # 2 - Extraversion and Introversion

See the next article: #3 - Sensing and Intuition

See the next article: #4 - Thinking Feeling

See the next article: #5 - Judging and Perceiving

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List of Articles by Jack Falt