Personal Development

What is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator?

Do you know what the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is? Maybe it seems familiar, but you’re not sure where you first heard it…Or sometimes you know exactly where you heard something but have no idea what it is.

Well, if you’ve ever wanted to know what people were talking about when they said things like “I’m an ENFP” or “I’m an ISTJ,” then settle in. Not only will I decode those 4-letter sequences for you, but I’ll hopefully persuade you as to why we all need a little Myers-Briggs Type Indicator in our lives.

So, what is Myers-Briggs?

Besides being incredibly amazing? Okay, put simply: The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a personality test that explains how people see the world. But it’s not like some cutesy, throwaway quiz from a teen magazine; it’s actually a pretty comprehensive test that gives a lot of insight into how you perceive your environment, how you interact with others, and how they interact with you.

It’s quite possibly the most popular personality inventory out there and is used all the time in business to help build better teams and organizational function. It’s used because The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator describes people’s natural orientations and preferences for socializing, decision-making, and information-processing.

Your personality type is made up of four letters that help you better understand yourself and your relationships with others. To determine your MBTI personality type, you must first complete the MBTI questionnaire and then meet with a qualified MBTI consultant for a type discovery interview. Each year, the Myers-Briggs Company certifies about 2,000 consultants and personal development experts from various fields (HR professionals, coaches, counselors, etc.).

How can Myers-Briggs help you?

Have you ever thought that there are only a few “right” ways of approaching an issue or experiencing the world? Well, Myers-Briggs can help you open your mind to many more ways of seeing situations. If you’ve ever struggled to see things from another perspective, this system can help you to not only understand opposite world views but accept them while staying true to yourself.

So, how does Myers-Briggs Indicator work?

Well, after taking an assessment, you’ll be sorted into one of 16 personality types. Your personal type is designated with a four-letter “code” that represents your individual personality. Each of the letters in the code represent a different function or quality. So, you can either be:

Introverted (I) or Extroverted (E)

This is how you take in the world around you, and what gives you energy. Does being around other people energize you or drain you?

Intuitive (N) or Sensing (S)

Do you take in the world primarily through your five senses or do you tend to look for underlying meanings and implications?

Thinking (T) or Feeling (F)

Do you make decisions impersonally and logically or do you primarily use your emotions to guide you?

Judging (J) or Perceiving (P)

Does too much planning make you uncomfortable and anxious? Or do you need to have everything laid out and structured before you can proceed?

No letter or designation is better than the other; they’re all just different ways of seeing the world. To be honest, all of use each of these functions along a spectrum.

For instance: there are really extroverted people, really introverted people, and then people who fall in the middle and who are sometimes introverted or extroverted. What the right assessment will do is help you to determine what your natural preference is. And understanding your preferences is like personality type gold: they can help explain your actions to others as well as help us to understand other people.

Where do you get your energy from?

The introvert (I) is not a closed person. They are not lonely, but they are not afraid to be alone and think carefully before making decisions. Very independent, she is also a very good observer. After a hard day, she recharges her energy in the quiet.

The extrovert (E), on the other hand, needs to vent on the shoulders of others to reinvigorate himself. They go out to meet others and like to form bonds and be part of a group. He is a talker who spontaneously talks about his problems, his feelings and all other subjects.

It is on the basis of the answers given by the person that his profile will be determined, if he is more introverted than extroverted.

Note, however, that each answer is neither good nor bad, as each character has its own advantages and disadvantages. The test is not intended to be selective or ranking. Please remember to answer truthfully so as not to bias the determination.

How do you take the Myers-Briggs Indicator test?

There is an official test that you can take through the MBTI organization that costs around $150-$175. But for all of us who are trying to save a buck, there are tons of FREE! online assessments that can help determine your personality type. Whether you have 5 minutes or want to take a more in-depth version, I’ve got you covered in my post: How to Take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Assessment for Free Online + Tips.

What happens after the test?

The next thing you should do after the test is browse around different descriptions and prepare to fascinate yourself! Don’t know where to look? Well, lucky you, I’ve rounded up some great descriptions on the web for your viewing pleasure.

But seriously, take advantage of the information. A lot of people take the MBTI, entertain themselves for a few minutes or hours with their results, and then forget about it. It’s akin to being seen as entertainment, not unlike how many people view reading their horoscopes.

But if you allow it to, it can open you to a whole new way of seeing the world and reveal amazing insights that you never could have imagined.

Which is why I write about this stuff — to help you to maximize your ability to use the MBTI and other personality type systems as forces for creating powerful change and growth in your life.

What about you? Have you ever taken the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator? What personality type did you get?


Sadie is a freelance writer documenting the adventures of downsizing from the family home in the suburbs to a mountain cottage in the woods. She share the downsizing details, scoutings of the mountain locations, and her never-ending search for the perfect T-shaped clothesline.

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