Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Typing People - Could it be useful?

Unte has surprisingly good things to say about systems of classifying people.

Dividing humanity into types is a prime way that people understand one another, from ancient esoterica like astrological signs to modern systems like the Myers-Briggs inventory, used (and abused) by businesses in assessing employees. By asserting that groups of people share characteristics, regardless of other differences (such as life experience), typing can seem like fate, a too-tight box. Yet it has the potential to transcend divisions like gender and race and make us more conscious of the contributions we all make. In this section, we introduce some major typing systems and suggest ways they can make our lives richer and more real. -- The Editors

Now that I know what my own type is -- Soul Type Six, Enneagram Type Six, endomorph, INFP -- and how my type fits into the greater scheme, I have a new perspective on my colleagues, especially in meetings. Rather than a roomful of neurotics who simply refuse to conform to my standards of How People Should Be, they're folks who bring widely varying gifts to the conference table (a stubborn practicality, a careful sense of intellectual responsibility, a visionary ability to leap). It's also made me more willing to see some of my wife's "foibles" as contributions to our relationship, and more likely to examine my occasional discomfort with them as a function of my own characteristics.

The sensitive Myers-Briggs INFP could, in his or her quiet way, help connect people to one another or write a powerful poem, and be seen as just as necessary to the new world as the worldly Enneagram-Type-Eight politico or the passionate Type One idealist. Wouldn't it be endlessly energizing if all the types began to see that they need each other's energies and insights in order to live fully? Then, I believe, we would all be out of our boxes.

el - I was a rare IN(T/F)P 15 years ago. I feel that when I was younger I was a INTP. Here is a Meyer- Briggs online test which classifies me now as a INFP. Google on your profile example INFP for more.

Career Paths for the INFP:

Counselors / Social Workers
Teachers / Professors
Clergy / Religious Workers

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