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What if every time you wanted to pick up a pencil and write something, you had to stop to decide which hand to use? Which hand would you use to eat? Brush your teeth? Pick up something off of the floor? If this were so, we would be pretty inefficient and get very little accomplished. Fortunately, nature gave us hand dominance so we could go about our day doing ordinary things without getting tripped up by decisions of which hand to employ,.
Yet dominance doesn’t mean we don’t use the non-dominant hand! We use it often and would be greatly challenged if we didn’t have our other hand. We are wired this way in that we have brain- dominance for efficiency, while the other limb serves as an important second choice.
As a lifelong student of the brain, I was intrigued when I first learned how to use MBTI assessment. Here, as in hand dominance, we have brain efficiencies that center around 4 cognitive parameters:
· Extraversion versus Introversion-what is the primary source of our energy?
· Sensing versus iNtuition-do we gather information by going from concrete details to concepts or concepts to concrete details?
· Thinking versus Feeling- do we tend to employ analysis or empathy first when making a decision
· Judging versus Perceiving- do we prefer a structured, predictable environment versus one that unfolds?
When administering the MBTI, I often have clients tell me “I do both”, which is true and it is the case for each and everyone of us. In fact, an individual might use an opposing preference so much that it almost feels like the actual preference! The gift of neuroplasticity allows the brain to change in response to the environment. The MBTI and other similar instruments try to identify the baseline cognitive preferences (not skills, not traits) so that you can leverage your natural strengths while becoming aware of what is out of preference – what might need a little extra attention, what might even be a blind spot!
Ultimately, the MBTI and other preference instruments take your four “brain efficiencies” and identify a whole personality type, commonly known by it’s 4-letter description- ENFP, ISTJ, ESFJ etc… There are 16 identified types. However it is important to note that knowing your brain efficiencies in no way puts you in a box or says can only do certain things. It’s merely a point of self –awareness and a pathway to effective living and personal development.
Do you know your 4-letter personality type? Is it empowering? Confining? How does this knowledge serve you?