Well, it’s the weekend, which means that it’s my chance to accomplish everything I haven’t been able to get to during the week, and that I need to find ways to get readers at America’s Right involved.
A few weeks ago, in an Interviewing & Counseling practical course in which I’m currently enrolled, our professor thought it a good idea for us prospective attorneys to take the Myers-Briggs personality assessment, the idea being that if we better understand ourselves and our tendencies, we’ll be better equipped to more effectively interact with clients. I saw the value in it immediately, but what I didn’t see until the test was finished were the political connections.
I knew, at that point, that this would likely make an interesting Weekend Project. And, given that the most recent piece here at America’s Right posted yesterday afternoon, Facts, Emotions, Liberty, Tyranny and Health Care, had much to do with the personality roots of political ideology, I figured that this weekend was as good a time as any.
I think it could be fascinating, and that we can all learn quite a bit about ourselves, each other, and our friends on the other side of the political spectrum. But it’s going to need your input and involvement. Is it a little bit Dr. Phil? Sure. Is it superficial pop psychology? Of course. But while it might be both those things and while it may seem a little touchy-feely or frou frou considering some of the other material here at America’s Right, please bear with me.
Before I get to my results, and how to analyze yours, here are the instructions:
- Take the online test. It’s not the full Myers-Briggs test, but it’s free, and my results were almost exactly the same as with the full test. Important: be honest. Find the test HERE.
- Click “Score It!” when done.
- Note your four-letter type.
- Come back here and leave your results in a comment. Detail (a) what your four-letter type is, (b) where you put yourself on the political spectrum, and (c) whether or not you think the four-letter type and characteristics below are a fair assessment of yourself. It won’t be perfect, but it will be interesting.
What the test does is score you on four sliding scales: Extraversion vs. introversion; sensing vs. intuition; thinking vs. feeling; and judging vs. perceiving.
Here are some basic preference characteristics, and an even more basic summary of each. Obviously, it’s better to look at the comparison between each category on a chart, but I don’t have the time to develop a chart for both. So, do your best:
- Extraverson: Attention focused outward on people, things and action; Energized by being with others; External; Breadth; Interaction; Multiple relationships; Sociable; Extensive; Action; Interest in external events; Easy to know.
- Introversion: Attention focused inward on concepts, ideas and feelings; Energized by being alone; Internal; Depth; Concentration; Close relationships; Territorial; Intensive; Reflection; Interest in internal reactions; Hard to know.
- Sensing: Facts; Details; Reality; Experience; Specifics; Here & Now; Practical; Literal; Concrete; Sequential; Perspiration; Down to Earth.
- Intuition: Meaning; Big Picture; Possibilities; Hunches; Patterns; Future; Ingenious; Figurative; Abstract; Random; Inspiration; Head in clouds.
- Thinking: Objective; Principles; Policy; Justice; Categorize; Critique; Analyze; Firmness; Logic; Why.
- Feeling: Subjective; Personal values; Circumstances; Mercy; Harmonize; Appreciate; Sympathize; Persuasion; Impact on people; Who.
- Judging: Closure; Decided; Plan ahead; Scheduled; Planned; Settled; Fixed; Completed; Punctual; Purposeful; Control events.
- Perceiving: Options; Open-minded; Adapt as you go; Spontaneous; Open-ended; Pending; Flexible; Emergent; Leisurely; Adaptable; Respond to moment.
When I took the test, I fell very, very strongly on one side versus the other. I favored very strongly extroversion, sensing, thinking and perceiving. I certainly am no introvert, and compared to thinking, I’m not one for feeling. Therefore, my four-letter type was a strong “ESTP.”
In Isabel Briggs Myers’ book, Introduction to Type, she described each of the four-letter personality types as follows:
Quiet, serious, earn success by thoroughness and dependability. Practical, matter-of-fact, realistic, and responsible. Decide logically what should be done and work toward it steadily, regardless of distractions. Take pleasure in making everything orderly and organized – their work, their home, their life. Value traditions and loyalty.
Quiet, friendly, responsible, and conscientious. Committed and steady in meeting their obligations. Thorough, painstaking, and accurate. Loyal, considerate, notice and remember specifics about people who are important to them, concerned with how others feel. Strive to create an orderly and harmonious environment at work and at home.
Tolerant and flexible, quiet observers until a problem appears, then act quickly to find workable solutions. Analyze what makes things work and readily get through large amounts of data to isolate the core of practical problems. Interested in cause and effect, organize facts using logical principles, value efficiency.
Quiet, friendly, sensitive, and kind. Enjoy the present moment, what’s going on around them. Like to have their own space and to work within their own time frame. Loyal and committed to their values and to people who are important to them. Dislike disagreements and conflicts, do not force their opinions or values on others.
Seek meaning and connection in ideas, relationships, and material possessions. Want to understand what motivates people and are insightful about others. Conscientious and committed to their firm values. Develop a clear vision about how best to serve the common good. Organized and decisive in implementing their vision.
Have original minds and great drive for implementing their ideas and achieving their goals. Quickly see patterns in external events and develop long-range explanatory perspectives. When committed, organize a job and carry it through. Skeptical and independent, have high standards of competence and performance – for themselves and others.
Idealistic, loyal to their values and to people who are important to them. Want an external life that is congruent with their values. Curious, quick to see possibilities, can be catalysts for implementing ideas. Seek to understand people and to help them fulfill their potential. Adaptable, flexible, and accepting unless a value is threatened.
Seek to develop logical explanations for everything that interests them. Theoretical and abstract, interested more in ideas than in social interaction. Quiet, contained, flexible, and adaptable. Have unusual ability to focus in depth to solve problems in their area of interest. Skeptical, sometimes critical, always analytical.
Flexible and tolerant, they take a pragmatic approach focused immediate results. Theories and conceptual explanations bore them – they want to act energetically to solve the problem. Focus on the here-and-now, spontaneous, enjoy each moment that they can be active with others. Enjoy material comforts and style. Learn best through doing.
Outgoing, friendly, and accepting. Exuberant lovers of life, people, and material comforts. Enjoy working with others to make things happen. Bring common sense and a realistic approach to their work, and make work fun. Flexible and spontaneous, adapt readily to new people and environments. Learn best by trying a new skill with other people.
Practical, realistic, matter-of-fact. Decisive, quickly move to implement decisions. Organize projects and people to get things done, focus on getting results in the most efficient way possible. Take care of routine details. Have a clear set of logical standards, systematically follow them and want others to also. Forceful in implementing their plans.
Warmhearted, conscientious, and cooperative. Want harmony in their environment, work with determination to establish it. Like to work with others to complete tasks accurately and on time. Loyal, follow through even in small matters. Notice what others need in their day-by-day lives and try to provide it. Want to be appreciated for who they are and for what they contribute.
Warmly enthusiastic and imaginative. See life as full of possibilities. Make connections between events and information very quickly, and confidently proceed based on the patterns they see. Want a lot of affirmation from others, and readily give appreciation and support. Spontaneous and flexible, often rely on their ability to improvise and their verbal fluency.
Quick, ingenious, stimulating, alert, and outspoken. Resourceful in solving new and challenging problems. Adept at generating conceptual possibilities and then analyzing them strategically. Good at reading other people. Bored by routine, will seldom do the same thing the same way, apt to turn to one new interest after another.
Warm, empathetic, responsive, and responsible. Highly attuned to the emotions, needs, and motivations of others. Find potential in everyone, want to help others fulfill their potential. May act as catalysts for individual and group growth. Loyal, responsive to praise and criticism. Sociable, facilitate others in a group, and provide inspiring leadership.
Frank, decisive, assume leadership readily. Quickly see illogical and inefficient procedures and policies, develop and implement comprehensive systems to solve organizational problems. Enjoy long-term planning and goal setting. Usually well informed, well read, enjoy expanding their knowledge and passing it on to others. Forceful in presenting their ideas.
As most of you know, I was a liberal democrat only ten years ago. Through the cathartic outlet that is America’s Right, I’ve been pondering for almost two years how exactly how I made by Fosburian leap rightward, and what it all means. Completing the full Myers-Briggs test, and even the shorter online one as well, provided me with a fantastic illustration of who I was ten years ago and who I am now. That, in turn, really shed light–for me, at least–about the inherent differences in personality between liberals and conservatives.
Now, I am a strong ESTP type. I am flexible. I am spontaneous. I am tolerant (despite what many liberals want to say about me, and right-wing extremists like me). My first inclination when presented with a problem is to solve the darned thing. After all, what’s the use in talking about it when I already know how best to bring about a solution?
While I could never have qualified as an introvert, ten years ago while still a liberal I was nonetheless very different. I never took any such test then, but I likely would have been a strong ENFJ. I did not have an open mind, even though liberals always tout their open minds. I was more intuitive and feeling than sensing and thinking, focusing more on possibilities instead of realities, hunches rather than experience, the future more than the present, the figurative more than the literal, the abstract more than the concrete, the subjective more than the objective, mercy instead of justice, emotion rather than fact, “who?” instead of “why?”, and circumstances instead of policy.
I look at the two different Jeffs–the liberal Jeff and the conservative-libertarian Jeff–and consider how each would react, for instance, to the ongoing debate over health care. The difference is stark. As far as yesterday’s piece is concerned, I would have preferred the PBS assessment of Maine’s Dirigo Health Care System, I would have sided with emotion over fact, and blind faith in the state’s omnipotence instead of the power of freedom.
It amazes me how much of our political ideology is ingrained in our person and personality. And it shows that a person’s change in ideology is likely only genuine if that person also has a change in personality. Whether the chicken or egg comes first, though, is a question for another time. For now, please complete the online test, and see if you notice the same dichotomy.