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Personal Growth and the Sixteen Types

Başlatan ..., Haziran 23, 2009, 01:02:05 ÖS

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Perhaps the most important realization that an individual can make in their quest for personal growth is that there is no single formula that defines the path to personal success. We all have different goals and priorities, which means that different activities and attitudes will make us feel good about ourselves. We also have different natural strengths and weaknesses that are a part of our inherent personality type. How then, as individuals, can we feel successful in our lives?

Understand What's Important to You

Each personality type has a different idea of what it means to be successful. Self-knowledge is one common goal that will help everyone achieve personal success. So many people are hung up on somebody else's idea of what it means to be successful, and they are unaware of what is truly important to them. This is completely normal. We all have important role-models and influencers in our lives who may have basic values that are quite different from our own. If this is the case, it's important to recognize that the discrepancy between what we have been taught is truly important and what we personally believe to be truly important is due to a difference in perspective. If we spend our time and effort trying to meet somebody else's idea of success, and ignore or belittle any conflicting messages from our own psyche, then we will find ourselves exhausted and unhappy. Realizing what is truly important to us is a major step towards achieving personal success.

Recognize Your Weaknesses Without Hiding Behind Them

While improving our self-knowledge and realizing our true goals can be very liberating, we should not discard the rules of the society in which we live. We must recognize that other people's value systems are no less important than our own. And we must recognize and accept that we live in a society in which certain personality types and behaviors are more suited towards particular tasks. This is the second key that will open the door towards personal growth.

For example, there are situations in which it is more appropriate and effective to show compassion and caring (Feeling), rather than impersonal logic (Thinking). Likewise, there are situations that call for using impersonal logic to make a decision, in which the more subjective viewpoint of the Feeling function is inappropriate and ineffective. Persons with a preference for Feeling will have a natural advantage over Thinkers in situations that require compassion and awareness of other's emotions. Conversely, persons with a preference for Thinking will have a natural advantage over Feelers in situations that require the ability to make a decision based on impersonal data.

As we learn about our personality type and the types of others, we are empowered with an understanding of why people react differently in different situations. When put into the context of Psychological Type, we can better accept and understand people's behaviors that are different from ours. These insights are extremely useful and powerful to us as individuals. However, if we are concerned with growing as individuals, we must take care not to use personality type as an excuse for our inappropriate behavior. While it's powerful and useful to notice that another person's inappropriate behavior may be due to their personality type, we cannot use the same reasoning on ourselves. We should recognize that our personality type has weaknesses, but we must use that knowledge to conquer those weaknesses rather than to excuse poor behavior. We cannot be responsible for other people's behavior, but we can control our own.

Accordingly, if we notice that someone seems to be unable to make an impersonal decision that is isolated from human perspective, we should say to ourselves, "Ah ha, here is a Feeler. This person does not use Thinking well, and that is why they're behaving this way." Yet when we as Feelers are presented with a situation that requires an impersonal approach, we should NOT say to ourselves "I am a Feeler, and can't be expected to make decisions based purely on impersonal facts and logic." This kind of rationalization for behavior is certainly an easy way out of a situation, but it enforces the weakness, making it weaker and weaker still.

Strive for Balance

Most of the weaknesses associated with any given personality type are a result of that type's dominant function overtaking the personality to the extent that the other functions become slaves to the dominant function. Although it is natural for every personality to be ruled by its dominant function, it becomes a problem when the supporting functions are not allowed to develop fully on their own because they are too busy "serving the master". In such cases, a personality can become quite imbalanced.

A situation in which the dominant function of a personality completely overshadows the other personality functions is analogous to a kingdom that is ruled by an overbearing king who requires absolute servitude. Imagine such a king sitting down to dinner in his castle. He keeps all of his servants running about to bring him dinner, and requires that they serve him fully (disregarding their own needs) until he is completed sated. His Foreign Minister, who is expected at an important affair at a neighboring kingdom, finds himself pouring ale. His Minister of Domestic Affairs, rather than addressing the issue of a failing economy, slices roast turkey. His staff grabs food for themselves here and there, but never get what they really need or want, and are consequently unsatisfied, malnourished, and underdeveloped. The issues that the staff should be taking care of are left undone, because they never finish their primary task of serving the king. The king's immediate needs are being met, and so he is tolerably happy, but he is an ineffective king. As far as he knows, everything and everybody exists simply to serve him. He has no concept of Success beyond his daily needs. Since he cannot see beyond his own needs, the entire kingdom suffers.

Likewise, a personality that has developed with a goal of serving the dominant function above all other considerations often results in a person who is imbalanced. In severe cases, the weaknesses associated with the given type are often quite apparent to others, and overshadow the individual's natural strengths. Such a drastic imbalance is not common, and may be the result of continuous and extreme stress. Most people will experience times in their lives during which they are stressed to the point of serious imbalance. People who experience this constantly have issues that need to be dealt with, and should seek help.

Much more commonly, we see individuals who exhibit both the strengths and weaknesses of their type. It is natural and healthy that each personality type is ruled by a dominant function, and that the other functions support the ruling function. We don't seek to change anyone's natural self, or to achieve a perfect balance amongst a personality's functions. By definition, a kingdom needs a king in order to exist, and a personality needs a dominant function. However, a kingdom with a well-developed and effective king (the dominant function), who has well-trained and educated advisors (the supporting functions), will thrive more than the kingdom ruled by a neglectful king who is supported by inexperienced advisors.

As we can see, Balance and Success are relative terms. They have different meaning for each of the sixteen personality types. One statement using these terms is true for all types: Balance is the key to Success.

Opening the Door

So how do we go about realizing what's truly important to us? How do we recognize our weaknesses, and learn not to hide behind them? How do we become balanced? How do we open that magical door that will show us the way to personal growth and success?

There is no quickie scheme that will make you a successful person. Psychological Type is a powerful aid in our quest for excellence, but it is not the actual solution. It is a model that will help you to expand your understanding of human nature. An improved understanding of yourself and others will help you to find, follow or expand your path. An awareness and acceptance of the fact that one personality function may be more effective than another function in a given situation will help you to understand the relevance of personal growth to your life.

Carl Jung identified a process of personal growth that he called individuation, which is essentially the conscious realization of your true self, beyond the Ego that is presented by your conscious self. Our efforts to help people develop themselves is essentially the effort to help them to realize that their personal perspectives and conscious ideas are only a small part of who they are, and that the more they try to develop and defend this superficial "self", the further they get away from their true Self. This realization helps a psyche in many concrete ways, and is also a positive step towards promoting a psyche that is open to the process of individuation. For the purposes of making this realization accessible to the general public, our writings are mostly void of complex theoretical discussion.

To learn more about personal growth for your specific personality type, click on the appropriate link below.


ISTJ Personal Growth

What does Success mean to an ISTJ?

People with the ISTJ personality type are serious, methodical, analytical, and hard-working. They store knowledge gained from their experiences, and use this knowledge to tackle new problems and ideas. They will work a problem through to its identified conclusion. They work towards defined goals; their analytical objectivity gives them the tendency to make goal-oriented decisions that are not waylaid by the concerns of individuals. They're uncomfortable with ideas that are completely new to them, or that are totally theoretical in nature. Since they have no direct experience with the new concept, they have no tools for knowing how to deal with it or what to think about it. They need to get the framework for a new concept before they're able to deal with it. An experienced ISTJ is usually a very capable person, and makes an excellent manager. ISTJs have great value for the "tried and true" approach, and are reluctant to adopt new systems until direct experience proves the validity of the new system. They internalize and value the rules and structure of the society in which they live, and disapprove of behaviors that go against these rules. ISTJs highly value the cornerstone institutions of society such as Family, Work, and Church. Their hard-working, dedicated nature is especially well-suited for holding up such institutions. An ISTJ's feeling of success depends upon being able to use their experience for the benefit of an institution, and also upon the level of structure and lack of chaos in their life, and in the health and welfare of their family or other social structure.

Allowing Your ISTJ Strengths to Flourish

As an ISTJ, you have gifts that are specific to your personality type that aren't natural strengths for other types. By recognizing your special gifts and encouraging their growth and development, you will more readily see your place in the world, and be more content with your role.

Nearly all ISTJs will recognize the following characteristics in themselves. They should embrace and nourish these strengths:

Their desire to execute known systems against concrete facts makes them happy to chunk through large amounts of routine work.
With their respect for rules and order, they value honesty and integrity and seek to live with these ideals.
An ISTJ has a "stick to it" attitude. They're not afraid of hard work, and will put forth a great deal of effort towards something that they are interested in. This persistence will help the ISTJ to achieve any identified goal.
The ISTJ's value for social structure makes them more interested in being social than is true for many Introverts.
ISTJs who have developed their Extraverted Thinking will complement their interest in their inner world of concrete data with an interest in the welfare of the rest of the world, especially with regards to upholding social systems and traditions. These ISTJs enjoy these very special gifts:

They will move beyond an expectation that others should follow rules into a dedication and willingness to work hard to uphold standards themselves.
They show a dedication to maintaining personal relationships that lends them a respect for individual differences.
They will use their inner store of facts for the benefit of an institution or society in general, rather than to satisfy their own interests.
The more they develop their Extraverted Thinking, the better they will become at strategizing. They will be able to brainstorm multiple possible solutions to problems.
ISTJs are often uncomfortable with decisions based on values rather than on objective criteria, but the more they develop their Extraverted Thinking, the more likely they will become able to use Introverted Feeling as a positive force rather than strictly a negative one. This will allow them to understand a value judgement that is based on personal perspective rather than social obligation.

Potential Problem Areas

With any gift of strength, there is an associated weakness. Without "bad", there would be no "good". Without "difficult", there would be no "easy". We value our strengths, but we often curse and ignore our weaknesses. To grow as a person and get what we want out of life, we must not only capitalize upon our strengths, but also face our weaknesses and deal with them. That means taking a hard look at our personality type's potential problem areas.

Most of the weaker characteristics that are found in ISTJs are due to their dominant Introverted Sensing function controlling the personality to the point that all other functions are being used to defend Sensing demands, rather than for their more balanced purposes. In such cases, an ISTJ may show some or all of the following weaknesses in varying degrees:

Excessive love of food and drink

Lack of interest in other people, or in relating to them
Occasional inappropriate emotional displays
General selfish "look after oneself" tendencies
Uses judgement to dismiss other's opinions and perspectives, before really understanding them
May judge others rather than themselves
May look at external ideas and people with the primary purpose of finding fault
May become slave to their routine and "by the book" ways of doing things, to the point that any deviation is completely unacceptable
May have difficulty communicating their thoughts and feelings to anyone

Explanation of Problems

Nearly all of the problematic characteristics described above can be attributed in various degrees to the common ISTJ problem of Introverted Sensing overtaking the ISTJ's personality to the point that all other functions become slaves to Introverted Sensing. A more "whole" personality needs to have a good balance between its dominant and auxiliary functions. For an ISTJ, the dominant Introverted Sensing needs to be well-supported by the auxiliary Extraverted Thinking function. If Extraverted Thinking exists only to support the desires of Introverted Sensing, than neither function is being used to its potential.

Introverted Sensing is a personality function that constantly gathers data and stores it in a sort of informational database to be accessed at will in the future. As the dominant player in a personality, it has the effect of constantly bombarding the psyche with facts to store. As something new is perceived, it is added to the vast warehouse of Introverted Sensing data. Introverted Sensing does not in itself analyze this data for meaning or connection--it just takes it in as information. In order to sort through and make use of this information, a judging function must be applied. It is the judging function that does the analysis and ordering of the data.

When Introverted Sensing is too dominant, or Extraverted Thinking is not developed sufficiently, we see the ISTJ using Extraverted Thinking to order the individual's world in such a way that Introverted Sensing can reign without interference. This may include dismissing the importance of relationships, or pushing away anything that threatens the ISTJ's highly introverted way of life. In this manner, Extraverted Thinking is used against the external world, rather than against the ISTJ's internal data. It is a defensive shield, rather than a useful filter.

The better, more "whole" use of Extraverted Thinking for the ISTJ would be to use it to order and evaluate its own rich store of data, and therefore generate useful solutions to problems and efficient systems. Like all types, most ISTJs will show some signs of this kind of weakness. This does not mean that they're hopelessly flawed. The real problems occur when an ISTJ personality has become so imbalanced that its owner is extremely selfish and unable to consider the importance or validity of anyone else's perspective.


To grow as an individual, the ISTJ needs to focus on applying their judgement against information that they have gathered, rather than against single facts or ideas coming from others. Before judging, put all new data into the context of existing facts. Working with all of the facts at your disposal will greatly improve your ability to judge effectively, and will reduce the likelihood that you will become offensively reactionary and isolationist.

An ISTJ who is concerned with personal growth will pay close attention to the subject of ther judgments, and their motivations for making judgments. Are they judging something external to themself, or are they judging something within the context of their stored knowledge? Is the motivation for judging something to be able to understand its usefulness in the world, or to dismiss it? Too often, an ISTJ will judge something without properly understanding it, and with the intention of dismissing it. Seek first to understand, then to judge.

Living Happily in our World as an ISTJ

People of all personality types sometimes experience problems dealing with specific aspects of civilization and human interaction. For the ISTJ, problems are generally associated with being unable to tolerate behaviors that go outside perceived norms, and with not putting forth effort to meet others' emotional needs. These problems stem from building up the importance of the ISTJ's inner world and diminishing the importance of the external world. ISTJs who recognize that their knowledge and experience can be enriched by the synergy of other people's knowledge and experience will find that they can be committed to their internal worlds and still have satisfying relationships with others. The key to accomplishing this is development of their highest extraverted function, Extraverted Thinking.

An ISTJ who uses Extraverted Thinking to find fault externally rather than internally may become so strongly opinionated that they form rigid and unreasonable expectations of others. Their hyper-vigilant judgments about the rationality and competence of others may be a very effective way of keeping themselves at an emotional distance from others. This will preserve the sanctity of the ISTJ's inner world and lifestyle, but will reduce a lot of valuable input, arrest the development of their social character, and stagnate the development of the ISTJ's rich store of experiential data. In extreme cases the ISTJ may find him or herself quite alone and lonely.

More commonly, the ISTJ will run into trouble when they try to order and structure the outer world, rather than their inner world. Trying to structure people into a predefined, acceptable system is problematic. The personality types who value the unique individual will be offended by the apparent lack of respect for their person, and people with personality types who follow social values will want to be honoring their own system, rather then being forced to follow yours. Many people experience being controlled or manipulated as a form of suppression, and resist it. Eventually, they may harbor serious resentment against the suppressor.

Specific suggestions:

Take care to listen to someone's idea entirely before you pass judgment on it. Ask questions if necessary. Do whatever it takes to make sure that you understand the idea. Try not to begin judging anything until you understand the details.
Try to identify the personality type of everyone you encounter frequently in your life. Remember that Intuitives often have a wandering style of expression. Try to exhibit tolerance for this.
Before you being talking to another person, pause for a moment and look at that person. Take in that person's attitude and feelings at that moment. Be aware of the person with whom you are speaking.

Ten Rules to Live By to Achieve ISTJ Success

Feed Your Strengths! Do things that allow your excellent organizational and logical abilities to flourish. Explore the worlds of business management, accounting, and medicine.

Face Your Weaknesses! See your weaknesses for what they are, and seek to overcome them. Especially, strive to use your judgment against your internal store of knowledge, rather than as a means of disregarding other people's ideas.
Talk Through Your Thoughts. You need to step through your vast amount of information in order to put things into perspective. Give yourself appropriate time to do this, and take advantage of discussing ideas with others. Some find that externalizing your thoughts is a valuable exercise, as is expressing your ideas clearly in writing.

Take in Everything. Don't dismiss ideas prematurely because you don't respect the person generating the ideas, or because you think you already know it all. After all, everybody has something to offer, and nobody knows everything. As Steven Covey says, "Seek first to understand, and then to be understood."

Quench Your Desire to Control Others. Remember that most people do not want to be controlled. Again, turn your controlling tendencies inwardly rather than outwardly. You can only really control yourself.

Be Aware of Others. Take time to notice where others are coming from. What is their personality type? How are they currently feeling?
Be Accountable for Yourself. Don't blame the problems in your life on other people. Look inwardly for solutions.
Be Gentle in Your Expectations, and judge yourself at least as harshly as you judge others.
Assume the Best. Don't distress yourself and others by dwelling on the dark side of everything. Just as there is a positive charge for every negative charge, there is a light side to every dark side. Remember that positive situations are created by positive attitudes, and vice versa. Expect the best, and the best will come forward.
There is Nothing to Fear but Fear Itself. Sometimes it's necessary to take a risk to initiate change. Don't be afraid to do so when that time comes. In most cases, the obstacles and burdens standing in the way of your goal are not really there--they just exist in your perspective. Change your perspective--change your life.