Instead of letting yourself be flattered by the description of your personality type, you should actually be humbled by it. After all, your MBTI type is like being diagnosed with a mental disorder. Here's why:

If you ever find yourself in one of the MBTI communities online, the first thing you will notice is that there are a lot of people who like to take pride in their personality type. This is understandable, because the descriptions of the types you can find online have all these flattering names, like mastermind, commander, entrepreneur, executive etcetera and they come with nice descriptions praising your strengths.

Also, you can find the statistics of what percentage of people has your personality type, and this seems to give people some sort of validation. Apparently, your personality type is like a Pokemon card: the rarer the better.

But if you're looking for self-improvement, it is actually way more helpful to look at your type as the diagnosis of a mental disorder.

Why is that the case?

Biased and underdeveloped

Well, first of all, when you're typing yourself, what are you really doing? You are identifying which cognitive functions subconsciously dominate your thinking.

So by typing yourself, you are really revealing yourself to be extremely and uncontrollably biased in a particular way.

Seeing how dominance in one cognitive function by definition means that you are very much underdeveloped in the opposite cognitive function; by boasting about your dominant function, you are also flaunting your biggest weakness at the same time.

For example:

  • If you're an N-dominant (intuitive) you are probably proud of your cerebral ability to understand abstract ideas, theories and patterns, but then also you forgot to do the laundry again because of your inferior S (sensing), and now you don't have any clean underpants.
  • If you're an S-dominant (sensor) you could be proud of your amazing practical skills and your ability to retain facts, but then also you don't really know your own 'why' and you struggle to find any sense of deeper meaning because of your inferior N (intuition).
  • If you're an F-dominant (feeler) you can be proud of your ability to easily and effortlessly detect how certain actions affect people's emotions, but then also you're terrible with money because of your inferior T (thinking).
  • If you're a T-dominant (thinker) you can be proud of your ruthless reasoning ability which allows you to make the hard decisions that 'work', but then also your sense of self-worth is incredibly fragile and you have trouble relating to people because of your inferior F (feeling).

Unfortunately, it's extremely hard to be aware of the bias you have towards your own dominant cognitive function, because it's your default mode of thinking. You literally don't think about it, you just gravitate towards going a certain way all the time, and you don't even see it.

And it's a little embarrassing, frankly.

Like boasting about how you worked 120 hours last week while everyone can see that your marriage is falling apart.

Other people see your cognitive bias in you, but you usually don't see it in yourself. Unless you've accurately typed yourself, you're unlikely to become aware of your own blind spots.

Saviors and demons

One mode of thinking that I find helpful is to think of your dominant cognitive function as your savior function and of your inferior cognitive function as your demon function.

Your savior function is your absolute comfort zone. It's where you feel your best and your most natural, because you're using your natural strengths – and you feel like a million bucks as a result. Life is so wonderful, when you can just simply ignore your own weaknesses and imperfections and just do what you're good at, right?

But then, there is still your demon function.

Your demon function is your blind spot. That thing that haunts you, that you know exists somewhere in the back of your mind, but you try to ignore it for as long as possible... until it finally can't be ignored anymore. And then it comes to rear its ugly head out of nowhere at the least convenient time and knocks you on your ass, because you have no idea how to deal with it.

So what do you do then?!

Are you going to fight the demon? No way!

Obviously, you're going to spend as little time in demon land as possible, and as soon as you get the chance, you're going to run straight back to the safety and comfort of your savior function.

So much better...

Addiction

This is why, when you become aware of your own imbalances, not only should you look at your inferior cognitive function as something that needs to be developed, but you should actually also learn to look at your dominant function as an addiction you need to kick.

Going back to the marriage analogy again, if your marriage is falling apart, you need to actively fight the urge to always prioritize work and force yourself to repair your marriage. At least if you don't want your life to 'suddenly' blow up 'out of nowhere'.

Kicking your savior addiction like this is always going to be hard and uncomfortable. Especially considering that the worse you feel, the stronger the urge will become to dive right back into savior land, where you feel strong, productive and in control.

And this is exactly why it's an addiction.

Good luck kicking yours!