Gifts Differing | Isabel Briggs Myers

Summary of: Gifts Differing: Understanding Personality Type
By: Isabel Briggs Myers


Dive into the world of personality types with the book summary of ‘Gifts Differing: Understanding Personality Type’ by Isabel Briggs Myers. This enlightening read explores the distinct ways people perceive, judge, and interact with the world around them. Discover the two ways of perceiving, two ways of judging, and various personality combinations that influence our strengths, weaknesses, interests, and career paths. The summary will provide valuable insights into the differences between extroverts and introverts, sensing and intuitive types, and thinkers versus feelers. Get ready to gain a deeper understanding of yourself and others, and learn how to apply this knowledge to your relationships, work environment, and personal growth.

Perception and Judgement

According to Carl Gustav Jung, people perceive events in two ways – through physical senses or intuition. Once a situation is perceived, it is judged logically or emotionally. The choice made as a child affects adult personality, with those judging logically excelling in facts, and those paying attention to emotions excelling in relationships. The way one perceives and judges things shapes their personality as they mature.

Understanding Perception and Judgment in Personal Development

Our perception and judgment form the basis of how we act and react in life. The Myers-Briggs personality type theory identifies four combinations of perception and judgment styles, each with distinct personality traits. The dominant perception style is easier to identify than the auxiliary style, which serves as the balance to the dominant style. Without the auxiliary style, introverts would have no extrovert abilities, and vice versa. Personalities thrive on the combination of the two styles.

Personality type theory identifies four combinations of perception and judgment styles, and it is crucial to understand these combinations for personal development. Perception and judgment play a crucial role in how we act and react in life. People use their dominant perception style more adeptly with maturity. Discerning a person’s preferred way of perception and judgment is easier than finding which of these two styles is dominant. People reserve their less dominant style, known as their “auxiliary,” for issues they deem less vital. For instance, a person with a dominant perceiving style will use their judging style as an auxiliary. The auxiliary provides balance, enabling people to move between judging and perceiving moments and switch between being an introvert or extrovert.

When evaluating personalities, the influence of the auxiliary style should be considered. Without this balance, introverts could not communicate, use their insights, or have any impact on the outer world. Our gifts and mental tools make us unique, and we tend to reach for particular mental tools subconsciously. The Myers-Briggs approach categorizes the two perceiving and two judging styles into four combinations: sensing plus thinking, sensing plus feeling, intuition plus feeling, and intuition plus thinking. Each combination propels a different kind of personality type with unique interests, values, needs, habits of mind, and surface traits.

People who prefer sensing plus thinking – known as “ST people” – use their senses to perceive what is around them and utilize thinking as their judgment tool. They deal with facts that their senses verify and are practical and matter-of-fact. Many ST individuals enter fields that require the handling of machines and materials, such as business, accounting, production, economics, law, and surgery.

Those with a sensing plus feeling preference – known as “SF people” – use their feelings to make judgments and use their senses to perceive their environment. They thrive in careers that enable them to connect warmly with others and are likely to enter pediatrics, nursing, teaching (especially elementary), social work, or sales.

People with an intuition plus feeling preference – known as “NF people” – use their intuition to make decisions and share SF people’s relationship strengths. They tend to enter teaching (particularly in college and high school), counseling, clinical psychology, psychiatry, writing, and research. They focus on possibilities and downplay current circumstances.

Finally, people with an intuition plus thinking preference – known as “NT people” – analyze different possibilities and make decisions using impersonal analysis. They are likely to enter technical areas such as computing, mathematics, or the more complex areas of finance.

Understanding these perception and judgment styles can help us identify our strengths, weaknesses and help us work on them for personal development.

The Four Preferences of Unique Personalities

Every individual’s personality is influenced by four preferences which determine the type of excellence they pursue. The EI preference is another factor that affects how people perceive and judge based on how much they are drawn to their inner and outer worlds. Extroverts tend to be afterthinkers, relaxed, confident and jump into new adventures quickly. They share their feelings and are intellectually superficial with a keen interest in knowing what others think about them. On the other hand, introverts are reserved and questioning individuals who tend to feel more comfortable with ideas than with people. They must understand a situation before they join it. They often work diligently without the need for positive feedback as long as they believe in the value of their project. The preferences of personalities determine their uniqueness, and notable personalities such as Sigmund Freud, Charles Darwin, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Carl Jung, Albert Einstein, and Abraham Lincoln represent introverts and extroverts.

Trusting Our Senses

The settlers of Colonial America were likely intuitives due to their beliefs in individualism and bigger and better. Sensing individuals tend to rely on their senses for information and enjoy their love of customs and traditions. Intuitive children perform better on IQ and scholastic aptitude tests that reward speed, as intuition is a faster process. Most examiners write in the language of intuition, and sensing individuals need to first translate the question into their language, which is a time-consuming process. Ultimately, we cannot assume that others’ minds work on the same principles as our own.

Thinking vs. Feeling Types

The book discusses the difference between thinking and feeling types. Thinking types work better with things or ideas, while feeling types thrive when working with people, making them suitable for activities such as selling, preaching, counseling, socializing, and raising a family. Interestingly, the thinking and feeling preference is the only one that shows a gender difference, with more women being feeling types.

Perceptive vs. Judging Personalities

The book explores the personality differences between those with perceptive and judging preferences. Judging types are quick to make conclusions and offer advice while perceptive types take their time to understand situations more thoroughly and see problems from all angles. Perceptive types often find judging types to be narrow-minded and unilateral in their views.

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