Why understanding self is key to intentional living

Among its various psychological types, The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI®) helps people identify whether they have an extroversion preference or an introversion preference.

Each time I’ve undergone the process (I’ve done it twice), my ‘type indicator’ has been the same: I am an extrovert.

This suggests that I would gain my energy through interactions with others, when an introvert might recharge his/her batteries through time set aside to be alone. I have to say that acknowledging and understanding my extroversion preference has helped me enormously in how I approach others. Indeed, I have found it to be very powerful. The first time I did the survey instrument, I realised that my (then) boss had a strong introversion preference. Her natural approach was to sit back, to reflect and to take stock before making a decision. My inclination at the time was to go with my instinctive, initial reaction to a problem and jump right in.

However, as I get a little older, I think I’m changing. Or perhaps I am becoming more self-aware and reflective? My preferences seem more fluid. Maybe it’s my desire for more simplicity and the growing influence of minimalism on my life? Maybe I always had to work a bit too hard to be the life and soul of the party?

My husband works from home. Because he’s home alone all day (albeit with the dog, whose conversational skills are a bit limited), he sees my return as an opportunity to share (even offload) the things he has experienced that day. At that point in my day, particularly if I’ve had a long journey home, I need to kick back, be quiet and simply be. I certainly get a sense of relief when I walk through the door in the evening and find everything just as I left it that morning. It’s not always like that, however!

When it comes to personality types, there are (of course) a great many more potential tools available to help develop self-awareness. It is good to explore these with a critical eye. Tests such as these have been criticised for their reliability but may still be worth considering as you develop a greater self-awareness. Just today, a colleague of mine told me about 9 personality type descriptions, as described by the Enneagram Institute:

Whether you subscribe to this approach or not, you may be curious to peak at the descriptions to see if any of them chime with your own thinking. Is your basic (predominant) type that of ‘helper’, ‘achiever’, ‘reformer’, or ‘challenger’, for example?

I wonder if aspiring minimalists would identify with one personality type more than another? Do you have an extroversion preference or an introversion preference? I’d love to know.

Understanding self is key. Knowing and accepting your true self will help you identify your ‘why’ as you journey towards greater simplicity. This self-knowledge will allow you to make intentional choices, as you shed the things that no longer serve you and become – just maybe – a little more ‘minimalist’.

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

Hamlet Act 1, Scene 3

3 thoughts on “Why understanding self is key to intentional living

  1. I know my husband and I are ENFP and ISTJ, but I cant remember which of us is which. Reading the descriptions didn’t really help, so it might be time for us to do them again!
    The best classification like this I have done recently is in Gretchen Rubin’s book about habits. It was just spot on, and really helped me u derstand what I need to do to form new habits.

    Liked by 1 person

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