Is the Myers Briggs system of personality typing any better than astrology?
Astrology has been around for thousands of years — long enough to provide pretty accurate descriptions of human behavior. The twelve sun signs describe twelve valid personalities we are all familiar with. But you can likely find bits of yourself in most astrological descriptions, including your own — especially once you add in all the other signs and descriptors.
Of course, that’s true of MBTI as well. If you read about all of the 16 types, you’re likely to find bits of yourself in each. The difference is that MBTI assigns you a type after a behavior assessment helps you find which one actually characterizes you more accurately than the others. Astrology tells you in advance which type you are based on information about your birth — from there, you have to fit yourself into the description.
I once had a full astrological chart prepared for three diverse birth dates, one of which was mine. Then I looked over all three without knowing which one was mine. I read the first one and was astounded at how much of it described me. I read the second one and was astounded at how much of it described me. I read the third one and was astounded at how much of it described me. I was unable to guess which one was supposed to be my accurate reading. I predict that if this trial was done by a large number of people, the correct guess rate would be around 1 out of 3 — equal to chance. In other words, not good at predicting personality types based on birth date.
My apologies if this is upsetting — people often take great pride in their astrological type. I do think it is possible to get information from astrology, given how much effort has been invested in describing each of the types and their interactions with others. Say you are a Leo and your partner is a Pisces. The descriptions of your interactions together will be accurate to the extent that Leo and Pisces accurately describe you and your partner. And the fun activity of looking at this information together might spark fun conversations that tell you way more about your partner than the astrology!
Of course, it’s likely that you can get that same (or better) information from the MBTI analysis of predicted relationship issues and strengths between two applicable types. From this source, the information will have a more rigorous explanation behind it, because the MBTI is based on a cohesive psychological system. But very importantly, this system isn’t designed to predict your personality type. The purpose is to help you understand more about yourself and your interactions with others, once you figure out which type fits you best.
However, as with astrological types, even your “true” MBTI type may or may not actually describe you very well at this time in your life. The MBTI is a simplification of the original Jungian system, and describes a low level of development of each type. As you mature, the MBTI becomes a less accurate description of your current behavior. That’s when it becomes useful to go back to the original system and look at the Cognitive Functions of your type.
Once you find a MBTI type that best characterizes you (or a less mature you at a younger age), then the Cognitive Functions of that type can help you understand who you were in the past, why you are the way you are now, who you have the possibility to become, and suggest how you might best get there from where you are!
This is especially true if you have the help of someone (like me!) who is well versed in the functions, and how they work, develop, and interact. 😉
Contact me if you would like to work together to learn how your Functions affect your personality (astrological OR MBTI!), growth, and maturation.