Are You Doing Personal Development Wrong?

Are You Doing Personal Development Wrong?

Reading time: 5 minutes

Her: “Just found a shortcut, take exit 11.”

Me: (Nods Head)

Her: “Literally just saved us 20 minutes! We will make it on time for sure.”

Me: (nods head)

Her: “Imagine if we came late… that would have sucked.”

Me: (nods head a tad faster in agreement)

Her: “Well, thanks for the input..”

Me: (quick sideways glance, smile and back to eyeing the road)

*2-minute silence*

Her: “You are such an asshole!”

Me: “What did I do?!”

Her: “You ignore everything I say and don’t pay attention! It’s like I’m having a conversation with myself.”

Little did she know at the time (before explaining myself), but I felt completely involved in the conversation.

— — — — — — — — —

As an introvert, you probably can relate to having this type of situation every once in awhile.

As an extrovert, you’re probably reading that conversation and can remember past conversations that were very similar.

Whether you are more extroverted or introverted (I call bullshit on ambiverts) is extremely important to know.

Knowing your Myers-Briggs personality type as my friend so eloquently said…

“…is as important as knowing if you’re a man or a woman.”

You might read that sentence and call bullshit.

I know I once did.

I took some 10-minute quiz, answered some questions and read some cool information that seemed like me.

At the time I valued this information as much as I value horoscopes (very little).

Two years later I met with an expert in Myers-Briggs and he explained all the cognitive functions in depth.

You know how some words you just ‘know’ the meaning of and have heard it hundreds of times but can’t really explain it?

Well, cognitive was one of those for me.

So check out the definition of cognitive functions that I looked up 3 minutes after that initial meeting with the expert.

“Cognitive functions can be defined as cerebral activities that lead to knowledge, including all means and mechanisms of acquiring information.”

In short, it’s how we process information and make decisions.

It’s the blueprint and key to understanding ourselves and others.

It’s how you see the world.

Your 4 letter personality type explains how your brain is wired, which functions you are weakest and strongest in.

A quick breakdown of the eight possible cognitive functions…

Extrovert (E) or Introvert (I)

Sensing (S) or Intuitive (N)

Thinkers (T) or Feelers (F)

Perceivers (P) or Judgers (J)

Sixteen possible combinations and you are definitely one of them.

You can take a test such as 16personalities.com or the genius style quiz on personalityhacker.com.

TWO WARNINGS:

Be as honest as possible in your answers, there is no correct answer. Just like in medicine, the correct diagnosis is almost the most important part of the doctor’s job.

Whatever four letter combination shows up does not necessarily mean that’s your type.

For example, I took the test and it showed I was an ENFP (the description matched me as well). Later on after talking with the expert I mentioned earlier we found out I was actually an INFJ.

Why could the answer be different?

...because it’s an online quiz for one, and some types are very similar to each other. When I was finally typed correctly as an INFJ I just knew it was me. All the functions made sense for the way I viewed the world.

Why Does This Matter?

Finding out your correct four letters is like finally understanding how your car works (engine, wheels, steering, brakes, etc) AND having the key to getting it started and moving.

Finding out your correct four letters will aid you in finding your ‘purpose’ or ‘passion’ and explain why you excel in certain areas and suck in others.

Finding out your correct four letters will tell you your strengths and weaknesses so you develop increased self-awareness as you continue in this journey of life. 

Finding out your correct four letters will help you with dating and understanding what type of woman/man you actually desire to be around.

There are numerous other benefits that we won’t get into today.

Right now…

Let’s get back to the reason you clicked this article in the first place…

I forget what the exact quote was but to paraphrase marketing wizard Dan Kennedy he said something like ‘if you are not planning your personal development you ain’t shit.’

Or, at least that’s how I heard it.

It never really sunk in.

It got stuck in that part of the brain where you ‘know stuff’.

Yeah, that part.

The part where you say stuff like “ohh I know that” and “I know this already”.

The part of the brain where action separates from knowledge.

You know that working out is good for you.

You know this…

But you decide to take your talents to the couch instead.

Finally, after I realized that I was falling prey to the information overload bias I decided to take a step back, bird’s eye view my progress and plan my development.

For the last year, it worked very well.

I improved. I slowly started to become the ‘best version of myself’ (is anyone else slowly starting to hate that phrase?).

It wasn’t enough.

I lacked the most important part of any type of self-help, self-development.

The foundation for any type of growth in ANY field.

Self-awareness.

I had some of it…

I meditated daily, qi gong, some yoga here and there, read a ton, hired coaches and mentors. 

I was pretty ‘aware’ until I found out the truth.

I didn’t truly know myself and how I work.

Myers-Briggs changed the game for me.

First, I figured out my real weaknesses, my strengths and how exactly I process information around me.

Second, I started understanding everyone’s personality types that I hung out with. It allowed me to become a better friend, to empathize and be supportive. It allowed me to use my strengths of connection and understanding in unique ways to different people.

Thirdly (is that a word?), I was able to develop my own values for my life, relationships, and success. This process (took weeks) has redefined my life and my level of happiness. My values now represent who I actually am, and they are in my own language, not anybody else's.

A completely different ball game.

While I am many, many hours away from even being considered an amateur expert in MBTI — I appreciated how much it helped me.

Some key takeaways you can have from this article…

  1. Find out your personality type. Take multiple tests, be honest and consult an expert to be typed officially.
  2. Find out who else was that personality type. Study and model the most developed people with your cognitive functions. When I study movie characters, tv show actors and famous people with my personal type it’s like they are a developed version of myself. The way they talk, see the world is very similar to me. 
  3. Go in depth on your type, learn your strengths, weaknesses, belief system, communication style etc.
  4. Don’t let any of your functions hold you down. The most introverted person in the world can be extremely social. Don’t let any of these functions become your ‘excuse’ to how you deal with the world.
  5. Define your values based on past experiences and your type. Build your character this way as well.
  6. Type all your close friends and understand the language they speak, then speak it to them.
  7. Plan your personal development based on your interests and personality type development.

If you are an introvert, stop being a fucking extrovert to fit in. It’s ok to have and develop an inner life. It’s ok to nod your head as an answer.

You might think this is some woo-woo bullshit.

Myers and Briggs are stupid and yada yada yada…

It’s cool, I understand.

I thought like that for quite some time.

Maybe this is not the self-awareness tool for you.

Maybe it is. 

It definitely has been an integral part of my development.

I wrote this article to demonstrate how learning my type has helped my personal development, my values, my goals and every part of my life.


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Daniel

Daniel Karan is an expert at helping clients develop the courage required to live extraordinary lives. He is the founder of the Bold Wolves Project for High-Performing Introverts. His main disciplines have been a cocktail of personality, social and behavioral psychology. His big picture is to inspire 100,000 humans to sing their song…loudly.