The web is riddled with personality “tests” of some form. What Star Trek Crew Member Are You? What Color Best Represents You? These types of quizzes are regulars in my Facebook feed. (I'm still working on quitting that distraction.)
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator™ (MBTI™) seems to be the basis for many of these quick quizzes. As an MBTI™ Certified Practitioner, I find myself restraining my fingers from the keyboard when I see someone spreading misinformation about Myers-Briggs psychological type.
One of the comments I encounter is, “I’m a rare personality type. I’m an ISFP (or any of the other 16 types).” That is typically followed by some form of “We’re the rarest of them all” or “There are less than 1% of us in the world."
I’ll let this table of psychological type frequency in the United States, based on data found at The Myers & Briggs Foundation website, speak for itself in response to those comments:
1% of the total population of the United States is a lot of people. That's one in every 100. Only one of the types even has 1% at the lower end of its range. INFJ may indeed be uncommon in some settings. It is not, however, rare.
Most of us want to be exceptional, right? I understand that being in one box of a sixteen-box framework doesn’t feel all that special. Don’t despair.
You are unique.
The way you were wired and the experiences you’ve had in life absolutely make you one of a kind. While personality assessments can’t prove you are rare, neither can they take away your uniqueness. I promise.
Don’t take personality assessments to pigeon hole yourself (or others!) or to create excuses for why you cannot grow. Our tendencies or preferences are being assessed, not all of who we are. We all are capable of so much more than the reported results.
Use what you learn from legitimate psychological and personality discoveries to understand yourself, to communicate better, and to grow more fully into your unique self.
Bonus Round 1: Start With MBTI™ Step I, Move On to Step II
As I’ve progressed in using MBTI™ – either for brand consulting, personal and business coaching, or just to help a friend – I almost exclusively use MBTI Step II™. Step II breaks each of the four letters into five additional facets. This drilling down more deeply personalizes the information and provides a richer and more useful report. If you plan to use MBTI™ for yourself or others, considering asking for Step II.
Bonus Round 2: My Personalized (Not So Rare) Type
Speaking of steps, my individualized type description is Methodical INFP as reported by my own MBTI™ Step II.