Personality Hacker receives a lot of emails from people asking for clarification around their personality types. Many do a lot of their own research until they narrow it down to two possible types before contacting us and asking for help. In our opinion, it is important for people to find their best-fit type because it’s their gateway to growth. Therefore, we provide as much assistance as we can.
That said, it is difficult to type someone through a series of emails. Many of the nuances of conversation, which profilers look for, are neglected by the printed word (e.g. facial expression, voice inflection, gestures, speech patterns, etc.) This is why we offer a verification process by which a highly qualified profiler will talk to a client over the phone in order to determine their best-fit type.
When we do receive a personal request, however, we try to look for certain clues in their correspondence that may tip us off as to their type:
- What words do they use? Words such as “Accurate” and “Effective” can indicate a thinker. Or phrases such as, “I think…” vs “I feel…”
- How the person responds to the different type descriptions. Does one in particular make them feel understood and validated? Or does it make them feel relieved to realize there are others like them?
- Is there one type that fits like a glove, whereas the other types only have one or two things that seem to fit?
Confusion can be created by reading different type descriptions and identifying with pieces and parts of them. The rule of thumb is to go with the type that creates a feeling of relief when one realizes they’re not alone in the world. There are going to be components of other personality types that resonate with us, especially if there are similarities in how they show up. However, one type should feel like it fits on multiple levels.
For instance, ENTJs and INTPs look fundamentally different because of the sandwich letters (ExxJ – IxxP), but when you observe the cognitive function stack of each they both lead with a thinking process – ENTJs with Extraverted Thinking or “Effectiveness” and INTPs with Introverted Thinking or “Accuracy.”
ENTJs have a thinking process that is focused outwardly. They have a grasp of data and metrics in the outside world, which is why we call it “Effectiveness.” It’s about getting things done. It’s about finding the best, most streamlined way of doing things.
INTPs, on the contrary, go inward in using their thinking process and that’s why we call it “Accuracy.” It is about data management within the person themselves.
So, even though it is a completely different expression, they both lead with a thinking process. That means a couple of things are going to be shared by them that aren’t shared by other types.
The consequence of leading with a thinking process is that their blind spot is going to be a feeling process. So, INTPs and ENTJs are going to be more distant from the feeling component than any other Intuitive type.
This aspect of their personality is going to appear strange to a socially adapted world. Thinking-dominant individuals have even been labeled as Autistic or as having Aspergers’ Syndrome. While there are people who legitimately have these conditions, and are very challenged by them, it is possible the diagnoses get thrown around more than they should.
Some people who lead with a thinking process, and have more detachment from their feeling process, are going to appear less tactful and socially adept than the average person. This doesn’t mean they have a mental condition. It just means they aren’t as concerned with social conventions as others.
Specifically, ENTJs lead with “Effectiveness” (Te), but they aren’t the typical extravert.They aren’t people-centric. They aren’t socialites. They are extraverted with structure and function in the outside world. They may even appear introverted because of their lack of social ability. In fact, many ENTJs have mistyped as INTJs.
Both ENTJs and INTPs lead with decision-making processes. So, they show up to the world as very decisive, with their learning process as a supplement. INTPs supplement with the learning process of Extraverted Intuition or “Exploration,” and ENTJs learn through Introverted Intuition or “Perspectives.” “Exploration” and “Perspectives” are as different from each other as “Effectiveness” and “Accuracy”, yet they are in the same positions in the car model, so they can get confused with each other.
Whenever anyone is deciding between two types, we encourage looking at the cognitive functions to see which ones resonate. Read various descriptions of the types and see which type fits like a glove and brings relief, then go with that.
Is It Possible To Be Two Personality Types?
There are many ways to utilize the system, and there are a lot of different philosophies on how it works. It is our belief, however, that no person is two types.
When coaching people and helping them use their personality type for personal development, it isn’t helpful to explore multiple types. The mind is wired in very specific ways.
What really convinced me that there is only one best fit type is Dario Nardi’s work, “The Neuroscience of Personality.” He and his student team connected people to EEG machines to map their minds. The data they culled from that study showed that when we are using the Driver process of our “best fit type” our brain goes into flow. It doesn’t do that with any other Cognitive Function but the Driver. We gain energy from using this flow state and it shows up in our brains.
So, when you figure out your Myers-Briggs type and you engage that dominant mental process you are giving yourself the gift of flow. In fact, if you aren’t in that process enough you will feel dysthymia and lethargy.
We believe finding your single “best fit type” to be the best path to growth. Find your dominant mental process and do activities that are nourishing to it. Then explore your Co-pilot process and find your best path to growth and happiness. Finally, explore the 10-year-old (tertiary) and 3-year-old (inferior) processes in your car and and see how they impact your behavior.
This is extremely important to your personal growth and development and it doesn’t work if you add another layer on top of it (e.g. by trying to master two types). To try to move through the world with the two types of INTP and ENTJ would result in attempting to master all 8 mental processes.
It is interesting and intriguing, yet we haven’t run into a person who has so completely mastered the four cognitive functions in their car that they are ready to start mastering another four. If you are a rock star and have mastered the four functions in the Car Model of your type, then go ahead and add those last four functions. However, if you are like the rest of us then you will find it more powerful to focus on the four cognitive functions of your best fit type. Otherwise you are toggling between two worlds, which is only going to create undue hardship and confusion. The best scenario is that we focus on one type, and the best litmus test for finding that type is the feeling of relief that comes with finally being understood.
— Charis Branson: Inspired by PHQ | QUESTIONS: INTP vs ENTJ
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