Not all students in high school know what they want to do when they graduate. These four questions will help unlock your students purpose. But, I added a question to the end . . . #5 (jennifer slaight)
It’s a universal dream to do what we’re passionate about. The only problem with this aspiration is that sometimes the thing we most care about isn’t what we do best. As Gloria Steinem famously said, “We teach what we need to learn, and write what we need to know.”
Don’t worry! This doesn’t mean your dream is dead. It just means that you need to figure out how to bring that dream to fruition—using the skills you currently possess. Sure, your dream will be tweaked and altered. But, at the end of the day, you’ll still be able to do what you’re passionate about.
Here are four questions you should ask yourself to help make that happen:
1. What Skills Have Helped You Thrive?
During your childhood and college years, you’ve no doubt developed certain skills out of necessity. For example, Scott Edinger, a highly successful consultant and CEO advisor, grew up broke, in a trailer park, and at age nine, he was adopted into less than ideal circumstances. Edinger learned to survive his challenging childhood by becoming an expert in communication, conflict resolution, attunement to others, and raw persuasion.
In college, he put the paint and polish on his communication skills, placing in the top five in over a hundred debate tournaments, while earning a degree in communication and rhetoric. Fast forward—he has been globally ranked number two in sales in a division of a Fortune 500 company and has repeatedly helped organizations turn around underperforming divisions by focusing on a critical survival skill in business—how to sell.
Now, many people aren’t as unfortunate as Edinger. But that doesn’t mean that you haven’t come across obstacles throughout your life—and figured out a way to go over them. Think about situations that’ve challenged you: Is there a common thread among all of them? If so, that’s something that you’re good at. All you have to do now is figure out which field or position that skill is best suited for.
2. What Makes You Feel Strong?
Marcus Buckingham, the author of Now, Discover Your Strengths, explains: “Our strengths…clamor for attention in the most basic way: using them makes you feel strong. Take note of the times when you feel invigorated, inquisitive, and successful. These moments are clues to what your strengths are.”
Consider also your go-to task when you feel overloaded. When you are overwhelmed, you want to feel in control. To be in control, you do what makes you feel strong. As you identify and focus on what makes you feel strong, you can also expect to be happier, which makes you a better problem-solver in a wide range of circumstances.
3. What Made You Stand Out as a Child?
As children we do what we love to do—even if it makes us an oddity. When you look back on your childhood pastimes, you are likely to discover an innate talent.
In elementary school, Candice Brown Elliott’s classmates teasingly called her “Encyclopedia Brown” after the character in the children’s books. She recounts, “All the kids thought I was the smartest kid in school, but most of my teachers were deeply frustrated because I got only average grades. I was labeled an underachiever.” Instead, she says, “I daydreamed of having animated conversations with famous people like Madame Curie. I daydreamed of building the first true Artificial Intelligence (AI) that would reside in my bedroom closet. I daydreamed about how to build floating cities, great inventions, and new forms of art.”
Four decades later, Elliott holds more than 100 U.S.-issued patents. Her most famous invention, PenTile, color flat-panel display architecture, is shipping in hundreds of millions of smartphones, tablets, notebook PCs, and high-resolution televisions. She founded a venture-backed company to develop this technology, and later sold it to Samsung. As a child, Elliott’s daydreaming was considered odd by her classmates and tremendously frustrating by her teachers. As an adult, her autodidactic approach is her superpower.
Is there something that made you peculiar when you were young? Could it actually be your superpower?
4. What Compliments Do You Tend to Ignore?
All too often, we’re oblivious to our strengths. When you do something reflexively well, it’s easy to overlook it. Keep your ears open for compliments that you habitually dismiss, not to be coy, but because this thing feels as natural as breathing. It may even be you’ve heard a compliment so many times, you are sick of it! Why can’t people praise you for the thing you’ve worked really, really hard to do well?
The tendency to deflect compliments around what you do well is understandable, but over the course of your career, it will leave you trading at a discount to what you are really worth. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts; they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty.” Don’t assume that just because something comes easily or seems obvious to you, it’s not rare and valuable to someone else.
Are there compliments you repeatedly dismiss? Are any of your superpowers not on your resume?
There is no shortage of jobs that need to be done and problems to be solved, but there’s only one of you. Once you’ve homed in on your underlying assets or your core strengths, you can more easily identify your distinctive strengths—what you do well that others in your workplace do not. If you’re looking to be successful, look for problems you feel especially passionate about, then get to work, by playing to your distinctive strengths.
****ADDED question (by Jennifer Slaight of Dyslexia Coach of NJ)
****5. Who do you admire?
We tend to admire people who share our strengths. From family members and friends, to historians and celebrities. Compile your list and see what they all have in common to reveal your purpose.
When I look at my list, a sense of humor is prevalent. In fact, Dolly Parton is a household name as an entertainer, but it was her sense of humor I first admired as a child in the early 80’s, before I identified with her music years later. In fact, the Parton family is very creative as a whole, and I have met many of them over the years. Stella Parton is active on social media and has a common sense political view that is hard to argue with. I met her in Nashville and knew her talent for music, but did you know she signs her autograph upside down? She signed my guitar, so I am witness! I am pretty sure I crashed a Parton family reunion at her coffee house decades ago too (whoops). And, I didn’t know at the time, that I share DNA with early settlers from the Blue Ridge Mountains, which include the Parton’s, so I guess we are related, so I didn’t stand out (lol).
Though my talents may be different from Stella’s and Dolly’s, as I am NOT musical, I do identify with their strengths of creativity and humor. Afterall, I am dyslexic, teaching dyslexic students how to read, when I failed reading in 3rd grade. Now that’s funny! I literally make a living at my weakness…which oddly, is my strength.
I share and support Dolly’s mission at her Imagination Library, where she gives free books, monthly, to children until age 5, to encourage their love of reading. And since 20% of those kids will have trouble reading, like me, (due to dyslexia)…it’s my mission to reach each of them, so they don’t lose their love of learning. Online tutoring available with the best research based program! So call us to unlock your full potential! ~Jen Slaight (www.DyslexiaCoachNJ.com)
Follow up with a profile of types of intelligence: Spatial, naturalistic, musical, logical, existential, interpersonal, bodily kinesthetic, linguistic, intra personal…
The 9 Types of Intelligence
Here is an overview of the multiple intelligences theory, summarized by ASCD :
1. Naturalist Intelligence
Naturalist intelligence designates the human ability to discriminate among living things (plants, animals) as well as sensitivity to other features of the natural world (clouds, rock configurations). This ability was clearly of value in our evolutionary past as hunters, gatherers, and farmers; it continues to be central in such roles as botanist or chef. It is also speculated that much of our consumer society exploits the naturalist intelligences, which can be mobilized in the discrimination among cars, sneakers, kinds of makeup, and the like.
2. Musical Intelligence
Musical intelligence is the capacity to discern pitch, rhythm, timbre, and tone. This intelligence enables us to recognize, create, reproduce, and reflect on music, as demonstrated by composers, conductors, musicians, vocalist, and sensitive listeners. Interestingly, there is often an affective connection between music and the emotions; and mathematical and musical intelligences may share common thinking processes. Young adults with this kind of intelligence are usually singing or drumming to themselves. They are usually quite aware of sounds others may miss.
3. Logical-Mathematical Intelligence
Logical-mathematical intelligence is the ability to calculate, quantify, consider propositions and hypotheses, and carry out complete mathematical operations. It enables us to perceive relationships and connections and to use abstract, symbolic thought; sequential reasoning skills; and inductive and deductive thinking patterns. Logical intelligence is usually well developed in mathematicians, scientists, and detectives. Young adults with lots of logical intelligence are interested in patterns, categories, and relationships. They are drawn to arithmetic problems, strategy games and experiments.
4. Existential Intelligence
Sensitivity and capacity to tackle deep questions about human existence, such as the meaning of life, why we die, and how did we get here.
5. Interpersonal Intelligence
Interpersonal intelligence is the ability to understand and interact effectively with others. It involves effective verbal and nonverbal communication, the ability to note distinctions among others, sensitivity to the moods and temperaments of others, and the ability to entertain multiple perspectives. Teachers, social workers, actors, and politicians all exhibit interpersonal intelligence. Young adults with this kind of intelligence are leaders among their peers, are good at communicating, and seem to understand others’ feelings and motives.
6. Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence
Bodily kinesthetic intelligence is the capacity to manipulate objects and use a variety of physical skills. This intelligence also involves a sense of timing and the perfection of skills through mind–body union. Athletes, dancers, surgeons, and crafts people exhibit well-developed bodily kinesthetic intelligence.
7. Linguistic Intelligence
Linguistic intelligence is the ability to think in words and to use language to express and appreciate complex meanings. Linguistic intelligence allows us to understand the order and meaning of words and to apply meta-linguistic skills to reflect on our use of language. Linguistic intelligence is the most widely shared human competence and is evident in poets, novelists, journalists, and effective public speakers. Young adults with this kind of intelligence enjoy writing, reading, telling stories or doing crossword puzzles.
8. Intra-personal Intelligence
Intra-personal intelligence is the capacity to understand oneself and one’s thoughts and feelings, and to use such knowledge in planning and directioning one’s life. Intra-personal intelligence involves not only an appreciation of the self, but also of the human condition. It is evident in psychologist, spiritual leaders, and philosophers. These young adults may be shy. They are very aware of their own feelings and are self-motivated.
9. Spatial Intelligence
Spatial intelligence is the ability to think in three dimensions. Core capacities include mental imagery, spatial reasoning, image manipulation, graphic and artistic skills, and an active imagination. Sailors, pilots, sculptors, painters, and architects all exhibit spatial intelligence. Young adults with this kind of intelligence may be fascinated with mazes or jigsaw puzzles, or spend free time drawing or daydreaming.
Even 20 years after Gardener’s book came out, there is still a debate whether talents other than math and language are indeed types of intelligence or just skills. What do you think?
Challenging a millenia-old notion that intelligence is a single kind of human capacity does not necessarily win one friends among the intelligent. Gardener’s book is still controversial. If you find it describes exactly what you have suspected to be true since you first went to school, it still isn’t an easy pill to swallow. This book questions what we consider a good education, what we consider talent, and how much control one has to acquire them. The insights are there as long as you are willing to follow Gardener’s scholarly style – he admits he writes for fellow psychologists.
If you prefer a more entertaining but no less profound style, read Ken Robinson’s The Element. Just as upbeat as his famously animated talk at Ted, the book starts with exploring what went wrong or rather what was so right about your childhood self, what school did to it and why, and how now it’s not too late to rediscover your talents and intelligences.
Which type of a person are you? Given seven billion living people, it is a difficult question to answer. The leading personality type theory today classifies humanity into these 16 personality types.
First, Carl Jung formulated the theory of psychological types (Jung, 1971). Then The Myers–Briggs Type Indicator became a common test for finding out one’s personality type. (Briggs Myers, 1980). Later, psychologist David Keirsey named and described each of the 16 personality types. In the above infographic, you can see how all these typologies overlap.
Before reading any further, you are welcome to take the test here.
Not all classifications of people are based on their entire personality, as if it were a monolith thing. There is a competing theory that classifies people by The Five Personality Traits resulting in an infinite number of combinations of degrees to which each person posseses these five traits.
Four Temperaments by Keirsey
David Keirsey expanded on the ancient study of temperament by Hippocrates and Plato. In his works, Keirsey used the names suggested by Plato: Artisan (iconic), Guardian (pistic), Idealist (noetic), and Rational (dianoetic). Keirsey divided the four temperaments into two categories (roles), each with two types (role variants). The resulting 16 types correlate with the 16 personality types described by Briggs and Myers (MBTI).
- Composer (ISFP)
- Crafter (ISTP)
- Performer (ESFP)
- Promoter (ESTP)
- Inspector (ISTJ)
- Protector (ISFJ)
- Provider (ESFJ)
- Supervisor (ESTJ)
- Champion (ENFP)
- Counselor (INFJ)
- Healer (INFP)
- Teacher (ENFJ)
- Architect (INTP)
- Fieldmarshal (ENTJ)
- Inventor (ENTP)
- Mastermind (INTJ)
For illustrative purposes, Keirsey and his son, David M. Keirsey, have identified well-known individuals whose behavior is consistent with a specific type
The Supervisor – ESTJ Personality
Extraverted Sensing Thinking Judging type
Supervisors are highly social and community-minded, with many rising to positions of responsibility in their school, church, industry, or civic groups. Supervisors are generous with their time and energy, and very often belong to a variety of service clubs, lodges, and associations, supporting them through steady attendance, but also taking an outspoken leadership role. Supervisors like to take charge of groups and are comfortable issuing orders. They are cooperative with their own superiors, and they would like cooperation from the people working under them. Rank, they believe, has its obligations, but it also has its privileges.
Comprising at least ten percent of the population, Supervisors enjoy and are good at making schedules, agendas, inventories, and so on, and they much prefer tried and true ways of doing things over speculation and experimentation. Supervisors keep their feet firmly on the ground and would like those under their supervision to do the same, whether employee, subordinate, spouse, or offspring. Supervisors have no problem evaluating others and tend to judge how a person is doing in terms of his or her compliance with, and respect for, schedules and procedures.
Supervisors are unbelievably hard-working. Even as children they are industrious, and they usually respect their parents as authority figures. In school Supervisors are often model students, dutifully following directions, doing all their homework, doing it thoroughly, and on time. Above all else, they wish to do what they are supposed to do, and they rarely question the teacher’s assignments, method of instruction, standards, or authority. And their industry and perseverance only become more important to them as they grow into adulthood and take on the responsibilities of job and family.
Supervisors approach human relations along traditional lines. Marriage and parenthood are sacred to them, and they tend to have a large circle of friends, with many friendships faithfully maintained over the years. Social gatherings and ceremonies have great meaning for them, and they look forward to holiday parties, club dances, weddings, class reunions, awards banquets, and the like. In social situations, Supervisors are friendly and talk easily with others. Though they can seem a bit formal in their manners, Supervisors are pretty easy to get to know. At ease in polite company, they tend not to confuse people by sending double messages or putting on airs-what they seem to be, they are.
- George Washington
- Sandra Day O’Connor
- Vince Lombardi
- Judith Sheindlin (Judge Judy)
- Mike Wallace
The Inspector – ISTJ personality
Introverted Sensing Thinking Judging type
The one word that best describes Inspectors is superdependable. Whether at home or at work, Inspectors are extraordinarily persevering and dutiful, particularly when it comes to keeping an eye on the people and products they are responsible for. In their quiet way, Inspectors see to it that rules are followed, laws are respected, and standards are upheld.
Inspectors (as much as ten percent of the general population) are the true guardians of institutions. They are patient with their work and with the procedures within an institution, although not always with the unauthorized behavior of some people in that institution. Responsible to the core, Inspectors like it when people know their duties, follow the guidelines, and operate within the rules. For their part, Inspectors will see to it that goods are examined and schedules are kept, that resources will be up to standards and delivered when and where they are supposed to be. And they would prefer that everyone be this dependable. Inspectors can be hard-nosed about the need for following the rules in the workplace, and do not hesitate to report irregularities to the proper authorities. Because of this they are often misjudged as being hard-hearted, or as having ice in their veins, for people fail to see their good intentions and their vulnerability to criticism. Also, because Inspectors usually make their inspections without much flourish or fanfare, the dedication they bring to their work can go unnoticed and unappreciated.
While not as talkative as Supervisor Guardians [ESTJs], Inspectors are still highly sociable, and are likely to be involved in community service organizations, such as Sunday School, Little League, or Boy and Girl Scouting, that transmit traditional values to the young. Like all Guardians, Inspectors hold dear their family social ceremonies-weddings, birthdays, and anniversaries – although they tend to be shy if the occasion becomes too large or too public. Generally speaking, Inspectors are not comfortable with anything that gets too fancy. Their words tend to be plain and down-to-earth, not showy or high-flown; their clothes are often simple and conservative rather than of the latest fashion; and their home and work environments are usually neat, orderly, and traditional, rather than trendy or ostentatious. As for personal property, they usually choose standard items over models loaded with features, and they often try to find classics and antiques – Inspectors prefer the old-fashioned to the newfangled every time.
- Queen Elizabeth II
- Harry S. Truman
- Warren Buffett
- Queen Victoria
- John D. Rockefeller
Provider – ESFJ Personality
Extraverted Sensing Feeling Judging type
Providers take it upon themselves to insure the health and welfare of those in their care, but they are also the most sociable of all the Guardians, and thus are the great nurturers of social institutions such as schools, churches, social clubs, and civic groups. Providers are very likely more than ten percent of the population, and this is fortunate for the rest of us, because friendly social service is a key to their nature. Wherever they go, Providers happily give their time and energy to make sure that the needs of others are met, and that social functions are a success.
Highly cooperative themselves, Providers are skilled in maintaining teamwork among their helpers, and are also tireless in their attention to the details of furnishing goods and services. They make excellent chairpersons in charge of dances, banquets, class reunions, charity fund-raisers, and the like. They are without peer as masters of ceremonies, able to speak publicly with ease and confidence. And they are outstanding hosts or hostesses, knowing everyone by name, and seemingly aware of what everyone’s been doing. Providers love to entertain, and are always concerned about the needs of their guests, wanting to make sure that all are involved and provided for.
Friendly, outgoing, neighborly – in a word, Providers are gregarious, so much so that they can become restless when isolated from people. They love to talk with others, and will often strike up a conversation with strangers and chat pleasantly about any topic that comes to mind. Friendships matter a great deal to Providers, and their conversations with friends often touch on good times from years past. Family traditions are also sacred to them, and they carefully observe birthdays and anniversaries. In addition, Providers show a delightful fascination with news of their friends and neighbors. If we wish to know what’s been going on in the local community, school, or church, they’re happy to fill us in on all the details.
Providers are extremely sensitive to the feelings of others, which makes them perhaps the most sympathetic of all the types, but which also leaves them somewhat self-conscious, that is, highly sensitive to what others think of them. Loving and affectionate themselves, they need to be loved in return. In fact, Providers can be crushed by personal criticism, and are happiest when given ample appreciation both for themselves personally and for the tireless service they give to others.
- Ray Kroc
- Dolley Madison
- Louis B. Mayer
- James Cash (J.C.) Penney
- William Howard Taft
- Dave Thomas
- Barbara Walters
- Sam Walton
Protector – ISFJ Personality
Introverted Sensing Feeling Judging type
We are lucky that Protectors make up as much as ten percent the population, because their primary interest is in the safety and security of those they care about – their family, their circle of friends, their students, their patients, their boss, their fellow-workers, or their employees. Protectors have an extraordinary sense of loyalty and responsibility in their makeup, and seem fulfilled in the degree they can shield others from the dirt and dangers of the world. Speculating and experimenting do not intrigue Protectors, who prefer to make do with time-honored and time-tested products and procedures rather than change to new. At work Protectors are seldom happy in situations where the rules are constantly changing, or where long-established ways of doing things are not respected. For their part, Protectors value tradition, both in the culture and in their family. Protectors believe deeply in the stability of social ranking conferred by birth, titles, offices, and credentials. And they cherish family history and enjoy caring for family property, from houses to heirlooms.
Wanting to be of service to others, Protectors find great satisfaction in assisting the downtrodden, and can deal with disability and neediness in others better than any other type. They are not as outgoing and talkative as the Provider Guardians [ESFJs], and their shyness is often misjudged as stiffness, even coldness, when in truth Protectors are warm-hearted and sympathetic, giving happily of themselves to those in need.
Their reserve ought really to be seen as an expression of their sincerity and seriousness of purpose. The most diligent of all the types, Protectors are willing to work long, hard hours quietly doing all the thankless jobs that others manage to avoid. Protectors are quite happy working alone; in fact, in positions of authority they may try to do everything themselves rather than direct others to get the job done. Thoroughness and frugality are also virtues for them. When Protectors undertake a task, they will complete it if humanly possible. They also know better than any other type the value of a dollar, and they abhor the squandering or misuse of money. To save, to put something aside against an unpredictable future, to prepare for emergencies-these are actions near and dear to the Protector’s heart. For all these reasons, Protectors are frequently overworked, just as they are frequently misunderstood and undervalued. Their contributions, and also their economies, are often taken for granted, and they rarely get the gratitude they deserve.
- George H.W. Bush
- Jimmy Stewart
- Mother Teresa
- Tsar Nicholas II
- King George VI
Promoter – ESTP Personality
Extraverted Sensing Thinking Perceiving type
There are lots of Promoters — maybe ten or so percent of the population, and life is never dull around them. In a word, they are men and women of action. When a Promoter is present, things begin to happen: the lights come on, the music plays, the games begin. Clever and full of fun, Promoters live with a theatrical flourish which makes even the most routine events seem exciting. Not that they waste much time on routine events. In work and in play, Promoters demand new activities and new challenges. Bold and daring at heart, and ever-optimistic that things will go their way, Promoters will take tremendous risks to get what they want, and seem exhilarated by walking close to the edge of disaster. Because of this, they make the very best trouble-spot administrators and negotiators, and they can be outstanding entrepreneurs, able to swing deals and kick-start enterprises in a way no other type can.
Promoters also have a hearty appetite for the finer things of life, the best food, the best wine, expensive cars, and fashionable clothes. And they are extremely sophisticated in social circles, knowing many, many people by name, and knowing how to say just the right thing to most everyone they meet.
Charming, confident, and popular, Promoters delight their friends and investors with their endless supply of stories and jokes. At the same time, these smooth operators are usually something of a mystery to others. While they live in the moment and lend excitement – and unpredictability – to all their relationships, they rarely let anyone get really close to them. They have a low tolerance for authority and commitment, and are likely to leave situations where they are expected to toe the mark, or where they must play second fiddle. Promoters understand well the maxim, “He who travels fastest, travels alone,” although they are not likely to be lonely for long, since their boldness and sense of adventure tends to make them highly attractive to many other people.
- Winston Churchill
- Ernest Hemingway
- General George Patton
- Evita Peron
- Franklin D. Roosevelt
- Grace Slick
- Donald Trump
Crafter – ISTP Personality
Introverted Sensing Thinking Perceiving type
The nature of Crafters is most clearly seen in their masterful operation of tools, equipment, machines, and instruments of all kinds. Most us use tools in some capacity, of course, but Crafters (as much as ten percent of the population) are the true masters of tool work, with an innate ability to command tools and to become expert at all the crafts requiring tool skills. Even from an early age they are drawn to tools as if to a magnet — tools fall into their hands demanding use, and they must work with them.
Like all the Artisans, Crafters are people who love action, and who know instinctively that their activities are more enjoyable, and more effective, if done impulsively, spontaneously, subject to no schedules or standards but their own. In a sense, Crafters do not work with their tools, but play with them when the urge strikes them. Crafters also seek fun and games on impulse, looking for any opportunity, and just because they feel like it, to play with their various toys: cars, motorcycles, boats, dune-buggies, hunting rifles, fishing tackle, scuba gear, and on and on. They thrive on excitement, particularly the rush of speed-racing, water-skiing, surfing. And Crafters are fearless in their play, exposing themselves to danger again and again, even despite frequent injury. Of all the types, Crafters are most likely to be risk takers, pitting themselves, or their technique, against chance or odds.
Perhaps this is because they tend to communicate through action, and show little interest in developing language skills. Their lack of expressiveness can isolate them at school and on the job, and even though they hang around with their own kind in play, they let their actions speak for them, and their actual conversation is sparse and brief.
Crafters can be wonderfully generous and loyal to their friends, teammates, and sidekicks, often giving up their evenings or weekends to help with building projects or mechanical repairs-house remodeling, for example, or working on cars or boats. On the other hand, they can be fiercely insubordinate to those in authority, seeing rules and regulations as unnecessarily confining. Crafters will not usually go against regulations openly, but will simply ignore them. More than anything, Crafters want to be free to do their own thing, and they are proud of their ability to do it with an artist’s skill.
- Woody Allen
- Lance Armstrong
- Michael Douglas
- Katharine Hepburn
- Michael Jordan
- Bruce Lee
- Alan Shepard
- Tiger Woods
Performer – ESFP Personality
Extraverted Sensing Feeling Perceiving type
Performers have the special ability, even among the Artisans, to delight those around them with their warmth, their good humor, and with their often extraordinary skills in music, comedy, and drama. Whether on the job, with friends, or with their families, Performers are exciting and full of fun, and their great social interest lies in stimulating those around them to take a break from work and worry, to lighten up and enjoy life.
Performers are plentiful, something over ten percent of the population, and this is fortunate, because they bring pleasure to so many of us. Performers are the people for whom it can truly be said “all the world’s a stage.” Born entertainers, they love the excitement of playing to an audience, and will quickly become the center of attention wherever they are. Performers aren’t comfortable being alone, and seek the company of others whenever possible — which they usually find, for they make wonderful playmates. Performers are smooth, talkative, and witty; they always seem to know the latest jokes and stories, and are quick with wisecracks and wordplay-nothing is so serious or sacred that it can’t be made fun of. Performers also like to live in the fast lane, and seem up on the latest fashions of dress, food, drink, and music. Lively and uninhibited, Performers are the life of the party, always trying to create in those around them a mood of eat, drink, and be merry.
The Performers’ talent for enjoying life is healthy for the most part, though it also makes them more subject to temptations than the other types. Pleasure seems to be an end in itself for them, and variety is the spice of life. And so Performers are open to trying almost anything that promises them a good time, not always giving enough thought to the consequences.
Like the other Artisans, Performers are incurably optimistic – “Always look on the bright side,” is their motto — and they will avoid worries and troubles by ignoring them as long as possible. They are also the most generous of all the types, and second only to the Composer Artisans [ISFPs] in kindness. Performers haven’t a mean or stingy bone in their body-what’s theirs is yours-and they seem to have little idea of saving or conserving. They give what they have to one and all without expectation of reward, just as they love freely, and without expecting anything in return. In so many ways, Performers view life as an eternal cornucopia from which flows an endless supply of pleasures.
- Bill Clinton
- Ronald Reagan
- Leonard Bernstein
- Magic Johnson
- Elvis Presley
- Elizabeth Taylor
Composer – ISFP Personality
Intoverted Sensing Feeling Perceiving type
More than the other Artisans, Composers are in tune with their senses, and so have a sure grasp of what belongs, and what doesn’t belong, in all kinds of works of art. While the other Artisans are skilled with people, tools, and entertainment, Composers have an exceptional ability-seemingly inborn-to work with subtle differences in color, tone, texture, aroma, and flavor.
Although Composers often put long, lonely hours into their artistry, they are just as impulsive as the other Artisans. They do not wait to consider their moves; rather, they act in the here and now, with little or no planning or preparation. Composers are seized by the act of artistic composition, as if caught up in a whirlwind. The act is their master, not the reverse. Composers paint or sculpt, they dance or skate, they write melodies or make recipes-or whatever-simply because they must. They climb the mountain because it is there.
This ability to lose themselves in action accounts for the spectacular individual accomplishments of some Composers, and yet on their social side they show a kindness unmatched by all the other types. Composers are especially sensitive to the pain and suffering of others, and they sympathize freely with the sufferer. Some have a remarkable way with young children, almost as if there were a natural bond of sympathy and trust between them. A similar bond may be seen between some Composers and animals, even wild animals. Many Composers have an instinctive longing for the wilds, and nature seems to welcome them.
Composers are just as plentiful as the other Artisans, say nine or ten per cent of the population, but in general they are very difficult to observe and thus greatly misunderstood. Very likely the difficulty comes from their tendency not to express themselves verbally, but through their works of art. Composers are usually not interested in developing ability in public speaking, or even in the art of conversation; they prefer to feel the pulse of life by touch, in the muscles, in the eyes, in the ears, on the tongue. Make no mistake, Composers are just as interested as other types in sharing their view of the world, and if they find a medium of non-verbal communication-some art form-then they will express their character quite eloquently. If not, they simply remain unknown, their quietness leaving their character all but invisible.
- Mikhail Gorbachev
- Mel Brooks
- Bob Dylan
- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
- Jackie Kennedy Onassis
- Neil Simon
- Steven Spielberg
Teacher – ENFJ Personality
Extraverted Intuitive Feeling Judging type
Even more than the other Idealists,Teachers have a natural talent for leading students or trainees toward learning, or as Idealists like to think of it, they are capable of calling forth each learner’s potentials. Teachers (around two percent of the population) are able – effortlessly, it seems, and almost endlessly-to dream up fascinating learning activities for their students to engage in. In some Teachers, this ability to fire the imagination can amount to a kind of genius which other types find hard to emulate. But perhaps their greatest strength lies in their belief in their students. Teachers look for the best in their students, and communicate clearly that each one has untold potential, and this confidence can inspire their students to grow and develop more than they ever thought possible.
In whatever field they choose, Teachers consider people their highest priority, and they instinctively communicate personal concern and a willingness to become involved. Warmly outgoing, and perhaps the most expressive of all the types, Teachers are remarkably good with language, especially when communicating in speech, face to face. And they do not hesitate to speak out and let their feelings be known. Bubbling with enthusiasm, Teachers will voice their passions with dramatic flourish, and can, with practice, become charismatic public speakers. This verbal ability gives Teachers a good deal of influence in groups, and they are often asked to take a leadership role.
Teachers like things settled and organized, and will schedule their work hours and social engagements well ahead of time — and they are absolutely trustworthy in honoring these commitments. Valuing as they do interpersonal cooperation and harmonious relations, Teachers are extraordinarily tolerant of others, are easy to get along with, and are usually popular wherever they are.
Teachers are highly sensitive to others, which is to say their intuition tends to be well developed. Certainly their insight into themselves and others is unparalleled. Without a doubt, they know what is going on inside themselves, and they can read other people with uncanny accuracy. Teachers also identify with others quite easily, and will actually find themselves picking up the characteristics, emotions, and beliefs of those around them. Because they slip almost unconsciously into other people’s skin in this way, Teachers feel closely connected with those around them, and thus show a sincere interest in the joys and problems of their employees, colleagues, students, clients, and loved ones.
- Mikhail Gorbachev
- Pope John Paul II
- Margaret Mead
- Ralph Nader
- Oprah Winfrey
- John Wooden
Counselor – INFJ Personality
Introverted Intuitive Feeling Judging type
Counselors have an exceptionally strong desire to contribute to the welfare of others, and find great personal fulfillment interacting with people, nurturing their personal development, guiding them to realize their human potential. Although they are happy working at jobs (such as writing) that require solitude and close attention, Counselors do quite well with individuals or groups of people, provided that the personal interactions are not superficial, and that they find some quiet, private time every now and then to recharge their batteries. Counselors are both kind and positive in their handling of others; they are great listeners and seem naturally interested in helping people with their personal problems. Not usually visible leaders, Counselors prefer to work intensely with those close to them, especially on a one-to-one basis, quietly exerting their influence behind the scenes.
Counselors are scarce, little more than three percent of the population, and can be hard to get to know, since they tend not to share their innermost thoughts or their powerful emotional reactions except with their loved ones. They are highly private people, with an unusually rich, complicated inner life. Friends or colleagues who have known them for years may find sides emerging which come as a surprise. Not that Counselors are flighty or scattered; they value their integrity a great deal, but they have mysterious, intricately woven personalities which sometimes puzzle even them.
Counselors tend to work effectively in organizations. They value staff harmony and make every effort to help an organization run smoothly and pleasantly. They understand and use human systems creatively, and are good at consulting and cooperating with others. As employees or employers, Counselors are concerned with people’s feelings and are able to act as a barometer of the feelings within the organization.
Blessed with vivid imaginations, Counselors are often seen as the most poetical of all the types, and in fact they use a lot of poetic imagery in their everyday language. Their great talent for language-both written and spoken-is usually directed toward communicating with people in a personalized way. Counselors are highly intuitive and can recognize another’s emotions or intentions – good or evil – even before that person is aware of them. Counselors themselves can seldom tell how they came to read others’ feelings so keenly. This extreme sensitivity to others could very well be the basis of the Counselor’s remarkable ability to experience a whole array of psychic phenomena.
- Emily Brontë
- Mary Baker Eddy
- Mohandas Gandhi
- Jane Goodall
- Sir Alec Guinness
- Carl Jung
- Queen Noor
- Sidney Poitier
- Eleanor Roosevelt
Champion – ENFP Personality
Extraverted Intuitive Feeling Perceiving type
Like the other Idealists, Champions are rather rare, say three or four percent of the population, but even more than the others they consider intense emotional experiences as being vital to a full life. Champions have a wide range and variety of emotions, and a great passion for novelty. They see life as an exciting drama, pregnant with possibilities for both good and evil, and they want to experience all the meaningful events and fascinating people in the world. The most outgoing of the Idealists, Champions often can’t wait to tell others of their extraordinary experiences. Champions can be tireless in talking with others, like fountains that bubble and splash, spilling over their own words to get it all out. And usually this is not simple storytelling; Champions often speak (or write) in the hope of revealing some truth about human experience, or of motivating others with their powerful convictions. Their strong drive to speak out on issues and events, along with their boundless enthusiasm and natural talent with language, makes them the most vivacious and inspiring of all the types.
Fiercely individualistic, Champions strive toward a kind of personal authenticity, and this intention always to be themselves is usually quite attractive to others. At the same time, Champions have outstanding intuitive powers and can tell what is going on inside of others, reading hidden emotions and giving special significance to words or actions. In fact, Champions are constantly scanning the social environment, and no intriguing character or silent motive is likely to escape their attention. Far more than the other Idealists, Champions are keen and probing observers of the people around them, and are capable of intense concentration on another individual. Their attention is rarely passive or casual. On the contrary, Champions tend to be extra sensitive and alert, always ready for emergencies, always on the lookout for what’s possible.
Champions are good with people and usually have a wide range of personal relationships. They are warm and full of energy with their friends. They are likable and at ease with colleagues, and handle their employees or students with great skill. They are good in public and on the telephone, and are so spontaneous and dramatic that others love to be in their company. Champions are positive, exuberant people, and often their confidence in the goodness of life and of human nature makes good things happen.
- Joan Baez
- Joseph Campbell
- Charles Dickens
- Phil Donahue
- Martin Luther King Jr
- Bill Moyers
- Paul Robeson
- Sargent Shriver
- Elizabeth Cady Stanton
- Edith Wharton
Healer – INFP Personality
Introverted Intuitive Feeling Perceiving type
Healers present a calm and serene face to the world, and can seem shy, even distant around others. But inside they’re anything but serene, having a capacity for personal caring rarely found in the other types. Healers care deeply about the inner life of a few special persons, or about a favorite cause in the world at large. And their great passion is to heal the conflicts that trouble individuals, or that divide groups, and thus to bring wholeness, or health, to themselves, their loved ones, and their community.
Healers have a profound sense of idealism that comes from a strong personal sense of right and wrong. They conceive of the world as an ethical, honorable place, full of wondrous possibilities and potential goods. In fact, to understand Healers, we must understand that their deep commitment to the positive and the good is almost boundless and selfless, inspiring them to make extraordinary sacrifices for someone or something they believe in. Set off from the rest of humanity by their privacy and scarcity, Healers can often feel even more isolated in the purity of their idealism.
Also, Healers might well feel a sense of separation because of their often misunderstood childhood. Healers live a fantasy-filled childhood-they are the prince or princess of fairy tales-an attitude which, sadly, is frowned upon, or even punished, by many parents. With parents who want them to get their head out of the clouds, Healers begin to believe they are bad to be so fanciful, so dreamy, and can come to see themselves as ugly ducklings. In truth, they are quite OK just as they are, only different from most others-swans reared in a family of ducks.
At work, Healers are adaptable, welcome new ideas and new information, are patient with complicated situations, but impatient with routine details. Healers are keenly aware of people and their feelings, and relate well with most others. Because of their deep-seated reserve, however, they can work quite happily alone. When making decisions, Healers follow their heart not their head, which means they can make errors of fact, but seldom of feeling. They have a natural interest in scholarly activities and demonstrate, like the other Idealists, a remarkable facility with language. They have a gift for interpreting stories, as well as for creating them, and thus often write in lyric, poetic fashion. Frequently they hear a call to go forth into the world and help others, a call they seem ready to answer, even if they must sacrifice their own comfort.
- Diana, Princess of Wales
- Vincent van Gogh
- Aldous Huxley
- Søren Kierkegaard
- Isabel Myers
- George Orwell
Fieldmarshal – ENTJ Personality
Extraverted Intuitive Thinking Judging type
Of the four aspects of strategic analysis and definition it is the marshaling or situational organizing role that reaches the highest development in the Fieldmarshal. As this kind of role is practiced some contingency organizing is necessary, so that the second suit of the Fieldmarshal’s intellect is devising contingency plans. Structural and functional engineering, though practiced in some degree in the course of organizational operations, tend to be not nearly as well developed and are soon outstripped by the rapidly growing skills in organizing. But it must be said that any kind of strategic exercise tends to bring added strength to engineering as well as organizing skills.
Hardly more than two percent of the total population, Fieldmarshals are bound to lead others, and from an early age they can be observed taking command of groups. In some cases, they simply find themselves in charge of groups, and are mystified as to how this happened. But the reason is that they have a strong natural urge to give structure and direction wherever they are – to harness people in the field and to direct them to achieve distant goals. They resemble Supervisors in their tendency to establish plans for a task, enterprise, or organization, but Fieldmarshals search more for policy and goals than for regulations and procedures.
They cannot not build organizations, and cannot not push to implement their goals. When in charge of an organization, whether in the military, business, education, or government, Fieldmarshals more than any other type desire (and generally have the ability) to visualize where the organization is going, and they seem able to communicate that vision to others. Their organizational and coordinating skills tends to be highly developed, which means that they are likely to be good at systematizing, ordering priorities, generalizing, summarizing, marshaling evidence, and at demonstrating their ideas. Their ability to organize, however, may be more highly developed than their ability to analyze, and the Fieldmarshal leader may need to turn to an Inventor or Architect to provide this kind of input.
Fieldmarshals will usually rise to positions of responsibility and enjoy being executives. They are tireless in their devotion to their jobs and can easily block out other areas of life for the sake of their work. Superb administrators in any field – medicine, law, business, education, government, the military – Fieldmarshals organize their units into smooth-functioning systems, planning in advance, keeping both short-term and long-range objectives well in mind. For the Fieldmarshal, there must always be a goal-directed reason for doing anything, and people’s feelings usually are not sufficient reason. They prefer decisions to be based on impersonal data, want to work from well thought-out plans, like to use engineered operations – and they expect others to follow suit. They are ever intent on reducing bureaucratic red tape, task redundancy, and aimless confusion in the workplace, and they are willing to dismiss employees who cannot get with the program and increase their efficiency. Although Fieldmarshals are tolerant of established procedures, they can and will abandon any procedure when it can be shown to be ineffective in accomplishing its goal. Fieldmarshals root out and reject ineffectiveness and inefficiency, and are impatient with repetition of error.
- Napoleon Bonaparte
- Julius Caesar
- George C. Marshall
- Golda Meir
- Carl Sagan
- Edward Teller
- Margaret Thatcher
Mastermind – INTJ Personality
Introverted Intuitive Thinking Judging type
All Rationals are good at planning operations, but Masterminds are head and shoulders above all the rest in contingency planning. Complex operations involve many steps or stages, one following another in a necessary progression, and Masterminds are naturally able to grasp how each one leads to the next, and to prepare alternatives for difficulties that are likely to arise any step of the way. Trying to anticipate every contingency, Masterminds never set off on their current project without a Plan A firmly in mind, but they are always prepared to switch to Plan B or C or D if need be.
Masterminds are rare, comprising no more than one to two percent of the population, and they are rarely encountered outside their office, factory, school, or laboratory. Although they are highly capable leaders, Masterminds are not at all eager to take command, preferring to stay in the background until others demonstrate their inability to lead. Once they take charge, however, they are thoroughgoing pragmatists. Masterminds are certain that efficiency is indispensable in a well-run organization, and if they encounter inefficiency — any waste of human and material resources — they are quick to realign operations and reassign personnel. Masterminds do not feel bound by established rules and procedures, and traditional authority does not impress them, nor do slogans or catchwords. Only ideas that make sense to them are adopted; those that don’t, aren’t, no matter who thought of them. Remember, their aim is always maximum efficiency.
In their careers, Masterminds usually rise to positions of responsibility, for they work long and hard and are dedicated in their pursuit of goals, sparing neither their own time and effort nor that of their colleagues and employees. Problem-solving is highly stimulating to Masterminds, who love responding to tangled systems that require careful sorting out. Ordinarily, they verbalize the positive and avoid comments of a negative nature; they are more interested in moving an organization forward than dwelling on mistakes of the past.
Masterminds tend to be much more definite and self-confident than other Rationals, having usually developed a very strong will. Decisions come easily to them; in fact, they can hardly rest until they have things settled and decided. But before they decide anything, they must do the research. Masterminds are highly theoretical, but they insist on looking at all available data before they embrace an idea, and they are suspicious of any statement that is based on shoddy research, or that is not checked against reality.
- Walt Disney
- Ayn Rand
- Niels Bohr
- Dwight D. Eisenhower
- Ulysses S. Grant
- Stephen Hawking
- Lise Meitner
- Friedrich Nietzsche
- Isaac Newton
Inventor – ENTP Personality
Extraverted Intuitive Thinking Perceiving type
Inventors begin building gadgets and mechanisms as young children, and never really stop, though as adults they will turn their inventiveness to many kinds of organizations, social as well as mechanical. There aren’t many Inventors, say about two percent of the population, but they have great impact on our everyday lives. With their innovative, entrepreneurial spirit, Inventors are always on the lookout for a better way, always eyeing new projects, new enterprises, new processes. Always aiming to “build a better mousetrap.”Inventors are keenly pragmatic, and often become expert at devising the most effective means to accomplish their ends. They are the most reluctant of all the types to do things in a particular manner just because that’s the way they have been done. As a result, they often bring fresh, new approaches to their work and play. They are intensely curious and continuously probe for possibilities, especially when trying to solve complex problems. Inventors are filled with ideas, but value ideas only when they make possible actions and objects. Thus they see product design not as an end in itself, but as a means to an end, as a way of devising the prototype that works and that can be brought to market. Inventors are confident in their pragmatism, counting on their ability to find effective ways and means when they need them, rather than making a detailed blueprint in advance. A rough idea is all they need to feel ready to proceed into action.
Inventors often have a lively circle of friends and are interested in their ideas and activities. They are usually easy-going, seldom critical or carping. Inventors can be engaging conversationalists, able to express their own complicated ideas and to follow the ideas of others. When arguing issues, however, they may deliberately employ debate skills to the serious disadvantage of their opponents.
Inventors are usually non-conformists in the workplace, and can succeed in many areas as long as the job does not involve too much humdrum routine. They make good leaders on pilot projects that test their ingenuity. And they are skilled at engineering human relationships and human systems, quickly grasping the politics of institutions and always wanting to understand the people within the system rather than tell them what to do. No matter what their occupation, however, Inventors display an extraordinary talent for rising to the demands of even the most impossible situations. “It can’t be done” is a challenge to an Inventor and elicits a reaction of “I can do it.”
- Walt Disney
- Abraham Lincoln
- Richard Feynman
- Benjamin Franklin
- Maria Montessori
- Thomas Edison
- Nikola Tesla
- Hedy Lamarr
- Sally Ride
- Howard Hughes
Architect – INTP Personality
Introverted Intuitive Thinking Perceiving type
Architects need not be thought of as only interested in drawing blueprints for buildings or roads or bridges. They are the master designers of all kinds of theoretical systems, including school curricula, corporate strategies, and new technologies. For Architects, the world exists primarily to be analyzed, understood, explained – and re-designed. External reality in itself is unimportant, little more than raw material to be organized into structural models. What is important for Architects is that they grasp fundamental principles and natural laws, and that their designs are elegant, that is, efficient and coherent.
Architects are rare – maybe one percent of the population – and show the greatest precision in thought and speech of all the types. They tend to see distinctions and inconsistencies instantaneously, and can detect contradictions no matter when or where they were made. It is difficult for an Architect to listen to nonsense, even in a casual conversation, without pointing out the speaker’s error. And in any serious discussion or debate Architects are devastating, their skill in framing arguments giving them an enormous advantage. Architects regard all discussions as a search for understanding, and believe their function is to eliminate inconsistencies, which can make communication with them an uncomfortable experience for many.
Ruthless pragmatists about ideas, and insatiably curious, Architects are driven to find the most efficient means to their ends, and they will learn in any manner and degree they can. They will listen to amateurs if their ideas are useful, and will ignore the experts if theirs are not. Authority derived from office, credential, or celebrity does not impress them. Architects are interested only in what make sense, and thus only statements that are consistent and coherent carry any weight with them.
Architects often seem difficult to know. They are inclined to be shy except with close friends, and their reserve is difficult to penetrate. Able to concentrate better than any other type, they prefer to work quietly at their computers or drafting tables, and often alone. Architects also become obsessed with analysis, and this can seem to shut others out. Once caught up in a thought process, Architects close off and persevere until they comprehend the issue in all its complexity. Architects prize intelligence, and with their grand desire to grasp the structure of the universe, they can seem arrogant and may show impatience with others who have less ability, or who are less driven.
- Ludwig Boltzmann
- Charles Darwin
- Albert Einstein
- Thomas Jefferson
- David Keirsey
- James Madison
- Gregory Peck
- Robert Rosen
- Adam Smith
- George Soros
For the past twenty years Keirsey has continued to investigate personality differences, to refine his theory of the four temperaments and to define the facets of character that distinguish one from another.
His findings form the basis of Please Understand Me II, an updated and greatly expanded edition of the book, far more comprehensive and coherent than the original, and yet with much of the same easy accessibility. One major addition is Keirsey’s view of how the temperaments differ in the intelligent roles they are most likely to develop. Each of us, he says, has four kinds of intelligence, tactical, logistical, diplomatic, strategic, though one of the four interests us far more than the others, and thus gets far more practice than the rest. Like four suits in a hand of cards, we each have a long suit and a short suit in what interests us and what we do well, and fortunate indeed are those whose work matches their skills. As in the original book, Please Understand Me II begins with The Keirsey Temperament Sorter, the most used personality inventory in the world. But also included is The Keirsey Four-Types Sorter, a new short questionnaire that identifies one’s basic temperament and then ranks one’s second, third, and fourth choices. Share this new sorter with friends and family, and get set for a lively and fascinating discussion of personal styles.
1. Jung, C. G. (1971). Psychological types (Collected works of C. G. Jung, volume 6, Chapter X)
2. Briggs Myers, I. (1980, 1995) Gifts Differing: Understanding Personality Type