March 23, 2005
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What Myers-Briggs type was Stamford Raffles?
An Extrovert, no doubt. But a Thinker more than a
Feeler, I'm guessing. Big-picture guy pulls me more
towards iNtuition, rather than Sensing. And in only
three years running the Singapore outpost for Britain's
East India company, he turned it around from a sleepy
fishing village to a bustling port -- and in the meantime
left his name and imprint on everything from colonial
hotels to Singapore Air's business class service -- so I'm
betting more of a J than a P. Let's call him an ENTJ.
Good, now that we've labelled him, we can start to
pick out ways to deal with him (or could, had he not
been dead for 175 years). It's a little silly, maybe, but
provided an interesting way to get a quick handle on the 20
personalities in this training program, which focused on
things like negotiation, influencing, decision-making.
On the one hand, one doesn't like to be pigeon-holed;
but then you run across a description that rings so true
to your type that you wonder why we don't wear little
visors branding ourselves so that others will know how
to give us what we want.
I was one of only a few Extroverts in a sea of Introverts,
and one night at the lodge overlooking the pool, they tried
to wean me off the need to be seen. A bassist and pianist were
accompanying a Chinese woman singer -- gorgeous, but not
a very powerful singer. Bill (ENFP) called it a "Lost in Translation"
moment -- which made it all the more wonderful for me,
but I guess I was the only one enjoying her performance.
Jevan (INFJ?) pointed out that after each song, I would make eye
contact with her and nod, to elicit a smile from her.
"I challenge you," he leaned into me, "at the end of this next song,
to look at her and not smile, not nod."
Piece o' cake, I thought. And when the song ended, I looked over her
way to see her smiling at me in the uncrowded bar, looking for her
reward. I tried to resist, but finally, unable to leave her hanging and
hoping Jevan and Catherine (ISTP?)
wouldn't notice, I offered the tiniest nod I could muster. They all bust
out laughing, as they did every time I repeated the mistake
after the next four or five songs.
Next day, someone asked if everyone in my family was an E.
"Oh, man," Rob (ISTJ?) interjected. "Have you seen the
bouncing all over the place."