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Myers-Briggs types

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 Myers-Briggs types 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 video? They're bouncing all over the place."