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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Misperception #1 about unclear type - “I am both E and I”

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Written by Catherine Rains

To begin our discussion about unclear type, let’s look at the most common misperception - a student does both E and I (or S and N, etc.) equally well and therefore they are both types. I’ve also heard students say they are well developed because they do both equally well.

The truth is that your student could have developed skills in his/her non-preference that would look to the outside world, and maybe even to themselves, as though they do their non-preference just as well as their true preference. However, a skill is not a preference. For instance, I was trained by my father to have a preference for Judging, which is his preference. He trained me to be Judging because it is the preference that made him successful, and he thought that this preference would work well for me as well. As a result, I do J exceptionally well. Most people trying to guess my type think that I am a J because I am very organized, timely and goal oriented. However, I am a Perceiver who has learned skills to function in a J world. Because I was trained as a J, however, I couldn’t decide whether I was a J or P until well into my 30’s. I had unclear type in this preference pair until I realized that although I function well as a J, it takes more energy for me to do this, and if I had my druthers, I would do Perceiving most the time. In my professional life, however, I often have to rely on my Judging skills to be successful and survive.

Having unclear type, or a preference score 5 or under, is a type in itself. In other words, at this moment, your student is not clear about their type and that IS a type – unclear. But type theory says that at some point in a student’s life, they will become clear about all 4 preferences, and claim one side of each preference pair as their own. Until then, their type is unclear.

Next week we’ll look at another misconception: You have to have a score over 5 to have clear type.

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