Several years ago, I was first tested for personality type. The professional placement firm I had engaged administered the official MBTI Instrument as part of their process to match candidates with positions. Ultimately, I found a job through independent networking, yet that initial experience with MBTI began a long-term affinity for typology, psychology, and all things INFJ.
My level of interest has varied since then, but I have tried to stay current with the topic through books, blogs and online personality tests, most of which also resulted in INFJ. I say most because some tests returned INFP, an outcome which caused me to doubt my original result and to question the validity of typology itself. I also noticed a growing skepticism with typology and its practical application in recruiting, team-building, etc. Typology thus became, more or less, a hobby. It was squishy and subjective. Fun but questionable. Yet, I knew there was something to it.
Not until recently in considering a much-needed change in direction did I turn to personality type again to guide some decisions. The lingering doubt about my type was a predicament, however, and so I turned to an online search for answers. I found the popular sites and YouTube videos one would expect, but they seemed inconsistent and superficial, nothing more than popular, regurgitated opinion. Rummaging deeper, I hit upon CS Joseph’s lecture entitled “Who are the INFJs”, a hot critique of the type as anything but special unicorns. It was harsh, but spot on. Exactly what I needed to hear.
Immediately, I became a student of CS Joseph and, in time, scheduled coaching sessions with him seeking type confirmation and advice for my future. His counsel was objective and insightful, and for this I am grateful. I wanted to share 7 of his most meaningful lessons for me, some academic some practical.
I Don’t Read Enough
I recall as a college sophomore immersed in business textbooks and lecture notes I was not reading quality literature. I wanted to change that and remember buying a copy of Pearl S. Buck’s “The Good Earth”. From there “Moby Dick”, “Beowulf”, “Treasure Island” and others. They attracted me to the classics. Soon I was also reading such diverse authors as Plato, Confucius, Milton, Rand, Camus, Herbert, and Heinlein. Then there was James Allen and Og Mandino, two favorites, as well as Carnegie, Keirsey, Glover, and Myers and Briggs. But that was then…. Over time and distracted by the needs of family and work, meaningless online news feeds, blogs, and social media posts became the daily literary fare.
CS Joseph reminded me of the personal growth and satisfaction that comes with reading. He admonished me not only to read but do so with urgency and purpose. Though it gratified me to know many of my past readings were ones he recommends even today, still my bookshelf was inadequate for any serious study of psychology or other interest. I have since added Jung, Berens, Montgomery, Beebe, and Sinek, to name a few, building my library for research and reference. In doing so, I am becoming better equipped to extract truth from the din of MBTI hype.
The MBTI Is Just a Test
There is no such thing as “MBTI Theory” as many on disparate blogs and threads like to say. MBTI is the acronym for Myers Briggs Type Indicator. The MBTI instrument was developed by the mother-daughter team of Isabel Briggs Myers and Katharine Briggs to “make the theory of psychological types described by CG Jung understandable and useful in people’s lives” (https://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/mbti-basics/home.htm?bhcp=1). It was a critical first step in the practical application of Jungian psychology by attempting to identify each of the 16 types through the use of a professionally administered and interpreted questionnaire.
Jung laid the foundation, but our understanding of depth psychology and typology continues to build. Reflective of this, MyersBriggs.org has updated and improved upon the original MBTI. Still, CS Joseph views it, like other similarly designed tests, as being static and limiting rather than dynamic and comprehensive. They are subject to personal and point-in-time biases which introduce a significant potential for error. Thus, they are unreliable tools for the noble and far-sighted purpose for which the MBTI designed. Granted, its 4-letter identifying acronyms continue to be the gold standard in typology, nevertheless the MBTI is just a test, and now one among many.
The Type Grid
CS Joseph’s Type Grid is an alternative to traditional tests in personality identification. Its methodology blends Dr. Linda Berens’ original work and approach to personality analysis with Dr. Stephen Montgomery’s study of temperament into a straightforward and reliable assessment tool. The Type Grid relies on the defining traits of communication style and disposition rather than subjective answers to tests and questionnaires to determine an individual’s type.
In structure, the Type Grid is a matrix with 4 variants of disposition (guardian, artisan, intellectual, idealist) on the X-axis and four variants of communication style (structure, starter, finisher, background) on the Y-axis. One need only identify an individual’s primary disposition and communication style, refer to the Type Grid, and find the intersection of the two traits to pinpoint the individual’s type. It’s easy to use and has the benefits are simplicity, speed, and reliability.
The Four Sides of the Mind
Freud and Jung both identified aspects of the human psyche beyond just the conscious mind and worked to analyze and understand them. In the Unconscious’s case, for example, Freud was of the opinion that it was not knowable, whereas Jung believed it was something that could be analyzed and understood.
CS Joseph’s theory of the Four Sides of the Mind builds upon Jung and others in advancing the idea that the human psyche actually consists of 4 components: Ego, Unconscious, Subconscious, and Superego. He asserts that each of these sides has its own unique personality and that each structurally links to the others through specific cognitive functions and attitudes known as “gateways”. If one can identify an individual’s primary personality type (that of the Ego), then one can identify the personality type for each of the other sides.
His philosophy on the Four Sides of the Mind contemplates maturity and immaturity, aspiration and fear, good and evil as all having their source within the psyche. It answers questions why people can exhibit characteristics of one personality type in one situation while seeming to be another type in a different one. Four Sides theory is dynamic and presents a framework for personal growth over life as one learns to integrate all sides into a unified state of cognition – the achievement of enlightenment.
The Power of Typology
CS Joseph makes clear the inherent energy in and potential of typology. He goes well beyond the basic descriptions of the traits and characteristics associated with each of the 16 personality types and explores the power that exists in its purposeful application.
With an accurate assessment of one’s type and that of others, coupled with insight into the dynamic interplay of the 8 cognitive functions, one operates at a higher level of awareness. This enhanced cognition results in more strategic and tactical effectiveness with greater potential for achievement regardless of endeavor. For example, rather than simply identifying suitable career choices, typology can equip individuals with tools and techniques to capitalize on strengths and weaknesses in others to further personal advancement within an organization. Some would call this selfish manipulation without realizing that all human interaction is manipulation.
CS Joseph refers to the broader concept of manipulation as “social engineering”, and contends that its morality depends on the motivation of the individual using it. He goes further to explain that typology is also an effective defense against attempts at social engineering initiated by others. Thus, typology has the power to change the outcome of any human interaction.
Fundamentals of Jungian Analytical Psychology
Beyond typology, CS Joseph explains the fundamental science of depth psychology. He traces its evolution from Plato to Jung to present-day crediting those who have contributed meaningfully and substantially to the science. He references both Eastern and Western philosophy and religious tradition to clarify concepts and provide context.
His lectures provide thoughtful instruction, both in breadth and depth, on numerous topics in psychology and their practical application in life. These include, among others:
1. The 8 cognitive functions, attitudes, orbits, axes, quadra, and synchronicity
2. The Four Sides of the Mind, Ego, Subconscious, Unconscious, Superego, gateways, and integration
3. The Type Grid, personality type identification, and type comparisons
4. Personality archetypes, traits, characteristics, virtues, and vices
5. Communication styles and dispositions
6. Social compatibility, relationships, friendship, love, and intimacy
7. Maturity and immaturity, and joy and fear
8. Social engineering and societal evolution
9. Nature vs. Nurture
10. The Four pillars of self-intimacy, personal sovereignty, and the sacred
“Judge not that ye be not judged…” (Matthew 7:1) is a passage from the Bible that some interpret as Jesus’ admonition that we not exercise any judgment upon another. In fact, all decision-making is a form of judgement and an integral part of human cognition. Jesus was actually teaching that we should not judge incorrectly or hypocritically, as the verses in Matthew 7:2-5 clarify, but use fair standards in making those judgements or decisions.
CS Joseph shows that fair and honest judgement of another requires comparison against the standards of their own personality archetype rather than those of ourselves or those of society. The point is as profound as it is obvious. For example, is it fair to judge the INxJ who may struggle with performance anxiety (Se Inferior) against the performance confidence of the ESxP (Se Hero)? Would not the better comparison be against other INxJs? And would not the morality of the ExTP (Fi Trickster) best be assessed versus other ExTPs rather than the IxFP (Fi Hero)? Judging in this way expands our capacity for love and forgiveness both individually and as a society. And though not a principle of science, yet the exercise of proper judgement seems at the core of depth psychology, even its purpose.
His Purpose and Passion
Perhaps the most fundamental lesson for me was regarding CS Joseph himself. He understands personality and depth psychology, but this knowledge is merely his means to a greater end. His purpose, his passion is to work to solve the problems of our generation, problems such as fatherlessness, ineffective relationships, interpersonal conflict, and ignorance, to name a few. His desire is simply to arm others with an education in the essentials of depth psychology to enable them to join him in this cause.
C. S. Joseph
Founder, CEO – CSJ.life