Today was our first meeting of Personality Theory and I was a little dismayed to learn we would be using Keirsey’s Please Understand Me to evaluate our personalities. If you’re not familiar, it’s a sorter that has 4 axes: Extrovert/Introvert, Intuitive(N)/Sensing, Thinking/Feeling, and Judging/Perceiving.
When I first took it in 1988, I came up ENFP, same as my mom, which I am afraid was the whole point. In 1994, a couple of years after the death of my first child and my subsequent mental breakdown, I returned to school and took a career workshop where I came up ISTJ. And I was pretty much that for the next several years. My personal heroes were Spock, Data, and Agent Scully. But then I got into cognitive behavior modification and 12 step recovery.
The last few times I’ve taken it, my results are less conclusive, and it’s because the way I decide things really depends on the magnitude of what I’m deciding. Take a job and move 2,000 miles away? Invest the money to apply to this program, or that school? In 2009 it was about whether to go to school at all. These are things I pray about, after thinking them through as best I can. But most things I only think about. Should I park on level 1 or 3? Should I check my tires before getting on the freeway? (I usually pull off and do this if I think of it). Should I have peanut butter or eggs for lunch?
So when the Keirsey personality sorter asks whether I decide things with my head or my heart, it depends on whether we’re going by quantity or weight. There was a book several years ago called “Don’t sweat the small stuff (and it’s all small stuff).” I didn’t ever read it myself, but someone I knew said they felt the real issue is that it’s all big stuff. Nothing happens by accident. God’s hand is in everything. I wonder if it’s possible to take that kind of thinking too far. I do think that if something matters to me, it matters to God. But what should really matter to me?