The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a personality test designed to help people understand how they and others perceive and judge the world. It is one of the most widely used and studied psychological tools today. Once a person completes the test, they are categorized as one of 16 types, each named with four letters, such as “ESTJ” or “INFP.” Millions of people have taken the survey to find out which “type” best describes themselves.
Carl Gustav Jung, a 20th-century Swiss psychiatrist, came up with the theory of personality types in the 1920s. Isabel Briggs Myers, a student of political science, and her mother, Katharine Cook Briggs, sought to make Jung’s complex theories more accessible and useful to the public. In the 1940s, they developed the first Myers-Briggs personality inventories, and began to test and refine them, publishing the first version of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator in 1962. Today, this assessment has been used as a self-reflection tool and interpersonal guide across many realms, from work and relationships to creative pursuits and more.
Drawing on Jung’s work, the Myers-Briggs system proposes that the way in which people’s different worldviews guide their behavior can be systematically identified and described. The approach uses four categories:
“favorite world,” or how one focuses their attention [introversion (I) or extroversion (E)]
“information,” or how one takes in and/or interprets information [sensing (S) or intuition (N)]
“decisions,” or how one makes decisions [thinking (T) of feeling (F)]
“structure,” or how one deals with the outside world and external input [judging (J) or perceiving (P)]
Many people use psychological tests to gain a new perspective on how they and others perceive and respond to the world. This kind of self-knowledge can help us appreciate our strengths and also identify areas for possible experimentation and growth. And, learning how others approach life helps us better understand their preferences and behaviors, so we can forge deeper connections. The Myers-Briggs Foundation shares several resources that explain how to take the assessment. It also states that all types are equal, pointing out that “there is no best type.” Below are 16 quotes that epitomize every Myers-Briggs type.
Diligence is the mother of good fortune, and idleness — its opposite — never brought a man to the goal of any of his best wishes.
– Miguel de Cervantes, author of “Don Quixote de la Mancha”
According to the Myers-Briggs Foundation, ISTJs tend to be logical, responsible, and steady-working. They value order, tradition, loyalty, and realism.
No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.
– Aesop, Greek fabulist
An ISFJ, at times known as “the protector,” is considerate, detail-oriented, reliable, and empathetic. They value balance and harmony in their relationships and environment.
– Ancient Greek saying
INFJs are clear about their own values, organized, and passionate. They are insightful about human motivations and decisive in how to serve the common good.
No one can lead you. You are born to be aware of yourself, to know the master in yourself.
– Benjamin Creme, artist and author
INTJs are said to be ambitious free-thinkers with high standards for themselves and other people. They are independent by nature and excel in seeing the big picture and executing their visions.
A problem thoroughly understood is always fairly simple.
– Charles Kettering, inventor and engineer
ISTPs are flexible and logical. They are interested in how things work, and patterns of cause and effect. They are motivated to solve problems efficiently, and value practical resolutions.
Peace is every step: The path of mindfulness in everyday life.
– Thích Nhất Hạnh, Buddhist monk
ISFPs are sensitive, free-spirited, and tuned into the present moment. They work best with organic parameters, are loyal and kind, and prefer to avoid conflicts.
The only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.
– Steve Jobs
A person with an INFP personality type is idealistic, curious, and motivated to help themselves and others live fulfilling, meaningful lives. They are fiercely loyal to their values and loved ones, and desire external experiences that align with their beliefs.
Lots of people don’t like coping with logic when it dictates hard decisions. That’s a problem with people, not logic.
– Cory Doctorow, journalist and author
An INTP is a thinker; they value logic and focused analysis, and tend to have a quiet temperament. They are abstract and skeptical philosophers and problem-solvers.
A man who waits to believe in action before acting is anything you like, but he’s not a man of action. It is as if a tennis player, before returning a ball, stopped to think about his views of the physical and mental advantages of tennis. You must act as you breathe.
– Georges Clemenceau, French statesman
ESTPs are pragmatic, high-energy, and action-oriented. They shy away from theory, learn by doing, and often excel at persuasion. They enjoy comfort, style, and connecting with others in the here and now.
Live life fully while you’re here. Experience everything. Take care of yourself and your friends. Have fun, be crazy, be weird.
– Anthony Robbins, motivational speaker
ESFPs are spontaneous, exuberant, and loving. They enjoy group projects, meeting and connecting with people, and trying new things. They tend to rely on common sense, inspire others to action, and excel at having fun.
For many things we can find substitutes, but there is not now, nor will there ever be, a substitute for creative thought.
– Crawford Greenewalt, chemical engineer
A person who is an ENFP is imaginative, enthusiastic, and warm, and generally has an open mind and positive outlook. They like to give and receive affirmation. They are flexible, creative thinkers, and natural innovators.
My mind rebels at stagnation… I abhor the dull routine of existence. I crave for mental exaltation.
– Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, “Sherlock Holmes” author
ENTPs are quick-witted, resourceful, and outspoken. They enjoy conceptual analysis and debates, are able to come up with novel approaches and solutions to dilemmas, and are easily bored by repetitive experiences.
I set another goal… a reasonable, manageable goal that I could realistically achieve if I worked hard enough. I approached everything step by step.
– Michael Jordan
ESTJs are frank, organized, and efficient in planning and directing projects. They value logic, expediency, realism, and productivity.
Love thy neighbor.
– Jesus of Nazareth
An ESFJ type is often drawn to caregiving roles; they like to work with others and to help people meet their needs. They are warm, peace-building, and loyal, and they desire to be appreciated.
I have a dream this afternoon that the brotherhood of man will become a reality in this day. And with this faith, I will go out and carve a tunnel of hope through the mountain of despair. With this faith, I will go out with you and transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows.
– Martin Luther King Jr.
ENFJs are giving, inspiring, dedicated leaders. They are sociable, loyal, and sensitive to others’ needs. They can see the potential for good in everyone.
I learned how important it is to lead and be decisive, and to, in a way, empower other people to do their best.
– Anna Wintour, former editor of “Vogue” magazine
A person with an ENTJ personality type has a commanding presence and easily leads. They are confident planners and problem-solvers.