Increasing Your Behavioural Flexibility When people first learn the theory behind the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®, many think that the ideal situation is to develop all eight preferences equally. However, according to Carl Jung, the preferences pull in opposite directions and cannot be equally strong without leading to inconsistent and unreliable judgments and perceptions. Instead the goal should not be equal strength in all the preferences, but to have behavioural flexibility — the ability to use each preference with some skill when appropriate. Most agree that the best way to become better skilled at using the different preferences is to experience them. I recommend that clients pay particular attention to their non-preferences, and how increasing their behavioural flexibility can help them make better decisions, establish better relationships, and find enjoyment in trying new things. The preferences can be experienced in the following ways: Experiencing Extraversion – Jump into an activity without thinking it over. Enter into a discussion before you have your position thought out. Join a group activity that requires interacting with others. Experiencing Introversion – Choose an activity that lets you spend time by yourself: reading, writing, or working on a hobby. In a group discussion do not immediately jump in, but reflect on what others are saying. Experiencing Sensing – Focus on what is around you. Do not draw conclusions, look for explanations or think about what you have experienced before. Pay attention to all of your different senses. Experiencing Intuition – Listen to your “sixth sense.” Think about things without dwelling on physical details. Describe things with the phrases “It’s like..” or “It’s as though…” Experiencing Thinking – Look at making decisions like you would solve mathematical problems. List the pros and cons of your options. Take a detached view from the decision making process. Experiencing Feeling – Value each individual’s experiences and ideas and use them to make decisions. Try to identify each individual’s underlying values and how your decisions will affect them. Experiencing Judging – Plan your day and live your plan. Ignore the temptation to make last minute spontaneous changes to your schedule. Finish a project before the deadline. Experiencing Perceiving – Be spontaneous for a day, seeking to experience life rather than control it. Do not set a schedule for the day, instead, do whatever seems most important or fun at the present time. Keep some of your options flexible and open. *** Are you interested in learning more about the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and becoming a Certified Practitioner? Visit our MBTI Training page. Want more tips and resources that you can use in your own MBTI® development sessions, please subscribe to Psychometrics Direct.