How do you react when faced with hardship? Do you struggle through it? Give up? Try to avoid it? According to psychologists, much of how a person addresses challenges is based on their personality.
The Myers-Briggs type indicator
The Myers-Briggs type indicator was developed in 1943 in the United States by Katherine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers. Apparently, Katherine became intrigued by her daughter’s future husband and how he saw the world differently than anybody in her family. She developed some theories on her own but was later inspired by Carl Jung’s publication on psychological types, that proposes people are innately different, that made her want to make this information more accessible to a wider audience.
There are four main divisions of people’s personalities according to the Myers-Briggs theory. These divisions have four subcategories as follows:
The Four Personality Types
Analysts have an inquisitive but practical mind. They hold intelligence in the highest of esteem and pride themselves on their logic. Overall they see reality as it is and use their strong intuition to accomplish their goals.
Diplomats are empathetic visionaries with a knack to understand links and patterns. They have good core values and hold a specific dislike for conflict and criticism.
Sentinels are known as ‘model citizens’ but can also be exceptional leaders. They are hardworking, responsible, and loyal to people and their principles regarding tradition and structure.
Explorers are creative optimists that love spontaneity and living in the present. They enjoy using the five senses to experience new things and are always ready for action.
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Personalities in Practice
A survey was done with 20,978 participants. Each one answered ‘agree’ or ‘disagree’ with the following statement: “You tend to give up on pursuits if they are too challenging.”
Results showed that 30% of Analysts agreed with the statement, 36% of Diplomats agreed, only 21% of Sentinels agreed, and (at the highest), 37% of Explorers agreed.
Strategies to Overcome Struggles
There are various ways to cope that are individual to your personality type.
Analysts tend to rely on themselves to confront a problem whether it’s with relationships or business. Sometimes they will force themselves to complete a task because they feel that incompletion is equal to incompetence. Analysts like to solve their challenges by creating a sensible plan to conquer them. When such a method doesn’t work, depending on the hardship, they are at risk of falling into despair.
If you are an analyst going through a hard time, get some backup! Confide your problem with someone you trust and you may be surprised with the advice he gives. Remember that success is sometimes a team sport. You are not expected to overcome life on your own. Let your family and close group of friends support you.
For diplomats, challenges can become even more painful due to their love of peace and easygoing attitudes. At times they can be shocked of how cruel the world may seem in comparison to their sensitive natures. One of the hardest parts of struggling for diplomats is how they are egregiously misunderstood.
If you are a diplomat, don’t be afraid to speak up. Others may not know what you are going through and don’t fear to rock the boat a bit to get help. Keep a positive attitude at all times. Exercise, take a walk, listen to your favorite song, do what it takes to lift your mood and stay inspired to maintain focus to achieve your goals.
Sentinels often blame themselves for the troubling situations they experience. They can wallow in regret or the angst of a difficult choice. Betrayal, loneliness, and loss are difficult challenges for sentinels who invest themselves into their relationships.
If you are a sentinel going through a challenge, remember to stand tall. Amy Cuddy, the social psychologist, says that strong body language can shift the inner workings of your brain. Keep your back straight with your head high, and practice sounding confident. Do this until you believe it. Now make that decision that has been weighing on you. You know the right choice.
Suffering for explorers is particularly arduous because of their default sunny personas. Pain is heavy for them, affecting their mood and confounding those around them. Sometimes disappointment can result from poor planning and the explorers are at a loss of what can be done to rectify the situation. Being tied down with anxiety stifles their creativity and causes the challenges to become even more agonizing.
If you are an explorer, never ferment in sadness. Get up and do something. Rewrite your bucket list or picture your future achievements. The author of the bestselling Chicken Soup for the Soul Series Jack Canfield says that one who sets goals and writes them down is more successful than one who doesn’t. If you think your goals are too difficult, Neil Gamon advises that you imagine you are someone who can do it. “Not pretend to do it, pretend (to be) someone who could.”
Challenges build character. It forces you to break your limits and grow into a greater person than you were before. Embrace adversity because it helps you achieve and improve.
Once the hardship is over, don’t forget to celebrate! Gather your friends or family, or even just yourself and do something you enjoy, whether it’s a lavish dinner party, a bike ride on the beach, or curling up with your favorite novel.
Remember that hindsight is 20/20. Appreciate the small things that actualize our lives.
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