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Hidden Talents and How to Become an Expert

Updated on November 25, 2014

Developing Expertise using Isabel Myers' MBTI Test, and the Myers Example of What Makes Expertise

Many scholars argue that efficient practice is the answer to obtaining expertise. However, besides practice, Isabel Briggs Myers (1897-1980), a successful, psychological type theorist, use mentorship, interest, and innate talent to develop her expertise. (Marselle, A Correlational Study 11). Type theory is the analysis and study of all the possible personality types of people. I will give examples of how Myers' life reflect expertise with the majority of this paper emphasizing the importance of personality. In addition, I will show evidence to support this argument about personality's importance with a test developed by Myers. More specifically, through Myer's competence in personality type, she pinpoints what natural abilities a person has through the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality test (The Myers & Briggs). More over, this paper will not be complete without mentioning the opinions of other scholars.

Coyle's and Erickson's Arguments

Through researching, one can see that many scholars' focus is on the argument that efficient practice creates mastery. Isabel Myer's success shows this argument is true, because she practiced researching for forty years. For instance, she enhances Coyle's theory of "deep practice" in the Talent Code (16). In this book, he explains how soccer players become talented through efficient practice. However, he argues against innate talent (19). In addition, he does not emphasize how important their coaches' and families' inspiration are (Coyle 13-16). Erickson states in the article of the Harvard Business Review, “The Making of an Expert”, that effective practice creates an expert, but, like Coyle, fails to include mentorship, interest, and personality in his investigations (1). Isabel Myers has shown the importance of these factors through her life experiences and research.

The History of Isabel Myers and the MBTI

In the early 1900s, Katharine Briggs and daughter, Isabel Myers, became interested in people watching. Then, Briggs became fascinated in type theory after reading Psychological type, first published in 1921 by a well-known psychologist and mentor, Carl Jung. At the time of World War II, where women were forced to take soldier's jobs, Katharine Briggs noticed many women disliked their jobs and did not perform them well. Coincidently, Isabel Myers, took interest in her mother's endeavors at a young age which shows the power of inspiration and interest (Thomson x). Then, Myers cleverly formed the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) to help these working women find jobs that fit them better. She also made this test to bring peace and understanding between people at a time of war. Myer's role model was her father, a research physicist, who showed her the value and knowledge of research proving the importance of mentorship (Marselle, Become Who 1).

The Uses of the MBTI

The test is a huge questionnaire that discovers a person's character type, and has many uses. There are 16 types of personality possibilities. This test guides people to choose careers they will be better at, and choose relationships that have a better chance of success. In addition, it helps a person to understand other people of different types, to understand oneself, to manage different personality types, to sell to different personality types, and to grow as a person. It also shows a person's weaknesses and strengths (The Myers & Briggs).

Some of the Achievements of Isabel Myers and the Myers-Briggs Personality Test

The Myers-Briggs personality test is a very popular test used today making Myers' expertise a success. After being rejected, she finally received her doctorate award in 2001 twenty years after her death. (Kroeger, Otto, and Tuesen Foreword). In addition, the Myers-Briggs indicator has a journal called the Journal of Psychological Types and, Myers' success affords her a library with countless books, articles, essays, journals, and videos. Another establishment came when an MBTI research organization called the Center for the Applications of Psychological Type (CAPT) was created (Marselle, A Correlational Study 12). Myer's expertise obtained great results since, the MBTI test is utilized in countless business organizations, schools, and colleges (Thomson Foreword).

16 Types of Personalities Using the MBTI

OWLHAVEN.NET BY Mary Ostyn 11/25/14
OWLHAVEN.NET BY Mary Ostyn 11/25/14 | Source

Explanation of the four Dichotomies of the Personality and Carl Jung's Research

Carl Jung's theory establishes three parts to every person's personality. Each part plays a tug-of-war between two forces pulling in opposite directions. The first part of the personality becomes one of two polar opposites, which is introversion verses extroversion. Extroverts love socializing and introverts enjoy more time alone. Jung states that everyone has both sides in them but prefers to use one to the other. According to Jung, the second dichotomy of the personality is a function that is used when gathering information called intuition (gut feeling/theory/ideas) verses sensing (concrete information). The third part of the personality used when making decisions is thinking (logic) verses feeling (values). Isabel Myers created the MBTI personality test from these theories of Carl Jung. However, she made the test easier for nonprofessionals to understand. More importantly, she added the 4th part of the personality, which is perceiving verses judging. The perceiver values freedom and leaving his/her options open. He/she does not like routine or structure. Whereas the judging type would rather make decisions, and follow structure. (qtd. in Marselle, A Correlational Study 8-11). These descriptions are just the tip of the iceberg.

Examples of How the Four Letters Work Together as a Whole

How can this information be helpful in deciding on a career? When all four parts of the personality is combined, it tells a lot about that person's capabilities. For example, an ISTJ (introverted, sensing, thinking, judging) would be better at accounting jobs, because this type of personality is naturally detail oriented, logical, conservative, and introverted. Ironically, Isabel Myer's personality type is INFP (introverted, intuitive, feeling, and perceiving). A person with this type of personality loves looking at possibilities and potential in people (Marselle, Become Who 1). Therefore, Myers is a perfect example of how one's nature plays a role in expertise since her interest and abilities coincide with her personality type (INFP).

Conclusion of Expertise and Inborn Talent

By looking at the life of Isabel Myers, one can see a great example of how to become an expert. Although deep practice is a component in expertise, mentorship, interest, and personality are ingredients also. Many scholars argue that expertise is made and not born, but this case study shows that it is both. In addition, by taking the MBTI, a person can make a better choice of career to begin with. This test can save a lot of time and stress. It will be interesting to see where the next person will take her research.

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