MBTI and Keirsey and others are mostly post-Jungians who distorted his psychology into something more “pop” by reducing it to a marketable version made up of four letters that are supposed to show your functions. After that, they made some empirical observations about types’ behaviours and then came up with generalised patterns of each type (e.g. INTJ the aloof, unfriendly mastermind; ESFP the careless butterfly who just wants fun, etc.).

True Jungian psychology, however, combined with more Jungian-minded versions of the MBTI, can provide valuable tools to improve one’s life and also to understand oneself and the other people much better.

Understand that this system explains human cognition, not behavior

While no system is perfect and none will ever be able to fully explain the behaviours of all humans, Jungian typology can accurately describe and categorise ways of acquiring knowledge. While this may have implications for behaviour, it doesn’t imply that Jung set out to explain that; this result is merely a branch of a tree planted for a wholly different purpose.

This is an important first step in understanding Jung: he didn’t set out to conclude psychology but merely to point out observations from his dealings with patients (and other people).

Thus, the purpose of Jungian typology is to show the ways in which humans understand the world around them and how they process information and what they do with it.

Also, understand that ENTP, ISFJ etc. are just abbreviations, not compendia of humans. They only represent a modern, post-Jungian way to shorten descriptions, for example extraverted intuition with auxiliary introverted thinking is known as ENTP.

Additionally, ignore the P-J dimension of the four letters (Perception vs Judgement). This was a thing invented after Jung without Jung approving of it or thinking about it. In MBTI, it refers to orderliness (J) vs being disorderly (P) but that’s bullshit because there are disorderly, procrastinating INTJs and there can be orderly, hardworking, time-efficient ESFPs.

Finally, the extraversion and introversion things can be ignored regarding behaviour. Jung used them to refer to where we direct our mental energy (inwards or outwards; towards our own thoughts and feelings or towards things in the outer world) rather than how much we can socialize.

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Some widely-proliferated “shortcuts” to types

How to use this knowledge for self-improvement

Once you understand your main function and your inferior one, you will be able to do two things: tailor studying (reading, learning, reflecting on experience etc.) to suit your style better (thus maximizing output), and dealing with bad habits more easily. The former also applies to your whole life. Once you understand how your brain works and why you take decisions (or what makes you desire certain things or want to have stuff done in a certain way) you will be able to make everything around you more suitable rather than having it tailored to the general population.

For example, if you have introverted thinking, you may want to break a thing into its parts and analyze it (in your own head, by yourself) and then formulate your discovery in a brief, understandable way (or a harsh way, as Simon Cowell does). If you have extraverted feeling you may, however, want to work with a group and try to understand the emotions transmitted by the other persons and to ensure harmony throughout.

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They’re all thinking differently but they could all agree they need a life boat

Another very important tool derived from this is changing your life to renounce bad habits. Once you understand why you behave in a certain way when stressed or why you tend to think a certain way when under pressure, you are able to change. The first step in solving a problem is acknowledging it.

As an example, I was able to cut down on alcohol after finding out inferior extraverted sensing is the reason I crave bodily sensations and various substances when stressed. Knowing what affects you when stressed can have a significant and positive impact on your life, even if it is negative thoughts, binges, emotional outbursts, obsessiveness with details, or a sudden need for argumentativeness and logic in everything.

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Einstein knew we need to change our thinking in order to change our habits

Of course, the above does not contradict the fact that Jungian psychology is about cognition not behavior; however, the brain reacts by sending signals to the body (and to the mind for other functions) and then physical sensations are also a form of knowing (through touch, smell etc.).

This can help you in your business life and in game as well

Once you understand the cognitive functions better, you are better able to deal with people in both a social (friendly) environment and in a more formal one (a workplace). Understanding the source of the differences in the approaches of several persons to the same task can help reduce disagreement.

This results in gaining valuable time that would otherwise have been wasted on arguing why person A goes to point X by quickly categorizing all the facts in front of them, formulating a conclusion and then executing a plan of action while person B brainstorms interminably and gives interesting yet unconnected ideas before eventually settling on the same conclusion.

As Aristotle said, “many a dispute could have been settled in a single paragraph if the disputants defined their terms.” To give a concrete example, I no longer have disagreements with a few people in my life because I now know that one of them takes decisions only after gathering copious amounts of information (unlike me who formulates a conclusion almost immediately and then attempts to have it executed) while another relies on traditions and concrete information from the past and from experience rather than unproven abstract ideas.

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Think of Jungian typology as the red guy; you can invoke him anytime like a genie

In game, this translates to understanding what makes a girl respond to and what she is interested in and why. While most girls will want the same thing (an alpha that is confident and dominant, i.e. a masculine man), they will prefer conversations to go differently or laugh at different things. Their hobbies and passions and interests will also differ; some may prefer a direct man that talks straight and doesn’t bullshit or fantasize (Te) while others may prefer a more artistic man that can show he is different from the others (Fi).

While some may want to talk exclusively about the extremely boring interesting activities of her friends or relatives and their Facebook statuses and their Twitter feeds, others may prefer a more playful exchange of ideas and even things with a slight intellectual twist.

Start from Scratch

The best start would be Jung’s book, Psychological Types, published 1921. A good website for beginners (with information similar to that of Jung) is celebritytypes.com (tip: on that site you can also find interesting quotes from famous people of all types; there are also some Pierce Presents series on that site from a guy who did a video with a brief intro for each type and a helpful infographic that shows how the MBTI developed and changed from Jung.

So, what are you waiting for? Learn Jungian psychology and start influencing life.

Read More: How Myers Briggs Can Elevate Your Game