THE PERSONALITY PROCESS
The above graphic is a “spectrum” which depicts the 16 Myers-Briggs Personality types. From potential lunacy and depravity on one end, to wisdom and sainthood on the other, our thought processes are habits. They vary only in the amount of wisdom they contain.
Such a classification of individuals as Myers Briggs, is based on how people generally answered a set of questions regarding their preferences. It may “correlate” with an ability to predict their behavior in a lot of scenarios but, so what? It fails to rightly view an individual as having a repertoire of viable choices from which to choose.
We each have every one of the 16 types at our disposal and use them as situations dictate. As we drive down a busy freeway surrounded by thousands of other drivers, we can be assured each of the 16 types are represented in their calculated percentages. Again, so what? All of them, regardless of their “type” are out there driving successfully. Two hundred million Americans drive THREE TRILLION miles each year with very few accidents. That shows personality type has nothing to do with the ability to process a lot of data successfully.
How many studies do the experts have reporting number like those? There are even larger studies available which support the same conclusion. Studies like these indicate more than just driving statistics.
They indicate a real necessity for a radically different perspective regarding Personality; one which can empower us to take control of our lives. Disassembling our thoughts into their component processes not only yields a workable and understandable concept of personality, it clearly shows how thinking errors are responsible for our problems and how we can correct erroneous thinking habits. Personality becomes a process for empowering the individual.
From this perspective of how humans use information and process their thoughts, “Personality” can be defined as “situationally specific use of knowledge and skills in differing situations. Another way to look at personality is that it is a unique collection of thinking processes each individual develops which define, predict, facilitate, and limit that individual’s ability to interact with his or her environment.”
“Personality traits” are the individual thought processes (actions or reactions) chosen among that either dictate how to behave, or potentially give the individual a strategic advantage, in differing situations.
If we want to see how these definitions may correlate to real life, consider this. The ability to choose among personality traits and respond appropriately to differing situations is, in and of itself, an indicator of successful functioning of the personality. Wow. If our personality is functioning well, we respond appropriately in different situations. This appears to be so obviously true it needs no proof.
Habituation is the process our brain uses to turn a learning experience into a habit. All that is needed to form a new habit is repetition. This is the basic process by which trait function or dysfunction is established. Either we learned to process that trait appropriately, or we didn’t. Our brain doesn’t care. Caring is a different process.
We each have numerous personalities. We have one for work, one for family, one for the bedroom, one for the boardroom, one for our chosen field, one for the football field, one for our friends and one for our enemies. We can switch effortlessly from one to another in mid stride, or mid thought as the case may be, to handle the situation in which we find ourselves at the moment. We do so many times each day.
Each different aspect of our overall personality is actually the result of processing our unique database of information, experiences, and emotions according to different traits. Granted, we may out of habit, choose to be shy or even rudely arrogant, but those are just habitual responses to situations. We can change those if we care to.
“Mental Illness” can be defined as the inability to choose among traits. This results in using a few habitual thought processes to handle he majority of situations.
The primary goal of therapy would be to reestablish the ability to choose by stimulation of the other traits to restore the ability to choose a more appropriate response rather than to seek understanding of why one trait has become dominant.
Subsequent therapeutic goals would be inspection and repair of specific trait functionality.
It just seems to me that I would rather have my behavior explained based on a series of processes I am habitually using to make choices, and then be shown how to make different, and hopefully better, choices for the future.
© 2017 Douglas McKee