Writing for a Positive Future
The Happiness Inquisition
Questions asked at a public talk given to a group of parents about the psychological types around the time this book was published; the answers are paraphrased from what I remember saying in real time.
The Music of Life: Nursery Rhymes
Why did you write this book?
The Myers-Briggs and David Keirsey personality assessments and descriptions are becoming increasingly popular. Millions of people all over the world are now familiar with their four-letter personality type and have read some of the descriptions, yet the assessment tools, like the MBTI® and the Keirsey Sorter®, are intended for use by the reader, the person who is interested in learning about his own personality type, and usually for adults. However, once people realize how accurate and valuable these type descriptions are, many, especially parents, automatically try and asses the people around them.
I did the same. Once I understood the importance of knowing my type, I wanted to make sure that my children were given the chances that were suitable for their types so they’d not be told that their talents were silly, like I had been, so I tried to do the assesments for them when they were still young, but it didn’t work. That is when I came up with the idea of writing a third person perspective to make that possible.
There are countless selfassessment tests available and equally as many are used by psychologists. Why this theory?
Like many people with similar personality types, I did explore many of those theories and tests, but each was limited in one way or the other or they did not seem to capture the essence of what I felt. The moment I read about typology I instantly knew it was the real thing. It was not only correct but comprehensive.
In philosophy there is the expectation that theories that claim inborn traits will be able to make predictions with regard people’s behaviour. This theory can do that, even if it is no more deterministic than the belief that all people have identical brains that have been ‘programmed’ by their parental DNA – what I call the “brainstory theory”.
As a result of today’s academic psychology being largely neurological in focus, based on this DNA view, they either explain everything in brain chemicals or look at the environment and their tests are all designed based on those beliefs, thus inborn traits are not even considered.
The best thing about type theory is that it does not judge. All sixteen types are equally valuable to society and accurate for all cultures, so that nobody needs to take medications because they are “different”. Consequently, every person who becomes familiar with the theory is happy with their own type. They may envy a certain trait in others, but nobody wants to change places. That alone should be evidence of its accuracy and functionality.
But the theory is based on self-assessment, so how can it claim being better than objective tests?
It is right exactly because it is based on self-assessment. Human beings are way more complex than any so-called objective test could possibly measure and human psychology is not an exact science, which is what objective scientists are trying to present it as. The objectivity of type theory comes from our sharing it.
I must add that there are a lot of bogus assessment tools currently available on the web that imitate the MBTI® or present themselves as scientifically proven, and they do give false results or poor descriptions, which makes it even more important to get the theory accepted in society: in schools, in workplaces, in family advice organisations. My books may help with that.
Would you say that the knowledge about these types has changed your life?
Oh yes. The moment I read Keirsey’s book, about fifteen years ago, it was as if a door was opened that allowed me not only to understand but also to value myself. Until then I had believed that there was something wrong with me, because I was different than most people. I began to see the world and people in a different light and I have not stopped thinking about it since then. I observe people, evaluate their words and actions, their beliefs and everything else with the types in mind and it is the topic of most of my discussions. It changed how I respond to quarrels and try to solve those between my children. Even if we cannot change our initial reaction to another person’s words, understanding why they said it helps to get over the anger quicker and to put it in perspective. It also helped me relax about what I expect of my children, knowing they’d be okay if I allowed them to follow their own inner drive.
Apart from that it has influenced my career as I ended up studying Jung’s works, doing a comparative study and studying philosophy to try and integrate it.
How long did it take you to write this book?
The original idea of a third person perspective came actually only a few years after I read Keirsey’s book and my husband brought home the MBTI® results of the assessment he had taken at work. Not only did I find it difficult to use the indicator for my children, but I became curious about the types of my parents and grandparents, who could not take the test.
However, it took me almost three years before I had a workable format. And I have redrafted the text many times since, not only because I kept coming across more traits that needed including, but also because I wanted to have each description fit one page exactly. – That is for the printed version; for the e-book it no longer matters.
Why this title; why Nursery Rhymes?
Well, apart from writing a third person perspective, I also wanted to make the psychology behind the descriptions more accessible. Myers-Briggs and Keirsey wrote extensive descriptions of what people are like and Myers-Briggs did describe the functions, but only Jung had explained the psychology and his works are not easy to read. So I came up with the idea of using a musical analogy for explaining the inner functioning of the types. Hence came the idea of using musical terminology also in the third person perspectives and with that a title for each chapter. In the printed version Nursery Rhymes was the title of the chapter about children.
So this is not the only book in this series?
No, Nursery Rhymes is one of four e-books that were chapters in the printed version. Each of those has a different perspective. This one allows parents and teachers to assess the type of their children. The other three books, which are also being converted to e-book, focus on mates and friends, on parents or caregivers, and on work colleagues and the right choice of job.
Besides those four e-books, there is the musical analogy that does not describe but explain the types, and the philosophy that puts in in a larger perspective.
What is the most important message readers may get from this book?
Hopefully, that they do not need to feel guilty. Not just with respect the tendency to favour one child, but typology is based on the idea that every type is equally valuable. Nobody is right or wrong and therefore nobody should judge others thus. Guilt is one of the most destructive emotions and judgment leads to guilt. The differences between the types are rooted in the very core of a person and we cannot change who we are or experience the other perspective. We have to accept our differences on say-so and be aware that we cannot escape our own type. Nobody can look at the other types objectively.
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