Viewing entries tagged
NT

Comment

How Type and Culture interact

expats_MBTI overlay images

expats_MBTI overlay images

We come into the world born with a pre-disposition to use our brains in certain ways. We go out to seek interactions and experiences that allow us to shine and use our preferred functions, reinforcing their strength and our aptitude in using them. At the same time, our surroundings influence how we express our preferences. Depending on when and where we grow up, society’s and our family’s feedback may encourage or suppress development of our natural preferences.

Different cultures developed as a response to outside threats to ensure survival of the species. Today, cultural behavior is driven by values.

The introverted Feeling (Fi) function gives meaning to values. The position of Fi in our type code gives clues as to how conscious we are of our values preferences. An exploration of our own values is the first step to understanding our cultural preferences. In turn, we can begin to understand how and why people from other cultures behave differently.

For expats, international assignments are tremendous change processes. Temperament™ / Essential Motivators™ information helps expats to prepare and adapt to un-expected changes. The fourth function provides insight into potential stress triggers, while the third can be applied to reduce stress and being playful, enjoying one’s time abroad.

In my experience, especially with German clients, we have to pay particular attention to the verbiage of competence and experience. For Germans, these words – as well as education, knowledge, and mastery – are anchored in cultural beliefs. It is therefore common when discussing Theorist™ descriptors for Germans of all types to be drawn to the NT profile.

When working with international clients, it is important to verify their personality types through their cultural lenses. The practitioner or coach should ideally be aware of their own cultural programming and personality type preferences to reduce projection and misinterpretation, as well as have a basic understanding of the cultural values and beliefs in the client’s home country.

Comment

Comment

Step 7 - Living in the Present

Picture Credit tuppus Time is an individual construct, and our concepts of time differ by personality type as well as by culture.

Numerous research is showing that the ability to practice critical awareness and living in the present without worrying about the past or future is a key ingredient in wholehearted and well-balanced living.

I often wonder if people with a Sensing preference have an easier time of focusing on the present, type theory states Sensing is a more present-oriented function than Intuiting.

People of different Temperaments have a different orientation to time (Berens, L. 2010):

  • Stabilizer (SJ) - Past
  • Improviser (SP) - Present
  • Catalyst (NF) - Future
  • Theorist (NT) - Infinite Time

Thinking about the function attitudes of each Temperament it makes sense: Introverted Sensing for Stabilizers is concerned with remembering, recalling, and reviewing, whereas extraverted Sensing for the Improvisers is more about engaging with the environment at any given moment. For Catalysts, the identity and unique potential of a person is often future-oriented and tied with personal and professional development paths, whereas the Theorist is often more concerned with ultimate truths and lasting logical systems and frameworks.

In different cultures, we also see varying attitudes and approaches to time. If a nation has existed for a long time, especially when it has celebrated successes in the past, it is more likely to draw on those past successes and value tradition. Examples might be India or Greece.

Younger nations are more likely to be more present or future focused: since they don't have much experience to look back on, they model values and behaviors towards certain ideals. Take the United States and its Declaration of Independence, for example. Going by age, as one cultural analyst puts it, the US is in the throws of teenager-hood.

When it comes to my home country Germany, I think the attitudes are mixed. Germany's 18th Century writers, thinkers, and musicians are well-known across the world, and conservative politician Bismarck in the 19th Century laid the foundation of the welfare state we know and love today. Then the second world war changed everything. Mention Germany in any conversation today, and WWII will be one of the first things that come to mind. As a recent conversation with a dog-walker in our elevator reaffirmed:

  • Woman: what a nice accent, where are you from?
  • Me: Germany, originally, but I studied in Scotland.
  • Woman: Oh, yes, I'm German too. Well, not born and raised, but when I visited Russia a woman looked at me and said "German! Bad! Pft! Pft!" (spitting at my feet).

I still don't know what I'm supposed to say to that, except I'm sorry this happened to her.

Being present in the moment and living in a state of mindfulness, then, may come easier to those who grow up in a society where present-focus is being encouraged, and those who have a cognitive predisposition to more easily stay in the present in the first place.

Still, present mindfulness is not unattainable, but a question of practice. Five minutes of daily meditation where you do nothing but focus on your breath, counting your heartbeats in and out, is a good start. Up the time as you get more comfortable, and celebrate every millisecond your monkey-brain is not off somewhere making a groceries list.

Reference: Linda Berens, Understanding Yourself and Others, An Introduction to the 4 Temperaments 4.0, Radiance House, CA, 2010

Comment