Tuesday, December 23, 2014

ENFP Problems: In Defense of the MBTI

                I am a ridiculous force of nature. I can be outgoing and bubbly to the point of annoyance one second and introverted and reserved the next. I’m emotionally sensitive to myself and others, to the point where I know why someone is feeling what they feel most of the time. I hate conflict and prefer harmony, even if it’s not the best way to resolve things. I love being open about my experiences, and I love listening to people’s genuine and heartfelt stories.
                I am an ENFP.
                Now, to anyone unfamiliar with the Myers-Briggs type indicator, it’s a matrix of sixteen different personalities with four pairs of differences to differentiate people together; this test, as well as countless others, has been used as a database to profile people for various purposes. Being a business major myself, I’ve used this typing (as well as the Big Five) to adapt myself to the real world in order to find out who would be compatible in a team setting as well as how I can suit the needs of different types. While a lot of people disagree with these things, citing a form of labeling and stereotyping, I feel the need to defend these heuristic methods of getting to know people. Tests like these are not just time-saving methods of personality, they’re arguably vital references in everyday living.
                Let’s delve a little into my letters; specifically, I’m an extraverted intuitive feeling perceiver (and my polar opposite would be an introverted sensing thinking judger). What that means is I like being open, seeing the big picture instead of specific details, being emotional over being rational, and preferring to be open-minded instead of structural. Now, this is just a crude overgeneralization, but that’s what I love about it; it simply gives me a guideline of who I am. Deeper analysis shows the percentages of my preferences (and I’ve researched these things for days; it’s quite amazing), but I would agree that this is me in a nutshell.
The problem, the opposition argues, is that we tend to stereotype people based on personality. Oh, you’re a feeler? Guess you hate logic. You’re introverted? Well, you probably hate public speaking. I don’t agree with the notion that every label is absolute, because that’s how prejudice and racism starts. However, I do agree with accepting who a person is, and usually that means characterizing by interests. I know ENFPs that aren’t great writers, and ENFPs that have no trouble thinking things rationally; just because we have the same typing doesn’t mean we’re the same, but we have common interests to which we can emotionally bond.  I can sympathize with a person who’s always late because I’m usually late as well, and I can just brush it off with, “You can blame my perceiver tendencies.” Essentially, I use MBTI typology in order to gauge how I’m going to interact with a person. My best friends are very logical thinkers and tend to push feelings and emotions to the side if they’re not necessary, and by knowing that, I can adjust my conversation accordingly. By knowing this immediately, I can flow through a transaction or conversation with ease, and this is very important in my field of business, where first impressions are key.
Let’s face it; it’s humanly impossible to get to know everyone intimately. Scientifically speaking, we can only have a handful of deep, intimate connections in any given point of our lives. Being a writer myself, I know the pain of the loads and loads of characters trope, because it’s theoretically impossible to write dozens of well-rounded characters in a scant few pages. However, I can get around this by making flat characters that are relatable; using characterization archetypes combined with subversions, I can still have many characters without sacrificing the main focus: a well-written story. I know I can expand on their backstories, but they can still be enjoyable without being stereotypical.
We still inherently label ourselves; even if I forgo this personality jargon, I can still be grouped by the things I’m interested in or with whom I’m affiliated. I’m a Christian, a gamer, a writer, a Filipino-Canadian, and a lover of Adventure Time, among other things. Each one of these things has shaped my personality, and while there are some things that differ from the “stereotypical person” of each interest (I’m a big fan of music games, I’m a Filipino that speaks fluent English and barely any Tagalog), there are other things of which I share a common interest (I love Jesus and I drink a lot of coffee while writing).
A passage that really opened my eyes to this issue would have to be Luke 8:4-15, in which Jesus talks about the four soils, or four types of people that hear the Gospel. It’s interesting that Jesus doesn’t go into any more types, just four distinct groups; there are arguably billions of people that grouped in one of the four types, but they’re all different. However, they share common traits (for example, the people that are “thorny soiled” hear the Good News but are choked by the hardships of life), and can need to be treated similarly in order to fully reach the kingdom. Additionally, Paul talks about spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians, but it is notable that he only lists eight in verse 28. There are different talents we have, but these eight main ones are the groups of which God gives us spiritual anointing; we may have different ones in these groups, but they’re similar in the fact that we are based on our different talents.
Sixteen types do not make a definitive list of personalities; neither do five characteristics or even a few different intelligences. However, they are great guidelines in understanding and responding to the human psyche, a gateway into starting to understand a person. Once we know and communicate with people, they will give us deviations from the common stereotypes the types denote. I’m an ENFP; you might be one too, or maybe an ISTJ. We’re different, but we can be the same as well. Confused? Well, that’s my way of explaining things; it’s an ENFP problem I suppose.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

May 30, 2012 - Dormitory Dwellings

The Busy Streets of Molino

I totally forgot to introduce myself! My name’s Elisha Deogracias, and I’m a Canadian-born Filipino. My brother is Elijah, which may make it a bit confusing, but I’ll try and distinguish us both.
…But little did I know that I would wake up three hours later. While I felt exhausted, I was ready to continue the day. Today we were heading to my brother’s school, De La Salle University in Dasmarinas, in order to check out his dormitory while he was at orientation with Grace.
When we were getting out of the street to head to the university, I spotted a stray dog checking out the houses on the street. “There’s usually stray pets around,” my mom explained, “but they’re pretty street smart. He’s just looking for something to eat.” Throughout the ride, I spotted a lot of dogs and cats; it would be kind of cool to adopt one (although it would be a bit illogical). We arrived at the dormitory of the university after having lunch with my brother and Grace (who had a break from their orientation). Afterwards, we went up and made a checklist of things to buy for his room, and headed to the local SM (shoemart) mall to get supplies. I wasn’t confident with my Tagalog skills, so I decided to follow my parents and relatives to the supermarket.

Friday, June 1, 2012

May 29, 2012: An Arrival

My brother on a plane. Better than the Samuel L. Jackson film.

So I decided to try out a travel blog for this three week trip I'm having in the Philippines, I hope it works out! Perhaps I provide some context to this: my brother was accepted to Med school in the Philippines, so my family decided to take a vacation there. The beginning of the day was pretty hectic, since we were packing all night. By the time we arrived at the airport, we were all pretty exhausted. The plane ride gave us some much needed rest (but unfortunately I didn't get too much sleep with my brother and mom poking me from behind my seats.) It's been my first plane ride in five years, and my first trip back to my homeland (well my primary one, as you can tell from the blog I was born in Canada) in fifteen years. I wondered how everything would change as I was on the plane.
                Unfortunately, a fourteen hour plane ride can get a bit dry, so I was restricted to reading my books and using whatever I had brought in my backpack, which was almost exclusively books and graphic novels. I ended up getting through a couple of them before trying to doze off and listening to the music channels they had: I was excited to hear that there was a station Delta had that had nothing but Chinese and Japanese pop, so I jammed out to that for a couple of hours. However, I came to the sad realization that it was the same 30 or so songs looped on repeat, so after the third rotation I was forced to switch. On the other hand, there was an artist spotlight that had Andy Grammer as its subject, so I thoroughly enjoyed that. Plus, I began reading "A Beginner's Guide to Crossing Cultures", a book about trying to reach out to multicultural audiences. I thought it was a pretty good read from the material I finished, but I thought I could learn firsthand from this trip.
Airplane food, what's up with that?
                So by the time we reached the Japan airport (our stopover before heading to the Philippines), I was itching to get out; however, the next flight was in an hour, and customs were a bit long, so I didn't have time to explore the terminal. We went on the plane and headed to Manila. When we arrived, the first thing I noticed was a bit of sweat from my forehead; it was humid even inside the Manila terminal! When we went out, it was a crowded and busy walk, with people everywhere and vendors with their doors open, selling food on the streets. We saw our relatives outside the terminal, tito (the Filipino term for uncle, which I will hereon use) Endong and Boga, as well as our tita (aunt) Edith. Our cousins, Grace and Paolo (related to tita Edith), were waiting as well, and when we came to their house, Gian was there as well. Before we went to the house, we decided to eat at a pretty awesome local restaurant: Chow King is a chain of Filipino noodle houses that serves noodle soup as well as a variety of other things. I was ecstatic to eat some beef ramen after getting off the plane.
                Of course, it isn't the Philippines without one trip to one of the most famous Filipino stores, Jolibee (which is the Filipino equivalent to McDonalds)! And of course, it isn't a signature Elisha Deogracias day without an awkward moment! If you know me, I'm Filipino, but I was born in Canada; this has a side-effect of me not knowing the native language of Tagalog. Yes, I can understand the language now, but I have monumental difficulty speaking it. So while we were getting some food for Gian (he was away), my dad told me to order him a float. Normally I wouldn't mind, but I didn't know what to say. It got off to a bad start since a couple of people cut me off in line because I didn't really say anything, and when I got to the counter I froze. I just said what I wanted ("chocolate float") and kept saying "opo" (yes, sir/ma'am) to whatever the cashier said, only to find out that there was no ice cream available... and after I paid. I went back to the table a bit embarrassed.
                Anyways, we unpacked our stuff and caught up with our cousins until the wee hours of the nighttime. I decided to talk with my friend David on Facebook and headed to bed at around 3:30. Hopefully I would be well rested for tomorrow...