Preference is not Competence

Here’s a thing that trips up a lot of people about MBTI.

Preference is not competence.

The two are often correlated, yes. We tend to prefer things that we are good at. And we tend to get good at the things we prefer.

Consider this simple statement:

It is possible for an introvert to be better at socializing than an extrovert. It is possible for the introvert to be a better listener, a better host, a better conversationalist, and even more entertaining in terms of crazy antics.

It’s possible for a ‘feeler’ to be better at mathematics or science than a ‘thinker’.

It’s also possible for a ‘thinker’ to have more emotional intelligence than a ‘feeler’.

This sounds unintuitive, but it’s possible simply because there are lots of people in the world, and we all develop in incredibly different ways.

It’s possible for an “intuitive” to be more in touch with her body and the world around her than a “sensor”.

A person’s preference for something is not definitive proof of their competence at it.

A person can like singing but suck at it. Another person can be shy or uncomfortable about singing, but be signficantly better at it.

When we go to the extremes, this phenomenon begins to evaporate. The best of the best in the world get so good because they love what they do AND they’re good at it. A virtuous cycle. Similarly, the worst of the worst at something tend to hate what they do AND be bad at it.

But there are all sorts of people in between, and making assumptions about individuals is not nearly as helpful as you might think.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *