[VIEW 2035] Going through life with MBTI

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[VIEW 2035] Going through life with MBTI

Sung Ji-won
The author is a political news reporter of the JoongAng Ilbo.
“Your personalities are very similar, I think.”

This is what I heard when Won Hee-ryong, the current minister of land, infrastructure and transport, ran for president. The minister and I share the same MBTI personality type — ESFP, or the “entertainer.” 
This is what I read about the personality type online: “Life is a performance without a rehearsal, an attention seeker, an all-rounder, a super insider, easily inspired, but gets sick of things easily.”

These descriptions are quite reliable, when thinking about what Won has done. He discussed his own experience being swindled in a jeonse deal on YouTube and went out in person to get a taxi in the middle of the night to learn more about recent taxi shortages. What he enjoys is onsite visits and what he’s good at is sharing his own experience. I totally understand this — I cannot help but say he’s the perfect version of an ESFP.

Whenever I need to meet someone to cover a news event and the person behaves weirdly, I always get curious about their MBTI type. For example, I couldn’t possibly understand why Lee Jun-seok, former head of the People Power Party, shared posts that showed his anger on Facebook but was quiet about the recent scandal. But after getting to know his personality type, I related to him. He is an ESTP, the "entrepreneur," known to be honest and straight forward, to have strong pride and enjoy debates.

I’m well aware of the criticism of the recent MBTI trend — you cannot slot seven billion people into 16 personality types. 
This is obvious when we see that two politicians who are so different from each other share the same type. President Yoon Suk-yeol and former lawmaker Yoo Seung-min are both ENFJ, the "protagonist," a charismatic, inspiring and creative leader. I can’t understand why they have the same personality type because they’ve always taken completely different on almost all issues. 
According to a survey of 1000 Korean adults conducted by Hankook Research from Dec. 10 to 13 last year, there is only a slight difference between the number of people who said they do not trust MBTI types, at 35 percent, and those that said they do, at 36 percent. However, among people in their twenties, the proportion of people who answered that they trust the test result rose to 52 percent. 
A few days ago, I met a conservative politician and asked what his type was. I suddenly realized that I might have made a mistake and said, “Do you think I’m too obsessed with it?” However, his answer was “I ask people their MBTI types too. Wondering why they are acting like that, I get to relate to their behaviors after they tell me their types. I can understand why people show such behaviors, because I know their way of thinking.”

BY SUNG JI-WON [sung.jiwon@joongang.co.kr]
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