What’s In Your Suitcase?

Cozy Fall

Last week, for the first time in my life, I took the Meyers-Briggs personality test. My oldest friend, Brad, pointed me in the direction of the test and I was surprised to find myself classified as ISFJ – introversion, sensing, feeling, judging. I don’t think of myself as an introvert, but when I look at the life I’ve created myself it’s clearly true.

I prefer the quiet of working at home. I’d rather spend my time with small groups or individuals than in crowds. There are few things I love more than curling up on the couch with James, Kona, and a book.

Months ago, I heard Susan Cain’s brilliant TED talk on the power of introverts (where the title of this post comes from). I just re-watched the speech and was struck by something she says about halfway through: “Solitude is an important ingredient, often, to creativity.” We were just discussing this last Monday! Cain points out that we increasingly live in a society that values extroversion by creating spaces and social constructs that reward outspoken individuals. By creating environments that allow introverts to thrive, Cain says, the world will benefit from ideas grown in the space of solitude.

Cain’s speech ends with three calls to action. In the last one, she asks introverts to share their passions and ideas. “The world needs you, and it needs the things you carry,” she explains.

Blogging has given me a platform to do just that; to share the things I typically only reveal to the people closest to me. Whether you knit or cook or sing, I can’t think of a better time to share what you love with the rest of the world than in the last two months of the year. In that way, even as the days get shorter, maybe we can find more brightness in each other.

P.S. You can take the Meyers-Briggs test for yourself here.


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  1. Thanks for linking to the test. I am apparently INFP (the same as Anne of Green Gables, so I’m pretty pleased about that!)

    I’ve recently been struggling with accepting my introversion. I was always a very extroverted kid and teenager, and only as I reach my mid-twenties have I started to become more and more introverted. That TED talk sounds amazing – I can’t wait to listen!

  2. Isn’t it an interesting test? I’m an ENTJ (extraversion, intuition, thinking, judgment). It was also somewhat surprising to me as I tend to think of myself as an introvert since I tend to not feel comfortable in certain social situations. But then I started to think back on the things that give me energy and I totally get it from big events where I have some sort of leading role (the ENTJ is often called “the Fieldmarshal”).

  3. Oh I love this! I sincerely wish I was more “I” than “E”. There’s such a wonderful center about an I, and such strength. They are able to get energy from within, whereas an E like me is like a sponge and needs to be constantly on the move. And that can be exhausting.

    I think I’ve actually built a life where I’ve shielded myself a bit because I know how sponge-like I am. If someone’s negative, I become negative. It’s a kind of crappy way to be and I’m constantly assessing if how I’m feeling is how I really feel or if I’m absorbing. And my approach to living looking for ‘adventure’ in the smallest places is probably my way of trying to ‘normalize’ my need to be on the move.

    I think it’s also affected my blogging. I feel more comfortable having contributors, but that’s also a huge hindrance because people don’t feel like they know who I am. Oh wow, I’m turning this into Jen therapy hour. Yikes!

    Anyway, I’m an ENFP, which, is like totally what all the dictators are (and people who suffer from narcissism, which, since I made this all about me isn’t too far off the mark) haha! šŸ˜‰

  4. Joy, I wish Introverts had such a wonderful center and such strength and the ability to get energy from within. I don’t feel that at all. I’m IN[TF]J, introverted, intuition thinking judging or introverted, intuition, feeling, judging (the difference between thinking and feeling across the number of tests I’ve taken over the years is not statistically significant).

    I often wonder if confidence and our support network play a part in how we view ourselves as well as how we share ourselves. When I just retook the test, I was surprised to see that while I still register as Introvert, it’s no longer an overwhelming preference.

  5. Hi, Joy!
    From one ISJF to another, thank you for sharing and inspiring all of us. šŸ™‚

  6. Ooh, fun! I got INTJ, but I really think it depends on the situation. Have you seen the My Little Pony Myers-Briggs chart? One of my friends used it as part of her class presentation: http://cartoonoveranalyzations.com/2011/05/23/the-myers-briggs-type-indicator-for-ponies/

  7. I’m an ISTJ. šŸ™‚ We actually had to take this test during medical school to help with choosing a specialty. I think I’ve actually become more of an introvert as I get older. šŸ˜›

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