Centre for Confidence and Well-being

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Confidence and the 16 types

The Centre's definition of confidence is self-efficacy plus a general sense of optimism. In this definition confidence is a feeling that we can do things in the world thus distinguishing it from self-esteem which is generally defined as the emotional judgement individuals make on their self-worth.

We do not  talk about 'confident individuals' as we do not think confidence is the property of individuals. Rather it is how individuals feel in certain contexts depending on their experience and the skills/attributes required. Indeed we think there is a danger in talking about 'confident individuals' (as is the case in Scotland with the Curriculum for Excellence) as it easily leads to seeing confidence as speaking/performing in public or social skills. In short, it defines confidence in terms of extraversion. Interestingly, people from Eastern cultures (where there is often a cultural preference for introversion) think that talkative people lack confidence. They believe being self-contained and reserved demonstrates confidence.

The Centre's view of confidence easily allows for each of the 16 types to feel, and act confidently in ways which are fitting for their preferences. So for example, introverts are more likely to feel confident about going to a silent  retreat than extraverts are. Perceiving types are more likely to feel confident about their ability to busk, and perform without preparation, than judging types.

In other words, each type will feel confident if they are doing things which are right for their preferences. An ESFJ, for example, is likely to be confident in a caring role, for example, in way which might be challenging (and boring) for an INTP.  If we define confidence as a particular set of skills – leadership, performance or speaking, for example, -  it is very easy to miss that all types can be confident in the right milieu for them doing what comes naturally.


© Carol Craig

MBTI, Myers-Briggs, and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator are registered trademarks or trademarks of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Trust in the United States and other countries; OPP Ltd. has exclusive rights to these trademarks in the U.K.

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