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Your Life Purpose by MBTI Personality Type

How many times have you started a new project or, say, an exercise routine with a burst of enthusiasm, only to see that initial momentum evaporates? Practitioners find that many people say they can't quite put their finger on why their lives are not truly happy.

This letdown, or life perspective, often leads to depression and causes us to give up prematurely. But fortunately, with a bit of thought and reflection we can turn this loss of motivation around.

The key that unlocks the self-motivation that seems so elusive is

  • a good understanding of our own mental functions and
  • managing our life in a way that provides what is mentally energizing.

Our Mental Functions

The following table lists four types of mental functions every person has – see the middle column. According to Carl G. Jung, only one of these four is favored by an individual to take the Dominant role for adaptation or orientation to life.

 4 Mental Functions 



Through detailed facts from experiences 

ways we gather information


Through global wholes of possible interrelationships 






On objective logical analysis of the information

ways we make conclusions


On the value of the information

Motivation is Driven by Purpose

Not only that, but see the left column. Each of us is able to both Perceive and to Judge (gather information and decide) in order to survive and to carry on normal functioning behavior. You guessed it! Each of us favors one of those two functions, as well; one of the Perceiving functions and one of the Judging functions.

For example, of the two Perceiving functions I favor Intuition, and of the Judging functions I favor Feeling. One of these two, the Intuition function, takes the Dominant role in my life.

Sources of Mental Energy

Our mental or psychic energy comes from both our inner world and outer world. Our mental orientation depends on which of these two worlds our interests are focused on at the moment; an attitude of inner or outer focused. These two types of basic or general attitude are called Extraverted and Introverted, and they are clearly quite different.

Motivation also is said to be intrinsic or extrinsic, or it is derived more from either our outer world or our inner world.

2 General Attitudes



"motivated from the outside and is directed by external, objective factors and relationships" 

"motivated from within and directed by inner, subjective matters" 

It is no wonder then that strongly orientated Extraverts and strongly orientated Introverts are motivated in quite different ways.

Most people are actually a reasonably well-balanced mixture of the two types of attitudes - Extraversion and Introversion, but at the same time we have a preference for one or the other. This is reflected when two people look at the same situation and yet see different things.

When we are out of balance, it helps to consider whether Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I) is normally our preferred source of mental energy.

Percentage of U.S. population for each type by Las Valley 702

Percentage of U.S. population for each type by Las Valley 702

How Each Personality Type is Motivated or Empowered

This attitude orientation, E/I, and the mental functions, S-N and T-F, of our personality make-up all made me wonder how each personality type's motivation is actually empowered. So I read through each of the descriptions to determine essentially what motivates each of the 16 personality types and also what reduces or kills the enthusiasm of each.

The following tables list for each personality type—in the four Temperament groupings of SJs, SPs, NFs and NTs—what essentially demotivates or prematurely de-energizes our mental interest and what energizes a mental passion for a life purpose.

Life purpose of SF types

SFs provide service   


Life Purpose – a Mental Booster

Caution! Motivation Killer


1. Gracious and effective in dealing with others, in tune with specific individual needs and especially sensitive to the nuances that make for happy and wholesome lives.

So concerned with others' needs and attuned to what is appropriate in everything, they may find a situation disagreeable, overlooking the facts, and feel taken for granted.


2. Quick, easygoing, neat, orderly, and given to a higher sense of duty in work in the service of others and makes them ultimately happy.

Serving humanity is taken so seriously that they may “complain” and rescue from work is insisted upon, even though there is nothing their serving hearts would rather be doing.


3. Rise to the challenge of making in mere minutes, often to others’ surprised amazement, any event exciting and entertaining, in an accepting and sensitive manner.

All energies go into keeping a strong grip on the here and now and a harmonious excitement, void of rigid routine, so that no one sees their perceived hyperactivity as serious potential.


4. Create an open and diverse environment as fertile ground to encourage all life to fulfill its potential for those capable of developing themselves.

A sensitivity so in tune to others and appreciation for what life brings that they favor the practical and blending in; seemingly shy so the more aggressive, demanding and less capable types take over.

Life purpose of ST types

STs get it right   


Life Purpose – a Mental Booster

Caution! Motivation Killer


5. Quick to take charge of any situation void of structure with superb administrative skills and a confident commitment to their own sense of the best ways to provide order and control.

So dependent on the security of structure, schedule, and definition, they are frustrated by contexts void of control, stated outlines and material that isn't factual and concrete.


6. This most private of types takes the responsibility for organizing and scheduling everything, even dutifully acquiring all appropriate interpersonal social skills and graces a given moment demands.

So fiercely loyal with such deep sense of duty that their tendency to be driven, impatient and extremely demanding of themselves seems to be expected of everyone else, who may rebel then leaving no one to lead.


7. Hard-charging capacity to immediately carry out tough jobs, as doers, problem-solvers and fix-it-or-forget-it people who can be counted on.

Always restless for action, that they well-meaningly plunge ahead, oblivious to established norms and procedures, relying on their innate talents, but then ignored consequences catch up with them.


8. Drawn to risky situations "working on the edge" to get the job done where they move swiftly to the core of the problem, correcting it with great accuracy and precision.

Constantly scanning and aware of all that is occurring around them they yearn forlorn for the excitement of the unexpected and the unexplored tangible world.

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Life purpose of NF types

NFs empower others   


Life Purpose – a Mental Booster

Caution! Motivation Killer


9. Organize effectively their insights to connect with peoples' needs and to motivate them, even when there may not have been initial interest.

So insightfully understanding of what people cannot see about personal needs and motivations that initial resistance to their input may feel like rejection.


10. Caringly tap into the rich potential in others and offer original and new perceptions to inspire their potential contribution to the world.

Their inner reservoir generating a never-ending stream of possibilities and ideas for the good of those around them but feels largely untapped.


11. Gregariously inspires and affirms most anyone’s potential always with new and original possibilities.

So ready with outer-world ideas and affirmations for people, they have a never-ending overwhelming flow of enthusiastic improvements for others.


12. They endlessly expend a lot of energy in search of ways to put their ideals to use to often help others and society in a variety of ways.

Inspired by a constant percolation of questions and material to define "Who am I?" they follow what they value as beneficial to themselves and to relations with others, but so strictly that they are never quite satisfied.

Life purpose of NT types

NTs understand it   


Life Purpose – a Mental Booster

Caution! Motivation Killer


13. Organize and marshal resources to carry out a strategy solving what seemed an impasse but instead will perfect or improve systemic efficiency.

So exhilarated by complicated impasses about which to creatively think out loud on future strategy that they see interpersonal conflict as the show stopper.


14. Constantly have original and new perceptions to offer to foster improvement for everything; words, plans, designs, ideas, even people.

Their inner aloof reservoir generating a never-ending stream of possibilities and ideas to debate is surprisingly (to them) offensive or annoying.


15. Generates many creative alternatives for better fitting various pieces of a system together in a variety of entrepreneurial adventures.

So excited about pursuing a continual bombardment of new ideas to make better or more effective systems that lack of follow through leaves an endless series of delayed or unfulfilled dreams.


16. Thinks through every stage of the task at hand, from beginning to end. Then puts a considerable amount of energy into endlessly critiquing and improving it.

Analysis of how to fit their constant percolation of new data pieces (from both internal and external influences) into a coherent whole, all thoughts, ideas, and plans seem to never quite be finalized.

Contact me with any questions about our 4 mental functions and how they relate to our mental motivation! I will look into an answer for you.

Otherwise, following are articles on what work environments are energizing - and thus motivating - for each personality type.

Energizing work environments for each pair of personality types

© 2011 Deidre Shelden


Deidre Shelden (author) from Texas, USA on November 15, 2019:

Gabriella, What an encouraging (while unexpected) comment from one so well studied! Thank you!

Gabriella on November 14, 2019:

So incredibly well written!! I've been studying MBTI and depth psychology for years, I know an intelligent writer when I see one! Well done, love it.

Jon on January 24, 2016:

Thanks! That link has some good info. Good granularity. :-)

Deidre Shelden (author) from Texas, USA on January 23, 2016:

Hi Jon! The graphic I used is just a common one found online, like on Flickr. I know what you mean by the numbers differing quite a bit from one source to another. It must be that the context in which the percentage calculations were made really varied. The chart I actually would go by is here:

It allows for some range of difference in numbers, and has separate breakdowns by gender, as you can see.

Jon on January 22, 2016:

I'm curious where you got that graphic from, with the percentage breakdown. Some of the numbers on it differ vastly from numbers I've seen elsewhere. Oddly, however, it seems more accurate in some ways to my experience, hence the question. :-) thanks.

Deidre Shelden (author) from Texas, USA on August 11, 2012:

Patty, Wish you the best in making use of this. Hope the personality perspective is helpful.

Patty Kenyon from Ledyard, Connecticut on August 11, 2012:

Voted Up, Interesting, and Useful!!! Wow that was a really fascinating Hub!!

tinamarie9884 on January 21, 2011:

This was absolutely a great hub. I did know about the extraverted and the introverted. I always liked when I studied Psychology and Sociology along with some other classes. I really like how you put together and write your hubs. Two thumbs up!!

FitnezzJim from Fredericksburg, Virginia on January 16, 2011:

Interesting thought, characters by personality type. I play characters in roleplaying games quite a bit, and I've always played them according to whatever values I've assigned to them, what they like, what they dislike, and that sort of thing. Never thought to try to play according to an assigned personality type, and wonder if it is even do-able.

Betty Johansen on January 16, 2011:

Hi Ms. Dee, These 4-letter initials are new to me and they thoroughly confuse me. However, this stuff is fascinating. I'm always looking for ways to develop characters for novels, and this hub is a gold mine! It gives the positive side and the frustrations. Now those frustration - those are what I want. I love peace and the absence of conflict, but absence of conflict is DEATH to a novel. So those frustrations are going to be a big help to me.


sherrylou57 from Riverside on January 16, 2011:

When I start a new project, I like to see the finished product. Nice hub. Thankyou Ms. Dee

Deidre Shelden (author) from Texas, USA on January 16, 2011:

Nice to hear you laughed, Jim :) Yes, thank you for your great INTP insight, that there is more to it than just personality type. That is for sure - I have no disagreement there. Personality type certainly does not reveal what values choices we would make. Good question from you that I will be considering.

Lifegate, good for you! And Dian, good to hear your take on this info.

FitnezzJim from Fredericksburg, Virginia on January 16, 2011:

I laughed as I read through the Purpose & Caution Tables. The INTP (&INTJ) section pretty much reflects the jobs I get at work, and the never-ready-to-call-it-finished nature.

In true nature of an INTP, I'd offer that there is more to what influences our sense of life-purpose than personality type, there are also the values we learn as we grow. Has there ever been anything done similar to Myers-Briggs that shows how our values relate to our sense of life purpose?

Scott Biddulph from Gainesville Georgia on January 16, 2011:

Great hub very useful, I remember this from college.

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