I’m a beach person. To me a vacation isn’t a vacation without the beach. Sadly it’s been some time since I’ve been able to take a beach trip. As we are currently in the throes of beach vacation season, I’ll invite you to pause and beach daydream with me for a bit…
Take a few moments and look at the picture above. What springs to mind? What does this picture make you think of? How you answer is somewhat defined by your MBTI Type preferences.
The beach image is a very sensory one. People with a preference for Sensing (S) prefer to take in information through their 5 senses which means they tend to be literal and specific. For them this photo will probably evoke thoughts connected to the physical world. S’s seeing this picture might answer by describing the feel of the sand between their toes or the temperature of the water. Some might immediately remember an activity at the beach or a specific trip there. Their responses will be concrete and may draw on the past, specific events, or specific locations.
People with a preference for Intuition (N) prefer to take in information through the meanings and associations they see in the information which means they tend to be more abstract and conceptual. When asked about the picture they may describe the feelings or state of mind that the picture evokes, perhaps describing the image as peaceful or serene. They might make up a story about the picture, suggesting, for example, that the beach in the picture above is an exclusive honeymoon destination. Very seldom will they begin with the physical aspects of the beach that those with the Sensing preference focused on.
When I have limited time with groups I will sometimes do this as an exercise, distributing the picture and asking everyone to jot down what they thought of or what the picture evokes. At a recent team meeting one Sensor in the room longingly opined that she could “smell the sea air and the saltwater and feel the breeze” on her face. Directly across from her an Intuitive colleague confessed that when she saw the picture her first thought was “It looks so clean, it must be a private beach that is well taken care of.”
The Perceiving function, that is the function related to how you take in information, has a lot to do with your learning and communication style. Your preference for Sensing or Intuition will determine the kind of information you seek out and trust. It influences how you learn, speak, write, describe, argue, and teach others.
What about you? What springs to mind when you look at the picture? (Be sure to take note of your first answers…our preference is often where we start.) Share your responses in the comments section below!