Posted by: Mark Nielsen | June 18, 2018

Are You a Pooh or a Piglet?: The Milne-Nielsen Type Indicator (A Working Draft)


Pooh vs. the Anti-Pooh - Lio comic strip, approx. Dec. 07Presenting again…

in honor of the forthcoming “Christopher Robin” film (2018):

The Milne – Nielsen Type Indicator

(a conceptual framework to discuss personality characteristics)

Those of us who have had some psychological therapy (yes, I have had some — no shame in admitting it), or have taken the test called the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), will likely have a head-start today on those who have not. Therefore, let me explain the Myers-Briggs briefly, as it will be instructive in understanding the use and usefulness of the Milne-Nielsen indicator (which, by my own admission, is much less scientific… but then, I’m an ENFP, so that explains everything, right?).

The MBTI lays out eight broad, oppositional personality traits that interact within a person along four spectrums. Those four pairings are Extrovert-Introvert, iNtuitive -Sensate, Feeling-Thinking, and Percepting-Judging. Your overall type (like my ENFP above) is determined by your score in each of these areas. It’s not all-inclusive, just a shorthand way of understanding oneself. For example, if you’re 72% leaning toward intuitive, that tells us that you don’t require much sensate, quantifiable or physical evidence as you try to understand the world. This score is not so much talking about an absolute weakness in the Sensate area, as it is talking about an inherent dominance of intuitive methods as your normal way of operating.

So if you ever get a chance, take the multiple choice MBTI test, have it scored, and get a little window into your personality that you may not have had up until now. But we’re not here to talk about MBTI today. We’re here to see if you’re a Pooh, or a Roo, or a Rabbit, Tigger, Kanga or Piglet. Or maybe you’re an Eeyore with moderate Kanga tendencies. Or, God forbid, an Owl with strong Rabbit tendencies.

If you’re familiar with the A.A. Milne characters, especially as presented in the two novels (for a book has more depth than a movie can usually muster), then you probably already sense what I’m driving at. Note also that I’m not including Christopher Robin in the MNTI, for reasons which I will explain later. The basic premise is this, that it is somewhat possible to lay out the Milne characters along several spectrums of personality types, and to loosely place oneself within a certain range upon those spectrums.

The challenge in developing this model was in determining the oppositional pairings, for even though it is easy to discuss the ways in which Pooh and Rabbit are different, it is more difficult to find the polar opposite of Piglet, from among the characters that Milne created. In other words, it takes a lot of bending and twisting, and some compromising, to fit some of these round pegs into my square holes.

Nevertheless, and Without Further Ado, here is my best attempt:

Pooh-Rabbit: primarily about ease, wisdom and groundedness vs. control, organization, and activity — but also involves measuring characteristics like loyalty, courage, acceptance of the natural order, creativity, and graciousness (or “grace” vs. “works”, in the Christian sense of these terms)

Piglet-Kanga: primarily about personal sense of security and peace, but also involves a measurement of maturity, nurturing, and need for control

Roo-Owl: primarily about maturity and sense of wonder, but also involves physical energy, speaking style, and intelligence measurements

Eeyore-Tigger : primarily about ego-strength, but also an introvert/extrovert measurement

It works out nicely that there are eight characters, each with certain personality strengths (and weaknesses) that match up fairly well with one other character. And while the goal is to choose what one character is your most dominant tendency, make no mistake: there are probably two others that are strong seconds. So do not be so quick to stake your claim that you are one type and not another. For there are ways in which Pooh and Tigger are also oppositional types, not to mention the fact that the temptation to deny one’s bossy, Rabbit-like tendencies can be very strong. You see my point, yes?

As a strongly intuitive, Poohish sort of personality, I have not determined a specific set of questions or other method for measuring where one falls on the MNTI scale. (Tests? Who needs tests when we can just guess?!) So that’s one reason why I’m calling this a working draft. There’s still more Work To Do. And as a Pooh with Tigger and Owl tendencies — who would rather sing or eat or bounce around like a hyperactive child or talk about work than to actually work — I may never finish what I have started here.

Nevertheless, it’s workable like this, just as a model to spur one’s thinking about how you think, how you prefer things get done, what your favorite leisure activities might be (for example, a Pooh type likes to eat, with a friend, whereas a Rabbit type likes to plan and plant and harvest a food garden, in the most efficient method possible).

So I will ask again? What type are you, and what other types are strongly present? Are there two oppositional types that are “at war” for dominance within you? (I know, I sound like Obiwan Kenobi here. Sorry.)

I look forward to your thoughts and comments, or even your challenges, in the comment area below.

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