Equating Education with Self-Worth

Very few people would argue that education is totally unnecessary, but there are many different opinions on the importance of educational status. While some people may view basic (K-12) education as sufficient, others would argue that the more degrees you attain, the better you are. Still others believe that your level of education is irrelevant and only your level of personal achievement is worth noting.

To determine what role personality type plays in our beliefs about self-worth and education, we asked respondents to agree or disagree with the statement, “You measure your worth by how educated you are.”

Results indicated, unsurprisingly, that Thinking personalities are more likely to measure their worth by their educational attainment than Feeling types (58% vs. 42%). Identity also plays a role in this dynamic, with Turbulent personality types (52%) being more likely to associate self-worth with higher levels of education than Assertive types (41%). Let’s educate ourselves further about this topic below.


Analysts (62% agreeing)

Intellect is a source of pride for this Role and, in fact, many Analyst personality types view their intellectual abilities as a vital component of their identity. One of the great fears that these types have is the fear of looking stupid. The Intuitive and Thinking combo that Analysts share is perfect for contemplating theoretical and abstract concepts. They are experts at absorbing information and using their knowledge in problem-solving and strategic thinking. If any Role group were to have the motto “Knowledge is Power,” it would be the Analysts.

The personality type most likely to associate their level of education with their sense of self-worth is the Architect (INTJ) (71%). Architects excel at analysis and other intellectual pursuits – often to the point that they identify almost completely with their intellect, disregarding less “logical” capacities like emotions and physical senses. Most would rather come across as cold and calculating than uneducated or illogical.

Debaters (ENTP) are much less concerned about their educational status, with only 53% agreeing. Debater personalities value knowledge as much as their fellow Analysts; however, they are likely to argue against the necessity of formal education as a measure of intelligence or worth. As Extraverts, Debaters likely have a wider “knowledge base” of people and conversations to draw from. This and their Prospecting trait combine to give Debaters the sense that there are many different types of intelligence, and not all of them are found in academia.

Sentinels and Diplomats (45% each) 

Sentinels and Diplomats averaged the same level of agreement, despite major differences in their approach to life. While both Roles likely value education, they are inclined to use different measurements to determine their worth.

Sentinels value the work that they do. Hardworking, efficient, and conscientious, these personality types take pride in a job well done. Logisticians (ISTJ) (59%) are firm believers in these values. All the education in the world would be meaningless to them if they weren’t putting it to productive use and making a positive contribution to their community.

Empathetic and compassionate, Diplomat personalities measure their worth by the impact that they have on those around them. This is especially true of Advocates (INFJ) (54%), who are always fighting for a cause and likely to feel that the more educated they are, the more capable they are of serving as effective leaders and accomplishing big goals.

Campaigners (ENFP) (38%) and Consuls (ESFJ) (37%), on the other hand, agreed at notably lower rates. With their shared Feeling trait, both of these personality types are more likely to measure their worth based on their personal relationships than their degrees. Compassionate and idealistic, Campaigners find their worth in emotional connections, viewing education as a tool for helping people and achieving goals. Conscientious and sociable, Consuls devote their energy to developing deep personal relationships and are much more interested in social status (being well-liked) than in educational status.

Explorers (40%)

Explorers are the least likely Role to measure their worth by how educated they are, because most Explorers dislike what they perceive as the stifling structure of formal education. Easily bored, Explorer personality types see the world as their classroom and prefer to learn as they go rather than sitting through lectures and simulated laboratory experiments.

Only 34% of Entertainers (ESFP) agreed with the statement – the least of any personality type. Successfully completing higher education requires long-term focus, which is not Entertainers’ strong suit, and tasks like in-depth analysis usually don’t hold their attention for long. They’re certainly capable of doing it, but for most of these spontaneous, free-spirited individuals, education simply isn’t what matters most.


Constant Improvement and Social Engagement (54% and 50% agreeing)

The Turbulent members of the Constant Improvement and Social Engagement Strategies proved to be more likely than their Assertive counterparts to associate self-worth with education. Turbulent personalities often measure their success by what they are able to achieve and what other people think of them. They may view external sources of accomplishment (degrees, job titles, etc.) as important parts of their identities because they validate their achievements and signal intelligence and respectability to others.

Confident Individualism (45%)

The Introverted, Assertive personality types who belong to the Confident Individualism Strategy are both self-assured and extremely self-reliant. With great confidence comes an inherent sense of self-worth. They’re more likely to see education as a tool to achieve their goals rather than a measurement of worth in and of itself. Confident Individualists are unlikely to be influenced by the opinions of others. As long as they know that they are intelligent, they don’t care how others view them, or their educational credentials.

People Mastery (38%)

The People Mastery Strategy is the least apt to equate self-worth with educational status. Extraverted and Assertive, People Masters are unconcerned with the opinions of others. These personalities gauge self-worth by their personal achievements and social connections, and they may feel that formal education is not always a necessary component for success. Some famous People Masters, like Steve Jobs, never earned a college degree, forging a legacy through hard work and innovation instead.


Every individual will base their sense of self-worth on a different combination of things. Education plays a significant role in the measurement of worth for people who identify as cerebral or intellectual. Individuals who are more focused on emotions, intuition, or their observations are less likely to tie their sense of worth to their level of education.

There is no right or wrong in these approaches, as any measurement can be beneficial if it is balanced – and any measurement can be harmful if it is the sole criterion for self-worth. The most important thing is balance, understanding that your worth is not based on any one component of your personality or abilities. Education, as with anything, is only one aspect of personal achievement – it doesn’t have to be a defining factor.

What about you? Is your sense of self-worth tied to your level of education? Let’s talk about it in the comments section!

You can see the full set of data, including correlation coefficients, in the Academy. Please also consider participating in our Member Surveys!

10 months ago
I'm an ENFJ-T, and I really find the part that Diplomats tend to measure their self-worth on the impact they have on others really true. Especially since a lot of people look up to me (for what reason, I have no idea) I feel the need to make sure they are happy at all times, and because of my Turbulent nature I sometimes scold myself for instance, for not finding out fast enough that a friend is sad. This article is really good! :)
10 months ago
True. I sometimes stay up very late or nearly skip a meal for my schoolwork.
11 months ago
I'm an INTP-T. Well, this article does make me understand myself better concerning self-worth.
11 months ago
I'm an INTJ-T. This explains a LOT.
11 months ago
I am an INTJ, and this is definitely the case with me. I see education as an extremely influential factor in determining how I view myself. Not necessarily 'formal' education, however, as I am an advocate of a more tailored approach. This is not how I judge others, only myself.
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