Sail the Ocean Blue: Preference for the Age of Discovery by Personality Type

Curiosity. It ate the apple, it opened the box, it killed the cat – and despite its numerous repercussions, we humans can seldom resist indulging it. Exploration runs in our blood; it is literally in our DNA. But what happens when there are no more final frontiers to seek out?

Now, it’s not as though there’s nothing left to explore. New paths are being blazed every day in fields like science and technology – take, for example, epigenetics. But still, there are some of us who wish we had lived in the Age of Discovery. If you need a quick reminder, the Age of Discovery (or Exploration) is loosely defined as the time period between the 15th and 18th centuries, when Europeans branched out into the New World (think Christopher Columbus or Ferdinand Magellan). Many yearn for the new and unknown that so many adventurers of old sought out... but some personalities are just fine right where they are.

To find out if our community wished to rewind to a time of pure exploration, we asked if they agreed or disagreed with the following statement: “You sometimes wish to have been born in the Age of Discovery.” We examine the results below.

There was a large gap between Intuitive personality types and Observant ones (with 56% and 31% agreeing, respectively). There was also a sizable gap between Judging types (40%) and Prospecting types (50%). So who would rather return to the Age of Discovery, and who is content with their place now? Let’s find out.

Roles

Analysts (60% agreeing)

It’s not too surprising to find Analyst personality types at the top of the heap regarding this topic. Imaginative and intellectual, Analysts are more inclined to want to return to the the Age of Discovery because, well, they love to discover things. The cogs in an Analyst’s mind are always turning, always processing, and always digging deeper.

Why, though, would Analysts want to return to the Age of Discovery despite living in the modern era, where exploration of science and technology (their bread and butter) are thriving? It could be because the idea of exploring a territory that is truly and completely unknown – meaning that no previous information exists of it – is appealing to these personalities. They want to be the first to venture into the dark, and to subsequently return with the light of knowledge.

Architects (INTJ) and Logicians (INTP) were the most likely personality types to want to live in the Age of Discovery (both 62% agreeing). These Introverted Analysts are imbued with insatiable curiosity; they are the types who take things apart just to see how they work. Both types are also highly skilled at drawing logical conclusions and figuring out patterns. They know that if they had been born centuries ago, their discoveries surely would have gone down in history.

Diplomats (54%)

Adventure, travel, and enlightenment – these are what attract Diplomat personality types to the Age of Discovery. Romantically inclined, due to their Intuitive and Feeling traits, Diplomats imagine daring escapades and the sharing of brand-new cultures, set in a bustling era of constant innovation. While Analysts yearn for knowledge, Diplomats strive for harmony, and they believe that they’ll be able to discover not only the world, but themselves as well, if they were to be born during this era. Mediators (INFP) are a great example of this enchanted point of view, with 58% of Mediators agreeing.

However, it is important to note that Diplomat personalities are well aware of their tendency to romanticize. Judging Diplomats are quick to pull themselves out of the clouds and remember that while the Age of Discovery must’ve been very exciting, the lack of modern conveniences wouldn’t be.

Explorers (35%)

Explorers love to explore (as their name suggests), so why were they less inclined to want to return to the Age of Discovery? It could be because they see no point in it. Explorers like branching out into the world that’s around them right now, rather than exploring the world that was. These personality types love knowledge, not for its own sake, but because they like putting it into action and seeing how it works in the now.

Sentinels (30%)

“No thanks” would be the response of most Sentinels if you asked them if they’d want to be born in the Age of Discovery. Their combined Observant and Judging traits make for people who are very focused on the world as it is now, and the things that need to be done. Sentinels are not the ones to dream about returning to the past because: 1) there isn’t much point in thinking about it, because it can’t be done; and 2) they’re well aware of just how convenient it is to live in the modern era. Also, Sentinel personality types tend to have an aversion to change, so they don’t see much appeal in going off into the unknown.

The least likely personality type to agree with the statement “You sometimes wish to have been born in the Age of Discovery” was the Turbulent Consul (ESFJ-T), with only 22% agreeing. Their low rate of agreement could stem from an unwillingness to return to a time that, while interesting, was rife with constant conflict and uncertainty.

Strategies

There wasn’t much variance among the Strategies. Let’s investigate why that may be:

Constant Improvement and Confident Individualism (48% and 47% agreeing)

These Introverted personality types were slightly more inclined to wish to be born in the Age of Discovery, though a majority still disagreed. This could be because the noise and bustle of everyday life – the lights, the sounds, the people, and so much to do all the time – exhausts them, and the idea of returning to a seemingly simpler time sounds appealing. Just them and the sea and the will to explore.

Assertive Architects (INTJ-A) topped the charts, with 67% agreeing. Architects are a strange mix, managing to be both the most starry-eyed and the most cynical at the same time, but their idealism wins out here. They imagine a world of possibilities, and all the things they could have a hand in building.

However, whether you’re Assertive or Turbulent seems to have little effect on the results when it comes to this topic. While Turbulent types as a whole were slightly more inclined to want to be born in the Age of Discovery (with 46% agreeing, vs. 43% of Assertive types), there are some discrepancies among the individual personality types. Assertive types (for the most part) were more likely to agree than their Turbulent counterparts.

Social Engagement (44%)

Personalities with the Social Engagement Strategy are more inclined to go back to the past than their Assertive, Extraverted cousins. This could be because they see more opportunity to make connections and enjoy brighter experiences in that dreamy world of old. However, with that being said, Social Engagers may also fear the unknown of having to deal with people from a completely different time and culture.

Turbulent Commanders (ENTJ-T) were one of the few exceptions to the trend we saw: they were quite a bit more likely to agree than their Assertive counterparts (61% vs. 52%).

People Mastery (41%)

The People Mastery Strategy, made up of Assertive Extraverts, lends itself to people who are adept with social interaction. These personality types know how people tick and how society operates... well, their society, at least. People Masters are less inclined to want to be born in the Age of Discovery because they have a good place in modern times. Why ruin a good thing?

Conclusions

We are all curious people, and yet some of us are more inclined to explore that curiosity. There are those among us who yearn for the chance to explore the new worlds of old, and some of us are content with exploring what we have now.

The difference between Intuitive and Observant personality types is easy to see. Architects and Mediators practically have their packs ready, while Consuls shake their heads and point out the downsides of the Age of Discovery: no electricity, no modern medicine, long and arduous (and dangerous) travels, and so on.

What about you? Would you want to return to the Age of Discovery, if you could? Or are modern times more your cup of tea? Let’s talk about it!

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

1 year ago
I've never thought of being born in the Age of Discovery, but being in the time where so many unknowns were being pursued and revealed definitely has some appeal to me.
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