The 8 Skills & The 8 Roles (Basics)

This page offers a brief overview of The 8 Skills and The 8 Roles (which are part of the underlying structures behind the 16 personality types sometimes referred to as MBTI and derived from the theories of Carl Jung).

The 8 Skills

The 8 skills are (essentially) 8 categories that represent all of the mental/emotional processes a person engages in (in general). Keep in mind, this only represents one way of categorizing these processes.

These 8 processes can be further categorized in multiple ways.

Each skill is considered either “introverted” or “extroverted,” with introverted skills excelling at “focusing on one thing,” while extroverted skilled tend to “multi-task” or “alternate” between different things.

Some skills focus on “gathering information (and organizing it).”

Other skills focus on “evaluating” and “deciding what to do” with the information.

Some skills are sensory (concrete, focusing on observable details), while others are intuitive (abstract, focusin on patterns and relationships).

Some skills focus on the objectivity of thought and logic, while others focus on the subjectivity of feelings.

Se (Sensory)

Extroverted-Sensing, nicknamed Sensory, this skill is very “in the moment.” It excels at taking in lots of information all at once, but struggles to remember (beyond the immediate past). This skill likes to keep busy. It likes to create and share experiences with others. It’s a natural performer, putting on a good show as a way of “earning its reward.”

Si (Memory)

Introverted-Sensing, nicknamed Memory, this skill uses the past to understand the present. It tends to struggle with “learning something new,” but once it learns something, it remembers and applies it very effectively. It tends to focus on one sensory thing (i.e. the sensory experiences of one person). It also has a strong sense of duty, a desire to fulfill its obligations (and thus earn its reward). It excels at patient endurance, but struggles with creativity.

Ne (Exploration)

Extroverted-Intuition, nicknamed Exploration, this skill is a natural brainstormer. It jumps from one idea to the next, exploring and developing each without getting attached to any of them. However, this skill is not very practical, and rarely pauses to consider an idea before suggesting it. It likes to “consider ideas” without limitations or restrictions, without worrying about how realistic or feasible an idea might be. It likes to tinker and learns by “trying things” and “seeing what happens.” It is very ambitious, very charismatic, and very adaptable. It can be impulsive and mercurial.

Ni (Perspective)

Introverted-Intuition, nicknamed Perspective, this skill excels at observing and building an understanding of the underlying patterns around it. It then uses those patterns to predict what will happen next (often correctly). It chooses a single goal and works diligently, developing a strong plan. Once it begins a project, it rarely stops until it is satisfied that the task is complete. It excels at hidden meanings, codes, patterns, and puzzles. It often uses existing information to reach new conclusions (but tends to work slowly).

Te (Effectiveness)

Extroverted-Thinking, nicknamed Effectiveness, this skill believes in “the one true answer” that is true for everyone. It prioritizes “Deciding who or what is qualified” and relies on “qualified sources” for guidance. “Who is qualified” is determined by things like prior experience, credentials, and reputation. Once a source is deemed qualified, all information provided by “that source” will be trusted as true (without question or hesitation). If anything the source provides is proven false, everything provided by that source will be rejected, and a new “qualified source” will be needed. This emphasis on “all or nothing” helps this skill to learn very quickly.

Ti Accuracy

Introverted-Thinking, nicknamed Accuracy, this skill asks “Does this ‘make sense’ to me?” Every new piece of information is evaluated individually (regardless of the source). Large sets of information are broken down into smaller pieces, with each piece separately evaluated and integrated (or not). This skill is open to anyone’s ideas, but takes longer to process them all. This emphasis on “individual pieces” can sometimes lead to a situation where the skill “follows each step without looking ahead to see where it ultimately leads.” Also, it tends to focus on “evaluating one thing at a time,” so it can sometimes invest a lot of time in “one thing” without realizing that “other things make that unnecessary.”

Fe (Harmony)

Extroverted-Feeling, nicknamed Harmony, this skill tends to be very “aware of” and “try to manage” the emotions of others, focusing on the overall average of the group around it. It tries to “care for others” and “help others to feel good.” In turn, this skill can be vulnerable to outside influences (because it prioritizes how others are feeling over itself). It often struggles to assert boundaries or “disagree with others,” but once it learns how, it becomes quite strong in these areas.

Fi (Authenticity)

Introverted-Feeling, nicknamed Authenticity, this skill is “who I am” and “what I believe in and value.” It’s not concerned with whether others agree or not. In many cases a person needs to “earn the right (and the trust)” just to know these personal values. At the same time, it does care what others think about it (to an extent), which is part of why it’s very careful what it reveals about itself. There’s a very strong “I” that’s difficult for it to set aside, so it often struggles to see things from other perspectives.

The 8 Roles

Just as The 8 Skills represent the various mental/emotional processes that all people engage and go through, The 8 Roles represent how those skills are distributed.

Essentially, each person has a stack of 8 rows, with each row representing 1 of the 8 skills. In turn, each row contains 1 of the 8 skills. Which skill occupies each role (or row) in the stack is what distinguishes 1 personality from another (as each of the 16 personalities have a different stack layout.

Every person has the same role as #1, but which skill occupies that first or top role (in a given person) can vary (with 8 possibilities).

Each role has a different set of traits, which change and influence the skill in question. One consistent pattern is “As you move down (with 1 at the top, and 8 at the bottom), it becomes harder for a person to use a skill.” It takes more energy to use that skill, it’s harder to control, harder to grow, and the skill has less stamina (before it becomes exhausted).

That said, here is some basic info about each of The 8 Roles.

1. Hero or Protagonist

The first role, often referred to as the Hero or Protagonist, is known for boldness, enthusiasm, confidence, and pride. People are often eager to engage their first role, and very confident that they are “strong in that role.” It can be very difficult to “disagree with” or “oppose” someone in regards to their first role.

If a person goes too long “without using their first role” (or doesn’t achieve enough positive outcomes through their first role), a person can easily become depressed over time. This stems from the fact that the first role is a person’s natural strength. If they are not good at “this,” it can raise real concerns about “What is wrong with me?”

2. Parent or Advisor

The second role, often nicknamed the Parent or Advisor, known for its strong sense of caution, responsibility, and patience. It’s a part of the self that reminds us to “be responsible” and “do what we know we should do.” As a result, it can sometimes feel like a nagging parent, “reminding us to do our chores before we can play.” In turn, many are tempted to ignore their second role, and can become frustrated if others repeatedly engage that part of them.

The second role often represents what a person perceives to be “responsible” in general. For example, a person who has Te (Effectiveness) as their second skill will often regard others as responsible if they “have proper credentials and documentation” to back up what they say, while those who prioritize “the logic of what I say” over “proper paperwork” will be considered irresponsible.

3. 10 Year Old or Child

The third role, nicknamed the Ten Year Old or the Child, has some skill, and a great deal of ambition. It is playful, eager, and enthusiastic, but often lacks maturity. There’s an eagerness to be strong, to “prove itself,” and that makes the third role more likely to overestimate its own abilities (and distort the truth to justify its own perceptions). It often oversimplifies and looks for “quick solutions” that don’t address the real issue.

The third role is very playful and childlike. It wants to “achieve” and “earn recognition.” It loves to work with others (as long as it gets to be a star). When upset (or frustrated) it can become defensive (denying its own faults and shifting the focus onto others).

4. 3 Year Old or Anima/Animus

The fourth role, sometimes referred to as the Three Year Old or the Anima/Animus, is unique among the 8 roles in that it is divided in nature, divided between hope and fear. As a result, it is a very sensitive role.

The fourth role can be a place of dreams and ambitions (similar to the third role), but unlike the third role, the fourth struggles to follow through (and struggles to believe in itself). It tires quickly, and often feels very intimidated by “How much stronger others are (in that skill).”

In turn, this desperate hope and wish to “be strong (in this skill)” combined with the equally strong fear that “I never will be” can lead to a few different reactions.

Some deny the dream, deny and forget that they ever wanted to be strong in “this skill.” They convince themselves that such things are impossible for them (and in some cases they strive to believe that “such things have no value anyway”).

Some treat this dream as a hobby, something that they calmly “plug away at,” but they never let themselves get “carried away.” They strive to focus on “continuing to try” and “not dwell on the results.” (In some cases they may even try to “pretend” they are stronger than they really are.)

Some make this goal, this dream, their lifelong ambition. They dedicate themselves to it with a passion, consistently driving themselves to the brink of exhaustion (or beyond it) in their single-minded “need” to achieve this goal, to master this skill.

If a person does engage their fourth role skill, they will be very sensitive to feedback. Praising someone for their fourth role skill (if they believe it) can mean the world to them. In turn, criticizing them can lead to some very intense negative emotions (either directed at the self or at others).

People are often easily impressed by “others who are strong in ‘my fourth role skill.”

5. Nemesis

The fifth role, sometimes called the Nemesis, is a consistent voice of caution and concern. It is always worrying and doubting (within the purview of its function). It’s a dedicated “second guesser,” but that doesn’t mean it’s “critical” (far from it). It just wants to “double check” before taking action. Most of the time, it’s a part of the self that advocates “doing nothing. In turn, people tend to have 1 of 4 reactions to the fourth role.

In many cases, people just ignore it. They assume (correctly or not) that “I know what I’m doing” and “do whatever they were planning to do.”

In some cases, a person may end up “double checking” to make sure that these worries are groundless.

If a person frequently finds that “there actually is cause for concern” (either because they double-checked or because of the outcome), they may actively work on becoming “more skilled” and “better prepared” for these types of situations.

Or a person may choose to intentionally avoid situations that cause them to worry (situations that relate to their fifth role skill).

6. Critical Witch

The sixth role, sometimes called the Critical Witch, is associated with criticism, anger, and intense judgement. It is a harsh role, and it is often very difficult to engage without experiencing a lot of anger, as well as a strong emphasis on “What I (or others) should have said and done.”

When healthy, the sixth role can help a person to reevaluate, avoid corruption or complacency, but when a person loses control of their sixth role, they can find themselves saying horrible things (about themselves or others), and may find themselves sinking into a very dark place.

At the same time, denying or suppressing one’s sixth role often only leads to a buildup, which can explode unexpectedly (leading to a thorough loss of control). Instead, it is recommended that a person regularly “recognizes and addresses (within reason) the criticisms voiced by their sixth role.”

7. Trickster

The seventh role, nicknamed the Trickster, is subtle and easily overlooked. It is neither volatile nor intense. If anything, the seventh role’s main trait is arrogance and a tendency to “dismiss” things.

People have a tendency to underestimate the value and importance of their seventh role skill, and overestimate their own strength and proficiency with “that skill.”

People often conflict with others who have “my seventh role skill” as one of their strengths (i.e. first or second role). Being aware of your own seventh role can help a person to recognize their own blind spots.

8. Divine Demon

The eighth role, sometimes referred to as the Divine-Demon, is often associated with wrath. It’s a place of raw intensity and extreme sensitivity, easily and quickly transitioning from “over the top confidence” to “intense vulnerability” (or the opposite).

When engaging a task or problem, the eighth role tends to move quickly, trying to thoroughly resolve the problem before it runs out of energy, and (because it’s often a last resort) before things get any worse (because they are usually very bad before someone turns to their eighth role). As a result, the eighth role has a tendency to go “overkill.”

As the lowest role in the stack, it is the hardest role to control, and often a part of the self that a person “really doesn’t like.” As a result, a person rarely engages their eighth role intentionally (or even consciously). Instead, it’s often an unintentional transition (prompted by how “things keep getting worse and worse”).

People often find it painful to engage their eighth role (but struggle to transition out of it). However, it can be a positive experience (if it’s engaged in a very mellow, safe way).

For example, a person with Se (Sensation) as their eighth role might experience a great deal of performance anxiety, but if they repeatedly practice and familiarize themselves with the stage, the audience, and everything surrounding the performance, they might (very gradually) work themselves up to a point where they could feel comfortable “performing on that stage (for that specific audience),” though (at the same time) it would also be important emphasize that “if (when the time comes) they are not feeling it, that’s okay.” They would need to be given the space, time, and privacy to prepare (until they themselves feel ready). And if they did perform, they would need to exclusively receive enthusiastic positive feedback.

Note: This example would also apply to a person’s fourth role skill.