East meets West – “Great Minds Think Alike”

A Comparison of Asian and Western Personality Profiling Systems

“Great discoveries and achievements invariably involve the cooperation of many minds.”

-Alexander Graham Bell

The above is an excellent quote that echoes the common saying: “Great Minds Think Alike”.

As mentioned in my previous chapter, when I researched more into the 2,000-year-old metaphysical studies of Bazi or Four Pillar Destiny Analysis while writing “Being Happy & Successful at Work and in Your Career[1]”, I realized that there are numerous similarities in both the Asian and Western way of personality profiling.

For one, in the MBTI®[2,3] system, there is reference to 4 opposite pairs of personality where one of the pairs is “intraversion” (preference for drawing energy from one’s internal world of ideas, emotions, and impressions). This is very similar to the ‘Yin” concept in the Chinese philosophical studies, where “Yin” refers to being quiet, still, looking inwards, self-reflective and etc. whereas, personalities with “extraversion” energy like participating actively in a variety of tasks, act quickly, like having people around them and teams.

Similarly, in the “Yang” concept, people who are born on the day of Yang elements are generally more active, act more quickly and are generally more receptive to working in teams and being influenced by others.

Under the HBDI®[4] system, there are four quadrants looking at whether personalities or preferences are towards:

•Scientific/ Technical (Facts),
•Assembling/ Administrative (Form),
•Artistic/ Entrepreneurial (Future) or
•Interpersonal/ Emotional (Feelings).

These four quadrants are again, very similar to Bazi studies when we look at the ‘day element’ of a person (day the person is born).

If one is born with the Wood day element, the person’s key characteristic will be related to growth – taking a step at a time, which is similar to form or process flow; if born on a day with Fire and Water elements, their character will stress more on passion, feelings or emotions and if born with a day element of Metal, their character will prefer more actions, facts or will have the need to show or stand up for justice. There are even more similarities when we look at an individual’s structure or profile. For instance, in Bazi studies, we will have personalities that have or are born in the ‘resource months’ where they have a tendency to analyse, research, think and plan more. They could also be born in a month where the element forms a Pioneer[5] profile and will have a preference and orientation towards business and entrepreneurial activities.

The LIFO®[6] system describes behaviour and does not typecast people. There are 4 basic behavioural preferences or patterns that everyone uses but each person will use these patterns in varying degrees. In Bazi or TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) studies, each person will have varying degrees of the 5 elements and may also have more of an element than others. This will result in varying behavioural styles or physical body make up under TCM. LIFO® style preferences are not set in stone and are dynamic; people use different styles in different contexts and in different relationships. Similarly, when we analyse a person’s Bazi, the individual’s profile towards the outside world (career), at home or with loved ones will be different.

This profile will also change in varying degrees depending on their experiences (luck cycle); where they are born and etc. LIFO®’s system of training promotes the concept of excesses rather than weaknesses, that is, excessive behaviours may be unproductive and “too much of a good thing”. In Joey Yap’s Bazi Personality Profiling™[5] system, he promotes the concept of a profile behaving at a healthy level or when it is behaving at an unhealthy level (too much of a good thing). Steps, should thus be taken to moderate behaviours in both systems. This again reinforces the concept of balance in Chinese Metaphysics.

In the KTS7 system there are 16 behavioural roles mainly classified into expressive and attentive roles as follows:

Expressive: Promoters, Performers, Supervisors, Providers, Teachers, Champions, Field-marshers and Inventors.
Attentive: Crafters, Composers, Inspectors, Protectors, Counsellors, Healers, Masterminds and Architects.

Again, when we look at the Bazi or Four Pillars system based on an individual’s birth month, certain talents and skills are more natural and obvious to others resulting in the various Career Main profiles[5] of “Performer”, “Artist”, “Pioneer,” “Philosopher” and etc. as proposed by Joey Yap’s Bazi Personality Profiling™ system.

Under the DISC[7] profiling system which explores behaviour in 4 key dimensions:

•Dominance/ Assertiveness,
•Influence/ Sociability,
•Steadiness/ Dependence and
•Conscientiousness/ Tranquillity,

There are yet again two spectrums which explores “extroverted vs introverted” and “task vs social” aspects of an individual’s behaviour. From a Bazi or Four Pillars system, this is the Yin-Yang philosophy as explained previously.

It is quite amazing that a system that is more than 2,000 years old has so many similarities with the modern day Western Profiling systems. In fact, as quoted in my first book “Being Happy & Successful at Work and in your Career”, my mentor, Mr PR Kalaivanan says, “This Bazi system seems to be an even more holistic and comprehensive system since it covers not only a person’s characteristics, how he or she approaches the world, interacts with others, what their natural skills and talents are; this system can even chart the impending influences or experiences (destiny analysis) that will help shape a person’s future.” Of course, besides understanding ourselves, others and what we can be expecting from a life experience perspective, it is as critical to take the necessary steps to cultivate and nurture our innate talent to become actual life skills and competencies.

Following this, I will be writing a series of articles related to the 2,000-year-old metaphysical study of Bazi or Four Pillars Destiny Analysis. I will share applications of the Asian Bazi Personality Profiling System to modern day career profiling, career and leadership development, and team interactions as a run up to my new book “Being Happy and Successful: Managing Self and Others”. In the meantime, you can visit www.happyandsuccess.com to find out more.

Thank you for taking time to read my post as I embark on the quest to simplify and explain the principles of this 2,000-year-old metaphysical study on human behaviour.

For more information and details about the 2,000-year-old Bazi metaphysical study, you can click on:

If you would like to know your unique personality profile based on the time-tested Bazi – Asian personality profiling system, you can get the following personalized reports online:

  1. Your Brief Career Profile Report
  2. Your Career Suitability Report
  3. Your Personalized Good Directions for Success


Janet Yung (amazon.com/author/janetyung)

Feng Shui and Bazi Consultant. Author. Harmony Adviser.



[1]Yung, J. (2012). Being Happy and Successful At Work and in Your Career. Kuala Lumpur, MY: JY Productions Sdn. Bhd. ISBN 978-9670310527.

[2]Myers, Briggs, I. with Myers, P.B. (1980, 1995). Gifts Differing: Understanding Personality Type. Mountain View, CA: Davies-Black Publishing. ISBN 0-89106-074- X.

[3]Myers, Briggs I. ; McCaulley, M.H. (1985). Manual: A Guide to the Development and Use of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (2nd Ed.). Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press. ISBN0-89106-027-8.

[4]Herrmann, N. (1999). The Theory Behind the HBDI and Whole Brain Technology. Retrieved 19 July, 2015, from http://www.hbdi.com/uploads/100024_articles/100543.pdf .

[5]Terms utilized from Joey Yap’s Bazi Personality Profiling System.

[6]Atkins, S. (2014). The Name of Your Game. Ellis & Stewart Publishers. ISBN 0-94253201- 7.

[7].Keirsey, D. (1998). Please Understand Me II: Temperament, Character, Intelligence (1st Ed.). Prometheus Nemesis Book Co. ISBN 1885705026.