Taking Measurements as a Way of Extraverting Oneself

Monday February 13, 2017

Sometimes I think “being more of an extravert is healthy,” but I get stuck in the cognitive dead end of “that means I should get out more.”

In fact, Jung’s extraversion concept is not just about getting out or enjoying crowds.

One form of extraversion that works very well for me is measurement. Dario Nardi defines extraverted thinking (Te), the powerful INTJ problem-solving function, as “taking measurements and refining measurement systems.”

If you are struggling with something, look for a way to measure your performance or current level. By weighing myself 3-4 times a week, I keep my BMI at “healthy” levels. By periodically measuring my anxiety via a brief test in a book I own, I help myself prevent crises of mental health—I can plan to get more sleep, get more exercise, or both, for example.

Measurement turns out to be a very good start for INTJs who want to break out of whatever “stuck” they’re in.

Changing Jobs to Suit Personality: Victor Prokofiev's View

Saturday January 28, 2017

From time to time I check in with the world of Socionics and do a bit of research there. I find Socionics very useful as it focuses on providing models for human relations based on personality type, as opposed to just modeling individual psychology based on personality type.

(By the way, I will continue to use “INTJ” in this article, but in Socionics, the INTJ type would be written as an INTp or an ILI type. In the four-letter format, the “J” and “P” are swapped for introverts and made lowercase. ILI stands for “Intuitive Logical Intratim” and indicates that our intuitive perception preference precedes our logical judging preference, and we are introverted.)

Among many great quotes I extracted from the source interview with Victor Prokofiev, this quote stood out to me (emphasis mine):

Victor Prokofiev: And there are often questions such as: “I can get money for what I really love, really?”. People often think that we are all the same, consequently, we all have to do the same things in life.

Interviewer: So you pick the type of activity that is as comfortable as possible?

Victor Prokofiev: Yes, or do we just say that if someone likes his work, he just needs to change the priorities within the job description, change daily routine. Job Description consists from the list of works. We need to try something to pay more attention to, and something – to pay less attention to. [He means making decisions of what we prioritize based on our psychological preferences, in order to bring us more comfort in our work -Marc] And you have to see what would happen to the demand for your work, whether people work with great pleasure. Here the knowledge of socionics purely helps. And in fact, it turns out great. After all, people begin to work with great pleasure. Sometimes people change their position, profession. If you have gained the rich experience, than dramatically change everything from that point is not a good choice, it does not make sense. But to change your behaviour, change priorities – this is what really useful.

I personally did this in my own career. At first I wondered if I should change jobs. I knew I was an INTJ, and I knew I wanted to be happier in my work. But looking at other “INTJ jobs” was disappointing. I could see where what we think of as a “job” is really just a discrete set of people, tasks, and goals, and those could change from job to job even if the job title stayed the same, and I lacked important background interests for many jobs. It also seemed like a huge waste to just put my current career behind me.

Then I took a job-to-personality matching test, and it suggested the job I already had! That was a funny moment.

So I reexamined my current job. There’s a lot of amazing stuff there—I own a technology business, I get to evaluate and deploy different technologies, I get to determine my hours and working style, I choose my clients—it’s really great in a lot of ways. So after thinking it through, I started altering my focus at work from long-form, detail-oriented work to higher-level planning and organization, with a focus on just the details that are important to me for the success of the project. In addition to that, I take advantage of my flexible time and make trips to the library to combine playful research with planning for work projects, and I make use of the opportunity to combine things I’m learning through playful research with my work projects.

I also—and Prokofiev doesn’t mention this but I’m sure he’d suggest it—have benefited from looking at Socionics intertype relationships and deciding on how I want to alter my communications style or work style from client to client. I even allowed myself to, for example, not take on another client of type X if I already work with other clients of that type. Or even not work with that type at all if I can’t do it well. Changing communications style or work style requires shifting into a lower gear, in a sense. The anxiety is a bit higher when trying this, but the potential gains in personal development are huge. So it’s seriously nice to be able to just say, “no, I don’t have the capacity for even more personal development right now.” The victories have been worthwhile. Learning to downplay my Ni in conversations with an ESTJ was a very fulfilling step in the end.

I’ve only really done this sort of adaptation / development with clients that are a bit more difficult than normal. In the case of the ESTJ it has worked amazingly well. In another case, it’s taken longer to figure out but I picked up some important clues today from Prokofiev’s interview, and I’m still working at it.

This alteration of the way I mold my job to fit myself has provided me a lot more peace of mind. Work has a better feel to it now. I’m open to more change and hope to tweak the parameters within my job in the future, so to speak, but I like the change that I’m experiencing so far.

Coping with the Holidays

Monday January 23, 2017

As I begin to recover some lost productivity at the end of January, I’m reflecting on the fact that the holidays were bad for my health. It feels blasphemous to say so, but it’s true.

First, I found myself struggling with illness. Right around the end of November, I caught Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD). I caught this from my children, who caught it from their peers at school. It hits adults harder, so while my kids barely showed any abnormal signs, I could hardly use my hands, it was painful to walk, and I had to cancel several work meetings as a result.

Second, after finishing my first big weight loss cycle, losing 100 lbs. / 45 kg. to reach a “healthy” BMI, I had decided to start a “bulk” up to 190 lbs. from 175. I overestimated my free time and understanding of this process, didn’t account for illness, and ended up injuring myself early on in November, in my hurry to make muscles appear (ha) while gaining weight. Did I reach my goal of 190 lbs.? Definitely! Am I more fit and muscular as a result? No! So now I’m losing the weight again…

Third, not just my physical health, but my mental health suffered. My anxiety floor went up a bit due to my illness and injury. But it went way up due to things like:

  • Having family around for holidays and the accompanying family needs
  • Social outings that happen every year with friends of various kinds
  • Schedules changing to accommodate this or that
  • Inability to keep my normal work pace
  • Cold & rainy weather making otherwise easy exercise like outdoor walking, harder
  • Going to sleep later and getting up later, as a result of family activities
  • Eating extra holiday food, with opportunities to eat being unscheduled and more frequent, or scheduled and less frequent.
    • Interestingly, there was LOTS of food, but sometimes we were traveling around in e.g. a state park and had “oh we didn’t plan on what to eat” moments, leading me to a sort of feast/famine mentality. (You can tell I didn’t plan the food, because “contingency” is my middle name…)

When your weaknesses are called upon to do extra duty, it almost always results in anxiety, depression, irritation, boredom, or some combination of those. So I had to “put myself in therapy” several times, in order to address these problems directly and resolve them before they got worse.

My tools for dealing with this actually helped quite a bit, so I’ve got to give them credit. They were:

  • Talk to spouse about any problems
  • Take as much free time as you need
  • Write your thoughts and feelings as much as you want
  • Make meta-plans—plans that sit on top of others’ plans for the group. For example, let’s say we’re hiking through the woods in a place I’ve already been about 20 times. I’d tell myself, eat a piece of candy every 20 minutes if you’re feeling tired and irritable. Or we go to the beach—I bring my sketchbook and some watercolors. Or we go out to eat: I plan what I want beforehand.
  • When feeling extra anxiety or depression, all normal social rules, etc. are off. Just take care of yourself until you feel better again. (I’ve learned that if I don’t do this, things just get worse)

I remember one day, close to Christmas, when I was struck by a deep feeling of depression. In a fog of confusion and exhaustion, I walked out to my backyard office and started to write & think about the situation. I realized I had been trying for the last while to make chit-chat with a friend for whom extraverted feeling was the inferior function. This friend wanted nothing more than to engage in some idle chit-chat as a way of relaxing, and the act had drained me of whatever was left in my battery. I ended up taking the rest of the day off for “me” time, actually avoiding this person. However, after about two hours of heavy introversion—writing, reflecting, Youtube, Netflix, etc.—I was feeling good again. He had no idea that what felt relaxing for him was really discharging my energy; luckily for me, I did.

Should I fix myself?

When I scored 100% on the “J” dichotomy of the Majors PTi (a psychometric instrument which yields a four-letter Jungian personality type code), my mentor Mark Bodnarczuk remarked, “looking at this score, I’d tend to think: Maybe here’s a guy who needs to loosen up a bit.” And of course, I’ve been deeply cognizant of that ever since. Our strengths, magnified, become a liability.

However, you can’t just turn around and “fix” a problem like that. To even begin such an attempt, it’s wise to have a lot of scaffolding from your gifted side to help you out. Otherwise you’re just asking for anxiety problems and some awful results, like awkward extravert outbursts, etc.

For now, I’ve decided to keep reflecting on realistic and unrealistic behaviors, and find areas where I can keep my sanity and loosen up a bit more than usual. This low-hanging fruit method has helped me make significant progress in other areas.

The first low-hanging fruit I identifed were my new years’ resolutions. I realized that these were adapted for a holiday schedule, rather than my normal work schedule. They were actually quite far down my priority list, and while they sounded fun, I believe that they were in fact tips from my subconscious that it would be a good idea to get back to my normal, organized schedule. I have already reduced them in scale dramatically and have started on a framework for a more fulfilling resolution-achieving process (this started with my evaluating, and then changing, the idea of SMART goals to VERY SMART goals; more on that later probably). But mostly, I see the goals in a healthier perspective, and I’m more laid back about achieving them, or not.

Going into the 2017 holiday season

I’ll probably have lots more holiday seasons to celebrate. I’m healthier than ever, I’m more in control of my life than I’ve ever been, and things are looking up overall. But I am changing my outlook on the holidays a bit. From now on, I’ll attempt to see them more as they are: A bit of a test. Some of the test questions will be:

  • Am I learning to adapt to changes and uncertainty?
  • Can I let myself relax and improvise when needed? What are some problem scenarios?
  • Are my goals for this time period very realistic?
  • What are common risks of this season, and how will I deal with them?
  • My weaknesses will be tested—sociality and ability to go with the flow, etc. How will I rate myself and allow for deficiency?

That’s my scaffolding for next time around.

For the record, my favorite moments of the 2016 holiday season were:

  • Keeping up with my ISTP son on a hike through the woods
  • Playing board games with family
  • Sketching at the beach
  • New art supplies for Christmas
  • Getting excited about new areas of study
  • Messaging other INTJ friends
  • Watching favorite Youtube channels

Well, that’s pretty introverted, and not a big change from any other holiday season. Both are fine with me.

Streaming my thoughts as I work

Friday December 9, 2016

Lately I find it helpful to continually stream my thoughts onto paper or into a text editor as I work.

While at work, I always have a text editor open and a tiny notebook that I carry around.

For each new issue or problem at hand, I usually create a new document so I have a blank slate from which to work. As I write, I naturally start to move things around and organize.

Today, I thought it would be fun to title each document “The Case of…” so I have “The Case of the Bing Advertisement Trial Balloon,” “The Case of the Missing Fonts,” etc.

Something about the process of writing helps me work my way right through my problems. Here is an example of a framework that I might use:

  • What is the description of the problem or task?
  • Where and when can I see it? Are there files I need to look at?
    • Where are the files organized?
  • Have I confirmed the problem or do-ability of the task?
  • What can be done?
  • What research do I need to do?
  • How much time will the steps take?
  • What part of this requires courage on my part?
  • Is there any way to mitigate that?

I find it really helpful to work my way through, responding to each line. Then I save these files in an organized way. I have had to re-do the organization several times, but I learned a lot in the process. I usually start the filenames with YYYY-MM-DD-Client-Name.md so they’re easy to identify in a text editor, easy to sort, etc.

I’ve also found that when emails come in, it helps if I can just copy & paste the email contents into a text file. If there are attachments, I save them in a related folder and reference the folder location within the text file.

In this way, my text files and built-in file system become more important for getting work done than my email client.

Which is great, because I have much faster and more efficient access to files and folders than I do to email, especially old emails. And especially through GMail, which feels like working with oven mitts on, in comparison.

Some of my clients use Basecamp and other project management software and I’m happy to use it along with them, but I’m secretly pasting everything into my own text files as I go. If I absolutely have to refer to a web discussion, I put the link inside the text file.

One of my favorite aspects of this is using any text editor I want. Lately I use Geany quite a bit. I like the simple functionality of the snippets feature, where you type a special word and press Tab, upon which text is inserted or a command is run. Right now I have a command that inserts the date, time, and temperature when I type “tmp0” and press Tab. Just a practice run as I get ready to have more fun.

You can see my daily template, in Markdown format, here: 2016-12 Productivity Template This daily template is copied into a text file, formatted YYYY-MM-DD.md, every morning at 3 a.m., and I work on that text file all day, save it, and move onto the next one tomorrow. I review these files on occasion.

After writing this all out, it seems like a lot, but I also think I get a huge amount of work done. And it’s fun to organize.

Working on paper, I don’t do anything fancy but I tend to take extra time to note and write about things that interest me, or that invite further research. Those things really drive my day and make me feel more energetic.

When I do work on paper, I try to be away from the computer, usually sitting on the couch in my office. This helps me get a lot of planning done before I’m tempted to dive in, which is more efficient and usually saves me hours (of either work or procrastination).

Frank Abagnale, Feelings, and Life Experience

Friday December 9, 2016

Above: Frank Abagnale tells his fascinating story at FedTalks 2013

One of the things I love about personality type is that having an interest in a thing can tell you about who you are. An interest is never just an interest, but a result of an inner push or pull of some sort, be it conscious or unconscious.

I’ve always been interested in people like Frank Abagnale. When I came across the Passers website recently, this awakened my previous interests in the topic and I went back to re-watch Mr. Abagnale as he tells his own story.

I find the video above far more powerful than the film based on Mr. Abagnale’s life, Catch Me If You Can. In his own words, Frank Abagnale encountered a deep tragedy early in life, and lost what was most important to him at a critical point in his youth. While the film attempts to portray this and does a good job of it in parts, Abagnale’s own words seem to deeply touch me. Any glamour in his experiences was completely overshadowed by the deeper, and literal, loss of life which occurred.

As an INTJ, I am discomforted by the ease with which I can let life pass by, either my own or the lives of my loved ones. Keeping emotional issues at arms length has always been a specialty.

But perhaps this is also why I feel so affected by, drawn to, and sometimes overpowered by, human drama. While it’s nice to be fall back on the fact that I have strengths outside of the realm of feelings, and that feelings “aren’t an effective problem-solving tool” for me, the truth is that a lack of development of feelings will, over time, punish me again and again until I balance myself out and reconcile the deeper separation from my own feelings, and, especially, the feelings of others.

For this reason I find Abagnale a tremendous role model. He is one more voice of change in my inner wilderness.

Other neat videos with Frank Abagnale:

Developing the ‘SuperCheck’

Counterfeit money detection

Using a credit card to avoid fraud

Which shredder is more secure?

Protecting against fraud

“I’ve only seen crime get easier.” —Frank Abagnale

ESFJ Notes of Late

Thursday December 8, 2016

Above: Child-like Bob wields influence through dominant extraverted feeling

I was watching a favorite film, What About Bob, on Netflix recently. Watching the maturation of Bob’s character through the film, it struck me that Bob is an ESFJ. Or at least, that’s how he’s written into the film.

I won’t go too far into why I think so, other than to say that Bob starts out in extravert hell, isolated from all the things that would warm an ESFJ heart, and is thus condemned to this sort of “bad INTP” existence.

I do wonder if Bob’s ex-wife was an INTJ, a natural ESFJ conflictor. She likes Neil Diamond, after all. And I really enjoy listening to Neil Diamond, too. Solid proof!

Either way, I was charmed by Bob’s new character. From the moment he put on that Don’t Hassle Me, I’m Local T-shirt, I recognized his internal strength as a social chameleon ESFJ. ESFJs see their social adaptability as a prime asset and expect their surroundings to naturally begin to conform to them as they use dominant extraverted feeling (Fe) to maneuver through and influence the various social strata. It’s easier for me to appreciate that now that I work with ESFJs more often as an adult with kids in school and various roles in my community.

As Bob works to actively support and build community strength, he shows the child-like attributes for which ESFJs are really well known. Take it easy, have fun, talk to people, show them you care, and in doing so off-load the pressure of the day-to-day. We’re all in this together and we all need to be loved.

As an INTJ, I feel like I can now sail more comfortably on that ship. However, in order to do so I had to learn about type, type dynamics, and cognitive functions. I don’t think it’s wise to expect any given INTJ to quickly recognize that extraverted feeling would be an amazing attribute to develop. The INTJ/ESFJ conflict is just a thing, and it falls upon each one of us to develop ourselves out of, or into, more life conflict. It’s sad to think that conflict is really built into the way our world works but I don’t see another way to spin it.

I also came across a Reddit post by an ESFJ yesterday which is something of a gold mine if you live with, work with, or otherwise need to relate to ESFJs.

The author offers a list of the things that lead them to dislike INTJs:

  • It’s the aloofness and confidence that really gets to me.
  • Sensing and modesty are two very important traits to me.
  • I respect confidence, but not when work ethic, knowledge, or talent are lacking.
  • The “calculating” nature might throw me off to.
  • All too often I feel like they’re not being honest with me and I’m just a means to an end
  • Smugness
  • Quiet confidence

Reading over those comments, I think it’s clear that an anxious INTJ and an anxious ESFJ are going to struggle. Introverted feeling and extraverted sensing tend to take the helm in anxious INTJs, and their eruption or emergence will generally bring with them the smugness, confidence, and aloofness that are mentioned here.

In my own work with ESFJs, I have tried to intentionally downplay my competence at times. Why? Because ESFJs do the same thing, and see it as a mark of refinement and maturity. They are sensitive to braggadocio and may magnify barely-bragging behavior into full-bragging just due to that sensitivity.

Overall I think end-of-film Bob is a good mental model of the ESFJ for an INTJ to examine. We INTJs may be able to identify and encourage the “gifts of mature Bob” in the ESFJs around us, and in doing so we can hardly avoid developing ourselves into more mature human beings.

Typing as Self-discovery vs. Typing as Telling

Saturday November 19, 2016

“Behavior is the most outward and most pliable aspect of personality.” —Dario Nardi

I recently explained my personality type to someone who is very interested in personality and who has created her own personality tests. She read what I wrote and responded, “I see you are very much a [different personality type]”.

I was pretty surprised to read that. During my own certification process, it was emphasized again and again that no matter what a test says, type is a self-discovery process. Telling people “what they are” is completely against the grain of the type-as-journey process.

It was also emphasized again and again that even the best test will not be 100% accurate. The Majors PTi hits around 92% accuracy, but even at that point, around 1 in 10 people will probably experience some uncertainty.

And yet, I think it’s OK and normal to tell people what you think they might be. I’ve casually typed people before. I’ve had others casually type me before. My personal rules for doing so would look like this:

  • Pay attention to what people say about themselves. They’ll tell you what they are. Otherwise it’s extremely easy to be fooled by the contextual self and build up a lot of confidence in a completely incorrect type.
  • When someone disagrees with you, it’s a good idea to be graceful and allowing. Pushing the issue further can not only harm your reputation, but it could potentially cause the person psychological harm. If you tell an ISTJ she’s an ENFP, and recommend that she stick to a bunch of practices that bring out her inferior function, the resulting anxiety levels would be your own fault.
  • Build your own estimation of the person’s acceptance of the concept of type, beforehand. Understand that type is grounded in preference for a reason. Some people absolutely cannot stand the idea of only 16 types giving any kind of explanation of the unique nature of every individual. For example, I once explained how type worked to an INFJ who said, “wow, that’s neat, amazing” and gave me lots of smiles and laughs as we discussed the similarities between people. Weeks later, as I spoke with her over the phone, she tearfully admitted that she hated the idea of type, felt that everyone was special, and felt it a harmful subject. I learned something new: Not everyone can appreciate type. And if I had really pressed the issue, it would have been even worse.
  • Pay attention to responses and use them as a cue for further research. Try to take a negative experience as a challenge for self-growth.

In casually typing people, we typically focus on their behavior. Behavior is, as Dario Nardi said, “the most pliable aspect of personality.” While some people may absolutely telegraph their own type, other perfectly healthy people have gone through a process of growth that leads them to downplay, at times, their most basic preferences. This can be a huge benefit for them and we are putting ourselves in a questionable position by refuting their self-discovered type.

From the other side, it’s amusing when you know you are an INTJ and someone thinks you are an INFJ, or an INTP, or an ESFJ, just based on a simple sentence or a preference for a type of music. And it’s even better if you’ve been practicing at those attributes intentionally. It reminds me of a bodybuilder saying: “You know you have arrived when people can’t be convinced that you don’t use steroids.”

Becoming [more like] an ISFJ

Friday November 18, 2016

The idea of “being attracted to attributes we need to develop” has been really blowing my mind lately.

Carol Pearson, Ph.D., author of The Hero Within, encourages readers to look at their spouse, partner, or close friend and ask themselves what positive attributes they see in that person. Pearson writes that we are attracted to those attributes because our subconscious sees them as attributes we ourselves need to develop.

Pearson then tells us: Start working on those attributes, in order to become your best self.

This has been absolutely captivating to me. It’s like a little analysis game that anybody can play. And at the end, you win an opportunity for growth. Possibly challenging, but one with some real depth to it.

I’m married to an ISFJ, an amazingly adept day-to-day achiever. And an empathetic one, at that. She lives to help people, which is something that I’ve always admired.

I’ve made this attitude central in my life for the past few weeks. Who needs help, right now? Can I just sit down, give them my attention, and put things in order?

It has worked amazingly well, for me. At the end of the day I feel like I accomplished real things, not just head-in-the-clouds things like strategy or learning a new language. Those are still good, but feeling more balanced in this way is great.

Healthy Development Models for the INTJ

Tuesday October 25, 2016

One of the most powerful aspects of personality type study is the revelation of the “healthy personality model,” or the idea that type gives you insights into the completed, individuated self. Research into the development of your own personality type can give you powerful glimpses of a potential future you. Research into all types can help you isolate additional areas for personal growth.

This is all part of becoming your best self—attacking day-to-day pitfalls like depression and boredom by discovering and exploring who you are.

By studying the INTJ and comparing myself with the “typical” INTJ preference set, I found areas where I was not using powerful gifts. Bringing those gifts into play allowed me to lose 35% of my bodyweight and accomplish other huge life & work goals.

Look over the following list: Who do you know, of the various types? What can you learn from them? Who do you want to get closer to, and observe more closely?

These are in rough order, from what I consider most powerful models, to perhaps least-but-still-useful.

Please note that not everyone’s the same, and your experiences in comparing your strengths and weaknesses to others should be weighed and judged just like in any other decision-making process.

The Models

  • The “Typical” INTJ
    • In what ways do you feel out of sync with what you’ve read of the typical INTJ?
    • Can you open your mind to that difference, and explore different ways of doing things?
    • Read up on the cognitive functions. Dario Nardi suggests that INTJs develop, after Ni and Te, Fi, Se, and Ti.
      • Which function interests you most?
      • Understanding Te and setting up a “life improvement journal” & personal goal-tracking spreadsheet for the first time helped me lose a huge amount of weight.
      • Understanding Ti helped me learn to procrastinate less and accomplish more with my time.
    • See if learning more about “you as a stereotype” gives you more insight into your hidden gifts.
  • A spouse, partner, friend, or close family member
    • In Awakening the Hero Within, Carol Pearson writes that these relationships give us hints to the ways our subconscious is seeking to develop further—that the important differences may account for our inner drive to be with these people.
    • Ask yourself what impresses you or draws you to that person
    • Ask if you need to be doing more of that in your own life, personally
    • Start practicing it
      • This is a great way to start to become a more emotionally independent person.
  • ENTP Personality Type
    • I’ve heard this one described several ways, “opposing attitudes” being the most common.
    • The ENTP cognitive function order is the same as the INTJ, but introversion and extraversion are flipped.
    • This is pretty fun. ENTPs usually have a lot of fun with the sorts of subjective thinking that can really help INTJs.
    • The most difficult for the INTJ will be extraverted feeling (Fe), which can make a “stock” INTJ (as if there is such a thing, but you get the idea) really uncomfortable.
    • Take a journey, just on the surface of a fun or interesting topic, without diving in too deep.
      • Last weekend I had a “Star Trek” weekend and caught up on some things I like about the Star Trek franchise.
      • Then I designed a planet to which I’d like to travel.
      • When I got bored, I moved along rather than forcing further development of the planet’s characteristics.
      • Conlangs are another area where you find lots of ENTPs. Ever tried to invent your own language? What’s a simple way you could start, without googling an “approved process” for doing so?
  • Older INTJs, or INTJs who are more mature or further along than you
    • This is one of the key mentoring pairs for INTJs.
    • Older INTJs are basically further along the same general path that your life will take.
    • This flows right into archetype theory, which Jung proposed.
    • INTJs are typically similar to the “sage” or “magician” archetype
      • Some research here may save you trouble later on.
    • Since type development is like working on a mandala, some themes may repeat.
      • For this reason it’s crucial to keep your mind wide open when studying under another INTJ.
      • Try everything and don’t just say “I know that” or “I’ve done that before.” Take the advice twice or three times and work more on the life-as-mandala.
        • If an INTJ gives you advice and you don’t take it, they may start to wonder what’s wrong with you (or them).
      • Themes will repeat but the outcomes usually differ.
      • You may find yourself giving advice to the INTJ mentor. This will always feel as awkward as it sounds, and you should probably not do that too much. Live and learn (personal experience here…cringe).
  • ESFP Personality Type
    • INTJs tend to repress a relaxed, playful, lives-in-the-moment, upbeat personality.
    • We especially repress a lazy personality.
      • What, you thought that natural drive toward self-improvement was due to our comfort in our own skin? Hahahahaha
    • Needless to say, it’s crucial to develop that before it starts to force itself to emerge through neuroticism.
      • Observable through e.g. binging behaviors, sensory overstimulation, partying all the time, acts of child-like immaturity, etc.
  • ISFP Personality Type
    • The ISFP holds an important key in their ability to wield both the strong values system of introverted feeling (Fi) and the life-in-the-moment attitude of extraverted sensing (Se).
    • INTJs who can learn to develop Fi are more likely to feel that they know who they really are. They feel comfortable in their own shoes, and don’t need to be someone they’re not (overreliance on the contextual self).
    • INTJs who develop Se are immersed in and active in the present context. They are open to taking risks and understand what it means to sometimes let things flow without planning.
  • ENFP Personality Type
    • ENFPs have an amazing ability to take in just the needed surface-level information while keeping their minds open to many different types and sources of information.
    • Conversely, INTJs sometimes dive too deep and can’t make out the forest from the trees.
    • Have you ever worked on a project, only to emerge from it and realize it’s not necessary anymore?
    • ENFPs also have a strong sense of “what I wanna do” and “what I don’t wanna do.” They take life by the horns and deal with problems as they come up by referring to an internal values compass.
      • Sometimes INTJs need this compass badly, but only use it in a black & white manner. Remain on the job or quit; spend the money or save it; be best friends or be no friend at all.
  • INFJ Personality Type
    • INFJs are highly attuned to the feelings of the group.
    • The INFJ usually knows intuitively that they need to seek group permission in order to make progress with a group, and group permission is not always established by “expertise”
      • “Expertise is all it takes” is a common INTJ stumbling block.
    • Watching an INFJ in action, INTJs can learn how to successfully deal with input from others while doing what’s necessary to maintain good feelings.
  • ISFJ Personality Type
    • ISFJs are the epitome of the “helper.”
    • INTJs sometimes tune out right when their help is needed most.
    • ISFJs stay in the current context and make sure all the details are taken care of before they move on. They take delight in knowing they helped fulfill others’ needs.
    • If INTJs can learn to do this AND be sensitive to others’ feelings and input, they can gain a lot of respect from those around them.
    • ISFJs are also sensitive to what’s fair. When something’s not fair, they often complain rather than just absorbing the injury the way an over-introverted INTJ might.
      • Where an INTJ might say, “well I signed the contract, so I’m screwed,” the ISFJ says, “that’s what’s in the contract, but what’s fair?” They can often renegotiate in a very powerful way, based on simple details that simply need to be straightened out.
  • INFP Personality Type
    • INFPs are often more outwardly patient than the INTJ.
    • The INFP may have a less rushed point of view regarding e.g. business decisions.
    • INFPs take objective thinking to the max, often showing already-quite-objective INTJs exactly how much information can be gleaned and brought to bear in a project.
  • ISTJ Personality Type
    • ISTJs don’t like to let things slip or coast for too long without bringing them back into line.
    • ISTJs are amazing at not procrastinating. They’d rather take a moment and prepare for an event a few months down the road, than wait for another couple months.
  • ENFJ Personality Type
    • The ENFJ can open doors that may be shut to the INTJ, by combining their framework-creation skills with their ability to harmonize and empathize with others.
  • ENTJ Personality Type
    • ENTJs are excellent early adopters. They usually have the newest gadget, or book, or whatever.
      • Conversely, the INTJ often derides or complains about the latest gadget and may favor the old way, which they contend never went obsolete.
    • ENTJs see negotiation as part of life. Anything can be negotiated!
      • And, most crucially, anything can be negotiated without getting upset.
      • ENTJs are often known as extremely kind, giving people, despite their reputation for mental toughness.
  • ESTJ Personality Type
    • ESTJs are constantly seeking to organize and get on top of things.
    • They are usually conservative with resources (like money) and judge success by efficiency.
    • A healthy ESTJ can show an INTJ many ways to be conservative and effective at the same time.
  • ESTP Personality Type
    • Diving in to work on the key leverage points right now.
    • Paying attention to competitive differences that count right now.
    • Asking “what would be totally awesome?” and doing it.
    • Throwing your weight around when needed, but with “all due respect” to cultural or contextual roles—the healthy, culturally necessary aspect of paying lip service.
  • ISTP Personality Type
    • ISTPs are fantastic at mentally taking things apart and puzzling their way through logic, new concepts, or physical things like computers or machinery.
    • INTJs can learn to propose frameworks (e.g. “widget X probably operates by the mechanism of…”) and refine those frameworks as new information comes in.
      • Monitoring the way the model changes in their mind can give an INTJ deep insights into the way things work.
    • ISTPs are usually good negotiators who can use sweet language to see if they can work out a special deal for themselves.
      • For an INTJ, this kind of negotiation is great practice.
      • And “sweet language” is often a huge stumbling block for INTJs, who may stop at “polite” and never really begin to build simple forms of rapport.
  • ESFJ Personality Type
    • Child-like appreciation of new things; novelties, the day-to-day.
    • Getting permission from the group / group leadership
    • Not showing off; focusing more on rapport than personal excellence
    • Listening deeply without interjecting
  • INTP Personality Type
    • INTPs can be difficult for INTJs
    • I almost put this one after “total strangers,” below. lol
    • INTPs tend to think of situations and concepts as “puzzles,” and find unique, interesting ways to approach those puzzles.
    • This is in stark contrast to the way INTJs see many of these puzzles as “solved problems,” and go looking for already-established solutions.
    • For this purpose I think it’s a good idea for INTJs to try out that kind of puzzle-analysis by themselves, without immediately just going off and looking for a pre-invented wheel.
    • INTPs are also typically earlier-adopters than INTJs, due to their powerful extraverted intuition.
      • By respecting and understanding the way extraverted intuition (Ne) works, INTJs can learn to recognize patterns and play with patterns or even multiple patterns in ways that don’t tax their mental capacity so much.
  • Total Strangers
    • Even if you don’t know their type, observe them.
      • Are they benefiting in the current context?
      • By what mechanism do they benefit?
      • If their success could be described by a model, how would that model work?
    • What seems to be the group response in the current context? How are others behaving?
    • Taking into account what others are doing right now, how might I act?
    • “When in Rome…”

I’ll update this list later as more ideas come. Overall, if you can remain open to the concept of personality type as an evolving journey of self-discovery and growth, I believe you can achieve the very best things that life has in store for every INTJ.