Marc's INTJ Blog

Frameworks of Late

Sunday April 23, 2017

Here are some frameworks I’ve posted recently, for those who love tips, and self-improvement, and…oh hey, that’s us!

Since starting to use Ti more heavily, I have created about 300 of these cognitive frameworks, as counted by:

find ./Frameworks -type f | wc -l

…and they are mostly really messy, not at all polished like those I linked above.

The goal here is to generate my own original, subjective frameworks. Framework depending, I may include more objective data, but I’m already a very objective person overall so the subjective work just adds a dimension of fun. Well, fun and efficiency, since I can just try stuff on my own rather than waiting for the next study to be published.

One interesting trend I’ve noticed is that many of my original frameworks are now merging with each other and becoming more refined. For example, I learned that I can apply to my recovery from most illnesses (even colds, or the flu) the same tools I was using to treat periodic bouts of depression.

The framework I most frequently update right now is my new “monthly framework”, which kind of tells me what to expect & prepare for as each month of the year goes by. In the last year I noticed that many seasonal transitions and activities kind of take me by surprise, so I hope this will help me prepare my mind for e.g. depressing holiday scenarios next time around.

The frameworks I most look forward to updating and re-reading are those focused on making learning fun (above) and interests like earning certifications, interacting with professional societies, and world-building.

Remember also that my intent here is to realign with the traditional INTJ gifts, after stretching myself toward other-types’-gifts for years and years. So if this all seems terribly nerdy or OCD and you find yourself repressing aspects of it, that may be why. I’ll leave exploration of that possibility as a subjective exercise for those who may be so affected, and just say that this has been really helpful for me.

Coaching Update
In other news, my new coaching business is picking up faster than I expected. Referrals are coming in fast, and I was flattered when a doctor asked if he could refer some patients (!) my way in order to aid their recovery toward a healthier mental posture for dealing with the day-to-day.

In another interesting experience, a friend asked for some of my time and said, “my relative would never come to you because she’s concerned that you know her and would judge her, but she needs help with the sort of thing you’re good at. Her life is incredibly hard right now. So I was thinking you could tell me what you would do for her and I’ll do those things with her.” That one still makes me smile. I was glad we spoke though, because she was complaining about the way her own therapeutic solutions were rebuffed by her friend. In general I find it’s not a great idea to try to convince a very anxious person to solve their problems your way. :-)

In response to these inquiries, I find myself googling reasons why I’m not a therapist, and coming up with a very, very subjective set of possible answers. This must annoy actual therapists to no end. And I don’t really want to be a therapist at the moment, so I’m actively looking for ways in which I will need to set boundaries. Still, looking at the Jungian cognitive model(s), one uncomfortable yet very powerful truth is, if you share psychological traits with someone, yet are not a professional yourself, you still may do more therapeutic good in your interactions with that person than a licensed therapist with different or opposing traits could. Yikes.

Things I'm Changing in Order to Change Myself

Thursday April 20, 2017

OK, this is some more Ti fun with some definite extraversion thrown in. So be warned, your built in, INTJ “is that really a good idea?” perceiver alarms might go off.

Me, I’m just over here trying stuff.

But here are some things I have altered lately:

  • The way I name things
  • The accessories I wear
  • My handwriting
  • My voice
  • My worlds

The way I name things
When I have fun new ideas for things, I now get way more into them and give them project names. My new weight loss plan for the summer? “Astronaut Camp.” The name was originally 90% fun and 10% a reminder to keep a formal chart of how I’m doing. I’m two weeks into it, and now I find myself looking further into the astronaut archetype for guidance. For example, I might ask myself, “how would a healthy astronaut deal with this situation at work?” And of course I’m suddenly interested in watching more Star Trek. This is funny. And good. My past self was far too emotional and simply not astronaut enough.

Also this kind of subjective naming process gets me into Dymaxion territory, which is perfect. I hope to be inventing some Dymaxion-like names soon, because A) that is a seriously cool name and B) Buckminster Fuller is a very INTJ-attractive historical figure.

The accessories I wear
I find myself looking for ways to remind myself to be more of a chart-and-spreadsheet guy, I think because I get so much benefit from that. So as a sort of reminder of that, I bought a new calculator watch (non-affiliate link). I still have my old calculator watch (I have a small watch collection), but this one is better. And it’s got a data bank built in, which is officially meant for phone numbers, but I put it into use for tracking my calories and hydration levels. I mean, if you get 8 full alphanumeric characters and a ton of digits, and you know how to write shorthand, there is no limit. I’m looking forward to using this watch more, and it definitely works as a reminder to be more head-focused and maybe a bit less heart-focused for now.

Anybody else using the data bank watch this way? Let me know, email’s in the sidebar. Or just let me know what watch you like for nerd purposes, and why.

My handwriting
It sucks to have to tell you this, but I am almost done with my handwriting analyst certification. Why does it suck to have to tell you this? Well, to many INTJs, this is pseudoscience at best. But let me just say that if you feel that way, I used to too, and after actually going through the experience, I think that pseudo-scientific perception (remember, INTJ perception is a very subjective cognitive function) deserves some extraversion. Handwriting analysis definitely seems to be intractable to science, but I don’t really care about that, at least not any more than I care about personality typology being intractable to science. (I do have my own qualitative framework for experiencing and then gauging this stuff, and I think you should too.)

Anyway one of the “reminder” things you can do via handwriting (similar to my calculator watch) is to change aspects of your handwriting to more closely align with the person you want to become.

Now, as a graphic designer: This makes total sense. Graphology doesn’t even figure into that assessment.

So I have started modifying my handwriting to be a bit more aggressive and angular, large, and I’m modifying that darn capital M which has always bugged me. Turns out it was a very low-confidence M. So we’ll see how this goes.

Maybe this is mad science, which has always been more fair to the subjective world, methinks.

Oh and I’m kind of thinking I might go full graphologist. Not sure yet. I joined AHAF and if it seems interesting to you, I have to say it’s a very well-run organization with gobs of resources and interesting meet-ups.

To balance that out, I also joined NSS and am SO pumped to get involved with “space stuff”.

(Can you see how all of this interest-chasing is helping me conquer depression? Seriously, it works. At the end of even the worst day I always have my interests to catch up on.)

My Voice
I once received a life-changing compliment on a conference call with a group in Ireland. The US rep who was working there chuckled a bit and said, “everybody here thinks your voice is very soothing and pleasant.” You never forget stuff like that.

Just recently, I had noticed that my voice pitch shot through the roof under stress. So, if I’m changing my handwriting…why not aim for a low voice as a way of possibly controlling my mental game on phone calls?

I’m trying it.

BTW this stuff is not going to change overnight, so please don’t misunderstand me as a guy who’s about to leap off a tall building wearing a self-improvement cape. I’m mainly excited about the ideas at this point, really, but I expect to give them some time and see how they go.

And finally…

My Worlds
In my introvert retraining process, in which I intentionally realigned myself with the healthy INTJ model, I kept reading that introverts have a “rich inner world.” This bugged me, because what was that supposed to mean? I had no idea. I feel like my inner world was mostly just other peoples’ ideas floating around.

But now I think I’m starting to get it. But only after I started world-building. And then exploring those worlds.

Well, you can only do that in your head.

And to make a long story short, one of those worlds has a rather advanced medical science institute with amazing staff. And whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed, a bit depressed, or whatever, I intentionally make a little visit to that place and get some ideas on how I should be recuperating. And every time, it makes me feel better, faster.

Now just in the last couple of weeks, my subconscious has kind of latched onto this place. I know this because it suddenly brought the institute building to the forefront of my mind one afternoon, and I thought, “why would that place come to mind? Am I feeling kind of down and out?” And I was! My subconscious told me what needed to happen via mental imagery before I consciously figured out how I was feeling. Pretending I was in a medical bed, I watched some interesting Youtube videos and took a nap in a hammock, which are, confidentially, steps 1 & 2 of my personal anti-depression framework.

That was a pretty neat experience. I’ll keep developing the rich inner world, and I highly recommend world-building as at least one aspect of it. (I have at least a descriptive text file and maybe a digitally-drawn map of each of these worlds on file.)

I should also mention that the subjective inner world-building really spurs some more objective research as well. I find myself establishing space stations, asking myself what science is carried out within, and then learning new things about e.g. exobiology.

Some Final Words
Why do I feel the need to change myself? There is a bit of a cultural stigma about that, I think. Why not just be OK with who I am, and accept myself?

I think broad wording like “change myself” can cause trouble. Because I think there’s a sort of culturally-obvious, intuitive answer, which is “I must therefore be hating who I am right now,” but is really not as accurate as it needs to be. In fact what I’m doing is aligning myself more closely with my natural gifts, instead of trying to be more “normal” or spending lots of energy to fit some less-comfortable cultural norm.

So maybe my best answer for now is, “I already tried changing myself, I found a healthy direction in which to change, it worked wonders, and now I want to do more of it.”

A Place for My Business

Wednesday March 29, 2017

I just hit “publish” (or rather, “upload”) on the public persona for my new Personality Type Coaching business. I’ve been blogging quite a bit about type right here, but the type coaching business was mostly under wraps until I could properly launch it.

It was a lot of fun to finally bring the website into being, to cement the “who I am and what I’m doing explanation” a bit more, and to share it on Facebook. As usual my ENFP friends & family jumped in to enthusiastically share my announcement with their friends, so I’ll just call that good enough for now. It’s still a side job.

And by “a lot of fun,” I guess I mean “holy cow do I feel overexposed right at the moment.” I’m pretty sure I lost most of a business day just out of sheer, overstimulating, excitement and anticipation. My thoughts are everywhere.

And then a new fountain pen arrives in the mail and I start fiddling with it, getting ink all over myself, and I’m just all over the place. Get it together!

So far I’ve successfully told my wet-blanket dominant INTJ function, introverted intuition, to stop bothering me about how much this new venture is a bad idea. Man, I was having all kinds of weird ideas of what would happen should I continue making this official. However, it’s nice to have two separate, real-life, INTJ mentors backing me up, two absolute stalwarts of coaching standing there like gigantic sentinels pointing down the road toward my future. Those guys seem immovable from where I stand, and I respect their advice.

Over the holidays at the end of last year, my sister introduced me to a friend by saying, “this is my brother Marc. He’s a psychologist.” I was tripping all over myself to correct her, but the truth is that though not a psychologist, I’m psychologizing all the time now. It seems to be a really good fit for me.

If you’re an INTJ and have any interest in psychology and specifically personality type, I can only recommend getting into it further. It’s been an incredible benefit to me.

Finally, thanks for checking out my new website. I plan to continue writing useful INTJ things right here, but I’ll post some generally-useful information over there, too.

"I get stuck in these little ruts"

Tuesday March 21, 2017

I recently asked an INTJ friend if he had experience with a specific cognitive model, and he said, “yes, and I don’t like it.”

Then he clarified.

“Well, I haven’t really dug into it the way you might, so you might find it useful. I get stuck in these little ruts…”

I was glad he said that. I knew exactly what he meant by “little ruts.” Probably other INTJs know what he meant too, but just in case, I’ll explain it.

As INTJs, we’re not extraverts. But we are generally really perceptive people. As a result, we often hold new things (opportunities for extraversion) in suspicion, and find it easier to begin enumerating their probable faults rather than just opening ourselves to them and experiencing what they have to offer.

What my friend was saying, in effect, was: “I’m an introvert. And I am a bit too suspicious of things sometimes; I hold back when there might actually be some value to be found. So you should check it out yourself if you’re interested, and see how it goes.”

By the way, extraverts can experience the opposite problem: Getting too excited about new things without really grasping how some of the deeper, less obvious aspects might impact the overall experience.

I do find it useful to tone down my introversion and consciously extravert myself toward new things, try them out, and then judge. This falls under my mental category called “making inquiries” and is one of the highest-leverage problem-solving tools available to INTJs.

I still get stuck in those little ruts pretty often though. Introversion will always be home for me, and all things considered, we have to work from the position that’s most comfortable to us.

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.

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