Dream Integration Guide 2019 Video Posted
Tuesday February 12, 2019
I recently completed a basic framework for learning how to handle information you experience and metabolize via dreams, daydreams, and other exercises of the intuition.
This will be posted over on my coaching site shortly, but as a quick post for my INTJ blog friends, here you go:
And here’s the Archive.org Source Link
There’s also a PDF and RTF read-along version available for download.
This is pretty potent stuff for the average INTJ who hasn’t given it much exploration, as it lines right up with the INTJ’s intuitive gift. so give it a shot if you haven’t already.
Looking for email provider. Must be good at delivering email.
Monday February 11, 2019
Just in between posts here, I thought I’d put this out there in case any of you have recommendations. I’m looking for a new email provider. Who do you recommend that’s not Google?
Some background: I already have a Google email account that I use for consulting work, and decided to set up a Fastmail account for my coaching emails, just to keep things separated, and also because Google mail has been pretty annoying in its own ways recently.
Well, today I logged into the web version of my ehh-it’s-ok-so-far Fastmail account to find that I had an embarrassing backlog of emails. Why had the Fastmail app on my phone not alerted me to this pileup? It turns out the Fastmail app had recently been updated, could no longer send me notifications, and I would now have to figure out…I mean, we’re not sure exactly, but figure out whatever it is that must be done to clear app data on my specific device, just so I could log in again from my phone. Geez.
I really wanted to like Fastmail but after writing all those apologetic email replies today, I’m not sure it’s a good match for my (relatively commonplace?) needs at this point. So—if you have a recommendation I’d love to hear it. It needs to support custom domain names, and hopefully have something other than an ad-supported free tier. Reasonably good support would be a bonus. I’ve tried GMail, Protonmail, and Fastmail recently. My contact email address is in the sidebar. Thanks!
Filed in: Technology /6/
"I can't write" and why that's a weird statement
Wednesday February 6, 2019
Above: Some of my shorthand journaling and diagramming
I hear this every once in a while from coaching clients when I mention that I keep a journal. A couple points:
I couldn’t either! I still have my first-ever journal. It contains a few lines of writing followed by about 150 empty pages.
It’s not un-learnable
You read that right. If you’re open to the idea of becoming the type of person who gets a lot out of writing, you can absolutely learn your way through it. And I really recommend it.
Tips for INTJs
- Give yourself time to learn. I’d recommend at least ten years. If you can be patient with yourself that long, and spend some time reflecting on your writing practice periodically, I promise you’ll make some huge breakthroughs.
- Start with terse information. Rate your day.
- Re-read your notes occasionally. Some people cringe to do this—I did that too. But it will teach you to write things that will help you later.
- Use bullet points and lists. They are easier for INTJs, in general.
- If you’re feeling really open-minded and ready for some exploration: Have conversations. One of my favorite journal entries was my first imaginary conversation with Data. I made what I thought were some good points, and he listened, thought about them, added some nuance, and calmly shot down every point while inviting me to integrate my strengths into the problem-solving sphere in question. If you can make yourself open to this kind of experience (and a lot of INTJs can do this, but haven’t), it’s worth whatever risk you foresee.
- Look at writing as a problem-solving tool. Test it out—I have noticed that it accelerates my problem-solving capability.
- Evaluate what’s working for you and do more of that kind of writing.
- Use your powerful intuition to guess at what kind of writing might work better and try that, too.
- If you write a lot of emails, review some of your longer emails. What kind of writing was that that you were doing? Was it explaining? Maybe you’re a natural tutorial-writer. Was it criticism? Maybe you’re a natural critic. These are all good starting points.
- Be careful about trying to learn from other personality types. Usually people know some emotional/feeler friend who keeps a deeply-personal journal and writes everything in their heart right on the paper in bright blue ink, and they think, “WOW there’s no way I’d ever do that.”
- As an introvert, security is important to you, right? You imagine someone reading your stuff and critiquing you, or making fun of you, or whatever. So address that directly. I learned to write in shorthand (see photo above)—good luck reading it. You can use stand-in names for things. I have found that I can even write something and then immediately burn it / delete it and still get a lot of benefit from the practice!
“I can’t write” is often a very misleading statement, because what it usually really means is, “until this point I haven’t figured out a way to write with which I’m really comfortable. For that reason I’m probably not super open to continuing down that path.”
Introverts are known to be really enamored with their own past experiences, and as a group we can be too reserved about re-exploring things that we haven’t been able to do in the past. I believe this is one area where a lot of introverts make a tragic mistake by limiting their personal development.
So: If you “can’t write”—I challenge you to take another look at the subject. Find your own method and benefit.
Thursday January 31, 2019
Whew, that last blog post on the Guide model was really lofty! Coming back down to earth for a bit, here are some things that have been energizing for me lately:
I installed Haiku on an old netbook I had sitting around. It’s been really fun to use. If you like playing with computers, it’s a neat operating system. Not Linux, not Windows, not Mac, just something different. There are some productivity apps that are available for Haiku that you won’t be able to experience anywhere else.
Sometimes my intuition tells me I need to do my journaling in some different system, in some different way. Switch things around a bit to achieve a new mental POV. I did some journaling in Haiku and it’s neat. A self-contained little single-user desktop experience.
Orthodox File Managers
OFMs have always interested me superficially. This week I decided to dive in and learn one (Midnight Commander) and start taking notes, compiling my own sort of tutorial. In compiling this I realized that I will be writing more of my own personal computer software soon, which was motivating and felt exciting.
This also led me to the next item…
A Unified Experiencing Template
In the last few years I’ve enjoyed spinning up a frameworks system which has been gradually evolving into a “template” I can apply forward to new experiences. The general template looks like this: Unified Experiencing Template
I find that this format helps me:
- Really get the most out of my experiences
- Be more intentional, less over-perceptive (Ni/Se getting all the attention and not being e.g. very analytical, etc.)
- Employ my imagination early on in a learning process
- Remember things! Sometimes I don’t circle back to a hobby for months, if not years.
- Move lessons forward, from logged-experience, to helpful-idea, to organizational-framework component, to theory with form and dimension
- Have something concrete to look at and think—hey, I did it! I experienced this and I really got something out of it.
Above all, I noticed that in frameworks without a log, I kept coming back to the log as a beneficial idea: Getting my thoughts out, typically grouped under Te or extraverted thinking activity. This forms a field of information / thoughts / feelings from which to harvest tips, strategies, organizations, etc.—it feeds right into introverted thinking (Ti).
I don’t like that To-Do doesn’t really communicate the question, “what really sounds fun here?” so I will probably work on that aspect some more.
This New Year’s Resolution for 2019 has been pretty funny. I have started noticing environments where the qualitative result of asking a question is heavily weighted toward “poor” or even “yikes why did I even ask.” For example, I found some helpful posts on a subreddit and asked a follow-on question. And while those posts I saw were really helpful, the answers I got to my questions were just really immature, or obviously problematic.
While thinking about this experience I took away a huge lesson for January: Seeking an answer is a real red herring! I don’t always need an answer from someone else, but what I do need is to make the question objective—to put it outside of myself—to just ask it. From there I find that no matter the answers I get from others, I immediately open myself to new learning experiences and generally make good progress, even if on my own. That’s one reason why “Questions” is now in the template linked above.
So: Some specifics, and some broad strokes, mixed. Anyway, these things are giving me some energy and helping me make energy investments for the future. I hope they help you, too!
Let's Assess Your INTJ Energy Levels
Thursday January 31, 2019
“I want to say, “I don’t have enough energy,” but I’ve also got a sense that that’s not exactly it. I bet you might have a helpful angle to consider it from?”
Mike—email me more about this when you can: We need more info to work with. But for now: Let’s start by assessing your personal energy level according to the Guide model I have developed for this purpose, seen below.
A. Energy-Reactives: Levels 1-3
Energy-Reactives are characterized by sharp “reactions” to questions surrounding the concept of energy. You might say that an Energy-Reactive is a black-and-white thinker with regard to energy, as a whole.
Energy-Reactives aren’t only characterized by negative feelings about energy. They might also completely overshoot the nuance of energy with a blunt sense of “want more”. For example, while “I don’t need more energy, I need more money and a peaceful cabin in the woods” might be something you’d hear from an Energy-Reactive, on the complete opposite pole, “I NEED MORE OF THIS ENERGY AHHH, GOOD LORD THIS FEELS AMAZING” could also be the sort of thing you hear from an Energy-Reactive.
One trap here for INTJs is to watch out for the intersection of extraverted feeling and the topic of energy. “This is ridiculous, some kind of crystal healer stuff” is an example of this kind of reactive-type statement from the INTJ psychology. Speaking broadly, every personality type will react in different ways.
At this level the individual is typically not aware that they need more energy. They suffer for a cure, but they probably do not know that the problem can be framed as an “energy problem.”
The ER1 mainly “reacts” to energy states and notices the follow-on consequences. They do not realize that their desperate need for attention to energy levels causes them to contribute less to relationships than is warranted. Others frequently see them as someone who is hurtful or harmful in relationships, a sort of relationship-energy vampire. Always making withdrawals; never really contributing back. Friendships don’t seem to work out. Family relationships are typically strained or seem far too limited.
At this level, attention to the need for energy is the goal. The cure is simple: Give the problem more attention. Pay attention to your energy levels and needs.
It is important to recognize that this type of person is full of potential energy. They are an inefficient energy system and do not seem to store energy.
An INTJ at this stage typically appears very “stock” in the sense that they do not seem to be converging toward a new level of development where some of the best characteristics of all personality types can be seen. This INTJ may have lots of knowledge, but cannot efficiently or effectively bring this knowledge to society’s benefit.
INTJs in this position will typically have some concern with or interest in areas related to energy, as their intuition sends them fascinating energy-related signals via metaphor. They have opinions on various sources of power—solar, wind, nuclear, etc. But they have not made the metaphorical connection and probably even resist it.
At Energy-Reactive 2, the individual is giving their energy levels low amounts of conscious attention, typically through some level of interest- or hobby-seeking behavior. This is really, really healthy and will benefit this individual the more the practice is expanded and protected.
For example, the ER2 may be attending classes, meeting up with friends in public places, keeping a blog, playing sports, or engaging in new social experiences. This stage is still marked by low energy compared to potential levels of energy, and relatively inefficient energy use, and yet the individual is motivated and pushing themselves to be open to new experiences.
Energy-related activities are not seen in helpful contexts like “investments” or “health regimen,” but are rather “shoulds” that have “helped others”.
INTJs at this level are engaged and yet seem detached more often than other participants would like. At this stage it is important for the INTJ to know that they are growing in a positive way. Reinforcement is crucial to prevent a backslide. Too much extraversion or attention to social progress can easily backfire and have drastic effects on energy levels.
While lacking a wider body of energy experience, this person has started recording their thoughts and feelings when energy is high, low, so-so, etc.
This person has begun to note a range of possible physical stimulant-experiences and is forming a nuanced plan to explore their effect. For example, if they haven’t ever had a ride in a convertible car on a warm summer day with the top down, they start by asking a friend if they can take a ride in their convertible sometime, rather than running out to buy a convertible.
An INTJ at this level is beginning to connect the concept of “interests” with the concept of “energy”. They understand that they need and want a certain amount of energy. They start to toy with the idea of turning down some experiences in favor of other experiences that bring them more of what they want.
This individual doggedly protects their energy and confidence, and is defensive regarding potential energy-depleting experiences. They have not yet learned to engage in social dialogue regarding energy, and thus may come off as “weird” to others when they put their foot down in this way.
Next steps: This individual should be actively engaging an externalized thought process with regard to energy. They should be writing, or discussing, or otherwise outwardly noting their status with regard to energy. They should be developing a nuanced plan to seek more energy.
B. Energy Seekers: Levels 1-3
Energy Seekers are characterized by the integration of the concept of energy. The concept itself has reached a point of clear consciousness. These individuals own their personal process of energy investment and prospecting.
An INTJ at the Seeker level will generally seem less critical or skeptical than the INTJ stereotype, though they have really just achieved a better sense of balance.
Energy Seeker 1
At this level the individual is beginning to compare their past energy levels to their present energy levels (and future, desired energy levels) more frequently. They are becoming very open-minded, though they may still be caught off guard by times of exhaustion. They seek a “feeling” they had in the past. If they can just get that feeling back, they reason, they’ll feel great all the time!
This individual makes constructive contributions to positive social efforts when they can. When they cannot, the are more likely to take a nuanced view of the situation and find constructive ways to withdraw for now or switch to a new or different energy context.
This individual typically feels like they struggle to make progress in expressing all of the energy that they have or want to have. They have not yet grasped the nature of the development of a body of energy systems, as opposed to a broad set of energy outputs and inputs.
Energy Seeker 2
This person is beginning recognize the “middle ground” as something that can be reflected upon, massaged, and worked with to further their body of motivational experience. They periodically reflect and capitalize on past energy-experiences.
The ES2 is actively making plans for experiments and learning experiences that can greatly enhance their long-term access to energy. They typically fear missing out on some point of knowledge.
This person has learned to analyze and can easily hold their thoughts and mood up for examination. They have achieved a high qualitative standard for analytical thought. Others typically comment on their “wisdom” and may say things like, “I wish I could be more like you.”
Energy Seeker 3
With a comfortable body of experience, the ES3 is frequently rating their energy and assigning it levels in outward, if abstract, ways. For example, rather than rating it on a scale of 1-10, they may assign it a color, or a list of words.
The ES3 has access to a deep pool of rich and varied experience. They have a sense for their own level of energy within any given context, and can easily call out and begin to analyze new or different types of energy experiences. Their response to changing energy levels is automatic and intuitive.
By this level the individual has typically reached several large and important milestones. For example, maybe it has been 2 years since their last point of true exhaustion, or they haven’t been sick in 6 months even though they suffer from an autoimmune condition. This doesn’t mean they can’t get sick, just that their pattern has changed dramatically. They cannot think about it without knowing they are in a different place now.
C. Energy Sources: Levels 1-3
Why Energy Sources? We’re actually all energy sources at some level, but Energy Sources see themselves as energy “inputs” that are able to provide energy back into a system, want to do so as much as possible, and have the energy resources at hand to do so. This last point is very important in differentiating the ES level.
INTJs at this level may seem daunting to approach in the hallway, or difficult to engage in skeptical discussion. They are generally calm and open and more intrigued by things like group energy.
They are also still introverts! I hope to make it clear for the Energy-Reactives that the point is not to become a superhuman or anything like that. Calm, patient progress should show clearly superior results, however.
Energy Source 1
This person is the new beneficiary of a rich “farm” of energy investments. Seeing the world as exciting and interesting is the norm, even if there are occasional low points.
This person is beginning to teach people about energy in ways that anyone can understand and adapt. As they teach, they are able to recognize and adapt to the kinds of energy that their audience needs.
Even so, one of the biggest missteps the ES1 can make is to attempt to be someone who can provide energy for anyone. They may find themselves feeling depressed and hypocritical after attempting to do so. They may feel like a fool or a fraud and wonder what to do about it.
The ES1 is very analytical and observational. They have an intuitive sense for “the best” in those with whom they relate. They see things worth emulating in just about anyone.
Energy Source 2
Having learned some very difficult life lessons, this person is ready to contribute to society at large. They are forming and organizing their own energy or energy-related models. They are a patient teacher, happy to refer students to the energy sources that seem best, even if not their own.
Abstracting and applying these lessons forward to other areas of life, this person is beginning a careful deconstruction of long-cherished contexts. They may suffer through reexaminations of some set of their core beliefs. They seek new ways of quickly and effectively lifting others to high energy levels without causing a harsh reaction.
This individual has frequently built up a body of secret work. They clearly understand society’s harsh reaction to some of the energy expressions of which they are capable.
Energy Source 3
The ES3 is making investments in their physical appearance, if they haven’t already. For example, an INTJ at this level will have converged upon a sort of palette of appearance-modifiers which affect their personal energy, rather than just a favorite type of clothing.
The ES3 often fears falling backward, as they ponder the more existential aspects of life. They realize they are not going to be flying around in a cape anytime soon, but they feel they have much to give, and others frequently tell them so. Their first steps into the Energy Guide level are promising though typically very frustrating.
In truth, each level of growth represents an exchange of energy. The concept of sacrifice is deeply understood by the individual at this point. They know more about trust and social support than they ever have before.
An INTJ at this level has in many cases almost no outward resemblance to the type-identified INTJ. They are effectively and intuitively switching between types with fluency and may be mistaken for the ENTP, ESFP, even ESFJ, etc. Others frequently misinterpret their type—these are type-identifiers who lack a mental model for type development.
D. Energy Guides: Levels 1-3
Energy Guides are generally the most effective teachers of the sustainability and energy-production aspects of the human race. Regardless of their philosophy, creed, or style of teaching, they help humanity in the prospective-intuitive sense of discovering new energy, and in the directive-intuitive sense of converging upon humanity’s possible (and even likely) best future.
Energy Guides in the human race are rare, but it is my belief that this status is changing over time as we come to better understand ourselves in the context of energy.
Energy Guide 1
This individual is becoming a symbol for others. They are learning that their being imparts energy to others in obvious ways, and they are taking a more nuanced view of this effect than the standard stratified-society view.
This individual sees that they may be responsible for or capable of sparking greater movements in society. Their opinions are sought out and often unconsciously polarized, making them spread more effectively. They see how far others need to travel to get where they want to be with their own energy levels. For this reason they are filled with compassion for others.
This individual may have prominent enemies and yet probably feels that their greatest enemy is time.
[To be continued as time allows]
Energy: I’m out of energy myself, after committing this to a blog post. More later!
New Year's Resolutions 2019
Friday January 11, 2019
My process for New Year’s resolutions this year:
- Write down a bunch of lessons I learned in 2018
- Pick one main “big-picture” resolution for 2019
- Paste the lessons-learned into a recurring calendar entry for 2019, just as a reminder.
Things I learned in 2018
Of course, I have to start by saying: I already knew this stuff. (See item #4, here) But knowing a thing, or knowing about it is different from integrating it and experiencing it.
Well, one thing I experienced in 2018 was the beneficial effect of attending to a program of formal health maintenance. My INTJ dad never went to the doctor enough, and that may have been one reason why he died so early—just a couple of weeks after he retired. I saw myself slipping into the same pattern, so for 2019 I’ve changed that. Health maintenance is higher on my list as a big-picture item. To that end, I started a password-protected HTML page chronicling stuff I learn in various doctor and dentist appointments. It’s already been fun: “Marc, which tooth are we working on today?” “#12, first bicuspid. If you want the JPG or the DICOM file I have it on my website.” OK—I admit I added that last part just to see the reaction.
I also learned that my beliefs need maintenance and attention. I’m paying more attention to my spiritual side, so to speak, and rather than perceiving the coming-and-going of various feelings, I plan to start organizing and really paying more formal attention to those things. I remember one day last year I was sitting with my wife in church and I was just in excruciating emotional pain at being there, because I hadn’t recently addressed the question of why am I here and what is this for. I had to get up and leave. My wife was very understanding and I think because she’s a Feeler, she just gets it. Of course you had to leave if you were feeling that way. Church has never been a fits-like-a-glove experience for me, so I’m just starting from that premise and I’m going to see how it goes as I dive into my beliefs once again.
Another thing I learned in 2018 is that my hobby-budgeting needed work. I’m at the point where I just need to fully commit to the realization that I have gobs of interests. And gobs of relevant sensory objects that I own as a result. My hobby interests can be said to be extraverted in that they are broad and diverse in many ways, rather than singular and deep. Instead of trying to fix this and brutally repress a pattern that brings me joy, I’m going to turn my hobby budget around and run some new experiments. No specifics for now, just attention given to the question as a whole.
The final lesson-learned is that I’m happier when I ask lots of questions. I found that I would do a lot of research of my own, come to some conclusions, and while doing all this I’d leave out the step of asking other people for specific input on what I’m doing, or the questions that I have. This is essentially a form of extraversion, and I have felt that it makes me uncomfortable, but there’s also kind of a ramp here—I’m not trying to become an extravert. So some of those small waypoints on the ramp include e.g. asking questions online, asking questions to friends, planning the questions, etc.
So for 2019….
That’s the main big-picture goal I picked for the coming year: Ask more questions.
I have a brilliant coaching client who absolutely schools me on this. We start the call with some pleasantries, then he tells me he has some questions, but first he wants to give me some background. After giving me the background, he explains a couple of questions and why he wanted to ask them. After we discuss possible answers, he then does this thing that my other coaching clients don’t usually do: “OK—so just to make sure I’ve got this, can I repeat back to you what I’m hearing?”
It’s really impressive and I can see that it works really well for him.
Well—that’s where I’m generally headed for 2019. More podcasts are on the way—I have some changes to make to the format; we’ll see how it goes.
Filed in: Goals /13/
Some Jolly Old Gaming for the Holidays
Monday December 24, 2018
Just a little holiday gift: I got together with my kids on Christmas Eve and developed some fun new add-on rules for “Battleship”, the board game. You can find the rules here.
And, by the way, this kind of thing makes for a fun exercise. If you listened to this year’s INTJ podcast where I talked about Chess960, you’ll already know why I included some randomness by way of a dice mechanism.
Anyway—enjoy & I hope your holidays are productive, educational, and…useful, to use a few favorite INTJ keywords. :-)
When Intuitry Beats Memory
Tuesday December 11, 2018
In talking to a psychiatrist friend recently, I was struck by how frantic we are, as a culture, about memory. We’re all about strengthening it and preventing the loss of it, and our research into the human mind condition emphasizes all of this memory work. This is starkly opposed to the topic of intuitry, or an ability to use the intuition, to conceptualize, to visualize, to integrate the inner world’s imagery and idea space.
The role of memory is especially dominant in areas we value most nowadays, like productivity. Do you remember the thing you needed to to? Do you remember how to do it? Do you remember when you said you’d have it done? Do you remember where you left off? I find that all of these questions must be answered in order to maintain a highly engaged level of productivity. In the productivity triangle, the “Clarity point” so often means building direct access to that memory, or in the worst case just rewriting that memory—a real time-waster.
And yet…we’re better than that. We as INTJs are far above that level. Many of us don’t even realize it. We push ourselves to remember: If I could only remember every piece of knowledge of domain X, I’d be an unstoppable reference! If I could only remember my goals every waking moment of the day, I’d work on them more often! If I could only remember my client’s kids’ names and other family details, I’d mention those things more often and win their favor!
A while back I started a file for myself, a sort of dossier to read, for whenever it happens that I completely lose my memory. For that day when I come to my senses and I have no idea who I am and who I’m supposed to be. Such an event will probably never happen, but it was an interesting experience. The file is called “Who I Am” and it sits in the root of my writings folder, now a labyrinth of thousands of journal entries, mental models, tips on watering the office plant, and so on.
Why so much memory?
Looking at the date on this file for a clue as to the why, I wrote it during an extremely challenging time, when I worked closely with a team of ISTJs, people who absolutely worship the concept of “recall,” as it is their dominant Jungian psychological function, introverted sensing (Si).
ISTJs are famously productive, as a type. As individuals, sure, I know some really slovenly ISTJs who sit around and don’t do much, who are in the wrong career and who have been in therapy for years. But as a type, ISTJs are nothing if not productive. Our modern culture really highly reveres the ISTJ. The logistician. The Jeff Bezos, the type of person who is slowly but steadily tying all the loose ends together and making it all work like a machine.
The ISTJ—again, as a type— remembers. If you want to help out an ISTJ, if they’re stressed, if you need to distract them while you pick their pocket—just ask them about their past. “Where did you grow up?” “What do you remember about your parents?” “Do you remember your first day on the job?” Very little why, and a lot of what and who mixed in with a reasonable amount of when.
These past experiences inform the ISTJ’s functional mode of judgment, their executive ability, their organization toward getting stuff done.
And this type of psychology, in turn, informs an entire world economy of stuff-doers.
To be a stuff-doer, you have to be, at some level, a stuff-learner. So you learn stuff by doing it, and you remember how you did it, or you go through a bunch of classes and you get a sheet of paper that says you learned stuff. And you have to learn a lot of stuff! So much that it’s overwhelming. So we come around to the modern higher education system, which heavily rewards rote memory as a result. Can you read or write something, and just remember it? Phew, I’m so glad—you’ll pass. Do you need to work with the data, really apply it, see the outcome, in order to remember that thing? Ah, I’m so sorry—you’ll likely struggle, as do many INTJs, in higher education.
In the NT and NF category, I believe this explains at least partially why the intuitive psychologies so widely seen in big-picture-thinking academia are those of the INTP and the INFP, likely followed by the ENTP and ENFP. Here you have people who take a very Si-friendly approach to learning, people who need to see the details. The INTJ professor is rare. Not rarest, but rare, in comparison. The INTP and INFP can do rote learning, and in fact if you just aren’t picking up the theory, they’ll often encourage rote learning before they’ll encourage project-based learning.
Well, going back to Who Am I and the frightening prospect of losing my memory—I was wrapped up in Si at that time, working with lots of ISTJs. When I got an email from one of them, the character of the email was usually: “Did you remember? Just a reminder!” So I’m not surprised that it struck me to remember. Remember! At the same time, I was memorizing and trying to remember countless other things as well.
And—it wore me out. I couldn’t do it anymore and had to quit working so closely with that team. The symptoms were coming back. For me, the heavy symptoms of overkill-focus on Si proceed like this:
- Mild: Let’s organize and schedule everything!
- Medium: Let’s memorize lots of things, too! Let’s also study and improve our memory systems! Memory pegs, roman rooms, chaining…
- Terrifying: Depression (productivity exhaustion), suicidal ideation, development of speech disorders.
Meanwhile, experiencing this mutiny of my own psychology, I’m watching “better memorizers” whiz by, happily checking off their lists.
As I backed away from these experiences, simultaneously learning my way around my personal psychology, I got to this Point of Anti-memory in the INTJ psychology: The intuition.
What is Intuitry?
To contrast the intuition with the memory, I’ll call it “intuitry.” Not that intuition isn’t a good word; it just needed a little surgery to call out the contrast against the memory.
Intuitry and Memory can and should and will always to some degree work together, of course. Each can inspire and feed the other. (And there’s another -ry word in here: Livingry toward which we’d better push with a combination of intuitry and memory).
But intuitry is more like anti-memory in the sense that it pre-calls, rather than re-calls.
Memory can tell you the task you were supposed to complete today, the one you are duty-bound to complete. Intuitry can tell you the task that you can complete today, the one your psychology is absolutely ready for.
Memory can tell you the person you were supposed to meet today. Intuitry can tell you the person you need to find today.
Memory can tell you the way you did this task before. Intuitry can tell you the way you’ll do this task today, or further in the future.
Memory can tell you that you saved your notes in Microsoft Word last time, using its outlining feature. Intuitry can tell you to draw your notes in Microsoft Paint next time, using colors, metaphor, and visual depth.
Intuitry is pre- and pro-. It is proactive, it is preventative. It is precognizant, it is prospective.
We INTJs have something deeply special, in our intuitry. Intuition is our dominant Jungian function—Ni. Introverted intuition. We receive subjectively-meaningful imagery and metaphor all the time. Opening up that feed is just a matter of giving attention to it.
If ever there was a reason to shape the job to fit the tool, this alone is it. No tool better fits our grip, our working style, our comfort zone. In the role-playing game of life, you will get no higher dice-roll bonus modifier for using a tool than you will for using this one.
If you’re a sick INTJ and can’t get things done—intuit first, memorize later.
If you’re an ineffective INTJ and can’t find your true self in your work—intuit first, productivize later.
If you’re a powerful INTJ and just aren’t sure what’s next—intuit first, continue with the work of your past later—if ever.
In doing this work, we expose a powerful part of ourselves to the world. Unfortunately, we can’t expect the world to begin singing its praises. After all, this is an aspect of human psychology to which most of the world would prefer to give no attention. I cannot emphasize that enough. But this was never our job, to be the standard package, so to speak.
Finding our way with intuitry may be difficult at first. At a personal level, it may require that you engage in new research, new learning, and the development of new tools. Conveniently though, these are different things than what you’re probably doing now. And by being different, they hold a special appeal to the INTJ. Things that hold your appeal are more likely to motivate you. Motivation is its own domain of energy—it is the opposite of being depressed, feeling sick, and losing hope.
By coining this term intuitry, my hope is that in the midst of our contextual cultural rush toward productivity, we can give even more room to the great-strides work of the deep and symbolic inner mind. Just as we are surrounded by the biggest-picture questions of all time, now is the perfect time in the human evolution to emphasize and further leverage the human intuition.
Did I mention that you can play a big role in that?
Here are some of my intuitive notes. Yep—Microsoft Paint, or Kolourpaint in Linux. Or something else—maybe a colored pencil drawing based on what I see in the freckles on my arm.
In taking these notes to corral the workings of the intuitry, I either start drawing and see what comes out, or I ask myself what I need to do and then draw the imagery that comes to mind. Symbol-analysis is a key follow-on. What do the symbols, colors, and shapes suggest? What feelings do they bring to mind?
In many cases these processes will give me a sort of ignition-answer, from “take it easy—rest, do nothing” to “start on this task first,” while in other cases the result is a sort of pro-phecy: “The timeline will look like this. Here’s how things will go.” Relating these answers to other people, when others are concerned in the problem-sphere, can be difficult (the subject-to-object gap of the intuition can require a lot of patience to bridge on the part of both parties), but it can also bring about deeply satisfying co-intuitive experiences.
It’s all symbolic, metaphorical, directive, didactic (on the part of my subconscious). It’s terribly subjective—I wouldn’t trust another person to interpret a single one of these drawings unless they knew me inside and out, though by analyzing the forms I’m sure some expression of the kind of person I am could be derived.
And it works. My Si-dominant friends, the ISTJ and the ISFJ, tell me they wish they could have it. In fact, I wonder—would those friends develop speech impediments if they tried to integrate my dominant function to the same degree I have tried to integrate theirs? Hmm…
Each one of the intuitive drawings above was, at the time, more powerful for me than a checklist, or a meeting, or a schedule.
(And it’s not limited to drawing: For further cues, look to the music you’re listening to, the clothes you’re wearing, the food that sounds pleasant right now. What do the textures, harmonies, contrasts, and forms bring to mind?)
My Opinions on Meditation and Mindfulness
Monday December 3, 2018
The final reader question for today:
“Mindfulness meditation and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Familiar? Tried either or both? Found any value in them? Recommend anything instead?”
Yes, I spent a lot of time learning and practicing mindfulness meditation and self-hypnosis when I was in my 20s and 30s. I don’t know as much about ACT except what I’ve read in the last 5 minutes in diagrams found on a DuckDuckGo image search. :-)
First: If you haven’t tried it, don’t let me stand in your way. One big INTJ weak point is “experiencing”—just getting hands on and seeing how it goes. That’s important.
But second—and in my humble opinion: You have to watch out for the “Be Like Them” elements in this work. Linda Berens said that personality type helps us answer two big problems: “Be Like Them,” when we feel we need to be more like others in order to succeed, and “Be Like Me,” when we feel we need others to be more like us so they can be successful.
To some degree depending on the teacher, the method, etc., mindfulness and grounding-meditation work is teaching you to be more like another, more sensory, personality type. Frequently it’s essentially instructing you to take the role of the ISFP, the ESFP, someone like that.
Well, this clearly has its limits. I found some relief in it, but I also found that the work was like a one-trick pony for me. If I had a problem which could be better solved by being present and mindful, I had a problem which, by definition, wasn’t a good match for my natural problem-solving skills. So: OK, I’ll try my best.
However I personally found (after I spent all that time learning to be mindful!) that by intentionally identifying the more INTJ-soluble areas of the problem set first, I could gain leverage more quickly, my happy brain chemicals shot up, and POOF I didn’t need therapy or medications anymore. [Note: This POOF sound effect is more of a reference to the surprising potency of the action, and I don’t mean to suggest that it worked overnight or anything like that. I’d say 3-5 years of study and practice got me to those really important outcomes.]
Since that time, I’m less mindful in that particular therapeutic, sensory sense overall, but I’m more generally mindful of the needs of my psychology and I’m a happier person. I like to combine contexts, like using a calm walk (sensory) to sort through the various metaphors that are apparent to my intuition (intuitive work). In this way I can intuitively feel that I’m covering the various mindfulness bases.
I’m also kind of, a little bit disappointed that mindfulness exercises (again I’m not sure about ACT) aren’t able to easily meet people on their own ground. You have to jump over into mindfulness-land, and then go through the exercises, and then decide if it works. My personal Jungian-oriented coaching models are effective because of exactly this—we can meet you where you’re at. I generally build a model for where my clients are at, then I start to work with them from that exact location.
Well anyway—give it a shot. And if you tried ACT, let me know what you think. From the charts I’m seeing and a little bit of follow-up research, here are the functions I’d associate with the various elements:
- Be Here Now (Present): Extraverted Sensing
- Values (What’s Important): Introverted Feeling
- Committed Action (Do What Matters): Extraverted Sensing-valuing
- Self as Context (Notice): Extraverted Sensing
- Defusion (Watch Your Thinking): Introverted Intuition
- Acceptance (Open Up): Extraversion in general
So yeah, if you’re an INTJ, maybe this is oriented toward your ESFP side, which isn’t bad or good, but good to know about!
What I really like to see are therapeutic models that are grounded in the 8 functions, or the theory behind the functions. I guess this is why I’m (not a therapist, but) a Jungian-oriented coach. For example, teaching Sensory grounding and mindfulness on the one hand, while allowing for a deep iNtuitive recession into the rich inner world of metaphor on the other. Or, encouraging the researching and organizing Thinking functions, coupled with attention toward the warmer world of Feeling, both expressive and impressive, both group- and individual-values-based.
Can you imagine, in the current popular therapeutic context, a therapist who encourages an INTJ to think more like an INTJ, but as a more effective, more educated INTJ? I can’t and never found one who did—such was the emphasis on feelings and sensations.
Well, if you’re feeling impatient with the resources at hand, don’t give up hope, there’s always another option, another person or practice to try. Finding a therapeutic model that is helpful is often just a matter of finding the right relational psychology, something that’s between you and the individual therapist. From there, the model they use is typically warped and molded until it fits your friendship, rather than the other way around. :-)
How to Deal With Ever-increasing Expectations of the Self
Monday December 3, 2018
Another reader question:
“Ratcheting expectations”, how do you beat them? I’ve done a lot of impressive stuff, but I frequently judge that I can/should be doing more, or can/should have done more. This is described well in Please Understand Me (p189).”
The first big goal here is awareness. So congratulations. It is now on your radar, and you have the ability to make a full range of experimental decisions for dealing with the problem.
My general recommendation here is to treat it like you are a Starship Enterprise crew dealing with a foreign object. Use that INTJ gift of metaphor and ask yourself what physical object the set of expectations most resembles.
Then ask the various members of your crew: How should we respond? Listen to them in turn. And most importantly, try out their suggestions! This is really the introverted intuition (Ni) approach to this problem. Ni is the INTJ’s dominant function and ought to be very helpful—take it as deep as you like, because that’s what the introverted functions are meant to do.
As you process this, keep a log or a simple journal. Try to get at the nuance and establish levels. Maybe Level 0 is “I have to do this whole thing perfectly.” Maybe Level 1 is “I will engage with my audience and assess their most basic needs, and only speak to those.” And so on.
The driving function here is Se, extraverted sensing. The ever-broadening search for high-impact results. This gets all tangled up with Si, introverted sensing, the need for a high-quality result, something of lasting consequence. Our sensing functions can tag-team us in this way, leading to a spiral of productivity exhaustion. As a response, use your big-picture thinking to keep coming back to that big picture. Address the problem as a whole, like you have in this question. Then when you drill down into it, apply the big-picture lessons you’ve learned from the metaphor. If the metaphor you received is that this problem is a piece of space junk—maybe that’s all you need to know. If the metaphor calls for an away team and more sensation of its various properties, that’s helpful, too. But all of this work is directed by the intuitive side, rather than the sensory side, and that’s really important to keep in mind.