Marc's INTJ Blog

We All Must Deploy Our Heroic Perspectives (to Survive)

Monday July 26, 2021

I wrote the title of this blog post in the last post I wrote and wanted to offer a striking example.

One really good example of this principle of “the importance of deploying our heroic perspectives” orbits the question of survival itself.

I am referring to the deeply impressive experiences of Genrich Altshuller as written in a Salon article.

From the article:

It was in the naval patent office that Altshuller first discovered the tenets that would lead him to TRIZ, discerning a common pattern of solutions to technical problems across a diversity of fields. The first thing he did with his theory, however, was find a new way to put his foot in his mouth. Concerned over the dismal state of the Soviet Union after World War II, Altshuller and an associate, Rafael Shapiro, wrote an earnest letter to Stalin.

“They wrote a letter that stated that the country was in ruins after World War II, and that there were not many resources to recover it,” says Fey. “He suggested to use TRIZ. Of course he had to prove this, so Altshuller put together a graph of innovation, and found there were two valleys in the graph. One was in 1937, with Stalin’s first pogrom, and the other was in wartime.” In 1949, Altshuller was arrested, interrogated and tortured. Finally, he “confessed,” as had so many other “dissidents” before him, and was sentenced to 25 years in the infamous Vorkuta labor camp, at the northern tip of the Ural Mountains, above the Arctic Circle.

“He was in jail because, No. 1, he was Jewish,” says Bar-El in his thick Israeli accent, “and because it’s against the law to make the Russian people creative.”

OK, so he was in trouble and sent into slavery. Enter the hero…

Stalin’s most brutal despotism, though, couldn’t dim Altshuller’s creativity. Until his death in 1998, Altshuller burned as brightly as any of Edison’s filaments, and often in just as rarefied an environment as a vacuum; much of his work was done while he was imprisoned in the gulag.

“Altshuller was in the labor camp along with many other representatives of the intelligentsia,” says Fey. “He realized that in order to survive, not physically but mostly spiritually and mentally, he had to ask these people to teach him. Every night after they went back to the barracks, they would teach him: physics, math, art history, literature, whatever was available. This allowed these people to survive longer than they would have without Altshuller.”

Altshuller was saved by a strong perception of the things that would yield to him the energy needed to continue his life.

In this case I’d offer that it’s safe to say Altshuller was an NT, likely NeO* TeO* TiD/O* ENTP.

Such an individual needs gobs of new information—but—an information feed in order to survive? I would offer that the increased supply of information of a given quality would increase their chances of fighting for survival, in that it ignites a powerful psychological reward loop within the individual.

From that information they build mental models, they build metaphorical comparisons, and they continually organize the emergent thoughts into new systems.

In such a case I would also guess that—even though the article doesn’t mention it—Altshuller’s stay in the camp was dramatically more comfortable than it would otherwise be for an NT personality, especially one caught in SF perspectives like Fi* or Se*.

Zlotin, who worked with Altshuller in Russia for nearly two decades, relates his surprise at discovering Altshuller’s vast knowledge of Verdi operas: “I said, how do you know these? You had time to go to opera? He said, ‘Never, but my neighbor in the barracks was the world’s best specialist on Verdi’s music, and he would sing me all his operas at night.’

“For Altshuller, this camp was first a place of education,” Zlotin says in his heavily accented English. “He studied 14, 16 hours per day, and in this way he had huge knowledge in pretty unexpectable areas.”

Part of my work involves teaching lots of people—including through this blog—that they have a hero inside. The hero is some combination of things.

Unlocking the hero means unlocking energy that was not hitherto available, and which may otherwise be cut off.

Cutting off? Yes, the severance and death-related processes.

Unlocking? Yes, the emergence and life-related processes.

Heroic processes work above the arctic circle in a slave camp, they work in the vacuum of space, and gosh darn it, they work in your kitchen or bedroom or wherever you find yourself overpowered, lamenting the recent loss of a loved one, or the collapse of your career plans, or whatever else it might be.

Filed in: /123/ | /91/ | /101/

Scaling Functional Perspectives of Cognition, Advanced Levels, and Academic Math's A Changin'

Monday July 26, 2021

Scaling Functional Perspectives of Cognition

I’ve been playing with scaling modifiers to the new cognitive function extensions. The scaling modifiers are * and /.

Why these symbols in particular? Well, I already added plus and minus; My intuition tells me it would be fun to add all the other little calculator buttons, too, and this has been fun to think about.

Some people think you have to discover some hidden truth, and THEN you go adding in the symbologies.

But that’s boring. It’s more fun to reverse that process, and see what happens.

Here’s the Scale-up side:

  • O* would be the perception of the outsized potential of a given functional perspective, in a given context.
  • D* would be the intensive command to engage the tools of a given functional perspective, in a given context.

And the Scale-down side:

  • O/ would be the perception of a massive overengagement of the functional perspective, or a perception that its engagement must be massively decreased in order to achieve a good outcome.
  • D/ would be the intensive command to disengage the functional perspective.


  • NiD/ expresses e.g. your single-outcome perception role is massively overdone given the problem we need to solve here, so stop being such a prophet of doom.
  • FiO/xh expresses a question like “why is your skill at deploying relativistic relational logic so precious to you that it seems to prevent you from getting a good outcome in this situation?”

This last example is a big part of what keeps good people in cults, I’ve found. Which made me think about the way strong and overused functional perspectives keep people stuck to things, stuck in things, and stuck on things.

Attaching a formal language to this could act as a grosso modo method of measurement and help offer control that could, potentially—and as an example here—help people to leave harmful cult enviornments.

Advanced Levels, or Making it All Easier

One funny thing about hitting the advanced level in personal study, or even in a lot of formal disciplines: Quite often, nobody pops up and tells you when you’ve arrived.

It may be that your first perception of the advanced level is a deep feeling of frustration with your work. That’s expected, in a way, but it’s also kind of a shitty trophy to receive. Congrats! Here’s a feeling of frustration. Wear it proudly!

Others might also have a difficult time telling you what to do when you get there.

It seems to me that a lot of energy is wasted because we teach each other to think of “Advanced” as “difficult,” without spending much time on why advanced is difficult.

Advanced levels are difficult because they present more subjective problems, for one. Here’s an example:

  • There is more pressure on the individuals to go deep, because many of the superficial, objective parts are now in the practitioner’s past. They must now
    • Explore the subject matter in more depth
    • Explore the given context or setting in more depth
    • Formulate depth-based judgments about what to do next

Depth is difficult because it involves things like reconciliation loops and a willingness to self-contradict. It’s also extraordinarily difficult to communicate from a place of genuine depth, not only because of the time taken, but because there is a subjective weighting factor in determining how others can metabolize a depth-based conversation. In other words: I could explain this to you, but is it worth the trade-off?

In some cases, yes, it’s worth it via contract, compact, or other means.

But in many cases, the explanation is left undone, and the student who was ready to go advanced was left to think “just as I thought, they don’t know the answer,” or worse, “there’s no point in going this deep—after all I’m pretty good at it and I can’t perceive any of the value this person claims to have perceived clearly.”

It would be nice to develop better tools to communicate this level of depth; as it stands now, language leaves a stunning inequity here that robs us all of the progress we ought to be able to make together.

And THAT would be truly advanced progress.

Academic Math

Academic math has recently been changing in character. It seems to have transitioned from deeply qualitative theory to something more akin to opportunistic application.

Some have described this approach as stringing together “black boxes” which are “assumed to work”.

Here you can watch someone “very important”, who communicates from Ne*, Ti+ functional perspectives, lamenting this change:

His sentiment is mainly NeO* as he chases after subjective psychological mandate. We all must deploy our heroic perspectives.

But it’s also a clear sentiment of SeO/ and TeO/ in a hesitant way. The cards are already laid out; the river has been crossed. You can read the resignation on his face—in regard to those functional perspectives, at least.

Let me do some spitballin’ here.

Math has come down to earth. It probably will do more grounding in the near future. You’ll see more math in your home environment. You’ll be able to set your home cooker to make or print you a formulaic steak, and you’ll know your favorite formulaic patterns by heart.

That’s right, I’m talking about direct formulaic inputs! It will be an amazing convenience and ordinary people will be tripping over themselves to learn some more of that math.

Even backwater types will be playing twangy music in the background in their videos instructing you on their home-recipe formulaic inputs for your next competition-level, single-shot .25 caliber AI-assisted duck hunt.

(Who needs a shotgun anymore, with this kind of access to precision?)

This is all going to bug pure-logic theorists, which is great, and sure, kinda terrifying too, but IMO it will lead to a resurgence of theory later, with a much more expansive space where subjective-organizational TiO* inputs will feel like rainfall in the desert.

Math may even transcend itself in 20 different ways with this kind of metamorphosis happening, for all I know.


  • We will see more S types in academic math.
  • If you’re an INTJ who’s interested in math, now may be a terrific time to onboard yourself and find yourself taking leadership roles later on.
    • This does depend a lot on the role, environment, etc. Always start with math at a deeply subjective level and work outward from there. Basically, my advice would be SeD/ and TiD* for a lot of you INTJs out there who are really passionate about “being a mathematician” as opposed to doing math. That’s fine, but it’s also a trap.
  • Math comes home.
  • Outcomes ought to be really cool and fun. I look forward to a LOT of this.

OK, that’s enough for now.

Filed in: /52/ | /38/ | /90/

Why Closing Tabs is So Hard

Thursday July 22, 2021

A lot of people act as if keeping a lot of web browser tabs open is sloppy behavior. Or at the very least, amusing behavior. I don’t blame them; it’s become a bit of a cultural meme.

In the Google Chrome browser, you’ll see a laughing face icon if you open 100 tabs or more.

What’s a Tab, Really?

Personally I think this laughing face is a visual representation of a problem with the way we think about tabs.

Or: The way we don’t think about them.

To a lot of people, open tabs are “interesting stuff” maybe, or “stuff I forgot about”. The tabs themselves? Just tools. Memory-hogging tools even.

Our fears easily take over, and tell us they’re all clutter.

“Oh no, I’m some kind of data hoarder!” We reach for our most disastrous-sounding fear words.

Opening Tabs is Productive Effort, Even if You Think it’s Lazy

But: I’m here to tell you that opening tabs is work. And I think our minds recognize that—subconsciously, if not consciously.

Quite often, opening a tab is the result of research effort. For example, finding a book you read a long time ago, after finally remembering the title, or something other than the color of the cover.

Even if this is a comic book, or a children’s book, your subconscious mind may know its value better than you do. And the processes you used to find it may have been the same mental processes you use as part of your work day!

A new tab can also represent organizational work. Maybe it’s a workspace, like your favorite online code editor, mailbox, or the set of websites you need to review before you start your upcoming training.

Plus, a new tab can represent super-important progress on a big project that you know you’ll tend to put off again if you close the tab.

In this case, the tab that stays open does so because of analytical effort on your part. You analyzed your own behavior and kept the tab open based on probabilistic outcomes. Go you!

Tabs are Milestones

In some ways I think you could call tabs milestones and you’d have a better idea of what tabs represent, and why they are so hard to close.

Milestones involve positive emotion. They represent a path forward for you. Maybe that path forward involves re-reading that book you enjoyed, and getting your enjoyable lifestyle back into gear. Or maybe it involves completing the training that will surely lead to a promotion at work.

Keeping the tab open is important symbolically at the very least—the already opened tab is a symbol of part of you that is open, improving your life, or loving life, or seeing things in a new light.

A long strip of happy milestones along the top of a browser is, then, more like an accomplishment.

I think we should be proud of our tabs in a lot of cases. And browsers should help support this constructive practice and emotion. A laughing face doesn’t really help, and it may even hurt!

Tabs are Tombstones

After a while, the milestones often turn into symbolic tombstones. The act of closing the tab represents death—but it’s more like death due to giving up, than death due to natural causes.

Tombstone tabs involve negative emotion. Do we need more negative emotion in our lives? Do you? I don’t. Maybe this is why my tabs stay open longer.

The act of “closing tabs” can quickly become something like a mass-funeral. Sometimes we do the work to try to save tabs from this death.

Many of us have used third-party software or browser extensions to preserve the tabs we have open, and transition them to a specially-designated database of our own, for example.

Why do we try to preserve the tabs? Because open tabs are milestones along a longer journey, maybe. A journey that we don’t want to end. Likely for good reason.

So of course, this process is painful and it’s no wonder we put it off.

Preserving What’s Happy, Avoiding What’s Sad

With the tabs themselves representing THIS much sunk cost and emotional content…is it any wonder we humans can rack up so many open tabs, and feel so avoidant about closing them?

I think it’s only natural to find that tabs add up over time, even when we are constructively focused, and despite any fears about a loss of attention span.

This tab stuff is work! It’s progress! We all want to keep our happy progress, and prevent tab death.

Maybe more browsers could help us out with that part.

The browser can have its tabs back, but I want to keep my progress.

Filed in: /106/ | /56/ | /40/ | /123/ | /101/

Cognitive Function Extensions: D,O, Plus, Minus. Take 1.

Wednesday July 21, 2021

Here are some new cognitive function extensions I’ve been working on. The latest version is also symbolic:

Circular diagram showing cognitive functions

This model helps to catalog the cognitive functionality that anyone can access. It’s not really about what “type” you are, though it can help you transition from standard personality type to knowing yourself even better.

The four symbols are:

  • Spiral: Intuition
  • Circle: Sensation
  • Waves: Feeling
  • Triangle: Thinking

The underline represents introversion, while the overline represents extroversion.

The carat symbol indicates whether information is being directed / organized / created (upward arrow) or observed / taken in (downward arrow).

The plus and minus indicate more about the nature of the use of the function (more below).

Here’s the older version of the graphic, with the letters, for ease of reference:

Circular diagram showing cognitive functions

In terms of presentation this is really rough so far, but that’s mostly because it’s a fairly detailed model and it’s still first steps here.

New Suffixes

There are two new letter suffixes:

D: Directive use of the function (upward carat or arrow). Involves directing, cueing, or otherwise emphasizing changes that are to be executed.
O: Observant use of the function (downward carat or arrow). Involves observing, noting, or otherwise emphasizing things that are observed/sensed/perceived.

In this model, “Judging” functions T and F can be used for perception, and “Perceiving” functions N and S can be used in judgment (directive) tasks. I feel this more accurately describes the use of these functions in normal conversation.

There are also two other suffixes, the plus and minus:

+: Positive or constructive use of the function. Emphasizes things you should do or will do for positive effect, or that are happening / will happen / have happened for positive effect.
-: Negative, critical, or destructive use of the function. Emphasizes things that should not be done, or will not be done, or that are happening / will happen / have happened for negative effect.

Question Symbols

Since questions come up a lot in speech and thought, I’ve designated ‘x’ as a question mark substitute (borrowed from Gregg Shorthand). The x is written in lowercase unless it is denoted as subscript, in that case it would be capitalized. Here are question-type-specific notations:

  • Questions as to the name or label of something/someone: xa
  • Questions as to how a thing is, or why it is: xh
  • Questions as to the properties of a thing (size, weight, color…or meaning, if coupled with N functions): xp
  • Questions as to where a thing is: xr
  • Questions as to when a thing happened/happens: xn

Where is my car? SeO+xr

Why did your friend come so late? TeO-xh

What is the meaning of this black feather on my pillow? SeO-xh

What is the meaning of life? NiO+xp

What could life possibly mean? NeO+xp

I went by mom’s house today and found this old cassette recorder. I think it will fit our plans perfectly. Do you like it? SiO+ —> SeO+ —> NiO+ —> FiO+xh

There is a lot of room for argument as to which functions are used here. I think of this as more of a Lego-like language, or a language for inspiring more questions about people, instead of a precise replication language. So you could even simply say that the example here concerns an issue of NiD+xp, or what we ought to do to achieve a future outcome. But it would be even better to actually ask the subject about that—to what degree does that conclusion seem true to the subject?

I’d rather use the terms to ask questions or stimulate thinking, than to delineate sides in an argument. Each viewpoint may have its own unique leverage. Hold your models lightly…

For Best Use

  • Think about some sentences or types of statements that a friend or coworker says a lot. How do those statements show a functional position? Are they Directive, or Observant? More plus, or more minus? Which function and attitude (E or I) do they seem to indicate? What might this say about their preferred way of looking at life, or making decisions?
  • Write in your journal and review what you’ve written. What functional positions are reflected?
  • Which functional positions seem interesting to you?
  • Which functional positions seem to irritate you, if any? Which do you struggle with at work, or in relationships?

Below I’ve written up the entire group, providing examples where possible:

- Ne: (Extroverted Intuition)
    - Directive D+/-
        - + Get everybody to contribute their ideas. No idea should be considered unworthy or dumb!
        - - Don't do it the old-fashioned way unless you want old-fashioned results.
    - Observant O+/-
        - + Air traffic can be compared to fish swimming in a river.
        - - You're stuck on all these old ideas. Let some creativity in!
- Ni: (Introverted Intuition)
    - D+/-
        - + Buy this stock today and you'll likely triple your money by this time next year.
        - - CONCEPT (Contingency) Don't rent an apartment within earshot of that railroad track or you'll hear trains all night.
    - O+/-
        - + CONCEPT / Future: In the future people will live more like animals, but in a good way.
        - - METAPHOR / Now: The person running the hot dog stand is a real snake.
- Se: (Extroverted Sensation)
    - D+/-
        - + Jump up and down a few times, it'll get you warmed up.
        - + To be an impressive person in this group I ought to wear a really new set of clothing.
        - - You'll be misunderstood if you frown like that while dancing to happy music.
        - - Don't speak so quietly. People will never notice you.
    - O+/-
        - + The loud music makes me feel alive.
        - + This food is fresh.
        - - This cassette player is old.
        - - That person is getting all the attention by laughing loudly; everyone is looking at them.
- Si: (Introverted Sensation)
    - Directive D+/-
        - + Emphasize our traditions in your talk to the new employees.
        - - Don't ignore my important dates and family traditions or we can't be together.
        - - Don't put those two foods together, that's disgusting. PB&J has no "A" for apples.
    - Observant O+/-
        - + We used to sit under this tree and eat those yummy pastries together, remember?
        - - That's not how things are done around here. We have been in the business for years, so don't argue until you know the ropes.
- Te: (Extroverted Thinking)
    - Directive D+/-
        - + Count your calories and you'll lose weight. Measurement yields control.
        - + I should start that project today so I have enough time to finish it by the end of the month.
        - - Nobody does things that way anymore. It's totally dumb.
        - - Stop completing your work so late.
    - Observant O+/-
        - + Using the new system, our profits went up by 20% and we did 30% less work!
        - - You made us late again. How is it this hard to get to work a few minutes early?
- Ti: (Introverted Thinking)
    - Directive D+/-
        - + When you get to Level 2 of the game, go into the first door on the right and push on the right side of the bookcase.
        - - Stop telling that person you disagree with them, if you want them to like working with you.
    - Observant O+/-
        - + If you take two away from a group of three, you get one. 
        - - It seems like a dumb idea to walk on the oncoming-traffic side of the road if you don't want to get hit by that oncoming car.
- Fe: (Extroverted Thinking)
    - Directive D+/-
        - + Always thank the person who introduced you before your speech.
        - - Ditch that loser and move on with your life.
    - Observant O+/-
        - + Everyone on the team is united under the noble principles of our cause.
        - - That person has horrible breath and wears tacky clothing.
- Fi: (Introverted Thinking)
    - Directive D+/-
        - + You should talk to people and get to know them better, even if you know they could hurt you.
        - - Don't accept public praise and rewards that you privately know you don't deserve.
    - Observant O+/-
        - + I value relationships that are co-creative. 
        - - I don't like it when people make fun of others who are in vulnerable situations.

Note: This model does include plus and minus, which I think I’ve mentioned before are also used in at least one Socionics model, but the use there has varying characteristics and I am treating my pluses and minuses here as distinct. Kind of like the way the letters can mean different things depending on the model, even if the models use the same letters.

Filed in: /91/ | /38/ | /60/ | /13/ | /19/ | /24/ | /34/ | /30/ | /56/ | /52/ | /37/ | /27/ | /106/ | /6/ | /123/ | /33/ | /15/

That Ain't Hobby Money

Wednesday July 14, 2021

Cherie writes,

I was reading about your view of interests and hobbies. I know some of my friends don’t like hearing this because they are so dedicated to everything, but I don’t like spending money on hobbies, especially new ones.

I wanted to call this point out a bit, and underline it: I agree!

Sometimes it feels like there’s a LOT of social pressure to upgrade one’s approach to a hobby.

There’s also internal pressure. I think INTJs can really understand this vulnerability with a bit of awareness. For one, we may find ourselves in the passionate-ESFP zone with hobbies:

  • Assess and compare the sensory quality of hobby gear: Quality of build, appearance, feel, sound, etc.
  • Compare yourself against others; Become the best in the hobby, yourself
  • Make an impact on other people
  • Use impactful gear to show you aren’t going to be f***ed with; strut your stuff

Even in really geeky hobbies, there’s all this amazing gear. You name the hobby, and there’s the high-end of it which, yes, hobbyists are buying into.

And then there’s the passionate-INTJ zone backing this up, like:

  • Don’t get caught being dumb; make smart choices from the start so you don’t regret it later
  • Research the best gear to buy, don’t just buy from whatever ad pops up
  • Buy gear that will easily match up against the future contingencies you see with your Ni-vision
  • Maybe buy a couple more just for contingency reasons

Personally, I’m very familiar with this way of looking at hobbies. And even though I still find myself thinking this way, it has also lost a lot of its appeal to me.

I wanted to share an experience that I think demonstrates why…or how…

Here, I Just Upgraded Your Hobby for You

A while back I was participating in an online EDC community. It was fun to share little items, pocket stuff I enjoyed bringing along on a hike or on a trip or whatever.

And one of my relatively new hobby rules is like this: I go cheap and broad with new hobbies, rather than expensive & deep.

So instead of buying the best item in a category, I’ll buy a few good-enoughs at 1/10 the price, and explore how they work differently, learning the ins and outs and the leverage points of each. I found that I like this better overall.

I often find that I like the color of cheaper items better, or they fit my hand better, and they are otherwise good enough or even overkill for what I’m doing.

This led to me sharing a photo of some EDC items, including a knockoff pocket knife. It’s a really pretty blue color and I enjoy it. I also liked that I scouted it out online, like a hunter, finding that perfect medium—the right color, an amazing price, and well-reviewed by a few people who knew the topic deeply.

I got some nice comments from the community, but then really soon after that I received an offer—someone said they wanted to send me the expensive, proper, branded version of that very knife! It’s not cheap, not by a long shot, but they said they had an extra that they would be happy to part with.

In the mail, a few days later, I received TWO branded pocketknives, and a very nice pocket flashlight. And not used at all, but shipped direct from an online store, and in complete original packaging, with a receipt. This person spent a lot of money on a stranger. I was grateful. (I told them I’d pay it forward, and I did)

The Mystery of the Internet Patron

But then it got weirdly complex, thinking about what happened.

What IS it about this situation? It started to bug me.

It was a really nice gesture. But also, thinking about it as I sat with all this brand new, expensive gear in my lap, I had to conclude—it felt VERY awkward.

I could tell that the person who sent me these things was very passionate about their hobby. They clearly wanted other people to also reach, or see, their passion-pinnacle.

But for me it wasn’t that kind of interest.

I have to say that the passion I felt from this generous person went a bit beyond normal and into the creepy zone.

Not that they themselves were necessarily acting super creepy.

But that it reminded me of my own creepy-passionate aspects.

And memories.

Can You Give Away A Passion for Free?

That was it!

It reminded me of this time. Way back, years ago. I moved to a faraway country, and I knocked on tens of thousands of doors.

(Not to brag, but: I can mimic the sound of a 1990s Japanese doorbell running out of its final few seconds of battery power.)

(Well—and I can also mimic the sound of a Japanese housewife being sketched out by the sight of a tall American in a $1 necktie, soaked from head to toe in typhoon moisture and happy to be off the road for now, sorry, moving on to the next door)

I was out there making free offers. With passion.

I’d offer to give people free books out of my backpack, teaching them the mysteries of the universe that science had missed.

And if they didn’t want the free book, how about this free English class?

Or how about a free prayer…?

Well—free for now. From me, it’s free. Yep.

But later, truth be told, if you really get passionate, there’s some really amazing stuff you can spend money on.

Personally I ended up spending 10% of my yearly income on that particular passion project, and even more money than that, as I explored many sub-hobbies within it…for years…

Passion Energy Makes Me Want to go Cheap Sometimes

Passion energy is really amazing. It feels like it ought to be more infectious than it is. It also feels like it should be free.

Here, try some! Isn’t it great?

But it’s kind of scary, too. It can lock you up with backlogs full of meaning or conflict to dissect later on, not to mention the resource-consuming energy highs and energy lows.

So I think that’s why I end up going cheap, for fun. If things don’t have to be that serious, then I don’t want to send my future self any kind of signal that overdoes the passion and makes everything just way too much.

I think that’s also why I abuse this blog a bit, in the sense that I aim for a less-than-passionate outcome.

Quite a few readers have sent me ideas for improvement, awesome suggestions, feedback. All appreciated—they tell me about your interest, for sure.

And yet I have to admit I don’t wanna summon the level of energy required. Not that I’d hate the outcome. But…you could say I don’t want it to be that passionate of an activity.

I want it to be cheap, broad, shallow in its own way.

I’ve probably come to be terrified of passion, at a very deep level. Or at least, key aspects of passion. It’s serious biz.

How about you?

Filed in: /90/ | /101/ | /65/

Hmmm! Destin from Smarter Every Day?

Thursday July 8, 2021

I was watching some Smarter Every Day videos lately and I got this really sudden, strong INTJ-intuition. Is Destin an INTJ? Maybe!

It’s a fun video. Very little poop is involved. Destin is doing a demonstrative variant of taking the manual writing character bonus for INTJs.

(Note: I have been aboard a nuclear submarine myself, walked among the missile tubes, and it was a really neat experience. Also, I did look behind the curtains like any curious person might, and I saw a bunch of statistics that I don’t remember, and yes, the curtains were shut really fast when somebody caught on. They were pros about it though. Thanks US Navy! I won’t forget all the ice cream I ate on ur boat)

Also. IMO Linus from Linus Tech Tips rings my ENTJ bell, and here they are together for people who have asked me about ENTJs on Youtube.

I hope you can see the way Linus’ extraversion energy is effectively L I M I T L E S S by comparison. In contrast, Destin is much more introverted/subjective and incorporates himself at a deeper level, but I think he does it in a really graceful way. He also goes into some really cool little factors in his videos that Linus would probably swat away like annoying flies.

Linus has also been observed doing some risky Ni stuff before, like proclaiming the one-certain-meaning-to-this and calling a product or situation a disaster before he really knows what’s going on with the details. My hope for anybody developing Ni is that they can move beyond this “we’re f***ed” stage as quickly as possible.

I do see Linus’ Te really pushing Destin into the Fi box during that video; anyway it’s no big deal and it’s cool to see them together. Always something to learn…no space for emotional drama here, nope…k back to work and learning everybody…lol

Just to balance things out, here’s an observationally-ESFP I like to watch sometimes.

All clear in sector seven!

Filed in: /90/ | /34/ | /59/

Perfectionism and INTJs: More Thoughts & Strategies

Thursday July 8, 2021

Jesse writes,

…I had a pretty big life-changer experience. I always wondered where my exhaustion/anxiety and depression came from. I didn’t feel they were inborn; that they were just symptoms of a systemic problem.

Turns out I’m a clinical perfectionist. Learning this has been massively relieving. I gander many INTJs struggles with this. Probably any high-achieving personality type.

This video really opened my eyes. I’m reading Overcoming Perfectionism now. I feel 100 pounds lighter.

Thanks Jesse for sharing your experience and the video. And way to go! I’m really happy for you, you deserve it all and more.

Jesse’s email made me think about where perfectionism fit into my own journey.

Thoughts on Perfectionism

I remembered that for me, perfectionism was by far the worst when I was working in xSTJ business environments where A) rules governing employees were valued over output, and 2) my own subjective values were not appreciated or demonstrated.

It’s been a while since I’ve been in that situation though, so I’m not sure how it would work out these days. I’d like to think I could go back and really push back, but who knows. Groups are powerful and self-protective.

And that’s a circumstantial example. I think circumstances really matter. We humans like to think we can “fix” things but sometimes that’s a really dumb notion.

Getting out of those circumstances (i.e. quitting both positions and moving the f*** on with my life) almost instantly “cured” my perfectionism, including weird things like a speech impediment I was starting to develop! It’s a memory from long ago that still makes me shake my head.

However, there are certainly a lot of strategies that have helped when I get into more of a perfectionist mode. These have helped me from falling into the same old traps over and over, even or especially when working for myself. So here we go!

Other Strategies

Off the top of my head, some things that helped me deal with perfectionism in general:

  • Always try to define the minimum amount of work that will satisfy all stakeholders.
    • Even if you’re the only stakeholder.
    • On an ongoing basis, find ways to leverage portions of the work which make the minimum easier, and which allow you to raise the bar a little bit.
    • My theory is that “minimum” is not really going to be a minimum for a perfectionist anyway, so there’s no need to worry about under-doing. There will always be some incidental perfectionism.
  • Take the S/N “Do / Don’t Do” model to heart. Someone said, “INTJs are perceiver-thinkers, not so much doers.”
    • Does this mean we can’t do? No way! So don’t let your “I’m so great at doing” ego destroy you—there is a LOT you can accomplish in life by leaning harder into that non-doing stance. The outside world sees much of it as pure artisanal wisdom. (As long as we don’t brag about it)
    • If your perfectionism is in ANY WAY feeding a tendency to brag or even humble-brag, a la the Se-Fi “I’m so great, in fact greatness is what makes me so great” life hack, be careful. This can turn into a huge Fe blindspot issue.
  • Take the NiTe-SeFi “Perfectionistic Swings” model to heart.
    • Swings WILL happen. You WILL become a doer, and maybe even a frantic, impassioned doer at that.
    • Some of these swings will incorporate so much bottled-up emotion that you’ll over-commit to a project. This can also be described as perfectionism.
    • Try to keep it loose, don’t bring your introvert side’s depth too far into this one, at least not at first.
    • Try to keep it improvisatory if possible. Loose, improvisatory doing supported by ongoing learning can start to look like style over time—and who doesn’t like that?
    • Time it, don’t expect to go all day. Force breaks.
    • Bring in mood support—good snacks, music to listen to, movies to watch, turn on a fan, whatever it takes.
  • Live like a cat. Lazy, lazy, lazy, BOOM focused energy, lazy, lazy, lazy…
  • Do some list-making during downtime. I personally prioritize by task momentum, so most-interesting-first is my frequent list-making rule in order to make the ramp-up as quick and easy as possible.
    • God I use dashes a lot. rofl
  • Give thoughts and emotions time to balance out the to-do list.
    • Write, then wait. Come back to your list. What looks off? What does it need more of / less of?
  • Consider the Task BATL-style focus on measured / quanitifed & balanced productivity
    • You should feel secure in your pursuit of your own skills and interests. Not somebody else’s. And a lot of them should be skills you have mastered and continue to develop. You should be able to demonstrate leverage and control over them (see the end of that post) and this ought to help you understand that these are sustainable skills which you are comfortable building slowly over time. Less spike, and less general concern. You are secure in your pursuit of them. By definition you’ll be less perfectionistic about them.
    • You should know how long stuff will take and what the steps are—minimum. Consider the first point of the productivity triangle.
  • Harness the power of subjectivity. Defining yourself by your internal world and various interests brought forward from your own past. Learn deeply about your own values and interests. Work to develop them; long-term interests often define areas of strength. Actively set time and energy boundaries in environments where those values and interests aren’t accepted or used.
    • This will also help you stop comparing yourself so much to other people.
  • Don’t let important or deeply-emotional thoughts flit in and out of your mind constantly. Keep an organized system of notes so you can leverage the things you’re thinking or feeling about today, later on.
    • I use markdown and Geany for both note-taking and journaling. Most of my notes on any given topic also include a progress tracker or To-Do list. Forgetting where you’re at with, and learning about, a thing you’re interested in can also look like a driver of perfectionism.
  • Keep in mind: “I’m not done yet” — please watch the Mike Lin Webinar Video and while watching, think of yourself as a life-designer.

That’s all I got for now…plus you guys know how this blog works (high-volume slop first, fix later) so you get to see me actively trashing perfectionism with every chance I get. We are FAR from perfect here.

Hope it helps!

Filed in: /32/ | /106/ | /34/ | /21/

Text Editor Tips, Random Workouts, Secret Agent Roleplaying

Saturday July 3, 2021

Aston Martin aside the road on a cloudy day

Get your spy music ready for today’s post…

Just some stuff I’ve been working on lately…let’s do the (kinda?) boring stuff first!

Text Editor Journaling for Productivity

I just published a video showing some of the ways I journal for productivity using Geany:

There’s a ton of stuff in here really, so I think the video maybe looks more boring than it is.

Or…I REALLY hope so.

Random Workouts

Here’s an article with a list of random workouts and some methods for selecting one.

I’ve been using it for the last week and it’s been pretty fun.

I usually roll a few and then pick the one I like.

Secret Agent Roleplaying: SIFT-CADS

Here’s the skeleton of a new tabletop roleplaying system I’ve been working on. It’s meant for games with that James Bond vibe.

To keep it simple, the mechanic is D100 based, roll-under percentage. So if you are 75% good at something, you try to roll at or under 75. With some modifiers as specified below.

Facets (SIFT)

Assign these scores to your character in any arrangement: 25, 25, 75, 75, higher is better.

(Do these look familiar…?)

  • Sensory (Body, sensation, awareness of surroundings, awareness of personal health)
  • Intuitive (Inner prediction, brainstorming, profiling people or places)
  • Feeling (Charisma, relational thinking & negotiation, emotional prowess, manipulation)
  • Thinking (Logic, analysis, definitions / labels knowledge, facts, trivia)

Facets help you determine what kind of character you’ve got on your hands. More mentally prepared, more physically-focused, more charismatic, or cold and logical?

And yeah, one of the lowkey goals of the game design was to see if I could integrate the various personality functions.

Attributes (CADS)

Attributes are like special weapons the character can deploy at any time. To really get the most out of a super spy, a good player-character will use a mix of these in every adventure.

When the player uses these, they are allowed to change the scene, and the GM defers to character prerogative or tries to accomodate the player’s changes. (Some negotiation over this is OK) A player can use each Attribute once per basic adventure, for a scene change and automatic roll-at-or-under 75 to get the result.

  • Command (Take charge)
    • Bark orders at people and watch them obey
    • Stare people down and intimidate them into doing what you want
    • Taking opportunities in such a way that others come along
  • Anticipate (Work from Concrete Intel)
    • Call up or signalling a source / contact
    • Thank God You’ve Come (a friend arrives to help)
    • You trick your opponent into a trap you set before you entered the scene
  • Demonstrate (Gain extra motivation by technical display / peacock)
    • Show off a sick gadget
    • Operate nearby machinery or vehicles
    • Use the scenery or nearby people / animals as a jungle gym
  • Sacrifice (Gain motivational energy from great pain or suffering)
    • Soak up extra damage
    • Gain accuracy, strength, flexibility when task involves great pain


Skills provide an extra 10 or 20 points to the high-end goal of any Facet roll. So if you were rolling under 25, it could be increased to 35 or 45. Distribute 100 points for first adventure.

  • Academia (2 higher-education years per 10 points)
  • Fighting / Formal Martial Arts
  • Fighting / Rough and Tumble
  • Shooting, Long Distance
  • Shooting, Short Distance
  • Acrobatics
  • Languages (1 Language per 10 points)
  • Military (4 years per 10 points)
  • Household and self-care (Cooking, making up a room, cleaning up their attire, calming down with a distraction)
  • Medical


  • Players can choose any gear but they use Facets, Attributes, or Skills to use it.
  • The difference between a PPK and RPG is in how you describe its effect—this is to emphasize the narrative aspect of the game.


  • Facets (SIFT, above) can be Cocked or Half-cocked.
    • Cocked Facets give you a boost of 25 to your roll-at-or-under target number. 2 Uses.
    • Half-cocked Facets give you a boost of 25, but instantly add an extra danger factor to the scene. 2 uses per adventure.

Danger Factor

  • The GM should specify things that are dangerous about every scene.
    • A good scene needs at least 3.
    • For example a mix of dangerous persons, places/objects (huge lasers; a cliff), animals, or events (natural disasters).
    • GM decides whether they are used, but they are usually available.

Core Mechanic

  • When a problem needs to be solved and difficulty is involved
    • Roll at or under Facet + Skill percentage. Add Cocking factor. Subtract difficulty modifiers.
    • Use each Attribute at any time, but only once; describe the change in scene and roll under 75.
    • Facets are reduced by 20 points for every damage taken.
      • Payers determine to which Facet damage is taken.
    • Any Facet reduced to 0 or less results in an incapacitated character.
  • When an enemy character does something…
    • Give them 50, 60, or 70 points:
      • Mook, henchman, or agent. Or a group (divide up the points per character)
      • The player’s character generally does 30 points of damage, or 60 points if they roll higher than their Facet
    • Or for enemy super-spies, stat them up like a player’s own character, without Attributes and with no Cocking.
  • Other enemies
    • The weather, a damaged vehicle one is trying to control, etc.
    • These modify the roll by subtracting 10 or 20.

That’s it for now…enjoy the weekend!

Filed in: /123/ | /106/ | /90/

Do you recline for best work performance?

Thursday June 24, 2021

I’ve noticed this pattern among my ENTJ friends:

…they sit in a huge recliner to work, like Louis does.

(I have to admit it makes me laugh, sorry but that huge friggin’ recliner is straight out of my grandma’s house, not that I’m some exemplary furniture guy, but there we are)

Now, we could call this the cringe-inducing influence of tertiary Se, for example. And there are some funny things that jive well with the child-like Se-positioning framework. I mean, some of those same friends also eat kids’ breakfast cereal in the morning, their diets are absolute crap, and it’s hard to take somebody serious when they’re inviting you to conquer the galaxy with them while spilling milk on themselves as they try to reach the recliner adjustment on the side of the friggin’ huge chair.

However I have to admit I am kind of coming around to this recliner thing.

First, laying down for work is admittedly pretty damn nice. I do this all the time and end up laying in bed and getting WAY more work done than I thought I would.

(I always have to straighten up the room when I do this, I need at least a three-star museum-quality bed setup, pick things up and straighten out the blankets, or it all just feels so wrong)

But reclining is also really, really comfortable for long periods. It doesn’t require as much bed-pillow adjustment for example. I do use a lumbar pillow now, because I hate being slumped over when I sit up.

I’m browsing around online, considering all options, including a “gaming recliner” which is somehow just a hilarious combination of words to me today.

And I’m tagging this under Fitness, because I get this funny intuition-itch that tells me that sitting in a lazy position all day at work could support a psychological craving for athletic activity later! You never know about this yin-yang stuff.

Anyway. Tune in next time, as I live-blog from one of those hot new custom gaming caskets!

Filed in: /106/ | /30/ | /24/ | /123/

Stephen Wolfram added to INTJ List

Thursday June 24, 2021

I added Stephen Wolfram to my list of people I would say are, observationally, INTJs.

I thought a lot about this one. But as of now, I have to conclude that the nature of his thinking is extremely subjective-intuition-driven (Ni) and even stubbornly so. His language is fundamentally visual-metaphorical (watch his gestures and descriptions), which is also an important sign of Ni-basing. And his career keeps coming back to patterns where this intuitive foundation mixes with utter pragmatism and business logic (Te).

There were also some early life & career missteps that seemed more fundamentally INTJ than any other type.

I think that’s the best way I can put it, for now.

Other candidate personality types were: ENTP (I’d say maybe 15% chance based on the reading / watching I’ve done so far), and INTP (5%).

There are some aspects of his use of experiential recall, Te-constructive work over long periods of time, and extraverted intuition that intrigue me. But not enough to distract from my main conclusion. These could easily be family- or environmentally-influenced, for example. Even the fact that one has an audience, or a “social persona,” could be enough to virtually mandate the use of various extraverted personality aspects.

To some degree there’s a bit of a vulnerability or weakness involved in admitting one can be wrong about guessing someone else’s personality type. But I like to lean into that. I have been wrong before, and being wrong about stuff is an important key to learning about personality, and many other things.

The Why

Why do this list-making with personality types?

One reason is that it helps me explore my own interests at a deeply effective level. For example, if I’m interested in math, science, or physics, it may be easier for me to learn Wolfram-the-INTJ’s theories first, and add other challenges later, than it is to learn Einstein-the-INTP’s theories first.

With an INTJ’s “unification-style” theorizing done up front, it would tend to be much easier for me to dive into the “separation-style” theorizing done by an INTP, because I can better see where their discrete, separated-style works fit into the big picture of the theory.

I can test this in a simple way by reading through their materials, and in many cases this has proven a very helpful method for picking up new skills, or just learning new things.

Filed in: /90/ | /59/ | /34/

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