Marc's INTJ Blog

Reading Reviews vs. Knowing the Thing

Tuesday June 25, 2019

One of the big risks taken by INTJs while embarking on a knowledge journey is relying on reviews to pick a product. We tend to really love reading reviews and we love for this activity to work with extra-high leverage in our favor.

If there’s something in our Amazon wish list, or if there’s some online course we’ve got sitting in the cart, or if there’s some higher-ed program we’re looking at, it’s likely due in large part to an inquiry into an external batch of perceptions.

This is why INTJs are some of the first people you’ll hear complaining about things like Amazon reviewers receiving products for free. The INTJ (as a type; individuals may vary) wants the review process to be pure, ethical, untainted. Writing a review is practically a sacred practice for us! We know this because we metabolize review content very easily and generally with high expectations.

And that’s one of our key cognitive shortcuts in action, our “hard science” of gaining “knowledge.” Quotes intentional.

You may recall that this can also open us up to manipulation, ridicule, and other revelations regarding one of our painful blind spots.

I mean I haven’t READ it, I just skimmed some reviews online, but from what I recall…

Reading a lot of reviews about a thing, or having general, abstract knowledge of a thing, can also trick us into believing that we have actually experienced the thing.

You’re probably already aware of the amazing aspects of this. The movie Flight of the Phoenix is a good example of the way this can work, if you’re familiar with the engineer character’s background (if not, watch it, both old & new versions are pretty good). Sometimes it’s enough to know the general theory. Especially when no one else has a clue. In these cases, information was efficiently gained and efficiently applied, and this is kind of an INTJ ideal. Too bad it can’t happen every time.

On the other side of that, there’s nothing like having some sense beat into you by reality when you go to apply knowledge that you gleaned from a bunch of reviews, or from skimming a bunch of books, or from watching a Youtube documentary at 1.5x speed. And on top of that, when you realize you are standing in company of experts. People who have probed depths of the thing. Perhaps even the very people you forgot that you watched in a video, with their words spitting out of your screen and sounding intensely intellectual. “Gee, you sounded a bit daft in real life; I didn’t even know it was you!”

(Is this hurting yet? Geez, it hurts me to write it!)

A Summary of Summaries

A while back I subscribed to a book summary service for executives, which in my mind’s eye unlocked potentially massive amounts of knowledge. Going into this, I remember thinking that I could acquire an incredible diversity of knowledge in a very efficient way, and thereby…

…meet some kind of goal? Never be unprepared? Be the best, like no one ever could? Hmm, something like that!

Anyway, I used the service for a while and then, like many other services and udemy accounts before it, it sat unused for a long time.

As it turns out, I didn’t need it. I’m glad I thought critically about the experience, but having such immediate access to such broad (and correspondingly shallow) reviews turned out to be a waste.

While the summaries were helpful and well-written, I think that kind of thing would be most useful for someone who’s always being tested on the latest trendy business or self-improvement books. Socially tested, probably. Maybe that person works in an NT organization. (This makes me weep a bit out of pity, because like any organization, NT organizations can have their own really cringy and even destructive customs, and I’ve experienced many of them. Every organization needs some flex and balance.)

How it Feels to know a thing

This brings me to something of which it’s helpful to be aware: This broad knowledge-seeking trait, the review-seeking, breezy knowledge buffet-seeking behavior, feeds into one of the INTJ’s core fears:

I can’t be caught dead not knowing about something.”

This, by itself, is frequently enough to prevent an INTJ from deepening their knowledge about things that are important to them. Being more analytical. Really getting into analysis and feeling proud of the accomplishment of creating or designing a unique framework or method.

Going a step beyond that subjective-analysis gift, I’d like to assert that to really know about something is akin to experiencing it via every single one of the Jungian functions.

To get hands-on. To get down and dirty. To imagine the thing. To feel it clashing with one’s own values, and to even watch those values shift as you gain experience with a personal system of values! To estimate the way it fits with societal standards. To visualize the way it will probably help you.

Such a standard is, among other things, appropriately humbling. You can master some things, but you probably can’t master all. Well, deal with it! Awareness is more empowering than an unsustainable goal of knowledge-perfection.

If we can’t be caught dead not knowing a thing,

(and I don’t recommend trying to run hard and fast away from that core fear,)

let us at least know what it is, or is not,

to really know a thing.

Suggested Exercises

  • Develop a standard for establishing the quality of a product as compared to your needs. This standard should work well in the absence of third-party reviews.
  • Think about products you purchased in the past, and about which you read reviews. Products which you would not purchase if you could go back in time. (the “reading reviews is my secret superpower” ego may get in the way, so try to keep a humble viewpoint)
  • Write a review on a thing. Keep the review to a “normal” length, say 250 to 500 words. As you write, think about the kind of people to whom the main points of your review wouldn’t really matter. Think about those to whom you would definitely recommend and the people to whom you would not recommend that thing.
  • Next time you buy something, establish subjective criteria on your own before you read any reviews. As you buy more of that type of thing, update your list of personal criteria with things you’ve learned from your subjective experience of that product or service.
  • When writing your next review, read and gauge the emotional or feeling-qualities of your critical voice. Professional critics usually develop a nuanced and even friendly tone. How could your voice be altered to convey a more educated or deeply-familiar tone? There are often members of a reviewer’s audience who will naturally come to an opposite appraisal, as their subjective experience or psychology differs.

Filed in: /11/ | /5/ | /30/ | /22/ | /18/

I think I might have an INTJ doctor, and what that means

Monday June 17, 2019

So I met with a new doctor last week and I have the sneaking suspicion that he’s an INTJ. I don’t know for sure, and I haven’t talked to him about MBTI or anything, but at this point my intuition is pretty strong.

(By the way, we’re a rare type but we’re not that rare. Our rarity varies depending on vocation, for one)

Here’s what I already really like about this prospect:

Similar Experiences

I can tell we’ve struggled with some of the same tendencies, health-wise. I brought in all of my supplements and showed them to him, and he immediately honed in on the sleep-related supplements and shared his experiences with insomnia.

Similar Approaches

He likes to learn new stuff, and teach other people about it, as a way of learning. That part is pretty clear. He had a white board and gave me a lesson about insomnia and sleep cycles.

He also uses a lot of metaphor in explaining things.

He’s also pretty open to approaches that are irrational. We INTJs like that stuff. It’s counter-intuitive? GREAT! Fantastic! We’ll remember it better that way and it excites us.

What ELSE an INTJ doctor means

Here’s where the idea of an INTJ doctor gives me pause. After our appointment I found that I was asking myself these concerning questions:

  • Is he the kind of INTJ who will shoot down new ideas that don’t fit his existing mental models, before really understanding them?
    • This is explained pretty well by Jung’s “introversion” model; introverts are generally de-energized by new stuff that comes at them, and it can make them grumpy, negative, etc.
  • Will he need to teach too much, preferring to teach from his past experience rather than listening?
    • Again, will this prevent him or me from making important progress, or finding out new stuff that might be new to us both?
  • If I teach him anything due to my measurements and experiences (I’m an INTJ, there’s ALWAYS a chance of this), how will he take that? Will it hurt his pride?
  • If I learn something from a different source, or take a different course of action based on different feedback from other professionals, will this make him retreat emotionally and become aloof?

…those are just some of the concerns. So you can see: I’m not super excited to have an INTJ doctor or anything like that, except in the sense of having access to his past and things he’s learned. That part is awesome. But if he’s not open to new information, or if his ego is defensive regarding how much he knows/doesn’t know, that could really suck.

What you want in a doctor is someone who’s an awesome human being. Well-rounded, healthy, and willing to listen & help. Type is only part of the picture.

It’s nice, though, to be able to hear about his experiences and metaphors and kind of immediately understand what he’s saying, and on top of that to see how I can immediately put it into practice. He’s already shared with me some sleep tricks that I’m trying out.

He does want me to get off the sleep supplements:

  • Melatonin: let’s let your body produce that naturally.
  • Doxylamine: If you wake up too early, put on a boring podcast or lecture or audio book. Listen to it.
  • Overall: Ramp down before your sleep. Bananas, nuts, and milk all have tryptophan in them. Don’t watch stressful movies or TV shows. Go to bed at a good time.

I tried this for a couple of nights and promptly f’ed up my mood something severe. It was not cool. So for now I’m kind of doing a mix of all that stuff and planning on a slow ramp-down toward better natural sleep.

For example, I can write 700 to 2000 words before bed and sleep pretty well, usually. It’s annoying, but it helps.

Going to bed early helps me out, too.

So I’m still going to play with his ideas, adding in some of my own. Even if he didn’t tell me why he wants me off doxylamine (I’m a grump about this because I read the literature too, and IDK what the big deal is based on what I saw), he did give me some new general ideas to pursue.

Filed in: /25/

Weight Loss Milestone Reached; Reflections

Monday June 17, 2019

So, just as planned, and still with much difficulty, I managed to hit 203 lbs. on Saturday for a total of 8 lbs. lost so far.

Spreadsheet screenshot showing weight loss progress and chart

“Just as planned.” Sheesh.

This has been much harder than I thought it would be. Which is funny, given that I’ve lost 100 lbs. before. However, I’m a stress eater and my stress levels have been high lately. Also it’s been a few years now. I readily admit that I forgot some of those weight loss tools I used before.

Why so much stress?

Lately I’ve been pressing a lot of life’s buttons all at once. Let’s change this thing over here, that one over there, and why not do all of that at the same time.

However, I love change when I see some leverage in it. When I catch the vision of a possibility for some positive change that will give me superior results, I need to chase it!

Of course, if you’ve ever done that thing where you press all the buttons on a device with buttons, you know it can wear down the battery. The battery then requires a charge, and this particular battery is known to accept food in place of electricity.

In fact I’d like to claim that I resemble Mr. Fusion a bit. Put some junk in me, that’s fine! Boom, OK, that was a good quick fix. Emotionally, anyway. It’s comforting.

I do have some tools to work on the stress, however I’m making an exchange of stress for growth. So I’m not terribly worried about the stress for now. I have lots of tools for dealing with stress on a day to day basis, I’m healthy overall, I’m told my blood pressure is great, etc.

Reflecting on lessons learned

Here’s what I’ve learned since the last diet update:

  • I am virtually hopeless in the presence of donuts. I will mentally shift any and all caloric-intake plans to accommodate donuts. After eating a couple of donuts, I’m thinking, “wow, suddenly I have only 200 calories left for dinner.”
  • However, I’m glad I can do that and still hit my weight loss goals. That’s something worth acknowledging, I think. Persistence is paying off.
  • Measurement is still hard. It’s not easy to just jump on the scale, when you have every reason to believe you’ll weigh the same—or more!!! See graph above—than you did the day before. But it’s still important.
  • Exercise still helps a lot. Even though I can lose weight without moving around much, just by dropping calories from my meal plans, I feel good when I exercise and it helps motivate me to stay on track.
  • I do tend to celebrate a little early. This can slow down my progress.
  • I did receive some archetypal help when I took a phone call from several inner archetypes recently. They told me:
    • You need to be mind-mapping more (I’ve developed some extensions for this, and it does help)
    • Turn on some relaxing music during the day
    • Overall things are OK and I’m doing well
  • I also met with some new-to-me figures of the subconscious and I am really enjoying learning what they stand for. One of them in particular…a long-distance hiker and walker with a wooden walking stick, an older gentleman who is very well conditioned. This one was inspiring and I’m still unpacking that.
    • Overall these new figures seem to represent the figures which are useful to someone who is succeeding at their goals and making good progress. This realization made me very happy inside.

So, my next milestone is going to be 201 lbs. I will aim to hit this milestone by Saturday, June 29.

That’s a big step down, mentally. I can feel the stress and mental resistance already.

Filed in: /28/ | /21/ | /21/ | /7/ | /15/ | /20/

Diet Micro-Goal

Sunday June 9, 2019

Taking a Micro-Dramatic turn from my pound-a-week weight loss idea, I’ve made a new Micro-Goal for dieting purposes.

I’m going to shoot for 203 lbs. by next Saturday, testing out a visualized-sensational-situational goal: Fitting into my old suit in order to attend an event on Saturday. At 203 it will be just barely comfortable (I bought it when I weighed about 180 lbs. or so), but with some ab exercises thrown in it should be doable; I’ve done that before and it worked pretty well.

If I don’t fit into the suit, I can wear some other formal thing, but a lot of other people will be wearing suits, so there’s some benign pressure. I’d like to be able to do it.

LibreOffice Calc spreadsheet screenshot, with goal of 203 lbs. by June 15

Above: Spreadsheet screenshot. Click / tap / think in Russian to enlarge

I’ll just need to lose 2 lbs. by then. A stretch but I’m pretty sure I can do it if I come back to my notes every day. And even if this completely fails, I’ll take something away from it, learn, and move on. As I said before, persistence is my friend here.

My exercise plans are a mess…need to address that but there is a lot going on. I may make some tweaks as I go along.

I took a helpful charting reminder from this amazing video. My kids were in my office, taking turns swooping at my head with an RC drone, so I made the spreadsheet a little fun.

You’ll notice I have “Schedule every day the night before” in there as a Judger-personality anti-stress tool. It helps and makes me feel like I’m more in control, lowering the anxiety floor, which lessens the likelihood of stress eating.

So, will the higher goal make things unsustainably bad? Or will the social pressure pay off? Tune in next time!

Filed in: /7/ | /15/ | /28/ | /7/

The Oh F*** List, A Strategic Method for Minimizing Verbal Self-abuse

Friday June 7, 2019

Just a few minutes ago I looked at a concerning skin blemish for the nth time this week and proclaimed to myself, “Aw, DAMMIT,” which was a good reminder to write about the Oh F*** List here on the blog.

How an Oh F*** List Works

When you suddenly remember something that triggers you enough to cause you to do one of these:

  • Tense up
  • Swear or curse
  • Stress-eat
  • React angrily
  • Give someone else a dirty look or a blunt response

…it’s time to add that item an Oh F*** List.

What to Write on an Oh F*** List

  • Concerning health issues that will possibly require fiddly follow-ups, travel, waiting, scheduling, etc.
  • Concerning life issues like “my relationship with so-and-so is alarmingly bad”
  • Anything that you haven’t started, either because you don’t have clarity, or because you don’t have comfort, or because you don’t have courage (see my Productivity Triangle model)
  • Other things that make you wonder about your worth, the more you reflect on how bad the situation has become
  • Research topics that could really help you make key decisions

I started my own list after realizing my normal To-Do list wasn’t working, in this dimension anyway. My To-Do list started to fill up with so many fantasies and huge problems that it was so much nicer just to ignore the stupid thing and that alone was really concerning. Ignoring it did nothing, unfortunately, to address the stressors themselves.

I realized that the name of the list had to be something that communicated more of a “Better-Do-or-ELSE” message. Thus the Oh F*** List was born.

How to Make Better Use of an Oh F*** List

Some quick tips:

  • Use a list format that allows you to expand on an item whenever you’re ready.
  • Keep a log at the bottom of the list, just simple updates on when you last made progress and what you did, and how it went. You can use my Oh F*** List Markdown Template for this if you’d like.
  • If you’re new to the list, consider adding list review reminders to your calendar.


We’ve all had those moments, and we INTJs are not known to have the best memory. So the Oh F*** List helps you take advantage of those moments when they arrive and direct your energy in a more productive way. This should help reduce stress in your life and help you feel more productive and energetic.

Filed in: /42/ | /28/ | /12/ | /10/ | /20/ | /46/

Test It Out for Crying Out Loud, It Probably Won't Kill You

Wednesday June 5, 2019

I’ve had some pretty brave INTJ clients over the years, people who shared with me their various experiences in trying new foods (OK), trying new business ventures (neat!), trying out new philosophies (cool!!) and trying out new literally mind-altering substances (boot partition not foun.

Coming from a Mormon background [or whatever it’s called now! ESFP in charge, everybody dance to the chaotic rhythm], this was pretty wild to hear at first. Past-me could dig up just about any excuse for “maintaining my control over my life,” or “getting high on life,” or whatever felt appropriately apologetic. But when it came down to it, I had no idea about any of this stuff.

I definitely couldn’t talk about it from personal experience!


And like any other control freak, my mind immediately responded to that with, “FROM EXPERIENCE?” and started tucking into the fetal position in anticipation of idiotic moments of judgment. But still—watching this happen, feeling the resistance course through my veins—I knew that there was some nuance to be understood there. Some more education was needed.

So I tried to keep an open mind—I wanted to hear what the client thought was worth hearing, as always.

And in my little, ridiculous mad-science sort of way, I knew I wanted to experiment. Upon meself. Har har har.

Fortunately, little dives into mad science can be kept little, and fun, and dare I say it, controlled pretty well. So that’s cool.

Slightly Mad Science, Zero Calories

And along those lines, I just wanted to announce that I tried my first Monster Energy drink this week.

Well, a diet one. Is that still “Monster” enough? It tasted like a watermelon Jolly Rancher candy. So weird! Who would have expected “ULTRA PARADISE” to taste like a lame purchasing decision at my neighborhood candy store?!

Energy drinks though! That’s right, they’re hot, they’re hip, they’re everywhere! I remember reading that phrase long ago in a religious magazine article, The Lift That Lets You Down, at the aforementioned religion’s website.

And which article of course contains the deadly phrase, “I can quit anytime.” DAH DUM DUUUMMMMM.

Personally though, I do carry this special amulet. It’s relevant. It’s an imaginary, special amulet.

You see, in my various travels, long ago, I had a psychiatrist tell me, in a calm and assuring voice, “you do not have an addictive personality.”

So don’t you finger-wag me, didactic addiction messaging zombies! I’m substance-proof! holds up amulet as sun rays fill it with the power and light carbonation of Diet Monster ULTRA PARADISE

…and did that kid in the article really drink 12 energy drinks a day? Sorry but: Sweet Jesus! The can I’m looking at puts 16 fluid oz. at 140mg a can, meaning, if I’m even close to what he drank, he was doing [tap tap tap] 1,680mg of caffeine a day! It can’t be. Can it?

I mean, that is something like 3x the amount (!!!) that killed this poor guy and it makes me wonder exactly what was going on there, too. Genetics, maybe. I think I could do 3 Monsters, but I probably would save that level of fun for an epic last day sprint on a road trip or something. Or some accident. Did I drink a can already, or not? I’m going with not. [Drinks third can]

BUT anyway, I did end up posting quite a few dance & trance music links on the blog’s home page here, while I was under the influence of this fantasy paradise beverage. Made me laugh. Did you catch my favorite SILICA GEL song? Talk about great band names!

I also took an L-Theanine pill with the drink and I’m pretty sure that helped me feel less jittery (it usually does), though I was very, very alert. It so happened that I needed some alertness, which was cool too.

Experiments will continue. Do you have a favorite energy drink? A special potion? Are you abstinent? A tea drinker? Are you high on life? Something else? Let me know!

By the way this all counts as extraversion in the Jungian sense, so if I sound really different when I write articles like this, it’s because I’m literally not being myself! Food and drink…for thought.

Filed in: /14/ | /12/ | /25/ | /34/ | /32/

A Wicked Hidden Trick of the Subconscious

Wednesday June 5, 2019

A while back, I was struggling with a colleague on a project at work. He was difficult. His boss referred him to me as a helper on this project, and directed him to ask for my advice, etc. Which made me feel great because I have an ego the size of NYC, but wow, I should have known.

You know those people who can’t work with other people, but their brother or sister or partner or boss convinces them that they HAVE TO get outside help? That was this guy. I type this with hindsight at 100%.

But at one point I realized I wasn’t using all of my tools, and I needed more help in working with this person. So I asked my intuition: “Show me a guy who can teach me how to really deal with this person. Show him to me right here, like he’s popping out of the wall.”

So it showed me. It was this colleague-client himself! In my intuition / imagination (Ni), he appeared. This big head sticking out of my wall.

While watching this unfold in my mind’s eye, I laughed out loud. So geeky, I know, but it felt awesome.

And he taught me what I needed to know. I used his own tools to work with him. And it worked! (They were tools I already knew how to use—I generally do not advise people to try to mimic others’ skills to solve big problems, unless they know the territory)

Was that the guy himself, in my mind? No way! I barely even know him. But I thought it was so cool, an amazing part of the way the human mind can operate without boundaries, while the ego frantically pushes away the very image that ended up being the catalyst for a new and healthy mindset.

I love this cast of characters. It’s within every one of us, and the performance seems so fresh every time.

Filed in: /25/ | /18/ | /21/ | /25/

Massively Successful Diet Update j/k

Wednesday June 5, 2019

It’s weird to talk on an INTJ blog about stuff you suck at. Reason being, a lot of INTJs stand at the ready to tell you exactly how you should change in order to not suck. And even if they really don’t, you can still imagine all of them. You know what I mean. So talking about myself making mistakes here is not really fun except in that tricky but there’s a lesson here kids sort of way.

And one of the traps of just being at an INTJ is this subconscious-no-failure-admittance belief trap, this belief that if you only put that mask on and think of yourself as a success, at that point you will become successful.

So with that out of the way, let’s talk about some absolute suck. And I’m kind of going to glorify it, and love it, and embrace it, because 1) it’s actually pretty handy to mature beyond the typical Success-by-Faking-It 101 mindset, and 2) it is going to be one of the keys that helps me make progress in this diet.

Boom, Check Out this Progress

It’s been 2 whole weeks since my last update in which I shared my progress.

I have made no progress since then. lol. I am currently at 205.5 lbs.

BUT there’s a silver lining here. During the last 2 weeks, I gained, and then lost again, at least 4 pounds. So while I may be on a plateau as averaged over a time period, I basically fully lost track of, and recovered, my diet. So fortunately, my recovery system is working. I lost the weight. I lost it again, sure, but I lost it.

Stressful Triggers

The slide started when my wife went out of town to save the world in her capacity as a volunteer, and I had to care for the kids while also working. I also had some super stressful work projects going on, my kids got sick, and I had to care for them, and then I realized my normal exercise schedule wouldn’t work, so I didn’t get much of any exercise.

And in between all of that, I generally I wondered WTF was wrong with my horoscope, or whatever. You know that feeling? Things just felt off. And I didn’t have the energy to dig into it very far. So I tried to address that “feeling” first when I could, and then my idea was to address the diet later, because addressing the diet first just made me want to stuff my face full of food.

That “feeling” is also the same feeling which:

  • Wouldn’t “let me” weigh myself more than a couple of times during the last 2 weeks.
  • Wouldn’t “let me” blog here, at all.

My extraversion (measurement & info-sharing) was blocked by my subconscious. MYSTERIOUS MIND-RAYS INTENSIFY. Nah, it’s happened before.

Now, just in case you are reading this and thinking, “this guy lacks willpower, he needs a diet tracker app and a Fitbit” believe me, not only do I have that stuff, but this also happens to INTJs a LOT. When the universe isn’t cooperating, especially when circumstances suddenly change, we can feel just as stuck as anybody else. To deny this is kind of periodic interference is to repress something deeply troubling, and I just can’t recommend it.

You hear that? Coach Pop Tart over here doesn’t recommend it.

Which reminds me.

Check out this BONUS Progress

I know you guys are loving these details, so here’s another nice one: I ate a day-old, stale-af Frosted Brown Sugar, Cinnamon-flavored Pop Tart. I hate those things, man. They are my least favorite. I’m a berry guy. Cherry, raspberry, one of those is almost always worth the calorie expenditure on a normal diet.

I will spare you the debate over heated / toasted vs. “fresh” Pop Tarts.

I caught myself eating my kids’ leftover food a few times, a few (10) chicken nuggets here, “you going to eat this donut or what,” there, etc. Really beautiful stuff. I tip-toed around the kitchen foraging for food like some kind of junk food ballerina.

So this was some heavy-load stress eating. But I was STRESSED. It’s true.

I’m Still Totally Screwed

SO let me just wrap this up by saying: It’s possible that within the next 100 years I’ll be able to lose 2.5 pounds and hit that milestone of 203 lbs., which was supposed to be just one more milestone along the way down below 200 lbs.

But seriously, I’m feeling ready to normalize again and get back on the train. I can be persistent, and so I’ll just hang around the station until that train comes. The weight loss train that is; my diet is already back to normal and I’m guessing about 1 lb. a week of loss is worth aiming at.

However this is work and I have to fit it in with everything else. For now I’m just glad I’m not flirting with 300 lbs. like I used to. 205 healthy lbs. is terrific in comparison. I’ll take this a day at a time and continue onward.

Big helpers so far are:

  • Hydration
  • Attention to the effeminate, caring for myself and my stress levels
  • Reflection both in a journal and here on the blog
  • My wife for making some amazing food.
  • Going to bed on time. I still medicate with about 8mg of doxylamine to shut my brain down, and I swear this has saved me from thousands of indulgent calories.
  • Exercise. I have been on some epic walks and hikes recently and they put me in a healthier mood overall.

So. Until next time: Let this be a lesson to us both! Maybe mostly me!

But I hope it was at least entertaining.

Filed in: /20/ | /28/ | /42/ | /7/

How to Prevent Your Creative INTJ Self from Becoming a Drama Queen

Monday June 3, 2019

One of my current projects involves helping an organization negotiate with a “talented solo visionary” who is feeling misunderstood and under-appreciated.

This is not a very enjoyable experience for anyone involved. And since INTJs are known to over-expose themselves to this kind of situation, and even become that drama queen character under the right (wrong) circumstances, I thought I’d share some relevant thoughts.

The major problem is that the “solo visionary” is extremely protective and self-conscious. They are deeply conflicted, and their work product feels like a precious, helpless little baby to them, because it is! While their vision is strong, even dominant, they are not yet experienced enough with their own work to understand how to protect it and bring an actual project to maturity in a sustainable way.

INTJs suffer from this, in their work as creatives. One of the fastest ways to make an INTJ turn into a Feeler-kind of person is to ask them to make something for you. Doing so will sometimes make them feel extremely protective and self-conscious within seconds!

The INTJ creator—be it an artist, movie creator, etc.—is generally going to be an Auteur, a solo visionary, someone who really believes in the power of the self.

The INTJ observer—whether a writer, a podcaster, etc.—is generally going to be a Critic, someone who can see a way in which anything can be improved, someone who really believes in the power of a strongly-worded suggestion for improvement.

Do you see the psychological crazy-making problem there?

Unfortunately, even a “solo visionary” can totally suck at their work and behave in really idiotic ways due to external pressures and a lack of education or experience. At these times, their inner critic hits hard. This can really get the emotions going—often not so much outer emotion, as a strong inner feeling of “woe is me, nobody understands me, I’m not being protected, no one is looking out for me and my vision.”

So, with this in mind, a few points on how to avoid a poor outcome as an INTJ creator.

First, if somebody asks you to do something for them, you should refer to, or create, some kind of risk-assessment process. For example, have you worked with this person before? What is their reputation? What is their personality type? Have you done this kind of project before? How much pressure do you feel to equate your work with your own concept of your self-worth? These examples are just examples, but illustrate the kind of questions to ask.

Some people will tell you to trust your gut, but your gut draws on your past experience, which is why you are not yet a billionaire stock trader. So be careful with your gut!

Second, if somebody asks you to DO or MAKE something creative for them, and you agree, it’s a good idea to expect your feelings to activate and work REALLY hard in part of this process. This way, when your feelings make themselves known, you can say, “ah, I saw this coming” in complete honesty. That helps.

A lot of INTJs will say “ah, I saw this coming” no matter what, in order to protect their “visionary” self image. This can be really counter-productive and unleash torrents of self-blame, which are usually repressed and can cause really ugly outbursts.

Third, those strong “solo visionary” feelings are typically going to be of the “me, I, mine, what I want, what I’m not getting, what I feel,” variety. If you share them with others, for example in a business environment, there is a huge risk that you will come off as a selfish a-hole and this can hurt you and your client / customer both. This is due to the fact that by expressing your subjective feelings and your subjective feelings alone, you have put yourself, and your customer/client, into “relationship jail” until the “relationship logic” can be worked out.

Relationship jail is a risky place for an INTJ, because we are not known for our skill at deftly recovering from relationship issues. It takes nuance, it takes time, and it takes sensitivity. AND you can’t talk about yourself forever. You eventually have to talk about the others and their needs, and what’s fair for them. This can really feel painful after you’ve had your turn to talk about how hurt you feel.

And on top of that, many clients, customers, and business-people simply cannot tolerate this method of solving problems. It is beyond their psychological capability, it will seem completely outlandish, and they will seek other means of recourse. They may even tell you that you need a therapist!

Fourth point: Another good way around this is to learn to set boundaries and communicate well before you start the work. If you haven’t done much of this kind of work before, it’s a good idea to set milestones at which you check in.

Also, remember that you might find it difficult to under-promise and over-deliver, but this is still very important regardless of your own desire to blow people away with how great your work is. This can be really hard for INTJs, because what they see in their mind’s eye seems completely amazing and ALSO completely doable to them. However, the sensory world and the intuitive world are two different environments. To mitigate the risk of problems, always start out with something really basic, if it’s new to you.


There’s a lot to this—those are some simple suggestions and I hope they help. There are many, many situations in which INTJs can find themselves completely held hostage by their feelings, and unfortunately those feelings can lead to very unpleasant consequences. With a more nuanced, constructive view though, and a true ability to anticipate the arrival of those consequences, they can be navigated with skill and a full recovery is usually possible.

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UFO Disclosure vs. Inclosure Psychology

Friday May 31, 2019

Being once again in a UFO mood, I’ve been enjoying Tom Dolan’s Youtube channel. It’s kinda fun. I’m also listening to his audio book, A.D., After Disclosure.


For the moment, “we” are more serious about UFOs as a world culture, so why not jump in and explore.

In terms of personality type, Dolan strikes me as an ISFP, though that’s mostly via experiences with other people who look, act, and talk in a similar way. Intuition based on past experience in this way can sometimes be faulty or flat-out wrong.

Regardless of his personality type, his psychology is really far on the “Disclosure” side (maybe it’s obvious, looking at the title of his book, above) of what I’d call an “Inclosure-Disclosure Dichotomy” [1]:

Principles of Inclosure

  • Think about, discuss, and celebrate the past
  • Find new ways to contextualize and model the past
  • File Away Information
  • Bring the past forward: Persistence of Memory

Principles of Disclosure

  • Think about, discuss, and celebrate new and future events
  • Find new ways to contextualize and model new and future events
  • Open New Files
  • Bring the future into the present: Persistence of Insight

An Inclosure-minded individual or group would tend to want to ignore new or paradigm-shifting information about UFOs or extraterrestrials. These topics won’t last long at the dinner table, but that also means that dinner can be enjoyed as usual, with no huge surprises.

A Disclosure-minded individual would tend to want to bring out, or highlight, new or paradigm-shifting information about UFOs or extraterrestrials. This person will tend to err on the side of open, fun, or novel interpretations, so there is a risk of horrendous misjudgment, if perception does not take into account security or other reasonable e.g. contingency concerns.

In general, I find that INTJs are Disclosure-oriented, though mostly in the sense of others’ stuff being disclosed, and not so much our own. :-) Faced with the choice between the two options, sure, let’s go Disclosure, however let’s also emphasize our favored mental program of having some kind of an ace in our sleeve. Usually this would be techno-social: Get people off-planet, or get some orbital weapons platforms facing outward, or dig up those old alien autopsy reports and start figuring out vulnerabilities stat.

Even without an ace however, this Disclosure psychology gives us INTJs a potential leg up in dealing with new information as it comes in, and in preparing for important changes. As the U.S. Navy (per the video above) and other organizations start to apply a Disclosure-oriented mindset toward UAPs and UFOs, a lot of new mental models are going to be created. Many of those models will leak vital information about their designers’ intent and perspectives.

I’m excited about these new mental models for that reason: Analyzing the models themselves will allow the general public, people like us, to foresee a little bit more, to get a bit more meta, to zoom out, and if needed, to help create superior mental models when too much Inclosure psychology starts to push us to “close the book and file away” dynamic and potentially promising information.

Looking into Skeptics

Looking around for differing viewpoints, I’m seeing similar patterns of perception and judgment between A) UFO skeptics and B) religious apologists. I’m not saying this makes either group wrong, but the psychology is usually extremely Inclosure-friendly. In such a brittle thinking environment, it’s easy to step beyond one’s bounds.

One model that has helped me here is the understanding that nuance alone communicates a lot about one’s education on a topic. When a skeptic goes nuclear about something, that alone is kind of a sign—why are they so tense about this; why so frustrated? Maybe it’s nothing, or normal, but maybe it’s also a sign that they themselves are being pushed to an uncomfortable zone, a place they’ve never been before.

1. In terms of Jungian cognitive function, there is some overlap here between functions like Si, Se, Ni, and Ne, but in my opinion the “potential leverage vs. learning-curve risk” factor of stretching the model in this way makes it less attractive.

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