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The Executive Portion of the Walk

Friday April 5, 2019

When I go for a walk, as I do about 3-4 times a week, I find that there are two broad “types” of activity during the walk. I divide them into “Perception and Execution” but you might also call them “Perception and Judgment” if you’re familiar with Jungian personality type theory.

Perception

This is really common for INTJs who are out walking. You might even do this during the entire walk. You’re looking around, taking in the sights, sounds, smells, and enjoying being out. Or you’re flipped into the opposite perceptive mode, a more intuitive mode where you’re imagining things that might happen in the future, like maybe you’re listening to some music and imagining yourself being applauded as you graduate with high honors from a technical certification program of some sort.

Like I said: This is really common for INTJs. It’s there for you and will happen automatically.

Execution

This is less common for INTJs. INTJs are really Perceptive—first and foremost, we perceive. But our secondary, saving action, the thing that really puts us back on track, is this concept of execution. Here’s how I execute when I’m out on a walk:

  • I gradually start to bring my mind around to what I’m going to do after my walk. Usually this starts with a mental image. “Oh, I’m sitting on my office couch, taking notes and organizing my tasks.”
  • I try to discuss, out loud if possible, what is on my mind, and what’s passing through it. Sometimes I’ll just put my phone to my ear and take a fake phone call—it just depends on whether there are other people around! If I’m really desperate to talk about something that’s uncomfortable, I’ll do it in third person: “He said he thinks that work today is going to be really hard. I told him to be sure to schedule in some breaks to do things he enjoys. For example…”
  • If I can, I get as much into the details as possible. I might even sit down on a park bench and take notes for a few minutes, getting things really organized.

The goal here is to never let the Perception hog the entire stage while I’m out getting exercise. I’m good at Perception. But this exercise session hasn’t done its job until I have done some Execution. It’s that Execution phase that really clears out my mind. If I haven’t gotten that far, the exercise might even feel like it’s increased my stress, as my psychological distance from engagement with my stressors has increased.

So: Next time you’re out doing physical stuff, give it a try—take some time to talk or sort out what’s next. Get a list together. Aim for clarity and see if the physicality makes it easier to approach some of the more easily-avoided decisions.

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