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The INTJ Aspiration Trifecta: Become a Pilot, Learn to Scuba Dive, and Become a Musician

Wednesday October 23, 2019

During a recent coaching session, I was telling the impressive individual on the other end of the connection that there’s this INTJ trifecta of interests/accomplishments that always comes up:

  • Become a Pilot
  • Learn to Scuba Dive
  • Become a Musician

I am always hearing about INTJs who are actively doing, or wanting to do, those three things.

And I include myself in that.

I mentioned this Trifecta concept to another INTJ friend, who responded:

HAHA are we that obvious? I’ve done the sailing courses, got my Silver II. Did the violin thing too [this involves training with masters, tons of frustration and hard work, but now it’s a ‘thing’ —Marc]….Waiting for a bit more $$$ to start glider lessons …Yeah.

Another INTJ friend of mine, Mark Bodnarczuk, wrote a book which draws heavily on his Scuba experience to illustrate some really important factors in life. Mark also has a musical background, from what I recall.

Some other INTJ friends, a married INTJ + INTJ couple, told me they did this pilot-path spreadsheet exercise a while back, which I also did myself, during which you add up a bunch of numbers and it turns out you will need to set aside something like $10K to $20K USD to become a pilot, or something like that—I don’t have the spreadsheet in front of me, but I’m wondering if it’s kind of an INTJ rite of passage, this particular spreadsheet. (Hell, there may even be multiple levels here; I think I remember that INTJ Dario Nardi made a spreadsheet which computed data on how to best get your ass to Mars)

(And what’s so frustrating about spreadsheets: They are truly Te-focused little bastards, to the exclusion of so many other factors. They never tell you how fiddly the whole damn real-life experience of flying is going to be, they never tell you about the guilt you’ll feel when you’re not doing the flying often enough, they never tell you about the annoying guy at the airport who thinks you want to become just like him, or whatever. There’s this whole qualitative angle that spreadsheets kind of see as something you shouldn’t really mind, because hey, the numbers all add up! So whenever I start some spreadsheet process now, I try to remember to start a parallel, depth-based analysis process in something like a text editor.)

Personally, I’d say the weakest of the three for me would be Scuba. I love the idea, but it just hasn’t hatched into real experience for me yet; maybe this will change, and maybe not. A family friend used to take me out flying and hand over the controls, and we’d fly up into the San Juans for the day and grab a hot dog; fun stuff like that. I’ve probably logged thousands of hours in flight simulators since I was a child. Lately Geo-FS is pretty fun on little breaks, and the new MS flight sim video coverage is mind-blowing. And I worked as a freelance musician when I was in university, creating chart-topping hits such as “Backing Track for Franklin Covey Interactive CD-ROM”, “Sound Effects and Musical Intros for a Flash Website which is Long Dead” and “Sound Trademark for a Promising Company Which is No Longer Relevant”. Hey—at least it paid well.

And Something Helpful to Know About This

So here’s the real meat: If you identify with this stuff so much that you get drawn in, there’s a chance you could end up completely fooled by the INTJ Metaphor Machine. Some examples of the the way that Metaphor Machine works:

  • “I only suggested piloting because I want you to take advantage of your gift for seeing the big picture, learn to execute from idea-space, and be more positive.”
  • “I only suggested Scuba because I want you to learn to be comfortable with depth-based processes.” (INTJ perception & execution is often too breadth-biased)
  • “I only suggested musicianship because I can tell you need to pay more attention to your feelings, your moods, and their meaning, and find a suitable rhythm of life, something that will help you influence your own life and others’ for the better.”

These are just examples, but do you see what I mean? There’s this important divide between the meaning of the thing and the doing of the thing. INTJs as a group tend to jump right into the doing, and doing takes you right into the sensory realm and its associated uh…growth opportunities (you see, in addition to helping you feel good about yourself in some ways, it’s also a potentially huge trap in another way, so I’m intentionally using the word “uh” here).

There’s also the really emotional layer to all of this. We feel a connection to a thing, it draws us in—and maybe we need to learn to pause at this stage, and build out some space for examining and probing this process. Or maybe we really need to build a process for examining emotional experiences, period.

Otherwise maybe you become addicted to buying a bunch of stuff you don’t really need, or earning credentials that weren’t really necessary, or whatever. It would suck to become a constant victim of that, just because you didn’t have the space to really explore what’s behind it. Right?

This is all very important stuff, and if you haven’t given it much thought, please do.

Because I swear, if I hear one more of you guys tell me how much regret you have about that pile of Scuba gear gathering dust in the back of your garage…

(Mostly kidding ;-))

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