M.A.Y.B.E.

Marc's Archive of Your Blogger's Explorations 6-sided die showing the number 6

Forward-thinking, Strategic Meta-Blog Changes for 2022

Wednesday February 16, 2022

After a lot of thought (years now?) I’ve finally changed the title of the blog to M.A.Y.B.E.

This stands for a variety of different things, as you can tell by reloading the page. I’ll probably write the title as MAYBE, leaving out those silly dots which are annoying to type, even if I enjoy looking at them.

This does mean the end of “Marc’s INTJ Blog” as a title for this area of the website. That’s been a fun chapter but it was a long-time goal to update the title to reflect where my focus is, or isn’t—M.A.Y.B.E. lots of things.

I will certainly still be blogging about INTJ stuff, both by nature of my own cognitive functionality and by direct subject matter. So probably no worries there if you are concerned that I may have shed my respect for four-letter type, or Jungian psychology, etc.

But restricting the blog to that topic entirely was no longer making as much sense.

I am guessing the title “M.A.Y.B.E.” could be terrible for SEO, but that itself is also kind of a fun idea. I’m more of a values-first, SEO-second type of person anyway. This is a fun experience for me, not really driving any corporate profits or dreams of public this or that.

I also took down the list of INTJ people you can watch on Youtube, but I will probably stick that somewhere else because it’s been fun to track.

There were also a lot of long-needed front and back-end changes, and tags should be working better than they did before.

That’s it for now—I’m looking forward to “whatever MAYBE becomes” :-)

(The post title above is a bit tongue-in-cheek)

Filed in: Technology /37/

Maintenance Note (Completed)

Monday February 14, 2022

Edit: The maintenance is complete.

Just a quick note—the website will be undergoing maintenance over the next few days. Some things may seem a bit off for the time being. —Marc, 14 Feb 2022

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Self-acceptance is Also Change

Monday February 7, 2022

Change means stress.

Self-acceptance usually implies change, from not-self-accepting to self-accepting.

So self-acceptance means stressing yourself out, in some ways.

“Accept yourself”? It’s stressful to hear that sometimes.

It’s also vague. (I don’t like that aspect of it at all.)

So, the next time someone tells you to accept yourself, consider telling them, “I don’t need that kind of stress in my life.” I think it’d be pretty funny, anyway.

Plus this is their bitter reward for throwing around pat phrases, maybe.

But also, thinking more logically, watching them struggle with the depth of the equation could be your reward for already accepting yourself, insofar as you haven’t changed.

(Do you see how silly this accept/not accept dichotomy is?)

Filed in: Relationships /73/ | Energy /111/ | Publications /42/ | Therapeutic Practice /140/ | Coaching /27/

So, Just to Sum That Up: Summarize and Understand Summaries More Effectively

Friday February 4, 2022

TL;DR: Summaries are a troubling subject to moi lately. So let me dig into what I’m thinking about that.

Summarizing: What’s Actually Being Communicated When We’re Doing It

When we summarize, this very interesting messaging sub-channel is opened up. If you know to look for it, you can use it to your advantage.

Below I’ve listed some possible thoughts that open the sub-channel. At the top of the list, more & sloppier summarizing is happening:

  • (I am summarizing your stuff because….) I really disrespect you and your ideas
  • …You always say this
  • …I am pretty sure I’ve heard this before, maybe even from you
  • …I’m completely out of energy and can’t get into this
  • …I can’t devote a reasonable amount of time to thinking about this right now
  • …I don’t think you can devote a reasonable amount of time to thinking about this right now (maybe even a trust issue)
  • …I am not really sure whether you have everyone’s best interests at heart
  • …I want to communicate efficiently because there are a lot of viewpoints to cover
  • …I want to communicate helpfully to someone who I can tell needs things to be summarized

With those last few items, less brutal, more gentle, effective summarizing is usually happening.

Who’s doin’ it: Which summarizin’ scenarios suck most?

There’s also this consideration of the scenario, and this makes a big difference. Who is summarizing, and who are they summarizing for?

  • Least risky: I am summarizing what someone else said, to another audience that knows them well.
  • Mid-risky: I am summarizing what you just said, to a group that is neutral toward you.
  • Very risky: I am summarizing what you just said, to you.
  • Yikes: I am not known to like your stuff, and I am summarizing what you just said, to an audience that doesn’t like you, while you’re standing there with the full capability of representing yourself.

On top of everything else, those last two can come off like a direct “fix your communication style” and boy howdy that’s not a good way to even wade into that arena.

Being a Gentle-summarizer: Context-compatible Summarizing

The thing is, sometimes it’s hard to tell what kind of summarizing context it is.

So if you’re the one summarizing, I think it can be very helpful…well, and polite…nay, even necessary to offer a bit of context.

Here are some ideas on how to set up a nice, context-compatible summary:

  • “Really quick, I’m totally exhausted for unrelated reasons, but I want to register my attention to what you’re saying, so does this sound about right?”
  • “So, if I could get your feedback on some takeaways as a total beginner…”
  • “I need to take all this in and give it the respect it deserves, but I want to start somewhere, so how does this sound?”
  • “I know I have a lot to learn, but to start with…”

Self-Defence against Brutal Summarizing

Sometimes it can help to protect oneself against being summarized. To offer just a few examples of that:

  • Question-focus / Object-focus: “Can I ask your (or your audience’s) level of experience with the topic before we get into summarizing? How long have you worked in the field, and are there credentials, or other experiences you can touch on for me?”
  • Skip-to-application-focus: “I’m really not sure if it’s helpful to summarize it quite yet. After all, I love to hike in the mountains, but it never even occurred to me to try to summarize how hiking worked before I tried it. So could we try the application or exercises first, see how it goes?”
  • Humor-focus: “Just to acknowledge that I spent years studying this from wizards, so I want to say that summarizing the whole of it right now may utterly fail in doing it justice. All wizards know this, and I was warned about people like you.”
  • Depth-focus: “It’s very hard to summarize something like this, and I want to acknowledge that directly. There are probably many different summaries, in different contexts, that would be required to come at it with the right attitude.”
  • Values-focus: “I know you want to have a high-quality discussion here, so I want to be fair to the details and make sure this isn’t just a battle to share various hot takes. So maybe we could pick some specific contexts or item and discuss those, giving proper respect to the breadth and depth of the topic.”

Why Do All This?

So—why go to all the trouble? Well, I’d say: Do it for you. Seriously, do it for yourself. You’ll win more friends and influence more people, if that’s what you’re wanting to do. They’ll think, “you know who never summarizes me unfairly? That person.” Right?

But you may also save yourself from some big headaches.

And the next time someone summarizes you, you might even be able to think more effectively about what they’re doing. You’ll have a better read on the situation, at the very least:

  • I’m being summarized a lot. Am I around a bunch of exhausted people (could be), or what is the context here?
  • This person summarized what I said to the group. Is the group looking for a quick, bite-sized offering in what I say next? Well, I’m good at that, and no one speaks better for me than me…

This could open up valuable opportunities to ask for more time, alter your communication style, more closely align yourself with others like you, etc.

Finally, you’ll probably be able to understand your pals better. Always a good idea.

I’m sure there are lots more reasons, too.

A Final Tip

When you summarize yourself for others, use “but that’s another story” liberally, to cover huge swaths of details. Nobody can really expect your summaries to give the full story, BUT, in case they really have such lofty expectations, it can help to directly acknowledge this, and it sets you up for other responses like, “I would love to go there, but really, we need more time for this discussion.”

(Which, for anybody who understands the depth of their topic, is like arranging to have air to breathe…always a good idea)

Filed in: Essays /47/ | Relationships /73/ | People /68/

As Someone Who

Tuesday January 18, 2022

Have you ever done the “As Someone Who” or “As A” thing when commenting online?

It’s funny to read these and realize there’s this obvious continuum from “OK, that’s impressive, those are great qualifications” to “hmm, OK, I guess it’s better than nothing,” but just starting the sentence with “As Someone Who…” seems useful to the author, because…

oh god, someone pay attention to what I’m about to say, it’s important!

(I have definitely felt this before)

The continuum itself is always something like, top to bottom:

“As an experimental rocket pilot who flew in top secret aircraft projects,”

“As a jet pilot who has seen combat,”

“As a commercial pilot,”

“As a private pilot,”

“As a private pilot in training,”

“As someone who flies in flight simulators a LOT,”

“As someone who watches a lot of Youtube aviation channels,”

“As someone who has a lot of airplane activity in their general vicinity,”

“As someone who looks up, every once in a while….”

And of course, some kind person will usually at least reply and say “DEAR GOD ABOVE, YOU LOOK UP TOO? THOUGHT I WAS THE ONLY ONE ABOVE ALL OF THIS MADNESS” which is always nice.

Filed in: Interests /101/ | Energy /111/

How to More Easily Expand Your Creativity and Spot Limited Thinking

Tuesday January 11, 2022

Back when I was studying my personal energy levels, one of my earliest experiences taught me an important lesson about low energy:

As we lose energy, we tend to experience a lot of pressure to redirect our focus to one thing.

That one thing could be: One conclusion, one main idea, one person, one solution, one outcome that is near-certain.

We can also say that introversion in general is like this: Where extroversion focuses on “the many,” introversion focuses on “the one”.

Here are some additional, specific singularities of this sort, which I’ve also mapped onto the introverted cognitive functions:

  1. A single narrative or account that led to this point. “This all started when…” (Si)
  2. A single relational perspective that describes the characteristics of this point. “This is unfair because…” (Fi)
  3. A single logical structure or logical conclusion that must be reached about this point. “Conclusion X is a logical certainty because…” (Ti)
  4. A single metaphor, example, or analogy that maps to this situation exactly. “Let’s compare this situation to a…” (Ni)

For INTJs, I would say that we tend to believe more of 1 & 3 when expressed by others, and create more of 2 & 4 on our own.

(Looking at other types, for example the INTP or ISFJ, I’d say that the opposite is more likely.)

When used to make important arguments and reach important conclusions, these points should almost certainly be given additional time for examination. Why? Because they typically represent a discarding of multiple perspectives and a redirect of total energy into one perspective. This is an important moment of energy exchange, and there may be no turning back, depending on the various structures that apply to the situation.

These actions will tend to work against creativity, in the sense that creativity represents the ability to express oneself “outside the box,” against the approved narrative, counter to the dominant impression, reformative to the known logic, and counter-intuitive to existing analogy.

So: Watching out for “the one” should by definition help one to be aware of limited thinking, and spot new opportunities for creativity.

We can say, “OK, that’s a good example,” or “Fine, that’s very logical,” with the follow-up:

“…and also, I want to make sure we have a reasonable amount of time to consider the various perspectives here before dedicating all of our attention to one conclusion.”

And at this point, there are a lot of really helpful steps that can be employed to celebrate “one-ness” of conclusions, while also bringing in new ideas. The result is often something like “a new, different expression which is still satisfactory or even surprising in its one-ness”, rather than a “separatedness” or a disintegration, which I suppose a really introverted person would tend to fear.

Filed in: Ni /37/ | Publications /42/ | Fi /32/ | Essays /47/ | Ti /28/ | INTP /5/ | Energy /111/ | Si /16/ | ISFJ /6/

A Set of INTJ Development Moves for Early Adulthood?

Monday January 10, 2022

I was thinking about some early-stage adult INTJ development moves today. Here’s one idea of three basic moves, or migrations, to start early on:

First, learn to separate rumination from intuition. A key difference is that ruminations are like intuitions or imaginings that over-emphasize fearful or stressful contents. This change will help you move your focus from “the problems I can imagine” to “the actual problems that are literally in front of me, right now,” and this will make you a more efficient, productive, nimble person on a day-to-day basis. Your INTJ intuition can otherwise start to weigh you down.

Second, learn to offer, and listen for, gentle communication. This change will help you move from “giving” to “expressing” in relationships, which is really important because a huge segment of the population, including people you will meet and wish to befriend, mostly cares about how you express yourself, not what you’re giving. Keep an eye on the way people word things. Your typical INTJ focus on “goodness” can quickly be subverted by phrasing that is too direct or blunt.

Third, learn to be so forward-thinking and open-minded that even the worst ideas and outcomes, sitting in front of you right now, don’t cause you to waver from your confidence in yourself and others. This change will help you move out of the critic role, which can only take you so far in life, and into more of an exploratory creative role, which tends to get INTJs really excited to take on new projects in the future. Otherwise your INTJ focus on critique can quickly lead to unnecessary social and professional alienation.

It was fun to try to narrow these down. I think they would be my big three for early-adulthood INTJs. What do you think?

(P.S. I also just noticed that these moves each generally focus in the direction of extroversion: Toward a direct appraisal of circumstances as they are, toward proactive relations with other people, and toward new, future-facing ideas.)

Filed in: Careers /37/ | Coaching /27/ | Intuition /55/

Some Laws, Implications, a Meta-Corollary, and an Asterisk

Monday January 10, 2022

  • Daryl’s First Law: There’s a workaround for the issue.
  • Daryl’s Second Law: Always use the workaround.
  • Daryl’s Third Law: If you’re in a hurry, don’t try to think of a workaround if one doesn’t come to mind. Instead, think about how not to be in a hurry.
  • Bascombe’s Meta-Corollary: The problematic system itself was probably started as a workaround. It thus encourages workarounds by the philosophy of its design.
  • (Scott) Newton’s First Implication: The universe is likely a workaround event.
  • Newton’s Second Implication: The universe happened because the original method for accomplishing the same ends totally sucked.
  • Bascombe’s Meta-Riposte: More perspectives will generate more workarounds.
  • Newton’s Third Implication: If you want your system to think about, and possibly improve itself, ensure that it does so from a variety of perspectives, so that the workarounds will be good ones.
  • Newton’s Basic People Principle: Different people generate different perspectives.
  • Daryl’s Fourth Law: If you’re in a hurry, it’s better to be in a hurry with a group of people who are in the same hurry as you are. You’ll be able to work around problems faster, and you can thus keep your general sense of being in a hurry, insofar as it serves your needs.
  • Bascombe’s Final Observation: Being alone and in a hurry makes systems appear more perfectly inscrutable, insofar as the state itself tends to obscure workarounds.
  • Bascombe’s Final Observation, Second Part: As you slow things down, the world should start to look more terribly flawed and open to change and input.
  • Daryl’s Final Comfort: Nobody who talks fast, moves fast, and thinks fast is aware of the opportunities for creativity that they pass by with every new millisecond. Slow down and you’ll be able to observe giant opportunities, and even make changes that fix the universe.
  • Daryl’s Asterisk: Most of those changes will probably start as workarounds.

Filed in: Technology /37/ | People /68/ | Thinking /66/ | Productivity /115/

Should you work to change yourself, or just be who you are?

Friday January 7, 2022

One of the earliest questions that comes up during times of growth, change, and challenge, is “should you change yourself, or just be yourself?”

The biggest problem with this question is the question itself!

It’s really a bad question. It’s also a false dichotomy. You can be yourself, while also changing yourself.

And here are three questions that I think are much more helpful:

  • Everyone can learn to change in order to become more effective. How will you manage that change while continuing to reconnect with the aspects of yourself, and your past, that you really like?
  • What will you do when you change key aspects of your life, and then seem to lose friends as a result?
  • How can you learn to take better care of yourself while also discarding aspects of your life that you don’t like?

But really quick, let’s go back to one huge question:

Should you change yourself?

Given the choice, you should always work to change yourself, and by extension, your psychology. Why? Here are some very good reasons:

  • You’ll be able to solve more problems. For every new annoyance in life, it will become more obvious that a variety of solutions exist. This alone is a huge, huge reason why you should always work toward growth-oriented change.
  • You’ll enjoy life more because you’ll be able to interpret experiences through a wider variety of lenses. For every new annoyance in life, it will become more obvious that fun workarounds and solutions exist.
  • If you don’t gradually work on yourself in this way, you will probably be forced to change later. And this may come at an inopportune time.
  • You may already love to help other people change. However, if you want to be really good at this (coaching, training, or other fields), it’s important to understand how hard it is to really “fix” yourself. It takes patience, a nurturing mindset, and a focus on observable accomplishment.
  • If you keep helping others, without changing yourself, eventually they will probably notice and they may call you out on this inequity. It can cost you important relationships.
  • You may not like this aspect, but a lot of others around you are changing themselves, too. Self-change is an enormously popular topic. Those other people out there want to have access to the best tools and perspectives. (Try not to compare yourself to them at a shallow level, but do keep this fact in mind in case you feel lonely during times of self-change)
  • Finally, your past is really stale and boring in a lot of ways, and this will gradually become more of a problem as you run lower and lower on energy. That stale, boring aspect can be completely turned around by growth and change.

Still, there’s a cost to all of these changes. One of them I frequently hear about is loneliness.

Why is it that when you change yourself, you feel lonely?

Some possible answers:

  • First, you are playing to your weaknesses when you change yourself. Focusing on change will always highlight your weakest areas. You will sometimes feel like a tragically weak person surrounded by superheroes.
  • You may meet with people who themselves decided not to change, reinforcing your idea of giving up and going back to “who you were”.
  • Those people, or others, will tell you “just be yourself, you don’t need to do all of this extra work.” (They don’t usually realize that people who say this are actually criticizing your decisions—I think it’s important to reflect on that fact.)

What can you do about it?

All of this will result in a feeling of isolation. So, what is needed? What can help?

Here are some suggestions. Write down the answers to the questions below, and keep them where you can find them later.

First, Know Your Motivations. You need to be able to re-orient your current self to your past self, and remember the why while receiving this kind of feedback and criticism.

  • Why did you start this change in the first place?
  • Why did you decide to change instead of not changing?
  • Why do you think that a changed you will be better off?

Second, Know Your Plan. You need to be able to specify the what so you can re-orient yourself if you get off track.

  • What specific changes do you want in your life?
  • What measuring tools will you use to verify that you are getting what you want? A journal, a spreadsheet, check-ins with a partner, or something else?
  • If you are changing your relations:
    • What kind of friends people ARE you looking for?
    • How will you know when you meet them?
    • Where will you meet them?
    • How can you keep others from annoying you or getting in the way, in the meantime?

Third, Support Yourself. You need to be able to keep helping yourself so you have the energy to keep changing yourself.

  • Know your existing gifts. What gifts do you already have that help you get through this? Learn to look at your own gifts as if they are superpowers.
  • Learn how to take rest periods. Keep track of the best methods you have for recuperating.
    • Do you reward yourself with a vacation?
    • Or do you have favorite interests you stay on top of all the time, no matter what?
    • Do you take a nice nap every day, without fail, and eat a favorite snack after?
    • Do you wear only comfortable clothes from now on?
    • Do you have favorite music, TV, or movies you watch to help you step out of your troubles and recuperate for a moment?
  • Practice setting boundaries with yourself and others. Stop giving away all of your energy. Know your limits and practice giving without over-giving.
    • A huge part of this is asking people in relationships what they want, and helping them get exactly that, instead of getting them what you think they want.
    • A huge part of this with yourself is knowing what you want, and getting it. This takes practice—sometimes it’s easy to get too much of what you thought was a good thing, for example.

Finally, Enjoy Watching Yourself Change. You should be able to see and enjoy the benefits of your life changes.

  • You should be learning to solve problems that used to be in the domain of others’ strengths.
  • You should be learning to find and get the energy you personally need, in any case. You should have plenty of energy, and it should be energy that you didn’t have before.
  • You should be learning to rely on yourself even more—not in a bitter way, but in a recharging, fulfilling, exciting way. I wasn’t kidding when I used the word “superpowers” above.
  • In relationships, you should be more resilient. You should be able to bounce back from troubling problems.
  • In general, you should be learning how to decide who to help, and who to pass over for now.
  • And last of all—you should in many ways be MORE of who you were before. This also fulfills the troubling part of the question—shouldn’t you just be yourself? Yes! You should bring the best parts of your past forward. And you should be even MORE of yourself, a better, improved, happier self.

Conclusion

It’s always worth it to work to change yourself. I hope you can see that it must be a thoughtful, planned, and self-considerate process.

And, in order to be most effective, self-change must bring you proof of results that can put that old, terrible question—“change yourself or be yourself?”—in the past, with a lot of other poorly-phrased self-help questions. Where it belongs!

Filed in: Essays /47/ | Therapeutic Practice /140/ | Coaching /27/ | Relationships /73/ | Interests /101/ | Goals /50/

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