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Learning to Stop At The "What Do You Mean By That?" Threshold

Wednesday October 12, 2022

One of the biggest problems humanity faces today is pretty tricky: It’s the concept of the unknown.

I wrote about this topic and its relation to UFOlogy before.

I believe that, moving forward as a species, we will need to tackle and solve this problem, making the unknown less of a feared condition or aspect of life.

Lately I’m noticing even more than usual that, far from applying only to fringe topics like UFOlogy, it most certainly even applies to everyday questions.

Can I Have More Details on The Unknown?

I noticed that a lot of people are wayyyy past their personal comfort level by the time they ask “What Do You Mean By That?”

They don’t like having to ask this. Not just because it makes them feel dumb, which is true sometimes. But also because they are very uncomfortable with the unknown in general.

And—is it really wise to continue talking about the unknown in such a case, with someone who is that uncomfortable already?

What if it started with a simple topic, like you saying “here’s an idea for this weekend’s party?”

In my experience, even thinking about this simple type of future activity can cause high levels of stress for those who fear the unknown. Everyone has their threshold.

This is why I think it is important to start thinking more deeply about responding to the question and mindset as soon as it comes up.

What to Do About It

Here’s something to try on your own: Stop things short, as soon as you hear “What Do You Mean By That,” or sense a similar questioning mindset. Set a temporary boundary right there. And then make some time to ask yourself:

  • Am I trying to communicate something that exists in my mind, as a concept, imagined idea, or plan? (I generally call this “intuitive” material, or information from the realm of the intuition)
  • Is it possible that this person is uncomfortable or lacks experience with intuitive-weighted topics, like planning? Or mental imagery? This is really good to know as early as possible. New phrases or tools can be used to help make these topics easier to deal with. And knowing about this issue in general gives you more control over potential problems that may arise.
  • Is it possible that this person needs more bigger-picture context? For example, some details about the history of the topic in question? Even for party planning, it can be helpful to rewind a bit, and say, “before I go into my idea, here’s some background.” Basic sequential logic can do wonders here.
  • Is the conversational approach appropriate, or is more formal training or a formal presentation a better idea? This is especially helpful to consider if you need people to work with you, or for you, at the level of plans, ideas, and concepts.

Why It’s Important that We Help Them

It may not be your fault for having an idea that others don’t understand. But it’s a good idea to start thinking about that bridge—about what can be done in these cases. Cases that can come up when the “What Do You Mean By That” idea you’re trying to communicate refers to a concept you can’t exactly produce in physical form from your coat pocket, but which you also really need to get across.

And why is important for us intuitives, planners, conceptualizers, inventors to think about this?

Because it involves creating new processes to be used in the future.

So, by definition, those in your audience who aren’t comfortable with the unknown probably can’t do this part for themselves, either. And it doesn’t make them ignorant, or stupid. Far from it! Some of the most clever, executive-minded, and productive people I’ve ever met have also really struggled with the unknown.

If we really want to improve the universe, the world, humanity, and its general readiness for future events, those of us who can face the unknown comfortably have a lot of important work to do, to benefit those who can still make their own contributions…though perhaps not with the exact same gifts.

Music: X Files Theme – Eerie Harp Guitar Version – Jamie Dupuis

Filed in: Thinking /70/ | Ne /17/ | Si /18/ | Control /110/ | Relationships /78/ | Essays /52/ | Intuition /62/ | People /73/ | Ni /42/ | Productivity /119/

Interests & Life Update, 2022-10

Wednesday October 12, 2022

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, and some of you kind readers checked in with me, so I thought I’d share a little bit of what’s been up.

Used My Own Free PDF Download

I’ve been publishing free downloads online for like what, 20 years now? Something like that.

I use my own downloads all the time. It’s kind of funny (moreso when I google my own site on accident and it’s got exactly what I needed) but I guess it makes some kind of basic sense.

Anyway, in the past I created a free PDF guide / download for COVID sufferers.

So I was wondering, when will I get COVID myself?

And when I get COVID, will I use the tools I wrote about? I was pretty sure they were helpful, but you never know, really.

Answer: You’ll get COVID in September, 2022, and it will suck, and yes you will use all the tools, and more.

Well, I’m glad that’s over with. It went through the family and caused a number of setbacks, one of which was posting to this blog. So yeah, it sucked.

Some aspects that come to mind:

  • Weirdest Goal for Whenever COVID Left My Body: Sitting in the yard, doing some whittling. Like GOD, when can I WHITTLE again?! Seriously this was such a random desire…
  • Funniest COVID Activity: I personally tend to use TONS of caffeine when I’m sick, because I ran some measurements and it helps me out. So it was funny to hit something like 500mg this one day, and then lay there listening to tunes in my bed, with my feet shaking like TAPPITY-TAP-SHAKEY-SHAKE-BOPPITY-BOP. The shaking doesn’t bother me, it’s just a side effect of the caffeine. But I was chuckling about it because Megan was like “yeah I’m not sleeping in here, I mean look at your feet going off.” (She had COVID too btw)
  • Loftiest Goal During Post-COVID Lethargy Period: “When this is over I will climb a friggin’ MOUNTAIN.” (Was I serious? I don’t really want to do that anymore unless it’s easy and comfortable ;-))
  • Biggest COVID Annoyance: I got out a favorite candy bar as an experiment to get my spirits up, but I couldn’t taste it at all. lmao. It basically tasted like slime, or garbage. So annoying.
  • Most Weirdly Helpful Supplement: After my sweet-taste came back, I suddenly found that gobs of sugar were helping a lot with the lethargy. More than caffeine even. It was weird at first, but I made the difficult decision to swim with the tide. THEN SUGAR IT WILL BE, I uttered to myself with steely resolve! Some absolutely epic sugary snacks were consumed. (This was also somehow my weight-gain portion of COVID. Strange!)

I Watched the Kids By Myself for a While

Megan flew to Denmark and hung out with some old friends there. Eventually she flew back home with like 20 lbs. of candy for the family to enjoy.

In the meantime, I microwaved a ton of food for my kids, and they probably all wondered when I could get back to blogging. Megan is a really good cook. A phenomenal cook even.

So I’m back to blogging now, and we’re all eating better as a result.

Other Stuff

  • I played with tarot cards for inspiration, they’re pretty useful for that. At first I was like, “what do these mean?” And looked them up every time. But now I just look at the pretty pictures and name everything I can see in the picture. Then I kind of review those themes, and it helps me think about things and come up with ideas.
  • I polished up my role-playing GM skills a bit, playing a Chic Spy RPG with my kids on Chic Spy Day (5 October), and a fantasy roleplaying one-shot on another day. It’s getting to the point where I am doing less prep, but in a good way. My son was picking some pretty amusing character names, like Timothy Plaguebringer, and at the same time my daughter is sometimes like, “I’ll be Cheryl” and that’s that. “Timothy Plaguebringer, meet…Cheryl!”
  • I have been reading a lot of books. And I realized that cover imagery is just huge for me. I pick a LOT of books by their covers, and this doesn’t embarrass me anymore. In fact at this point I almost always refuse to buy even a really amazing book that’s on sale, if I don’t like its cover. This is for lots of reasons, but among them: I will never be able to finish the books I already have.
  • I have been whittling in the back yard.
  • Over the last few years, I’ve been wondering, “what’s advanced fitness look like, for me?” And this question was really quite a derail. At first I was like—of course, let’s go “higher, faster, farther.” And then I think that got VERY boring before I was ready to admit it. And so from what I can tell, improvised skill-based activity is looking like a really solid solution instead. To give an example: Earlier this year I pulled an empty peanut butter jar off the shelf, and started hucking pencil erasers into it, from 20 feet away. My kids joined in. Now it’s a weird family game (trying not to say tradition) but I swear it’s fun! There’s also a knack to it… So, I’m working this new vein and finding really interesting lessons relevant to what I’d definitely consider advanced fitness. Weird! But it’s been cool to discover.
  • I installed a dishwasher, which I’ve never done before. If you want to do it well, it can present some weird challenges, like “don’t flood your kitchen”. Also I’ve never been more afraid of breaking a brand new appliance in my life, maybe.
  • I listened to a ton of good music and have probably never been more thankful for music. What IS it about that stuff? Seriously.

Here are some bangers I’ve enjoyed again, or enjoyed anew, recently. Take care everybody!

Ghost Light – The Healer

Draper – On You

Giorgio Moroder & Paul Engemann – Shannon’s Eyes

(I guess you never know what tunes will get you through hard times, but Shannon’s eyes was SUCH a COVID CURE here, I swear!)

Filed in: Fitness /31/ | Goals /52/ | Interests /111/

Four Journaling Snippets for A Way Better Day

Wednesday October 12, 2022

Since I journal in a text editor every day, I decided some years ago to start using the editor’s snippets feature. This way I can type a little shortcut code, hit the TAB key, and it types in some text, and this saves me some time.

Along the way I had this thought: I can also make snippets that add a bunch of fun or interesting or helpful stuff. So I set about doing that.

As of this writing, I use over 100 snippets. I almost can’t believe I’m writing that.

Some of the snippets may enter some text or super-secret symbolic productivity codes for me, but a lot of them also call various scripts and programs I’ve written in at least 10 different programming languages. (By
the way, this kind of simple task is a great way to try out a new hobby programming language. “What time is it in Europe?” or “What’s the weather forecast?” or “Recommend a movie?”)

So, here are my four favorite text editor snippets, plus a little bonus or two because I love this topic.

1. The interests snippet.

For this snippet I type ‘intt’ + TAB.

Here’s an example of what it types into my editor:

  • Browsing book stacks online or off: Gutenberg, Archive.org, AZ, Google Play books, etc.
  • Inventing & extending my own shorthand
  • Drawing aircraft
  • Finding new favorite comedians
  • Writing about different worlds / cities / etc.
  • Quality local news sites (towndock.net for example)
  • Helicopter attack on Argentinian Submarine ARA Santa Fe (S-21)
  • Youtube supercuts, e.g. the Verge’s $2000 PC build, 80s or any decade supercuts, etc.
  • Norse Mythology
  • Evaluating new organizing or cleaning tools
  • Pakistani films
  • Europe (News, past, present, history)
  • Diecast aircraft toys, window shopping
  • Shortwave radio blogs like SWLing
  • Learning the JU-52 in Flightgear
  • Watching youtubers like JoeandZachSurvival going to the tent to set things up https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=To-8KpfxgOE
  • Books about Europe in WWII
  • Taking online self-study courses like Wikiversity courses

This snippet is especially fun because it picks randomly from a master list of over 1,000 things I’m interested in. So, like most of the snippets in this article, I get a different set of items every time I type the snippet.

For a little background, I’m a life coach (more of the kind that’s into goals, productivity & creativity than energetically pumping people up via body motions and emotive expressions, tho), and I’ve learned that having interests is like having extra health points.

If you are doing something you like today, things will be more interesting for you, and so you’ll have more energy.

And really, energy is health points, in a way. It’s fun to think about life like this, anyway! You lose and gain some during the day at different junctures, but your baseline level is higher if you’re generally interested in your life.

So, it’s pretty interesting see these fun combinations come up. Is it time to check in on the Pakistani film scene? Or find a new favorite comedian? Or watch that Verge PC build video again?

I mean, I’m up for any of that…

2. The intuitive journaling cues one. Bound to ‘up’ – tab.

This one can be really therapeutic or creatively intriguing. Here’s an example of what it types into my editor:

  • PLACES: Where does your mind’s eye take you and what do you see & do there?
  • CONTEXTUALIZING: What does this day seem to make you feel about where your life is headed?
  • PLACES: You are building a really pleasant neighborhood for yourself in a sandbox video game. What’s it like?

These items are also randomly selected. They are a very direct way to draw on the intuition, which is an excellent set of tools that can help you uncover new opportunities, or deeper concerns, or just use your imagination in a calming, comforting, or meditative way.

If you want to see more of these, please see the list of intuitive journaling cues that I posted previously.

3. The productivity-journaling cues snippet: Bound to ‘upu’ + tab.

This snippet is more about offering random questions that get to a more straightforward assessment of things.

Here’s an example of what it types into my editor:

  • What would I appreciate tomorrow, that I can do today?
  • What’s standing in the way of your work?
  • What’s irritating about the next steps?
  • What sucks about various aspects of life lately?
  • What’s a schedule that would work?

Again, these are randomly chosen. I’ve learned to make them pick out different time scopes: Today, lately, this year, and so on.

They are very straightforward and also productivity-inspiring, which means they can provide a very quick way to burn out from productivity exhaustion, a term I coined a while back. So I tend to avoid using them unless I’ve been doing lots of intuitive work and need to get focused on my schedule again.

4. The random personality archetype picker! Bound to ‘pl’ + tab.

This one is definitely a favorite snippet. I have to say I enjoy even typing in this shortcut. It’s kind of exciting.

Here’s an example of what it types into my editor:

- Johnny Worricker, ex-MI5 officer
- D.A.T.A.
- Black Widow
- Captain America
- John Russell from The Changeling
- Richard Simmons
- Cat from Red Dwarf

(Yes, that’s the Richard Simmons on that list! Why is he in my text editor??)

So, for some background: When I started studying archetype a long time ago, I realized that all these different characters—thousands of them at least—can be said to live inside each of us. They express a given set of perspectives, or what you might call tools.

And, in addition to admiring, or hating them: You can use those perspectives or tools, for growth and for understanding yourself better.

So, when someone really interests me, I add them to this list. Then when I type the snippet, the list is shuffled and some random names are spit out.

I can then use this team of characters, like a detailed extension of the “Cabinet of Invisible Counselors” concept.

I like to use their voices to answer and select the items from snippets 1, 2, and 3, above. Or in other words, I answer those questions as if I’m the character.

The result is often very different and satisfying. Sometimes it’s redundant, like if I get Richard Simmons and Cat when I don’t exactly need some encouragement or a joke and a smile. But I’d say that it this technique completely fixes my day about 1-2 times a week, because I can draw on a perspective that’s very effective, but difficult to access by definition, because it’s not my own default perspective.

5. Lists (Bonus Item!) ‘ls’ + tab.

I also have a simple snippet that starts a new list for me. It’s in Markdown, so it’s just some newlines plus a dash and a space. But it has been worth it because lists are really helpful.

Don’t forget to make lists while you journal!

  • Things you might forget about if you don’t write them down
  • Things you want to do after your hard work is done
  • Names for your new imaginary pet
  • Pictures you think Elon Musk is probably doodling right now
  • Your next snack


These snippets have helped me out a lot over the years. They really do make every day a little better. And they also keep me on track, while at the same time they can also help me recover my personal interests in the middle of a burnout-level, overproductive day.

This balance-focus is why I created my own productivity system called Task BATL.

You see, far too many people sacrifice their personal values for a week of checking things off lists, like they are a computer program. Then after doing that for a while, they wonder why they’re not enjoying life. It’s not cool, and I see too much of it, so I’m trying to help fix that.

If you use a text editor for writing, it’s probably worth your time to think about how the technical features can make the non-technical parts of your life easier (I admit I even have a snippet that tells me how old I am) or more enjoyable.

BTW, the Richard Simmons of my mind’s eye says hi! Good luck & enjoy your journaling everybody.

Music: Ice Choir – Designs in Rhythm

Filed in: Energy /120/ | Intuition /62/ | Feeling /64/ | Therapeutic Practice /144/ | Publications /44/ | Thinking /70/ | Productivity /119/ | Interests /111/

Career & Job Advice: Notice How Your Team Changes You

Thursday July 14, 2022

I’ve coached job seekers for years, and I see this common mistake again and again: People tend to make their job situation all about their own skill or passion.

Heck, career advice books push this strategy all the time, so it makes sense that this would turn into a huge blind spot!

The truth is, your team will affect you more than you can possibly imagine OR control.

Your team, meaning all the people around you at work, will change you and your job. They will even change your skill level, starting with your own perception of your skill level at work!

This aggregate effect will seem like a hidden force controlling your career, as long as you keep focusing on yourself alone. And if you haven’t changed teams recently, you may have no idea how much you are missing out on: New energy, new productivity, new friendships, and new optimism.

Keep in mind—when you are only noticing, or working on, YOUR skills or on YOUR tasks, you are not focused on your team, by definition. You are letting the control scheme continue unexamined.

So, at the very least:

  • List the ways the people with whom you work seem to affect your personality.
  • List the pros and cons! Get a good long list going with details and examples!
  • Plan to make strategic changes at work.
  • Plan to make strategic changes in how you manage your career based on this knowledge.
  • If you’re in leadership—help people shuffle things up and work in different groups from time to time. Ask what they think about the changes in group & how things went! Help them work with people who can get them feeling more positive and productive!
  • Never blame individuals for problems you observe in team dynamics, unless you have really good reason and some team buy-in. Instead, focus on making your own changes to your career. Always work to change things as soon as you recognize the need, and keep it breezy & cheesy—nothing personal!

In conclusion: Learn to change your team to change your job…or change your job so you can change your team.

Good luck out there everybody!

Filed in: Control /110/ | Careers /39/

BTW, about passion and capacity

Wednesday June 15, 2022

I had this summary-thought recently:

“Dispassionate capacity points to stable capability.”

Looking it over a few times, I think it could be a pretty reliable model for measuring one’s day-to-day work, for example.

So, I ask: Are you appreciating, and employing, your dispassionate capacities?

We talk a lot about passion as if it’s a huge target worth chasing in life. But some things must be done because simply because there’s capacity to do them. Must be done for who? For you!

They are marked as stable and capable, not so much passionate.

And that’s good, because it also feels good, even if not passionately so, at some lower level. You should feel more stable and more capable as you engage those parts of who you are.

Filed in: Therapeutic Practice /144/ | Control /110/ | Energy /120/

Where is humankind headed? The coiling accountability crisis

Wednesday June 15, 2022

I thought I’d share something I’m thinking about a lot lately: The future of humanity and how our future is closely linked with a growing awareness of accountability and reconciliation.

Accountability and Reconciliation

At the decade-period level, we are just now witnessing a ramping-up of a long-term pattern of demand for accountability and reconciliation at multiple levels:

  1. Personal ethical and integral accountability
  2. Social responsibility to growth and development
  3. Corporate accountability to humanity, as compared against items 1 & 2

Reconciliation is pretty great, especially in theory: You enter a form of discussion around positions of equity or inequity. The outcome is one of distribution of energy toward an improved outcome for the parties involved.

Who wouldn’t want that?

But unfortunately, we’re really good at making the reconciliation process extremely personal. Without realizing what we’ve done, we tend to raise the stakes for all of us, when we think we have limited the risk-on stakes to one person or group.

Such public discussion is typically sculpted around dichotomies at first, but it tends to deepen quickly and easily. (This is also part of the problem—a lot of us are naturally deep reconcilers and this approach can be wildly inappropriate and also too personal, too fast.)

The overall trend is troubling for organisms that operate on a shallow level in their public or human-human interfaces.

And while this trend itself may not be a crisis, the response can easily lead to many, many crises.

An Example Archetype

A great example archetype in this area is the typical “boom” business, an economic organization that is absolutely printing money.

Such an organization is usually built around nimble, fast-moving economic processes. However, almost as if by script (we know about this script—personality dynamics have a lot to say here), sets of dangerously covert ethical perspectives are mostly kept in the background until they begin to pop off in unwanted ways.

This type of organization is awfully easy prey, to a natural cycle in which a business is examined for intrinsic value by various stakeholders. This examination is repeated over time, and at any time the examiner could be the consumer, the investor, the vendor, the government, and so on. (The boss’s family, the neighbors—it’s fascinating that the stories we tell ourselves reveal so, so many stakeholders in everything)

(And we are all aware of this cycle by now, aren’t we? The big bad business? It’s a huge part of what we know as the “news cycle” in modern media.)

Such an examination, which is only natural, demands a public interface to the intrinsic ethical properties of the organization. And, however obvious this unfolding may seem as I write it out here, again and again such businesses show that this is a zone of weak footing for them. Thus they will likely be rocked by continual waves of accountability and demand for reconciliation.

I’ve worked for such businesses, and they are absolutely bonkers on the inside. They represent a risk to the future of humanity, but IMO it’s a risk we should learn to interface and help with, rather than scorn.

Such businesses aren’t alone in this. Similar demand even tends to build up in therapeutic non-profit organizations, religions, and families. All well-meaning.

A good deal of this demand comes from what you might think of as displacement and projection: As individuals or groups learn of new ethical or values-based principles that may cast a poor lens on their own subjective past, they experience a heightening of fear and sensation. They begin to worry about their personal security.

Such individuals and groups, being only human, will need to find quick relief in the form of a sort of “object lesson.” This gets their mind off the subject lesson (and none of this is exactly conscious). So, the third-party, especially the third party that has lately escaped examination, becomes an easy object of their frustrating energy.

Dealing With It

This is all pretty harsh stuff in a lot of ways, especially if you feel you’re the target, or a potential target. The tendency is to react and to defend oneself.

However, that’s also an unfortunate mistake in a lot of cases. Again and again we find that it’s a mistake to take an obviously defensive posture, at least as if it’s going to be the solution to the problem.

At an individual level, I have also seen this with my coaching clients—they tell me that their response to a need for reconciliation is more like martyrdom.

Personally, I’ve been down this road myself, and while examining the circumstances, I realized it was a huge mistake, and a waste of energy. There’s no real need for it, first of all. It’s more like an exercise in hallucination based on one’s conflicted understanding of one’s own good nature. And as such, it makes the problem “all about me,” which makes little logical sense if you consider that there is another party to the issue. Some burdens must be shared, but even more importantly, sometimes others want to share those burdens because again—they’re projecting. They also desperately want to know that there’s a constructive solution in here somewhere.

Let me repeat that in a different way: We all, desperately, want to know that there’s a constructive solution in here somewhere. Even if we’re less-than-aware of this fact. Even if we’re talking an evil business, or an evil person. We have skin in the game.

So what are some other actions or postures we can take in this kind of situation? This seems like a really important question.

Finding New, Solid Footing Beyond Reconciliation

In my opinion, businesses, organizations, and individuals will need to find, test, and vet many new models for interfacing with the outside, or the outsider, in such situations.

I’ve participated in organization-level interventions aimed at this kind of outcome, and I’ve worked alongside those who were intervening as outside consultants. The interventions were indeed helpful, but they also weren’t intrinsically available to the organization. This was a huge problem, in my view.

In considering various models that could help, there are many obvious leverage points and workarounds. Many of these could be made intrinsic without too much work.

Unfortunately, I don’t see many people talking or thinking about this yet, but I could be wrong.

And maybe that’s the thing: “Many.” “Various.” “Models.” There is a plurality vs. singularity issue here, and the plurality part can help out the singularity-with-issues.

We don’t need one thing or another. We need to start to perceive, together, that there is more than one way out of a really uncomfortable examination. For both the examiner and the examined.

I really think part of the secret in responding successfully is in taking lots of paths, even contradictory paths, at the same time—and communicating that.

Perhaps in the future we’ll learn more about it, but for now, my hat is off to those who embrace such a situation with creativity. It’s taxing because there is not a very strong cultural history or tradition to draw on. And it is not often very rewarding, because the solution may need to be kept and protected at a subjective level until it can mature, and long before others realize its utility.


And that’s about as low-level as I’m comfortable going with this topic. I don’t believe we really need so many examples at this point—the idea is to look forward and work forward, to be willing to talk about this at a high level, even if it takes some learning—and not to look backward so much.

Those higher principles of decade-to-decade movement point at patterns which will be useful in guiding very specific future developments in culture and society.

Eventually, hopefully, we’ll be able to look at problem-things and say, “that’s part of us, or it’s not a problem at all,” and move forward creatively, less personally, maybe even less passionately, and more grounded in experience: “This used to be a problem for society, until we all learned, together, how to treat it in all these different ways.”

Filed in: Essays /52/ | Relationships /78/ | People /73/

How can I work less like an ESFP? And how can I get out more?

Tuesday June 14, 2022

Some personality type Q&A today….

How can I work less like an ESFP?

Jon writes,

When I’m in the office I work a lot like an ESFP. I like to feel that I’m constantly available and responding to issues as they come up. This is not ideal though, because it sets expectations poorly, among other things. Any pointers?

I know what you mean Jon. I’ve talked to a lot of INTJs who work in the same way. And it feels good in some important ways! But like you said, there are lots of downsides.

(Well, I guess unless you are looking for a fantastic way to reliably burn yourself out by 5 p.m.)

Some things to think about:

Scheduling action is taking action, and time is golden: It’s still helpful and responsive to say, “let’s discuss this for about ten minutes today, just before lunch”. This will give you time to think and let your thoughts settle (a huge one for introverts), and the same will be true for others. And maybe more importantly, that extra time can help you think in higher-level terms about the problem, for additional creativity and leverage.

You can personality-type the problem: In your downtime, break down your problems into problem-types, or groups of problems. Aim for 3-4 categories to start with. Then test different responses 1) in the moment and 2) when the appropriate discussion / problem-solving time has arrived. This will fold in some analysis and help you gain more leverage over the situation in general.

Start to bring others in on the solution: A huge ESFP issue is peacocking, and a huge introvert issue in general is making things all about one’s own perspectives. This combination can quickly turn against INTJs at work. It can also start to make others feel like they are being excluded. Try to find simple ways to show others you want to involve them, and that you trust them, even enough to make mistakes.

You may feel like you already know what they’ll say (Ni) or that you are constantly learning even though one else is (Te), or that you’re the martyr for the cause who must make all the difficult decisions (Fi). But IMO it’s worth it to start to learn to let others share your bad-decision space with you. :-)

How do I get out more?

Sarine writes,

I’m an INTJ and I don’t get out much, and that’s a problem. You’re probably just going to tell me to find balance in my life, but what can I do to get out more? I don’t like being outside. I like being in my apartment.

Sarine, first of all I would never, ever tell you to find balance in your life.

As a professional coach, I have come to really hate the word “balance.”

Balance is so overused as a (sloppy) mental model, and IMO is almost always easy to file in the category of discouraging, low-leverage advice (or self-advice!).

Whenever somebody tells me they probably need to find balance, it seems like they are signaling that they haven’t got a clue and feel like giving up. And I feel like saying, “blame that stupid word!”

So. With all that said.

Some ideas:

Make going out about your existing, favorite interests: Going out in this case should be as sweet as possible, in concept. It should be about going to shop for your favorite thing, for example.

Use your conceptualizing mind: Use your intuition (Ni) to visualize yourself coming home feeling good about what you just did, and then work backwards: What did you do?

Use your Fi and allow yourself to don’t-wanna: Embrace no-balance! Embrace I-don’t-wanna! Moan and BLEB about the issue and get that all out of the way. You’ll probably find that this turns some important gears behind the scenes.

Good luck Jon and Sarine!

Filed in: Energy /120/ | Control /110/ | Feeling /64/ | Productivity /119/ | Fi /34/ | Ni /42/ | Careers /39/ | Te /36/

A common sequence of interest-energy for me

Tuesday June 7, 2022

It starts with a vague feeling of want, then a feeling of need, or deeper-want.

Then it turns into interest in ideas/concepts/products, to browsing products, to feeling need for specific products or items.

Next to vague intuition of a specific visual intuition or visual collage I can see in my mind’s eye, then to explicative visualization, or a visualization that seems to expand on or explain the previous visual intuition.

From there the energy goes to thoughts about application of this new concept to my life & energy systems. I get excited—application, this I can do something about and with!

Then to keyword-intuition, to keyword search, and to sorting / ranking based on intuitive (future) suitability. Not searching for products anymore, but for whatever the product interest turned into. From searching for a book on fractal math to searching for a tutorial on drawing fractals.

After that—to review, sometimes to purchase, to file away, to build on, to model, to framework, to leverage, to use, to teach.

To publish.

These last few are optional. Usually we get to some point of leverage though.

Filed in: Intuition /62/ | Ni /42/ | Thinking /70/

What NOT to do when keeping a journal

Wednesday May 11, 2022

Philip writes,

I’m using my journal to support my daily life & work activities, and I wonder if you could provide some examples of what not to do when keeping a journal?

You got me thinking, Philip. Here are some important ones:

Do not use your journal the way you think it “should” be used.

Some people see others journaling a chronology of events, like “what happened today.” For you, this might be a waste of time. You can do these instead:

  • How I feel right now
  • What’s next in my day
  • What’s interesting to me today

It’s also a really great idea to start building your idea of, “how I use a journal” because this is often a very easy and effective way to make fast improvements, as long as you keep an open mind and periodically try out new approaches.

Never feel pressured to read to others out of your journal.

And by pressure I mean internal pressure from yourself, mostly.

For example, if you feel pressure to show others that you aren’t writing about them, to prove that you’re a good person, please reconsider. A lot of times this pressure is really coming from yourself, not from them. And if it does come from them, it’s often a good idea to set a boundary and not entertain others with your private thoughts.

Related: Don’t feel pressure to be unrealistically positive in your journal.

Your journal should be a place where you can write “so-and-so is a jerk and I hate them.” It’s important to have a place where you feel free to express this energy.

Avoid the temptation to stick to your journaling style, or template, when it shows signs of not working as well anymore.

Periodically ask yourself, “what do I dislike about my journaling template, or journaling practice?” Immediately make the change.

If you don’t do this, there is a really good chance that you’ll start to procrastinate.

For personal support, know what TYPE of journaling is appropriate.

Use the right type of journaling to support yourself. For example:

If you feel like you’re not getting anything done today, stay away from imaginative journaling practices, and instead use the emotional-informational dichotomy.

You can start with “I’m not getting anything done!!!!” instead, followed hopefully soon by a list of things that should be done, and maybe followed by more venting…this is all really appropriate for diving into lists, especially big lists.

For more information on that kind of emotionally-balanced productivity, see Task BATL, my free productivity system.

If on the other hand you’re burnt out, or getting things done isn’t super important right now, it can help to move to intuitive or imaginative journaling exercises for example.

That ought to be good enough for now Philip! Good luck. —Marc

Filed in: Therapeutic Practice /144/ | Productivity /119/

Slim Down for Summer with Federated Content

Friday April 29, 2022

Recently I spent some more time exploring the Fediverse, specifically a little corner of it called Mastodon, and specifically to that, a little corner of it called “awkwardly trying to figure out WTF I’m doing here.”

Which, IDK, I think I’m going to say this was a success. I enjoyed it past tense, I enjoy it present tense. I look forward to using it more.

It feels like I’ve found a pretty good way to connect with people who are into a lot of the things I am, like FOSS, Linux, retro computing, music, art, whatever. There aren’t any ads, just ad-mins. They seem like a nice bunch of people.

Also, people generally put sensitive content (I had no idea it was so VARIED) behind a click-to-see barrier, so you don’t see it unless you want to.

Finally there are tons of controls and lots of little nooks to explore, and after some first efforts to understand it, I feel like it’s been a net positive.

So, to integrate that profile a bit with this site, I’ve added my feed to the world’s longest sidebar, here on MAYBE.

If you’re also a Fediverse person, feel free to follow me, my username is @marcolas at oldbytes.space:


…and RSS Ninja friends can get the RSS feed here:


Filed in: Technology /41/ | Interests /111/

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