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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Do any of you have a problem with linear thinking?

Background - I'm having numerous issues in numerous areas of my life right now: financial, social, locational, etc. I'm very overwhelmed by it. I don't know what to do and it occurred to me that I could use a person who can think very logically in a step-by-step fashion about everything so I can figure out the best thing to do.

But, I don't know if my problem is that it's difficult for me to think linearly due to being an INFP, or if I'm just completely overwhelmed by all of the issues and don' t know where to start, but I normally would if I wasn't so overwhelmed. So, just wanted to see if any of you feel like you have difficulty thinking linearly or not.

Thanks.
 

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When you mean linear thinking, do you mean methodically step-by-step and by the book?

The problem with step-by-step thinking for the INFP is the traditionally poor Te, which quantifies information in this fashion (like putting things in your life in various categories.) It's possible but something I underachieve in (and numerous other people seem to too.) The Te is undermined greatly by the Ne, which likes to jump in logic and come to conclusions through usually subconscious connections. I think that is why you're having a hard time thinking step-by-step because part of your mind is eager to jump right to the end and see the finished product.

Not knowing where to start is another part of the same problem - that is you need to crawl before you can walk but the Ne wants to go straight to walking and running.

This is a problem I am yet to resolve or not myself so I doubt the usefulness of this advice but are these issues a matter of necessity? If it's an issue of mild importance then its probably why you're not getting anywhere but I think the pressure of it being urgent or immediately before a deadline (the point where the P's tend to get their act together) will force the Te to work better through adrenaline. When the situation has desperately required it I have been able to get numerous things done which I wasn't able to (or couldn't be bothered to do :happy:) otherwise.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
When you mean linear thinking, do you mean methodically step-by-step and by the book?

The problem with step-by-step thinking for the INFP is the traditionally poor Te, which quantifies information in this fashion (like putting things in your life in various categories.) It's possible but something I underachieve in (and numerous other people seem to too.) The Te is undermined greatly by the Ne, which likes to jump in logic and come to conclusions through usually subconscious connections. I think that is why you're having a hard time thinking step-by-step because part of your mind is eager to jump right to the end and see the finished product.

Not knowing where to start is another part of the same problem - that is you need to crawl before you can walk but the Ne wants to go straight to walking and running.

This is a problem I am yet to resolve or not myself so I doubt the usefulness of this advice but are these issues a matter of necessity? If it's an issue of mild importance then its probably why you're not getting anywhere but I think the pressure of it being urgent or immediately before a deadline (the point where the P's tend to get their act together) will force the Te to work better through adrenaline. When the situation has desperately required it I have been able to get numerous things done which I wasn't able to (or couldn't be bothered to do :happy:) otherwise.

Yes, I mean methodically, step-by-step, by the book.

And, what you describe is exactly what I think my mind wants to do. It's trying to see the thing as a whole, which works a lot of the time and saves me a lot of time instead of having to do the step-by-step thing. The problem is that what I'm dealing with now is so multifaceted and complex where one solution only leads to another problem that my preferred method is only leading to my becoming overwhelmed.

The problems aren't deadline problems. They mostly career/money problems with mental health problems thrown in. Not to get too deep into it because it would be a VERY long post, but I'm a doctor who really doesn't want to be but doesn't know what else to do with lots of money issues right now that could probably be solved if I really wanted to apply myself to doing the doctor thing full on (I'm working as a gyn, but I could make a lot more money doing OB), but that's not feasible considering issues that are very career-specific like really high malpractice insurance issues and when I did OB before I basically had a couple of nervous breakdowns. Doing gyn is much better, but it's not an ideal fit. But, it doesn't make as much money and in this day and age, it's getting to where it's not enough for me to pay my bills, pay back student loans, etc. I could probably find a decent paying job if I moved, but trying to sell my house right now if an issue.

So, hopefully you see a little of what I'm talking about. The answer to one problem leads to another problem and my brain just goes crazy and then I just shut down and turn on the TV. :)
 

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Phantom Dots - Planet Perplex

That elusive gray dot = my life.

When I'm not sitting down to focus, I can vaguely see "career", "finances", "relationships", "reality", "responsibility" etc. out of the corner of my eye. As soon as I attempt to focus in on one of these things and sort it out by-the-book, with concrete solutions and whatnot....zwoop! The grey dot! It's gone! My mind goes blank, until I'm no longer focusing on it, and can again see it vaguely in a distant corner of my mind...

I'm just learning to live with it....not very helpful, I know, but you aren't alone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Phantom Dots - Planet Perplex

That elusive gray dot = my life.

When I'm not sitting down to focus, I can vaguely see "career", "finances", "relationships", "reality", "responsibility" etc. out of the corner of my eye. As soon as I attempt to focus in on one of these things and sort it out by-the-book, with concrete solutions and whatnot....zwoop! The grey dot! It's gone! My mind goes blank, until I'm no longer focusing on it, and can again see it vaguely in a distant corner of my mind...

I'm just learning to live with it....not very helpful, I know, but you aren't alone.
I know exactly what you're talking about. What I think I'm going to do is find a good linearly thinking friend and get them to help me organize my thoughts and options.
 

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I was going to suggest talking to a friend who can help you out.

Though I completely understand where you're coming from. I feel like my thoughts can come about as spokes, then each spoke will have branches that don't always connect at once, though each branch needs to be addressed. This sounds crazy, but if I get overwhelmed with my thoughts, particularly if I'm feeling stressed, I'll literally tell myself to shut up, anf force my mind to focus on the most important or easily accessible option.

I hope you find out a solution to your issues. Physically writing down each particular issue and possible plan of action alss helps me to organize my thoughts and create concrete plans.
 

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Let see if I have the situation. At one time, you decided to be a doctor you wanted to help people. After you became a doctor and learned more about the profession, the shiny wore off. Now with school debt, you aren't even close to living the lifestyle you imagined when you first chose to be a doctor.

I happens with every INFP and work. The shiny wears off and they feel stuck.

Linear thinking isn't really the solution. All problems have a methodology to solving them. Being methodical doesn't necessarily equate to linear.

First of all, you need to understand that where you are in life is as far as you can go with what you currently know. Where you are is the sum of all the knowledge you have about career and it's relationship to happiness, your knowledge of money management and personal finances, your knowledge of what it means to have a fulfilling life.

So the answer is to know more than what you know now so you can be more than who you are now. You want to have financial stability, a more fulfilling career, etc. To have more, you first have to be more.

You can go about this one of two ways: trial and error or emulation. Trial and error is fine if you care about the subject. Trial and error if gives you chances to learn, expands your horizons. However, it's time consuming and you only want to spend time on things you love. If you don't love it, then doing trial and error is just a big waste of time.

For me personal finances is like doing dishes. I care about my personal finances but I don't love it. What I love is the result of having financial stability the same way I love a clean kitchen. So I read books by people who know more, leveraging the knowledge of someone else's thousands of hours of research condensed in 200 pages books. I find someone who similar to me who's been in my situation who's solved the problems I'm currently having. Then I do what they do.

Problem solving has nothing to do with being linear. It's about (1) deciding on a course, (2) taking actions and (3) correcting mistakes.
INFPs have problems with all three parts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Let see if I have the situation. At one time, you decided to be a doctor you wanted to help people. After you became a doctor and learned more about the profession, the shiny wore off. Now with school debt, you aren't even close to living the lifestyle you imagined when you first chose to be a doctor.

I happens with every INFP and work. The shiny wears off and they feel stuck.

Linear thinking isn't really the solution. All problems have a methodology to solving them. Being methodical doesn't necessarily equate to linear.

First of all, you need to understand that where you are in life is as far as you can go with what you currently know. Where you are is the sum of all the knowledge you have about career and it's relationship to happiness, your knowledge of money management and personal finances, your knowledge of what it means to have a fulfilling life.

So the answer is to know more than what you know now so you can be more than who you are now. You want to have financial stability, a more fulfilling career, etc. To have more, you first have to be more.

You can go about this one of two ways: trial and error or emulation. Trial and error is fine if you care about the subject. Trial and error if gives you chances to learn, expands your horizons. However, it's time consuming and you only want to spend time on things you love. If you don't love it, then doing trial and error is just a big waste of time.

For me personal finances is like doing dishes. I care about my personal finances but I don't love it. What I love is the result of having financial stability the same way I love a clean kitchen. So I read books by people who know more, leveraging the knowledge of someone else's thousands of hours of research condensed in 200 pages books. I find someone who similar to me who's been in my situation who's solved the problems I'm currently having. Then I do what they do.

Problem solving has nothing to do with being linear. It's about (1) deciding on a course, (2) taking actions and (3) correcting mistakes.
INFPs have problems with all three parts.
No, didn't really become a doctor to help people specifically because I think there are lots of ways to help people and if that's all I wanted I would have taken a much shorter and cheaper route. Some of my reasons are very personal so don't want to get into them specifically here, but boils down to liking science and wanting stability. The science is still there somewhat, but so much of practicing medicine is not about the science and the stability is DEFINITELY not there like it used to be. So, basically I made the wrong choice from the start.

Now I've got some major financial problems and am not sure what to do professionally either and I don't like where I live. I thought I had the answer to what I wanted to do professionally other than being a doctor, but taking a couple classes in that made me realize I don't want to do the new profession either. But, every solution I think of to help the financial issues causes a problem with the location issues or the profession solutions create a financial problem. So I'm thinking if I could think linearly about each problem then maybe I wouldn't be so overwhelmed but instead, my mind keeps thinking in circles and loops and swirls and every other none linear configuration you can think of. I need some A+B=C thinking, but my brain, at this point with so many intersecting problems, seems incapable of doing this.

I think at some point problem solving is linear. I can't get to the point of deciding a course because each decision creates a problem in another area. It seems like sitting down and working through the pros and cons of each choice may help, but I just can't get my brain to do it. I have a friend who makes decisions that way, but maybe it's my F that won't let me do it. Plus a lot of it is just plain fear of making another huge mistake.
 

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Now I've got some major financial problems and am not sure what to do professionally either and I don't like where I live. I thought I had the answer to what I wanted to do professionally other than being a doctor, but taking a couple classes in that made me realize I don't want to do the new profession either. But, every solution I think of to help the financial issues causes a problem with the location issues or the profession solutions create a financial problem. So I'm thinking if I could think linearly about each problem then maybe I wouldn't be so overwhelmed but instead, my mind keeps thinking in circles and loops and swirls and every other none linear configuration you can think of. I need some A+B=C thinking, but my brain, at this point with so many intersecting problems, seems incapable of doing this.
Fix what's most broken first. Don't try to do it all at the same time. Very hard to worry about skin knees if you have a broken arm. What's most broken really depends on your highest value.
 

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Ethiope, first of all you should be so proud of yourself for becoming a doctor! I'm sorry you're not as happy as you'd hoped you would be, but just having those credentials can open so many doors for you and really give you an opportunity to help people. Have you ever considered a career in Complementary and Alternative Medicine? It involved a much different philosophy of life and medicine than does conventional western medicine, and it seems to be ideal for INFPs. There is also soo much scientific research behind it now, and having a more traditional MD/DO degree, as well as some experience in "regular" medicine would give you a lot of cred with both allopathic and natural doctors.

Before you decide to give up on medicine, I STRONGLY advise reading the book "The China Study" by T. Colin Campbell. I stumbled upon it as an undergrad Bio major/premed (before I knew i was INFP), and it completely changed my outlook on science and medicine.

As far as what to do right now, I would try to tough it out as a doc for a little while to pay off some debt, then you will be less stressed about your finances. As far as not liking your living situation, are you unhappy with the city or region you live in or a specific apartment? It seems like it would be easier to move to a different apt/city than to go back to school and start over in a completely new profession.
 
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