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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi fellow 9s, the question is simple but the answer is sure to be complex. How do you listen to yourself?

Everyone has trouble making decisions sometimes, especially big life choices like career and relationships...but with 9s its an even bigger problem in general. So how do you guys go about really listening to know whats right for you? I have thought and thought about it and strained to try and hear myself. But I feel my intuition is still buried too deeply. I am going to try meditating, but I havnt had success with it in the past. Im just looking for perspectives and conversation.
 

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There are a number of issues embedded in this.

One is, if I don't know with a clearly major decision (like making a career choice), oftentimes the alternatives just aren't real enough for me to decide. On the rare case that each seems equally good despite having experience with both, I handle it based on my deeper sense of priorities (which I know from a fairly logical standpoint and have defined some time ago).

Another issue is that the decision may quite frankly be quite irrelevant, and only seems to be important based on social conditioning. Regardless of whether I "should" care, there are a great many things I care not one whit about. I do try to stay open to caring, but if I don't care, no amount of soul-searching is going to change that. Usually a tough decision leads me to a third option that has nothing to do with the options first considered. Example: One summer I had to choose between a research internship and a philosophy program. That summer I ended up spending the majority of my time learning to play the violin and dabbled in art. With experience I came to realize I value the visual inherently more than the musical (despite having respect for both modes of art), so I picked up an art major my last three semesters of college.

The third issue, which I think is a specifically 9 issue, is committing to doing something that seems to take me in the right direction before trying to consider what does work. Allowing oneself to slide away from what one wants is a 9ish problem, but more to the point is allowing oneself to really get around to nothing at all (sloth). I think once I've taken a step back and have actually seen the issue I need to address, more soul-searching is just more distraction from the actual issue.

Anyway, that's how I listen to myself. I'm intuitively based though, so usually what I need to listen to has already passed through my consciousness and work from there. ymmv
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
There are a number of issues embedded in this.

One is, if I don't know with a clearly major decision (like making a career choice), oftentimes the alternatives just aren't real enough for me to decide. On the rare case that each seems equally good despite having experience with both, I handle it based on my deeper sense of priorities (which I know from a fairly logical standpoint and have defined some time ago).
I think this is a big one for me, things seem so far away and out of touch that their impact doesnt give me the urgency I need until its right on top of me. Often times by then its too late to make a decision. Sometimes thats a relief, sometimes its bad.

Another issue is that the decision may quite frankly be quite irrelevant, and only seems to be important based on social conditioning. Regardless of whether I "should" care, there are a great many things I care not one whit about. I do try to stay open to caring, but if I don't care, no amount of soul-searching is going to change that. Usually a tough decision leads me to a third option that has nothing to do with the options first considered. Example: One summer I had to choose between a research internship and a philosophy program. That summer I ended up spending the majority of my time learning to play the violin and dabbled in art. With experience I came to realize I value the visual inherently more than the musical (despite having respect for both modes of art), so I picked up an art major my last three semesters of college.
Very interesting. Ive thought of this before and more considered it an excuse to be lazy than a legitamite reason to not decide. Having you explain it this way makes me not think of it that way, but rather just being less concerned with pressures.

The third issue, which I think is a specifically 9 issue, is committing to doing something that seems to take me in the right direction before trying to consider what does work. Allowing oneself to slide away from what one wants is a 9ish problem, but more to the point is allowing oneself to really get around to nothing at all (sloth). I think once I've taken a step back and have actually seen the issue I need to address, more soul-searching is just more distraction from the actual issue.

Anyway, that's how I listen to myself. I'm intuitively based though, so usually what I need to listen to has already passed through my consciousness and work from there. ymmv
This is another big one for me. Often times people tell me to just pick one and if it doesnt work try something else. But I hate the idea of wasting both time and effort on something Im not sure about. So instead I end up wasting time doing nothing. Im not saying that is good, just what happens. And yes, thinking about an issue more seems to not really solve it.

Thank you for the input. You say you are intuitively based, however, and I wish my intuition would come to the surface, is there a way to encourage that?
 

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Thank you for the input. You say you are intuitively based, however, and I wish my intuition would come to the surface, is there a way to encourage that?
Somewhat. Let's suppose you're seeking to surface your intuition so as to have a better sense of which way to direct yourself. In that context, the problem is the arena is governed first by choice. Choice at the societal level (e.g. do I want to go to medical school or become an architect) is rather daunting, but brought to the basic level (e.g. I want to make things; I want to be admired; I want an environment that smells nice) simplifies the issue, as that is a more honest reflection of what people have feelings about. Then the question becomes, does the career choice (or whatever it is) match my basic desires?

Chances are, if you don't have a clear sense of what you want within a handful of options, you simply don't have the experience to predict which thing fits with what you want. At the very least, this means you'd have to imagine what those options would be like, though ideally you'd have real experience to weigh your options on a more realistic level. Taken to the abstract level of all options is enticing, as anything is possible, but "anything" also includes spinning your wheels and getting nowhere. Considering all the realistic options have flaws and serious cons to them, it's no surprise extremely broad contexts usually generate dissatisfying outcomes.

Now I say all that because intuitions, when analyzed, have really quite simple, concrete explanations. You give me a few details, I supply a larger context and presto: we've just jumped through intuition. Surfacing your intuition is as simple as being willing to supply your own context. Now my context may very well be wildly out of touch with reality, but that's part of the package of intuition. If you try to pick up one end of the stick without the other, you'll be playing with sticks for a long time.

I supplied a context for your question less because I'm convinced I know what your motive is and more to call attention to the necessity of context in regards to intuition. If I were asked to guess at the species of a particular bird, my intuition would suck because I not only have limited experience with birds, but moreover have little experience with any context that relates to speciation. But that's fine, because I care very little about birds, much less how they can be classified.

I think if you focus on putting everything in context, you'll be well on your way. Your problem has a context. Perhaps one beyond your comprehension, but there are ways to manage vast contexts (e.g. modeling). Regardless of the magnitude, the underlying mechanism is quite straightforward. You understand the context, and you've got your answer.

Also...

Very interesting. Ive thought of this before and more considered it an excuse to be lazy than a legitamite reason to not decide.
This may very well be the case; it depends on the problem. Answering "scientific research or teaching students" with "reading manga" is being lazy. Answering it with "waiting tables until I can write books" is not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
So to summarize, there isnt a catch all answer to being more intuitive, it depends on the particular situation? And if I, in fact dont have enough experience for intuition (or hearing what my wants are) to take place I just have to take an option and go with it and hope for the best? Because all the modeling in the world isnt going to get me anywhere, its just spinning tires and a good way to keep being pulled in to sloth.

I do find your first paragraph very insightful, to try and simplify the decision down to a more primal motivation could help in a lot of contexts, I will work on how to do that.
 

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So to summarize, there isnt a catch all answer to being more intuitive, it depends on the particular situation? And if I, in fact dont have enough experience for intuition (or hearing what my wants are) to take place I just have to take an option and go with it and hope for the best? Because all the modeling in the world isnt going to get me anywhere, its just spinning tires and a good way to keep being pulled in to sloth.

I would say so, yeah. Hope for the best is pretty much what everyone does. No one knows that X option is the best for them; they just make educated guesses.

And yeah, no need to try to develop you intuition on a general level if you have something specific you want to do. That takes time. Of all the advice I've gotten, the best I've heard is to get experience with what you think you want to do and gradually commit more to it (or a special person, if we're talking about relationship choices) until you're "sure."
 
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