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There are times when introverted intuition seems to flow with passion. Ideas appear with exceptional clarity. Wide connections are made with ease that even astonishes me. And it surges very readily for an extended period.

I've often tried to get into this state and find it can't be forced. I can't turn it on at will. I suspect there's something in surrounding (and maybe internal) conditions that catalyzes it.

Being on a long bus ride or flight sometimes seems to do it for me. It's like, there's nothing else to do, and I know there won't be for a long period, so these other parts of my mind just recede and this function is freed to run without encumbrance. A long drive can do it too but then I have to pay attention to the driving activity so it doesn't get quite as far.

If I'm in a conversation with someone nothing close to this every happens. Seems to completely prevent it.

Does anyone have an idea of what conditions can help with this? And as a corollary, which can impede it.
 

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Plague Doctor
INTJ, 5w4, Ni-T type
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Sports (getting "in the zone")
Writing
Music (listening to/playing)
Meditation
Active Imagination (a Jungian technique which is like meditation)
The moments before sleeping and just upon waking
Doing "mindless" things, like playing an easy puzzle game, working in a garden, or something else like that.
Read up on Positive Psychology's description of "flow" or "flow state" Also see Positive Psychology's concept of "flourishing"

Hopefully this helps?
 

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I get that creative flow when I am feeling healthy and my brain is relaxed and rested. Right after I wake up; in the shower; on a long walk. Sometimes in a relaxed conversation about ideas with a good friend. I do best when my senses are open, my mind is receptive, and I am enjoying myself. Being a passenger in a car can also do the trick. @brightflashes suggestions work for me as well.

Being tired, stressed, or rushed impedes it. Being on a strict schedule forces me to focus on details and times. Being at a social event and trying to fit in shuts it right down. Basically, if I am relying heavily on all my functions to get things done and process rapid input of information, I can't be creative in that way. It doesn't encourage the type of free form association that you describe.

I once had a writing teacher describe the cause of writer's block. She said that there are two stages to creative writing - the first stage, where you let yourself write whatever you want, don't question it, don't judge it, don't fix it. Then the second stage, in which you edit, cut, improve, judge it. Writer's block happens when you start on the second stage too early - so that you are judging and limiting as you go. Pretty soon nothing seems good enough and the words will not flow.

I thought that was pretty insightful. I sometimes think of Ni and Te as those two stages. If your Te is very active, judging and assessing, it can block Ni's crazy associations. Sort of like Pinky and the Brain, which is why I have both of them as my avatar.
 

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i find it pretty hard to quantify. i can get into rapid-switch mode when i'm the opposite of relaxed - when efficiency and effectiveness are primary. and i can get into it when i'm happily engaged and just (how it feels to me) simply noodling/goofing around.

both of them can make me feel like an imposter if i let them go on for too long. i think they're great, but within their own place in my overall mental makeup. if i rely on them overmuch - for instance, if i'm in the first state and 'stressed' into efficiency for a long time - then it gets uncomfortable. like being on a tightrope or out on thin ice.

so it's great, but it often comes with a payback or backlash phase, where i was great for a while but now i'm a wreck until i get my entire mind re-integrated with its own self. taken all in all it ends up not being as 'efficient' as it looks if you're only looking at the upswing part of the phase. when i factor in my recovery period -and how weird and distressing i find it to be that disoriented - then not so much.

i guess if i express that in mbti and function-based terms then it comes down to me feeling like over-reliance on the ni isn't too good for the whole-person me. i personally felt pretty excited when i first looked at my mbti and realised i have my own version of the so-called 'artistic' temperament. but actually living entirely within and by the artistic temperament isn't for me. i like ni when it comes naturally, but i feel better in general if i let the other parts of my mind come naturally as well.
 

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I get that creative flow when I am feeling healthy and my brain is relaxed and rested. Right after I wake up; in the shower; on a long walk. Sometimes in a relaxed conversation about ideas with a good friend. I do best when my senses are open, my mind is receptive, and I am enjoying myself. Being a passenger in a car can also do the trick. @brightflashes suggestions work for me as well.

Being tired, stressed, or rushed impedes it. Being on a strict schedule forces me to focus on details and times. Being at a social event and trying to fit in shuts it right down. Basically, if I am relying heavily on all my functions to get things done and process rapid input of information, I can't be creative in that way. It doesn't encourage the type of free form association that you describe.

I once had a writing teacher describe the cause of writer's block. She said that there are two stages to creative writing - the first stage, where you let yourself write whatever you want, don't question it, don't judge it, don't fix it. Then the second stage, in which you edit, cut, improve, judge it. Writer's block happens when you start on the second stage too early - so that you are judging and limiting as you go. Pretty soon nothing seems good enough and the words will not flow.

I thought that was pretty insightful. I sometimes think of Ni and Te as those two stages. If your Te is very active, judging and assessing, it can block Ni's crazy associations. Sort of like Pinky and the Brain, which is why I have both of them as my avatar.
That actually makes a lot of sense
 

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The only way I can deliberately bring Ni to the fore/control bigger insights coming up is by doing nothing. Not actively thinking either. Just letting my mind wander and let my dominant function do it's thing. I've heard it said of INTJs that not thinking is a form of thinking for us bc it happens subconsciously. That's true for me. So I make a habit of not completely filling my schedule to allow sitting in my armchair overlooking the garden time weekly. I've also noticed that if I have to take time away from a particular activity (like work due to demands of school), it invariably turns out to be a very good thing for me bc in the time off I tend to have these, sometimes radical, insights that put me in a far better position going forward.

If I want Ni to work on something in particular, I information dump hard for three days straight (read/think about it a lot) then I go and lay on the beach all day on the fourth day. At first I enjoy watching the ocean and the luxury of having a day 'off' but (if I stay relaxed/not actively thinking) eventually the Ni insights start coming. And with any luck it will be on connecting some the information I just dumped into my subconscious or getting some big picture view I wouldn't have 'thought' of otherwise. I write stuff down as it comes up and don't think about it immediately, staying out of Te. This technique always gives me 'something'. That night I let Te play with my new toy.

My frequent Ni 'flashes of insight' that pop up at random times (even while busy) tend to be regarding the mundane and usually act like 'error reports'. I don't tend to get the 'good stuff' (intellectual/big problem solving insights) come up unless I'm still & relaxed for a while. I find I also have to be stress free (nothing particularly bothering me and not too fixated on unmet needs). I need to have slept well the night before too.

I frequently enter a flow state both with my work and with dancing. In both cases, it feels like many of my functions are working seemlessly together. It's very different for me compared to creating a space to allow Ni insights to percolate. They are quite the opposite; in a flow state I'm doing something (working or dancing), in my armchair or laying on the beach, I'm doing nothing. Insights can also happen as a passenger in a car but not as reliably (I tend to use that time to relax in a Se indulgent type way, 'taking in' the sky/movement/scenery or think about what needs to get done).

For me average conversations tend to pull me out of 'deeper' thinking. Interruptions can actually feel 'painful' when I'm six leagues down and someone yanks me out to tell me how they feel about the weather. But there are those rare introspective individuals who can communicate new ideas or old ones in thought provoking ways, go deep and say more in less words. We can make 'leaps' together. Speaking with them allows me to make connections I wouldn't have otherwise made (same thing can happen when reading a new good book). That's always a pleasure. But generally speaking, my bigger Ni insights seem to need time to be formed & come up best when nothing else is going on.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
i can get into rapid-switch mode when i'm the opposite of relaxed - when efficiency and effectiveness are primary.
This is a good point, I've noticed that too. When I get into a tight spot I pop right into it and use to find a way out. One time I was trying to describe this to someone and I said "necessity is good inspiration". He had no idea what I was talking about.
 

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Un-reined Ni can only be enabled in the complete absence of Sensory Input (Se).

Behold: The sensory deprivation chamber. An Ni-dom's wet dream manifested.

 

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Un-reined Ni can only be enabled in the complete absence of Sensory Input (Se).

Behold: The sensory deprivation chamber. An Ni-dom's wet dream manifested.

I have yet to experience such a phenomenon, but it sounds intriguing indeed.

Personally, what stimulates my Ni (Turbulent INTJ here), is chocolate and swinging on swings (yes, very childish, but I theorize that the pendulum motion, seems to have a massaging effect on the muscles in the brain, therefore stimulating neuron responses).
 
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What counts as functional; does not always imply optimizing. Thus, while my (Ni) may be functional within certain conditions, it does not mean it is optimizing for myself - nor surrounding state-of-affairs. Shutting off (parts) that assist (Ni) to fixate on (Ni) is not optimizing to myself, because such (Ni) in high-functioning intervals without cognitive-support of (Te/Se) only breed(s) restlessness, unproductivity -- de-optimization, because (Ni) is dysfunctional. It is bored.

Randomized 'ideas' from doing nothing are for INTP; as for myself, I must be grounded in an actuality - I must be leeching off a pre-existing pattern. My (Ni) requires stimulus and/or reflecting referents. (Ni) is unresponsive in an optimizing manner, (for myself, anyhow), without stimulus. Of course, (Ni) works when I sit around - [but that is because 'cognitive-functions,'] do not turn off.

(Ni) isn't doing much slumping on the couch. However indeed, specimens will observe, in states of relaxation the only reason (Ni) is high-functioning is because my day was relatively hectic.

My best (Ni)-moments come via utilizing (Se)-outputs (observational involvement / experimentation) - to synthesize what (Ni) generates and applicably place it somewhere in the world (Te). Ni feels useful. I must feel like my insights and/or random 'Ni'-thoughts are useful somewhere. Unlike the INTP; that does not necessarily need this to go off within a (Ne) tangent about nothing at all. Often, it needs a bit more reasons / incentive to 'brainstorm' deeply via deep-Ni.

For ex; an environment that is dysfunctional by nature and could use some tweaking on how (X)-dysfunctions can be better - one that is constantly moving; constantly changing. A place where there is always this unquenched need to be improved - to be solved.

Toss me around a dysfunctional human; my (Ni) will go into overdrive. There is always something reflexively (Ni-fully) insightful to say about a dysfunctional humanoid that is "stuck,".


If you want to see my (Ni)-in fine-tuning / pattern-recognition hyperdrive - I request freedom. Tools. Referents. Something new to do. No routines. Minimal rules. Disorganized existing patterns dying to be addressed (and of course; a directional objective a - carrot on a stick) so to speak, to get things running.

_____________

I need (conflicts to solve); I need specimens/humanoid(s) to study.

Things to sort out - problems to address.


(Ni) is simply in overload when I am travelling. Travelling to (new-places); mostly. Everything is something to ponder; something to "resolve" because the information is currently ambiguous. I do fancy reading about, pondering the unsolvable / chaotic / undiscovered / unfinished business.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
(Ni) is simply in overload when I am travelling. Travelling to (new-places); mostly. Everything is something to ponder; something to "resolve" because the information is currently ambiguous.
I feel you Miss MisDemeanor. This even lingers for a little while after a trip, I guess ongoing processing of the new experiences until it's all absorbed.
 

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For me, I think when I am in a quiet environment and have time to myself. Being in a place where there are no distractions. Drinking caffeinated coffee also can help as crazy as it may sound. When my mind is at it's best, it is when my ni works at its best. My ni is always on but it can't be forced to work the way I want it to. Also, listening to music, drawing, or just doing creative things. I have to learn to go with the flow and that things can't quite be forces.

We can get better at using our functions but the human mind can be a funny thing. It's something that can't be forced. When I take walks in nature, looking up at the night sky, my ni tends to flow. Also, talking to people who I enjoy spending time with. However, this has it's limits and there comes a time when I need my space.
 
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Drinking caffeinated coffee also can help as crazy as it may sound. When my mind is at it's best, it is when my ni works at its best. My ni is always on but it can't be forced to work the way I want it to.
Thank you for saying this: I think a level of engagement with chemical compounds is often devalued by intellectual types, or many other types, in a great many of the Western cultures.

I think it's mistaken, and for some of the same reasons you highlight.

However, as you suggest, if I'm reading you correctly, the predictability is not something to be relied upon.

I suspect this predictable behavior is not a feature of any function, of the sixteen or whatever, but in my view, it doesn't hurt to try to improve one's odds.

Right, so repetition of past discoveries, and so forth, is very good, from a practical POV.

That's about all I'd have to say, more or less repeating your very good post, with some extraction of things that resonate with me.
 

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Thank you for saying this: I think a level of engagement with chemical compounds is often devalued by intellectual types, or many other types, in a great many of the Western cultures.

I think it's mistaken, and for some of the same reasons you highlight.

However, as you suggest, if I'm reading you correctly, the predictability is not something to be relied upon.

I suspect this predictable behavior is not a feature of any function, of the sixteen or whatever, but in my view, it doesn't hurt to try to improve one's odds.

Right, so repetition of past discoveries, and so forth, is very good, from a practical POV.

That's about all I'd have to say, more or less repeating your very good post, with some extraction of things that resonate with me.
No problem and thank you for giving your thoughts. ^^ I know that things like that, substances of any sort can be quite frowned upon but it can have very interesting results. I don't do anything harder or more extreme than caffeine but I know that many others have in the past with interesting results. Maybe some would say I am too relent but it has not caused any problems with me personally. It can vary from person to person though so I'm not trying to invalidate anyone who it has caused problems for in the past.

Yes, ni can be very interesting but I find it cannot exactly be harnessed the way that I want it to work. Either way, I do enjoy using it and it's always on. It only gets turned off or works very poorly when I am at my absolute worst and that is no fun. Yes, there is always room for improvement. I am open to try new things and learn new things. Some processes are more painful than others if it is a trait that is ingrained within us.
 

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I hate my Ni for drawing conclusions that don't match reality at least 15% of the time. That's way outside my comfort zone for realism and fairness in my relationships. So it baffles me why anyone would want to set optimal conditions for Ni. that's like hey let me create optimal conditions for my mind to jump to conclusions way before the people close to me have even had an opportunity to tell me what really happened or how they really feel. Conclusions that make me and them miserable. Half the time I'm trying unsuccessfully to turn that fucker off, not encourage it ....fuck.
 

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No problem and thank you for giving your thoughts. ^^ I know that things like that, substances of any sort can be quite frowned upon but it can have very interesting results. I don't do anything harder or more extreme than caffeine but I know that many others have in the past with interesting results. Maybe some would say I am too relent but it has not caused any problems with me personally. It can vary from person to person though so I'm not trying to invalidate anyone who it has caused problems for in the past.

Yes, ni can be very interesting but I find it cannot exactly be harnessed the way that I want it to work. Either way, I do enjoy using it and it's always on. It only gets turned off or works very poorly when I am at my absolute worst and that is no fun. Yes, there is always room for improvement. I am open to try new things and learn new things. Some processes are more painful than others if it is a trait that is ingrained within us.
I don't know -- caffeine's a hell of a drug. </rickJames>

Yeah, I don't know if this is a feature of the INFJ stack, but I spent a lot of years trying to manipulate leading Ni with Fi and using Te with research, leading, basically, to the same discoveries as the literary Symbolist movement in literature, with some analogues in literary Impressionism and combinatoric/experimental modernism.

It both did and didn't work.

The only thing I can say is that it's very exhausting, trying to push a direction on yourself which you KNOW is right, is aesthetically correct (or at least defensible), and carnally satisfying (insofar as words and sounds can be concretely satisfying).

Meh, Spinoza was a very good lens grinder, they say. Good for him, I guess. I like it, anyway: it's a good life. Not every number wins.
 

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I don't know -- caffeine's a hell of a drug. </rickJames>

Yeah, I don't know if this is a feature of the INFJ stack, but I spent a lot of years trying to manipulate leading Ni with Fi and using Te with research, leading, basically, to the same discoveries as the literary Symbolist movement in literature, with some analogues in literary Impressionism and combinatoric/experimental modernism.

It both did and didn't work.

The only thing I can say is that it's very exhausting, trying to push a direction on yourself which you KNOW is right, is aesthetically correct (or at least defensible), and carnally satisfying (insofar as words and sounds can be concretely satisfying).

Meh, Spinoza was a very good lens grinder, they say. Good for him, I guess. I like it, anyway: it's a good life. Not every number wins.
I still need my cup of coffee but it is true that it should be done in moderation.

The INFJ functions are:

Ni, Fe, Ti, and Se.

It can be hard to make our functions work the way that we want them too. I guess results can be mixed and it can be frustrating when it doesn't work the way that we want them too. Yes, it can be exhausting and stressful. :unsure: Sometimes, we don't know just how to improve ourselves, the right and wrong way is not clearcut. It is a great feeling to find what does work.
 

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It can be hard to make our functions work the way that we want them too. I guess results can be mixed and it can be frustrating when it doesn't work the way that we want them too. Yes, it can be exhausting and stressful
I don't know.

Yeah, if it were me I'd crochet a sampler saying "Results Can Be Mixed," and maybe make a little pixellated figure of a foot kicking something.

I remember once in some UG class the big-time guest novelist-critic/lecturer querying the room, looking directly at me and saying "Quelqu'un n'est pas frustré?" You know, just as part of that style of lecturing, teaching.

From that I'm prepared to say the suboptimal conditions for Ni+Fi+Te working in harmony are conditions of frustration.

Maybe that's why mastering Se is so important to an INTJ -- easy to master tricks of the world, but hard to gain control over.

Well, this INTJ says I ain't dead yet, so do your worst, sensor-bots.
 

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I don't know.

Yeah, if it were me I'd crochet a sampler saying "Results Can Be Mixed," and maybe make a little pixellated figure of a foot kicking something.

I remember once in some UG class the big-time guest novelist-critic/lecturer querying the room, looking directly at me and saying "Quelqu'un n'est pas frustré?" You know, just as part of that style of lecturing, teaching.

From that I'm prepared to say the suboptimal conditions for Ni+Fi+Te working in harmony are conditions of frustration.

Maybe that's why mastering Se is so important to an INTJ -- easy to master tricks of the world, but hard to gain control over.

Well, this INTJ says I ain't dead yet, so do your worst, sensor-bots.
lol. That would be pretty funny but so true. I would buy that little crocheted foot with the message. Just so true in so many ways and so many levels.

Frustrations can be difficult to deal with. That is good that you can cope and are figuring things out/figured things out in your own way. It is good that you mastered your se. I am not so good with that myself. I would like to think I am better than I used to be but I stink at using it.

Evil little OCD sensor bots. Well, you're doing a great job of mastering your functions and everyone has their own way of going about it. Well, I would do everything in my power to help with you not being dead but I am not a very powerful being, a very awkward, strange not powerful being so we'll see how far that gets.
 
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