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Discussion Starter #1
One of the classic distinctions drawn between INTJ's and INTP's is over decision-making. Typically, an INTJ will decide very quickly what the correct action is in a given situation, once the relevant and knowable information has been gathered. But an INTP isn't satisfied with just being given the data -- they need to analyse it from the inside-out, and let it reveal what it will, and maybe eventually getting around to a solution. If I may draw a simple correlation:

Ni - the answer
Te - the explanation

Ti - the process
Ne - the question

Viewed in this way, the two approaches are totally ass-backwards in relation to each other, which is a little... awesome. It partly explains why the two types tend to find each other so fascinating. But that's not what I wanted to talk about!

Because of our very future-oriented, conclusion-drawing attitudes, we INTJ's can often get impatient with inaction. We may sometimes be accused of thinking too much rather than acting, but usually it really does come down to the data: if we know, we can do.

So I'm curious about the INTP approach to action. At what point do you feel you're able to act upon what you know? I generally characterize INTP's as more theoretical (on paper) than experimental (in a lab or field). Is that accurate at all?
 

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I find it hard to get something done if there are no limitations to doing so. For example, I want to make a game. It would probably never happen unless somebody hired me and said, "you got 6 months." If I have all the time in the world and no limitations I obsess far more over the possibilities rather than the quality.
 

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The action hero knows there's a bomb in the skyscraper. He's scaled the building and artfully killed all the villains and now only has 4 minutes until the bomb goes off. The action hero dismantles the bomb in 1.5 minutes to discover the wire he has to cut in order to disarm the bomb. He lights a cigarette, stands there pondering his place in this world and what he wants for breakfast while staring at the red wire and the blue wire. Finally, after 2 minutes and 25 seconds, he decides pancakes and sausage is the right choice and gingerly snips the blue wire with 5 seconds left on the timer.

That's the kind of scenario I picture when I'm tasked with carrying out most actions. Prior to the 11th hour, I'm completely blocked and can't really take any action. I definitely take a long time to analyze scenarios and outcomes but it's mostly masturbatory neuroses, because in the end I'm only going to take the path of least resistance while enjoying the sweet sweet brilliance derived from sheer panic over doing shit at the last minute.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The action hero knows there's a bomb in the skyscraper. He's scaled the building and artfully killed all the villains and now only has 4 minutes until the bomb goes off. The action hero dismantles the bomb in 1.5 minutes to discover the wire he has to cut in order to disarm the bomb. He lights a cigarette, stands there pondering his place in this world and what he wants for breakfast while staring at the red wire and the blue wire. Finally, after 2 minutes and 25 seconds, he decides pancakes and sausage is the right choice and gingerly snips the blue wire with 5 seconds left on the timer.

That's the kind of scenario I picture when I'm tasked with carrying out most actions. Prior to the 11th hour, I'm completely blocked and can't really take any action. I definitely take a long time to analyze scenarios and outcomes but it's mostly masturbatory neuroses, because in the end I'm only going to take the path of least resistance while enjoying the sweet sweet brilliance derived from sheer panic over doing shit at the last minute.
This is at once devastatingly clever in its internal logic and unthinkably stupid in an objective sense. I feel farther away from understanding INTP's now than I did ten minutes ago. The more I reread and think about it, the more this post drives me insane. My brain has just about leaked completely out of my nose and into my iced tea.
 

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This is at once devastatingly clever in its internal logic and unthinkably stupid in an objective sense. I feel farther away from understanding INTP's now than I did ten minutes ago. The more I reread and think about it, the more this post drives me insane. My brain has just about leaked completely out of my nose and into my iced tea.
I was roommates with an INTJ for a while. He never understood how I could write a 5 page essay an hour before its due and not show any amount of worry about the grade I would get.

The closer we get to an event the more relaxed we are. It probably has to do with Ti and Ne relaxing themselves or something.
 

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It depends on the situation and my state of mind at the relevant time. For example, lunch. If I'm eating at home and have all manner of foodstuffs to work with and nobody hounding me about getting the meal ready, I can easily get so caught up trying to figure out what I'd want to eat that I either end up having cereal, or just put off eating until dinnertime. At a restaurant, however, people are waiting on you, and even if everything looks equally delicious / disgusting there's pressure to make a decision already so people will stop giving you nasty looks.

In other words, it's a question of importance versus urgency. If it's urgent, but not terribly important, I'll just pick something at (or nearly so) random. If it's important but not terribly urgent, I will put it off until Hell has frozen over, so as to give myself time to think it through. And so on in between. If something is neither important nor urgent I'll most likely just forget about it, and if it's both I have a mental breakdown. Quite simple, really.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
It depends on the situation and my state of mind at the relevant time. For example, lunch. If I'm eating at home and have all manner of foodstuffs to work with and nobody hounding me about getting the meal ready, I can easily get so caught up trying to figure out what I'd want to eat that I either end up having cereal, or just put off eating until dinnertime. At a restaurant, however, people are waiting on you, and even if everything looks equally delicious / disgusting there's pressure to make a decision already so people will stop giving you nasty looks.

In other words, it's a question of importance versus urgency. If it's urgent, but not terribly important, I'll just pick something at (or nearly so) random. If it's important but not terribly urgent, I will put it off until Hell has frozen over, so as to give myself time to think it through. And so on in between. If something is neither important nor urgent I'll most likely just forget about it, and if it's both I have a mental breakdown. Quite simple, really.
Ok... what determines urgency and importance? Are they exclusively internal, or is there an external component?
 

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The action hero knows there's a bomb in the skyscraper. He's scaled the building and artfully killed all the villains and now only has 4 minutes until the bomb goes off. The action hero dismantles the bomb in 1.5 minutes to discover the wire he has to cut in order to disarm the bomb. He lights a cigarette, stands there pondering his place in this world and what he wants for breakfast while staring at the red wire and the blue wire. Finally, after 2 minutes and 25 seconds, he decides pancakes and sausage is the right choice and gingerly snips the blue wire with 5 seconds left on the timer.

That's the kind of scenario I picture when I'm tasked with carrying out most actions. Prior to the 11th hour, I'm completely blocked and can't really take any action. I definitely take a long time to analyze scenarios and outcomes but it's mostly masturbatory neuroses, because in the end I'm only going to take the path of least resistance while enjoying the sweet sweet brilliance derived from sheer panic over doing shit at the last minute.
Left 5 seconds on the clock? He must have been busy that day.
 

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Ok... what determines urgency and importance? Are they exclusively internal, or is there an external component?
Importance is internal, urgency is external. Something is important to me because I have personal reasons to pursue it. Those reasons may be driven by external forces but it's my decision to care about it. Urgency, on the other hand, is purely external (Well, besides basic needs such as sleep, food, etc.). You can't force me to care, but you can force me to care by five o'clock tomorrow night or you're fired.
 

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For me it comes down to never being quite sure if my thoughts are accurate, I am always second-guessing myself. I am puzzled when I watch the surroundings, how people try to tell me what to do whenever there is a problem. So sure of themselves while they really know nothing! Click there and the internet will work! Yes, yes...

It is really bizarre, something like Kierkegaard's book "Either-or". Choice is immensely difficult (for me). Swim in this quarry or the other one? One simple choice will lead to infinite alterations of future. If I eat pancakes now, will I have eaten too much sweets today? The sausage looks good. If I eat the chinese beef I might get sick. Going to the WC for 30min might make me miss a random event in the virtual world, which could have eventually lead me to win a gaming tournament and secure me financially for quite some time.

Ultimately Ti is not interested in action. Development of weaker functions can perhaps help get things done, but thought itself, the virtual reality, is enough. INTP mind is extremely inclined to this separation from reality, to turn reality into abstraction. But it is sort of a recipe for depression, anxieties and fears.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
For me it comes down to never being quite sure if my thoughts are accurate, I am always second-guessing myself. I am puzzled when I watch the surroundings, how people try to tell me what to do whenever there is a problem. So sure of themselves while they really know nothing! Click there and the internet will work! Yes, yes...

It is really bizarre, something like Kierkegaard's book "Either-or". Choice is immensely difficult (for me). Swim in this quarry or the other one? One simple choice will lead to infinite alterations of future. If I eat pancakes now, will I have eaten too much sweets today? The sausage looks good. If I eat the chinese beef I might get sick. Going to the WC for 30min might make me miss a random event in the virtual world, which could have eventually lead me to win a gaming tournament and secure me financially for quite some time.

Ultimately Ti is not interested in action. Development of weaker functions can perhaps help get things done, but thought itself, the virtual reality, is enough. INTP mind is extremely inclined to this separation from reality, to turn reality into abstraction. But it is sort of a recipe for depression, anxieties and fears.
It seems strange that it would be a matter of Ti alone. As a counter-example, ISTP's are aggressively action-oriented people, often to the point where they'll interpret inaction as stupidity. They don't sit around thinking about possibilities; they dig into the realities, often quite literally. So I think it's about the interaction between Ti and Ne.

I've actually been struck before how vastly different INTP's are from ISTP's, considering that their dominant function is the same.
 

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It seems strange that it would be a matter of Ti alone. As a counter-example, ISTP's are aggressively action-oriented people, often to the point where they'll interpret inaction as stupidity. They don't sit around thinking about possibilities; they dig into the realities, often quite literally. So I think it's about the interaction between Ti and Ne.

I've actually been struck before how vastly different INTP's are from ISTP's, considering that their dominant function is the same.
Typing from phone...will try to be short. You are correct that ISTPs are more action oriented, generally speaking. Se has a more practical bent whereas Ne is conceptual and theoretical. Its still an extroverted function (just observe your neighborhood ENTP if in doubt)...but its not quite as "hands on". its fleshing out ideas and brainstorming. its not (necessarily) rock climbing or running 6 miles. So Ti/Ne (in that order) is in a sense "the perfect storm" for inactivity and we as INTPs do good to reach a place of maturity where we can begin to integrate "real world doing" of our ideas rather than just working them out on paper. But remember...working things out on paper is our strength (Einstein would be the extreme example)...and that call to action cannot and will not happen when its convenient for you. it will happen when we are ready...or its absolutely necessary.

think of it like your own Fi...most INTJs dont like ppl pushing their values and ideals onto them...or telling them when and how to love others or show care. Ti is the same...we cannot be pushed into productivity, strange as that may sound. it feels like an affront on our slow deliberate thinking. Almost offensive or intrusive. its strange.

now, about doing things last minute...we do that very well. we retain a vast network of logic that we can draw on at any time and Ne offers quick (instant) solutions that Ti can quickly scan for logical coherence. and then whamo...we're in action mode. quick and efficient, but also detailed (ti, si). Its been said that extroverted perceivers (or lets say "P's")...are "reactionary" while J's are "directive". Js set the pace, move things along methodically and efficiently. P's...well we "do nothing" (except enjoy life immensely) until suddenly the world presents us with a problem that requires us to act. as someone mentioned earlier, we quickly assign it an "urgency level" and react spontaneously to whatever the world throws us that day. plans are penciled in, but they change as the variables change. Js are good every day...Ps are mainly good in a crunch, or for intps...when we have Lots of time (years?) to flesh out our ideas.
 

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Another thing to keep in mind regarding INTP/INTJ differences: you asked about our level of objective focus. We are no less objective than intjs...its just in a different way/focus. intro functions excel at "depth" and are subjective. Extro functions are about "breadth" and are objective. So...the intp takes objective, broad perception of the world and feeds it to Ti for deep, subjective filtering. INTJs perceive deeply and subjectively and then feed it to Te for "objective doing/testing". The assertion in your OP is correct...we are going about things completely differently which makes us each seen bass ackwards to one another
 

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Oh and lastly...remember this: Fe is our extro judging fu nction (our objective "doer")...and its 4th on our list. think on that for awhile and youll see why "doing" and finishing is a lower priority. Thats one reason why Fe integration is so important to the "wholeness" of the INTP personality. its our struggle...but its not insurmountable. Intjs help a lot with their strategic planning skills...just dont push too much or we get cranky
 

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Oh and lastly...remember this: Fe is our extro judging fu nction (our objective "doer")...and its 4th on our list. think on that for awhile and youll see why "doing" and finishing is a lower priority. Thats one reason why Fe integration is so important to the "wholeness" of the INTP personality. its our struggle...but its not insurmountable. Intjs help a lot with their strategic planning skills...just dont push too much or we get cranky
This was particularly helpful. I've been extremely surprised to see just how much feeling can drive INTP's (and ISTP's sometimes as well), and I think you're right in saying that it's the "doer" to balance out the Introverted Thinker. The role of the inferior function in typology is rather fascinating.

With that, how do you see INTJ's helping in this regard? In my experience, I've had no trouble getting INTP's to understand my plans. The hard part is to get them to help build on them, or to find their place in them. Mostly we just end up deconstructing each other's ideas. It's not unproductive, it's just not what we want.
 

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Well, not sure that an INTP would want to be in someone else's plan in terms of a career. relationships - maybe, although if we feel we're being squeezed into your plans we're likely to balk. Free will FTW. We're usually pretty independent in that regard. We have our own plans. Its implementing those plans that we struggle with at times and thats where the INTJ can help if they desire to do so. Much as it pains me to admit it (lol), INTJs are logistical geniuses relative to me. Our blind spot (how to actually carry out the idea) is your strength.

When it comes to helping us "do" our own plans, or helping the INTP find a comfortable niche within your larger life plan (provided the Intp wants to be part of your plan), it takes an encouraging approach. Remind us that we do have what it takes to do some awesome things, and remember that we're just usually missing the logistical piece of the puzzle. An INTJ in my own life gets frustrated when they give me advice, and i dont immediately act. i need time to let it saturate and reform my paradigm. the intj will be blunt cuz its so obvious to them which actions i need to take. and we can handle the direct approach...i think what we (I) value is one who is willing to keep coming back...to se me through my "process or journey. Even if it seems to slow for the INTJ.

regarding Fe, think of it almost as some altruistic element. i once considered being a financial planner or analyst, but it doesnt appeal to me cuz it doesnt really "help others" in a pure sense, or in the way i would like it to. And so its not "enough" to call me to action, to get me out of my seat. There had to be an underlying purpose for the greater good to make all the effort worth it. for some of us, it may be making a video game others will enjoy, being a good teacher/professor,writing great code for the end user, or starting a non profit (i know 2 intps that have one, myself being one). It gives a reason to get up in the morning other than just to accumulate more crap. it makes a small, positive difference if you will and hopefully puts a few smiles on some faces at the end of the day.

I can do the lawyer thing or the wall street businessman for the short term, but it doesnt have any holding power with me. yes, i believe that the inferior function is a powerful thing.

It may seem that im telling you to hand hold the poor little INTP, and there may be sone truth to that. just provide guidance and logistical wisdom while still giving us our autonomy. and be patient as we slowly unfurl our life goals. for us its a marathon, not a sprint. theres always tomorrow...well, until theres not anymore. anyhow, offering up your genius implementation skills in a non threatening way, with no expectations...will gain you brownie points. youll be seen as a great friend
 

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Discussion Starter #17
When it comes to helping us "do" our own plans, or helping the INTP find a comfortable niche within your larger life plan (provided the Intp wants to be part of your plan), it takes an encouraging approach. Remind us that we do have what it takes to do some awesome things, and remember that we're just usually missing the logistical piece of the puzzle.
This reminding thing... how do INTP's respond to direct affirmation of talent? Is it best to approach it by saying, "You're awesome at X thing because you have Y trait/skill, and that's why you're gonna make it to Z someday"? INTJ's can feel a little awkward when someone vocalizes what they think is good about us. I'm sure it's different for INTP's, but I don't know how different, or why.
 

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If I think it's not all that important, I'm likely to do whatever is the easiest option - what to have for lunch? Well, a sandwich is pretty quick, I'll do that. What should I wear today? I have clean clothes from yesterday, those will work.

But if I consider the decision important, I could think on it for a very long time. I'll weigh up every possible outcome and keep adding new data that alters the balance. However, if I have a deadline, I'll work to that because otherwise all my work would be for nothing. Say I have an essay to write, my mind goes: well, here are the questions I can choose from - which do I know the most about? Is it interesting? If yes, I'll do that. If no, which would be the easiest to research/which has the most to write about? With my degree, it pretty much went: I want to do something I like = creative writing, Japanese or English. Which universities do what? Which are closest to home? Which will actually do the most for me? Which will I struggle to do in my spare time? And I chose Japanese eventually (despite my English teacher wanting me to do that at degree level).

If it's to do with people, I'll probably never come to a decision about anything unless I'm seriously pushed. They're too unpredictable.
 

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You can encourage an INTP in an honest ,"T" way. I respect the NTJs in my life who have had the gonads to say "dude you have some things going on for you...dont waste your talent by being lazy. make a plan and stick to it. first do a, then b, then c. youre trying to go from a to z in one week (i do that...i want quick results and get frustrated when it doesnt happen). Keep putting one foot in front of the other and in 5 years youll be where you want to be. it takes hard work and commitment. if u need to bounce ideas off of me or more practical advice, call me and we'll strategize together." an INTJ who is willing to listen, helps us flesh things out, and kick our butts when we ar slacking can be a God send (just make sure youve gained the intps trust and respect first). We are obv responsible for motivating ourselves but thats one way INTJs can provide a boost.

As for "why"it helps, i see this thing in myself...this cycle of non-productivity...each year that goes by where i dont produce anything of real meaning, i get more depressed about it, maybe even to the point of feeling incapable. "Why cant i just DO THIS ALREADY? Why is it so freaking difficult for me?" loser mentality instead of just plugging thru and doing it (i attribute it to low Fe...low doing priority in the psyche).

Then NTJs say "pull your head out of your rear, lets take step 1. Might not be fun...but lets take the step." Then i go, "oh wow...that wasnt hard at all. not bad. i really feel like i accomplished something. i was just psyching myself out...overthinking it, with a dose of laziness." it pulls us out of Ti/Si analysis and puts us in Ne/Fe. if you only knew how those Ti/Si loops can produce nothing but analysis paralysis for weeks on end. we learn a lot (a LOT!) during those periods, but youre right...its all on paper and theoretical. we must engage Ne to get new info/experiences/data, and we must engage Fe to get things done. Thanks for exposing my weaknesses in these last few posts. :p
 

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Typing from phone...will try to be short. You are correct that ISTPs are more action oriented, generally speaking. Se has a more practical bent whereas Ne is conceptual and theoretical. Its still an extroverted function (just observe your neighborhood ENTP if in doubt)...but its not quite as "hands on". its fleshing out ideas and brainstorming. its not (necessarily) rock climbing or running 6 miles. So Ti/Ne (in that order) is in a sense "the perfect storm" for inactivity and we as INTPs do good to reach a place of maturity where we can begin to integrate "real world doing" of our ideas rather than just working them out on paper. But remember...working things out on paper is our strength (Einstein would be the extreme example)...and that call to action cannot and will not happen when its convenient for you. it will happen when we are ready...or its absolutely necessary.

think of it like your own Fi...most INTJs dont like ppl pushing their values and ideals onto them...or telling them when and how to love others or show care. Ti is the same...we cannot be pushed into productivity, strange as that may sound. it feels like an affront on our slow deliberate thinking. Almost offensive or intrusive. its strange.

now, about doing things last minute...we do that very well. we retain a vast network of logic that we can draw on at any time and Ne offers quick (instant) solutions that Ti can quickly scan for logical coherence. and then whamo...we're in action mode. quick and efficient, but also detailed (ti, si). Its been said that extroverted perceivers (or lets say "P's")...are "reactionary" while J's are "directive". Js set the pace, move things along methodically and efficiently. P's...well we "do nothing" (except enjoy life immensely) until suddenly the world presents us with a problem that requires us to act. as someone mentioned earlier, we quickly assign it an "urgency level" and react spontaneously to whatever the world throws us that day. plans are penciled in, but they change as the variables change. Js are good every day...Ps are mainly good in a crunch, or for intps...when we have Lots of time (years?) to flesh out our ideas.
See, if there isn't any urgency, I goof off and forget all about what I was supposed to do. My best essay's happened the night before they were due. My awesome presentations and sales pitches were pieced together the day of. I've been accused of having a horseshoe up my arse, but I need pressure to think. There are just way too many distractions to think about something that I've got time to postpone.

I think my Ti exists to serve my Se. Until my senses tell me I need this now, I don't think about it. My guess is, INTP's Ti serve their Ne. Without a deadline, they play just as much as ESTP's do, just in their own way.
 
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