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The overall point of this post is to ask what sort of things help you focus on your Ni, whether it be things in your environment or ways to hold your thoughts. I'm high so I'll probably cut a lot of the details (nope just kidding I did not). I'll answer any questions, because I like explaining my thoughts, unlike you guys.

I've been learning a lot about perceiving functions recently. Something that I've noticed more and more are the contrasts between the two different ways people can perceive: Se/Ni, and Si/Ne. I say two different ways and not four because people who use Se and people who use Ni are essentially putting stress on different sides of the same process. It's the same thing with Si and Ne. The core difference between the two different processes is the Ne/Si sees objects as not representations of ideas, but ideas themselves, as if there's no distinction. Because of this, when someone who uses this process (like me) is seeing the world, they are seeing the theory behind it, tracking the idea as they track their environment, while holding the 'sensation' in their mind, a recollection of what the scenario they are in is statically. There is no depth to how they perceive the situation to be.

Someone who uses Se/Ni sees objects as representations of their sensations, therefore perceiving the thing as it actually is (while the Ne/Si user sees what they think of the object). When the Se/Ni user is tracking their environment, they are tracking the motion of sensations themselves. The Ni/Se user sees the 'how' in their surroundings, in contrast to Ne/Si users seeing the 'why'. While perceiving the environment in this way, they hold the idea of a thing in their head. The overall, the outside, is sensation, while the inside and personal is theoretical ideas. As they look at an object in their environment, they see the 'how' of it: how the object could affect other things in the environment. This is essentially seeing beyond the intended meaning for things, seeing every possible purpose it could hold. This is why NTJs have are said to have strategic thinking, while NTPs are said to have more creative/philosophical. To Ni/Se, sensation is the coming together of ideas that is cohesive, that can be recognized as one. To Ne/Si, ideas are the coming together of sensations. When Ne/Si picks apart, it gets concrete things. When Ni/Se picks apart, it gets theoretical things. These are the fundamental building blocks for perception for each process respectively.

Anyway, I guess that I should get to the point. When I first became familiar with my own functions, I could easily recognize them as I use them, and I could point to times I had used them in the past and what impact they had on me at the time. I have always distinguished what I have thought to be conflicting forces in my mind, and so, when I became able to recognize my functions, I realized that I had always known that some of them were there, I just didn't have names for them. When I was growing up, it was very obvious to me that no one else around me had Ne, even though I didn't know what Ne was. I knew and recognized a force inside me that drove me to do things (and let me do things) that others wouldn't or couldn't do.

Okay, this paragraph actually contains the point. Upon learning this much about the differences in perception between my Ne and your guys' Ni, I've realized that I have used Ni. I have been able to, for all my life, switch my focus of the object into sensing. I am sure that this (or the opposite, for a Ni/Se user) is something everyone could do if they were even able to recognize they weren't doing it in the first place. It's not something I've done even remotely often, as I found it to be very dull in the past. It feels like I have to hold down a button that kills my Ne, and I stop seeing objects as what they could be. I feel as if in the past I disliked this way of doing things because understanding is not immediate, and to me, someone who spends most of his time using Ne, that seems like no understanding at all. To be fair, they have reason to feel that way. It is no understanding of what Ne normally understands, but it is a different understanding. By not reading into things at all, one forms an understanding without needing to extrapolate. Ne asks an object what it can tell them, but Ni doesn't even ask. It just takes.

This bit is the real point, I promise. Focusing on Ni is hard. It feels like it's the same force as Ne, but it's sleeping or something. In trying to use it myself, it's been very difficult for me to remain tracking the environment as it objectively is while focusing on my thoughts. It's easy for me to slip back into seeing things around me as the idea behind them without noticing. So, I want to know: what helps you think, INTJs? The environment you would naturally come to prefer thinking in would be one that would encourage Ni. I want to figure out what the optimal thing to focus on or hold in mind is when you're using Ni. I'll take anything. Insight into how Ni works would be good. Suggestions for things to do while trying to focus on Ni are good too (should there be greater or fewer things to focus on in the environment? does music help? etc.).
 

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Oops, I didn't mean to post this in articles. I don't know how to change that if I even can. I'm new to the forum, if a mod wants to move this thread that's cool.
 

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Wow, no ones bothered to read that whole thing yet, huh? ;)

It isn't something I put much thought into tbh, although I've been attempting to recently. Let's see if I can explain from experience...The classic thing about Ni is requiring minimal input from the surroundings to function.. so yeah I can see why that would bore an ENTP. As a dom/primary function though, Ni is the bulk of my energy source, so having lively surroundings is just unnecessary, in excess makes me feel disconnected from the world, and I get all kinds of weird mental short circuit shit going on lol. Anyway.. as far as what you're asking, about seeing the environment as it objectively is, I think the best place for me to start (other than somewhere relatively peaceful and comfortable) is with asking "what's the concept/purpose?" I've only recently realized consciously that this is probably my dominant function working, so I've been trying to take action more often using that as my starting point and it's interesting how that can alter my perception of some task I was uncomfortable with for the longest time (i.e. because it seemingly had no "principle" or meaning behind it -- probably attempting to use Se on its own?)

It's actually a strictly academic approach in a way, starting with a "thesis" if you will of the surroundings. "What's the situation?" From there the syntheses kind of just fill in as you go which can either be a really fun ride (and you're not even really putting any effort in) or a nightmare depending on what kind of situation you are in. :p

Concrete example: a suitcase. The thought of "packing" typically sounds really stressful to me. If I back up a little and I'm like "what is the concept?" or "what is the purpose of a suitcase? - to store clothes".. still stressful, that seems kind of pointless. But then, back up even further and the big picture concept is "I'm going to be traveling", that makes the packing less stressful because now the "concept" is traveling, a learning experience (presuming this is something I willingly decided to/want to do), the suitcase is just whatever. So all the small tasks I'm doing (Se), ideally, are in service of a larger concept that (hopefully) is actually meaningful. It's a component of travel.

Consequence here would typically be that I don't put much thought into how I pack beyond having the luggage and such serving the proper function of holding my belongings. The point is to travel and learn whatever it is I wanted to learn by traveling, why do I need to be creative with something so trivial? Ah, painful. Whereas I get the sense ENTP/INTP would put more thought (and sense of "fun") into the methodology of packing itself?

Another component of Ni for me, I think, is I tend to insert myself into novel situations, where I want to learn something new, with a sort of blank slate mentality (I do the same thing when I need to explain something to someone who's never heard it before.) Then I start to make judgments on principle. I make a lot of consumer decisions this way, for example if I am buying a new laptop, it has to perform all the necessary functions of a computer effectively. Ignore any preconceived notions about brand, personal anecdotes, ads you like/dislike, corporate lawsuits, etc. Computer function is the primary concern, otherwise I'd be looking for another product. It can have lots of fancy crap and eye candy, and be popular, but if it doesn't work I'm not interested (and often critical.) This goes along with "What is the concept/purpose?"

So the thing to focus on really is the situation/environment itself. What isn't relevant gets put aside/disregarded until you've processed whatever. You typically aren't focusing on "things" as such -- or if you are, they're just tools serving a higher end, like the suitcase -- you're focusing on the environment as a whole, if that makes sense. And kind of giving it a label of what it "is", but leaving some wiggle room in case your label is off.

Dunno if I'm making sense so I'll give you one more example. Recently I decided to make a Spotify "lovemaking playlist", mostly for laughs, shared this idea with a friend (who is ENTP). I then used the Spotify Moodagent weeks later and it graphed my playlist as being highest on "Sensual" (they also have Angry, Happy, Relaxed.. if you aren't familiar with this app) which I thought was kinda cool, as I interpreted it to mean I had a solid understanding of the concept of sensuality going into this and was able to put it into effect, simply through conjectures (but my friend seemed apathetic.)

Music, if I didn't make that clear in the last paragraph, is really its own environment to understand. :wink:

...Sorry if you're not high anymore. lol
 

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Interesting posts. I like the way you emphasize that Ni/Se and Se/Ni users are making use of the same functions, just with a different emphasis. Your posts ooze Ne - tossing in ideas and metaphors that I have to run to catch up with. I have a couple of ENFP friends who do this as well.

The main practical difference from Ne that I find is that my Ni dislikes a lot of high energy external stimulation - either mental or physical. I like to focus on one thing and explore all of its ramifications, play around with its possibilities. Analyze its structure and the assumptions behind it. When someone throws idea after idea at me, I get frustrated because it is so distracting. I can't pursue any of them, because more keep coming.

That is true for the physical world as well. Sure, I use Se, but the key thing to remember is that as an dominant Ni user, I'm not very good at Se. If I am forced to rely on it too much I feel overwhelmed. I really, really, hate loud chaotic situations where lots of stimuli is thrown at me, demanding that my attention jump from thing to thing. The only way I can deal is to try to take control and force some order on it, via Te. So, for example, if I'm in a loud crowded shopping mall five days before Christmas my only hope is to have a detailed shopping list and plan of approach. Otherwise I just have to flee.

However, I do find that I enjoy using Ni and Se together, as long as Ni gets to be in charge. That is when my Ni thrives. I love going on hikes, absorbing the surroundings, feeling my body at work. That Se sensory awareness seems to feed my Ni, giving it something to chew on while letting it play around with ideas and patterns. Since Ni is perceptual, it is not good at making decisions and taking control (that's my Te's job). When I have to make things happen, Te takes over and I drop into a practical mode that is useful but doesn't give my Ni free reign. Ni wants room and time to pull an idea apart, see its connections to the rest of the world, mull over its implications. Somehow, using inferior Se at the same time helps keep me just focused enough. Something repetitive and simple, like washing dishes, or raking leaves, or a workout routine that I know really well. It gives some Se stimulation but lets my mind explore.
 

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I take in the 'big picture' of a novel situation/environment pretty much automatically. Sort of like a scanner. As mentioned before, if there is too much going on it's harder, because there needs to be a good understanding first of what it 'looks like' in its entirety, how it all fits together. Over time, my brain does the rest on its own, deconstructing the whole into smaller and smaller pieces. How long it takes depends on how much is going on in the environment. If it's quiet and still, the program downloads pretty quickly.

I think the most important aspect is not having energy drains, or distractions, or anything pulling on my time/thoughts. As long as I control what goes out (push instead of pull) it all happens on its own.
 

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You may already be using Ni to a large extent. Take a cognitive function test and find out.
Probably what helps me use Ni is a large number of brain cells. I have an extra large brain.
It's very hard for me to get a hat that fits me.
I heard that smart people have more brain cells and their brain cells are more active.
JFK was an INTJ and his head was really enormous.
I think it also helps for me to be curious.
I think the more you know, the more data your intuition has available to work with.
 

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I don't actively engage my Ni. That simply doesn't happen. Ni just comes to me without making any special effort to bring it forward. To me it's not a way of thinking, it's just weird things that occur to me; that I suddenly understand.
 

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I am happiest when I use my Ni and Te together well: when I can come up with an idea in my head and successfully and efficiently implement it. Today and yesterday I was working on a 3D modeling, and I remember feeling really great as I was able to conceptualize in my head about what to create and the general idea of the creation, and could then work it through my Te and create it.

I guess the trick for me is finding the right project.

I get the same thing when playing strategic board games. I can get the concept in my head with Ni, and then implement it with Te.

Don't forget, Ni is a perceiving function. It is pretty oxymoronic to talk about using your Ni, because you don't use it. It's more like it's a gate to your brain, and it just opens and lets the information flow through. Concepts and ideas just come to me automatically (intuitively).
 

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I find that I use more of my Ni when I gather as much information as I can. For example, I start on a new research topic which might mean I am starting off from square one. Let's just say I also have an INTP and ISTJ coworker starting on the same project as well. For the first few weeks or so I do not have a leg up on them due to Ni. After the first few weeks of researching and gulping down as much information as I can on the new topic I my Ni starts making all these connections and giving me insights. My coworkers then stare at me weirdly because I all of a sudden have 100% confidence in the new ideas I'm spouting off even though we all learned from similar material.

However, if I try to use shortcuts without doing the hard work of gathering information beforehand my Ni is still active but it does not 'give me' valuable insights. Instead I get ideas that end up having loose ends and then my brain starts hurting trying to figure out why I even had these connections in the first place. I then start having dreams of me working on these intuitive ideas but they never have solutions. That is when I know I need to go and study some more!
 

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Um, well, if I interpreted the question right….to help me focus on Ni….I read a lot of metaphorical and just Ni style literature. And listen to a lot of metaphorical music, too. And just be solitary forever and feel everything.
 

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The thing is, functions aren't something that you use as much as they are things that color your perspective of reality. They aren't in use as much as they determine of what kind of reality that you see and focus your attention on. I also don't think an Ne type can actually use Ni and vice versa.
 
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