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  1. #1
    Senior Member TenebrousReflection's Avatar
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    Default Forward thinking - and how it relates to type?

    Reading a different got me thinking about something.

    I've noticed that one the frustrations I sometimes have is that I see/hear someone do/say something and am completely baffled at how little they seem to be thinking about the implications of their actions. I'm often struggling with weighing the immediate and long term implications of my words and actions, and try to balance the two but often error on the side of making decisions that have a potential negative immediate impact in favor of thinking about the future and someone that thinks the opposite way of me is probably frustrated and thinks I pay too little regard for the present.

    On a simplistic level, Ns are supposed to the future oriented type and Ss the present oriented type, but I don't think its as simple as that. I'd like to get more perspectives on this and get an idea how far ahead and what about specific types are thinking when they make decisions. Even if someone feels comfortable living in the moment, I have a hard time believing that they don't at least sometimes think of the future, so I'd like to know how often and how far ahead others think of the future. I'll start with myself.

    Most of the time, I'm thinking about what I expect might or could happen anywhere between the next couple days upto the next month or two. I think about what I want to happen, what I think probably will happen and what I want to avoid happening and try to mentally prepare myself for any of those possibilities and try to think of what to say/do that might favorably influence how short term future events will unfold.

    When I have a lot of uninterupted time to think (like weekends with no plans or even just long walks or bus rides), I turn my thoughts to longer range goals and dreams, stuff I want to happen or be prepared for in the next one to five years or so and go into backward thinking starting with the result I want and figuring out what I should do to prepare for it, what I should be doing in the present to move toward those goal and what intermediate steps may be along the way.

    Sometimes my short term wants conflict with my long term planning and I have to weigh the benefits of immediate action vs being prepared for the future. I'll post about that in another thread, but I'm curious if that conflict is limited to certain types or perhaps more common amoung certain types (I know it seems like a J thing since its planning related, but that could be a misconception).
    Last edited by TenebrousReflection; 11-19-2007 at 10:04 PM. Reason: typos

  2. #2
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    I think you think a lot -- moreso than many.

    (My problem is analyzing like you are doing... then never acting on anything because I cannot commit to a decision... then taking the path of least resistance... within reason.)

    It's not all a "type" thing, but type contributes to approach. Some types are notoriously bad at planning for the future. Remember the ant and grasshopper parable? ISxJ people tend to be like the ants; ExxP people tend to be grasshoppers.

    My ESFP son is a good example of a short-term thinker, he instinctively always does what benefits him in the here and now and leaves the future to fend for itself... UNLESS there is a clear goal that he is very passionate about. (Anything from becoming an artist to being able to afford a Gameboy DS.)

    Once he has a clear goal that he is enthusiastic about, he will claw his way to it, as fast as he can, and postpone short-term gratification. But if it takes too long to get there or the road is too unenjoyable, he will lose enthusiasm and then find something easier to attain. But he really does not enjoy planning and thinking ahead, he much prefers to actually engage a situation and play it out for everything he can get from it (tactical, not strategic).
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  3. #3
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Just a quick note, the time horizon and such have a lot to do with how we process risk. In that sense, male/female, culture, experience and training play a huge role in how we do things.

    At the instictive level, however, preferences make a big difference. The best example that I know of is how different types, those without financial training, measure risk.

    A lot of this has a biological backing - for instance, E-P are the highest risk takers (deal with variance and associates positive emotions to future events) while I-Js are the lowest (dislike of variance and lower positive emotions to future events).

    Likewise, interests dictate a fair bit. In the finance world, it is STs that are most likely to be interested in money (and generally the most willing to work and understand it). The interesting part is that (IS--) they often want to understand it, not just deal with it (which is more of a EN thing - to delegate it), including types that you wouldn't expect this from (ISFJs were among the least likely to want to work with an advisor, along with ISTPs. Even more interesting is that it didn't matter is the ISTP, like me, doesn't want to use one because they have the expertise to do it themselves, or if they just don't trust/want to deal with it. The ISFJs can be both mattress keepers or trust managers, but still don't want to deal with them. It goes deeper than one would think).

    Js will plan ahead - for security, as will Ss... but Ps do plan ahead for other reasons. The preference isn't really clear on who likes to plan, really, since it differs depending on what is being talked about (ie: the way Jennifer describes the drive to get a DS or something is the way I plan - though more reserved... while many Js here write project plans as a how-to guide.)

    The only thing I want to point out is that E--P are actually the "SP" stereotype, if anything (the direct path, plan and so forth)... Eh, call it extraverted irrational functions, if you must... But the N/S gap is very minor relatively speaking.

    As for the OP, I think you are in a I--P trap (not that you are a P, just saying that it follows the same mentality) - low expectation of reaching the goal combined with plotting out a path. This leads to the same trap that I have, roughly - a constant revising with very few pratical steps being taken. The motivation comes from the opposite traits - E--J, where positive emotion will prompt action and the need for closure will prompt movement.

  4. #4
    Dhampyr Economica's Avatar
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    FWIW, I think strategically, but I also live so much in (my vision of) the future that it sometimes impairs my tactics. I sabotage my master plan either by getting ahead of myself (that is, I take something for granted that hasn't actually happened yet) or by neglecting the necessary chores of implementation (especially the ones requiring extroversion or mindful repetition). (I can do mindless repetition though. That's almost meditative for me. )

  5. #5
    Senior Member TenebrousReflection's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer
    I think you think a lot -- moreso than many.

    (My problem is analyzing like you are doing... then never acting on anything because I cannot commit to a decision... then taking the path of least resistance... within reason.)

    It's not all a "type" thing, but type contributes to approach. Some types are notoriously bad at planning for the future. Remember the ant and grasshopper parable? ISxJ people tend to be like the ants; ExxP people tend to be grasshoppers.

    My ESFP son is a good example of a short-term thinker, he instinctively always does what benefits him in the here and now and leaves the future to fend for itself... UNLESS there is a clear goal that he is very passionate about. (Anything from becoming an artist to being able to afford a Gameboy DS.)

    Once he has a clear goal that he is enthusiastic about, he will claw his way to it, as fast as he can, and postpone short-term gratification. But if it takes too long to get there or the road is too unenjoyable, he will lose enthusiasm and then find something easier to attain. But he really does not enjoy planning and thinking ahead, he much prefers to actually engage a situation and play it out for everything he can get from it (tactical, not strategic).
    I get goals and get enthusiastic about them (I enjoy coming up with ideas and working through the various probable scenarios that would be involved in trying to turn it into a reality). If the goal does not involve unpredictable factors, its easy for me to forgo short term comforts to reach a longer term goal. I try to balance the discomfort with the time I think it will take (ie, eating mac n cheese for a week or two to save up quick cash is ok, but if I expect my goal to take longer than that, I'll ask myself whats the best savings/discomfort ratio I can sustain for a long period is). I'm nearly always weighing the benefits and drawbacks of the possibilities I see (more in terms of what additional personal and logistical implications does this have than any specific time frame) and I've got several main goals that although they often seem out of reach I'm always asking how any of my actions will impact those goals one way or the other.

    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby
    Just a quick note, the time horizon and such have a lot to do with how we process risk. In that sense, male/female, culture, experience and training play a huge role in how we do things.

    At the instictive level, however, preferences make a big difference. The best example that I know of is how different types, those without financial training, measure risk.

    A lot of this has a biological backing - for instance, E-P are the highest risk takers (deal with variance and associates positive emotions to future events) while I-Js are the lowest (dislike of variance and lower positive emotions to future events).

    Likewise, interests dictate a fair bit. In the finance world, it is STs that are most likely to be interested in money (and generally the most willing to work and understand it). The interesting part is that (IS--) they often want to understand it, not just deal with it (which is more of a EN thing - to delegate it), including types that you wouldn't expect this from (ISFJs were among the least likely to want to work with an advisor, along with ISTPs. Even more interesting is that it didn't matter is the ISTP, like me, doesn't want to use one because they have the expertise to do it themselves, or if they just don't trust/want to deal with it. The ISFJs can be both mattress keepers or trust managers, but still don't want to deal with them. It goes deeper than one would think).
    I studied accounting, not because I like money, but because I saw it as a good place to put my like for spreadsheets, databases and analyzing things to use, and also thought it would be skill that would useful to have and understand (which it is). I've found I like managerial accounting (analyzing financial data and interpreting the results), but hated public accounting (keeping track of and reporting factual data). I don't know how much if any of my financial background I put to use in dealing with risk tho. small/trivial risks are things I'll take either just to see what will happen or if there is a small chance of a nice reward. Medium risks (anything that could result in minor physical or financial harm) I will not have much difficulty with, but I will still need a good enough reason to take the risk. I don't enjoy taking big risks (emotional harm or serious physical or financial risk) but I find if I have a strong enough desire for something, I'll also find a way to analyze and mitigate the risks (still painful results for failure, but not as crippling as they would be if I had not planned for the possibilities).

    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby
    Js will plan ahead - for security, as will Ss... but Ps do plan ahead for other reasons. The preference isn't really clear on who likes to plan, really, since it differs depending on what is being talked about (ie: the way Jennifer describes the drive to get a DS or something is the way I plan - though more reserved... while many Js here write project plans as a how-to guide.)
    I do some planning for security reasons (to feel that I'll be prepared for things that might go wrong) but its just one aspect of planning rather than the reason itself. I have specific goals, and it does not do much good to dream up a scenario that might occur if your not prepared if/when the time to act comes.

    As for the OP, I think you are in a I--P trap (not that you are a P, just saying that it follows the same mentality) - low expectation of reaching the goal combined with plotting out a path. This leads to the same trap that I have, roughly - a constant revising with very few pratical steps being taken. The motivation comes from the opposite traits - E--J, where positive emotion will prompt action and the need for closure will prompt movement.
    If "hope" can be considered a positive emotion, I would say that positive emotion is what motivates me and keeps me from abandoning plans that sometimes seem unreasonable, but I can go from hopeful to discouraged and stay there for long periods in which I start to re-evaluate my priorities. I know I want to save my resources for whats really important, but when that situation feels like it could be as soon as months or as long as years away (if ever), I feel a temptation to use some of those resources to make the wait more comfortable, but if the wait ends up being a short one, I will have not had enough time to replenish the resources that I will want available for whats really important to me.

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