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  1. #11
    Senior Member Mal12345's Avatar
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    Since I'm more of an enneagrammist by far, I don't dig all the talk about Fi which involves identifying with a type. I prefer disidentification. I agree this is a lifelong process where many people and things seem to stand in the way of progress. Everything seems like an obstacle and an intrusion rather than a lesson.
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  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by EJCC View Post
    It's interesting -- I had always thought of the sort of self-help described in the OP as being of two different schools:

    1) Love yourself in order to love others, be kind to yourself, cut yourself slack, give yourself a big ol' hug, "Treat Yo Self", all those pictures on Tumblr aimed at preteen girls
    2) Just plow through it, it'll be better on the other side, "If you're going through hell, keep going", etc

    #1 I see as FP, #2 as TJ. I usually see #1 as helpful in moderation but gross and sappy to the point of being useless on the other extreme. I suspect FPs feel similarly about TJ advice.
    Yeah; I guess the FP advice will focus on #1 , but beneath that, at some point, if the person claims it doesn't work because of all their pain or misfortune, or whatever and the have no other answers, then they'll switch to #2 .
    The TJ's will put a bit more emphasis on #2 , but when you ask how to gain the strength to "plow through it", etc. then they'll basicaly turn to something like #1 .

    Like my family was clearly on the TJ side, but did give both forms of advice. This just made it all the more maddening; to be torn into with all the directive "coaching", then given all the sappy stuff as some sort of compensation.
    Anyway I do agree with mal and five sounds about author bias, but I disagree that it can't be helpful to other types anyway. My dad (INTP) just LOVES SJ-style advice books about increasing your productivity and getting shit done. He also likes really sappy advice like "make a list of everything you're grateful for at the end of every day".
    Well, like I said, in the process of maturing, we turn toward the formerly neglected perspectives.
    The problem I'm experiencing, is beign in an environment where the other perspective dominates, and they tear into you, dismissing your perspective ans insisting theirs is "universal truth". Now, I'm at the ego stage to become ready to expand to other perspectives, but rather than this being new territory to try, it's a painful memory from the past, carrying a very negative connotation.
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  3. #13
    Senior Member Mal12345's Avatar
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    If I consider the theories of Ken Keyes, Jr., then either someone is "programmed" for success, or they are not "programmed" for success - or they are "programmed" for failure. Keyes admits in his autobiography that he was "programmed" for success; and furthermore, he learned business from his father and had more of a knack for it than his father. How can I keep up with someone who has practically been born with such a great advantage?

    If I stop and reflect on myself, I know from my upbringing that I'm not "programmed" to succeed. Keyes is just another one of those self-help authors who made a lot of money trying to teach people to be like himself, when in fact our "programming" is very difficult if not impossible to change, especially on one's own, and especially lacking his obvious advantage.

    So what use have I for artificial social categories such as "success" and "failure"? I would be better off without them.
    "Everyone has a plan till they get punched in the mouth." Mike Tyson
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  4. #14
    Sugar Hiccup OrangeAppled's Avatar
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    I actually do relate to this, and am not a big fan of self-help books because of it. I'd say it's for very different reasons, but generally I find it vague & to make assumptions about why I have a problem or how I likely feel or even what my desires outcome is, so that it never really feels applicable. I've always seen it more as a J vs P conflict, as the very concept of self-help books seem J to me.

    A lot of self-help works off of assumptions that everyone is essentially the same, which is neither Fi nor not-Fi. Or maybe it works off the concept that the self is defined through the action, which means anyone can adopt the action & it will change them (whereas Ji is the opposite - the inner person must change & then the action is altered). Fi is more like everyone is the same at core, but it manifests so wildly different that we cannot meet these same core needs in the same way; so everyone is the same, and yet totally different from one another.

    I don't see the "love yourself" mentality as having anything to do with Fi either. I find that vague & cheesy. I'm not really sure what it's getting at. The closest I can get to that is CBT stuff of replacing negative thought patterns deliberately & consciously with more truthful positive or neutral ones. I'm not a goal-driven person, and so I think I seek to have a healthier process as I take my natural exploratory approach, not to reach some state of "success". I can see being frustrated in taking up a process you are not sure will work, but I guess being NFP makes me okay with no definite end-goal, as long as things remain in a state of flux & promise. I can't "plow through", I find shortcuts instead. Ingenuity, not hard work is more NP style.

    This has made what you might call "Fe" advice (but which I think is just as much healthy Fi &/or Ne) be better than any self-love, and that's to stop focusing on the self, period. Turn your focus outward, to people & other things, and then those negative feelings are put into perspective.

    I don't subscribe to the inferior/dominant functions "working in tandem" idea though. With inf/dom functions, I think it's more of an antagonistic relationship than a complementary one. In other words, STJ style advice tends to be at odds with my mentality. This is "positive" when it riles me up enough to care to figure out how & why I feel as I do (because Fi can make you rather indifferent or simply ignoring of a lot of stuff). Most of the time, it's like "This is BS! How can I subvert this & find a way that suits me & meets my ideals?". Te approaches tend to anger me enough to make me explore why I have such a reaction. They never feel "win-win", but more like "I win - others lose as necessary consequence" or "I must give myself up for the greater good". There's always this sense of either being a sort of mercenary or a martyr. Or I find it overly simplistic, seeming too linear & black & white. Fi complicates stuff...it's like "there are too many variables which can change with the context to have one blanket method."

    Like I said, different problem with this kind of literature, but not finding it any more helpful.
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  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric B View Post
    [...] To me, Fi is tied up with emotions that represent the death of the ego. Life must make logical sense, including the rules or circumstances that lead to me getting things I want. Possibilities must be open rather than closed (i.e. "that's the way life is", etc.) Such closed concrete facts are only used to set what must be guarded against, fixed, good stuff relived, etc. When dealing in things "personal", the focus is external, and inferior. Even with Interaction Style, Behind the Scenes is "outcome" oriented, meaning I want to see results, rather than struggle through a "process". (This even affects me in things like paying bills).

    So when things don't go right, to just tell me, basically, "if you love yourself it won't matter", "just forgive", "don't hold onto things", etc. I feel like my whole humanity is being totally dismissed, and I'd become a walked on nothing! And this is from both secular self-help as well as religion (which often mixes this up with concepts such as "regeneration", and usually substitute "God/Christ/Spirit" for "self". But it's really the same process everyone else is describing, even though they claim it is "supernatural" and exclusive to believers).[...]
    I see your point.

    By way of prelude: There's the question of whether this or that specific self-help doctrine is really Fi-based. But for argument's sake, personally I'm fine with saying that the general idea of self-help doctrines and systems more or less falls under the category of Fi.

    Anyway, I would respond by saying that Ti works the same way. Seen from the outside, Ti presents a fixed system (logic, for example, or law) and says "Just accept that it works. And if some fact of life doesn't fit the system, well it's probably of minor consequence or just needs to be quickly shoehorned into the system."

    For example, a Feeler might complain that the legal system is too rigid and unfeeling and ask about conflict of interest X; the Ti lawyer sweeps away the objection by saying, "Well, that falls under the doctrine of Y." And the Feeler is non-plussed; that simple explanation says nothing to him. The lawyer finally says, "Well you have to just accept the legal system and study it, and eventually you will come to see how it all pulls together into a coherent system for regulating human relations."

    So that's the answer, I believe: Both Ti-based and Fi-based concepts tend to be large-scale models that are perceived as fully-formed and are difficult for newbies to grasp at first exposure.

    (As a Ti-Dom, you'll probably object that Fi-based systems tend to be more nebulous than Ti-based systems. But it doesn't have to be that way. For example, I would say that MBTI is an Fi-based system to some extent, i.e., to the extent that it has a large self-actualization dimension built into it. Meantime, Logic is a Ti-based system and it can be pretty nebulous.)

    Anyway, extending this idea to all the cognitive functions: All the cognitive functions can be tough to grasp from the outside. And everyone has difficulty moving out of their comfort zones and grasping some new mode of thinking. But MBTI tells us that *all* the cognitive functions have some use in the outer world and that it's worth giving new functions a try. And that's basically my answer to the OP as a whole.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric B View Post
    [...]And those exercises! Ugh! Looking in a mirror and expressing love and other stuff to yourself, hugging yourself, writing stuff to yourself, and all the other "rules" and "steps". Seems totally illogical and like almost crazy.
    As I see it, for Fi-Doms those exercises ("affirmations" and so on) would correspond to Tertiary Si: That is, they are exercises to keep the primary principles of the system in front of oneself and automate them in order to build off them. Ti-Doms have Tertiary Si as well, so I'm guessing that Ti-Doms probably do something similar when building a Ti-based system, i.e., create some way to keep the system's founding principles in front of them and verify whether new developments or theories meet the requirements of those founding principles.

  6. #16
    You have a choice! 21%'s Avatar
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    I've always believed the only person who can help me is myself. Other people's advice might give me a new perspective on things, but for it to be really useful I need to pick it apart and just keep the helpful bits.

    I don't like books that tell you how to do something (and the whole step 1, step 2 thing just drives me crazy). I prefer reading personal accounts of what people go through and how they did it. Usually some wisdom can be gleaned from that.
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  7. #17
    Away with the fairies Southern Kross's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric B View Post
    So when things don't go right, to just tell me, basically, "if you love yourself it won't matter", "just forgive", "don't hold onto things", etc. I feel like my whole humanity is being totally dismissed, and I'd become a walked on nothing!
    I'm so with you on this. It's incredibly invalidating and insulting. This is basically the reason I never tell people about my own problems or negative thoughts - people almost always fail to grasp the complex nature of the issues involved and say stupid shit like this. Then I'm left wondering why I even bothered opening my mouth.

    It's a brand of ignorance to see the world like that. I'm all for trying to shift your perspective to a more productive one, but not if it requires ignoring a whole swath of highly pertinent factors. It's basically trying to cure unhappiness by turning oneself into a blithe idiot. I'm neither capable or desirous of becoming that.

    I'm with @OrangeAppled in that I don't like self-help books and discourse - they tend to be phony, presumptive and out of touch with reality.

    I have been reading some exerts over at Personality Cafe lately from Naomi Quenk's book, Was That Really Me? How Everyday Stress Brings Out Our Hidden Personality. It talks about the role of inferior functions (specific to each type) and how it creates certain barriers and issues. I've found it really insightful and helpful, so much so I think I will have to get hold of the book and read the whole thing. In many ways I felt convinced afterward that the inferior functions are the primary cause of many personal problems. I don't know how much it offers advice about overcoming those things but it's something to think about.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mal12345 View Post
    Self-help advice is always biased toward the methods that worked for the author. It's hilarious, for example, when self-made millionaires claim they willed themselves up by their own bootstraps, something anybody can do. Then why aren't there millions of them out there?
    So true (and irritating).

    The funny thing is, this is the sort of advice/mindset I have gotten from many TPs in the past. It's not always that extreme but it's along the lines of, "you just need to do X", where X is something that person is unbelievable naturally talented at. There's no understanding that their gift is effortless and that others may really struggle in that area, and they end up both underestimating themselves and overestimating the capabilities of others. On top of that there seems to be a belief that ability is simply a choice; that you can choose to be good at something if you just set your mind to it. (That's not an accusation BTW - just an observation)
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  8. #18
    Entertaining Cracker five sounds's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 21% View Post
    I've always believed the only person who can help me is myself. Other people's advice might give me a new perspective on things, but for it to be really useful I need to pick it apart and just keep the helpful bits.

    I don't like books that tell you how to do something (and the whole step 1, step 2 thing just drives me crazy). I prefer reading personal accounts of what people go through and how they did it. Usually some wisdom can be gleaned from that.
    I agree. I prefer to take what I need from a contextualized, complex account of someone's story. It's much easier for me to find relevant inspiration that way.
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  9. #19
    ⒺⓉⒷ Eric B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OrangeAppled View Post
    I actually do relate to this, and am not a big fan of self-help books because of it. I'd say it's for very different reasons, but generally I find it vague & to make assumptions about why I have a problem or how I likely feel or even what my desires outcome is, so that it never really feels applicable. I've always seen it more as a J vs P conflict, as the very concept of self-help books seem J to me.

    A lot of self-help works off of assumptions that everyone is essentially the same, which is neither Fi nor not-Fi. Or maybe it works off the concept that the self is defined through the action, which means anyone can adopt the action & it will change them (whereas Ji is the opposite - the inner person must change & then the action is altered). Fi is more like everyone is the same at core, but it manifests so wildly different that we cannot meet these same core needs in the same way; so everyone is the same, and yet totally different from one another.
    I don't see the "love yourself" mentality as having anything to do with Fi either. I find that vague & cheesy. I'm not really sure what it's getting at. The closest I can get to that is CBT stuff of replacing negative thought patterns deliberately & consciously with more truthful positive or neutral ones. I'm not a goal-driven person, and so I think I seek to have a healthier process as I take my natural exploratory approach, not to reach some state of "success". I can see being frustrated in taking up a process you are not sure will work, but I guess being NFP makes me okay with no definite end-goal, as long as things remain in a state of flux & promise. I can't "plow through", I find shortcuts instead. Ingenuity, not hard work is more NP style.
    Yes, it's J, and particularly T+J (Te). To Te, people are basically just more [impersonal] objects to be moved around for maximum efficiency. Hence, they're all the same; they just need to "fall in line" and "do what they have to do", etc. no excuses, etc.
    Where the Fi comes in (counterbalancing this) is again, when the question becomes how we derive this "human worth". That's no longer Te's domain, so it switches to its mirror reflection, Fi, which says personal worth must come strictly from within.
    I don't subscribe to the inferior/dominant functions "working in tandem" idea though. With inf/dom functions, I think it's more of an antagonistic relationship than a complementary one. In other words, STJ style advice tends to be at odds with my mentality. This is "positive" when it riles me up enough to care to figure out how & why I feel as I do (because Fi can make you rather indifferent or simply ignoring of a lot of stuff). Most of the time, it's like "This is BS! How can I subvert this & find a way that suits me & meets my ideals?". Te approaches tend to anger me enough to make me explore why I have such a reaction. They never feel "win-win", but more like "I win - others lose as necessary consequence" or "I must give myself up for the greater good". There's always this sense of either being a sort of mercenary or a martyr. Or I find it overly simplistic, seeming too linear & black & white. Fi complicates stuff...it's like "there are too many variables which can change with the context to have one blanket method."
    Since the philosophy is largely Te driven, then Fi will be more subdued. It will feel antagonistic, unless the person has developed to the point of beginning to pay more attention to the inferior, which is said to be usually at midlife. It's the way our egos divide reality into opposite "poles".
    I have been saying that Fi descriptions are often colored by the likely experience of the T's writing the theories, so does not really represent Fi in its most "mature" form. Hence, all the "screw others, just do what's important to you" descriptions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Kross View Post
    I'm so with you on this. It's incredibly invalidating and insulting. This is basically the reason I never tell people about my own problems or negative thoughts - people almost always fail to grasp the complex nature of the issues involved and say stupid shit like this. Then I'm left wondering why I even bothered opening my mouth.

    It's a brand of ignorance to see the world like that. I'm all for trying to shift your perspective to a more productive one, but not if it requires ignoring a whole swath of highly pertinent factors. It's basically trying to cure unhappiness by turning oneself into a blithe idiot. I'm neither capable or desirous of becoming that.

    I'm with OrangeAppled in that I don't like self-help books and discourse - they tend to be phony, presumptive and out of touch with reality.

    I have been reading some exerts over at Personality Cafe lately from Naomi Quenk's book, Was That Really Me? How Everyday Stress Brings Out Our Hidden Personality. It talks about the role of inferior functions (specific to each type) and how it creates certain barriers and issues. I've found it really insightful and helpful, so much so I think I will have to get hold of the book and read the whole thing. In many ways I felt convinced afterward that the inferior functions are the primary cause of many personal problems. I don't know how much it offers advice about overcoming those things but it's something to think about.

    So true (and irritating).

    The funny thing is, this is the sort of advice/mindset I have gotten from many TPs in the past. It's not always that extreme but it's along the lines of, "you just need to do X", where X is something that person is unbelievable naturally talented at. There's no understanding that their gift is effortless and that others may really struggle in that area, and they end up both underestimating themselves and overestimating the capabilities of others. On top of that there seems to be a belief that ability is simply a choice; that you can choose to be good at something if you just set your mind to it. (That's not an accusation BTW - just an observation)
    Again, it's just like in politics. Recall, how conservatives hit the roof when Obama said "You didn't build that". All he was saying was that nobody can do it alone; everyone is subject to circumstances and the help from others around them. But the Right wants to put their heroes, big business, on this pedestal and say they did it all by themselves (and hence, everyone else is taking from them).

    The, you get this type of statement, I just saw:
    "for years i thought this world owed me something and was going to lay it at my feet because i was damn deserving of it, boy was i ever wrong.
    in time i realized, not only did i have to be the best at what i was doing but i also needed to be aggressive, strategic, and diligent when it came to getting those things i truly desired in life. i'm glad i finally figured that out otherwise i might be sitting around crying victim, making a ton of excuses, and blaming the world for my shortcoming."
    The whole "I once was that way, now I've pulled myself out of it, compared to all these losers out there who still think that way". The whole argument would be nothing without all these "others" (whether directly even mentioned or not) to compare to. Getting that kind of "counsel" always felt to me like rubbing in how far I fell short, and need to go to get to that person's position. And they would keep gloating of how "hard" and slow it is; all the "steps", and trial and error, etc. (And then in cases like my father, he really did not have it all together at all, but ended his life in almost the sad state he kept warning me about!)

    All any of this is doing is creating a bigger Shadow of weakness (plus fear and every other negative thing they so eschew) they must hide (but will come out in some way, and on unfortunate people under their influence).
    I like how the Bible puts it (which even Chrstians who get caught up in the political debates ignore): “What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?” (1 Cor. 4:7)
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  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric B View Post
    On the other hand, the whole point of the "individuation" process type is based on is to for others to become aware of these processes normally unconscious to them. So I can see where I need to find a way to integrate some of that, at least.
    In addition to what I wrote in my earlier post, I just want to add:

    I was recently reading a best-seller how-to book on corporate sales: "The One-Minute Sales Person" by Spencer Johnson. Amid all the Fe/Te advice on how to conduct and close a successful sale, there were a couple chapters (in fact, almost half the book) on how the salesman should motivate himself with a lot of Fi affirmations, self-praisings, visualizations of goals, etc. That latter Fi material all was straight out of the self-help manuals.

    Fi is about self-definition, keeping on track, self-direction, etc. It's the stuff you do daily when you're not in top form but you need to pull yourself together and crank out a good day's work no matter how you feel about it. It's reminding yourself who you are, what you're there for, and what you want to accomplish. Without some Fi (either developed naturally or learned through self-help exercises), it's easy for people in high-pressure jobs to get off-track, burn out, lose their focus, etc.

    IOW, Fi self-help doctrine isn't just about religion and shrinking the ego and being Mother Theresa; it isn't *only* about religion or individuation processes or whatever. It's *also* the bread and butter of motivational speakers like Tony Robbins, leadership courses, pep talks on how to make your first million before the age of 30, etc. Often in movies or TV shows you'll see corporate executives prepare for a big presentation or event by standing in front of a mirror and reciting affirmations or doing some other Fi self-help ritual. Yes, many executives actually do that in real life.

    I know what objections will follow: As role models go, Tony Robbins is not going to be any more attractive than Mother Theresa to an INTP such as yourself. Motivational speakers and self-help zen for corporate executives: Cheesy? Yeah. But for top performers in the business world, that stuff really does help them focus and stay on task.

    Anyway, I just want to emphasize the following point: Fi self-help doctrine isn't just airy-fairy spiritual stuff with limited application and use. It's also a critical self-motivation and self-direction tool that is hanging right there on the tool belt of all high achievers (corporate executives, business tycoons, military leaders, etc.) and used by them on a daily/ongoing basis.

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