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  1. #21
    ⒺⓉⒷ Eric B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YUI View Post
    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 performers (corporate executives, business tycoons, military leaders, etc.) and used by them on a daily/ongoing basis.
    Exactly! And those types of leaders you mention are generally TJ's, and are leading (or at least supporting) with Te. The Fi is in the background providing the motivation. You can see both in what you describe: an externally directed course of impersonal, almost mechanical (at least that's how it comes off to me) actions (standing in front of a mirror, reciting things, making a routine of it, the goal being acomplishment and success in the business), in order to increase an internal worth and sense of what's important.

    I certainly wasn't saying Fi was just airy-fairy stuff. In a preferred position (FP), it may come off that way in stereotypical behavior at times, but in my theory, since the Supine and Sanguine temperaments are largely FP types, then the inferior or tertiary Te will be lead to them being easily motivated by and led to adopt these Te principles, hence, a higher level of "responsiveness" (compliance, basically; where normally, they are not really predisposed to those sort of leadership behaviors on their own).
    I certainly believe the corporate executives do this, because I grew up around Te, and while my parents may not have been persistent with it as the executives, it clearly was how they thought when attempting some sort of self-motivation.
    (I'm sure there are many ETP executives, and I'm not sure what their method would be. Whether they would just go along with it, because it seems so universal, or whatever. I imagine the ENTP would be likely to come up with some unique alternative).

    What happens, is because it "works" for them, they believe it's universal "truth", and then charge at everyone else with this as the "right" was to go, no excuses; don't allow for other factors (including personality type) to affect things, etc.

    I was going to add, that what's most bothered me, is that they essentially tell you how to feel. Like when they start talking about "attitude", dealing with frustrations, difficulty is good, "take heart; God is in control"; all these memes you see daily on the social media wall. (Again, both secular and religious). My brother was even mimicking the "process" he was telling me to embark on (self-forgiveness), by signing, breathing in lightly beating the chest, and saying whatever you're supposed to say to yourself. (He even surpassed our father, who always used to say stuff like "just swallow it", or "just tell yourself..."). All of this just drives me up the wall. It's like, damn; you should just put a puppet or robot in my place, and pull the string or program it how to respond to life!

    I realized this was a reaction to Fi (when I've always preferred affirmation from others. Not knowing about type years ago, I went to them, and only got the Te/Fi method, proclaimed as THE way). I should mention, it's not that we can never "countenance" shadow functions on others, as it's sometimes been made to seem. It's just that in certain situations like that (I imagine, especially when in a very vulnerable "inferior grip" due to some stressful state), where it itself is coming at you in a more "primitive" form to begin with, and it's going SO against ego's perspective, that it just has such a toxic feeling.

    Fi is ultimately about "personal(F) identifcation(i)", which then goes into the "self-definition" you mentioned.
    In a more "mature" state, it says "If that were me, I would feel this way. So let me respond to the person's needs as I would want to be responded to" [assuming this indicates universal need].
    Hence, the more compassionate stance FP's are more known for.
    In a less mature position, especially where it's supporting a preferred Te; it becomes "If that were me, I would feel [and respond] this way. So then you should feel this way, and respond this way too". [Again, presumed to be universal, and then the person not getting with the program is deemed ignorant for rejecting this "help"]. Hence, the "directive", "structure-focused" posture of TJ's.

    Fe on the other hand, if "he says he feels this way, or I can see that he feels this way, so let me address his needs". Both Feeling attitudes then become equally "empathetic". Immature tertiary or inferior Fe is similar, but not as proactive in addressing the needs, or tries to do it through an internal logicalal method which may or may not help the person.
    This is what happens with all this motivational speaking and counsel often given.

    (BTW, as far as Mother Theresa, I think she's usually assumed to be FJ, though I've seen INFP as well. In APS, she's usually held as the perennial Supine, and both IxFP and IxFJ will likely have some Supine. Again, it can be hard to tell, since both Feeling attitudes cand do the same things).
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  2. #22
    this is my winter song EJCC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric B View Post
    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.
    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.
    Interesting. Since I brought up my dad as an example before: his stepdad was a highly directive person, definitely some kind of ExxJ, and his mom is/was a mess of paranoia and passive-aggression. What he did to get through it was tune it all out and do what he wanted to do. He spent most of his young career life mostly being his own boss, and doing real estate work. It was only when he was in his forties, and actually working his way up a ladder for the first time, that he stopped being quite the same stereotypical INTP, and viewing the TJ-style career advice and FJ-style gratefulness/etc validation as something he should embrace in order to succeed.

    So this thread is a whole other level of interesting now that I know that it's coming from a place of, "how can I find motivational self-help stuff aimed at my sort of person, when I was forced to absorb the other stuff for so long?"

    Considering that part of the issue here is 1) not wanting to be told what to do, and 2) not wanting to be told how to feel... I'm wondering if your only option for self-help is pure data. Someone giving you information in written form and letting you come to your own conclusions about it.
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  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric B View Post
    Exactly! And those types of leaders you mention are generally TJ's, and are leading (or at least supporting) with Te. The Fi is in the background providing the motivation. You can see both in what you describe: an externally directed course of impersonal, almost mechanical (at least that's how it comes off to me) actions (standing in front of a mirror, reciting things, making a routine of it, the goal being acomplishment and success in the business), in order to increase an internal worth and sense of what's important.

    I certainly wasn't saying Fi was just airy-fairy stuff. In a preferred position (FP), it may come off that way in stereotypical behavior at times, but in my theory, since the Supine and Sanguine temperaments are largely FP types, then the inferior or tertiary Te will be lead to them being easily motivated by and led to adopt these Te principles, hence, a higher level of "responsiveness" (compliance, basically; where normally, they are not really predisposed to those sort of leadership behaviors on their own).
    I certainly believe the corporate executives do this, because I grew up around Te, and while my parents may not have been persistent with it as the executives, it clearly was how they thought when attempting some sort of self-motivation.
    (I'm sure there are many ETP executives, and I'm not sure what their method would be. Whether they would just go along with it, because it seems so universal, or whatever. I imagine the ENTP would be likely to come up with some unique alternative).

    What happens, is because it "works" for them, they believe it's universal "truth", and then charge at everyone else with this as the "right" was to go, no excuses; don't allow for other factors (including personality type) to affect things, etc.

    I was going to add, that what's most bothered me, is that they essentially tell you how to feel. Like when they start talking about "attitude", dealing with frustrations, difficulty is good, "take heart; God is in control"; all these memes you see daily on the social media wall. (Again, both secular and religious). My brother was even mimicking the "process" he was telling me to embark on (self-forgiveness), by signing, breathing in lightly beating the chest, and saying whatever you're supposed to say to yourself. (He even surpassed our father, who always used to say stuff like "just swallow it", or "just tell yourself..."). All of this just drives me up the wall. It's like, damn; you should just put a puppet or robot in my place, and pull the string or program it how to respond to life!

    I realized this was a reaction to Fi (when I've always preferred affirmation from others. Not knowing about type years ago, I went to them, and only got the Te/Fi method, proclaimed as THE way). I should mention, it's not that we can never "countenance" shadow functions on others, as it's sometimes been made to seem. It's just that in certain situations like that (I imagine, especially when in a very vulnerable "inferior grip" due to some stressful state), where it itself is coming at you in a more "primitive" form to begin with, and it's going SO against ego's perspective, that it just has such a toxic feeling.

    Fi is ultimately about "personal(F) identifcation(i)", which then goes into the "self-definition" you mentioned.
    In a more "mature" state, it says "If that were me, I would feel this way. So let me respond to the person's needs as I would want to be responded to" [assuming this indicates universal need].
    Hence, the more compassionate stance FP's are more known for.
    In a less mature position, especially where it's supporting a preferred Te; it becomes "If that were me, I would feel [and respond] this way. So then you should feel this way, and respond this way too". [Again, presumed to be universal, and then the person not getting with the program is deemed ignorant for rejecting this "help"]. Hence, the "directive", "structure-focused" posture of TJ's.

    Fe on the other hand, if "he says he feels this way, or I can see that he feels this way, so let me address his needs". Both Feeling attitudes then become equally "empathetic". Immature tertiary or inferior Fe is similar, but not as proactive in addressing the needs, or tries to do it through an internal logicalal method which may or may not help the person.
    This is what happens with all this motivational speaking and counsel often given.

    (BTW, as far as Mother Theresa, I think she's usually assumed to be FJ, though I've seen INFP as well. In APS, she's usually held as the perennial Supine, and both IxFP and IxFJ will likely have some Supine. Again, it can be hard to tell, since both Feeling attitudes cand do the same things).
    Okay, I understand roughly what you're saying: Your Te-based family adopted some mechanistic Fi values and rituals. They used this hybrid Te/Fi language to beat you over the head with religion. And you found this to be a toxic experience, because religion demands that you put ego aside in order to experience something more universal: God, one-ness, or whatever.

    But here's my rebuttal: Religion is rather a unique and one-off experience or example, insofar as it requires putting ego aside. By contrast, there are plenty of non-religious self-help doctrines that *don't* require putting your ego aside. In fact, they preach the opposite: *Grow* your ego, aim for the stars, be clear about what you want from life (a new sailboat, a promotion, more prestige), and then work your ass off and make it happen. It's the self-help doctrine of the corporate world, and frankly it can be quite liberating.

    In other words, it kind of turns your whole paradigm on its head. Compare my own experience to yours:

    As a young INFP, I had kind of a rigid Fi-Dom view of how the world should work and my place in it. As I encountered new experiences and new challenges, I generally tried to fit those new experiences into my existing Fi-Dom worldview. And sometimes it was a difficult fit: Fi can be pretty rigid.

    Then I hit middle age and started playing around with my Inferior. It was timely, in that I was being put into leadership positions in my workplace, etc. I studied up on Te and developed a hybrid Fi/Te language similar to your family's language. But it's not a religion-oriented language: It doesn't require me to put aside my ego. In fact, it's a language of power and leadership and ego *growth*. Compared to the rather rigid and claustrophobic pure Fi of my youth, this hybrid Fi/Te language is liberating and opens new worlds for me.

    Of course I'm still Fi-Dom at my core. But nowadays I like reading book about sales, leadership, law, investing, business, etc. My hybrid Fi/Te language expands my ego and corresponds more with how the world actually works, as opposed to my purer Fi language of my youth. I hear the hybrid Te/Fi language of books like "The One-Minute Sales Person" and motivational speakers like Tony Robbins, and frankly I enjoy what they have to say. I see the utility of their message.

    To sum up:

    The paradigm that *you've* proposed is based on a certain experience of your own: The experience of a hybrid Te/Fi language being imposed upon you from outside in order to tell you to put aside your ego and accept God.

    But *my* paradigm is sort of the opposite. I've made a transition from a rather immature, rigid version of Fi into an expanded hybrid Fi/Te language that allows me to grow in ways that I couldn't previously. And since God and religion aren't part of my experience (I'm an atheist), I don't have to put aside my ego. In fact, I can grow my ego bigger and better than before.

    Anyway, that's kind of why I'm bridling at the "airy-fairy" version of Fi. You keep throwing God and spirituality into your paradigm based on your own personal experiences. But your experience isn't mine, and Fi is more than just a facility for spirituality.

  4. #24
    ⒺⓉⒷ Eric B's Avatar
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    Actually, my family isn't religious, they are all “secular” (basic mix of theological agnosticism with evolutionary “naturalism” and a mix of secular psyhologies and philosophies). So this is what I associated self-help with. Not being able to conjure up that inner power, in desperation, I eventually figure maybe there was something to a Biblical theistic position after all; especially since God is supposedly external, and a more logical (at least hypothetically) source of “divine strength”, and it's said that the power is only available to believers anyway.
    But then I find in practice, it's still ultimately many of the same “self-help” principles, though with God nominally made the focus (like “have faith in God” replacing “believe in yourself”, and many newer Christians even use both, even though their predecessors repudiated putting it the latter way, as “humanistic”). So it was totally bewildering.

    So it's mainly that “older” brand of Christianity that said directly to put the ego aside. Whenever psychology and self-help say “self” (as in “self-love”), they hear “ego” and put that down as well.
    The secular advice of my family and others was often a mix of “reach for the stars”, and then warning of how ego can get in the way. We want everything NOW, and with no difficulty. So they'll say go enjoy life (they don't call this “growing the ego” as far as I've seen), but when we can't get what we want, then they'll go after the “ego”.
    And here in Jungian theory, the entire point is ultimately how our egos slant reality to one side or the other, and that the goal is to integrate what's been shut out.

    So what EJCC is basically correct. It's a matter of finding a way to do this, and the Jungian concepts has been that “data” (often dismissed by mainstream “self-help”), giving me a framework to start from. It's still difficult, especially with the echo of the more popular Te “tough talk” approach still resounding everywhere. So I figured I'd put this out there and see what others thought.
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  5. #25
    this is my winter song EJCC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric B View Post
    So what EJCC is basically correct. It's a matter of finding a way to do this, and the Jungian concepts has been that “data” (often dismissed by mainstream “self-help”), giving me a framework to start from. It's still difficult, especially with the echo of the more popular Te “tough talk” approach still resounding everywhere. So I figured I'd put this out there and see what others thought.
    I usually define the "self-help" genre as necessitating exactly the sort of emotional and/or J-ish direction that you're trying to avoid. The whole point of best-selling self-help books is that readers want to be given suggestions and told what to do, so that's naturally going to be the way they're written. So if I was right in that you didn't want to be told what to do, or how to feel, then you aren't really looking for self-help books at all.

    And maybe that's why Jungian personality theory has worked so well for you -- it's presented as data, not as specific direction. You can feel free to use it however you want.

    So I guess my suggestion for INTP-specific "self-help" would be articles and books full of statistics, regarding the science -- hard (neurological, biological) or soft (psychological, sociological) -- of human behavior.
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  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric B View Post
    Actually, my family isn't religious, they are all “secular” (basic mix of theological agnosticism with evolutionary “naturalism” and a mix of secular psyhologies and philosophies). So this is what I associated self-help with. Not being able to conjure up that inner power, in desperation, I eventually figure maybe there was something to a Biblical theistic position after all; especially since God is supposedly external, and a more logical (at least hypothetically) source of “divine strength”, and it's said that the power is only available to believers anyway.
    But then I find in practice, it's still ultimately many of the same “self-help” principles, though with God nominally made the focus (like “have faith in God” replacing “believe in yourself”, and many newer Christians even use both, even though their predecessors repudiated putting it the latter way, as “humanistic”). So it was totally bewildering.

    So it's mainly that “older” brand of Christianity that said directly to put the ego aside. Whenever psychology and self-help say “self” (as in “self-love”), they hear “ego” and put that down as well.
    The secular advice of my family and others was often a mix of “reach for the stars”, and then warning of how ego can get in the way. We want everything NOW, and with no difficulty. So they'll say go enjoy life (they don't call this “growing the ego” as far as I've seen), but when we can't get what we want, then they'll go after the “ego”.
    And here in Jungian theory, the entire point is ultimately how our egos slant reality to one side or the other, and that the goal is to integrate what's been shut out.

    So what EJCC is basically correct. It's a matter of finding a way to do this, and the Jungian concepts has been that “data” (often dismissed by mainstream “self-help”), giving me a framework to start from. It's still difficult, especially with the echo of the more popular Te “tough talk” approach still resounding everywhere. So I figured I'd put this out there and see what others thought.
    Well whatever. In my previous reply I was riffing off of some comments you made about how being told to "take heart; God is in control" represented "the death of ego" or was "against ego's perspective," and so on.

    But whatever. The main point is that you're talking about a special circumstance: Your interfering Te family is badgering you to live a certain way. In your shoes, I would likely have the same reaction as you. But it wouldn't necessarily be as a result of their use of Fi or the nature of self-help advice per se; it would be more about being harrassed by pushy people whom you can't dismiss or get rid of (interfering family members).

    But if you provide a more neutral example, such as Te/Fi hybrid advice offered in a self-help book, then I'm fine with that. I even like that stuff: It compliments nicely my own Fi/Te hybrid outlook on life these days. In fact, I would prefer to read Te/Fi hybrid advice rather than advice from a straight Fi Dom; the latter would be oppressive to me. I've had enough of the hard-core Fi outlook in my own life.

    Anyway, that's my point. If you want to discuss the nature of self-help philosophies (as described by the title of the thread), then the example of your family badgering you is kind of tendentious. That's kind of a special situation, and it's not really about self-help philosophy per se. It's more about being harrassed by well-meaning zealots whom you can't dismiss or tell to fuck off.

    ETA: Your example of badgering family members is more about the toxic nature of family rather than about the nature of self-help philosophies.

  7. #27
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    I have a negative reaction to most self-help books, and I think there's a number of reasons for this.

    First of all, most self-help books seem to have a very shallow understanding of human nature and how change is effected. Even when one does try to follow the directives of self-help books, usually I find they stir up contrary emotional reactions that undermine the goal of the help (see "Why Don't My Positive Affirmations Work?" for an example of this).

    Secondly, many self-help books might as well have the sub-title "How to be more Judging and/or leverage your J preference more effectively." While Perceivers can act out of preference (and sometime must, reality being what it is), acting out of preference for an extended period of time is draining. This means that many self-help approaches are not energetically worthwhile, and are effectively unmaintainable for Perceivers. I find the JPT article "Building Momentum: The Unconventional Strengths of Perceiving College Students" a helpful counterbalance to "Judging is the only way to succeed" mentality.

    Thirdly, I find the values of many self-help books to be pretty appalling. Often the goal is to transform yourself (or at least your appearance) into something that you're not. Sometimes the goal and/or recommended techniques are morally dubious, so the recommendations are partially about convincing yourself that what you're doing is wonderful (when it isn't).

    So generally, I'd say that many self-help books have a very goal-directed TJ slant, and see internal values and emotions as things to be modified or harnessed. If they can be said to be Fi-based, it's Fi in service of Te. Some self-help strikes me as FJ-ish, being about how to maintain positive social relationships, and how to marshal social resources. Still, overall it's a very goal directed, means-to-an-end genre.

    My only other side-thought is that when Feeling is present in self-help books (especially the Te-ish ones), it often has has an unformed, sentimental flavor that I associate with under-developed Feeling. So to me it comes across as kind of sacarine and one-dimentional, rather than being in tune with actual human nature. Of course, your mileage may vary.

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    Honestly I think the word of psychoanalysis from a more official standpoint fetishizes non limbic ENFJs, and a friend of mine who is a real psychotherapist who is likely INFJ rejects MBTI because apparently she doesn't see how harmful it is to press the Big Five on people as some metric of "normal"...ofc she loves the Big Five, I hate it, I think they're things even an intelligent adolescent can see, and do nothing in the way of explaining "why."

    Yes, other popular culture mainstream self help tools focus on strengthening of Fi. In late middle age my ISTJ grandfather developed a keen interest in the power of positive visualization and "you can if you think you can" from the Christian pastor Norman Vincent Peale who was probably some kind of NFP.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marmotini View Post
    Yes, other popular culture mainstream self help tools focus on strengthening of Fi. In late middle age my ISTJ grandfather developed a keen interest in the power of positive visualization and "you can if you think you can" from the Christian pastor Norman Vincent Peale who was probably some kind of NFP.
    I believe Norman Vincent Peale is more commonly typed as ENTJ, which fits with the more one-dimensional Fi perspective.

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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.

    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".
    Yeah I got a lot of "just plow through it" advice from my TJ grandparents. In a way it made me stronger and able to do things I wouldn't normally, but I think it also contributed to my garden variety insanity. I think I might actually show the most productive potential for my type in middle age since my grandparents shamed me for it in my youth. I spent my twenties just trying to retrieve myself from being critcized for having worthless interests, making collages is stupid, you are good at the wrong things...my life as I have lived it has been an external expression of my creativity, but I think I would have been able to produce more at a younger age ironically had I not had Te beaten over my head so much. Then again I don't know at least now I have so much experience to draw from.

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