If you'd like a quick synopsis of my theory, jump to the last paragraph; the summary. Or you can continue reading.
As much as I try to shift my focus and explore a variety of topics in type differences, I seem to constantly find my interest returning to the domain of "development" of the weak function. It is probably in my NF nature to seek out "growth" and therefore I constantly struggle, during life, with my type "biases", blind spots, and weaknesses. (Of course, there are many advantages to each type, as well. No denying that.) My lingo and jargon may be unfamiliar to you as I use terms that make things clear to my own mind. The questions I put forth are such:
Can we actively participate in our minds use of judging and perceiving functions? If so, how?
Are we born with type preferences or are they strengthened throughout our life? Or maybe both are true?
What is the process through which preference actively takes place? Is it automatic, or do we choose the preference for specific reasons?
This is my theory, and of course, you can disagree; At the depths of our psyche, in the innermost chambers- commonly referred to as the "I" or the ego- lie a few forces that control the actions of every human being. One of these forces is PAIN and PLEASURE; the desire to experience pleasure and to avoid experiencing pain dominates almost every human action.
This is not a journal or a proper essay so I can't go into detail or provide too many examples. One example would be when a person procrastinates. They are really trying to avoid the pain (in this case a small pain, a minor discomfort) of doing an annoying responsibility and choosing to enjoy the pleasure of the moment (like watching TV) which takes priority in the Pleasure/Pain "scale" in his mind. But, when he has reached the deadline (for his taxes, let's say), the pressure of the taxes is registered as a pain exceeding that of sitting down and getting it done, or the pleasure of watching TV. So he scrambles to get the job done in whatever remaining time he has.
But people create or are born with their own ideas of pain and pleasure. I may find it pleasurable to collect stamps and you might find it almost painful. One person finds it enjoyable to listen to music and doesn't mind wasting his afternoon, and another might hate wasting time even though he somewhat enjoys music. But if you'd offer him a book he tremendously enjoys, he'd also give up his afternoon, and suffer the lesser pain of a wasted afternoon later (the enjoyment of the novel drowns out the pain during his afternoon.)
I believe we are born with type preferences because I can often pinpoint type preferences even in one year old children. [Extroversion and Introversion are the first to show, but perceiving functions develop along with the development of the brain throughout the formative years. But they clearly have the "roots" even then, just like the other parts of the brain can be found in the DNA right away.]
But the way it works is as follows. Type preferences, when used, energize us. The opposite functions drain our energy. We all enjoy using our strong functions because we find it stimulating. It gives us a boost- like drinking a coffee! But there is a minor discomfort when using our weak functions. We have to force it and pressure it to work quickly and efficiently. This process is a painful one, and unless we find some pleasure in using the weak function (e.g. making a good financial decision, etc.) we won't use it.
The more we use a function, the more it is strengthened. With the absence of its use, the muscle atrophies and becomes weakened. I have kept track of my own functions and have watched them develop over the years. [I just wish there were specific exercises to do that could speed up the process.] We can be born with greater strength in function than others with the same preferences, but they can also work to develop the function.
In Summary, the process is: We are born with type strengths and type weaknesses. Strengths are the muscles in our brain, or mental functions, that boost mental and emotional energy with their usage. Weaknesses are the opposite- they drain energy. Being so, strengths are perceived as pleasurable and weaknesses are painful. Our body seeks pleasure and avoids pain. THIS IS THE REAL MEANING OF WHAT WE CALL TYPE PREFERENCE. We subconciously choose to avoid the pain of using weak functions, and seek to gain pleasure by using our natural strengths. But if we so choose, we can consciously decide to call forth and use a weak function as often as we'd like. (Or until our energy is completely drained.) This will allow us to strengthen weak functions and become more balanced people. (Of course, linking some pleasure to the weak function can aid someone in using them without resistance from his mind.)