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  1. #1
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    Default INTJs and Tunnel Vision/Profound Focus

    The other day my British grandma, who doesn't always see eye to eye with me, said that I have tunnel vision. Her son, my dad, has basically said the same thing in other words. Others have refered to the same phenomenon with a slightly more optimistic outlook calling me focused. The first interesting thing to point out is that a certain objective phenomenon can be interpreted in different ways. Those who are rendered insignificant or threatened by a focused person attempt to turn his strength into a weakness and thus use the term 'tunnel vision,' which seems to have negative connotations, while optimists see this focus and determination as a virtue and affirmation of life. Setting that aside, three critical questions arise which shall frame this discussion. First, what is tunnel vision? Second, are INTJs psychologically predisposed to tunnel vision? Third, have you had any experience with tunnel vision (either in yourself, another, or both)? Finally, what are some of the strengths and limitations to tunnel vision? For those of you that find these questions too restricting, please speak freely as I'm sure readers would appreciate something of greater value that is sightly outside the box, then something mediocre inside it.

  2. #2
    Senior Member sculpting's Avatar
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    I would rename tunnel vision "profound focus/fixation". Yup, all my INTJs have it.

    From the outside they become fixated on the project/idea/goal. Everything gets fed into it. Not in a hyperactive, spastic, flighty, momentarily obsessive way like an ENTP (Ne in overdrive), but a very dedicated, fixated, more OCD way.

    The Project/Problem WILL BE completed/solved. There is no other option. If you come back later, they will have followed through.

    It doesn't matter how difficult the problem is, they will not quit. It doesnt matter how unhappoy they are, they will keep working on the problem, even in utter misery.

    If something forces them to quit, it is life changing.

    Now if you mess with them while they are on this path, you are typically ignored, dismissed, or if you keep pushing, given a more rude dismissal. Not cruel like an entp could be, just cold and rude. You are infringing upon thier Ni space and "thier" problem. Step away.

    Trying to change thier mind at this point can be very difficult. I have Fi magic powers, and can get some leeway, but most don't.

    Once off the "problem", they are still fairly close minded-that's not quite the right term-once they find a solution to a problem, they are unlikely to change thier mind unless really pushed and given good reason. Expect it to take some time.

    My neurologist is a good example. I see him for a vision problem. On the first visit I asked for a med called keppra. He declined. I tried three meds he suggested, none of which worked. Finally he let me try keppra which worked.

    Last week when I visited, he was going to call two different neuroopthamologists to let them know that keppra worked. His paradigm for this condition had been shifted-slowly but steadily, and once complete was a paermenant change.

    Hope all the babble is helpful.

  3. #3
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    I realize that convention has it that the OP typically responds to responses rather than answering his or her own questions right away. The trouble is I am two people. As Provoker, I am of a curious and inquisitive nature. As Provoker', I am an experienced and freethinking philosopher. The OP was driven by the one, while this one is driven by the other.

    First, tunnel vision refers to a loss of peripheral vision with retention of central vision. There are other ways of refering to a similar-if not the same--phenomenon. These include being very focused, goal-oriented, determined, and so forth. However, in my own experience, none of these terms describe with any precision that which is actually occurring. As I concede it, what is occurring is the following. My mind is on a track, always, headed toward something. Maybe the train stops and starts but it refuses to be derailed by anything arbitrary and trivial, and is grateful only for that which increases the momentum, stability, precision, and smoothness of the train. The only way the train stops altogether is if the conductor dies. Otherwise, it will continue on track. Of course, as I mentioned the train may stop. It can give rides to passengers and people can have a unique experience when they're with the train, but the only person who decides where the train is going is the conductor and anyone who tries to derail the train is dismissed.

    Second, yes given the cognitive functions of the INTJ, he or she is likely to be liable to this sort of focus. First, their primary function (Ni) establishes a broad agenda which is subjective, while the extroverted thinking function (Te) works hard to externalize this mission and bring it to fruition. Accordingly, things that don't conduce to the internal agenda are dismissed while things that advance this agenda are accepted and actualized. In summary, because of the Ni and Te functions, it follows that the INTJ will work hard to have this internal vision realized in the external world. The operationalization of it creates in the real world what seems to amount to tunnel vision/profound focus.

    I shall put the third and fourth questions in one paragraph since I'd prefer to discuss some of the strengths and limitations in light of an experience that is underway at the moment and oriented toward the future. In short, in fall I will be starting my Master's program and I am preparing to systematize nearly every aspect of my life in a military-like kind of manner. In effect, I will turn myself into a clockwork (in terms of my daily regiment). I want things to be so precise that a person will be able to know what time it is merely by where I am at that point in the day (i.e. if I am on a certain street at a certain time I am on my way to get a coffee because that is when I always get a coffee). In one sentence, I am planning to design my schedule so that everything conforms to a principle of precision. The great strength in this is that I will become a well-greased machine that is highly efficient like militaries. More importantly, if I systematize these various aspects of life, then the main important variable (school and my thesis) will be a channel for releasing my creative energies. Indeed, implicit in my logic is the assumption that if I hold other things constant, I will be able to complete these tasks on autopilot devoting conscious energy to my goals. A limitation is that life is much more stochastic than my model would have one believe. Indeed, life throws curve balls sometimes and these curve balls require improvisation and/or a shift to an alternate plan. As a result, if the INTJ has one place that could use some work, it is improvisation and quicker adaptation to change.
    Last edited by Provoker; 07-06-2009 at 01:53 PM.

  4. #4
    That chalkboard guy Matthew_Z's Avatar
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    I'll keep this post brief and forthright.

    Every dominant function has a "downside." The severity of this downside varies depending on how much the subject uses their dominant function as opposed to their other functions, especially their auxiliary function. In the case of Ni (the dominant function of INTJs and INFJs), this downside is metaphorically speaking, tunnel vision.

    The most commonly prescribed remedy to this ailment is to use the auxilliary function (Te) as much as possible to balance out the powerful Ni. The easiest way to do this is to allow as much input as possible before making judgments.
    If a deaf INFP falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

  5. #5
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    Yes I often notice this in INTJs too.

  6. #6
    Per Ardua Metamorphosis's Avatar
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    Yes, I'm like this and I prefer it this way. I would rather accomplish a few things then get halfway through with a ton, and I'd rather master one area than be a jack of all trades. I don't think it's better for everyone, but we all have our place.
    "You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit."

    Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office
    than to serve and obey them. - David Hume

  7. #7
    Senior Member Scott N Denver's Avatar
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    IME, INTJ's tend to have time periods of extreme tunnel vision, and I find it rather disconcerting what they can exclude from their vision. I'll have to come back to this later, but for now let me just say INTJ's as a type are known for their technical/intellectual prowess and perhaps equally known for their lack of people skills or interest. Bringing things into reality requires help from others, getting funding to do research requires talking to and convincing people that there is value to them in funding your research.

  8. #8
    HAHHAHHAH! INTJ123's Avatar
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    It's simply narcissism/vanity. Everyone appreciates their own types more, and IMO it goes vice versa, the further from your own type, the less you appreciate it(the shadow). They might see their shadows when they see you, they might see parts of themselves they don't like, so they will not appreciate you, and many times will attempt to mold you into their likeness. There is nothing wrong with you, don't worry about tunnel vision, it's their way of describing their perceptions of you, you have the focus of an introvert.

    The people who understand what's going on are likely closer to your personality type, and will not have negative perceptions due to more appreciation.

    Anyways, I also get "lost in deep thought" or whatever but I think it's really just tapping into our spatial intelligence. When we want to draft or envision an idea and play with it, we just tap into that right side of the frontal lobe in our brains and start envisioning whatever we want as if it was on a piece of paper in front of you.

  9. #9
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    Although it can be irritating at times to deal with, especially since I'm far more "jack of all trades" like in nature; I do actually appreciate the great focus INTJs have and their abilities to get it done.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Misty_Mountain_Rose's Avatar
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    Whew... I've been in one of those tunnel vision modes all day so far today. When I break away from it, its literally like the rest of the world comes back into focus. I realize I need a bathroom break, that my head hurts... and that more time has passed than I thought. Its almost exactly like 'coming up for air'.

    During this time today, I vauguely remember hearing a coworker say 'You're way too focused for this early in the morning' as I typed away on my keyboard and never glanced up but only gave a slight smirk. I think that was the only acknowledgement I even gave that I knew he was in my office... and I don't remember him leaving.

    I've accomplished a lot though... and so now its like 'allowing' myself to re-immerse myself into the world around me.

    I can never pin point exactly what it is that kicks these intense attitudes off... its not like I woke up this morning and thought 'I think I'll get a lot done today'. There isn't even a lot that I have to do.

    Embrace the possibilities.

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