The INTP Personality Type and Introverted Sensing
As a fellow INTP Personality Type, there can be a challenge of getting out into the world and taking up space. It may feel like there is nothing out there for you and no one who wants to listen or is worth talking to. I know for me, I would rather be inside with my own mind...reading, playing video games, eating my favorite foods, and staying in my comfortable space. Even after all of my own experience and growth, it's still an alluring proposition. It's simpler and I always want simpler or automatic.
However, you as an INTP personality type may also feel the frustration of sitting still with no sense of a future for yourself, feel few connections, and at times feels epically bored or even boring...and bored can sometimes be replaced with lonely, which is its own devastating kind of feeling. When you DO go out it feels like the world is intruding on you, or they judge you for what you say or think about, it's no fun, and you can't stop counting the minutes until you get back home.
But also, when you finally connect with someone(s) or someone touches on a topic you care about it's just a total floodgate of thoughts opening and you're still not fully understood. This can be super frustrating.
Why have thoughts at all if we can't share them or if no one wants to hear them? This only drives us further away.
So, what's happening here? and what can be done?
The INTP Personality Type Cognitive Functions
Every INTP personality type has 4 main cognitive functions in four different positions. Let's start here.
Introverted Thinking (Ti) for the INTP personality type:
We have a dominant function or driver called Introverted Thinking (Ti) sometimes referred to as Accuracy (see: Personality Hacker).
This is the unconscious competent part of our cognitive functioning. As an INTP Personality Type you are able to collect LOTS of data, create distinctions between data points, and examine bias within those data points...even within yourself. This skill enables a lifelong journey of distinguishing between opinion, belief, and fact within yourself and the things others say. Competency in this area isn't automatic but because this is your dominant function, you spend more time using Introverted Thinking and will develop more competency than the average person over time.
When not using this function well there can be a belief that only my thoughts are the cleanest, best, pure thoughts and everyone else is an idiot. It can also lead to conspiracy theory rabbit holes that "make sense to me" or a few others but lack real-world experience and is missing important data points to reinforce the belief or opinion. One-sided Introverted Thinking overvalues data and misses the relevance of emotional connections or consideration.
Questions to ask to improve: Are my thoughts my own? Where is this idea coming from? What do I have to gain by having this thought? Am I attached to this thought? Is this thought an opinion, belief, or indisputable fact? Can that fact be validated by others?
Extraverted Intuition (Ne) for the INTP personality type
We have an auxiliary function or co-pilot called Extraverted Intuition (Ne) sometimes referred to as Exploration (see: Personality Hacker).
This function is a place where we can develop the most conscious competence as an INTP personality type and is the main focus of this program as a key leverage point. Extraverted Intuition is the dominant learning style of an INTP. Extraverted Intuition is a way of noticing patterns between seemingly disparate things in the outside world. It's also a method of experimenting with or poking reality to see what happens. Extraverted Intuition thrives under change, risk, and tends to bring an optimistic outlook to the user of this function. This isn't an active thinking process, this is a learning style and insights tend to "click" out of nowhere as something to validate.
When not using this function well, one may assume full knowing from a gained insight or pattern seen and develop a hubris around ignoring the details that also matter or provide fuller fidelity. There can also be a dizzying feeling of spinning in circles, being dragged around by every shiny object, and even rejecting what's working in favor of something new for the sake of novelty.
Questions to ask to improve: When is the last time I've let myself be surprised and delighted? Am I trying too hard to be in control? Can I trust my own mind to find the insights I need?
Introverted Sensing for the INTP personality type
We have a tertiary function or 10-year-old called Introverted Sensing (Si) sometimes referred to as Memory (see: Personality Hacker).
This function is also a learning style and is also focused on our internal experience as an INTP. This function, however, is more focused on the familiar. In a way, this function is about reviewing our experiences either through meditation, "zoning out," or revisiting media that we know we enjoy.
Introverted Sensing is about the sensations we know we enjoy such as smells, sounds, sights, tastes, etc. This includes familiar rituals, routines, previous lines of thought, and what's worked before. The reason it's called the 10-year-old is that this function for an INTP fits into conscious incompetence territory. Similar to a 10-year-old, there are some things they can do well and others they try very hard to be good at but just can't quite cut it. This can be a point of insecurity, an adorable way of showing love, an ego defense mechanism of hiding away into the familiar, or even space for humor and both admiring or mocking those who use this function well.
When not used well this function can not adapt well to change. Someone overvaluing Introverted Sensing, particularly an INTP under stress, may expect others to fit into their way of being or thinking. They may stay on a track of life that was handed to them simply because it's comfortable, even if they're not happy with it. The INTP personality type may only use their thinking to distinguish between existing thoughts and experiences...effectively eating away at themselves intellectually and slowly withering into a depression, a nothing of relevance.
Questions to ask to improve: Am I using logic to keep myself small or isolated? Am I letting myself try new things? Am I relying too much on what's comfortable? Am I gaining something by doing this same activity again? or have I explored all I can?
Extraverted Feeling for the INTP personality type
and lastly, we have the "inferior" function or 3-year-old called Extraverted Feeling (Fe) sometimes referred to as Harmony (see: Personality Hacker).
This function is a decision-making cognitive function that complements the dominant function of Introverted Thinking. Complement meaning...to do thinking well, you need to balance it out with the emotional needs-meeting ability of Extraverted Feeling (Fe). And that's what Extraverted Feeling does, it assesses the needs of the culture, room, or group to evaluate and meet the needs of those in most need to support a sense of harmony, connection, or community.
If Introverted Thinking is focused on the logic of the individual then Extraverted Feeling as a counter-balance is to meet the emotional needs of the collective. It's also a place of personal outward expression to get feedback and support from others who are also able to and looking to support your emotional needs.
This shows up as the 3-year-old for an INTP personality type by fitting into unconscious incompetence territory since most INTPs tend to know that they're "bad at emotions." However, a 3-year-old in any family system tends to have a lot of say, attract a lot of attention and can make the biggest fuss when ignored for too long. This means a sense of belonging, a place to express themselves, people who care for them and for whom they care for, and ultimately making some sort of impact with your existence.
When used poorly, users of this function can too harshly define what is or is not an "appropriate" thought to have. You may become too focused on drawing lines in the sand through debate, making assumptions of intentions, lying, or making logic-leaps in order to be right about those assumptions, or even thinking that someone is out to get you without having gotten feedback from the person or ignoring feedback you have received.
Questions to ask to improve: Have I shared what I'm feeling out loud? Do I see any value in being "irrational?" Do I have a specific agenda? Am I avoiding confrontation? Am I leaning too much into confrontation? Am I trying to get someone else to feel something instead of being honest? Am I avoiding feedback?
The INTP Personality Type Behavior and Developmental Pattern
Having been an INTP all of my life and having worked with INTPs through coaching, profiling sessions, in-person events, having INTP friends, and having managed an INTP-specific YouTube channel...I can safely say that I've picked up on a few patterns such as INTPs saying:
"Doing something new doesn't always make sense..."
One of the talents of an INTP personality type is the ability to convince yourself of well...nearly anything. That can sometimes be troubling and make it difficult to commit to a decision. In the same vein, it's totally possible to convince yourself that trying something new doesn't make any sense. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" right? But "you don't know what you don't know" will always be true and shifting into a learning frame will open up that bravery to do something new.
"Thinking doesn't have a practical use or purpose..."
When you finally start to experience new areas, people, and ideas then you start to see how valuable your mode of thinking is. I mean, you're into personality types, right? You know that not everyone thinks like you. The challenge is shifting from other personalities "being annoying or stupid" because they don't think like you to now see yourself as an asset to lend to others when they need it. Bonus points for turning that into a productive business opportunity.
"I have no potential to be cool or make friends. I'm destined to be alone."
As mentioned above when describing Extraverted Intuition (Ne), you have the ability to make risk-taking, adventure, novelty, optimism, and pattern recognition into something that is consciously competent to you. This translates to being funny, charming, well-traveled, wise, adventurous, and easy-going. Those all sound like very attractive traits to me and they certainly will to the right people. You've just gotta take that leap of faith of starting that intuitive engine to truly see what you're capable of.
The INTP Cognitive Loop
I think there's a part of you as an INTP personality type that knows there are rewards for getting to the other side of this fear, stiff logic, anxiety, or complacency. Perhaps the specifics are fuzzy or you don't know the logical steps to get there. Also, it could just be generally scary to travel into the unknown. I totally understand that. But it's tough to develop that bravery without putting a few things on the line...competency, privacy, a personal sense of safety, and even a sense of self.
What if I told you that everything you have right now in terms of your space, your thinking, and your experience isn't entirely something you chose to begin with? What if it turns out that you haven't made many choices at all that were truly yours?
Think about it this way. You were born into an experience, right? You didn't choose your parents, where you were born, the home you were born into, the religion you were possibly raised in, the neighborhood, the country, the culture, the time period, etc. So, yes, you may like many of those things but your choices are from a limited palette right out of the gate. Having preferences without exploration is like painting with only 2 colors because you've never experienced other colors, not because it was an artistic choice but you've possibly convinced yourself that it's an artistic choice.
The video below goes into this in more detail with a different analogy.
The Rewards for Getting Out of The INTP Cognitive Loop
So what starts to happen when you as an INTP personality type begin to explore and awaken that Extraverted Intuition (Ne) auxiliary cognitive function?
- You start to gain important insights about yourself and the world seemingly effortlessly.
- Your IQ and potential for problem-solving sky-rockets.
- Your sense of bravery expands and you realize that you can handle way more than you thought you could.
- You develop better improvisational skills, charm, humor, and overall likeability begins to know no bounds.
- Your choices start to feel truly yours and not just defaults of what you were born into.
- You begin a journey from simply knowing random information into having true relevant wisdom.
- You develop better improvisational skills, charm, humor, and overall likeability begins to know no bounds.
- Your relationship possibilities expand without having to be something you're not.
- Your choices start to be truly yours and not just defaults of what you were born into.
- You begin a journey from simply knowing things into having true wisdom.
All of that comes from starting the program called Cosmic Calibration for the INTP Personality Type.
Cosmic Calibration helps you, the INTP personality type, to better connect with your intuition without sacrificing your intelligence or sense of control. This program is a set of core principles for accessing joy in a way that nurtures and expands your thinking ability.
I, a fellow INTP who has done extensive travel, met all sorts of people, developed improv skills, speaking skills, has worked dream jobs, and now has my dream relationship...will take you from being stuck on the treadmill of life and give you the tools you need to start walking on your own, in whatever direction you'd like and find the answers you need in the unlikeliest of places.
You'll build better connections, develop quicker wit in the moment, and brainstorm amazing ideas for your future.
I feel confident that this program will give you the insights and tools you need to change your life for the better.
Why create a program to develop Extraverted Intuition (Ne) for INTPs?
I see the potential in every INTP I meet to change the scope of what we know about reality and create a better or more interesting existence for as many as possible. I just happen to think a better world consists of INTPs being at the top of their creative, relational, problem-solving, and expressive game. You know more than anyone that the universe is all about probabilities to create alchemical reactions that create new life and create new opportunities for knowing and creating. So, I'm doing my part to increase the odds that the next great shift led by the innovation of INTPs will be a healthy one.
I believe wholeheartedly in the possibility that you represent and want to give you the tools to put the odds of the universe in your favor.
I hope you'll join other INTPs who have taken their first steps into this vast expanse of experience and wonder to begin unlocking your complete genius as an INTP.
Get started now!
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Christian Rivera is a Digital Producer and has been for 20 years creating photography, video, graphic design, and audio assets for clients such as Disney, Hulu, Lionsgate, Focus Features, Paramount, and more. In 2018, Christian developed Dopamine and Other Happy Chemicals as a platform dedicated to his own personal empowerment by sharing growth lessons and experiences on his podcast. This included a focus on INTP growth development and becoming a mirror for INTPs to reflect on their own experience to grow from.