Saturday, November 1, 2008

Fi in the 1st (Hero) Position

Introverted Feeling (Fi) for me was the most confusing function to figure out on my own. This was also the function that when finally explained to me in detail made my life “make sense”. It is this function that often times remains hidden behind something else and yet it is this function that truly makes me who I am. It is also this function that is so difficult to explain because I believe that more than any other function this one is the most difficult to talk about. This function is all about my core values. Another way to think about Fi and how I use it comes from Popeye, “I am what I am.” To me this makes absolute sense and I never understood why people had such a hard time understanding me. I thought my values were plain to see since I did not think that I hid them. Unfortunately this was really not the case. It was not until I understood more about this function and its place in my life that I started to understand why I am such an enigma to some. I discovered that Introverted Feeling likes to remain hidden (or more precisely protected) behind other functions so what I tend to show others is something else completely. This usually for me consists of my auxiliary (good parent) function Extraverted iNtuition or my tertiary (animus) function Extraverted Thinking.

Dr Beebe describes this function with the term “evaluating”. Fi is like a filter through which decisions are made. When using Fi everything is evaluated through the lens of the values, ethics, and principles of the individual. I often say to people when I teach leadership “if the decision is legal, moral and ethical it is probably a good decision”. If those values are met in the decision then the decision can go forward. But if in the process of evaluating the decision the values of the individual are compromised then the decision becomes a stumbling block. For me with this function in my hero archetypal position this can literally be a wall that is insurmountable. Or more precisely this compromising of my values and principles can be the line in the sand that I WILL NOT CROSS.

When growing up I discovered that once in a great while there was a point in a discussion or argument that I could become exceedingly angry and throughout my life and especially as an adult I fought often with myself to not allow this point to be reached. I was literally afraid of my anger. When I would get to this line in the sand, more often than not, I would literally shut down, walk away, go to my office, or get away from the person and internalize the fight where I could control it and manage my anger. I made it a point to never confront the individual until I had a nights sleep if I was able to do so. This allowed me to come back under control and actually change how I presented my case and almost always from a different function. Typically the new argument would come from the logic of Extraverted Thinking or the multiple possibilities of Extraverted iNtuition to get the individual to see my point. Arguing from the Fi function doesn’t work very often and leaves me vulnerable. I think that “Falling on one’s sword” with your boss or associates is a decidedly Fi concept.

On the other hand when in charge of an organization I now feel that it was my Introverted Feeling that allowed me to be successful. I believe that this was due to me ability to see that others did and thought differently than I and that was OK with me. To expect everyone to have the same values and thus believe exactly the same as I is a ludicrous concept as we are all individuals. Therefore for an organization to succeed we all have to contribute in our own way and yet within the structure of the organization. Balancing these two needs is done through the climate or culture that is inherent in any organization. The Army called this a Command Climate. A climate or culture that meets the needs of the leader as well as all the others is one of the most powerful team building tools available.

In school the climate that is set by the teacher in the classroom is important for students to feel that they can succeed in the classroom. How do you feel the climate is in your classroom? Which classrooms do you feel most students are given the ability to succeed in? I strongly feel this is also the function that protects an individual from peer pressure. Having strong values, which you are not willing to compromise, provides protection from the need to fit in. It certainly did for me. Have your values protected you from peer pressure? Was it easy? Share an example if you are willing?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fe in the 5th (Opposing Personality) Position

Extraverted Feeling or Fe is primarily concerned with others that are affected by the decision. This function is after all a decision making function not unlike the two thinking functions. Fe is often times looked at as the function that is most about others and therefore often times someone who prefers this function is seen as caring and concerned about the welfare of others with in a group. I have known people with this function as a dominant who seem to never be able to get their work done during the day because there are always people within his or her office sharing personal stories or expressing concern about an issue at work. These individuals tend to be naturally empathetic and can quickly take on the cause if someone they work with feels they are unjustly treated. They can truly “feel” the hurt of the other person.

Dr Beebe states that Extraverted Feeling is about validating – “Witnessing and making valid that the feelings of others were there (in the process).” “Not just making nice but making real” and “alive to others feelings”. Energy around Fe can create a social environment. And Fe tries to bring things to life.

For me having this function in the 5th position or the Opposing personality position can create problems for me. People might know that F is in my 4 letter type code of INFP. The problem is that they often times do not see the hallmark F attributes and skills because the visible ones are mostly associated with Fe. While I am absolutely all about taking care of the people around me I go about it differently which I will talk about more in the Fi post. In the opposing personality position skills and attributes associated with Fe often feel clumsy and superficial for me. I often find suspect with those that use them and can easily tell when they are not sincere in the use of Fe skills. I often have the empathetic feeling about others and can see the hurt, feel the pain and cry with them. There is a reason I do not like to watch “tear – jerker” movies. I have at times felt emotionally out of control. At these times I will often run away from the issue or put aside what I might be writing until it is almost too late. I think now as I look back that this was the function that I was using inappropriately when I was not getting awards written soon enough, or evaluation reports done on time when I was having a hard time coming up with the right words. And this was always at odds with my values or opposing my Hero function and the values of taking care of others that mean so much to me.

When talking to others and truly trying to use this function to help others I may stop before I want to or should because I feel that I am prying into an area that I should not be. While I have always been a great listener, responses that dealt directly with the other’s emotions have been very hard for me to share. And then when I finally do I have found that I usually falter or sound a bit shallow, but as I struggle I am eventually able to provide real solace to the one I am talking to. When tapped through my own inner struggles I think this can be a truly beautiful function.

As a student this function can often times be over looked since it doesn’t seem to provide for learning a lot of data or details. This is not a decision making process that is easily graded and therefore you won’t see questions that deal with Fe skills on most tests especially those standardized tests we are required to take. But on the team or in a group, in extracurricular activities and sports this function can fully develop and flourish. How does this function help or hinder your life in school? Does it get in the way or does it allow you to get along with everyone? How do others perceive this function in you?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Ti in the 8th (Demon/Daemon) Position

This is the hardest function for me to get my hands on and for good reason. For me Introverted Thinking (Ti) is in the 8th position or the Demon/Daemon. Basically the difference between the two is that the Demon is as it sounds – Bad and the Daemon is just the opposite – Good. This is the unconscious function that is the most hated by me and that description fits very well. I do not like to use this function and yet when I have employed it in the past it has been extremely beneficial at times. I will come back to the Demon/Daemon idea in a little bit but first I want to talk about how Ti feels to me.

Ti according to Dr Beebe is about “Defining”. If you are looking up a definition in the dictionary you are using Extraverted Thinking but if you are defining it yourself that is Introverted Thinking. Like the other introverted functions Ti is about taking the information in and reshaping it to our own satisfaction. Creating our own framework in which the facts and data fit precisely but not visibly to others. Ti “does not accept anyone else’s definition, it has to be redefined by our own self” according to Dr Beebe. Self help books like Stephen Covey’s “the 7 habits of Highly Effective People” is excellent Extraverted Thinking. However, Introverted Thinking requires a person to define success their own way. This internal framework does not look the same to any two people and yet it might accomplish the exact same thing. Also as is the case with all introverted functions Ti tends to be very personal in what it means, requiring a safe environment in which it can be shared with others.

I find myself doing a lot of thinking in the shower. It seems to be the place that with the water flowing on my back I am most able to access this function and come up with some amazingly fluent plans, ideas, concepts all of which are defined by who I am and placed precisely into my internal framework. It is here that I put together presentations in my mind that are smooth and eloquent; papers and speeches that are flowing and meaningful; and books full of deep thought. But by the time I get out and start to take this internal definition and put it on paper or in a PowerPoint or even in this Blog, it is no longer internal and my thoughts and ideas are not anywhere as detailed or eloquent or precise. The internal framework for me is so fragile it doesn’t do well coming into the light of sharing. Even this blog comes out very different than how I see it in my mind and only with great effort am I able to smooth it out to somewhat come near what I was thinking just a few minutes ago. I have always liked to write but putting on paper is way to slow for the thoughts that are trying to come out in an orderly fashion and so the order is often lost. It is here that the definition that is so plain to me seems to lose it’s meaning.

This to me is the Demon coming out and therefore I DO NOT like going to this function. I know that I think differently, I have a very strong set of values, I look to my past with fondness bringing definitions out through stories and musings, and tend to focus on how I can help others succeed with an array of possible outcomes. These other functional skills all find their way in to how I defined a problem. Beebe stated in this workshop that “pure introverted thinking is rare but is used in conjunction with something else”. It most definitely seems that way to me. Beebe also says that the demon Ti goes to the bottom of the idea. I find myself often not liking other people’s definitions of a problem and not being able to accept it. This stubbornness has at times caused me to come to a complete stop on an issue without the ability to overcome. To redefine the issue and overcome the issue that caused me to come to a stop now requires tremendous energy and effort which I am often times not willing to expend until I absolutely have to. On the positive side when I am in an environment in which my thoughts are accepted as is, I have in the past felt that the Daemon came through with a decision that is both unique to my way of thinking and quite successful.

This function in this, the bottom, position of the archetypal ladder is definitely my least liked function and yet I feel I go here to organize my thoughts in a very personal and effective way. Sharing these thoughts, definitions and the structure is the where I run in to problems.

What about you? How does this function play out for you? Do you have what appears to be the right answers but find them different than those around you? How do you think this works in a classroom? Are you in an environment that allows you to share without feeling prejudged?

Thanks for reading. By the way this single post took me about 4 hours to write after thinking about it for over a day. Then in the shower I was struck by a better way to write it and so this the final version is considerably different and I think much better than the original. That is the nature of this function to me.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Te in the 4th (anima/animus) Position

Extraverted Thinking (Te) is my 4th most natural function and yet it is a function that I go to quite often when I run into problems with others. It is a rather satisfying function for me and yet it is not one that I particularly enjoy using. Te is the planning function, that I now realize, I go to when quite often. At those times I resort to this function and provide very detailed, logical plans and decisions. I think that I had to develop this function faster than I may have otherwise as a response to training and operational requirements in the Army that emphasizes the logical decision making process.

Extraverted Thinking is one of the two judging or decision making functions. This is a simple way to say that after we get the data, facts, information, or knowledge with our perceiving functions, we use our judging functions to make the decision. The thing I like best about Extraverted Thinking is the logical defensibility of the decision. I have proof, specific and visible that this is a good decision. For me I found that the computer was an invaluable asset in allowing me to access this function. I learned that computers would allow me to organize and display data and facts in a very logical manner. It organized my thoughts in a way that became visible to all including myself. This is indeed a valuable function but like I said before I still do not particularly like using this logical decision making process

By being in the 4th or anima/animus archetypal position, Te supports my dominant function directly. I recognize this in me as the logic of Te allows me to give some a decision that they can agree with while it is almost always based on the values that are so much a part of my dominant or Hero function, Introverted Feeling (Fi). I will talk more about Fi in a following post.

Dr Beebe talks about this support relationship of these two archetypes as like a spine. The Hero at the top of the spine like the head of the body and the anima/animus at the base of the spine like the legs that get you where your head wants you to go. For me this support is crucial when I am using my Introverted Feeling values and I know that they will not be good enough by themselves. Good decisions need to have that logical, fact based thinking as an integral part but I believe that if it does not support my hero of Fi then it is not going to work.

Dr Beebe also says that Te in the anima position tries to connect, to establish a relationship or partnership. I thought about this for me and saw this happening through out my Army career. With approximately 50% of the officers in the Army using Te as their dominant or auxiliary function I found that sharing my dominant values was not going to get me far. Using Te I discovered that I could work and ultimately have a very successful career among those that have very different personality types than I do. When I finally discovered this relationship late in my career I called this function in this position my survival function. This is how I survived in the Army.

How does Extraverted Thinking support your work in school? Are there classes that you prefer and that make better use of this function for you than others? If this is not one of your preferred functions, are you able to step out of your comfort zone to answer those questions that require the logic and organization of this function?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Ni in the 6th (Witch / Senex or Critical Parent) Position

This function and especially this function in this (critical parent) position of my personality type seems to fit the issues I have around my critical side. Those times that I know I am right and nothing anyone says can change my mind. In fact often times I find myself being very critical of opposite view points. You could even say that I am extremely suspicious of anyone claiming to have the right answer if it is not what I already know is right. (Even if I am wrong) I think this suspicion might be coming from the fact that I am not always certain that I am after all right. I often discover a better way, or on the other side of the spectrum I often find myself feeling that I hate being right. This is often the case when I feel something bad is going to happen and I can see it with my mind’s eye but do not say anything because I know that I have been wrong before and don’t want to make the same mistake again.

Introverted iNtuition (Ni) is about knowing the way. The right answer, if you will, even without knowing why. Beebe talked about the idea that an introverted experience by its introverted nature can not be shared. He also mentioned that an extraverted experience isn’t experienced until it is shared. Since we all have introverted functions as well as extraverted functions we might recognize this duality in ourselves. So with Ni, we are talking about a perceiving function that just seems to “get it”. It looks this way because you haven’t shared the reasoning or the facts. This lack of sharing is just the way it is. Beebe’s list of describing words calls this “envisioning”. We envision the answer based on the same set of data that others get but when using Introverted iNtuition (Ni) we do not need to have the data for proof or for others to see where this knowledge comes from. I think I see this most often in a Math class in those that don’t like to show their work. “Why should I show you my work when the answer is correct?” This is where someone with this function as a preferred function needs to be careful and try to stretch a bit to use other functions. There are a number of very good reasons to provide this work besides the fact that the teacher is asking for it. Maybe my brother the high school math teacher can shed some light on all the reasons for why it is worth making the effort. We will have to see if he submits a comment to this one.

How willing are you to provide your work behind the answer? Do you just “get it” without really understanding why? What do you think?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Ne in the 2nd (Good Parent) position

Extroverted iNtuition (Ne), while not my most natural function, is probably the function that is most easily seen in most things that I do. This is the function that provides boundless optimism and actually can make people think that I am much more extroverted than I truly am. Ne is located in my 2nd or Auxiliary position which is also know as the Good Parent Archetype. The good parent is the function that is used to take care of not only the individual but others as well.

When using Extroverted iNtuition I am looking at possibilities, at where we are going, at the patterns.

In Dr. John Beebe’s list this is the function that is anticipating. Anticipating what is to come, looking for more, seeing where the information brought in by the senses can take me. This can be such an exciting thing for me that I want to share it and often come up with new, exciting and imaginative ways to do things. This excitement can be very powerful in team dynamics, breathing new energy into a project or it can quickly lose others on a team who may not be able to change directions at a whim like I do. When learning from a teacher who uses Ne a lot, it can be difficult to follow where the teacher goes if that teacher does not learn to stay on task and instead decides to go with his/her imagination. A student who does not use Ne can get lost or quickly give up and lose interest. Both the teacher and the student need to be careful and if this becomes a problem they need to talk and ensure they are together on their lessons and assignments.

While residing in the good parent position I tend to use this function for the good of others. This is why it is my primary teaching function. In the realm of teaching and training I feel my strength is my ability to change on the go. I am able to adjust training schedules and lessons quickly based on the student needs or when other issues arise. Of course this can lead again to confusion by the students and sometimes looks like I am not very organized. The organization is there but in my head where others are not privy to it. because it is the Good parent function losing a student due to my quick change act can be very upsetting so I go out of my way to ensure everyone stays with me.

When I fly medical helicopters this ability to anticipate allows me to always seem to have the right answer. Harry Reasoner during the Vietnam War called helicopter pilots “bleary–eyed anticipators of trouble” and I think it fits us very well. I think more than anything that this function has served me well over the years. I used to tell my flight students that if they do not understand what I am trying to say or explain that they need to tell me immediately. Even before I knew anything about type I knew that I tended to explain even the simplest concept differently than most other instructors. And I learned the hard way that I could lose students if this happens.

Extroverted iNtuition in the Good Parent Position is all about Anticipating the needs of others in a very positive environment.

How do you think you would react to this teaching style?


Si in the 3rd (Puer, Puella or Eternal Child) Position

Intraverted Sensation for me is found in my eternal child archetypal location. This is my third most natural function and works really well here. Introverted sensation is about verifying the facts placed in front of you using the knowledge that you already have in you. You take in the information using your 5 senses and reflect on similar situations and information. My story telling tends to come from this function and in the child position these stories give me just as much delight as I hope they give to others.

What seems to me is that this enjoyment in my own stories either irritates those listening or gives the listener just as much entertainment. In Fact sometimes I get people laughing not at the story but at the way I laugh at my own story. When my eternal child is involved, laughing at my story or laughing at me is not a concern as long as laughing is the result.

This function in the eternal child position also brings to it the emotions of the past in my memories through the Si function which is then filtered through the simple mind and heart of a child. For example; detailed recollections of childhood memories brought back by visiting a house I live in 20 years earlier are brought back not just in excruciating detail but with all the fun, and emotions that go with those memories. Of course they could be painful memories too if that is the case. Sharing these memories is a way to verify their reality and the telling in itself is a verification process but I have found that sharing with someone else who was there can be even more fun and provide a greater depth of verification.

This process is often the reason for a class reunion, family reunion or even Bruce Springsteen’s “Glory Days” song.

And yes I do enjoy telling stories in the classes I teach or when I was a helicopter instructor pilot and training new pilots, or anytime I was training something that I have been doing for a while. I shared these stories or "lessons Learned" so that others could learn from my successes and even more importantly, from my failures. After all if I could screw up while flying and I was still here to talk about it, maybe I could keep others from screwing up the same way since they may not be as lucky. For those learning from me this means you have to listen to these stories and hopefully learn from them. But not everyone wants to learn that way. I do understand this and often cut my stories short so as not to turn off the listener if it appears they do not want to here.

What do you think about learning like this? Do you learn well through sharing of stories or lessons from the past? Do you often get ideas that come from flashbacks to similar circumstances to what is right in front of you?

Thanks for reading,

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Starting our Journey and Se in the 7th (Trickster) Position

Today we went through 8 hours looking at the two function-attitudes of Extraverted Sensation (Se) and Introverted Sensation (Si). We also looked at them as they seem to work in each of the eight different archetypal positions as reported by those that have them in those positions. At the bottom of the Blog is my type code and functions in attitude as it lays out in the 8 archetypal positions using Dr. John Beebe's Model for Type dynamics. While this is the same order as is usually listed as 1 through 8 there is evidence to suspect that holding strictly to the number location for development may not be accurate and so when looking at the archetypes you might want to follow the order of development a bit more loosely. However, the first four are considered conscious and the last four unconscious or shadow functions.

My Type Code is INFP and I will talk mainly about how this works for me in my INFP type code.

In the Morning we talked about Se, which as you can see is the function in attitude that falls into the shadow, trickster position. This trickster position is known for fooling us as we use the function located here. For me with Extraverted Sensation, this often manifests itself as day dreaming while I enjoy sensorial experiences. For example, while I am thoroughly enjoying a bike ride in the beautiful countryside. Seeing the green trees, and birds, animals, flowers, etc. All of this is easy for me to see and appreciate as it is for most as they use Se. But then the trickster takes over and my mind wanders to other ideas, to what I am doing the next day, or how this natural area might have come into existence in this location, or what was it like to be here 100 years ago or what meeting am I missing because I am here. As I do this wandering in the mind I am still experiencing the world in the now but I will miss the turn in the trail, or not see the skunk that was standing on the side of the trail until someone else points it out despite all the sensations being engaged. With Se in this position archetypally I also often miss a lot of details in written documents until someone else points them out. Or I write using a mix of capitals and lower case regardless of position until someone else points this out or I specifically look for it. I find myself having to actively engage this function when I proof read my work or others because I tend to skip over details otherwise. While I loved to play music in High school as a member of our school band I did not always get the details.
For instance, the two symbols for Sharp and Natural are similar but obviously different.

But when looking at the details with Se, what I tricked myself into thinking for a least a couple of years was that they were the same just that some ends were not printed on the second symbol. Then I wondered why I was such a bad sight reader in band. :)
I think I was a pretty sharp student whether I demonstrated that or not. I truly believe now that this mistaken idea about these two symbols was made simpler to make due to this location of the Se function in the Trickster position. This is not an excuse but has taught me to look twice at what I am seeing if it seems a bit unusual. This extra effort to see what is actually there has paid off since.

So how do you use Extraverted Sensation in school? Do you have troubles proof reading the documents you write because you do not see all the errors? Are you able to pick out the details in a math story problem? What do you think?


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

4 Days with John Beebe Talking Type

I am writing this Blog as a way to share some of my thoughts about a workshop I am attending. Tomorrow, 15 Oct 08 we will begin a 4 day workshop with John Beebe to talk about the 8 functions approach to Type Dynamics. I am excited about this since John Beebe is the pioneer of this approach to understanding Jungian Type Theory. To better understand the next couple of days of Blogging, a basic understanding of Personality Type Theory would be very useful. I also want you to understand that I may ramble a bit since this is my Blog and not a precise assignment. I am also doing this as a way to meet the requirements placed on me by UW-La Crosse since they are reimbursing some of my travel expenses and in return I have to present the knowledge I gain from this workshop back to other students and faculty.

The 8 Functions approach to type dynamics is a method of viewing Carl Jungs personality theory that has been used by so many around the world. Jungs theory really came into prominence thanks to a mother daughter team that provided the world with the well known MBTI® or Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®. This tool was designed to provide a simple way to present a somewhat difficult theory. Unfortunately, this tool also made it too easy for some to present this theory in such a way as to provide very little or no meaning. It just gave a person a four letter code and nothing more. I say this not to make light of an excellent tool but because that is the way I was introduced to the MBTI the first couple of times that I took the instrument. Then when I was told that I would be getting qualified so that I could provide it to groups of Army officers, I felt that I needed to find more to this than anything I was told about it before. I attended a 5 day course in February of 2005 with Bob McAlpine the owner of Type Resources Inc. Those five days would prove to be life changing for me mainly because of the 8 functions approach to understanding my own type. For the first time I understood some of the big decisions I made durint my career in the Army. I understood what was causing some of the conflicts I had with both superiors and subordinates. I can not say that I knew how it all work or why it was like it was but I understood that my type was significantly different than almost 50% of other Army officers, but that despite the big differences apparent in the whole type code, the functions in attitude the the 8 functions talks about were close enough so that I was able to make the necessary adjustments to be successful. That will be explored further over the next few days. I hope you enjoy reading this series of posts. Thanks.