ehowton (ehowton) wrote,

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Optimism and the INTJ

I was in a deep philosophical discussion recently - when suddenly and unexpectedly - I was accused of sounding like an INTP! I was shocked at the accusation (which I understand was considered an observation from their perspective) and opened my mouth to disagree, but the INTJ in me recognized the argument as valid - at least in the vein in which it was was proffered - I therefore had no other course of action except to acknowledge it. While I am demonstratively INTJ (as opposed to INTP), rarely are any of us wholly one thing in its entirety, or wholly another. This is probably why the Myers-Briggs Personality Type operates on a sliding scale with each of the four dichotomies allowing for the entire diverse spectrum between the extremes. It would seem my T is low enough to dovetail into P territory.

"The main difference between Js and Ps for is the desire closure or flexibility. INTPs value keeping their options open and find deadlines restrictive; it’s cutting them off from bringing in more possibilities. INTJs value coming to a conclusion so they can put their ideas in action and efficiently move on to the next task."* Yet even as an INTJ, I thrive on tweaking every aspect of my worldview when new information challenges it. And if I may, despite each of us individually struggling with a certain amount of self-deception where intrinsic evaluation is concerned, a certain margin of error is always possible. But since both types seek an understanding of themselves, who better to self-evaluate than an INTJ with INTP tendencies?

The very next day I was asked in a completely different topic by an INTJ not privy to the above conversation, if I thought their aversion to someone's optimism was an INTJ issue? Having always assumed my own optimism was a trait of my personality, I began to dig into the facts surrounding the scenario. Knowing what we've learned about psychological (as opposed top philosophical; behavior verses worldview) optimism and pessimism being nothing more than mood disorders, it was interesting to note how the optimist defined his optimism - through seeing the good in everything. Dr. Pangloss anyone?

And I have a name for that perversion: Confirmation bias - nothing more.

Loosely articulated, I get my optimism from reframing, or as Viktor Frankl would say, "When we are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves." That said, I have had a few opportunities to speak with some bright people concerning a wide-range of topics (thanks jesskd26!) which leads me wonder just how much of who we are is learned, how much is society, how much is mental illness, how much is personality, and how much is unchangeable hard-coding?

The idea that some things are simply biologically immutable changes my own presuppositions about people, and their behavior.

I have more to experience, and to learn.
Tags: psychology

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