No, “logical feelers” is not an oxymoron. Logic, rationality, and skepticism are extremely fundamental aspects of who I am as a person, which goes with my ENFP drive to understand the big picture using extroverted intuition (Ne). Most of the common type descriptions significantly underestimate our thought processes and the “debate logic” we use in our everyday lives, in addition to the ones that are behind our strong beliefs/values, which we exhibit through our introverted feeling (Fi), which is also a very logical function that processes all of the information we take in through our Ne.
As with other intuitive types, ENFPs tend to have higher than average IQs, and perhaps that’s a factor. From my experience, any very intelligent person is capable of performing the thinking functions well, and it is not uncommon for very intelligent feelers to outperform thinkers. That is one reason why it is not at all uncommon for ENFPs to be balanced on T and F when taking dichotomy tests. It is entirely normal for ENFP’s to emphasize critical thinking in our lives, and the rate rises as one ages and extroverted thinking, ENFP’s tertiary function, becomes more developed.
What is extroverted thinking?
Extroverted thinking (Te) is objective logic, compared the the subjective logic of introverted thinking (Ti). CognitiveProcesses.com has one of best description of the function online, an excerpt of which follows.
Empirical thinking is at the core of extraverted Thinking when we challenge someone’s ideas based on the logic of the facts in front of us or lay out reasonable explanations for decisions or conclusions made, often trying to establish order in someone else’s thought process.
In written or verbal communication, extraverted Thinking helps us easily follow someone else’s logic, sequence, or organization.
I also really enjoy the way that vishalmisra described the function in a previous post. He explained that Te allows ENFPs to “categorise particular actions, recognise patterns and use the clues to logically make a flow diagram in our mind of how the outcome is to be achieved”. Our Te is constantly seeking logical explanations for conclusions, occurrences, and actions of others. It is also on the look-out for lapses in sequence and flawed reasoning.
How ENFPs specifically use logic
Most ENFPs consider themselves “awesome” at logic and problem solving. However, an unhealthy ENFP could also use this to blame others for their problems, “using logic and ration to defend themselves against the world”. They may also find justification for their own behaviors, whether or not others view them as appropriate.
On the other hand, when healthy, ENFPs with strongly developed Te usually use their Fi to support their Ne to welcome all experience and accept all individuals. We also use our logic to debate (we enjoy a nice intellectual sparring?) and find inconsistencies in our own and others’ beliefs, opinions, and thought patterns.
We can use our logic to deal with the world more effectively, open up our perspectives, and get the most out of our experiences. And when it’s used in balance with our other functions, especially Fi, we are getting the most from it.
At 22, freshly graduated from both college and a career coaching course in which I’ve put a lot of exhausting introspection into, I tell Mom my career decision. “Event Planning?” Mom stares at me. “But…but that’s not useful!”
Two long years later, in which a lot of disruptive personal things have happened, I have learned what I can handle from the public (my relatives and the general public) and what the public can handle from me.
Despite continuous heralding of the importance and timeliness of multiple career paths, because the Boomers (late 40s,50s and above) and Generation X (late 30s and 40s) still rule the roost, the workplace and HR, as far as I see from the ground, is still ruled by the rules they set: Jumping fields and short-term assignments are bad, there is only one acceptable notion of a career- that is, that you stay in that career for a very long period of time. There are other things that they also have that aren’t so bad (just annoying) and will stick around with my generation, but mainly perceptions of ‘good job length’ and career definition are radically different, as well as salary and job environment expectations (profit and social good do NOT mix for the Boomers and late Gen X!).
Thus, I have drawn the conclusion from my own experiences:
ENFP CAREER MANAGEMENT= PULICITY MANAGEMENT
Do you remember how in college or in high school you- how to delicately put this- just knew
Some imply that today, or the near future, is the hayday of the ENFP . But, to me, with my experiences with family/employees demonstrating otherwise, that time is not exactly seen from the ground by young, college-educated professionals. According to our parents and other naysayers, we cannot take the time to develop the “impractical” career path we desire post-graduate or else we are called irresponsible and then destitute/abandoned by your family/homeless. We still must play by the Older Boomer (I’ve found that Younger Boomers,those under 45 and excluding first generation Asian immigrants, have at least a small percentage of people who think otherwise) rules: find practical work no matter how boring and dispassionate, demonstrate loyalty in order to get in, don’t get distracted and be a good boy or girl- there is only such thing as ONE career, no other. Young professionals do not get to try to bend the rules just yet, especially it appears that Boomers are extending their stay in the American workplace. As it is mostly Boomers who rank as executives and leaders in governments and corporations and big businesses, many of the rules stay the same. Their rules, their leveraged power, their game. Mostly, for myself, I believe its because my family thinks most of my previous career plans are ridiculous which is why they didn’t succeed. For good or bad, we ENFPs obessively love to be loved, and we crash and burn if we are surrounded by anger and disapproval- or if we are very alone (we can’t do what this guy did)
Call me Kalyssa*. I am a 24 year old Filipino-American born of Filipino first-generation immigrants and I RESIST all these archaic ideas. I CAN have multiple careers, I CAN earn money with the impractical, I CAN be successful as a “Renaissance personality.” A career is part of your holistic self and should contribute and not detrimate your quality of life- I continue to dream! I have learned many lessons on how to manage myself and my career, but despite what the world thinks, I continue to dream of growing as a person with my work.
Developing myself and developping my multiple careers is a giant, giant obsession with me these days; therefore, my views/discoveries on career management and talk of my plans and how I’m managing my career hunts will dominate my blog posts. I will never claim to be an expert, but I’ll present the facts with link references and try to make my sharing funny.
ENFP’s definition of a career CAN succeed!!
*Not my real name, but I wish it was!
Faith is a word that has many definitions within a multitude of contexts listed here: http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&defl=en&q=define:faith&sa=X&ei=cVxQTcztBZGz8QPS4JzrDQ&ved=0CBkQkAE.
However, it is probably no surprise that I am focussing on religious faith with this. For those of us who were brought up in a religious family (I myself was born into a Hindu family), we have all been told since a young and tender age that belief in God is good, religious rites are important; and that morality is to be found living a life as laid out and interpreted by theological scholars or personal interpretation. Most people would think that Fi ( http://www.cognitiveprocesses.com/introvertedfeeling.html) would not lend itself easily to religious edicts from on high. Now, I don’t purport to speak for all ENFPs here, but I can certainly given an insight into how Fi and Faith can interact together in me and the journey I’ve taken.
Before settling on the title I gave this post, I originally penned a post (now scrapped) entitled “An ENFP on Why I Am An Atheist.” So that probably gives the reader a big hint that I have no belief in a creator God, and nor am I keen on organised religion. However, I have always wondered why I am this way, especially since religious belief is (no pun intended) deemed so sacred. However, I hold my own principles dear; and nothing can be more sacred to me than “liberty”, be they Human Rights and Civil Liberties, or indeed the cardinal rule of the neopagan/Wiccan movement:
An’ it harm none, do what ye will
Morality and Faith
Personally, I have often felt that any personality type which is Ne ( http://www.cognitiveprocesses.com/extravertedintuiting.html) dominant (e.g. ENFP, ENTP etc.) would have no real problems with understanding the notion of moral relativism. However, moral relativism is incredibly hard to marry off with Fi. As children, it is easy to stomach the notion of a creator God who will rain down hellfire upon us if we misbehave. However, as we grow, we are forced to confront this black and white take on the world. When describing moral relativism I often use the example of running from a tiger. If we escape the tiger, then we have survived and have done “good” for ourselves. However, for the tiger, this is extremely harmful. It has used up precious energy and must go without a meal. This is “bad” for the tiger. What moral stance can be taken in this scenario? I suppose the lesson to be learned is that one must look after their own interests first and foremost.
With this borne in mind, the next issue I want to tackle is principles. Fi users tend to use deeply principled lives, however they draw these principles from what we can do in good conscience. The source of this morality could be our own personal interpretation of religious texts, or indeed, simply a set of beliefs we have drawn for ourselves by which to live.
As I have mentioned earlier, ENFPs tend to resist being labelled, and I don’t think tribalism comes naturally to an ENFP. I think the problem my Fi has with organised religion is not simply a “I don’t want to be labelled [insert religion here]”, but rather that I cannot cherry pick my morality from an ideology. Indeed, if one simply cherry picked all the good stuff, and threw out all the stuff that refuses to be swayed by the ideas of zeitgeist; humanity may have found itself an ideology. Instead, organised religion tends to dictate thoughts and mores that seem dated. I cannot accept that I am individually created by some being when the evidence points to a simpler explanation. Indeed, modern genetics, carbon dating and the myriad disciplines of biology have done more to explain my origins than any scripture that predates the Dark Ages. Simply put; I have nothing against benign spirituality, but edicts, laws and a set of morals that any book or social group say I “should” have confuse me. I don’t see why I should follow any such ideology. This is not to say that I am unprincipled; I do not kill, murder, rape or steal; and I can marry those principles off with myself without wondering if a benevolent (in theory) deity who has condoned misogyny, homophobia and genocide will be miffed if I don’t follow his word.
All in all, I am not sure if my atheism and fierce secularism spring from my personality filtering religion, holistically, through my Fi; or if I simply have my own axe to grind against warring, inflexible religions which refuse to compromise and see people as individuals to be taken on individual merit, rather than the unsubtle segregation of the “true faithful” versus the “unbelievers”. However, I would be surprised if there was no link to my Fi and my atheism.
This blog post was originally going to include an example of how the idea for a Magic: The Gathering (MTG) deck ended up being more important than the hours I spent organizing the cards that I pulled out of the boxes, and how one friend was extremely confused about how that was, but I couldn’t properly relate it in a way that effectively communicated my idea about the importance of ideas, so now this is a blog post about how important ideas are to ENFPs explained through a failed blog post that used an ineffective example as an example of the importance of ideas to ENFPs–or something. The grammar in that previous sentence should help, right?
Anyway, I think I more exactly mean that expressing ideas accurately is important to the ENFP. I went through two or three drafts of halfway-finished blog posts, and now here I am, writing about those exact blog posts that didn’t work quite so well. They didn’t convey the idea I had correctly. It’s a problem I have frequently in every area of my life: I don’t just tweak or rework the same idea if it doesn’t work within the first few attempts; I scrap it altogether and try anew. Instead of one long, drawn-out example about a card game (MTG) hardly anyone understands, I’ll use multiple abstract examples that require little-to-no understanding of the actual subject matter in order to help you fully comprehend what I’m trying to discuss.
First, a simple example:
When I write a paper, it has to be about something that really intrigues me–something that I actually want to explore further in order to learn more. If I can’t do this, the paper may as well not be written. It will suck. I’ve written 4 page papers on the last 40 lines of Beowulf, and I’ve written 4 page papers on the entire character of Zeus in Zeus, the Lutheran. In the latter example, there will be no specific details or supporting arguments for my position; I will use bland and “meh” language; it will be boring. I must care about the idea in order to express it properly, except I don’t have the option of scrapping the idea and doing something else. Fortunately, in college, I do normally have the option of tweaking what exactly I can discuss, but–excluding my English classes, which can usually be about anything covered throughout the entire semester–it doesn’t help overly much. I’m stuck discussing the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, for (a real-life) example. I don’t have any ideas to express, nor do I want to express the ideas I could use. To me, it’s a lose-lose situation.
I wrote and re-wrote this blog post. After I post it, I probably will not be satisfied with it and I may come back to it (EDIT: I did). It’s one thing I don’t like about PerC: the 24-hour edit limit on posts. “BUT I REALLY THINK I SHOULD USE THE WORD ‘PERTAINS’ INSTEAD OF ‘RELATES,’ AND I AM NOT ALLOWED TO CHANGE THAT?” I read and re-read almost everything I write in any medium I write it in, and I really think a lot about what I could change, what I should change, and what that would do to the quality of the post. I’d say, on average, I read every major post I put online (major meaning over 200 words) about 3 or 4 times before I forget about it completely. That doesn’t include the fact that I read and re-read my posts before I hit “submit”–or whatever variation of that button is appropriate to the site.
As for my original idea–y’know, the MTG one–it had to do with an observation an ENFP (?) friend made about how unorganized my cards were (“Why don’t you organize them? It’s fun!” Right… so much fun). The cards were fairly organized previously, but I was playing with an idea for a deck that was pretty interesting because no one else used it and I never heard of it before. Getting that deck together was way more important than keeping my cards in their “proper” order. My cards were grouped by two principles: ideas for decks and “other.” Nothing else mattered because I wanted my idea formed before anything else was taken care of.
As for this idea–the one about the importance ENFPs put on correctly and accurately conveying their ideas–I believe I did fairly well, maybe. I’ll probably edit this post because of the few vagaries it has; I just have to find them. After all, very few people have interest in MTG, so I must make the description gripping in order for the reader to truly appreciate the point of that paragraph. What if I used one word in place of a more effective one? That’s just filler! My ideas are important and deserve to be fully understood!
In the hierarchy of cognitive functions, the highest two best shape an individual. The dominant function strongly governs one’s personality, and the auxiliary function helps assist and balance the first. Specifically, for an ENFP, the dominant function is extroverted intuition (Ne), and the auxiliary function is introverted feeling (Fi).
What do the functions mean?
For those who are new to the functions behind the MBTI, Wikipedia gives great, simple explanations of what each means in the “ENFP” article.
Ne finds and interprets hidden meanings, using “what if” questions to explore alternatives, allowing multiple possibilities to coexist.
Fi filters information based on interpretations of worth, forming judgments according to criteria that are often intangible.
Do those seem ENFP-esque? Absolutely, but it’s the way that these two functions combine that truly defines the personality type.
How do Ne and Fi work together?
Ne shapes us, providing us with big, zany ideas (and loads of them). But, it’s the Fi filter that compels us to express these according to our values, adding a sense of passion along the way.
As an ENFP, I constantly ask myself whether or not each idea is “me” or if I like it enough to follow through; they mean nothing to me without being sifted through the Fi.
This leads to what I see as overanalyzing, but it’s how an ENFP lives. Although what is expressed outwardly is the Ne-driven steam of consciousness, our minds are constantly occupied by weighing the importance and sincerity of these ideas.
Okay, so I know I tend to focus on myself a lot, but who else do I know better than myself? It would be cool to use other ENFPs, but I can’t literally get inside their heads, even if it feels like I am sometimes! Anyway, onto the post.
There’s a great aggregate link site you may have heard of called Reddit. You up-vote or down-vote links, which pushes them toward the front page, or puts them forever into oblivion. It’s a great idea, and normally works well, except a lot of areas have a “hivemind” of sorts that tends to jump on the bandwagon and rarely thinks for itself. As an ENFP, and as you fellow ENFPs can relate, this is intolerable.
r/atheism, as it’s commonly referred to (since all subreddits start with “reddit.com/r/”), suffers particularly from this sort of hivemind mentality. I lashed out at it when I had the opportunity in a self.atheism post (no link, just discussion with an opening post) to call r/atheism out on its sometimes vicious treatment of “outsider opinions,” using their misconception of the Dark Ages as an example. They believe that it marks the decline of all things intellectual due to Christianity; in reality, we just don’t know shit about it because, really, who wants to study new vernacular and developing languages when you could study the life of Julius Caesar? All I got were like-minded posts bashing me for being “ignorant,” even though I supported my opinion with other opinions of professionals, with a ton of downvotes (-40+ and counting).
Do I care about Karma (the up/down vote system total)? To an extent. As some of you may relate, a little affirmation can be quite a confidence booster, however small. The big thing here for me, though, is the mob mentality. In no other subreddit does the hivemind come out more than in r/atheism. They are aware of it, but they just perpetuate the image by making fun of the naysayers, calling them ignorant, and lofting themselves comfortably in their “holier-than-thou” (ironically) thrones. I find it highly ironic that a community that’s fairly anti-religious has dogmatic attitudes toward perceptions of reality.
There is another site called Major League Gaming (MLG – Link is to Thought Provoking Discussion [TPD]; collectively known as MLG TPD). As the forum name suggests, Thought Provoking Discussion is meant for, well… thought provoking discussion. Major threads (topics) include: religion, US politics, legalization of marijuana, depression, general news, and just discussion between members.
When I first joined MLG in 2005, I learned a lot; I mean a lot. I was a right-wing conservative Christian who believed in an objective morality and divine dominion; I am now a left-wing liberal libertarian (almost the opposite of a “Teabagger”) atheist who thinks morality is as dubious as anything. This is partly due to the “regular” members of the forum and mostly to do with the links and information I could access from the forum. I learned that, mayhaps, I was misinformed or ignorant of many things. To do this, I realized that I was ignorant, possibly misinformed, of quite a great number of things. Hopefully, the things-I-think-I-know to things-I’m-misinformed-on ratio is much lower now than in previous years.
However, this too has developed some problems. The newer members now believe that they have all the right answers and refuse to properly respond to well-thought-out, coherent arguments, and instead recapitulate the same argument they’ve used since their first post in the thread until the other user gives up, and then declares “victory”–however empty that victory may actually be.
It can easily be seen when the “regulars” (regs) all agree on a seemingly polarizing issue; morality is a recent example. Now, this may not seem awfully surprising until you realize that there are quite a few well-known rivalries between regs on many topics. For everyone in the regular community to unanimously agree on anything is absurd and (used to) instantly absolve any topic from being taken seriously anymore. After all, if all dynamics of nearly every school of philosophy on almost any subject agree on one seemingly polarizing issue (It seems like I’m exaggerating. You’re almost right.), what’s there left to debate? Apparently, “we just don’t get it and are close-minded.” Ugh, what a ruined sport!
I love debating. It’s a form of recreation to me, as long as it’s carried on respectfully and the other person is open-minded. I’m not going to lie and say that I “love being wrong;” I doubt anyone truly loves being wrong. However, I do like it when my misconceptions are corrected and I gain knowledge from the debate–the main objective anytime I engage anyone in a meaningful discussion. Winning is only secondary to learning and more people need to figure that out. This hivemind mentality that’s been infecting the Internet lately is not only annoying but extremely dangerous and detrimental to learning.