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The Hub for Important Ideas
The Hub for Important Ideas

Episode 47 · 3 months ago

Temperament and Type - Episode 47 – The Hub for Important Ideas

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

What is temperament and how can it help us to better navigate our lives? This episode features a kitchen table conversation about understanding temperament and psychological type, a useful tool for people to understand how the world is laid out, our place in it, and our strengths and weaknesses.

What is temperament and how can it help us to better navigate our lives? Welcome to the hub for important ideas. I'm Steve James and I'm Ken Swain. This is the next installment in our kitchen table series of episodes. That's where Ken and I drilled down on a topic, just the two of us and see whether we can make sense of it just, you know, using our own wits and resources. That's right, Steve, we're going to talk about temperament and psychological type. Folks who know me well know that this is a big, important subject for me, and first I would like to set the stage a bit for what follows, if I may go right ahead, set away well, the reason this was such a profound event in my midlife. It was something that started for me very, very early in childhood. I was playing with other kids and they all seemed to be playing right along and following the rules and happy at clams and I had this idea that something was secretly wrong. I wasn't having the same responses to things that the other kids were, and my family group, my family, was following along with the other kids. They didn't seem to get that I was having a different experience than what other people were having. So I just kind of stuffed that away and thought that there was just something strange about the world that I was never gonna understand. Anyway, I've been carrying that with me all the way through college, all the way through finding a job and my work career. It was kind of a secret that I kept from everybody. So this became a topic that is near and dear to my heart. I get that, and this is a big one for you. You had some kind of a major life events surrounding the subject. Right. It did it. It affected me hugely, as some things can do. Well, let's start with you telling that story. How how did all this first come to you? So it's the early nineteen nineties and I'm working in high technology contracting in Westport Connecticut. We had been down to Dallas, Texas for a huge trade show and seminars and we met this remarkable guru in the audio installation business by the name of Rob Gerhardt, and, long story short, we ended up hiring him and relocating him and his entire team from Texas to our offices in Westport Connecticut. So He's UH fascinating sort of scientific Einstein type of guy. And one day he comes walking into my office and he drops this list of question is on my desk and he says, when you have a minute, answer those questions. So of course I got rid of whatever I was doing because this was going to be much more interesting than whatever that was. And I answered the questions. There were seventy questions. Had to answer either one, A or B. A couple of them were difficult, but most of them I could do it right away. So I went to his office and I said here's my answers. So the next day he walks into my office again and he drops UH typed description that says portrait of an E N F P and Steve. I read it. It was three pages long. I read it, I read it a second time and, bursting with emotion, I had to leave and go home for the rest of the day. Wow, there were things written in that description that I had known my whole life, that it was basically describing that feeling I told you about from early childhood, where you know there's something different about me and I don't get what it is. All of a sudden here it is. It's describing my temperament, which is not as common as the most of the people. I was in completely different from my family, the orientation of my parents, it was just different from them. And my two sisters are the same as me too. But so I drove around for a while and thought about it and then I asked him more and got a book and I started reading about it and I just got obsessive about it and before you know what, I was testing everybody and I became quite obnoxious, as people like myself often do. Really, the most annoying people in the world are people like me. And I realized that I'm I'm that some of the time. And how old are you? How old are you when this, when this Gurud thing? Let's see, I am in my mid to late forties, so half of life is gone. And...

I tell you, I was just absolutely bowled over by this experience. You know. So temperament gave me a kind of a roadmap for understanding myself and my past frustrations of feeling so misunderstood. Up until that time, I had thought there was something seriously wrong with me. Well, you weren't completely wrong there. There is something seriously wrong with you, but that's the top of another granted, granted, but honestly, my first thought was, why couldn't somebody have told me about this when I was twelve years old? I mean, I could have understood it, I could have understood most of it, and I would have made probably a lot of different choices than the ones that I made. So I thought that, well, there's still millions of people out there who are probably going to be going through a similar experience to my own. And this sounds a lot like people who have explained their childhood in terms of dyslexia or exactly, or an undiagnosed mild version of what was what used to be called asperger's or, you know, is now on the autism from the spectrum, and it's not recognized by teachers and certainly not recognized by other students. No, but the individual grows up thinking, GE, something's wrong with me exactly, whereas if it had been diagnosed properly or, you know, at least dealt with properly, they would have a very different experience as a child, growing up and as a student. That was the idea that, you know, once I recovered from the shock, that was the next idea that came flooding in on me. Well, if if I didn't learn about it when I was well of years old. Maybe I could tell other people about this and maybe save them some time and trouble, because it might be helpful to people to learn about this. Well, maybe they'll be glad they tuned into today's show. Well, we can hope. As you know, Steve, of all the many things I've learned from our partnership and interacting with the scholars that we've had the great privilege of getting to know an interview, one of the most impactful came from Dr Merlin Maori. She put this notion in my head and I use it almost daily, and I suspect you know what I'm gonna say. I think you're going to say ideas are tools to think with. Exactly now, that is an important idea. Ideas are tools, tools we use for the purpose of thinking, and the better the tools, the better the thinking. In the in theory, in theory, we'd like to hope for that as an outcome. But that was why you and I made our first project, the television series perspective. And Yeah, that's why we're here now doing this. Yeah, because we thought people would be be able to think better with the ideas of Ernest Becker and why we thought we should try to get those into the public discourse. But it's important to remember that this isn't an explanation for everything. I like to go back to what Jacques Barzon calls the Fallacy of the single cause, which is always too simplistic. People generally like simple we don't like complicated. So we like to think this causes that, and that's almost never the case. It's almost always more complicated than that. But to get back to my story, the technology that I was first introduced through is derived from the work of Twenty Century Psychiatrist Carl Gustav Young, and I'm sure many of our listeners have heard of Dr Young. Yes, he was one of the inner circle around Sigmund Freud and in young published a book called psychological types, and it was the ideas in this book that germinated through a mother daughter team of pioneering psychometric researchers named Katherine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabelle Briggs Myers. That became the Myers Briggs type indicator, or MB T, I for sure. Yeah, I've heard of that. In the corporate world, Yep, HR departments certainly use it, not just for recruiting, but for team building. And then, of course, sales departments use this a lot. They do indeed, and psychologists will counsel people who are not able to make their romantic relationship work. A lot of times people who are thinking of getting a divorce and are going for counseling as a last ditch effort. They'll have them take the Myers Briggs test each of them and then they'll point out differences in just the way the...

...people are built, and a lot of times that information will give them skill set to better understand their partner and stop a lot of the conflicts that they were having. Makes Sense. No, that's that. Yeah, it seems like a reasonable thing to do. Yeah, it's a good tool. It's a good tool for understanding people. So many people have heard of it and, let me say, many other people consider this entire subject to be a little more than pseudo scientific Mumbo jumbo, the way some people feel about something like astrology. And, just to reiterate, I'm here mostly to describe the experience that I had learning about these ideas and the parts of them that I have found to be useful. And if psychological type isn't your thing, changed the channel. This sounds like something of a disclaimer. Yeah, disclaimers are implied in all responsible podcasts. I think it. So young writes this book. Young's book psychological types, leads to the development of the Myers Briggs type indicator and the karcy temperament sort of, which is the one that I first took, the one that that guy dropped on my desk that day. The psychometric instruments I'm going to talk about are the Myers Briggs and the Kiercy, which is a newer test based on the same material with some differences, and then I'm going to describe something called the Big Five. That's a newer, newer instrument and that adds a couple of dimensions that the Myers Briggs doesn't measure. And people say, well, which is better? I think you need to take both of them because it's good to know your Myers Briggs type and be able to understand all those four dimensions. And then you want to add the big five to the top of it because it adds some things like traite neuroticism and agreeableness and conscientiousness, and that tells you a few other things about yourself that are useful agreeable people. Just as an example, agreeable people tend to make less money because it's easy. It's easy to turn down their request for a raise and they don't like to pick fights. So people who are less agreeable tend to make more money. That's because they're willing to go in and fight. They're willing to go in and fight for it. That's counterintuitive, isn't it? Don't yeah, yeah, but I would never have put that together. But when I hear it I'm like, I see how that is. So I've been trying to think of an example I could use to illustrate how this technology could actually help someone. Okay, I would be good. So one of the dimensions that the Myers Briggs measures is a difference between extraversion and introversion, and I'm picked this one because I think a lot of people know what those two words are, or at least think they know what those two words are. I'm an introvert and you're an introvert, and you use it up, yes, you use it up of the course of a party or me, get together whatever, by end of it, by the end of it I'm worn out and exactly my wife, goalie, who's an extrovert is just getting started. She's just getting started, she's and when she gets home to the party she's wound up for two hours and it takes takes her that long to unlined before before. Yeah, it might not be two hours, but yes, you're absolutely right. I mean she she's ready to party for an extra two or three hours longer than me. Absolutely and it's tempting to say that you can always identify an extrovert because they're always talking and introverts are always quiet. But you and I had an experience a couple of weeks ago when we were up at your cabin in the cat skills. We were out to dinner in a restaurant, very nice restaurant, thank you for that, and we're talking and all of a sudden one of the restaurant's employees, a lovely young woman by the name of Kaylee, she kind of picked up on our questions. We had some questions and she kind of like popped over and just started answering all of the questions. She'd been listening to what we were saying and she was just trying to be really helpful. So, Um, we started talking about psychological type and I said something about her being an extrovert and she said no, I think I'm an introvert and subsequently she ended up taking the test and she was another person who was really, really blown away by it and interested, but she turned out to be an extreme, extreme introvert. So she was operating not out of her normal function, but she was doing a really good job for that restaurant by coming over and being really, really helpful to us. And in that conversation I brought up my son, Yep, who I would I don't know he's if he's ever taken this test or anything like that, but I would I would tend to say he's an introvert. Yes, I've got him all his life. He's an introvert and he's a stay end up comic. So when he's doing that,...

...he's doing what Cayley was doing with us, exactly, operating out of his opposite of his natural tendency. But he's comfortable doing it and he's very, very good at it. It's amazing. It's it's surprising, but I suspect a lot of performers are introverts and they perform in a performance mode exactly, but that that takes energy, it takes a you know, it takes a lot of input, takes energy. I bet they get off the stage, they get off the station. Yeah, tired, that's for sure. My favorite comedian of all time, of course, is George Carlin, and when you listen to what he's saying about life, about society, but he's also he's talking about himself, he's talking about where he's coming from. So he has spent, yeah, he has spent a lot of time thinking about where he's at, which is what an introvert does exactly. They say still waters run deep. That's kind of referring to introverts. So I want to use the example of since everybody knows what these two things are, let's imagine a hypothetical family somewhere, I don't know, in our country, somewhere in the middle of our country, and it's two parents and four children. Both parents extroverted. Three out of the four children extroverted, but then there's little benny and he is an introvert. Now in that situation, Benny is the different one and he can't stand up for himself. He's three, you know, or he's five, but you know they're gonna be like, let's let's go to the parade, let's let's go do this, let's go do that, and say, Oh, Benny's getting tired of in you know, Benny doesn't want to go again, something's wrong with Benny. Well, there's nothing wrong with Benny. Benny is an introvert. He's got a limited amount of energy to give up for the family cause and then he needs some time to himself. And the expression they use a lot is to recharge your battery, your battery, your battery, gets used up when you're in vigorous interaction with other people and you need time to yourself and that's how you get charged back up. And sometimes it's fifteen minutes and sometimes it's two hours, but after two hours of being by yourself, you come back out and now you can start to engage in conversations again. So the point that I wanted to make is that introversion can make someone feel different or strange, and I always used this of the word weird, which I know isn't a good word to use when it just means different. But if somebody had to say between extrovert and introvert, we live in a very extroverted society in America. extroversion is what we are. And so if you had to say in America, who are the normal people, everybody would say extroverts, and if you said who are the weird people, they would say introverts. Okay, so that's just an observation that I've made. It's a good example because people know what those two words mean and you can see how it's difficult for one introverted child in a predominantly extroverted family to feel kind of how I felt, like there's something wrong with me. You know, I'm not like them. They can party all day and I can't. It's just an explanation that once you have the idea in your head, the tool to think with, you can say no, no, no, there's nothing wrong with me. I've just been with you guys all day. You guys all want to go to the parade. I'm gonna stay here and read a book and I'll see you when you come back. And that's a simple solution and it could maybe stop people from getting a divorce if they could just build things like that into the way they communicate. And so what you're saying is that by understanding the difference between extroversion and introversion, that introverts can better deal with or explain where they're coming from, and they can actually stand up to the bullies, the bullies being who? Well, the bullies being the extroverts. If you were a kid and you were going with Goldie to a party, you could easily see them as sort of the enemy. I mean, you want to go home and you're burned out and they want to keep going. Your tendency, your your personal tendency, might be. Let me just stop and think about this for a minute.

But yes, but you are trained two step up and speak and demonstrate and, you know, make a presentation or whatever is required at that yeah, you're, you're you're you're socialized, and I'm glad you said that, Steve, because it's important to recognize that these are not binary states. Okay, it's all on a continuum and almost nobody is a complete extrovert and no one is a complete introvert. It's not all or nothing and everybody has all of these qualities in them. It's just that for most people, early in their childhood they develop a preference for one or the other and you tend to use the thing that you prefer and, as a result, you get better at that. So that's how you grow into into your type. So after the the energy of extraversion and introversion, the next function has to do with how we gather information about the world right and this is broken down into two types. One of them is quite large, the other is quite small. The vast majority of people gather information using their five senses, seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling and tasting. This is getting sensory information, hence the word senses. This is getting sensory information about the world around you, and that's what most people do. The other way that people get information, as I say, much smaller group, is with a largely mysterious and misunderstood function called intuition. What intuition is is actually a connection to the unconscious mind, not Freud's unconscious mind, but young's unconscious mind, where it's not just distasteful events from your life that you don't want to think about anymore and you crushed down there so you don't remember them, but it's almost everything that's happened and almost every thought you've ever had. They theorize, is in there and we're very selective about what we bring to consciousness, so the rest of it just rumbles around in there, in this unconscious. We say unconscious because you forget it, you don't know that it's in there, and one way that it comes back to us is through dreams. That's why Youngie an analysts are very talking about dreams a lot, because and then you have to interpret the dream for the individual patient. A lot of people they discount it or you'll say, look, I have a hunch or I have a aling or I my intuition is telling me something's wrong, and the other person will say, well, explain that. What is it you know? And you go how do I explain an intuition? I can tell you the red flags that went up, you know. I can tell you little little alarms went off in the back of my head. Yep, but that's but you can't even say why. You just want to say don't get in the car with that guy or don't invest your money with him. You're saying why not? His deal sounds great. Well, it might be that you saw a look in his eye that you recognized from some other people that had done you wrong in your past. You don't know that. You don't know that, but you're unconscious picks it up and says, oh, that looks like the guy that did that terrible thing and stole mom and dad's money. It might take you will week to figure out what it was that was bothering you. Yes, what it reminded you of? What thing that happened? Do you thirty years ago or whatever? I mean, it's a weird thing, but it it's very real. Your intuition. Yeah, your intuition kicks in and, as I said, you learn in childhood and if you get those kinds of intuitions, of if you tune into them, you start to trust them and you learn to work with them. This is what people who claim to be psychic, this is what they're using. Allegedly, I realized some people are not doing much but googling you and scamming you out of your money. But there are people who are able to see and predict things. It's documented. Police departments sometimes work with them. They keep it on the down low because nobody really understands it. It's a very mysteri is very mysterious thing. Well, let's take a...

...break. Folks were having a kitchen table conversation Ken and me. We're talking about psychological types. We've covered two. We've got two more categories to cover. As far as I know. Maybe more can might surprise me there, UM, but don't go anywhere, we'll be right back. We've been having a kitchen table conversation, just ken and me, about psychological types and we've covered the first two psychological functions and we're going to talk about two more. That's right, Steve. So, before we took the break, I covered the gathering information function. These are the this is the the core of the book. I'm mentioned by Carl Jung, psychological types. So the gathering information is done by most people using the five senses, in which case we call them a sensation person. A minority of people they gather information more using intuition and we call them intuitive people and we use end to designate that. So the next psychological function has to do with how we make decisions, and young discovered that people fall into two categories. Again, these are all continuums. Nothing is absolute. Some people tend to make decisions based on what he called thinking, which means they decide based on an objective set of criteria determining whether something is rational or irrational. And people tend to decide, try to decide based on making a rational decision. Alternatively, other people tend to make decisions based on whether the outcome is agreeable to them or not. Not necessarily rational, but agreeable makes them not feel bad. This one has a tendency to be slightly biased by gender. So classically men think and women feel. This turns out to be not the case in many, many instances, and I would be an example of someone who goes against that type. So my type is e n F P. The F stands for feeling. I tend to make decisions based on whether or not the thing is agreeable, not whether or not it's rational. But as we've discussed in the past and as people like you've all know a Harare point out, a lot of decisions, particularly political decisions, are made on the basis of feeling or ideology or whatever, loyalty to a group, and then they gather information to support that decision and then they tell themselves in anyone who will listen that they made the decision based on rationality and research and thinking, when in fact the decision had been made well in advance. That's really funny, isn't it? And that's really true and that's something that people don't we don't like that about ourselves as Sheldon would say, we don't, we don't like that. So we so we don't pay attention to it. But if you're really being honest about it, yeah, that's how, maybe most decisions are made. The example I think of when people get into this conversation. I think about O J Simpson, writing the White Bronco and epic moment and everyone in America just stopped because they were expecting o j, who was this beloved figure. Sports fans loved him and Hollywood movie goers loved him and you know, and he be all these commercials where he's running through the airport and everything, and you know he was funny and fun and they all expected him to commit suicide on camera. That's what everyone was tuned into. There's going, Oh my God, he's going to kill himself, this is gonna end badly. He's gonna end badly, and everybody's watching and everyone pretty much made up their mind in those moments whether o j Simpson was guilty of murder or not, having having no other no other information, information at all, just be chased on TV. Yeah, slow motion chase by all these cop cars and you're going, well, he's obviously guilty,...

...because why else would he be like contemplating suicide and, you know, driving like in this slow motion chase? And then a large percentage of the country at the same time was saying, well, obviously he's innocent, he's being railroaded because he's black. And the facts of the case that we're spelled out over months when these well publicized trials had no influence on most people's decision that they made, consciously or unconsciously, that decision they made when they were watching o j in the White Bronco. And I had to really stop and think about that because my wife was one of those people who said no, he's he's obviously innocent, and I was one of those people going, well, the guys obviously guilty, and I had to think about well, why do I think he's guilty? I didn't pay any attention to the trial, the facts of the trial, the facts of the case. Right, I had decided long ago before the trial began. Weird this. It's a human it's a perfectly completely human thing to do that. You're right. Nobody wants to nobody wants to know about it because it's concerning and when you think about something like a jury of your peers right and the court system. They've done studies with people where they ask them what they saw and they all saw the same thing and then they go on to be interviewed and you can't even believe that they're talking about the same event based on how they experienced it. And all that is filtered through these functions, yeah, which includes your background and your basic psychological makeup and all the rest of it. But we like to think that people are going to be logical and rational and they're gonna send someone to the death penalty based on logical choices, when that's just almost never the case. It's a freaky aspect of the jury, isn't it? Well, it's a it's a it's a freaky aspect of human of human beings, and the judges, the judges are not immune from this at all. They're humans too. No, No, Sheldon Solomon proved that early in his career. Terror management theory proved it, or at least demonstrated it very convincingly. Yeah, and a lot of people would say no to that, even if after they saw all of Sheldon's data. They would say no, that can't be, because if that is, then you have to say well then there's serious flaws in the way we've set up our social systems that we live our lives by, and that's very, very disquieting. I think that's at the heart of a lot of the of the Social Justice Movement that's going on now. Is that politics and our politics? Well, yeah, we'RE LIFTING UP THE WE'RE LIFTING UP THE VEIL and we're looking underneath, and what's under there is pretty we don't we don't. It's disturbing. We don't like it. So let's keep going with this. So we've we've done gathering information, which happens with sensation usually and, more rarely, with intuition, and when we make decisions we make them either with thinking or feeling. So we've done the first we've done the first three letters. The last one has to do with your general orientation, whether you're decision making function is your dominant one or whether your information gathering function is your dominant one, and that has to do with the judgment or a J letter. J people tend to like things settled and decided. They come easily to decisions, they know what they think, they're comfortable after they make a decision and they decide things very quickly and easily perceiver type people tend to want to delay decisions because they want more information all the time. They think that with more information they're going to make a better decision. So they delay decision making as long as possible and focus on getting more information. Now this can be very annoying for some people that. Some people joke that the P doesn't stand for perception so much as it stands for procrastination, or or piles in my case, because I've got piles and piles of things that I think I'm always going to use that someday. No, don't throw that away. I never throw anything away, ordering order, almost like a hoarder. Yeah, the P is definitely I think if you, if you did a survey of hoarders, they would almost all be p types, because...

...they think that something is always going to have a usefulness. Well, now I can say, hopefully my wife is going to hear this, my wife and I are complete opposites in this regard. And okay, so I'm the Goldie. Goldie's a p Type, like me. Absolutely she's a P J type. I like to make a decision. It takes me a split second. You're in a store, you see something, you say Oh, that, that looks good, buy it, and she'll be like, wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute, no, not, no, what do you mean by it now, while it's here? If you come back next week, it might not be here by now. No, no, we're gonna WE'RE gonna look, we're gonna keep looking, and I have learned over the years that her way of doing it is superior to mine, which doesn't change the way I still make decisions. But she has excellent taste and she will take her time and she'll look at things and she'll think about them and she'll say, well, how is this going to fit into the general scheme of things we have here? How is this texture? And she will think about it for a month, sometimes for months. You should have seen US redoing the bathroom. It was like, you know, going to this story, going to that store and looking at this catalogue and looking online and you go through all this stuff, but at the end of it, when you get to the end of her process, you have to respect her process, you wind up with something you go wow, this is really cool, this is nice, way better than anything you would have come on, come on, what I would have come up with with you know, like awful. It would have been, you know, Home Depot or very functional. But nobody is just the bathroom up at the cabin or the bathroom down here in Westport, bathroom in Westport, you know. But because there was a sink. There was a sink up in the cabin that you described to because I commented on it. I think that's a beautiful sink, and you're like, yeah, we got that from the side of the road tax sail antiquing and in Mexico. She's like me. She carried it through customs and it sat in a box for a couple of years and then we built the Danity around it, you know. But but then you look at it and you go wow, you know, how did she oh my gosh, it's striking. And so you just described. You you've heard that old chestnut that opposites attract. And theoretically, what you just described brilliantly was how two opposing functions in a relationship build a str wronger relationship. If if you have the patience, yes, and you're the one in this case, because and if you have if you have a strong personality in that in the Pe role, yes, that stands that ground and says this is I'm making this decision, and it requires other personality types, mean traits I should say, to make that work. It really doesn't. Remember, remember back when I was saying how extroverts are bullies to introverts. So in this case I would say naturally, Ja judging people, people are bullies to pe perceiving people, and the Steve Almost always beats the Goldie in real life. But in this case, like you said, Goldie stands her ground and you have enough wisdom to say I've been through this a few times and even though it's driving me crazy and it goes against everything, I think we're gonna go with what Goldie thinks because, you know, look at all these times when we've done it and look how great it turns out. Well, I wouldn't call that wisdom, I call that cowardice, but I'll take with it's just unadulterated fear. Fear absolutely, yeah, you don't want to the wrath. You know the wrath. But yeah, but no, that's no. But you're right, opposites attract and I think that's why the HR people in Corporate America, they look at team building and they're saying, well, we don't want a team that's of cookie cutter replicas of one another exactly. And that's another reason why you want diversity, racial, ethnic, gender diversity in teams, because they bring other perspectives to the decision making. They bring other perspectives. So all that goes into this and that's why, over the years of decades, good managers...

...understand and sometimes a good manager when you're in a in a meeting, you know a team meeting, you see one person just sitting there, not necessarily not engaging at all, but they are, they're listening. They just need someone to turn to them and say, well, what do they think, and they'll they'll have an opinion, but you've got to draw them out because they're not necessarily extroverted or they're not necessarily the kind of person that's going to speak, but they'll have a valuable addition to make to whatever the conversation is. Those kinds of things you learn them as a manager or as a supervisor, but you can also you can learn them by being trained in this. Yes, you can learn them by experience, but you can also be trained to make the most of using personality to the advantage of the group and to the advantage of the enterprise. You know, more than twenty years ago, Fast Company magazine, in one of its earliest issues, did a cover story on this and it said you've got to stop hiring people because they're exactly like you. Right, which is what people tend to do. You tend to like people like you, they are easier for you to talk to, they reflect your viewpoints. So you build a whole room full of people that are just like Ken and that's not what you need. You need, like you said, you need diversity because you're looking at it from different angles and that theoretically should make it a stronger decision overall if you have the strength to equally weigh the decisions of the group. And some of the good decisions might be coming from someone who isn't the most articulate member of the group and they maybe don't sell the idea as well as other people sell their idea. So you have to dig in and look at the ideas as they are and forget about how they came into you. So the final the final letter in our building, an individual person is either J, which is Steve. It's here by it now, or I've been with I've been on dates with women who were very hard Jay's. And then can we hear the dessert menu? Yes, we have Apple Pie. Oh, I like Apple Pie, I'll have that. And it's like, wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. Don't you even want to hear the other two? No, no, I'm fine, because they so want to be on the other side of the decision. And some of the questions on that test I took. Are you more comfortable before a decision is made or after a decision is made? And you would say after a decision and Goldie would say before a decision, and you're both comfortable with that. And I always want to hear not only the whole dessert menu, but does the chef have any things he does special that aren't on the dessert menu? And but at that point I get kicked under the table. You know, it's like shut up already. Let me just interject one thing. We kind of alluded to the young man who got different results, you know, different days. I'm looking back on the time when I took this test and then many, many years ago, long before I met you, I took this and my last two letters are t and j, but they were like very weak, like on the cusp of the two. So so, yeah, because it doesn't really make sense. Do you remember what your s and n were like? They were stronger. I'm an I, N T J and the eye and the end were stronger, but the t and the j were kind of like, you know, could have gone either either way exactly. Those are the people were not as much fun to give this test, because you're what I called more balanced. Yeah, well balanced. Yeah, because you're pulling from both sides of the coin. You're both thinking and feeling. Um, you know, a completely thinking person when his boss says the cheapest way to get rid of this battery acid is to have you pour it in the river on your way home. That may in fact be the cheapest way to get rid of the battery acid, but you're gonna say, wait a Benut, there's fish in there. I mean, what are you doing? And there's an environment, you know, and and that's not the right thing to do. Almost all environmentalists or feelers, because wrecking the environment is is wrong. It's just it's not agreeable. You know, we shouldn't be doing it. A hard ass thinker has no problem whatsoever pouring the battery acid in the river. Just do it on your way home and keep going. Nobody's ever gonna know. So that's how we build the four letters. I thought before the before we went on the break,...

...that there's a little confusion and this, this does get I realized that doing this without any visual aids or means of support, it can seem complicated. And this is more for people who favor ideas, abstract ideas. This is abstract as opposed to concrete. People who like to talk about reality, and I would put a capital R on that, or they like to talk about facts with a capital F, and you and I have had arguments about whether there's even such a thing as a fact. You know. So a lot of people, as soon as you start a conversation like this, they just tune out because, oh, they're going to talk about some smushy stuff that doesn't interest me. You know what's let's watch the ball game, which is fine. You know, I wanted to tell you an example of a of an annoying, idealistic, almost silly tuition that I had when I was first reading about this. David Keirsey gave numbers in his ground breaking book called. Please understand me, the first one, not the second one. They both have their strengths and he listed the proportions of the four main groups of people that are in the world and he said there's fort of this type of sensation people and of the other type of sensation people, and then there's ten percent of this type of abstraction, intuitive people and then ten percent of the other and I don't know why I did this, but for some reason I opened Microsoft Excel and I put the four groups into a into a little spreadsheet, and then I asked to excel to generate a pie chart. I don't know why I did it. I just wanted to see it represented graphically as a pie chart. And as soon as I saw it I jumped because it was upside down, the way Microsoft printed it. But I rotated it the other way off and the four pie segments produce the peace symbol that everyone rallied around in the sixties, and I immediately jumped in my head to this intuition. Oh my gosh, this is the way to bring peace to the world is to understand these psychological differences between people. Now that you can say I get it, Ken, that's a silly idea. You're just a whack job, but to me. The intuition was very powerful because I was thinking then about the guy a principle, you know, the whole world as being a living organism and we're all part of it. As Joseph Campbell says, we're the eyes of the earth, where the spirit of the Earth, the earth has brought forth its people. So I'm thinking, Wow, this is just unbelievable. You know that it comes out that way, and I was going to start on a lecture, sir, and bring this idea to the world, but I didn't get around to that yet. Maybe in my retirement years. Yet offertive word there is yet. So what we've just done is discussed the four psychological dimensions that make up an individual's person's psychological type. Okay, and what are the most common types? Well, the biggest group by now by far our sensation people, because if you can picture a peace sign in your head, those two upper pie slices are very large and together they make up eight of the world. Those people all gather information with the senses. Okay, okay, so e s is the most common. First Sensation, sensation and extra version. Thinking and feeling are kind of evenly divided, as are thinking and judging. So now, based on what we've said so far, you can build your four letters. I am and e n FP type of person. Okay. If you're gathering information with sensation, then the second letter in your type is either the J for judging or the P for perceiving. Okay. So I grew up in a family of sensation with judging, and I'm going to use the words that David Keirsey uses to describe these groups because they're descriptive and I think they're helpful. He calls that group the Guardians. Okay, these are the people who are you might call them the salt of the earth. That's what I was trying to think of, the salt of the earth. These people like facts, as I said, they're steady, their law abiding, their respectable, they're detailed, they're dependable. They tend to be a little cautious. They don't like new stuff. They like doing it the way we did it last year, you know, because it worked last year and why should we mess up something that's already working right? So they tend to be concerned, they tend to be dutiful, cautious,...

...humble and focused on credentials and traditions. They're very taken with the PhD letters. If you're a doctor or a lawyer or you've got some kind of credibility, credentialed in the society, they trust that implicitly and they defer to your judgment. They pride themselves on being dependable, helpful and hard working. They make loyal mates, responsible parents and stabilizing leaders and their concerned citizens who trust authority. They join groups, they seek security, prize gratitude and dream of metting out justice. So these are the people that really hold this whole thing together. And if you said, well Ken, if if you just had to have one group of people for the rest of humanity, this would have to be the group that you would choose because they would keep humanity going. As someone said, you know, if everybody was this type, everything everywhere would be perfectly clean and organized, but we would be using the technology of around. But now this is different from Jonathan Heights, moral foundations, not entirely, not entirely, and somebody's going to point out and to a certain extent you can predict, not always, but you can predict a person's political leanings and those height moral foundations, foundations by temperament and you can tell just from the things that I've said about this guardian type, they tend to be conservative. Sounds like it. Sure, yeah, they tend to be conservative. They like the old ways, they look to the past for guidance, not the future, and they're all about keeping going what's going now. And I think would take this opportunity to say to all the progressives and liberals who are listening, we need conservatives to just to make society go. You absolutely do a society of progressive it's total chaos. Let's sit around singing Kumbayan and, you know, not getting it, not getting anything, and so decisions with getting made. I mean that's I'm sorry, that's a pejorative, gross exaggeration and generalization, but no, not that much. But there is a lot to be said for the value of conservatives in any group, be at a society at large or just a team. You need a certain number of conservatives to just make the thing go absolutely to balance it out and to be a stabilizing force. And they would say small changes, small moves, let's go one step at a time, let's not tip the boat over. That's what happens when you sail too fast. You Lean it in too much and the wind takes it and next thing you know you're in the water and now you've got a problem you shouldn't have had because you were you were living just for the moment and not for the long term. So that brings me to my next type of personality group. So we've got our sensation people with judging, and those are what karsy calls the Guardians. They're the stabilizers, they are the ant, the stable working ant. Now the other group of sensation people do not go with the J judging, but they go with the P Open, unsettled. Now these are the grasshopper. This is the grasshopper. Remember saying Oh aunt, why are you working so hard? Come play with me, let's Sun ourselves, let's get drunk, let's go swimming. Right. And the ant is working away and working away. So the utilitarian artisans tend to be much more optimist, stick they tend to be playful, they tend to be impulsive. These are all opposites of what I said about the Guardians. Right, they're adaptable, they're persuasive, they're excitable, they're daring and they're enticing. Everybody always says you need to live in the moment. This is the only group what a curiously calls them artisans. These are the only people who actually do that. They live for today because tomorrow never comes. They are the unquestioned users of tools. They achieve VIRTUOSIC accomplishments in all artcrafts techniques. The great dancers, the great surgeons, if it involves using a tool, they're the best at it. And a tool doesn't have to be a hammer or a screwdriver. It can also be a scalpel. It can also be an electric guitar. It's say Jimmy Hendrix. Jimi Hendrix never...

...practiced a day in his life. He just plays. He's not sitting down and looking at lessons and learning what other people hendricks just played the guitar over and over and over until he got brilliant at it. I practiced the guitar because I don't live in the moment. You understand the difference. So the artisans, they tend to be the best makers of bread, they tend to be brilliant dancers, Barishnikov musicians. They're practical people. They're not dutiful like the Guardians, and they're very exciting to watch. If you see a big group of guys wearing leather jackets and driving motorcycles down the highway making a hell of a lot of noise. Almost all artisans, if not all artisans, motorcycles, just go together with it. It's dangerous, it's exciting. That's what they do. So this is the big description of the two largest groups on the planet. Are the Guardians. George Washington was a typical guardian. They do the duty, and the artisans, they play and create wonderful art and great stuff for the rest of us to enjoy. But not to forget what happens in the winter with the ant and the grasshopper. Right, the grasshoppers freezing his ass off and doesn't have anything to eat and he goes and knocks on the door of the ant and he's like, I'm freezing out here and I'm starving, and the ant always lets him in, right, and that's kind of what happens in society too. So the people in Church, if you want to find guardians there in church, or if you really want to find him, go to your town hall on meeting night when the town on committee is meeting to discuss town business. There you will find them all, because they're doing their civic duty. So both of those groups are interested in facts. As we said, they like reality, they live in the world of reality. They are what I am going to call the normal people. Okay, that's what I call normal. That's the normal folks. Now we've got the two tiny triangles down at the bottom of the peace sign. These are the abstract people. These are the people who don't use their senses. These are the people who use their intuition. They're connected with the unconscious and they are not interested in facts. They are interested in what's possible, not what is. So when a person has the intuition information gathering, their second letter becomes the decision making function, either thinking or feeling. So our next group marries intuition with thinking. And when you do that you get scientists, you get Einstein, you get architects, you get people who are dealing with abstract ideas and they're marrying them up with logical, rational thought. And these are the people who solve the problems of society, whatever those happened to be heresy calls these people the rationals. That's his term for it. So my cousin Dave was was a rational and you're a rational and it was remarkable to watch Dave and his son, Nick, who was the same type as his dad. They have absolutely no regard for credentials or authority. They make up their own mind based on the information that's available to them. They research it and they come to their own decisions. They almost have a disdain for people who are following some guy with a lot of letters after his name. You know what I'm trying to say? Yeah, they're kind of like humanists when somebody's bringing up religion, you know they're just spoiling for a fight. They just can't wait to get into it. So that's the rational people. They're ingenious, they're pragmatic, they're curious, they're innovative, they're logical, they're calm, they're strategic and they're fiercely independent. So these are the people who take us into the future on the side of rationality. So the big groups deal with what is and the two weird groups deal with what's possible tomorrow. All Right, so now we've married intuition with thinking and there's a there's a poignant paragraph, and please understand me, that was almost as impactful as my original exposure to this technology. And he's describing the individual groups. He...

...says, we run into a special difficulty when we attempt to describe the last group of people, the people with intuition and marrying it to feeling, e. n F P, because all the other groups, the rationals. They understand the guardians and the artisans. They don't necessarily respect them or follow their life ways, but they at least understand what they're talking about. They understand that the guardians are essentially economic and that that's what they're gonna do, and they understand that the artisans are essentially live in the moment and get by however you can with your wits. None of those three groups has any idea what I'm talking about. When you marry intuition with feeling, you get a rather interesting combination of traits. You get basically the religious impulse. You get Mahatma Gandhi, the Dolli Llama, you get a lot of authors, you get a lot of filmmakers, people who show the way forward but are very hard to understand for most people, because you're not only dealing with abstract language and talking about ideas, but now you're not even tying it to rational thought, you're tying it to someone's feelings and subjectivity, and that's a pretty hard horse to ride for most people. Not Worth it. I'm annoyed the most by people who are like me because they tend to just ramble on about something and it's not tied to anything you can get your arms around and you can tell they're really enthusiastic about it, but you just can't even follow what they're saying. Rollo May, who's quoted a lot, he was a psychiatrist, and R D laying are like this. Just to put a cap on it, this explained completely why I felt so misunderstood and this really explained it for me. But there are a number of different versions of the N T S or the N F's. There are indeed, because you could be an I n t or you could be an e n T. absolutely so you drill down for more specific details, right, but I think this is going to be confusing enough for people got just what we've covered today. The only thing I would say here is some of this sounds a lot like astrology. You know, I know, and I gotta say that astrology to me makes absolutely no sense, because me, neither me, neither. Where you were born? What where the stars were? The star is so far away, how it has any pull, gravitational pull, or radiation it's putting out? I mean it's just it's impossible to think that. At the same time, what you're saying is these personality types. We all have all these traits within us. We do. We do, just like we all have the moral foundations within us. Yes, we do, but for whatever reason, and you're saying it's mostly environment, I don't know what the findings are. And this flies in the face of the TABULA RASA theory. We're not really born blank slates. Right, right, we have this in us, supposedly at birth. Well, all right, I have to say in my experience, having seen four kids pop into the world, okay, each one different from the other, each one, and you could probably tell almost right away. Right now, you don't know how they're going to turn out, but you do see a difference when they hit the air. Like one is furious and screaming his head off and the other is curious, just looking around, you know, taking it all in. Ye, and the other one is like who cares, you know, it's like shrugs his little shoulders. Yeah, it's like I just to say you can predict from that what they're going to be like as an adult. But you do see differences and you're right. It's not a clean slate at all. Now it's not. It's not, but the effect of environment on your being molded. Just the fact that you have a sibling that's a certain way can affect the way you turn out. Either opposite that person, I'll never be like that guy, or you gravitate to that person's Aura, how they perceive things and how they get through life, your parents as well, and birth orders a factor. Birth orders a factor. Years Ago I was in psychotherapy and talking about this and the therapist said, well, your sister Susan wasn't from the same world that you were, and...

I said what do you mean? We grew up in the same household, and she said yes, but Susan had you there right, big difference, and you're the firstborn. You didn't have anyone there. That's a good point to act as a buffer, you know. But at the same time in my household the firstborn was favored, yes, and the last born was the baby and was favored, spoiled whatever, and the Middle Two middle kids, me and my younger brother, had a different way to go. And people talk about well, the Middle Child. Yes, is a certain way, and there's a lot to be said about that. About the Middle Child. Oh, there's a lot to be said about it. So, in other words, you have all these different traits within you, but which one's moved to the four, which one has become most important to you and your personality, your psychological tie, can be determined by all these outside factors that you have no control over. You can't choose who you're going to become. I mean, some people do. They choose who they're going to be. If you're inventing Anna, you know that show. I mean obviously that young woman chose her persona. She invented it and lived it. Didn't she ever write? But most people don't. They're given, they're dealt the cards and you've got to play the hand you got. Exactly. Thank you. You're given a certain hand and you play that hand, and I find this fascinating. Now, like you say, these things are on a continuum. There's nothing hard and fast about some of them, because some of them, like our young friend who said, AH, you know, I took it four times, I got different results to each time, or like me, I'm saying yeah, well, my t and J are pretty weak. It could have gone either way. Yep. So it's not hard and fast. It's not predict doble how people are going to behave at every juncture. NOPE, but it does help explain why there can be friction in a marriage or in a in a team. Yep, in a department. You can kind of iron those things out sometimes if you just say well, you know, that guy is different from you. That's right, embrace the differences. Just to give you an idea how long this has been noted, the physician Galen Talking BC. They had a theory that it was called the four humors, m M. Sanguine, phlegmatic, choleric. Those distantly correspond to these groups, as do the four gospels of the New Testament. Yeah, and they said, if the world is really quadraform, then we should say our story for each of the four people so that they'll hear it correctly. That's interesting, isn't it? So? For an idealist, the book of the Bible that talks to me is the book of John, John which which starts out in the beginning, was the word, and the word was with God and the word was God. What the hell does that mean John is the one who is mystical and metaphoric? Yep, exactly. Mystical Morology. Yep, mystical and metaphoric is exactly what that is. Yea, and almost all the clergy are introverted. Me Interesting. Almost all of one of the fire and brimstone preachers, are introverts. Ye, well, they may be extroverts. Okay, they have the N F letters, and I'll tell you who is brilliant at figuring this out in children at a very young age. Is the Catholic Church? Yeah, because they know what they're looking for, because the N F people can be very inspiring and very persuasive, and that's what you want. If you're building a ginormous religion, you need people who are gonna Bring people into the fold. You know, all right, we've been talking for a solid hour, two hours total. This is supposed to be a short show. Yeah, but it's fun. I'm enjoying it. Well, let's hope the listeners are too. Okay, but I think these are important ideas. I do too. Yeah, instead of thinking that something must be wrong with those people, there's nothing wrong with those people. They're just different from you and you may be attracted to the wrong kind of person. It's all other conversation. Yeah, but but you see that. I see they find the same person attractive time after time. Where you're going, you're making the same miss making the same mistake. How many times do you have to do this? How many different people are you paying alimony to now? I think Johnny...

Carson did it five times. Yeah, yeah, Elizabeth Taylor. Yeah. Anyway, I think this is a very useful tool for people to understand how the world is laid out and what your place in is it, what your strengths are, the places where you need to shore up maybe some weaknesses, either in a mate or by study, and just understand why things are the way they are and be able to accept them as the way they are. Important ideas, Steve, important ideas as always. Folks, join US next time. Like us on facebook. Please recommend us to your friends, email your feedback or leave a comment on an apple podcast review. Let us know what you want and how we can improve. Become a part of our community of people who value these important ideas. You can find us at www the hub for important ideas dot com, and support us on page treon at www dot patreon. Dot Com front slash, the hub important ideas. We are listeners, supported and please check out our award winning Documentary Video Series Conversations with Solomon exploring human motivation, on Youtube. Thank you for listening to the hub for important ideas. I'm Steve James and I'm Ken Swain. Stay safe, everybody, stay well. This has been a contemporary heroism initiative. Production.

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