The times they are a changin’ — I guess I am too

I used to love to think about things. I used to love to figure out how things worked. Come up with all the different things something could mean. Generate a theory about why something happened the way it did.   “Want to go sailing?” – “I don’t know much about it, but it’s always sounded fun.  Let’s give it a shot.” Which meant that before going, there would be some quick immersion in a lot of reading. Especially to grasp the principles of sailing.

I used to love understanding , making sense of,  and getting insight into the nature of things.

But now…  I find I just want to play. To jump in feet first to see what happens.  I want to try things out before I understand them. I want to experience something before I grasp the intricacies of it with my mind. Nowadays it’s more like this… “Want to go rock-climbing?” – “Sure, let’s go.”  Promptly followed by getting in a car and going.

This is one of the cool things about type. It’s not really static. It certainly can be seen as a static snapshot of “how you are” – an ENFP for example.  But in the type model there is definitely an expectation that people can change and grow over time. That they begin to access and integrate more of the other functions. Thinking types finding Feeling more accessible and even interesting.  Intuitive types finding Sensing to be a fun teacher and rewarding in itself.

And that is exactly what’s been happening with me.

Somehow over time that joy in understanding things became less… well… joyful. Not that I can’t do it when I need to – say for my job.  But at some point it had also become a habit of trying to understand things.  Needing to understand things. But something was missing.

What was it? The thing itself! The experience itself.

So now - these days - if a friend on the mat in the dojo says to me, “Hey what’s the general principle here?”  I find myself saying, “Mmm. I don’t know. Let’s just play and see what happens.” And a few knocks and bruises later, I’ve actually learned something new!  And I mean entirely new. Something that I could have never predicted. Something that emerged out of an accidental movement - that spontaneously grew out of a particular way we were grappling.
As it turns out, my body knows a lot of things my head doesn’t – and can’t – know.

And that’s a lot of fun.


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  1. Vicky Jo Varner

    #1 by Vicky Jo Varner - October 7, 2010 at 5:07 PM

    Hey Charles...

    It's kinda cool to experience that extraverted Sensation *thing*, isn't it?

    Robin (my husband) has been performing magic to develop his extraverted Sensation. He was booked recently to perform (and get paid for it!) by the Magic Castle in Hollywood, and he couldn't be happier about it!

    Who sez you can't teach an old dog new tricks?

    As a type practitioner, I think it's vital for people to understand that the psyche is not a static thing, a stereotype, a pigeonhole -- but is perpetually pushing us to unfold some new form of consciousness. :-)

    -Vicky Jo :-)
  2. Charles

    #2 by Charles - October 12, 2010 at 3:35 PM

    Hi Vicky Jo!

    Yes, that extraverted sensing thing is pretty cool. And what's interesting and cool too is that it doesn't "serve" the dominant funciton or the dominant function's "goals." There is a joy inherent very simply in the "experience" of it - in and of itself!

    And I'm still not sure you can "teach" an old dog. They have to learn it on there own, after years and years of mistakes.... ;-)

    I like what you're saying about type not being a stereotype, pigeonhole or static entity. In my mind, rather, it gives us insight into the workings of some aspects of our consciousness - which is never static.... except when it is of course... :-) .....

  3. Erica

    #3 by Erica - November 23, 2010 at 2:12 AM

    I find the same evolution in myself. I would immerse myself in researching the subject. I've immersed myself in researchign India, Iran, Italy ( I just noticed the pattern of things that begin with "I"...hmmm...) and never actually gone to visit those places. Now, instead of researching, I'm actually going and doing. I've enjoyed the research. Now I'm enjoying the doing. Thanks for your post. :)
  4. Charles

    #4 by Charles - November 24, 2010 at 12:04 PM

    Erica - that "I" pattern is funny. :-D So if you started researching England, Egypt and Ecuador does that mean you'd be working on your "E"?! I agree - it feels so good to just go and do....
  5. Christy

    #5 by Christy - April 8, 2011 at 1:01 AM

    I like experiencing things, but as an INTP/J, I would find it a great loss to lose or grow out of my tendency to analyze and investigate everything. It's one of my favorite parts of myself. I do like thinking about things more than experiencing them, though the combination of both really is best.

    I just discovered your blog. Love it.
  6. Charles

    #6 by Charles - April 18, 2011 at 10:00 AM

    @Christy . Thanks for the comments. Well, I suspect that neither one of us is in danger of losing our tendency to to analyze and investigate - no matter how much we develop. ;-) And I agree, it's the combination of thinking and experiencing that's going to be the best - and probably a realistic expectation for us!
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