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Featured [INFJ] How do you 'train' your cognitive functions?

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  1. Rowan Tree

    Rowan Tree Community Member

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    It would be interesting to hear other types hereabouts (ENTJs, INTPs, ENTPs—you know who you are?) describe how they develop their cognitive functions too. I am interested in what activities you engage in to develop the four functions.

    To illustrate:

    Ni ~ Introverted Intuition:
    This probably requires the least active development for INFJs, as our dominant function. But for that reason, we perhaps just fall into Ni orientated activities. I would include a lot of my writing (often abstract, even metaphysical), talking through systems of ideas with select people, developing them as I go, and just pacing, often between bouts of intense reading, letting new connections and juxtapositions 'appear' in my mind.

    [​IMG]


    Fe ~ Extroverted Feeling: This makes me think of socializing with small groups, enjoying intense conversations about aesthetics, ethics, politics, history. Although it's exhausting and sometimes stressful, I love canvassing for Labour during elections and the personal, value-based dialogue this gives rise to when you're lucky enough to speak to someone skeptical, but willing to engage in good faith. Then there are long discussions with my wife and closest friends. Playing tabletop miniature (and other board and card based) games as well, particularly if the game has a narrative dimension (anyone else plays Shadespire?) is comfortably Fe.

    [​IMG]

    Ti ~ Introverted Thinking: Sorting through thoughts, developing them from first principles, again putting them to paper. I'm often disappointed using Ti, as I cannot always capture what makes an Ni connection interesting—anyone else have a love-hate relationship with language? It always promises so much, which really only poetry comes close to delivering. I guess doing things like this comment thread, journalling, an overwhelming predilection for lists are examples of Ti. On lists, I use a whiteboard list for daily activities, a notepad for more specific tasks and a review document in Scrivener for books I read, each entry numbered and dated. Who else is big on lists?

    [​IMG]

    Se ~ Extroverted Sensing:
    Lately, meditating half an hour a day helps deal with problems around an inferior sensing function—e.g. sensory overload (also a symptom of being on the spectrum), general and social anxiety, lack of focus, etc. Playing the violin, exercise, going to places like Kew Gardens would be other Se activities I try to prioritise; even though I'd more comfortably spend all day every day reading and writing.

    [​IMG]
     
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    #1 Rowan Tree, Oct 9, 2018
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  2. Ginny

    Ginny Good Green Glow

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    Ti: I love lists, and I also love language. Part of being both a linguist and literary scientist, I guess :sweatsmile: I keep a list of all the books I am planning to read next to my shelf, have been doing this ever since I couldn't keep track anymore of what I hadn't read/possessed. Goodreads has made it easier too, but I still keep the list because it has some sort of satisfaction to it to cross things off it.

    Fe-Ti: I do this tandem thing where I analyse my emotions in order to handle myself better in the future. I sort of put them out there so that I can absorb them from the outside. It's not that easy to do, to be honest, because you have to be honest with yourself to do that. While I think I am as honest as I can be, it may not reflect things as other people see or feel them. But that is part of Fe too, recognising that people have different perspecitves and may interpret things differently, given their different experiences, upbringing, etc. It's a good thing for me to keep in mind when interacting with others.

    Fe: I watch a lot of TV and also read a lot, which can actually affect me emotionally, so I have no doubt that it has something to do with this. It's a good way of taking in emotional energy without having to depend on other people, who you also automatically spend it on. It doesn't mean that I wouldn't prefer social activities, I do, but when you're depleted or noone is available, it's still a good second choice.

    Ni: no idea, actually. The vague notion I had only months ago has become somewhat more graspable, but I still need to further explore it to make sense of it entirely. I realise that the intellectual, psychological and practical sides of it are rather easily explained, but I'm looking into this from a different perspective at the moment, one that is more abstract and mystical.

    Se: I take been taking walks, sometimes listening to new age meditation music as well, just to embrace more positive vibes. It may have an Ni-aspect to it as well. Otherwise, I would probably do well to pick up a sport, but for some reason I enjoy teamsports (like badminton) more than doing something on my own. It's as if shifting focus to my body is harmful to my balance. I suddenly can't do as much as I could if I didn't focus on that. At least, it seems that way to me.
     
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  3. OP
    Rowan Tree

    Rowan Tree Community Member

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    Oh, I love language too, but I struggle with its limits and with wanting to express the extralinguistic directly.

    I like that you put two of the functions together to answer this question. And that's a good activity too.

    I can relate.

    One of the benefits of developing Se is definitely the mature interaction of Ni-Fe. This has a highly mystical quality.

    Likewise, prefer all forms of cooperative play and I'm not particularly competitive in most domains. I'd even say my distaste for causing upset is slightly compulsive.
     
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  4. Ginny

    Ginny Good Green Glow

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    I have found a great thing about language is how flexible it is. You can basically express anything you want if you are creative enough to perform this undertaking. But I am guilty of not being able to follow this to the letter as well, so I understand where you are coming from.
     
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  5. Ren

    Ren Pin's android

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    Great thread, with a fantastic presentation as well. Good work! ;)

    I think the best way I could describe how I train my Ni is by letting it guide me more, "feeling at home" in it, following an insight to where it leads me, and generally speaking – cultivating an open mind to anything whatever which seems to have substance, outwardly rational or not. I see training my Ni as making sure that I "keep my valves" open as much as possible to experiences which I might not otherwise appreciate or even perceive.

    Work is a good way to cultivate Fe for me. I work in communications, which requires finely understanding how to get a message across to the general public, or to specific types of audiences. Putting oneself in people's shoes, feeling what kind of content would resonate with them, and delivering it in the right way, is really a key part of my job. Fe really helps for that, especially in combination with Ni (NiFe). And the workplace is also a good place to socialize, especially if the colleagues are nice. I am fortunate in that regard, and am generally regarded as good for a workplace's atmosphere – a kind of link.

    I'd say that writing and reading philosophy is undoubtedly where I get to hone my Ti the most. My development in that regard over the last few years has been quite astounding. I feel like writing philosophy, much more than simply reading it, is an excellent tool for sharpening Introverted Thinking. Of course, philosophy is also where I get to make heavy use of Ni and – more recently, with open ethics – Fe.

    On the Se front, however... Hm, I'd say that I can still do much more. But I cultivate Se at least through my love of music – including the excitement of discovering new music – and art.
     
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  6. OP
    Rowan Tree

    Rowan Tree Community Member

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    Thank-you, :smiley:

    That's a wonderful way of describing Ni.

    That would be challenging, but I can see what you mean. And, I do find that if I go through a period of solitude, the ability to communicate effectively or control anxiety diminishes, and vice-versa. It's quite easy for me to fall back on Ti if I don't have something to meaningfully motivate me to socialise, and since I freelance, that's largely politics.

    Absolutely. I try to keep some art books always on the go (I'm currently enjoying Lauris Morgan-Griffiths's wonderful 'Georgia O'Keeffe: An American Perspective').
     
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  7. Ren

    Ren Pin's android

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    I'm not particularly big on external lists, but I'm big on internal ones. I get a sense of satisfaction from internally "ticking boxes" at the completion of tasks. Sometimes it can even be hard for me to move on to another task as long as that internal ticking of the box hasn't been experienced. However, what I have noticed is that I do internal lists more than ever when I'm stressed, and in turn, that makes me even more stressed. It's a never-ending vicious cycle, which has actually gotten me near burnout level in the past (only just earlier this year, in fact.) Since then, I have tried to let myself be guided much more by Ni, which is my natural home, even if it's not as rigidly ordered. It usually carries me to my destination anyway. :)
     
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  8. Wyote

    Wyote Moody Magician
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  9. OP
    Rowan Tree

    Rowan Tree Community Member

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    I do this with external lists. Although without them, I find it hard to function.

    Hahahaha

    :mclap:
     
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  10. Hostarius

    Hostarius Permanent Fixture

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    Hi, Rowan, great thread.

    I don't consciously try to 'train the functions' as such, but I can definitely put what I do in those terms.

    On lists, though, I use physical lists typically when I have to keep to some work rate. My most common type of list is simply to track the hours I've worked (usually with a little circle for some reason), and I get a kick out of the sense of 'hard work' as I record each hour completed. This is useful when the work is routine or otherwise unstimulating, or when I really lack motivation (e.g. when I haven't slept).

    Ni-Ti - This is an interesting one, as I rely on it so heavily for the work I do. It reliably produces great results and so I've come to depend upon it. The discipline is history, within which I'm typically trying to extract some insight around a historical problem, in very general terms.

    Essentially I'll read and read, loading Ni with information. As I read, I'll make physical quotations of interesting passages in black pen in a bound refill book, and then underneath I'll make a note of whatever observation I've had in red pen. I think these observations are Ti trying to feed Ni.

    I'll keep doing this, becoming gradually more aware of the links that are forming (I imagine the red-pen observations connecting together), and more aware of the 'shape' of the 'big idea' I'm trying to nail down.

    At some point, I'll have mini eureka moments of realisation at some key element of the thesis, but through experience I know that I'm not yet finished, so I'll keep going. If I've consulted all the texts I wanted to, I'll read through the red notes to try to stimulate Ni and concretise the big idea. This is like the midwife phase of the process. Ti gets involved too in conscious thinking, but the powerhouse is Ni.

    Eventually, the whole thing will coalesce in a eureka moment (I may even have started writing up by then), and I'll write up the whole thing in what feels like one sitting, even though it might go on for weeks. While I'm writing up, the idea is clear and solid, and it's like I'm channeling it from somewhere else. Consciously I'll use Ti or maybe even Fe to make it read beautifully/powerfully, but I'm pretty much possessed in this phase. Of course I'll be constantly dipping into my notes to take quotations and references, but I definitely have the whole thing packed in there just waiting to come out.

    This is what it looks like on paper, but I visualise the ideas as a network or some other spatial relationship
    [​IMG]


    Interestingly, my supervisor described pretty much the same process to me the other day and I thought, 'oh, Ni user'.

    Fe - Art. Videos and stuff about heroism. Cultivating and ruminating on virtue. This is my 'down time' function, where I live to relax. Love. Friendship. Lots of agape. Charity.

    Se - I was into powerlifting before I got injured (I want to go back somehow without snapping muscles from bones), and I really got a lot out of the 'mind-muscle' connection, especially during maximal effort, 1-rep maxes, which I loved. All of your focus in the entire world just goes into one incredible effort. You think about nothing else but exerting maximal force.

    E.g. A squat:
    Focus
    Deep, slow breaths
    Wrap my wrists tightly, slap them together
    Put my left hand in the chalk and massage the dust.
    Use my left hand to rub chalk over the thumb of my right hand.
    Do the same with the other hands
    Slap my hands together
    Pull my arms back in tight and flex my traps
    Feel my triceps squeeze against my lats
    Getting tight now. Aggression and determination building.
    Tighten my legs.
    Approach the bar with the same number of steps
    Everything is tight
    Slam down my left foot and grind it into the platform
    Slam down my right foot and grind it into the platform
    Deep hard breath.
    Hand placement on the bar; shake the bar
    Get under the bar and force myself up
    Push my traps into the bar hard and tight; it's a low bar squat
    Everything is as tight as possible; there is no slack anywhere
    Lift up and walk out; small steps
    Maximal determination; maximal aggression
    Massive gulp of air
    Descend - strong, steady
    Ass to grass
    Then mouth open in a silent scream as I ascend once more. I either make the rep or I fail. Absolute maximal effort.
    Lock knees - success, hilation
    Rerack the bar
    Exhale, relief
    Take off the straps
    Sit down for ten minutes and write the rep in my training log, you're not a bodybuilder and it's not fucking cardio

    I honestly can't think of a single better way to develop that intense focus on your actual body. I think it's something to do with the repetitive ritual though, definitely - I can give myself a rush of hormones even now by breathing in a certain pattern. Maybe yoga or meditation can achieve similar effects, but for me the maximal effort lift beats everything.
     
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  11. OP
    Rowan Tree

    Rowan Tree Community Member

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    Thank you.

    That's interesting. I've tended to think of it in the other direction—Ti organising Ni, but I think that this is right given the nature of Ni.

    I know exactly that feeling. This is why I prefer long, uninterrupted editing and writing sessions over broken chunks. If I cannot be overcome by the work in some sense, then I know it won't be worth much.

    The last two are definitely decisive for Fe. It's a function that rewards selfless giving in whatever form.

    I used to run, especially in rural Wales, and I have done a morning HIIT routine. It's very different from meditation. Perhaps meditation is challenging for INFJs because, if we sit still, Ni asserts itself over Se and we go into that kind of associative, systematising stream of consciousness rather than staying in the present, corporeal moment. This was also my experience of prayer as a child. I wonder how ESFPs or ESTPs experience meditation. For me, Vipassanā has helped tremendously to realign my awareness back to my body and made meditation much more fruitful, but I would like to start a more serious exercise routine again.
     
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  12. Ren

    Ren Pin's android

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    So that's why you're basically the Hulk of Historians. :p
     
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  13. Impact Character

    Impact Character Community Member

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    I'm sorry in advance that I've to write an answer this way..

    I've let it go through my mind a couple of times how I could contribute to this thread.. - started writing and deleting a couple of times since this thread popped up - with the focus on listing each cognitive function by itself and going through activities..

    This morning I just wrote.. letting it flow.

    If you find this irritating don't bother..
    I believe this my internal method and I think that I "missuse" it for different "cognitive training" activities, alot.
    (It's my inner attempt to make subconscious patterns more concious. (I get a headache from this sentence. lol))

    Please don't feel directly spoken to.
    Anyways *coughs*... here it goes.. :relaxed:



    How to train your dragons …eh cognitive functions


    Whatever you do.. first have a core.

    This core can be a feeling or a rule..

    Because you need a Beginning and an End. A goal.


    Have an Impact by embracing the fact that you are not the one or the other.. you are both.

    Feeler and Thinker.

    Inside and Outside.

    Be everywhere – there is a big picture.


    But if you have a Core..

    ..you can make all details become a big picture in itself..

    It’s like a Mandelbrot. You are a Mandelbrot. Embrace that.


    If you get lost.. do the total opposite. If you are still lost you still miss structure.

    Ponder about the core „contrasting opposites“ and you will come up with the biggest impact.


    Always be loyal to your core. It guides you.


    Always be prepared to stop during your process and try verbalizing internally or externally (or both) the following question:



    „Why are you doing it …this way...

    ..and not in another particular way?“




    If you verbalized this try finding another way to verbalize it again.. switch to scribbling, painting and back to writing..take notes or write it out. Switch back. Combine. Always try to get it out. Always take in from outside sources, too.


    You are not the first one who dealt with this. Remember: Mandelbrot.


    It doesn’t matter where you take it from or under which logical banner it once roamed.


    Structure. Systemize. Push together what has a connection. Make it clearer.


    Not everyone talks through the heart and gut, my friend. So you are stuck with communicating the one or the other way.


    Embrace the fact that you are mediating. Not only between inside and outside, different souls and perspectives.. but also between …literally…everything that is contrasting.


    Ying Yang comes to my mind.
    If you think you are only in touch with one part, then you are wrong.

    You just haven’t reached out to the other side of it.



    In the end let people decide how much they want or can peel into this.

    The access to the core is wide open..
    ..people in need of meaning will find the door.


    I don’t want to scare you away but there is more to it as you peel it off..

    ..layer by layer..


    It reveals. Crystal clear.



    I know it’s exhausting.. you might undergo a process of leaving your inner home town and explore the strange lands..

    But it is worth your while. You are on a Mission.
    It’s a contribution.


    ... ...

    ..

    Honestly.. I don't think I could have written this in German this way.
    (*coughs* I might still write the list of activities later on... First, I needed this to get out of my system. Sorry. :sweatsmile:)
     
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  14. OP
    Rowan Tree

    Rowan Tree Community Member

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    Absolutely no need to be sorry—I love that someone answered this in verse!

    Haha! Also, is Toothless INFJ?

    [​IMG]

    I really like this.
     
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  15. Impact Character

    Impact Character Community Member

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    Thank you so much, Rowan. That is very kind of you.

    I feel all MumboJumbo answering this way.. but then again..
    .."it's ironically in theme" of what I wrote.



    *lol* who knows?! I think he is a very wise kid!



    Thanks again :relaxed:
    What is it you like about it? (If I may dive a little into it..?)
     
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  16. OP
    Rowan Tree

    Rowan Tree Community Member

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    Absolutely, it captures that way of trying to grasp something ineffable through different mediums, the inadequacy of plain expression and the insight that through different aesthetic approaches we can grasp, however elliptically, the unnamable. Poetry does this profoundly well. I like the ying-yang stuff too, that sense of things becoming their opposites; I find the notion of shadow functions interesting in this sense. And I know Jung did a lot of work on this kind of stuff, even writing an introduction to the I Ching.
     
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  17. Impact Character

    Impact Character Community Member

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    First of.. a confession...

    Everytime I read a post of yours, I get this inevitable need to go on a next research trip. (lol)
    This is not because you were lacking coherence in your communication.. but because I lack context and knowledge. (Just to make that clear. ^^")
    Also..it's probably because English isn't my mother tongue and there is the cultural context.. *drifting off*
    ..Before I get in the need of appologizing again. *stops uffs*

    Is it weird to say that the iterative process is poetry to me, too?
    Most things don't really differ from each other much but people usually don't like to try understanding these weirdo thoughts and impressions.


    Yah.. the shadow.. .. does anyone else find this an intriguing yet delicate theme, too?

    ... u_u
     
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  18. OP
    Rowan Tree

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    Oh, that's understandable. I'm better than I was, but particularly as a kid, I really struggled with the idea that I could know something and someone else could not know it. (Being on the spectrum thing). And I tend to get lost in my own terminology and references. If you ever want me to give me some context, always feel free to ask.

    I don't find it weird at all, but then—as much as it will surprise everyone—I've been accused of being weird.
     
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  19. Impact Character

    Impact Character Community Member

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    You are doing great! ^^ I think your community has a very thourough solid inner communication already.. I believe that is a very good sign. And it makes sense that each one of you is not going to explain each hard-context-driven word in every post again and again. Leaving this out is necessary and natural.

    I've been there too.. I think it's very human to struggle with that earlier or later.. it's just a question of.. intensity .. or depth..I guess. (*yesterday googling 'on the spectrum'* Urban Dictionary is a helpful thing at times xD)
    I think I strugge with this still..every now and then.. that's why I am hopelessly trying to find ways (or bridges)... painfully knowing that there is no common-general solution but individual and tailored.. context forms perception forms understanding, too.
    A long time ago I dealt with managing terminology itself..that's complicated stuff especially when you broaden this to an intercultural pallette.

    Questions are a very good answer, too! (thank you for offering ^^)
    (It's moments like these I need to tell myself that I have all time in the world to research, dive-in and read throughout this whole forum - and having the possibility to ask questions. Because this community is so unbelievable understanding! ö.ö)


    LOL!
    also: aww! *giggles*

    This world might be a better place if everyone just embraced their weirdness a tad more, I suppose.
     
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  20. OP
    Rowan Tree

    Rowan Tree Community Member

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    Absolutely. I think the weird and strange needs to come together and make a utopia of outcasts. The only real kind of utopia there is. [​IMG]
     
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