The Utility of Doubt, Lethargy, and Other Perceived Negatives

Lately I have had one subject come back to me repeatedly over the last few weeks. It came at the right time when I felt, and still feel like I have no time to accomplish my goals and dreams, that each minute not spent writing, or not looking for jobs in my field is time wasted, that every move I do not make is a step backward. What I’ve been shown through accounts that I follow and through the guidance of others are the necessary functions that doubt and inertia offer.

You may already be aware of these functions, or think they are obvious, but they easily go unnoticed despite their transparency. For example, there are instances where doubt is necessary to attain true confidence. When you experience doubt, you are asking the right questions, and taking the right initiatives. You are pushed to think about the things that need to be dealt with in order to achieve a goal. With this process of self checking and examination, you can eventually find yourself in a validated place. The same works for when you have writers block, or when you find that you can’t bring yourself to complete a task. When you experience one of these ruts, it is best not to fight against it. Stillness, meditation, and remaining quiet can birth ideas and action:

“Taking attention away from your goals brings you to a state of receptivity”                                                                                        -Wisdom of the Oracle

    Trust in the timing of your life is also necessary. There are going to be times of traffic and red lights, and times of green lights and accelerated lanes. Fighting against this natural flow that cannot be changed is exhausting, and a waste of effort.

It is also in this way that our perceived enemies become our allies. The more a negative force is applied, the more light that wants to shine through the fissures. I will soon be approaching a scene in my writing where I directly address this concept, using the example of a fallen angel and a guardian who become entangled in a dark dance. After the most intense suffering subjected to the guardian from the dark entity’s intent, the bringer of light calls out “How does it make you feel? That the more you exert your darkness onto me, the brighter my dim light shines in it’s shadow?”

So you see, if it was not for polarity, for the opposing forces you’re up against, your light would not shine as bright. Just remember that the next time you have someone or something giving you a hard time. The challenge is your chance to shine.

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MBTI Blog Challenge: How to Write the INTJ

  I’d like to start with thanking Hanna Heath for creating this awesome challenge, and including me in it! The idea is to write an article explaining your own MBTI type, and sharing it so that there is more character development material for writers  (which is brilliant). When the article is written, tag another writer to participate. Not only is this very useful for writers, but you also have the opportunity to add something unique to your personality type, which aren’t always discussed in great detail elsewhere.

While this post is about the INTJ, you can also read about the INFJ on Hannah’s blog here: MBTI Challenge: How to Write INFJ 

INTJ is one of the rarest Myers Briggs types, with the female INTJ consisting of just 0.8% of the population, and I am one of them (thats right character-seeking writers, you just hit the jackpot)!

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I don’t know if my perspective will be completely accurate for all INTJ personalities, as there seems to be a spectrum, but there are some insights that I have to offer.
 If I had to sum up this personality in one sentence, I’d say this: 
While the INTJ has a sort of “cut-throat” mentality, it comes from a high place.
    As you will see when you research this type, the most common misconception is that they’re removed, callous, and cold hearted. What’s hard for an INTJ is that people make these observations and accusations without asking or thinking about how or why this is.
    The perfect example of this, and one of the famous character examples for INTJ, is Professor Snape from Harry Potter. Admit it, we were all wary of him, and quite confused with his character, wondering exactly what side he was on and where he was coming from. Our minds turned against him when he was portrayed as something that always interfered with Harry’s position. But then our hearts lightened when we saw him transform into a source of protection (Im specifically thinking about the scene where Lupin turns into a werewolf, and Snape advises the children to get behind him, such a small act that speaks volumes).
      Professor Snape was not always the warmest character, and yet it seems he had the highest capacity of love out of everyone else in the story. This is the pinnacle of the INTJ.
   The INTJ is a strategist. They naturally see all variables and outcomes in any given situation. They always see the entire picture, no matter what. Its not something they have control over, its an integral part of their being.  Because of this, they know what has to be done, whether its easy or hard, to reach the desired outcome. That is where the “cut-throat” mentality comes from. They understand what it truly takes to produce what their world, and perhaps what the whole world (If they are also a humanitarian) truly needs. Nikola Tesla is another INTJ example, which speaks for itself.
The INTJ is the ultimate paradox in that they strive for the ideal using realism.
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Other character traits worth noting:
1. Loyalty: Depending on the person, trust for an INTJ is a thin veil that is frequently harmed, sometimes unknowingly, by the people in their life. Their judgement of character is precise and unerring, and if you are lucky enough to be in their life, that speaks volumes about the kind of person you are. It is rare for the INTJ to be severely mistreated in the first place, as their perspective allows them to see where a relationship is likely to go from the start. However, life is neither black or white, and hurt is bound to happen at some point, and the INTJ does not take it lightly. It simply isn’t tolerated. They know themselves, and they know where they want to go in life, and anything that creates resistance to their life’s journey will no longer be included.
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2. Depth:  Small talk is sandpaper to their psyche. It is joked that the INTJ starts out every day with a certain threshold for standard social interactions, and then must retreat within themselves or their environment after they’ve used up that allotted energy.
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They crave meaning in everything they do in life. So when its time to converse, they would much rather discuss larger ideas, or go in depth with how someone feels about their life, their hobbies, what keeps them up at night, etc. If they are surrounded by drama, they will retreat to the extent that you will not even know they are there anymore. If the drama is coming from a person, you can bet they will be dropped out of their life so quickly, it will leave the other person’s head spinning.

3. Growth: They always want to be a better version of themselves, although what constitutes as better will obviously vary person to person. However, because they are a bit of a brainiac, knowledge will definitely have something to do with it. There is an insatiable desire to know, but not just facts and current events. There is a desire to know and practice reasoning, whether it be moral, philosophical, logical, or sometimes even spiritually based.

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4. Independence: You will never see an INTJ altering their beliefs or behaviors to gain approval or to be liked by others. They will not only get by on their own, but thrive in solitary circumstances.

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Now to tag someone…

I challenge Jonathon D. Macgregor at Macgregor’s Pen for the next article.
I also challenge anyone reading this who are interested in participating, just make sure to link my blog in your post so that I can follow you. Also, don’t be a stranger! Leave a comment saying what personality type you’ll be doing. Be sure to title your post  “MBTI Blog Challenge: How to Write an <Insert Personality Type>”. This will make it easy for writers to find your post, and navigate through the personalities.
If you have any other questions about the INTJ, don’t hesitate to ask.
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If you like my work and would like to see my creative projects come to fruition, please support me on Patreon.

Misguided Advice: An Experience With Undergraduate Advising

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are”

-EE Cummings

I’ve recently read the novel The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. Although it is a little long for my taste, it’s extremely well written, with several brilliant take away messages. There is only one brief observation Tartt made in her work that I wish to focus on. It is how she describes college from a young Theo Decker, who applies to the University early due to circumstance.

Tartt chose to write about Theo’s perspective of his college professors. All of a sudden, you see that every adult in his life is certain about his interests, and think they know him and what he needs. The Philosophy teacher sees that he is obviously a philosopher who should get involved in their events outside of class. The English professor sees a paper he has written, and believes he must be dedicated to the topic he wrote about, as does all his other professors, who urge him to come to their club meetings and be involved with their pursuits. It reminds me of the expression “If the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail”.

These people take what they know best, and project it onto youth as if it should be their truth as well, the only truth, rather than taking themselves out of their limited perspective and placing it in other positions. With good intentions, its all they know how to do, as that is how they became the people they are in the first place, seeing it as the best method.

   Ive experienced this as well. Everyone thinks they know what you need, and who you are. So much so that they are comfortable with defining you without close inspection, asking broad questions that, at best, link your identity to how you want to make money rather than your character or integrity. It is a fad carried by a world that doesn’t think for themselves, and believes whatever they are told growing up and into adulthood from people in seemingly (and I stress the word seemingly) higher positions than their own. They follow blindly without really asking any questions and assuming their given role indifferently. There are little opportunities, all which mask individuality and demand that you look like everyone else.

At my University, I learned that advisors don’t like it when they ask you what your goals are, and you inform them that there is nothing quite specific in mind, but rather a desire to be involved in something that has a positive impact. That is the answer I gave my undergraduate advisor, that I wasn’t certain exactly where I wanted to end up after this last year of college and beyond that. As long as it felt constructive and that I was doing something meaningful, it didn’t matter to me.

This answer went over her head, and she supplied a response that completely missed the point, blatantly ignoring my expressed desires, with the simple advice to research what employers want, take actions to become exactly what that is (like I couldn’t come up with this obvious plan on my own at this point in my life), and that perhaps I should look into sales (mind you, I have an Environmental Studies major).

I have to admit this pained me quite a bit. I patiently listened to her rant, politely nodding my head in between sentences and quietly giving her a restrained approval at each point made. “Your help is not helpful” I wanted to say. I shook her hand, and left her office feeling alone with my thoughts, sadly without much surprise either, filled with the helplessness of not knowing if there was anyone in this world I could approach who saw things differently. I knew in my core that what she said was so inconsequential to myself and my purpose, so useless that it hurt to think I was expected to adhere to people like her. Certainly I was not the only person who felt this way, (although I don’t know where to find these kindred souls), but was there even any other options to begin with? Did she give this response because there really is no way to make a difference and support oneself simultaneously? Are there no openings for improving the environment despite everything thats wrong with the world?

Many thoughts came to me as I left south campus and drove home. How she was just doing her job, and her advice is a product of the corporate world that we live in, which wasn’t wrong, but not necessarily right either. Where people, as I just explained, only have what they’ve pursued. They’ve followed what they were told to do out of fear of not being able to have the success others defined for them, not driven by integrity, but by what everyone else is doing. It seems that anyone who strays slightly from this line will either be excluded, or take on the allegedly difficult task of creating a place for themselves out of nothing.

“What am I going to do when I know I don’t belong in this world?”, I thought.

I didn’t know, still don’t know a week deep into my last year of college, and probably never will until everything is said in done in the next chapter of my life.

Unlike most of my posts, I didn’t write about this to prove something or produce some kind of conclusion, but rather draw attention to this. The lack of integrity. The scorn for being unconventional. Schools that aren’t focused on preparing youth for our broken world, but rather for the promise of a paycheck. No one asking the true state of things, or challenging what they’re given. Has anyone else noticed?

Thanks University, and thanks society, but I think I’ll be much better off without your ill-advised guidance.