If you are not familiar with Jungian cognitive functions, please reference “Personality Development Tools: The Car Model” to familiarize yourself with cognitive functions and how they influence personality type.


Possibly one of the most established concepts about personality types in social consciousness is the difference between “Introverts” and “Extraverts.”

The differences are explained as ‘shy, quiet, needing a lot of alone time’ (for Introverts) and ‘bombastic, people-oriented, energetic’ (for Extraverts).

Regardless whether or not people have a truly accurate understanding of the differences, they have enough understanding to ‘get’ that Introverts are tuned into the ‘inner world’ and Extraverts thrive on the ‘outer world’.

In all my years of profiling one thing has become exquisitely clear: people LOVE their preferred world. Introverts adore their inner world, and Extraverts adore the outer world.

It’s this intrinsic love that generates what may be the biggest challenge in personality development: heading straight for the 10 Yr Old process when one should be developing the Co-Pilot process.

As mentioned in the article Personality Development Tools: The Car Model, we all need a way to take in new information and a way to evaluate that information. We also need an Introverted part of us, or a way to get in touch with our ‘inner world’, and an Extraverted part of us, or a way to get real-world feedback.

Our Driver process can only hit two of those four necessities, which makes our Co-Pilot process so necessary.

That said, we’re not creatures that particularly love discomfort and venturing into the ‘other’ world can be dump trucks full of uncomfortable.

As an Extravert, I remember when I first started truly venturing into the ‘inner world’ in a meaningful way. It was like walking into the house of a hoarder knowing 1) I’d been the one to make the mess by ignoring it, and 2) it was my job to sort it out and clean it up.

For an Introvert, spending a lot of time in the outer world can be exhausting and feel like torture. I remember my mom (INFJ) collapsing for days after a weekend seminar with 1000+ people.

personalityhacker_comfort-zone-graphicUnfortunately, there’s no short cut to personality development. If an Extravert refuses to spend quality time in the ‘inner world’ they will distance themselves from their own value system, sometimes doing truly distasteful things to avoid any ‘inner work’.

In the same vein, an Introvert who refuses to ‘venture out’ can become so myopic and divorced from ‘reality’ if the outer world doesn’t confirm their biases they’ll ignore information vital to both themselves and others.

So, in light of all of this, why do we head straight for our 10 Yr Old and ignore the Co-Pilot?

The 10 Yr Old cognitive function has the seductive quality of being in the same ‘attitude’ of our Driver process, whereas the Co-Pilot is in the opposite attitude.

“Attitude” is a technical term that indicates the ‘world preference’ of a cognitive function – either Introverted or Extraverted. For example, there are two Intuitive processes – Introverted Intuition (which we call “Perspectives”) and Extraverted Intuition (or, “Exploration”). So, Perspectives is an Intuitive process that has an Introverted attitude, and Exploration is an Intuitive process that has an Extraverted attitude.

When our Driver process doesn’t want to have to be mature, when it just wants to be a little self-indulgent and not take all sides into consideration, we’ll skip our Co-Pilot process and go straight for the 10 Yr Old. That allows us to consider information and make decisions, but we don’t have to do that pesky “checking in with a bigger picture” thing. We get to stay in the comfort of the “We Get to Believe Whatever We Want to Believe” inner world (if one’s an Introvert), or the “Never Check In to Make Sure We’re Actually On Board with the Ramifications of this Decision” outer world (if one’s an Extravert).

That’s not to say the 10 Yr Old is somehow evil or possesses no wisdom. It does, in a ‘kids say the darnedest things’ way. My stepson (who is 9) says brilliant things all the time. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to consult him for major life decisions.

Once the Driver has consulted the Co-Pilot process, only then should the 10 Yr Old be allowed to pipe in with added perspective.

And, of course, the more developed the Co-Pilot process is, the more you’ll enjoy using it in chorus with the Driver. Development means exercising, and exercising means conscientious effort. And that means avoiding the lure of the 10 Yr Old.


For an easy reference to many of the more technical terms, feel free to use the Quick Reference Guides page.

And for a deeper insight into how you can develop your Co-Pilot process and avoid the pitfalls of the 10 Yr Old consider the Genius Style premium content, your guide to leveraging personality development.

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  • Just S
    • Just S
    • July 13, 2021 at 8:20 pm

    Very interesting and helpful article, especially coming here from the “When You ALMOST Know Your Personality Type” article.

    I do have a few questions.

    You wrote,

    “In all my years of profiling one thing has become exquisitely clear: people LOVE their preferred world. Introverts adore their inner world, and Extraverts adore the outer world.”

    I definitely thrive in, need, and love both worlds. I switch off between introvert and extrovert methods and cravings daily. I guess that leads to my point of confusion. I have been taking MBTI tests for 4 decades and I most often get an ENFP result, but frequently get INFP and occasionally get ENTP and INTP results. It is not merely that I compensate or apply techniques when needed, I genuinely move in and out of these states on a continual basis, sometimes to the frustration and confusion of the people who want to love me, LOL.

    So, what is the best course forward?

    I do feel that my Extroverted Intuition dominates in all cases and Introverted Sensing seems to play a key role in most of my decision making. The others (Introverted Feeling, Introverted Thinking, Extroverted Feeling) seem to come in and out of focus.

    Should I focus on developing the two functions that seem to be most often present and just pick one to be the Driver and one to be the Co-Pilot or has nature already made that selection and I am just being daft?

    Also, since Introverted Sensing is either the 10 yr old or the 3 yr old in each of my common results, is that my challenge function? I definitely love curating and studying the past but I feel tremendously uncomfortable with any reliance or disposition toward precedent, order, or repetition.

  • Mark
    • Mark
    • June 6, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    Oops – I meant to put the above comment relating to this article:
    Sorry !

  • Mark
    • Mark
    • June 6, 2017 at 1:17 pm

    What about the functions that aren’t in your Functional Stack?

    I think my type is currently ISFP, because I’m naturally good at that introverted feeling thing, but my growth states and flow states have come from extraverted sensing-related activities – my auxiliary.

    So I’ve got Fi, Se, Ni and Te – it kind of makes sense.

    But in some situations, I use Ne, I think: when learning I do tend to experiment with things and try combinations out. I’m quite good at it, but It can get stressful though and feel like a compulsion or obsession. So it’s like having a shadow INFP maybe? I don’t know – confusing! So where does that fit in the fuctional stack?

    And I’m sure in some situations I use the other functions. ALthough they might feel like more of an effort, like looking after people’s needs in relationships (Fe), it’s not that I don’t like doing it, but it doesn’t come as naturally as looking after my own (Fi)

    I’m thinking aloud a bit here. Looking at the other comments here I can see a lot of other people are confused too about their type. I’m trying to be flexible and see MBTI type as a ‘best fit’ rather than nailing it down. It’s tempting to try and nail it down – something else I see quite a lot in the comments here.

  • Diego
    • Diego
    • June 29, 2016 at 3:46 am

    That was so enlightening and >exactly< what I was looking for.

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