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In this episode Joel and Antonia talk about developing a healthy relationship with your tertiary cognitive function (what we call the 10-year-old in the Car Model).

In this podcast you’ll find:

Car Modelcar model

10 year old cognitive function is the one we go to in place of the copilot. Our chief suggestion for growth is to focus on the copilot. We encourage people to stop giving preference to their 10 year old in place of the copilot.

This is not intended as a demonization of the 10 year old. Today we want to show you how accessing your 10 year old in a certain way can accelerate your personal growth.

Rule of Thumb:

  • We start developing Driver in teens
  • Copilot in 20s-30s
  • Tertiary in 30-40s
  • Inferior 50s +

It is possible to accelerate this process with focused personal growth.

If you spend enough time exercising your copilot you may be ready to start working on your 10 year old.

What is the loop we are always discouraging people from exercising? The loop is the tendency to stay in the same attitude with which you lead. If you are an introvert you get caught in a loop that favors the introverted world. If you are an extravert you get caught in a loop that favors the extraverted world.

How can we use our 10 year old to be a beneficial tool in our basket?

When we get caught in the loop we are usually doing it because our dominant process is practicing confirmation bias. The 10 year old will usually support the viewpoint of the Driver, and sometimes this is exactly what our driver is looking for.

When we have a good healthy relationship with our 10 year old we find it helps support us because it gives us extra tools that we wouldn’t necessarily have access to.

For example:

  • INTJ – Imagine an INTJ in a relationship where things aren’t going too well. 10 yr old may say, “This relationship is doomed,” because that is what the Driver is already thinking.
    • Suggestion: Get into copilot Te* and make pro/con list and create metric around it. What is the dynamic? How are you contributing to this dynamic? 10 year old is telling you that this is completely unfixable, but your copilot may indicate there is a way to save the relationship if you act like an adult and stop asking guidance from a 10 year old.
    • Alternatively, Let’s say you are going to your copilot and using the lens of your best and highest self already. How will the 10 year old show up in this case?
    • It is still there but it is no longer just a mindless support system.
    • For INTJs, the 10 year old is Fi which helps them see how they feel and how others feel. As a support to the copilot, Fi will make and INTJ more sympathetic. It’s about implementing systems that make everyone feel good. Implementing strategies that take everyone into consideration.
  • ENTP – 10 year old Fe – This manifests as disconcerting connections. Social anxiety resulting in emotional meltdown. Copilot helps ENTPs get rational without the emotional variable. ENTPs bring clarity by using their copilot Ti. The 10 year old helps them to communicate truths in a way that is more palatable. Delivering a truth that needs to be delivered in a package that doesn’t trigger its listeners.

The 10 year old helps us flush out our messages and gets us in a space where we are more effective at what we are attempting to accomplish.

More Examples:

  • ISTP – 10 year old Ni: Ti/Ni loop. ISTPs at their best in Se – copilot. 10 year old needs in the moment experience to be used well by ISTPs. An ISTP might speculate wrongly if he doesn’t start with Se and follow with Ni. Ni can support Se in anticipating what can happen in the moment. Great in law enforcement.
  • ESFJ – 10 year old is Ne: in the Fe/Ne loop, ESFJs create patterns that aren’t accurate. Si would look at the precedent and past experience, then 10 year old could form a pattern based upon actual evidence rather than theoretical speculation. Ne becomes more accurate when used in conjunction with Si.


  • How have you gone to your 10 year old in a defensive way? How has it supported your copilot in a good way? When have things gone right and when have things gone terribly wrong? Post your comments below.

*Abbreviation legend:

  • Te – Extraverted Thinking or Effectiveness
  • Fi – Introverted Feeling or Authenticity
  • Fe – Extraverted Feeling or Harmony
  • Ti – Introverted Thinking or Accuracy
  • Ni – Introverted iNtuition or Perspectives
  • Ne – Extraverted iNtuition or Exploration
  • Se – Extraverted Sensing or Sensation
  • Si – Introverted Sensing or Memory

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  • Nat
    • Nat
    • June 15, 2016 at 10:20 pm

    I loved this episode, thank you so much for the insight and advice, guys! I enjoy your podcasts very much.

    I’m an INFP and I’ve observed that I tend to go to my 10 year old (Si) in a defensive way during a very difficult time in my life. If I suppress my Ne (due to stress and burnout), my mind starts to revisit memories and fixates on these past experiences (sometimes remembering better times, other times reliving past failures) instead of living/dealing with/accepting the present moment. If I let this Fi-Si loop continue for too long, the consequences are: melancholy, tunnel vision, despair and decision-paralysis. Not cool. :(

    So currently I’m learning how to strengthen my copilot (Ne) and also how to use my tertiary function (Si) in a smart/mature way. And this episode was really helpful for my self-development goals, so thanks again. :)

    Could you please please please make an episode about developing a healthy relationship with your inferior (4th) cognitive function? I would love to hear your thoughts on this. :)

  • Christa
    • Christa
    • May 30, 2016 at 7:16 am

    How does this work with an ISTJ? (Since authenticity is my 10 year old). I listened to the podcast and really enjoyed it…but am still having a hard time with understanding authenticity as my ten year old. I naturally have a hard time with vulnerability and intimacy…so how is authenticity my defensive state? Any clarification would be greatly helpful! Thank you!

  • Mina
    • Mina
    • May 30, 2016 at 6:11 pm

    Hi. Thanks a lot for the podcast. Helped clear things out for me.

    I’m an INTJ. The Ni-Fi loop’s always been horrible, and so far, every time my Fi gets out of control, it’s taken me quite a while to recognize that it’s not natural – that something is wrong with the way I’m thinking/feeling. By the time I realize that the loop’s in full swing, I’m exhausted from all the effects of an unhealthy, overactive Fi. Somehow I often forget I have a Te to help with the situation. When I do employ Te finally [mostly by accident] and step out of the loop, it’s with huge relief and my head feels like a storm just cleared. Everything starts making more sense. But by then, I’ve wasted a lot of time acting really immature. Probably caused a lot of damage too.

    The key is stepping out of the loop early. I find it hard to recognize the loop when I’m in one. I suppose the solution would be to develop my Te and use it more, so I reduce the risk of being drawn into the loop at all. Face every problem squarely, and remember to do what I do best – analyze and make a plan, before it all gets out of hand.

    And the good part of Fi has always helped me sympathize and communicate, although I realize I don’t use it as much as I should. But it’s rewarding every time I do use it sensibly.

  • Kim
    • Kim
    • May 30, 2016 at 2:52 am

    Interesting podcast. Now very curious to know the benefits and ways to develop the 4th function, the 3-year-old.

  • Samuel Hatton
    • Samuel Hatton
    • May 26, 2016 at 7:14 pm

    This was the first episode I’ve ever listened to. And I have never heard of anything close to the car model or the primary, secondary, tertiary .. parts of the MBTI model. I am fascinated. For the last few days, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this.

    Where my 10 year hurts me and how my co-pilot helps —
    As an ENTP my self, I get hit with self-confidence (particularly wanting to fit in) and fear (particularly taking risks) – this makes sense because my 10-year is Fe (harmony). When I am not at my best I don’t want to mess up. It seems like my co-pilot Ti has been a strong suit in helping me journal and introspect the mind blocks that my emotions play on me. I’m able to rationalize the fear. Also my co-pilot helps me prepare my way out of the fear. Out of all this came my podcast topic Courageous Self-Confidence where I’m the one who seems to be struggling through it.

    Where my 10 year old helps —
    In times of play (as mentioned in the show). I tend to be pretty competitive when it comes to games. HOWEVER when I allow myself to “play” and have fun, my 10 year Fe (harmony) can kick in and I take the attitude of “winning is an attitude not a score” and “just as long as we are all having fun, it doesn’t matter if I win or lose”.

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