INTx Preview Interview #4 - Tom (INTJ)

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JOEL MARK WITT: Hey welcome back to the short series about the INTx Unleashed program we’re releasing here from Personality Hacker. My name is Joel Mark Witt.

ANTONIA DODGE: I’m Antonia Dodge.

JOEL MARK WITT: We’re doing these short recordings for two reasons. One, is we want to give you a flavor and a taste of what the INTx Unleashed program looks like. If you are an INTJ or an INTP and you’re interested in potentially investing in yourself, and getting this program, you probably want to know what’s in it, right? We’re highlighting some of the interviews, we’re taking clips, and we’re talking about those clips, and we’re giving you the breakdown of what’s in those different sessions. Second reason is we want to give content to you. If you don’t have the space, the time, or the resource, right now to invest in the program, we still want to give value to you, so we’re creating these as a way to give back regardless of your investment level right now.

ANTONIA DODGE: Yeah, if you are interested in getting this program, it’s important to know that this is a series of interviews with top performing INTJs and INTPs. Now we recognize that these two types do not have the same cognitive functions or mental wiring. INTPs and INTJs have different cognitive functions. That said, there’s a lot of crossover challenges that they experience, and a lot of the same strategies that they attempt. If you do end up getting the program, we recommend that if you’re an INTP, you listen to the INTJ interviews, and if you’re an INTJ that you listen to the INTP interviews. We also use Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as a guide so that you can help diagnose where you’re at in your developmental process, and then find that same concept, like the thing that the people being interviewed, all these top performers, when they’ve dealt with the same challenges. All the way down to survival when one of our interviewees mentions a fear of extinction, all the way up to self actualization, and ego transcendence work, and everything in between.

It doesn’t matter where you’re at in your process, you’re going to find somebody who has overcome one of those challenges at one of those levels.

JOEL MARK WITT: This next clip we’re going to highlight is from an interview with Tom de Kok. He talks about a strategy he tried at one time in his life. He’s an INTJ. He doubled down on this idea of being right and he realized there’s a distinction here that having to be right really stops you from happiness, it stops you from growth, it stops you from moving forward. Let’s listen to this clip and then Antonia and I are going to talk about it on the other side.

ANTONIA DODGE: Just as a note before we start the clip, there some explicit language in this clip. Actually, there is explicit language throughout all of the interviews. We did not censor or edit any of the language because we figured you’re INTs, and you can handle it, so if that’s something that is offense to you, then we just want to give you fair warning. There is explicit language in both this clip and in the program. Okay, now we can start the clip.

TOM DE KOK: As long as you keep thinking that what you think is the truth, you’re fucked. There are so many ways, so many levels, that you can interpret things, look at things that as long as for your own sense of self esteem, you need to be right, you’re going to be lonely. I don’t need to be right, I want to be connected, which is very different. This is wisdom, in my opinion. As soon as you drop the right and wrong, and you move to connection, and the understanding that somebody else is entitled to another opinion, which is as good as yours not a little less, then you start to actually be more happy. Because this closing off stuff, it just doesn’t work, and everybody knows it. It’s not just INTJs, it’s most of the world that does that out of fear for themselves, they all move into right and wrong, drop right and wrong.

There are things that are as they are within this realm anyway, you know? Like a table is a table. I agree to that. When it comes to opinions, or there comes to how you look at stuff, why things happen, how things work, that is a dangerous field to want to be right.

ANTONIA DODGE: I think the reason why Tom’s wisdom here, of not wanting to be right, but wanting to be connected, is that for INTJs there’s a lot of security that comes in a sense of certainty. It kind of hearkens back to what Brent talked about when he, in the previous excerpt, where he talks about looking around at this world that’s filled with chaos, and being like, “What is this?” One of the things that systems and structures bring, is it brings a sense of certainty. When you have your evaluative criteria in the outside world, right? Because INTJs use the cognitive function of extroverted thinking. That means that their thought processes, what makes sense to them, are things that can be verified in the outside world, right? Extroverted thinking is applying thinking to the outside, or extroverted, world. That means it comes down to pass-fail metrics, and it comes down to whether or not something works, and once you’ve observed it, once you’ve actually tested it in the outside world, well then now you know, right? There’s a sense of certainty there.

I think when you let go of this idea of needing certainty, and needing to have right-wrong criteria, right? That’s very much attached to this idea of in the outside world, well look, I can point to it. That’s how it works. When we talk about opinions, things that may or may not be playing out in the outside world the way we believe they are, we might be only seeing a portion of the information, or it might be going through a lens, or a filter that’s biased. Yet, we still want to apply that same sense of certainty. Tom mentioned, everybody does this, right? It’s not just INTJs, people of all types want to live in this concept of right and wrong, especially about opinions. He said, “Everybody knows that also doesn’t work.”

It’s not working when you have to be the person whose opinion is superior, when you have to be the person who is lording it over others that you’re right and they’re wrong. He mentions it’s not that they have a right to their opinion, it’s that you don’t want to see it even as a little worse. You want to see these opinions as being, for the most part, this is the person’s experience. In order to stay connected with them, you have to step back from judgment. You have to step back from needing that security blanket of that sense of certainty in order to develop relationships with other people.

JOEL MARK WITT: Yeah, and I think what Tom has done here, brilliantly, and you’ll hear it in the interview as you listen, he’s really … He’s gone to a principled underpinning of structure for his life rather than an external structure. This idea of being right verses being connected, being right is almost tethered to a metric that he could point to. “Look I’m right about this. Look in the outside world, I’m right about this. It bears out, this is the right opinion to have, or the right stance to have, I’m right about this.” It’s something external as far as a tangible metric that he can point to. It’s part of his hard wiring, or whatever, or his internal wiring too, to be right about something, but he pivoted and said, “I want more of a principle structure rather than a physical structure,” or like proving things to somebody. Saying, “I’m right and you’re wrong.” It’s more, “I want to be connected.” That’s principles that he’s bringing out.

You’ll see this in the interview, he’s very principled based. He shifted away from these external markers to principles, and I think that’s a key shift as you … If you get into the INTx program ans an INT, and you hear his conversation, you’re going to see this theme emerging from the entire conversation with him. I think it’s a powerful reframe. I think he’s a powerful way to shift how you think about coming into the world, especially as an INTJ, that I think will serve you well.

ANTONIA DODGE: Tom also talks a lot about the illusion of control. In all of these we do a highlight after the interview, Joel and I talk about all of the notes we wrote, and all the “ahas” that we had, and so you don’t just get the interview with Tom de Kok, you also get a highlight on Tom’s interview and all the things that stood out to us. I think some of the highlights for me were things like how to actually solve a problem. I think INTJs and INTPs both experience some analysis paralysis. They get so involved in problem solving that they can find themselves stuck there and not taking action. He’s got a rule that he follows that helps him get into action and to stop being an analysis paralysis. He also talks about the fear of losing face and whether or not that’s something that you should be thinking about, whether or not losing face is something that is an actual challenge or just an imagined challenge.

He also talks about using your, or at least our highlights, talk about his point of using your introverted feeling process, that 10 year old authenticity process, to not control, not to be a guide but more to be a calibration. Use it to help you determine what is making you happy and do what works for you when you’re happy, as opposed to letting it control the decisions you’re making. Just use it as a guide post, or sort of a calibration tool, not a guide, but a calibration for how you’re feeling. He also talks about not allowing fear to control your life and having adventures. One of my favorite things he says is, “It’s either living in safety and fear or living in an adventure. It’s not a safe adventure,” so he’s got a lot of great wisdom to talk about. How INTJs can experience fear and some of the ways that they can transcend that, and actually have a life of adventure not one of fear.

When it comes to relationships he talks about this idea of the fear of losing yourself. Fear is something that comes up over and over in this particular interview, which is a phenomenon that INTJs can experience, especially since you have a tendency to be in the Enneagram Triad, the fear triad, and because of that fear can be sort of an overarching theme in some INTJs life. He addresses that on a number of occasions. He even mentions the idea of the fear of losing yourself to relationships and how to transcend that thought as well. I really loved Tom’s interview, and our highlight reel goes into all of the “ahas” and perspective shifts that we got as we were going back and listening to the interview again.

JOEL MARK WITT: We’ve done several recordings now. We’ve talked about two of the challenges, then we’ve talked about two of the not actual workable solutions. We’re going to pivot now to talk with Patricia Slawuta, who is an INTP, and she’s a high performing INTP, we’re going to talk with her in the next recording. A little highlight from the interview with her, where she talks about a strategy that does work, getting into your flow state, which creates a traction in you. Especially, and again, she’s coming from the perspective of an INTP woman, so this is really interesting. If you’re a woman I want you to pay attention to this, because she’s talking from that perspective, which I think is going to be very helpful to you in this next recording.

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