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No Excuses!

You and I are had.  Our type "had" us when we arrived and we have been in its grip for so long we find it difficult to step outside ourselves to see how type has influenced us at every turn.  Our challenge, nonetheless, is to do just that.  If we are to move from type as the source of reaction to a source of information that informs our choice of response, we have to get a handle on how our life has been affected and what the lessons are for our future.

Robert Kegan's work on the nature of "knowing" and levels of consciousness are insightful on this point.  He argues that we need to transform the way we understand, making ourselves more conscious of the "voices of experience" that have influenced us.  We all have a type; our capacity to recognize how type informs our choices rather than simply react out of our type dictates the degree of being "had."  The individual who declares "I'm a thinking type; don't expect me to show any empathy" is "had" by type.  The perpetually late individual who boasts that "this is the way it is with us 'P's" is had by her type.  The informed perspective would be, "I feel compelled to respond out of my Extraverted Thinking preference, but I am striving to display more empathy"; or "I'm all so caught up with what is emerging around me due to my Extraverted perceiving, so I need to adjust my attention so as to honor my time commitments."

Keep in mind that the goal is not to equally use all eight functions but to at least recognize their contribution to our lives.  Equal use would not be desirable.  This would be like eight voices talking at you at the same time and at the same volume -- chaos of self would certainly result.  The goal is to enrich your overall type dynamic and personal richness by exploring and developing the other functions to integrate this new knowledge into the self so that your natural [self] expresses itself.

One note while passing through this exploration is the presence of a troubling developmentally arresting process related to type.  It occurs when some people learn their type code or type preferences and proceed to be psychologically "frozen" by this newly gained information.  For example, the individual who learns her preference is for extraverting and then proceeds to announce that it is not fair to ask her to contain her reactions, feelings, and actions -- she proclaims, "What do you expect, I am an extravert!"  Or consider the individual who learns he has a thinking preference and then concludes that feeling types are inferior in their analysis and judgments.  As alluded to earlier, both have been "had" and not informed by pondering type.  Such a conclusion also reflects a lack of understanding of the true nature of type and how it applies.  These individuals are caught and cannot see beyond the concrete implication of the letters from the type code.  In such a state, you cannot be free to explore alternative views or actions.  Why does this happen?

There is abundant evidence that as anxiety increases, flexibility and confidence decrease.  This reaction to stress seems inherent in the organism.  The implication is that when we are testing a new behavior and new perspective, while it is natural to experience some anxiety, we should seek to reduce it through appropriate means.  The failure to address our anxieties creates a constraint to type development as it fuels a lack of flexibility and confidence.  As noted earlier, Myers felt such matters are important when looking at type development.  If you cannot consciously test out other functions, then you can neither develop range nor depth.  And as such, integration into a fuller expression of your type and potential is left unfulfilled.

Excerpted from Type Consilience - Unifying Knowledge
on Type Development
, by Roger Pearman
(full article is here)

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