Sunday, September 04, 2011

Book: Please Understand Me

Please Understand Me - Character & Temperament Types describes our basic character types. It should be read for inspiration, not for scientific precision because some parts are vague and the character test [pp.5-11] was wrong about my character: The test told me that I was ISTJ but when I read the rest of the book I saw that I was much closer to INTP (i.e. being obsessed with analysis and information gathering).

What I benefitted from is the realization that people might be feeling very different things inside for similar outside behaviour. It is also good to know what your weaknesses are. And finally, there are things that you cannot change no matter how good your arguments are. And, no, that doesn't mean they are stupid or crazy. It means they have a different character.

My underlinings:

[p.2] Differences abound and are not at all difficult to see, if one looks. And it is precisely  these variations in behavior and attitude that trigger in each of us a common response: Seeing  others around us differing from us, we conclude that these differences in individual behavior are  but temporary manifestations of madness, badness, stupidity, or sickness. In other words, we rather naturally account for variations in the behavior of others in terms of flaw and  affliction.

[p.3] In this misunderstanding of others we also diminish our ability to predict what they will  do. Likewise, we cannot even reward others should we want to, since what is reward to us is, very  likely, a matter of indifference to the other... But first it is necessary to study yourself. If  you don't have yourself accurately portrayed, no way can you portray anyone else accurately.

[p.15] The question always arises, "Does not an extravert also have an introverted side and does  not an introvert also have an extraverted side?" Yes, of course. But the preferred attitude,  whether it be extraversion or introversion, will have the most potency and the other will be the  "suppressed minority." The preferred attitude will be expressed in the conscious personality, and  will reflect the aim, will, and achievement of the conscious personality.

[p.16] Introverts have reported that they have gone through much of their lives believing that  they ought to want more sociability, and because they do not, are indeed ugly ducklings who can  never be swans. As a result, the introvert seldom provides adequately for his very legitimate  desire for territoriality, for breathing room, without experiencing a vague feeling of guilt.

[p.17] The two preferences of sensation and intuition are, of any of the preferences, the source  of the most miscommunication, misunderstanding, vilification, defamation, and denigration.

[p.18] Thus, to the sensible, the intuitive frequently appears to be flighty, impractical, and  unrealistic. The intuitive, on his part, at times views the sensible as plodding and  exasperatingly slow to see the possibilities in tomorrow... Words such as actual, down-to-earth,  no-nonsense, fact, practical, and sensible are music to S people; words such as possible,  fascinating, fantasy, fiction, ingenious, and imaginative are apt to light the eyes of N people.

[p.21] Formal schooling addresses the T areas far more than the F. Thus, those with a natural  preference for F also tend to develop their T, while those with a natural preference for T do not  have an equal opportunity to develop their F side, which may remain relatively primitive... Thus  T people are often described as cold and unemotional, while in reality they may be experiencing  as intense emotion as is an F Person... The E versus I dimensions and the N versus S dimensions  are apt to be more oppositional than supplemental.

[p.23] ...Js push toward decisions, while Ps hold out until there can be additional search for  data and perhaps more options.

[p.27] By knowing a person's type we can anticipate rather accurately what he will do most of the  time.

[p.35] Oddly, the SP seems to have endurance beyond that of other types; he seems able to put up  with discomfort, deprivation, hunger, fatigue, pain, and show courage in a way other types ao  not. But this is because other types are goal oriented, reluctant to exert themselves unless  there is a reason. Thus other types suffer hardship, discomfort, and fatigue as they work and  shortlt begin to wonder how much more they can stand. This is a fatal question and is self- defeating, in a sense its own answer. But since the SP is not moving toward a goal, he does not  experience his action as duration, as a distance to endure, never questioning his capacity to do  so. He simply continues - often beyond reasonable limits for other types.

[p.36] No other type can mobilize what virtuosity takes: untold hours of continuous action... The  NT, for example, seeks perfection: yet perfection evades him. The SP is oblivious to the pursuit  of perfection, does not practice in order to achieve it, and yet achieves it.

[p.38] Although the SP is the master of the grand gesture — such as the dozens of yellow roses,  the extravagant mink coat, the three-carat diamond ring — he can forget a promised telephone call  or neglect a small word of affection.

[p.40] School is made for SJs and largely run by SJs and kept mainly to transform these  frolicking puppies into serious, duty-oriented little parents who seek only to know what they are  "supposed to do."

[p.41] Further, even the most cursory glance at a through-and-through SJ will detect a theme of  pessimism coloring all his deeds, in reciprocity to the SP's optimism. The Boy Scouts' motto, Be  Prepared, must have been made up by a strong SJ...

[p.43] Witness the SJ who goes to a party, but in order to have a good time helps the host serve  the refreshments and clean up afterwards! On the other hand, watch an SP throw a party and note  that the SJ guests end up catering to his desires. True, he started it, but look who finished it!  ...The SJ is the conservator no matter where he goes or who he's with or what he does... The SJ  is the foundation, cornerstone, flywheel, and stabilizer of society, and we might well rejoice at  his presence.

[p.44] Will Durant says that history's most important lesson is the reciprocity of freedom and  equality. As freedom increases, equality decreases, and as equality increases, so then does  freedom decrease. Unfortunately, this lesson of history is not learned by most—witness the  Utopias promising freedom and equality at a maximum... [Şamil: Interesting. What is the evidence for this reciprocity hypothesis?]

[p.48]  Power fascinates the NT. Not power over people, but power over nature. To be able to  understand, control, predict, and explain realities. Note that these are the four aims of  science: control and understanding, prediction and explanation. Scrawl an NT, find a scientist.  These forms of power, however, are but means to an end best expressed by the word competence...  Only he can judge his capabilities and he does so with ruthless self-sriticism.

[p.49] ...those militant about ability or performance are just as puzzled by others'  indifference... This recalcitrance to established authorities tends to make an NT...seem  unusually individualist and even arrogant.

[p.52] The NT is inclined to be precise in his choice of language and hopes that others will be  the same, though he soon learns that they will not. [Şamil: NTs are well suited for computer programming which requires utmost precision in thinking.]

[p.57] because of the NT's distaste for stating the obvious or being redundant, the NT is apt to  verbalize expressions of affection rather infrequently. To other types this seems cold and  miserly, and they often are hurt by the withholding. To the NT, stating what is already  established is raising doubt where there is none.

[p.89] NTs tend to be relatively uninterested in acquiring wealth and as mates, therefore, tend  to be satisfied with modest comfort... This characteristic NT trait - enjoying without needing to  possess - often causes mates who do not share this detachment some impatience.

[p.97] The parental focus is on what the child does, not on how he experiences what he does... if  they are of radically different temperaments, two children doing precisely the same thing will  have radically different experiences.

[p.101] ...the introvert reserves from "public view" those aspects of his temperament which are in process of development. What is presented to the "public" are those qualities already developed — the feelings and beliefs of the introvert's yesterday. His "growing edge" is not available to his teachers, parents, or friends.

[p.102] Since extraverts exceed introverts roughly 3 to 1, the extraverted child gets considerably more confirmation of his behavior and attitude, both from adults and children, than does the introvert. In consequence, the extravert grows up with fewer doubts about himself than does the introvert.

[p.121] An NT child...would want to master details in all their precision and is almost compulsive in his over-learning.

[p.126] The NT, by nature, has a built-in self-doubting system and needs constant success experiences to counteract this.

[p.127] Most NF children tend to have vivid imaginations and may be over-stimulated by violence  and horror. They tend to carry imagery in their minds for a long time and often are subject to  nightmares... Cooperation rather than competition speaks to the NF child. He identifies strongly  with others so that he suffers the pain of the loser at the same time he himself may be the winner. Competition with himself, and opportunities to share the improvement of his own achievement level do motivate the NF who always needs constant positive feedback on his efforts.

[p.131] NTs have difficulty appreciating others verbally and, as with the SJs, have difficulty accepting appreciation.

[p.132] NTs become irritated when asked to do something that is illogical, or violates reason or  principle. The NT insists on getting maximum effect with least effort and is bothered when rules, traditions, or biases get in his way.

[p.133] It is not enough for a manager to appreciate and understand the temperaments of his  subordinates; he also must know how his own temperament affects his leadership. And he needs to know what he can expect from his superiors and associates, given a knowledge of their temperament styles.

[p.140] Though operational costs are carefully watched, results costs are examined little, if at  all. This bureaucratic disease is not limited only to SJ managers, of course; but the traditionalist is particularly vulnerable here.

[p.143] He may find it easier to comment on his own and others' weaknesses than their strengths, tending to take his own and others' strengths as obvious and expected—and therefore not needing comment.

[p.145] People, regardless of type, never take for granted that they are appreciated unless they are told that they are.

[p.146] When the NF manager is around others, he demonstrates an interest in developing their  possibilities, and thus his focus is primarily on the potentialities of his staff, with the development of the organizational system being secondary.

[p.157] The real pedagogical problem is not how to change temperament but how to utilize one's  own temperament in establishing and maintaining a facilitative relationship with the differing  temperaments of students.

[p.162] NT teachers may have to discipline themselves to introduce more redundancy into their  teaching, fighting the tendency to state a principle or fact once and then expect students to  have gained that knowledge once and for all.

[p.166] Well, stranger, there isn't any way you can really understand me, but if you stop trying  to change me to look like you, you might come to appreciate me. I'll settle for that. How about  you?

[p.180] To INTJs, authority based on position, rank, title, or publication has absolutely no  force. This type is not likely to succumb to the magic of slogans, watchwords, or shibboleths.

[p.183] ...INTJs may communicate that time is wasted if used for idle dialogue, and thus people  receive a sense of hurry from an INTJ which is not always intended... INTJs usually are firm and  consistent in their discipline and rarely care to repeat directions given to children — or  others. Being the most independent of all the types, they have a strong need for autonomy;  indifference or criticism from people in general does not particularly bother INTJs, if they  believe that they are right. They also have a strong need for privacy... INTJs are vulnerable in  the emotional area and may make serious mistakes here.

[p.185] INTPs exhibit the greatest precision in thought and language of all types; they tend to  see distinctions and inconsistencies in thought and language instantaneously... INTPs search for  whatever is relevant and pertinent to the issue at hand. Consequently, INTPs can concentrate  better than any other type... once they know something, it is remembered. INTPs can become  obsessed with analysis.

[p.187] [INTPs] prefer to work quietly, without interruption, and often alone... They are not  likely to welcome constant social activity or disorganization in the home. In all probability,  the mate of an INTP will initiate and manage the social life. If left to his or her own devices,  the INTP mate will retreat into the world of books and emerge only when physical needs become  imperative.

[p.188] As a parent, the INTP is devoted; they enjoy children, and are serious about their  upbringing. The home of an INTP parent is usually calm, low-key in discipline, but well run and  ordered... They are very adaptable until one of their principles is violated. Then INTPs are not  adaptable at all!... Because their feeling qualities may be underdeveloped, they may be  insensitive to the wants and wishes of others, often quite unaware of the existence of these  wants and wishes.

[p.192] ESFJs, the most sociable of all types, are energized by interactions with people, tending  to idealize whatever or whoever they admire... Social ties matter to the ESFJs, and their  conversations often drift to nostalgic recounting of past memories... ESFJs are hurt by  indifference and need to be appreciated both for themselves and for the abundance, typically in  the form of services, they give to others... Observation of ESFJs at work in a sales transaction  will demonstrate how this type personalizes the sale: The customer is not buying the product; he  is buying personally from the ESFJ.

[p.193] Analysis of the complex - for example, an attempt to find an explanation of events  through an analysis of principles - does not excite their [ESFJ] interest, as it does the NTS'...  They tend to be dependent on their mates and may marry to insure that they have a proper place in  the social strata. They enjoy the rituals connected with serving of good food and beverages,  thrive on festive occasions, respect and accumulate a goodly store of material possessions...  They are aware of status, and often depend on higher authority as the source of opinions and  attitudes. [Şamil: They are almost exactly opposite of NTs in every respect]... They can become  melancholy and depressed and even suicidal if they take the blame for whatever might be wrong in  their institution or their personal relationships—as they are prone to do... They need to control  their fears that the worst is sure to happen and suppress their tendency toward crepe-hanging and  anticipating disasters.

[p.194] ESFJs, male or female, live in terms of people and things rather than in terms of ideas  and principles.

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