These excerpts are from my book on personality types: 16 Kinds of Crazy: The Sixteen Personalities.
I agree with Ben Shapiro’s famous quote, “The facts don’t care about your feelings.” They are the fundamental basics of how reality works, which means they are not up for debate. Love them or hate them, we can’t change them. They influence the laws of gravity, physics, and biology. I want to make informed decisions based on the facts of a situation and the most likely outcome or consequences of my choice. Impersonal data is the foundation on which I build my life.
Complex systems make sense to me. Once I understand the principles of algebra, calculus, geometry, or math, I use them and trust them to produce consistent results. The same goes for a tax code, a legal system, or a bottom line. I focus on how well they operate and expect them to make sense of something complicated.
It’s effortless for me to organize my time, environment, and tasks for efficiency. I break them up into steps or come up with a method to keep them organized. Show me any system that isn’t working right, from a bad filing cabinet in the office to a waste of resources in a company, and I’ll make cuts to improve the profit margin or streamline the process. If a system works, I’ll use it. If it doesn’t, I’ll replace it. I come up with time-saving, simpler methods and know how to share them and profit from them. I’ll write a book, run a blog, or run a video channel about organizing your life and home, saving time at the office, or eliminating menial tasks to double your income. (Make a list, arrange tasks by how profitable or important they are, and do those first. All else is unimportant. I don’t spent time on ideas that don’t improve my product. 90% more work for 10% profit margin or product improvement is a waste of resources.)
Cause & Effect
I find standards and central rules useful. Without them, our society ceases to function on a sustainable level. A legal or judicial system serves a purpose, just like the unwritten laws of social behavior do (wait your turn). Establishing practical laws maintain the structures that operate the world. The foremost method of reality is payment and product. People earn money by providing services to others. Any worthwhile business is self-sustaining. It must turn a profit. An investment has to be worth the time or money spent on it.
That’s how I determine the worth of a project or program. Does it accomplish what it’s intended to do? Does it pay its own way? Is it useful? If it’s for fun and I do it in my spare time, it doesn’t need to turn a profit. It’s for my edification and that’s good enough, but I don’t waste my time and money on useless work projects. I want them to achieve something tangible and pay their own way.
Let’s say I want to establish a youth outreach for a city charity. I consider the costs involved in renting or maintaining a building, providing sports equipment, insurance to cover injuries, and paid staff. I come up with a bottom line of this program costing $9,000 a month. That’s almost $100,000 a year. There’s no way it will pay for itself, but I consider it worthwhile because it keeps kids off the street and out of gangs. This means I need to figure out how to pay for it. I create a list of major corporations in the area to ask for donations. My sales pitch is how they get a tax break for funding a charitable outreach program, their logo on all our equipment, and goodwill in the district. Not only will they contribute positively to society (everyone likes to do something worthwhile), there are financial incentives to getting involved. Creating a win-win is my favorite method for convincing others to support a great idea.
Even the best causes fail if they can’t afford to keep their doors open. It’s wonderful to have a big heart, but you also need a plan and awareness of your financial obligations before you launch into any venture. How much will this cost? Where’s the money coming from? Can I rely on donations? How will I attract sponsors? What reason do they have to support me? Money doesn’t grow on trees. Someone, somewhere, is paying for everything we enjoy.
If I want to succeed, I must factor in costs, benefits, and facts when making decisions. I use the same assessment skills to create a proposal for a loan. What does the bank need from me? I must prove myself a solid investment with a plan of action, projected profits, and a substantial income. My track record is important. Am I successful? Hard-working? Ambitious? Do I fit the criteria for their loans? What must I do before I talk to them? Do I need to bring up my revenue to qualify for the loan bracket I want? Come up with a better plan? Find an investor?
If I’m checking out private schools I research facts about them. What’s their success rate? How do their test scores rank compared with other schools? Are my kids’ grades high enough to qualify for their program? If not, what can I do about that? Enrollment in this school requires a commute, which means additional car expenses. How much extra stress on my current income am I looking at? Can I sustain this for the six years they’ll attend this school? I want what’s best for them, but any plan needs to be realistic.
My decisions stem from factual efficiency. I may skip university to start a business or earn a business degree. If I attend college, I look at what careers are necessary and sustainable, so I am guaranteed a job once I graduate. No matter how much we evolve, people will always need lawyers, doctors, veterinarians, plumbers, and those in trades. I don’t consider careers outside that purview, because it would be a waste of my time and monetary investment.
I know I want to be a lawyer when I leave high school. I plan to get hired by a specific law firm when I graduate. It has an excellent reputation and its attorneys make a good income. Before I fill out any law school applications, I find out where the current lawyers in that firm graduated. It gives me statistics from which to set my goals. This firm hires only from three law schools, so they must be at the top of my list. Unless I come out of the right university, they won’t consider my application. My grade average should speak for itself. What the firm is looking for in new hires, and how high my MBA average should be, establishes a guideline going forward. The college’s statistics tell me if my grade average is good enough for admission consideration. My output, in terms of grades and skill, should match the firm’s previous hires (or exceed them, if I want to stand out). If my goal is their acceptance, to be a viable candidate, I must raise my grade average. How can I do this? Hire a tutor, put aside “fun,” and get to work.
Whatever goals I set for myself, I investigate the facts involved and devise a plan of action. There’s no arguing with statistics. If I don’t fit them now, I have to alter myself enough to qualify for them. That may mean changing my schedule, getting a summer internship, or reorganizing my free time to include a job.
I expect a college review board or potential employer to evaluate me the same way I assess other people—based on qualifications or productivity. How much are they physically and mentally able to contribute to this process? Their personality matters less than their competency. Are they up to the task or inclined to make excuses? I respect others who are efficient and do their job. I never use my extenuating circumstances as an excuse not to fulfill my personal obligations. That shows a lack of self-discipline. I set practical goals, work hard, and generate the willpower required to succeed. Not everyone has the same level of ambition, intelligence or talent. They don’t need it. A good work ethic can override talent.
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ESTJ: The Pragmatist
I want my decisions to be practical, and rooted in how things work in reality. One way to accomplish this is to rely on what’s proven with evidence. You can’t argue with the facts. They give me a wealth of impersonal data on which to base rational conclusions.
No one has a better memory for detailed information than me. I hoard data. My mind contains a library of facts, figures, statistics, and details. I don’t limit myself to one or two areas of expertise, since so much interests me. In a single conversation, we can cover the tax codes, Revolutionary weaponry, and the number of global dictators in history. What can I say? They fascinated me in college. I know a lot about whatever interests me, enough to become an expert at it. If you want information, just ask me. I’ll give it to you without any frills. I collect information related to whatever I value or deem significant or practical (dates, names, numbers, statistics, references, etc.). My knowledge is extensive. I’ll talk to you about anything, but don’t get your facts wrong.
Whenever I encounter new information, I examine it to decide whether it is accurate and useful. I decide where it belongs in my internal library of stored comparisons, experiences, and data. Does it fit into an existing category (my knowledge of the solar system) or must I create a new one (everything I know about jet skis)? This happens automatically. Creating and maintaining my itemized internal referencing system helps me remember it all.
This made me a good student. I kept track of all my homework and got it done on time. I never had trouble motivating myself to stay focused and organized. My method is systematic. I move from A to B. I loathe interruptions. They force me to regroup and try to remember where I was in the flow. How frustrating! To recapture the mood and momentum, I repeat steps to figure out where I left off. Doing things in the right order is important to me, because it’s practical. Skipping ahead won’t guarantee me the best results.
Mastery is more important to me than getting it done. If I master whatever portion of the task is in front of me before I move onto the next stage of the process, I won’t miss a vital step or need to relearn it later. However wonderful or talented she is, not knowing the fundamentals will undermine a pro ballerina’s technique. Her pattern of habitual mistakes will weaken her performance.
Have you ever seen a professional repeat a mistake? It happens if they focus more on what they’re talented at than on improving what they can’t do. A pianist doesn’t want to practice one chord, but it’s what they need to do. Mastery means doing one thing until it’s perfect. Draw a face or sketch a hand many times until it is right and you are good at it. Technique means building a complete portrait through each section. I possess the patience to learn this way. It’s the only way to record it in my mental warehouse and get it right each time. If I don’t perfect each stage of a process before I advance, there are holes in my knowledge and weaknesses in my argument. Taking shortcuts means not learning everything about the process. No thanks.
I not only learn this way, I lay out this method for others. If you hire me to teach you piano, you won’t skip sections in your music book. I expect you to read the material and the footnotes in my history class. I don’t just send a child out into the backyard with a shovel and tell them to dig a flowerbed. I show them where I want it and tell them how deep to make it.
Achieving consistent results is serious business for me. If I care about my job, I do it to the best of my ability. Others respect my reliable nature. I show up and do a task even when it’s unpleasant or requires making a personal sacrifice.
Change doesn’t scare me, but I want it to be a natural progression or a gradual transition. I hate upheaval if it destabilizes everything without having a plan to replace it with a workable method. Say a revolution happens in my country, and they do away with the governing authorities and laws without replacing them. This causes chaos. To be stable, the country needs a system with rules.
Seismic change that tears out what’s existed for generations even if it wasn’t perfect leaves a gaping hole in society. I believe families and civilizations need something constant to sway their actions. Having nothing to rely on, or offer an anchor in an unstable world, unsettles me, so I fight to maintain stability. I may agree with a change, but still know how reality works. You can’t destroy what’s in place unless you have a workable plan of what should replace it. Good ideas take time and patience to implement.
I don’t want what I know to become useless or irrelevant. That would mean I wasted my time in carefully learning and using it. I expect a method to prove its usefulness before I adopt it. I don’t want to act without certainty. I plan first, and then start a process. My brain works in sequential order and seeks details to establish the facts. This lets me come up with a workable goal.
My niece floats into my office one day and announces that she has decided her life work will be with dolphins. I ask her how she’s going to do that. “Well,” she says, “I’m going to become a marine biologist.” I ask her which university she intends to apply to. She shrugs. It becomes clear through our conversation that she doesn’t know the first thing about marine biologists and has no plan. This is a whimsical idea that won’t pan out.
I make plans by basing my intentions on certainties. In her place, I’d ask questions and find information to give me answers. How do I become a marine biologist? Is my grade point average good enough for this college? What degree does my dream require and how much work does it involve? Can I achieve it in four years? Should I volunteer at the aquarium to see if this is really my thing?
Dreams are worthless without the plans to make them happen.
Life has road signs to root you in reality and tell you how to do things. One method is to find out what worked for others in your line of work and find out how they dealt with a problem. How did they cut through the red tape?
To continue my niece’s example, let’s say it’s me in her shoes. I’d learn more about the life of marine biologists by researching the notable ones and find out how they got where they are today. If it worked for them, I can do it. I too can attend that school, achieve those grades, find funding, and write papers if this is what I want.
The most trustworthy methods remain stable. I figure them out and use them. The evidence tells me all I need to know. Over time, repeated cycles become facts. I can count on gravity, the solar system, and the earth cycles, but also on the predictability of human behavior and on a good work ethic ensuring success.
I trust what proves itself reliable and achieves the desired result. My history influences what I trust the most. I believe what worked for me will work for you, if you follow the same process. You see self-assurance in people who establish a “method” based on their history. Consider Dave Ramsey, the personal financial advisor. His techniques are unusual, go against traditional ideas, and are based on what got him out of debt. The first step in financial university is taking responsibility for your actions. Then you follow his plan, which has worked for thousands of people, by creating a budget and by not spending on nonessentials. No vacations, eating out, or putting anything on credit cards. You cut those up and spend cash. Once you’re out of money, you’re done spending for the month. This forces you to change your attitude about your finances.
Whatever’s left after paying for essentials, you put toward paying off your smallest debt, while paying the minimum everywhere else. (Instead of paying on the $56,000 debt, you pay off a $1,200 card.) Once you pay off a debt, you apply the money you were spending on that to the next one. You repeat this until you are debt-free.
When people call in to his radio show for advice, he repeats the mantra, “Rice and beans” (which means no eating out; eat cheap at home while in debt). Stick to his program, you get out of debt. It works, but comes from a place of personal experience. It’s how he got out of debt. He knows it works, because it worked for him.
Dave and I have something in common: we think everyone should have the self-discipline that we do. If we want something bad enough, we deny ourselves anything that will prevent us from getting it. Our pain is temporary, because we’re focused on what good things will come to us down the road. But not everyone has the self-discipline to do this.
Dave’s advice isn’t always practical in a fast-changing world. What worked for him thirty years ago may not work for you now. His strict “no credit cards; pay with cash” rule doesn’t help when you are trying to buy a house in the modern market. You need a credit score under a certain income percentage to qualify for a loan.
I try to keep up with the modern world, but default into my experiences. If a solution worked for me before, I assume it will still work today. It might not. It’s hard for me to imagine it won’t, since my life story proves otherwise. If it got me and a hundred of my clients what we wanted, it’s a proven method. Our collective success confirms it as trustworthy. Detailed methods exist for a reason. Things with a track record earn my trust, whether it’s my grandmother’s mint chocolate cake recipe or following instructions when putting together a TV stand. I read them through, understand each step, and do what it says.
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ENTJ: The Strategist
Last summer, my city integrated new development projects. They started creating subdivisions and shopping centers on the existing infrastructure. In ten years, the roads they’re building will cause traffic jams. Putting shopping centers into urban areas causes new homes to go in, increasing traffic on the current four-lane highway without room to expand on either side. Houses, concrete parking lots, turn lanes, and electrical poles all sit in the way. Since they did not plan for population growth, it will cost the city millions later. It’s wiser to build outside the city on new roads and let homes fill in around it, thus not putting any more traffic on a busy highway.
The future is coming. It’s stupid not to plan for it. I seek and consider any patterns that show me where it’s going. This requires shifting my vantage point to an angle no one else is considering. I generate a prediction based on the outcome that seems most likely. This process takes time and introspection. The future may unfold in many ways. To avoid planning for everything, my focus narrows. I examine every possibility for weaknesses to find one that’s sound. Ruling out anything impractical leaves only reasonable scenarios. I take in information and consider it all, but want to narrow many paths into a direct route. I sift through all incoming data, opposing arguments, and perspectives to find the best vantage point. I rule out useless ideas by asking, “What’s achievable? What’s lucrative in the long term? Which plan has potential?” I build a picture in my head of what this looks like and what it will achieve. Each piece of data fills in a specific image so I can find the right way forward.
I try to predict the patterns emerging around me to profit from them and achieve results. Focusing on abstract theories for their own sake doesn’t interest me. My ideas will change the world. I use visualization to determine how opportunities, jobs, and people fit into my life. I ask what something will become and if it’s a good investment. On a first date, I know if we have a future together.
I look ahead, find the path I want to take, and get on it.
One Way Forward
Staying open to possibilities means not knowing what you want. That’s not me. I search for the way forward. The magic bullet that makes my dream come true. My goal is to make what I envision real. My dreams aren’t escapism; I live by them. I form a strong idea of what I want to accomplish and then organize it into steps. Hard work and focused determination reaps rewards. If I toil at it long enough, I know my dreams will come true.
My future comes to me in images or impressions. I see myself in a certain profession or living in a particular place. A plaque with my name and profession on it appears over a door, I see my name on an article, or I envision marrying a certain kind of person. The details aren’t always clear, but it tells me what I want. I think about it, to determine what the image means. When I saw my future self, were there law books on the shelf? A specific award on my desk? What impressions did it give me? How can I get there?
Constructing my life around a specific future keeps me focused. It eliminates any choice that could lead me astray. I attend college for a reason. My major doesn’t change six times. I know what I want. If a class won’t get me closer to it, I don’t take it. When a person’s ambitions don’t mesh with mine, I walk away. Let’s not waste our time if we’re not headed in the same direction.
When life won’t give me what I want, I can’t force it to change. If I can’t get what I want or pursue my next step, I feel thwarted, and my future unravels. I want to get into a law firm that only hires Harvard graduates, but Harvard had too many applicants this semester and rejected me despite my high grades. Now what? The future I worked so hard to achieve is no longer in focus! My plans aren’t within my reach. I have no second choice. My hard work and determination should have worked.
Going to another school is second best. I want Harvard!
I don’t have six other ideas waiting in the wings. Going back and reexamining different careers seems like failing. It hurts. I ignored them in favor of a single dream. The image of me in a position motivated and directed me. Do I need to build a new future or to restructure everything to fit a new timeline? It will take longer than I thought, but I’ll get what I want. If I can’t have it, I shift my perspective and find a new trajectory. It doesn’t thrill me, because it means I wasted my work to get this far.
There exists only one right way to live and I seek it. This goes for my personal life, job, and my choice of aesthetics. Substitutes needn’t apply. I don’t reinvent myself over time, but aim for direct achievement. This means finding a sustainable method of success and following it. I keep a destination in mind, whether it’s a spouse or a vacation, and want to how it will turn out before I start on it.
Life frustrates me by not complying with my plans. My children take different paths than I want for them. My marriage falls apart, even though we had all the same goals. It’s hard to deal with these moments. They remind me of my lack of practicality. I can dream too big, or form unrealistic expectations about my abilities.
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