Friday, March 5, 2010

Getting Into Character: The Thinker

Okay, I’m back from The Bahamas and ready to tackle character, of course, since it’s Friday. The last two weeks we have studied the second set of “couples” in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator—Sensors and Intuitives.

Hopefully you were able to see yourself, someone you love, or your characters in one of the two descriptions. Now you can assign a second letter to your own or someone else’s personality label. This time you will use either an S for Sensor or an N for Intuitive (since we are ready used I for Introvert). There is an unbalanced representation in the population as a whole between Sensors, who make up roughly 70%, and the Intuitives, who comprise only 30%.

If you are still unsure, you can ask yourself how you approach details. Do you observe what you can see through your senses or do you rely on what would better be described as using your intuition. Let’s take a meeting at the coffee shop with your best friend. Do you notice her earrings, her outfit, and her shoes? Do you focus on the guy behind you who smells like cigar smoke? Does the squeal of the metal door against the frame claw at your nerves? Can you still taste the Pumpkin Pie latte you ordered? If so, you are most likely a Sensor.

Rather do you remember how, even though your friend said she wasn’t hurt by her mother’s remark, you felt the pain radiating off of her? Do you remember how the man ground out his cigar in frustration as he snapped his phone shut before entering the shop? Can you not recall what earrings, outfit, or shoes she wore, but remember the frequent sighs, negative tone, weariness she wore as a testament to her not sleeping well? If so, you are most likely an Intuitive. If you are following along, you should now know you are either ES, EN, IS, or IN. By the time we are done looking at the MBTI you will have one of sixteen labels.

Today we will begin the third pairing of the four—Thinkers and Feelers. This label tells you how you go about making decisions. When you have a choice to make, what do you focus on and how do you decide? Both Thinkers and Feelers go through a rational process when making a choice, but they center their decision on information coming from different places in their being. So let’s take a look at The Thinker.

Thinkers make decisions based on their heads, minds, and intellects. This is not to say that they are free of emotions, that they can’t be caring people or that they are “smart”. We are just looking at what they will continually use when trying to make a decision.

Thinkers use logic, impartial standards, and personal criteria when faced with a choice. They are pro vs. con people who have clear-cut goals and objectives. They analyze facts, ideas and reasons behind the decision. They enjoy clear expectations, rules, and standards when compiling information and make few exceptions. Thinkers can be described as fair but firm, business-first, impartial decision-makers. When a Thinker makes a decision, and it usually happens quickly and they don’t look back. Did anyone watch the most recent Bachelor? Jake, the Bachelor, displayed characteristic Thinker behavior when he chose who would stay and who would go. When he knew a girl was not right for him, away she went—sometimes two at a time. And remember Alli? When the show aired the teaser about the possibility of her coming back the next week, I told my husband there was no way Jake would allow her to come back. She had made her choice and he would abide by that. Yep, I’d guess he’s a Thinker.

Thinkers are usually task/goal oriented and desire fairness and truth over tact and sensitivity. They may live to argue and can fight for either side of an issue. They are quick to poke holes in scenarios and can find the flaw in any argument. If you are a Thinker and your daughter bakes her first cake AND cleans the kitchen, you are more likely to focus on the spot of batter she missed on the counter than all that she did do right.

If you see yourself in this description, rejoice because you can be counted on as being a fair, logical, and objective person. The people in your life probably come to you for advice when making decisions. You often decide and never look back. You are known for having good ideas for facts and things. Resist the urge to argue just for the fun of it and make conscious decisions to praise first (and after) pointing out a flaw to someone else.

Maybe it is not you whom you see in this description, but rather your significant other. If that is so, rejoice because you have an ally in the decision-making process. Two heads are better than one and two personalities are an advantage (unless they are both in the same person, then we have problems). If your honey is a Thinker, you may wonder why s/he always seems so negative—they always point out the flaw in anything you do. But if you have a Thinker, use that to your advantage when your manuscript needs editing, you are planning a vacation, or you are remodeling the house.

If you see your child in the Thinker description, congratulations—school will likely be easier than for his/her Feeler counterparts. Thinkers enjoy being recognized for going above and beyond any job, assignment, or situation. Make sure you praise their efforts beyond just getting a job done. If you asked her to sweep the garage and she did the patio as well, she will appreciate when you noticed the extra work. When you ask him to pick up his coat and hang it up, he will beam when you notice that he also grabbed his brother’s. Steer your little arguer toward speech or debate team and let him/her word-wrestle for a purpose.

I’m a classic Thinker and so is Justice. I mean, that kid will argue with a tree! Don’t mis-speak in front of him or you will never hear the end of it. However, often it is easier to parent him when it comes to spending money or making decisions about friends or school, because you can lay it out for him and he will reason it through. Makes for some interesting discussions in our family riddled with Feelers.

Who do you see in your life that is a Thinker and how can this information help make your relationship better?

Next Friday we will talk about all you Feelers and see what you use to make your decisions.

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