A Writer's Room of Requirement

A home for the many random insights that cross my mind from time to time.

Archive for the month “September, 2013”

Intuitive Birds of a Feather

Sensing types outnumber us intuitive types.  Depending on which expert you ask, the percentages can range from something as benign as a 60/40 split that intuitive types quickly overcome when they attend college in greater numbers to an 80/20 split that puts us in the extreme minority as outcasts and sole visionaries.  The imbalance makes sense from an evolutionary biology perspective.  One NT witch doctor or architect or scientist can improve the lives of an entire village.  Similarly a community only requires one NF priest or diplomat.  We need far more SPs to build and SJs to maintain the novel visions of the intuitive types.

This perspective does little for the young intuitive.  Regardless of the actual numbers, many of us feel alone and very different as we grow up.  When we do find an individual or a small group that understands our needs, interests, and unique communication style, we hold on to those dear friends for life.  It takes us longer to develop those attachments than it does sensing types anyway.  We cannot let such a valuable commodity go.

As an ENTP, I feel particularly lucky to have so many close intuitive friends.  Outside of a couple of close family members, I have met all of them since I started college.  We seemed drawn to each other from the start.  It always feels strange to meet a fellow intuitive for the first time.  You quickly realize that you don’t have to break down your communication.  You don’t have to dissolve your sentences into their simplest parts.  They already understand your penchant for theory, analogy, and the abstract.  A fellow intuitive readily dives into the deepest and most complex aspects of life.

I first noticed the overwhelming numbers of intuitive types in my life when typing my groomsmen for my wedding in May, 2012.    In selecting my groomsmen, I tried to find men that I had shared great experiences with, the people who appear in the pivotal and most exciting moments of my life.  I could easily road trip fifteen hours in a Toyota Corolla with any of them.  I would entrust my life to them.  My best man is an INFP.  My other four groomsmen type out as an ENTJ, INFJ, INFJ, and INFP.  Another friend I considered for that task also types out as an INFJ.  He couldn’t make the wedding because he had already committed to a mission trip to Kenya for the two weeks around the wedding.

Expanding to my small bachelor party adds one ESFP to the mix.  This might seem like an anomaly, but NTs still like to keep an SP or two around.  The NFs fulfill my vital mental needs, but sometime I just want to do something wild and crazy.  I often like to get my hands dirty and let my utilitarian nature roam.  SPs don’t require a deep conversation; they incite me to action. I also appreciate the charming ESFP propensity to offer you the shirt off their back.  When my bride suffered a flat tire while driving down the gravel driveway to our outdoor wedding site, the ESFP had the spare tire on the Oldsmobile before I even knew we had an issue.

Still, my half of the wedding party shows a surprising number of INFs.  We balance each other out quite well.  They appreciate my carefree charisma.  They love the fact that they never have to struggle to understand two simultaneous conversations when they talk to me.  Many INFs pick up on both the said words and the often contradictory feelings and body language in a conversation.  ENTPs require no guess work.  I wear my heart on my sleeve and I say what I mean.  I prefer blatant honesty and I remain hopelessly unpracticed in deception.

As an extrovert, I thoroughly enjoy the way INFs make me feel like the only person in the room.  They always give their full and undivided attention.  They show great interest in nurturing my personal growth.  They always know how to ask the right questions.  As an ENTP, conversation with INFs feels effortless, organic.

The relationship works so well that I married one.  My beautiful bride is an INFP.  Sometimes I want to go party when she just needs to stay in for some quality time and neither of us can arrive on time for anything, but we communicate incredibly well and we share the same imagination and lust for life.  I couldn’t imagine life with anyone else.

Breaking down her bridesmaids shows a complementary trend to my groomsmen.  As an INFP, Angelica selected an INTP, ENFJ, INTP, ENTJ, and her sister (an ESTP).  As an NT I selected four NFs and an NT.  As an NF, my wife selected (outside of the obligatory family choice) three NTs and an NF.  She met three of the four selections during college or afterwards.  When thrust into new social environments where we could freely choose our interactions, we both gravitated towards complementary temperaments.

The trend continues when I expand the sample to all of my closest family and friends.  I feel very blessed that I was raised by an INFJ mother.  I remain fairly close to my ENFJ sister (the same ENFJ as my wife’s bridesmaid: they roomed together in college).  I enjoy fishing, yard work, etc with my ESTP dad, but I have a difficult time with our telephone conversations.

My full list of close friends, the friends I would most want at my birthday party and see on regular basis, comes out thus: INFP, INFP, INFP, INFJ, INFJ, INFJ, INFJ, ENFJ, ENFP, ENFP, INTP, INTP, ENTJ, ENTP, ESFP, ESFP, ESTP, and ESTP.

Adding my wife and family, that comes to 13 NFs, 4 NTs, and 5 SPs.  Most impressively, I have as many close friends that I identify as INFP (4) or INFJ (5) as entire other temperaments.  This constitutes a small miracle when you consider that INFPs only represent 4% of the population but 19% of my favorite people.  Even more incredible, estimates suggest that INFJs make up only 2% of the US population, easily the rarest type.  I shouldn’t know one, much less five.  This couldn’t happen if ENTPs didn’t share a special relationship with INFs.

If you expand the sample to my next largest social circle, you find the first ISxP and the first SFJs.  I can maintain a congenial and professional relationship with such people, but we come from completely different worldviews, especially the SJs.  I find the SFJs enigmatic.  They express similar feelings towards me.  They possess such contrary values and lifestyles to my own.

You won’t find an STJ in any of my preferred social circles.  They remain as much an enigma to me as their SFJ brethren, but instead of well-meaning feelings, the STJ uses Te (extroverted thinking)  as their primary judgment function.  This results in their frequent attempts to impose their logic on the external world.  To the more libertarian minded NTP with our live and let live philosophy, this comes across as incredibly bossy.  We resist the STJ’s attempt to tell us what to do.  They see our problems with authority as a threat to social order.

I don’t always resist Te.  I appreciate the forward thinking, well-planned Te of the NTJ.  The STJ just seems to draw the bulk of their data from tradition, social opinion, and personal history rather than the keen insight of the NT.  I try to make peace with all people but NTPs and STJs are probably just better off staying away from one another.

We build relationships based on common interests and communication.  It makes sense that we gravitate towards those complementary personality types and avoid those with which we share nothing in common.


2013 NFL Predictions

Every year, I go team by team and game by game and sketch out my predictions for the NFL season.  I don’t always publish my prognostications, but I like to return to them next year and see just how wrong I was.  Let’s see how laughable this forecast appears at the conclusion of the 2013 season.

NFC East

New York Giants 9-7
Washington 9-7
Dallas Cowboys 6-10
Philadelphia Eagles 5-11

The Giants have the quarterback, coach, and organizational stability to contend every year.  They will defeat Washington in the last week of the regular season to clinch the division title.  Washington will take a step back as they face a tougher schedule and deal with RG3’s recovery from knee surgery.  The Cowboys have some talent but lack depth and possess one of the league’s most dysfunctional front offices.  The Eagles could show improvement, but I feel they need another year to bolster their defense and truly implement Chip Kelly’s offense.

NFC North

Chicago Bears 12-4
Detroit Lions 11-5
Green Bay Packers 9-7
Minnesota Vikings 6-10

The bears have improved the line and talent around Jay Cutler and Matt Forte.  Coach Marc Trestman will infuse new life into this offense and this team.  The Lions will bounce back behind top talents Calvin Johnson and N’Damukong Suh and a last place schedule.  Aaron Rodgers will do his best to buoy the Packers, but his line can’t protect him and the defense can’t protect his leads.  Adrian Peterson can’t single handedly carry the Vikings to the playoffs two years in a row.  Expect a big drop off in Minnesota.

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons 12-4
New Orleans Saints 10-6
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 8-8
Carolina Panthers 8-8

The Falcons impressed me with their playoff run last year.  I think they have what it takes to make a serious championship run this year.  The Saints will bounce back with Sean Payton at the helm, but a lackluster defense and a tough division will keep them out of the playoffs.  Similarly, Tampa Bay and Carolina will improve, but poor coaching and the division will keep them from reaching their goals this season.

NFC West

Seattle Seahawks 11-5
San Francisco 49ers 11-5
St Louis Rams 8-8
Arizona Cardinals 7-9

The 49ers have the best coach, quarterback, and overall talent in the division, but no Super Bowl loser has returned to the title game since the early ’90s Bills and no Super Bowl loser has won the following year’s championship since the immortal ’72 Dolphins.  The emotional letdown, the Super Bowl hangover, will keep San Francisco from performing at full power this year, but I am already predicting their victory at the conclusion of the 2014 season.  The Seahawks will take advantage of the Niners letdown to fully realize their power and claim the league’s toughest division.  The Rams and Cardinals will show significant improvement.  The play of quarterback Sam Bradford will limit the Rams.  The Cardinals finally have a legitimate starting QB in Carson Palmer, but I question the hire of Bruce Arians.

AFC East

New England Patriots 10-6
Miami Dolphins 6-10
Buffalo Bills 5-11
New York Jets 2-14

The Patriots have entered a period of transition, a period of retooling, but until coach Bill Belichick and QB Tom Brady fail to win ten games, I’m not gonna pencil them in for anything less.  Many critics like the Dolphins, but I don’t trust Tannehill at quarterback and I wouldn’t hire their front office to buy my groceries.  They continually make bad decisions in free agency.  Outside of running back CJ Spiller, the Bills have exactly nil to get excited about.  The Jets have an above average coach, but their dreadful front office has built the least talented team in football.

AFC North

Cincinnati Bengals 10-6
Baltimore Ravens 10-6
Pittsburgh Steelers 7-9
Cleveland Browns 7-9

The Bengals have talent and depth at every level of the roster.  I remain unconvinced by QB Andy Dalton and coach Marvin Lewis, but they have more than enough talent to clinch the division.  The Ravens endured a lot of roster turnover following their Super Bowl run, but they kept their most important piece, coach John Harbaugh.  Harbaugh and the team’s pride will prevent them from sliding too far.  The Steelers have just looked old the last couple of years and they have difficulty keep Roethlisberger upright for more than twelve or thirteen games.  The Browns will show marked signs of improvement, but they remain at least a season and a quarterback away from contending for a playoff spot.

AFC South

Houston Texans 9-7
Indianapolis Colts 8-8
Tennessee Titans 5-11
Jacksonville Jagaurs 4-12

The championship window has closed for the Texans, but they can still pace this weak division.  The Colts can’t maintain the emotional high of playing for a sick coach this year, but improvement from Andrew Luck will keep them from sliding too far.  The Titans and Jagaurs both need at least a couple of drafts to rebuild and cut dead wait before they can expect to approach .500.

AFC West

Denver Broncos 12-4
Kansas City Chiefs 9-7
San Diego Chargers 5-11
Oakland Raiders 5-11

The Broncos look stronger on paper than any team in the conference.  They should easily conquer their division.  The Chiefs always had the talent, but now they have an adequate quarterback and coach.  The new regimes in San Diego and Oakland will need at least a couple of years to rebuild their respective programs.

Wildcard Round

Seattle over Detroit, San Francisco over New York, New England over Kansas City, Baltimore over Houston

Divisional Round

Atlanta over San Francisco, Seattle over Chicago, Denver over Baltimore, Cincinnati over New England

Conference Championship

Atlanta over Seattle, Cincinnati over Denver

Super Bowl

Atlanta over Cincinnati

In the NFC, Seattle still feels a year or two away and San Francisco has the Super Bowl hangover.  The Bears look good, but I can’t imagine a title run in Trestman’s first year.  That leaves the window open for the Falcons.  They are the right team at the right time.

In the AFC, the Broncos have the best team on paper, but John Fox has too much of the Marty Schottenheimer gene.  His steady conservatism will win a lot of regular season games, but it lacks the necessary edge in the playoffs.  That leaves the AFC wide open.  The Bengals have the youth and talent to make an unexpected deep run like the Ravens did last year.

As much as I hate to laud the pretty boys, you can’t win a championship without a game changing quarterback.  Matt Ryan exceeds Andy Dalton by orders of magnitude.  The Atlanta Falcons follow Matt Ryan to their first Super Bowl championship.

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