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"My father says that almost the whole world is asleep. Everybody you know, everybody you see, everybody you talk to. He says that only a few people are awake and they live in a state of constant total amazement."
—  Patricia Graynamore. Joe vs The Volcano

  • If you’re a touchy-feely introspective soul, like myself, then you might enjoy this randomly ramshackle list of movies that I think have a particular interest to the NF personality types. Not to say that other personality types are excluded of course. I’m sure these choices appeal to a fairly broad audience, but intuitive feelers in particular might relate to where I’m coming from.

    So without further ado here’s my top ten NF movies of all time, (so far…)

    PS: spoiler alert for all movies listed.

    10. Sense and Sensibility.
    So to kick start the list we have the 1996 adaptation of the classic period drama from the 19th century novelist Jane Austen. For me this is by far the best version out there. Ang Lee is a renowned director with a string of accomplished movies in his canon and this is a great example of how to deliver. As I’m sure you’re probably familiar with the story I’ll skip the exposition and focus mainly on the films artistic merits.

    Jane Austen being such a consummate scholar of character study herself that it’s fun to try and type the individuals in her novels, often illustrated to a good degree of familiarity I think. It’s a joy to see them come to life played by such competent actors.

    I can easily imagine myself transported to this romantic period drama era, (excluding the poor sanitation and potential for rampant dysentery of course). Having to endure the maddening social protocol whilst desperately harbouring chastened feelings of repressed sexuality. It’s that bitter sweet combination of tension and release that sets up a great and enduring narrative.

    And that final scene between Ellinor Dashwood and Edward Ferrars played so endearingly by Emma Thomson and Hugh Grant; exquisite.

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"The superior student listens to the Way and follows it closely. The average student listens to the Way and follows some and some not. The lesser student listens to the Way and laughs out loud. If there were no laughter it would not be the Way."
—  Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching - Chapter 41

  • In our present time it can seem natural and prudent for people to view their experience of the world from a self oriented perspective. It makes sense to have a focus on ones own needs in terms of self preservation and personal growth.

    But for better or worse empathic types have a proclivity to feel their way through experiences in a profoundly intimate way. It comes as an instinctual part of life to want to understand how other people are experiencing their world. It is sometimes to the detriment of the empaths own constitution that they endeavour to learn through this method. There is however much to be gained by being high in openness and agreeableness.

    The Zen Buddhist philosophy of ‘Shoshin’ describes a state of mind where one is in harmonious accord with the present state of being without judgement or desire for control. One has a beginners mind, unconditioned, like a baby’s vulnerability to possibility and engagement with the new.

    Being open to the potentiality that one’s own judgement may be imperfect and that the view of others can be valuable is a good premise on which to build a platform for appreciation. Allowing space to enter the thought process and giving time to acknowledging the impermanence of things.

    When we can be open to the possibility of fallibility we become listeners and are ready to learn. To allow a situation to resolve itself through the use of introspection rather than action is as much a study of others as it is a study of the self.

    The majority of us have empathic inclinations by nature and can benefit greatly from cultivating this much underrated ability. How we move through the world depends greatly on the part we play within society. We can sometimes become dispirited by the solipsistic nature of the, self comes first attitude of modern living. We become seduced by marketing slogans such as, “because I’m worth it”. But do we not all have worth inherently?

    The more we take the time to appreciate the worth of others the more likely we are to be open to understanding the perspectives of others. Putting our own wants and desires on pause for a short while, we allow ourselves the space to embody the spirit of Shoshin and give ourselves the opportunity to see with wisdom from the many.

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“And the first lesson of all was the basic trust that he could learn. It's shocking to find how many people don't believe they can learn, and how many more believe learning to be difficult. Muad’Dib knew that every experience carries its lesson.”
— Dune, Frank Herbert.

  • The INFJ personality type has a desire to truly understand. It’s not enough to just learn by rote, we need to know how all the pieces of a given problem fit together and what those connections mean within the context of the whole using intuition.

    Failing frequently, without apparent improvement may not be a particularly efficient way to learn. Repeated failures could signal a lack of aptitude and potential to both the student and the teacher imparting the knowledge. The fault however may not necessarily be found in the failure itself. This could be a result of not being able to comprehend a given concept, rather than a failure to understand it.

    To not understand generally means that one has not yet grasped the value of what the final result should be, but to not comprehend is to have not grasped at the conclusion to begin with. This results in a need for further investigation into how or why the results have or should be achieved from a perspective of quality.

    To progress effectively the INFJ learner uses a preferential mode of enquiry in order to be able to build up a broad perspective. This contemporary process takes several metaphorical bites of the ‘apple’, so to speak, from various locations to gain a proper sense of what ‘appleness’ can potentially be, before fully committing to what an apple actually is. A rudimentary association is investigated from the inside out. Seeds, core, starchy flesh, skin, leafy stalk, branch, tree, wood, desk, teacher, apple… This all happens in the background, but can often be sensed in an abstract way. The information is perceived through feelings rather than thoughts.

    Data is processed and contrasted with previous patterns of experience. After adequate scrutiny has taken place the constituent parts are threaded together into a larger network, like data nodes in a constellation, primed for further integration.

    Predominantly sensing types often have an inclination towards a step by step sequential mode of filtering information. Intuitive’s on the other hand tend to bounce around from one node to another in a non-linear fashion testing options and possibilities before arriving at fixed conclusions. This can prove problematic in the short term as this approach is less energy efficient and can be much slower.→

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"I was a personality before I became a person - I am simple, complex, generous, selfish, unattractive, beautiful, lazy and driven."
— Barbra Streisand

  • The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a system designed to identify and categorise specific personality types through psychological cognitive functions. It is presented in the form of a questionnaire that investigates cognitive preferences and motivational stimulus. All personality types are quantified using a matrix of sixteen models. Eight of the models are an extraverted type and the other eight are an introverted type. Each model is identified by four letters, i.e. E.N.F.P. The first letter will either be an E which stands for Extravert or an I that stands for Introvert. The next three letters in the acronym define other cognitive functions which I will return to shortly. But, first let’s rewind slightly.

    The MBTI system was created by a mother and daughter duo, Katherine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers respectively. They based the system on psychiatrist Carl Jungs research into psychological functions of the mind. He believed that human cognitive functions could be categorised into four principle groups: Extraversion/Introversion, Sensing/Intuition, Thinking/Feeling, Judging/Perception. This grouping of four personality types can be traced back much further to ancient Greece where the physician Hippocrates described the balance of four principle fluids of the body; blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm as an explanation for changes in behaviour and mood. This has been adopted by subsequent physicians and philosophers throughout history, updating the grouping as four temperaments to explain various theories on the relationships between the elements; Sanguine: sociable, choleric: authoritarian, melancholic: avoident and phlegmatic: balanced. The present MBTI system uses a much more robust data set than previous iterations of personality assessment, but that is by no means a validation for the efficacy of the system. Some professional psychiatrists and analysis’s shun the MBTI system for not being very scientific as in relation to the five-factor model. It is true that the questionnaire can sometimes give contradictory results when used by the same person on different occasions. But that could be as much to do with the individual as the questionnaire itself.

    So with that said let’s continue with the remaining three groupings for each type; (thinking: T / feeling: F), (sensation: S / intuition: N), (Judging: J / perceiving: P). →

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"You are here for no other purpose than to realise your inner divinity and manifest your innate enlightenment.
Foster peace in your own life and then apply the Art to all that you encounter"
— Morihei Ueshiba, founder of Aikido.

  • Freedom is precious and time is irreplaceable. With this in mind, how does one achieve that ever elusive work-life balance? Long work hours and domestic chaos can leave us in a spin, not quite knowing where all the time went. Maybe it’s time to take time out and harness the inner depths of the imagination.

    A person needs space, but also new opportunities and challenges. We want to be respected, to be encouraged to grow and discover the world for ourselves, but we are all prone to stress and stimulation fatigue and need to be able to relax completely and recharge. Ki-aikido may well be your path to rehabilitation and harmony.

    Aikido is a traditional martial art originating from Japan and the name can roughly be translated as, the path towards harmony with the universe. The founder was Morihei Ueshiba, (1883-1969). He based the art on principles of ju-jitsu and several other traditional samurai martial art techniques and later developed it into the form we know today as aikido. He continued to practice and refine the art his whole life, constantly promoting the way of peace. It has developed steadily and branched out across the globe into several styles, ki-aikido being arguably the most harmonious in terms of technique and philosophy. The ‘ki’ prefix in ki-aikido refers to a kind of special perception without clear definition that is manifest when mind and body unify in harmonious equilibrium beyond thought.

    The training of the art is reward in itself, it nurtures the soul, develops the body and clears the mind. It is an art that anyone can train, both young and old. The physical side of the training involves a series of techniques using various types of locks, holds, throws and other subtle ways to neutralise an attack. All techniques are executed with harmony and respect towards one’s partner and function as a way to understand the relationship between the mind and body and not to dominate or cause pain. Weapons are also used for training, the bokken (wooden sword), Jo (wooden staff) and tanto (wooden knife).

    Probably the most influential ability learned in ki-aikido is meditation and the use of ki-breathing (kokyuho). This unifies the mind and body and promotes calm and relaxation as well as bringing into being a complete perception of stability and strength. →