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Doing before thinking January 3, 2012

Posted by mareserinitatis in engineering, research, science, societal commentary.
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I like to plan.  I like to work things out in my head before starting to do things with my hands.  I’m an INTJ, and from what I understand, this is fairly common for people with this personality type.

It’s frustrating for me to see people do things when I’m not sure they know why they’re doing it.  For instance, I was trying to work on a problem with a widget.  Someone sent me some information on another widget which worked in a completely different way.  Absolutely every component of colleagues widget was different from mine.

While I really appreciate the fact that someone is trying to help me out, I found myself putting a lot of time into trying to figure out how their data was going to help me.  Was I missing something?  Maybe one of the parts is really the same, so I can rule that out?  Nope.  Basically, the only thing that came of it is that the measurement device was working correctly.  That’s certainly a good thing to know…but if it’s calibrated properly and regularly, that shouldn’t be a concern in the first place.

I guess if people want to spin their wheels taking useless data, that’s okay with me.  However, it gets frustrating when I spend a lot of time trying to figure out what the point is, only to realize I just wasted a bunch of time on something that really didn’t help at all.

As much as I know some people are bothered by the time I “waste” thinking about taking, I guess it makes me feel better knowing that sometimes diving in head first without thinking can be just as much of a waste…and sometimes more.

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Comments»

1. Kari - January 3, 2012

It seems to me this all comes down to a difference in personalities and, as a result, functionality. I am an ENFP, and am completely unable to think out a problem the way you can. If I cannot see it or do it, then most of the time I can’t understand it. When it comes to learning how to do new things, I just have to try it; there is really no other way for me. Probably your colleague thought s/he was being helpful for some reason that you weren’t able to see. The failure was probably one of communication; the colleague did not do a good enough job explaining why they sent you the information, because they failed to think that you might not think the same way you do.

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2. Vicki - January 4, 2012

I also am an ENFP, and I have to just dive in and make 50 false starts as well; I think it kind of maps out the territory for me so that I can start to pick my way to a good solution.

When I was a novice computer programmer (that’s not what I do, I teach physics, but I took some courses) I had to just sit and try unti the program did what I wanted it to, and from those experiences I could extract some process-oriented rules that made the next experience more orderly. After time, I found that I could understand my INTJ-ish instructors much better, but I had to do that initial mapping of the territory myself.

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