One of the Biggest Challenges in Personality Development
If you are not familiar with Jungian cognitive functions, please reference “Personality Development Tools: The Car Model” to familiarize yourself with cognitive functions and how they influence personality type.
Possibly one of the most established concepts about personality types in social consciousness is the difference between “Introverts” and “Extraverts.”
The differences are explained as ‘shy, quiet, needing a lot of alone time’ (for Introverts) and ‘bombastic, people-oriented, energetic’ (for Extraverts).
Regardless whether or not people have a truly accurate understanding of the differences, they have enough understanding to ‘get’ that Introverts are tuned into the ‘inner world’ and Extraverts thrive on the ‘outer world’.
In all my years of profiling one thing has become exquisitely clear: people LOVE their preferred world. Introverts adore their inner world, and Extraverts adore the outer world.
It’s this intrinsic love that generates what may be the biggest challenge in personality development: heading straight for the 10 Yr Old process when one should be developing the Co-Pilot process.
As mentioned in the article Personality Development Tools: The Car Model, we all need a way to take in new information and a way to evaluate that information. We also need an Introverted part of us, or a way to get in touch with our ‘inner world’, and an Extraverted part of us, or a way to get real-world feedback.
Our Driver process can only hit two of those four necessities, which makes our Co-Pilot process so necessary.
That said, we’re not creatures that particularly love discomfort and venturing into the ‘other’ world can be dump trucks full of uncomfortable.
As an Extravert, I remember when I first started truly venturing into the ‘inner world’ in a meaningful way. It was like walking into the house of a hoarder knowing 1) I’d been the one to make the mess by ignoring it, and 2) it was my job to sort it out and clean it up.
For an Introvert, spending a lot of time in the outer world can be exhausting and feel like torture. I remember my mom (INFJ) collapsing for days after a weekend seminar with 1000+ people.
Unfortunately, there’s no short cut to personality development. If an Extravert refuses to spend quality time in the ‘inner world’ they will distance themselves from their own value system, sometimes doing truly distasteful things to avoid any ‘inner work’.
In the same vein, an Introvert who refuses to ‘venture out’ can become so myopic and divorced from ‘reality’ if the outer world doesn’t confirm their biases they’ll ignore information vital to both themselves and others.
So, in light of all of this, why do we head straight for our 10 Yr Old and ignore the Co-Pilot?
The 10 Yr Old cognitive function has the seductive quality of being in the same ‘attitude’ of our Driver process, whereas the Co-Pilot is in the opposite attitude.
“Attitude” is a technical term that indicates the ‘world preference’ of a cognitive function – either Introverted or Extraverted. For example, there are two Intuitive processes – Introverted Intuition (which we call “Perspectives”) and Extraverted Intuition (or, “Exploration”). So, Perspectives is an Intuitive process that has an Introverted attitude, and Exploration is an Intuitive process that has an Extraverted attitude.
When our Driver process doesn’t want to have to be mature, when it just wants to be a little self-indulgent and not take all sides into consideration, we’ll skip our Co-Pilot process and go straight for the 10 Yr Old. That allows us to consider information and make decisions, but we don’t have to do that pesky “checking in with a bigger picture” thing. We get to stay in the comfort of the “We Get to Believe Whatever We Want to Believe” inner world (if one’s an Introvert), or the “Never Check In to Make Sure We’re Actually On Board with the Ramifications of this Decision” outer world (if one’s an Extravert).
That’s not to say the 10 Yr Old is somehow evil or possesses no wisdom. It does, in a ‘kids say the darnedest things’ way. My stepson (who is 9) says brilliant things all the time. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to consult him for major life decisions.
Once the Driver has consulted the Co-Pilot process, only then should the 10 Yr Old be allowed to pipe in with added perspective.
And, of course, the more developed the Co-Pilot process is, the more you’ll enjoy using it in chorus with the Driver. Development means exercising, and exercising means conscientious effort. And that means avoiding the lure of the 10 Yr Old.
For an easy reference to many of the more technical terms, feel free to use the Quick Reference Guides page.
And for a deeper insight into how you can develop your Co-Pilot process and avoid the pitfalls of the 10 Yr Old consider the Genius Style premium content, your guide to leveraging personality development.
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