Podcast – Episode 0226 – Why We Resist Developing The Co-Pilot In Our Personality

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In this episode, Joel and Antonia talk about why we tend to avoid developing our co-pilot cognitive function in our Myers-Briggs personality.

In this podcast you’ll find:

  • Car Model article
  • Last week’s podcast on the Car Model
  • Cognitive Function stack
  • Introverted and Extraverted functions
  • Learning (Perceiving) and decision-making (Judging) functions
  • Driver/dominant function is our favorite
  • Co-Pilot tends to be two dimensional because we do not explore it as thoroughly as our Driver
  • Circumstances or careers may contribute to the development of the Co-Pilot
  • We adopt strategies that work for us, and when we try something new – like developing the Co-Pilot – it may feel exhausting and pointless.
  • We may choose to stick with the familiar.
  • Stephen Covey’s Competency model:
    • Unconscious Incompetence
    • Conscious Incompetence
    • Conscious Competence
    • Unconscious Competence
  • The only way out is through
  • It is worth it to gain competence with our Co-Pilot, even if it is painful to begin with.
  • Massive shifts may be on the horizon
  • You may initially reject some of our suggestions for developing your Co-Pilot process
  • Our Mind can resist growth if it fears the consequences that may come with that growth
  • Development of the auxiliary function gets us to the life we want
  • We may have created a synthetic life for ourselves up until now.
  • The Co-Pilot is the opposite attitude of our Driver
  • If your Driver is Extraverted, your Co-Pilot will be Introverted – and vice versa
    • All lead with an Extraverted evaluative function, so their Co-Pilot is going to be Introverted perceiving
    • All EJs want to be in control. Managing the situation.
    • When EJs go into their Co-Pilot, they have to slow down and face a world they may not be able to control.
    • ESJs Co-Pilot is Introverted Sensing, which requires a longer timeline – the past
    • ENJs Co-Pilot is Introverted Intuition, which requires a longer timeline – the future
    • It requires calm, presence, and isolation.
    • EJs love closing loops
    • EFJs close loops with people
    • ETJs close loops with systems
    • Getting in touch with the inner world means walking away and not closing loops.
    • There may even be some legit healing work that needs to happen, so the inner world feels like a mess.
    • If there are inner issues, you may be closing loops that don’t resonate with you fundamentally.
    • Going inside helps you get on the right trajectory.
    • All lead with an Extraverted perceiving process, so their Co-Pilot is going to be an Introverted judging process
    • EPs love speed and freedom
    • Slowing down for EPs prevents them from quickly pivoting, which feels like it is removing their freedom or identity
    • EPs may not know what their identity even is, so they go inside and have to start getting to know themselves.
    • Ethics and moral codes are often found within
    • It’s much better to have freedoms removed due to integrity than guilt
    • EJs and EPs must – Slow. Way. Down.
    • Sit with yourself. Journal. Meditate. Ruminate. Get present with yourself.
    • Be willing to sit with a lot of pain.
    • Learn the skill to work with your pain and build intimacy with yourself
    • It is worth it.
    • All lead with an Introverted perceiving process, so their Co-Pilot is going to be an Extraverted judging process
    • When you lead with an Introverted perceiving process, you get to a place where you realize that the outer world is scary.
    • On some level, all info IJs pick up gets trapped inside – it’s an Introverted perceiving process.
    • All IJs know the outside world has dangers to it.
    • Sometimes they don’t get to decide what comes in unless they build some firm boundaries against it.
    • To explore the Extraverted world feels like a scary, vulnerable place to IJs.
    • Real world feedback can be scary.
    • IJs need to execute ideas in the outer world.
    • Through systems or relationships.
    • It’s like sticking your neck out because you don’t know the response you’re going to get.
    • There is a significant difference between conceptualizing impact on the world and actually impacting the world.
    • The more Introverts do Extraverted behaviors, the faster they get at processing the feedback.
    • You are going to fail. That’s part of learning.
    • IJs love to learn. It is very gratifying. But they are used to doing it in controlled environments.
    • The learning IJs do from getting into action has 10x the return.
    • The only way to get into harmony is by resolving conflict
    • If an ITJ is trying to build something they may have to start with breaking it.
    • The core fear of IJs is vulnerability
    • Test. Get feedback. Improve. Test again.
    • Get used to the process.
    • Become less vulnerable through skill building.
    • All lead with an Introverted judging process, so their Co-Pilot is going to be an Extraverted perceiving process.
    • IPs know their core identity – what makes sense.
    • They enjoy comfort
    • Asking IPs to get into their Co-Pilot requires destabilizing action that may contradict how they see themselves and the world.
    • Avoiding their Co-Pilot allows the IP to keep their core identity protected.
    • Getting out into the world exposes the IP to criticism.
    • Identity level shifts are painful.
    • It can take a long time for IPs to revisit their identity.
    • The core fear is self-doubt
  • Unless you have been lucky enough to be pushed into a life that favors your Co-Pilot, it is going to be hard to develop.
  • Our Co-Pilot can help us focus on our passion, purpose, and mission
  • We focus 80% of our content at PH on developing the Co-Pilot – the single most important part of our personality.
  • You will be happier and have better relationships if you develop your Co-Pilot
  • All of our cognitive functions are important and require some attention, but once you start focusing on the Co-Pilot everything else falls into place.
  • You can’t develop your Co-Pilot enough


In this episode, Joel and Antonia talk about why we tend to avoid developing our co-pilot cognitive function in our Myers-Briggs personality. #podcast #MBTI #myersbriggs #personalgrowth

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Showing 27 comments
  • Sara dH

    Yes, I really think that if you continue to work on you co-pilot the work with the tertiary and the inferior will come naturally. Because what you find there will lead you exactly what to do in regards to the areas of the inferior and the tertiary. Like how Fe as a co-pilot for INFJ helps build the tool for the external, the boundaries. This boundary setting is actually also building it for the Ti. To hold space for, not let it drive, choose when it will have it’s say (just like we start to be able to choose which judgement or emotion we let in via Fe). And the same for Se, we use it to have compassion and inner warmth back at us (not just to the external) but really care for the needs of the baby Se. I am rather sure we can see a similar trajectory for other types.

  • Lisa

    I have been actively developing my copilot in the past several days/ months/ years (not necessarily intentionally), and all I can say is “Wow!”

    The things you say about IP, I have never heard before, but they are SOO true. I have experienced the identity crisis (a frightening thing, indeed), and have come out on the other side a much better, and more confident, person. Thank you for explaining it all so clearly!

  • Crystal

    First, I’d just like to say tanks so much for these podcasts! You two obviously know what you’re talking about and you’ve really helped me to understand the way I work just a bit better.

    My question is, how do you go about guaging your level of development in regards to your auxillary function? I’m a 29 year old female INFP, and I know for a fact that I’ve done some major growing in my 20’s, but how do I know how much of that development has been focused on my co-pilot extraverted intuition?

    I really took your warnings to heart with this podcast in that developing your co-pilot will definitely not be fun. I don’t believe that I was doing Ne things everytime I forced myself into situations that were outside of my comfort zone….but at the same time, there have been quite a few instances in the last 5 years that majorly sucked for me, haha
    …but I’m proud of myself for having done them and feel that they’ve helped me to become a better person. This feels like it could be an indication that I was working on my co-pilot at the time, but I’m not sure.

    I have social anxiety and have lived long enough to know that indulging it too much will make it considerably worse. In the last 5 years, I’ve worked a job that requires me to goto places I’m unfamiliar with, and interact with people I don’t know on a daily basis. To not have have all the details and rely on my tact and charisma in order to make sure the customer is satisfied. I remember going home every night feeling sick to my stomach just thinking back to the embarrassing things I did and said that day and how grateful I was to be home…i felt exposed and stupid every day, but I kept up with it. Now, it’s rare for me to feel that way at my job, and I feel like I’m more confident because I know I can handle whatever comes my way.

    Would this be a situation where one might be forced into developing Ne? Or is the anxiety a separate beast entirely and only relates to my functional stack on the whole? Itd be interesting to learn where social anxiety fits on each types functional stacks, and whether or not the development of that disorder correlates to certain functions.

    Thanks for reading! And thanks again for these podcasts! You’re helping so many people…You both should be proud 🙂

  • KF

    Thank you for another great podcast. Are you going to go into more detail on developing Harmony as a co-pilot, like episode 227 on intuition? I’m an INFJ and I feel the desire to reach out and connect with others in the outside world but so often struggle with fear around this. You’re right about vulnerability being big for IJs. Past trauma doesn’t help and my fear often becomes a physical symptom. I get discouraged and just go back to my comfortable little home. I am looking at your inner parenting course to help with the trauma stuff, but would also LOVE to hear more about how I can develop Harmony as an INFJ. Love your work guys!

  • Erin

    I loved this episode. I think I might be one of those rare instances where I was sort of “pushed” into developing my co-pilot after having my son…I quit my full time job and very long commute bc it was draining me and i was spending no time at home with my family, which as in INFP was devastating. At first I thought this was sort of taking the easy way out. But since, I started freelancing 3-4 days a week at least 3 days on site at new clients, having to literally start over all the time and find comfort in not knowing anyone (I was at my last job for 7 years). I also took on 3 part-time AD SALES jobs to make ends meet and keep my skills sharp, which is WAYYYYY out of my confort zone. Sales?! I’m meeting small business owners in my community, having to talk on the phone and meet in person. I think this was an unintintentional first step in developing my co-pilot, and I think moving forward I will focus on exercising my extroverted sensing co-pilot by doing something out of my comfort zone thats non work related, like volunteering for a cause I believe in or feel passionate about…. it will get me out of the house more and force me to experience things that may make me uncomfortable but in the long run I think will benefit me greatly. Trying to think of other things I can do too…

  • Emanuel

    Can’t wait for the IJ-“kick us into the real world”-informations.

  • Suzie Ackerman

    Okay, so listening to this podcast and then reading all the comments above just confirms, once again, what a novice I am at all of this! I thought I had a handle on how the four letters puzzle out into the car model, based on last weeks podcast, then as I was listening to this podcast I thought for sure Joel had made a mistake, HAHA! I think I finally understand how the last letter (P/J) affects the stack/car model. Had to keep saying to myself, “If perceiver is in the stack, then it’s always extroverted”, then I went back and tested that against all the Type descriptions and it worked. I know that seems very basic to most, and maybe doesn’t even really apply to this podcast specifically, but it’s where I’m at in moving my own understanding forward of the big picture as I’m seeking to identify myself in this process. Even though I tested initially as an ESFP, I’m pretty convinced that I’m an ENFJ with an Ironclad Loop/really dysfunctional party going on between my Driver and 10 year old. UGH!
    Looking forward to the rest of this series and beginning to awaken my Co-Pilot of Introverted Intuition.
    Thanks Joel and Antonia for all you do!

  • Sheharyar Malik

    Umm a suggestion and an example for ur next podcast, Being an Infp, who has had a blooming Fi but who v recently has started developing his Ne i get what ur talking abt but cld u give specific egs of how to do this and also specific egs of things which can make this developing the co-pilot easier with lets say a transition from the Fi to Ne bcs ur already good with the Fi , my eg is of my best friend, a person who i met 2 years ago, now my relationship which as u know infps highly value is Fi, but bcs that friend is an Extrovert, Enfp, keeping up with him or meeting up or spending time together has meant that Ive had to open up and experience new things in the process which is Ne, but the I didnt open up or experiece new things bcs i wanted to develop the Ne, i did them all bcs of my Fi, my love for that person .. hope u get what Im saying here. 🙂

  • Caty

    ok, this podcast was incredibly helpful. i was conceptualizing about how to use Ne, as you two mentioned, thinking I could expand it by reading more and doing more research, but now I see how it requires much more experimentation in conversation, in action, in learning things for myself instead of outsourcing my problem-solving. I’m seeing more ways of negotiating w myself and that which is outside of me. Also. In an earlier podcast, Antonia mentioned a possible way of getting into Ne is by wasting resources without knowing why you’re wasting them, and that idea combined w some of the advice in this podcast seem to be paradigm-shifting. Thank you so much for this piece of art.

  • Constance

    The thing that has been resonating with me from the podcast is that people will try to shoehorn activities that suit their driver into a definition that fits developing their co-pilot. I didn’t realize that this was what I was doing. I’m INTJ, and I love checking items off lists. One of the ways this has always expressed in my life is binging on content–once I discover an author or podcaster that I like, I will consume everything that they have produced. So I will watch all of the YouTube videos from particular creators, and it’s checking things off my list, but doing so in a way that doesn’t involve getting any external feedback or exposing myself to the world in any way. So it’s a Te itch, but one that doesn’t give me any of benefits of developing my co-pilot.

  • Nila

    Hello and thanks for this very inspiring podcast!

    It really offered something to me as I am in a relationship where my partner’s ( ENFJ/P) and my (INFJ) Extro and Introversion clash often and whenever we are at breaking points it is because the sweet spots we need to occupy to be able to consider growth are located in different timelines. What I mean to say is that growth for Extraverts and for Introverts happen at different speeds!

    He is very up and running and rigid about his systems all the while needing and wanting constant action and input to feel satisfied and finding it unnecessary to set priorities. I can’t and don’t want to keep up with this which in the beginning of our relationship constantly caused an overthrow of his system. It was like all the points on his agenda were customers in a line that’s automatically served, but I was the one bulletin that would always be taken to front of the line every time I appeared in sight. Meanwhile the other bulletins wouldn’t just disappear but accumulate until they were so many that their sheer amount would cause him to drop me like a hot potatoe and switch gears from love and care to manage and play at the skip of a beat. It made me feel awful, it didn’t happen at a speed I was comfortable with and I don’t wanna forcefully have to comply to any sort of system at all ever. So I reacted negatively, which in turn would make him feel powerless, because here he was trying to satisfy everyone and not getting any sort of appreciation for the efforts whatsoever.

    Since then I have realized that when I persist on my needs to take it slow sometimes, to have things well decided and in line with my perspective, to leave room for a chat or some cozy time sometimes, he filters this in and makes it part of his system. But for this I have to be clear, expressive and very vocal, which is difficult for me especially in social and sensory environments.

    We do rock climbing together. It’s really a perfect example of an activity that brings out the best and the worst in both our natures, challenges us to be greater as individuals, but also a couple. What’s been tough for me is the big-room, stage-like climbing- and bouldering-gym atmospheres where people are extremely physical and competitive with each other. The fear of falling and failing in front of a crowd are real and common here and nobody that wants to get better at climbing can get past them. On the other hand when you get on the wall it’s really just about you and the rock and creative movement and conceptual challenge and having a clear mind, these are all things that trigger my unique combination of perspectives, accuracy and even sensation. There’s not one way of getting up there, you have to make your way. This challenges me immensely, which is unusual for a sport.
    I have always played sports, but have not a competitive bone in my body. My biggest enemy you could say, is myself, which is why I feel right and at home on these walls. In order to deal with the stress climbing still brings me, I have to take it extra slow. My strength here lies in resilience and foresight.

    My partner’s approach to the sport is quite the contrary. He really enjoys the social atmosphere and sensory stimulation, even uses it to get away from worries or responsibilities. He simply doesn’t see the negative emotion that could be involved in failing publicly, for him it’s the greatest fun there is. He tends to get ahead of himself, really putting strains on his body and isn’t dealing well with injury either. In this he can make use of me slowing him down.

    But just as to me it seems hopeless trying to make him chill, relax, take breaks, occupy neutral, meditative, non-competitive mindsets, because it brings out his most nasty resistances; I can see how it’s mind-boggling to him, that I shy away from the social sides of the sport where so much joy and fun are to be found, if you only manage to get over yourself.

    But as we continue to find our betas, we continue to strengthen and secure each other in our ways of being and are also generally interested and open to the other’s way of doing things. I can only recommend taking up an activity like rock climbing to my fellow Introverts. It will be worth it!

  • Eric Côté

    I have a question about an activity I’ve been doing for the last several years now. It’s singing with others. Would that be an Fe thing? I’m considered the group “leader” (I don’t, I just take care of admin, comms, etc.). What else – if this isn’t an Fe aux thing – could I do to make this so,or some other activity like it?

  • Eric Côté


    Around 12:40 you talk about Aux function being authentic versus synthetic. I”m at a point where I feel that not only is that true, but also what I feel to be true for me right now, and feel that’s where I want to be/go. Not quite the words I wanted to use but whatever. I’m writing right after my “poof” (what others call “aha”) thing.

  • Justine G

    I always enjoy your podcasts, I wish I could enact your advice. I probably won’t, and I’ll explain why.

    I’ve spent 9 years on and off studying Myers-Briggs, cognitive functions and type dynamics, and I still don’t have a type. I read ‘gifts differing’ by Briggs-Myers, David Kiersey, Lenore Thompson, Personality Hacker, Personality Junkie, various typology forums, done various tests (including the ‘official’ test) and attempted to assimilate varying, often conflicting definitions of the types. The best I can do is conclude what my preferred function set is and attitude. I always end up with this same set and same attitude.

    What that means in practice is deciding between two types with only one letter in common (INFP or ISTJ). I can’t choose either of them as they both feel ‘wrong’ on some level. All the other types feel even more wrong however. I would suggest the answer is I haven’t actually developed a single coherent Myers-Briggs type. Either that or experts are specifying criteria for being these types that aren’t really important.

    I’d like to experiment with novel/diverse experience (Ne) but to risk all that mad, ego-fracturing unpredictability I’d like to at least be confident in being an INFP.

    I’d like to design and build a world-beating ‘system’, but I don’t even know what this means, and would like to be at least confident in being an ISTJ.

    I think your typology is only really for people with a fairly coherent self-identity. I am over 40 and still trying to establish a fairly stable self-identity. I think the only thing to do here is attempt to extravert more in general without worrying too much about how this is done exactly. The only idea I have at present to further this beyond my present comfort zone is to establish a side-line business (already have the idea and basics for the product) and try different things to see what works, if anything. I know people who can offer advice, but I need to risk unfavourable feedback, no one wanting to buy the product, loosing some money etc. It would be interesting to see if Ne, Te and/or something else comes into play more as a result of the ‘venture’.

  • C.G.

    I think the reason why this might not be so practical and even doable in the long haul is because you are asking people to consciously reverse their personality type. And anything that doesn’t stem from their unconscious is usually not very transformative or powerful enough.
    You’re asking them to develop their second function as if they were inspired throughout life by their leading function, used their tertiary as their auxiliary or their persona to the world and their actual lifelong motivation as their unconscious competence. When, in fact, it’s the other way around and this dynamic will likely be difficult to change permanently during their lifetime. It’s not that that change couldn’t be interesting or helpful at some point. It’s just it is rather impractical for everyone to achieve it or to become a universal principle.

    • Antonia Dodge

      And, yet, both Joel and I are living examples of having conscientiously done this work and had extraordinary results.

      It’s not asking people to change their personality type any more than recommending eating healthier and getting regular exercise is asking people to change who they are. It’s simply putting the onus on people that, if they’re serious about their personal development, this is a discipline that will move the needle for them.

      While I can appreciate why the message is difficult to integrate, I can’t disagree with this perspective strongly enough.


      • MJ

        I feel like what C.G. is describing is something more like being forced to develop your inferior into a major influencer of your personality.

    • Crystal Brown

      Hi Justine!

      I know I only have your short comment to go by, but I do feel I can relate to some obwhat you’ve said.

      You’re obviously very intelligent and introspective, so I’m assuming that when you say that these certain types don’t feel right, you don’t mean behavioral descriptions but more so functional stacking.

      I’m an INFP and I sometimes feel that doubting what we “know” is in our blood. When I first started learning about MBTI, I doubted my type because I never felt like the idealistic, sensitive little puppy so many sites describe INFP as. As I got deeper involved and started looking at the functions, I found that I doubted my typing because I related more to Fe than Fi. I felt that I placed a greater importance on the harmony and feelings of others around me than I did my own personal feelings.

      It’s taken me a really long time to understand a simple concept….the fact that I feel I have more Fe than Fi is because Im so strong in Fi…haha. The belief that all people should be treated with respect, and that I behave in a way that I feel is unselfish is one of my core values…so even though it seems like Fe, it’s all introverted feeling.

      I’m not saying that this exact thing is the problem you’re having, but that it’s possible you too could be using too much black and white. Maybe try adding in a bit more grey and see what you find 🙂

      And remember, we all operate on a gradiant. We’ll always be just the one type, but that doesn’t mean that every type is the same. I could have freakishly strong sensing as an INFP, which would make me very very different from an INFP with very little. Keep at it, friend 🙂

  • Sara McLain

    ENFJ, wondering if things like walking, exercising, driving with no radio or any anything on constitutes as Ti?

    • Mj

      😀 Sounds like tertiary Se to me. That sort of “getting into action, but at least I’m all alone” thing.

    • Denzel Mensah

      I would cast this as Se-Ni. You’re giving your Se something to do (exercise, drive, walk,etc) ams allowimg your mind to wander as you do so.

    • Lisa

      I would say it depends on WHY you’re doing it. Are you doing it to feel like you’re accomplishing something? Or are you trying to ACTUALLY have some time alone to think and meditate?

  • Claire Jeon

    My favorite podcast thus far. When you guys did the last podcast on the car model, I was excited that you were touching on the basic framework because it seemed nascent of what is more to come – great things – and I wasn’t wrong! I was always divided between INTP and INTJ even after considering their cognitive function stacks, different reasons why they fail to launch, aspirations, core fears, and general type differences between the two for years (your podcast on INTP vs. INTJ was interesting). This is because introverted driver functions are hard to distinguish from each other for me – Ni or Ti? I think I do both, never at the same time, but alternatively. I see myself “in flow” aka feel like time whizzes by when I immerse in either of them. In all honesty, distinguishing introverted functions seemed so subjective that I did not quite trust myself in gauging my preferences in them.

    But now that we are starting to delve into what co-pilot really means, why we resist it, and how it facilitates our growth on all levels (moving the needle was a great metaphor), I have really confronted which cognitive function would be the one that I need to develop the most to create what I desire authentically, as opposed to synthetically alone with my driver or worse, in a loop with my 10-year old function.

    So it seems like the needle is moving towards Te co-pilot, INTJ, so far. I have never looked forward to the next episode this much. Thank you so much.

  • Jessica Martinez

    This has been my favorite podcast thus far. I was able to clearly understand what “developing your co-pilot means” for all the other personalities except mine (INFJ). When you guys mentioned that we have to practice extroversion does extroversion online count? I recently started a blog/sharing a lot more on Social media. I’ve been using the internet world to voice my opinions and thoughts. It’s been helping me out because in the real world (versus the online world) I have less filters when communicating with others. It’s as if writing has helped me blur the line of “what I SHOULD say” versus “what I want to say”. I’ve recently caught myself defending myself in a way I would only do if I was writing, but then I realize I did it “out loud” however the feeling of relief feels immensely gratifying. I hope that makes sense.

    • Claire Jeon

      “I’ve been using the internet world to voice my opinions and thoughts” and “blur the line of “what I SHOULD say” versus “what I want to say”” sounds like your Ti acting up (if you’re INFJ) instead of your co-pilot, Fe.

    • Lukas_with_a_k

      Your response does make sense. Thank you for sharing! I’m an INFJ too, and I can see he lure or wanting to extravert through online communities. However, I think true extroverted feeling (which is your Co-Pilot) will be most benefited by interacting with others’ energies and emotions in real time. I do think working out how this feels for you first through writing is a good first step to flexing that Fe muscle. So, keep up the work and before long you’ll see dividends in the outer world in real time conversation.

    • MJ

      I’m not an expert, but in my experience the online version of the outside world only provides some of the benefits. You get exposed to feedback in a safe way, but in the real world feedback isn’t all that safe.

      I think it’s a great way to get started, though! It’s good that you’re learning to express yourself honestly. Probably, though, you’re going to want to eventually tiptoe out into the real, real world and try and make something happen there. I confess I’ve also had a hard time figuring out exactly what that looks like for the harmony copilot. I honestly think the smartest thing an INFJ can do is get involved in some sort of counseling role. It doesn’t have to be a full-on psychiatry degree, but there are all kinds of volunteer peer counseling services out there. Maybe you could find one that would train you.

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