Podcast – Episode 0319 – Using Your Personality Type To Make Better Decisions

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In this episode, Joel and Antonia talk about the power of making decisions using the system of your own unique personality type.

In this podcast you’ll find:

  • How does the system of our Myers-Briggs® personality type work together to help us make our decisions?
    • Can knowing our type help us make better decisions? The power of models, maps and tools
    • Example – an ENTJ and a box of cookies
  • What does a systems thinking approach to decision making look like?
  • Why decision making is difficult in a post-modern world.
  • How an ENTJ and an INTP can use their cognitive functions to decide whether or not to buy the box of cookies.
  • Understanding your backseat functions – what to do if the decision is coming from your 10 Year Old or 3 Year Old function.
  • Coaching others to help them make better decisions for themselves
  • What are the two different roles the Perceiving and the Judging functions play in decision making?
  • Why is it harder for Perceivers to make decisions? 
    • How introverted and extraverted judging functions differ in coming to decisive action.
    • The importance of “experiencing” as a Perceiver
  • How can understanding the nature of our functions help with decision making?:
    • Memory (Si) and Perspectives (Ni) – how their infinite nature can trick us
    • Accuracy (Ti) and Authenticity (Fi) – why they can never come to a satisfying conclusion
    • Exploration (Ne) and Sensation (Se) – why do they need to explore?
    • Harmony (Fe) and Effectiveness (Te) – the downside of making quick decisions
  • Activity – use the Car Model to answer question: “should I buy a pack of cookies?”
  • Each function has a different relationship with consuming cookies.
  • Self awareness when it comes to your back-seat functions and making decisions.



In this episode Joel and Antonia talk about the power of making decisions using the system of your own unique personality type. #myers-briggs #makingdecisions

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Showing 17 comments
  • Eric

    I’m an ENFJ and the things that I think about first on whether I should get cookies or not are, will I be able to enjoy these cookies with someone I love or am fond of? Or who else can I buy those cookies for if I’m already going out of the way to get those cookies? I’m more likely to get the cookies if there was an opportunity to share it or gift it to someone who would enjoy it, than if I were to eat it alone.

  • Alicia

    I have INTJ preferences.
    How I normally would decide whether to buy a pack of cookies:
    -Fi: Cookies are my favorite food. I want some. Life is hard.
    -Te: Do I have the money?
    -Se: Cookies are so delicious! I never remember exactly how they taste, so will you please indulge me?
    -Ni: What’s the point of the cookies anyway?
    -Fi/Se: I want them.
    -Te: (sighs) Well, I have the money, but I am not spending it on these cookies. The quantity is too large.
    -Se (and maybe Si): The cookies in the bakery section are higher quality.
    -Te: And some come in acceptably small packages.
    -Ni: Well, I cannot see many ways that buying the cookies will ruin anything of importance.
    -Fi: You’re the best!
    -Se: I like food!
    -Ni: I will regret this, but I would end up regretting this more if I buy the stale cookies. Fine.
    So I buy the cookies.

    How the decision probably should end up being made (realistic example that could happen in my own life):
    -Fi: Life is hard.
    -Se: Cookies are yummy. I cannot recall their exact taste, but…
    -Fi: I like cookies. Cookies will make me feel better.
    -Te: No. Solving the problem will.
    -Ni: It has been 3 days since the last meaningful conversation with another human. Is that the problem?
    -Fi: Yes!
    -Te (and maybe Ni): I know just the trick. Go out of your way to talk to people about interesting stuff. Emotions affect productivity.
    -Te/Si: It’s worked before!
    -Ni: There are so many awesome side benefits to socializing, too. Not just solving loneliness.
    -Si (and maybe Fi): With people I actually know.
    -Se: I want to see those people! Also, thinking of cookies makes me hungry.
    -Fi: I still want cookies, too…
    -Ni/Te: I can bring the cookies to the friends. After buying them. We can share, and all of us get cookies.
    -Fi/Se: Yay!
    -Si: Comfort food…
    -Se: They need to be good cookies, especially since I will be eating them. I like food. Making food is fun. Think of the cookie batter I can snack on!
    -Ni/Te: Change of plans. I have all the ingredients at home, and since making cookies is both cheaper and produces better results than store bought cookies, I will make cookies and then bring them to the friends to share. I do have time in my schedule for this.
    -Fi/Se: Great idea.
    -Si: Better comfort food…
    So, I do not buy the cookies.

  • Fleur (INTJ)

    Hi everyone. I’ve been thinking for a long time about how to say this.

    There’s something in this episode that was triggering to me. It’s all these ideas that were implies:

    1/ You can’t trust your body to eat cookies whenever you want
    2/ Eating a lot of cookies makes you fat
    3/ Fat is unhealthy
    4/ Unhealthy is bad

    I’m going to challenge them one by one:

    1/ You can’t trust your body to eat cookies whenever you want
    In my experience, if you try to overrun your cravings by denying them, you end up binge eating. It is not with control but with trust that you can manage to build a healthy relationship with your body. What I’ve found is when I give myself unconditional permission to eat anything, I crave cookies sometimes, but not all the time.

    2/ Eating a lot of cookies makes you fat
    It could, if you eat mindlessly without listening to your body. But there are a lot of other factors that can contribute to body weight / fat that are outside of our control:
    – Genetics
    – Sleep
    – Dieting (95% of diets to lose weight fail by 5 years’ time and actually result in weight gain)
    – Stress (like the stress experienced by fat people when they are subject to violence or discrimination).

    3/ Fat is unhealthy
    That’s difficult to prove. There are healthy and unhealthy people at all weights and sizes. And weight is very often unrelated to health.
    Here’s a scientific article if you wish to inquire further:

    4/ Unhealthy is bad
    Actually, the same as weight and fat, health is for a large part outside of our control (it depends on genetics, what our mother ate when she was pregnant, upbringing, socioeconomic status, stress, etc.). If someone has a chronic illness, we can’t blame it on them. It’s shitty, but sometimes our bodies can’t do what we want them to do.
    But that doesn’t make us any less worthy. Because our worth is not determined by what we look like, or how productive we are. We have the right to exist no matter what.

    Anyway. Antonia, perhaps you didn’t mean all that. I just wanted to make sure everyone is safe. These things called “diet culture” and “fatphobia” have caused a lot of harm in my life, and I don’t wish it to anyone to spiral into the self-hatred and the disordered behaviours that I’ve been through.

  • Garrett P

    Myself in cookie scenario (INTP);

      Damn, look at all these options. We are so fortunate to have grocery stores with a vast array of items… although it can be distracting. Everytime my focus is shifted it consumes cognitive energy, but lets see kind feelin this one over -jingle- :: looks at phone wondering why ringer is on ::
    Kimberly: Hey, do you want hangout tonight?
    :: quickly composes timed text for 50 minutes from current time ::
    Me: Kimberly, hope you’re having a good day. Have to work tonight. Also, I have my daughter tomorrow. Enjoy your evening 🙂

    Okay, lets see, wtf are these. Never seen this brand. Coconut etc etc. Sounds good. Nice mission statement too. Man, I dont want to lead this girl on but dont want to be an asshole. We have nothing in common. Which is surprising bc other enfp girls in the past. Did I miss type her. [2.5 seconds pass] hah no. Someone should make a dating app for archeologist and call it carbon dating. Okay cookies right, um, well this new brand doesn’t stimulate the visual cortex as well as others. Which seems more pure. Almost as though they have good intentions and are less concerned about squeezing every penny out of people with advanced market psychology. The second paragraph of the mission statement could use a better transition word. Shit, I could write a better mission statement altogether. Maybe I should try to work in product development. What else do we got here. Oh these, nah peanutbutter seems to create a minor inflammatory response in my temple here. This seems like a lot of cookies. :: heads to other part of store where they sell individual cookies :: Kim’s dad probably owns this store. Unless she won the lottery or something. Nope. Wait what if her dad owns this store and she’s on the phone with the security officer. Bahahaha what an intp thing to think for a flash second. Damn I wonder how many intp’s lose their shit to conspiracy theories. ::sigh:: NF hmm P There has to a significantly higher distribution of NF ppl in this town. Precievers as well. INFP’s love nature like all introverts and the overall lifestyle is more natural which is a magnet for authenticity. The ENFPs love the variety and.. Okay if i buy one cookie the bacteria I am slowly attempting to eradicate is just going to send another sugar signal later. However, if i buy a box the gut brain axis isnt going to mitigate signal. Its not like it has a built in buffer system. A built in buffering system eh.. is that solvable? Probably just another stupid idea. Ill just buy some bananas and a few apples. :: goes to checkout ::
    This checkout dude’s expression just screams INFJ feel bad for that guy. Okay how bout this line over here. Whoa who is this goddess? She has the INFP look. [Short bs how are you today conversation ensues] No bag please. She smiles. Hey is your mbti INFP? ‘yeah actually it is how did you know that?’ Idk lucky guess. ‘what’s yours’ (holy shit she actually asked a question in response. Did i mistype. No. Was there a paradigm shift where ppl..)
    The one everyone hates. Hope you have a good one. :: walks to car :: Okay how to respond to Kim’s inevitable cascade of stage 5 cling texts. What would an ENTJ do? Lol probably send her a link to 2 chainz where you been. Or tell her shes fired even though she was never hired then block her or just toss this expensive phone in a dumpster and go buy a new one. He def wouldn’t type all this shit out but he might impulsively post it without reading..as i would. Hmm little shadow integration.

  • Ty

    My INFJ cookie buying decision process:

    Ni: Where would this purchase have a future impact? (i.e. Does it support a cause I care about? Does it align with my health goals?) Are there other perspectives/options? (ex. If I care about the cause but don’t want to actually consume the cookie- can I make just a donation to the organization or purchase the cookies and donate or gift them?)

    Fe: Does someone I love like these kinds of cookies? Do I have a social event or people coming to visit soon? Am I interacting with a person who is trying to sell me these cookies and do I want to create good feelings for them by buying or contributing?

    Ti: Do I have an internal model of the person I want to buy the cookies for in my mind and how does what I know factor in? (Ex. My husband has just started a strict diet, my father in law has recently been diagnosed with a peanut allergy, etc.) Do these cookies violate any of the rules of my other inner models? (ex. Heavily processed foods and preservatives are not good for human consumption.)

    At this point, Fe and Ti could disagree and I will start weighing the two. For instance “My father in law is coming to visit and he would like these cookies but I generally think processed foods are bad.” Do I have the resources (time/energy/ingredients/etc.) to make homemade cookies instead? No? Okay, what are the actual nutritional facts of the cookies? How “bad” are they? How much enjoyment would he actually get from these- do they have his absolute favorite flavor? Are there any absolute black and white deal breakers for me? (i.e. Trans-fats.)

    Like “innocent until proven guilty”, I will always rule in favor of Fe unless Ti can make an airtight case against it.

    Se: Impulse decision, too stressed/tired/overwhelmed/hungry to make choices any other way. “Those look good. I’ll enjoy eating them.” (I then proceed to buy 5 boxes because I want ALL the flavor sensations, and I eat 2-3 bites of each type of cookie, because that’s all it takes for the enjoyment sensation to stop being “worth it” unless the cookie is exceptionally delicious. The next morning, when I’m feeling better, I guiltily try to give them away or end up throwing them away.)

  • Danielle

    Ne: Probably not interested in the cookies unless it’s a new type of cookie. However, Ne is also liable to concoct an crazy plan, “Instead of buying cookies for myself, I should bake this really elaborate cookie recipe that goes way over my head!” (If this should happen, Fi will probably get on board with the idea to give the cookies to someone. If this happens and I don’t listen to Te and Si screaming inside my head, I will either get distracted or bite off way more than I can chew in baking or someone has to step in and remind me to think reasonably).

    Fi: Probably also not too terribly interested in cookies, but feigns interest out of a desire to make sure Te doesn’t screw everything up.

    Te: Do I have enough money to buy the cookies? Have I been eating healthy today? Do I really even want these cookies?

    Si: Might want comfort food (in this case, it will most likely demand cake), but it might also whisper in my ear that if I eat too many I’ll get sick. It really depends on my mood.

    The deciding factor for me here will probably be Te. It’s a minor enough decision that I feel confident that I can let Te take the reins.

    I tend to think of a lot of my decision making as this tension point between Fi and Te where major decisions need to be constantly filtered through the other and checked. I see Te as a supplement to Fi though, it gets to come out and play when Fi has already decided that something is a go.

    I find it is really important for me to find small ways I can utilize Te without letting it take over. I am definitey guilty of what is referred to as the “ENFP Te bitch slap,” which usually leaves me feeling awful later on because whatever I said was not in accordance with Fi at all.

    If my functions were people, I could see Te roping Ne into basically devising a plan to absolutely verbally cut someone down. Then, Fi has to step in and say “Okay, we’re not actually doing this. If it makes you feel better, imagnie it, but we are NOT doing this” Si may chime in, “Remeber that one time.” I have actually had to conciously slow myself down before to prevent an NeTe loop attack. Self-restraint is a really beautiful thing.

  • Annemijn

    Can anyone help me? I’m an ENFP, so my stack would be Ne-Fi-Te-Si, but I don’t know how I’d use these functions when making a decision…

    • Danielle

      In general, I see the ENFP stack as this in decision making

      Ne: Wants to explore new ideas and concepts. What is new and exciting? Ne is always hunting for new ways to do something.

      Fi: What is authentic to me? How will this action make me feel? Do I want to feel that way? How does this align or not align with my values?

      Te: Is this feasible? Do I have enough money, time, energy, resources?

      Si: Concerned with precedent. Often inferior Si leads to comfort seeking because Si here is basically small, vulnerable, and in need of protection. For me, I find my sense of danger here. This is the part of me that wants to spend the day cuddled under a blanket reading a favorite book (I’m a compulsive rereader, something I attribute to Si).

      • Job

        Hi Antonia,

        You said your Ti wanted to know the answer to the universe?
        I already got that one. It’s 42. I am still pondering on the question though.

        But seriously. It is a nice episode. It made me think twice on wether or not i wanted to post this remark because it feels like it’s coming from my Fe tertiary that is looking for aknowledgement and connection while my Ti is telling me this comment has no added value apart from the comedy (ENTP Pref.)
        I guess the explanation makes the comment sort of usedull again 😉

  • Bethany Dugas

    As an INTJ, here’s how the cookie buying decision goes for me:

    Ni: Why is it that I have cookies on the mind right now? Will buying or eating cookies compromise my long term goals in any way?

    Te: Are cookies going to help me get things done? Do I need them for fuel for my long run (I’m an ultra runner, sometimes this is yes). Am I buying the cookies to pacify my teenagers so they don’t interrupt my work? Was I asked to bring food to a business function and I just want it off my mind?

    Fi: My husband said something about not feeling lovable. He also said he had a craving for peanut butter cookies. I have a hard time showing him how much I love him. I know, I can show him my love with cookies! He’ll know I was listening! (At this point, I often need to call in the grown up functions or I go overboard. As in asking Ni if it’s good for him to be indulged with cookies repeatedly). Can also get into a weird Ni-Fi loop when under stress where I think of environmental or health impacts of certain foods and check in if they meet my value standards and can’t stop analyzing. So need to be aware I could be avoiding using Te to take action on something more important.

    Se: Mmm cookies. So yummy. Basically usually allow the enjoyment of the taste of cookies but use the “older” functions to ensure I don’t over do. Se can also contribute to impulse buying if it doesn’t check in.

  • Izzy

    (sorry for the british humour)

    This saves me from my Ni-Ti loops and helps me not take myself so seriously! It is also the reason I stopped eating “herbal” cookies…. My Fe could not handle the baffled looks people gave me 😀

    In all seriousness though, this gave me alot of food for thought that I look forward to figuring out for myself over the next few days.

    I loved the level of abstraction btw.

  • Noora

    As an ISTJ who has been trying to develop my Te for some time now, I notice that it does indeed trick me at times to make rushed decisions that my tertiary function (Fi) doesn’t approve of. And also they tend to backfire on Te too, because bad decisions are not effective. My driver, Si, loves this of course because it can learn so much from the mistakes that need to be fixed and never repeated. Now that I think of it, these functions work beautifully together most of the time. Although lately I’ve felt a strong urge to change and develop, maybe even transcend to the next Graves -level. This has caused an increased amount of lesser bad decisions. Even when I feel that those decisions have been influenced by my driver. Not sure if I’m just trying to move forward too quickly and my functions are not sophisticated enough, or is it just the regular discomfort that comes with entering a new territory? Probably both…

    What comes to buying cookies, I believe I use the front seat for that. They are good with coffee (as has been known in the family for ages) and It’s good to have some stored in case for visitors, that stop by for coffee (more effective compared to baking the cookies myself, which I sometimes do for fun by the way).

    Thanks again for the mind-puzzling podcast!

  • Ernest G Gordon

    I noticed this practice comes into play when my Ne captures an idea or possibility and quickly run towards my three year old(Te) to actualize an idea; however once the idea is actualize the my FI comes to the altar and evaluate if the idea is authentic to my core causing me to hoard or fret on my attempt!

  • Anna

    Well i dont know much about other types im infp and our fisi loop looks like, omg i did that wrong,im bad (fi), yes exactly and last time u did the same(si). Im an awful person (fi), yeah, yeah, totally agree (si). But it’s unhealthy.

  • Garrett

    Great episode. I’ve been trying to understand a few things about myself better and I think this episode is helping me along in that regard. The comparison between introverted feeling and introverted thinking was pretty eye opening. I definitely experience a lot of introverted thinking skepticism and doubt, but my main focus isn’t as much on understanding reality (Ti) as much as it is on understanding myself (Fi). It would be great to hear a similar quick comparison between Si and Ni to figure out whether I’m in an FiNi or FiSi loop right now. Additionally, the contrast of the decision making between J’s and P’s was great. I definitely have a lot of issues getting into action and this podcast shed some light on why. Lastly, the question vs. answers discussion was very insightful. I’ve been struggling with asking myself the question “How do you know that?” so often that it gets hard for me to make up my mind on things. Being able to tentatively label that as a perceiving function may help me get a better handle on it.

    Long time listener, first time commenter. I think this is my favorite PH podcast episode thus far.

    • Anna

      How can u be in Fisi or FiNi loop? It’s either.. Or…

      • Garrett

        That’s what I meant. I’m not sure of my type, but it seems that I’m an introvert with Fi in my stack.

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