3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Where are you and where are you going?
mathiverse
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by mathiverse »

ertyu wrote:
Thu Dec 12, 2019 5:00 am
I came to write here today because today was really hard to go through at work. The desire to escape and run away, and the feeling of being trapped, were stronger than usual... I was surprised at how strong the feeling was and how seemingly uncorrelated with the reality of my job. Yes, I would rather be pretty much anywhere else and I often actively dislike client interaction, but objectively and aside from my feelings, there are many worse jobs and ways to save. Many other people work the same job and don't have such a strong reaction to working. Why do I? I am already working on ere and have made it my goal to stop working. The feelings emerge in me spontaneously. I can feel them come up in my body. They make my life really hard, and harder than it needs to be. Out of the desire to escape, I procrastinate on trivial work tasks which start feeling like Ultimate Suffering And Drudgery and pile up in a way that makes me later cut corners with quality in order to somehow scramble to get things done in time. Colleagues see me as incompetent and lazy, but I feel like I am making a lot of effort to keep showing up and keep completing my tasks. Inside, it feels like I am working really, really hard, whereas if you were to observe me on the outside without knowing me, you would probably see a slacker. Even doing so little work, it weighs on me so hard. I am still working on it, trying to use mindfulness/focusing/self-talk/whatever, but I really wish I could work and not be this miserable. Is the misery because subconscious thinks that if I am not miserable I will keep working? I don't know. Still not sure about what the key is to sorting out my psychology here.
Hey ertyu,

I've been following your journal (and appreciate your comments on mine). This is pretty similar to how I feel a lot of times. I'm not too sure why I can't seem to handle full time work in a healthy way, but it weighs heavily on me and is a big reason I'm looking to become ERE.

ertyu
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by ertyu »

flying_pan wrote:
Fri Dec 27, 2019 2:24 am
So maybe looking at renting vs owning is a good idea.
I have looked into it and regularly look through listings. A couple of things stand between me and pulling the trigger. The central one is, I feel like if I am ready to own, I should also be ready to commit to a location to settle down, and at this point I am not very clear about where that would be. Property values are inflated, as they are everywhere (present value of imputed rent over 20 yrs < property value), and at present it is often cheaper to rent. One plan I have is slow-traveling my country for the first 1-2 years to see where I might like it best.

Second, I don't really want to go back to my country. I really want to stop working, that is my overarching motivation, and I can only afford to stop working if I then settle in my country of origin. I'm an old hand at geo-arbitrage so I have considered things like slow-traveling over SE Asia and other such that are cheaper to Americans than staying in the states but would not necessarily be cheaper to me who can access developing country prices in my home country without the "tourist discount." But there are many things about my country I don't like. I don't like how there isn't a culture of personal growth, of trying to become "larger" and more tolerant. Like most other developing countries, my country tends to the conservative. Many closed-minded, small-minded, reactive people who live lives governed by their psychological complexes. I guess me and others like me are part of the problem, as we have long left the country.

Also, deciding on a location is also wrapped with deciding how involved I want to be in the caretaking of my ageing parents. I have an extremely selfish sibling who I do not doubt is the sort of person who would abandon our parents so I won't have another choice but to be chained to elder care, buttfuck nowhere developing country boonies.

Long story short, the location question is still quite open for me.

ertyu
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by ertyu »

Now that @mathiverse pulled up that paragraph, I realize that my issues with my job are entirely interpersonal. It's not what, it's who with, it's interacting with people - bosses, colleagues, clients.

ertyu
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by ertyu »

So, today is a week since I was last at work. Time went so fast. I didn't accomplish anything huge and wasn't suddenly full of joy, energy, and thirst for life, but I have been ok. Calm. I read a coaching book called "Helping People Change" which comes with a MOOC on Coursera (which I haven't signed up for). Not sure if I'd recommend the entire book. Two things were useful:

(1) "If your life was awesome 10-15 years from now, what would that look like." Extending the time-frame from the customary "what's your new yrs resolution" and "where do you see yourself in 5 yrs" gets people to engage with their vision in a more holistic and abstract way and engages their imagination. More creative ideas and solutions result.
(1.1) Apparently talking this through with a person who asks you questions to clarify and makes encouraging noises at you looks different under an fmri than writing it out. Talking is better. Might posit an imaginary friend on the couch and talk to them.

(2) Something that I had always intuited, and which always made me want to butt heads with the "SMART goals" and "progress targets" crowd: making a goal sets an expectation. You now have something to fail against. You monitor for ways you are falling short. This goals -> stress link makes people want to put off and avoid their goals. "Listing goals" vs. "discussing a personal vision" are neurologically different things.

“For many people (other than those with a motive called a high need for achievement, such as people who seek a career in sales), this creates an obligation(*). The obligation creates stress and begins to add to the negative process in the brain that we’ve described throughout this book. The goal then may become something to avoid rather than pursue.”

*I would call it expectation personally - but the end result is the same, I experience it as a limitation to personal freedom, a have-to that weighs and generates avoidance rather than a goalpost or a motivating thing.

Book went into reasons why this might be and stated different goals might be differently effective in different contexts, but was ultimately wishy-washy on exactly what goals suited to each context would look like so as to be motivating and not trigger this defensiveness/prevent-failure/avoid stress and obligation response.

Fuck every single boss that ever made me write targets, truly.

ertyu
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by ertyu »

FBeyer wrote:
Sun Dec 29, 2019 6:20 am

If you want to train your brain to continually look for things to remove from your life, then by all means think in terms of 'lowering expenses'. In a few short years, the daily myelination of synapses will teach your brain to be on the constant lookout for things that COULD be lower, or things to cut from your life. You'll be looking at the world through a lens of negativity and reductionism.

If you think in terms of What Do I Need to Live A Fulfilled Life, then you'll be operating from the standpoint on needs, values, and dreams. You might be getting rid of the same things, you might be doing the same actions, but the impact these two different approaches have on your mental health will severely affect you in the future.

I guarantee it, 'cause I'm talking to people on a daily basis who view the world from a reductionist point of view.

The ultimate effect might be the same but consider a coarse example.

a) I want more sex
b) I want a better relationship

Both should yield more sex, but the myopic focus on the Key Performance Indicator will affect the way you solve challenges.
A better relationship will yield a LOT more than just more sex, because you are addressing the fundamental issue, not the measurable target itself.
Dragging this quote over here because, serendipitously, it's talking about exactly what the book above is, but phrases it better and in an actually intelligible way. Thanks @FBeyer, shall mull.

FBeyer
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by FBeyer »

Incidentally I am working on SMART goals and systems design.

A goal is not the target, a goal is used in order to build the SYSTEM that will get you there. Your goals determine your system's design, because your systems determine your behavior. When the system is set up properly, you will reach your goals whether you're thinking about them or not.

The goals do nothing, the system does everything.

That's what a lot of people miss when it comes to goal setting...

ertyu
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by ertyu »

FBeyer wrote:
Sun Dec 29, 2019 7:47 am
Incidentally I am working on SMART goals and systems design.
Is there any reading you could recommend by any chance? The relationship between goals and "the big picture" is exactly where that book had 0 useful stuff to offer.

FBeyer
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by FBeyer »

Not really a single source. No.

My best recommendation would be: Atomic Habits, Systemic Coaching, Work The System, The One Thing, Thinking in Systems, ERE, The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying, A Guide To The Good Life, and a smattering of personality tests.

You need to understand (not know) yourself.
You have to have a deep-felt connection with where you want to be in the future. [1]
You need to understand what to work on to get there.
You need to know how to shape your environment to support you.
You need to stay cool.
And you have to have the spine to actually DO it, not think it...


[1] No 'feeling it' means no support from the limbic system, and no support from the limbic systems means you're going to be scrolling through facebook, not doing the thing you 'ought' to do...

ertyu
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by ertyu »

Have read: Atomic Habits,, ERE, The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying, A Guide To The Good Life.

Couldn't Find: Systemic Coaching, Thinking in Systems

Perused: Work The System, The One Thing

Nice, but failed to "change my life forever" etc. I guess the problem is in the pesky footnote --> [1]

I have known people who have that. For example, a classmate of mine, an atheist from a predominantly Christian country, working class family of Christian origins, etc., for some reason was really into Islamic Studies. Beats me why. It wasn't a conscious, rational choice - if you could choose what to be into, I think most people would choose something practical that would make them money. But this dude, Islamic Studies. We were mostly econ/finance types, so it was kinda strange to us, but it was clear that this dude found the study of Islamic Studies engaging and intellectually stimulating, genuinely interesting. He didn't really plan his life in a goal-directed fashion; instead, his interest in the subject led to him being informed and having quality thoughts about what he read, which led to a prof engaging with him more than with others in the cohort, which led to a senior thesis and a word-of-mouth recommendation from prof to Other Prof at Major Research Uni, which led to my classmate getting a fully funded Phd, a whole slew of field research opportunities, and ultimately a teaching position at a small liberal arts college, where dude is happy as a cucumber, appearing to genuinely enjoy himself and to still find Islamic Studies genuinely fascinating.

In my experience, if you have [1], life flows, opportunities line up, and it just works. Dude above was into a thing where career success is uncertain - the adjunct prof trap is known, and if you thought a BA in a useless subject is useless, let me tell you about how useless a PhD is. But the dude never freaked out for some reason. He just calmly pursued his interests because his life just flowed that way. And his life worked out, where I am sure the lives of many who hoped to achieve what he has did not. I guess I was really influenced by the example of this dude. Looking back at how the lives of classmates worked out, those who freaked out and tried to "force it" didn't make it far (I am case in point) whereas those that didn't work too hard - not in terms of absolute amount of work, but of forcing themselves to work hard in a disciplined fashion - but knew where they were going turned out awesome. Another classmate, political science major, female, also from a working class family/no connections or wealth, "I'm done editing that paper, it's not done but i'm off to Boston for the weekend": married to a doctor from harvard med school right out of college, started out as an analyst at the atlanta fed and went up from there. Etcetera.

The tl;dr: is, actual life success, imo, is not achieved through effort. That's why I've always thought that the psychology is key and first and foremost. If the psychology is in place, all else will fall into place too. Life just flows.

It's not that these people didn't apply conscious planning and time-management or what have you, it's that for them, that wasn't something they needed to labor over but rather a, "oh, that tip sounds like a good idea that'll make my life easier, i guess i'll start doing that" - and then there's no struggle with "doing that," no forcing yourself into hopefully developing habits while your subconscious kicks and screams the other way, no need for deprivation, etc. You see it in JLF's book: one phrase that really struck me was, "not consumer deprivation but producer manifestation." The ERE Renaissance Man DIY thing is a fun challenge to the people here. Most people who DIYed something feel proud of their ingenuity in being able to solve a problem. To them, solving problems this way brings a feeling of self-efficacy, of self-reliance and strength.

Contrast this to many of my friends from my country of origin. When I tell them I am pursuing ERE, they think it's stupid and I'm stupid, and don't hesitate to tell me this to my face. "Dude, that's called poverty. You realize people try all their lives to get into a position where they don't have to live that way, right?" My father, also. Looking back, I realize he was a tinkerer. He was a middle-management cop, but he could do most household appliance electrical repairs, he insulated the house on his own, made a desk, bought a junk car for 100 bucks and repaired it until it ran for another 5 years, etc. When I asked him why he didn't teach me or involve me in his projects, he said he wanted me to focus on school and he wanted me to be a specialized high-earning office worker. Basically, he hoped I would never need to know.

Now, let 3 people have the same project: the couch is old, reupholster it. My friends would resent this project, it would make them miserable and it would feel like drudgery. JLF/ERE folk would feel pride in a job well done, in a new skill learned, in a crafty way to have acquired tools/materials. My father felt it as a grim responsibility; what he had to do as the man of the house to care for his family given that his earning power only stretched so far. Did he enjoy reupholstering our couch? I'll never know.

The difference? Psychology.

I think what confused me for the longest time was this emphasis on "what are you passionate about?" and, "well, what do you enjoy doing?" and the like. I think this confuses more people than just me. Because people are passionate about their sports team and they enjoy beer and a steak. That's not the right place to point to at all. If I had "enough" money tomorrow, I'd slow-travel and scratch my balls. Maybe I'd go to a couple of fasting retreat type places in the hopes of losing weight while someone else cooks. None of that is a calm, focused certainty about the direction of your life. In my experience, the people I've met who did know didn't know 'cause they took an MBTI test, they just knew. They had a sense that that's where the calm deep river of their life was leading them. Why did my one working class, christian/atheist college buddy take a religious studies class? Something told him, try that, that resonates, that might be cool to know. He just knew, he didn't top-down decide, he didn't try to follow some system or some logic. I don't just know.

ertyu
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by ertyu »

Maybe because of where my thoughts went last post (cultural and family influences on attitude to work and ERE), one thing has crystalized over the past 3 days. I seem to feel deeply inferior to classmates of mine who enjoy their white collar jobs and are competent professionals.

This is not in terms of social status. That's not what worries me, and even if it did, social status-wise, I would probably rank about the middle - decent job, lotsa travel, saw the world, was educated abroad on scholarships, etc. So even if what I do doesn't have "cache" in traditional career ladder terms (I have classmates working for very shiny institutions, also classmates who are doctors and lawers with their own practice, etc), you could say I am not a "complete" failure because I still have an ok-paying job and I have seen the world. So, not feeling inferior about the social status that my path in life confers.

What I do feel inferior about is my inability to be happy, competent, and self-realized in this path. If I wasn't kicking and screaming all the way, I too would probably have been employed by one shiny organization or another because I went to good schools and did ok. But as soon as my education "professionalized" and further on as I started my career, I was miserable and unmotivated all the way, and it took me a lot of effort and drudgery to "force myself" to do the thing, whereas my classmates did the thing, did the thing well, and experienced a sense of satisfaction in their competence for having done the thing. I liked school well enough when I was learning general things for no purpose because why not. I have a liberal arts degree and if I had children I'd like them to have a liberal arts degree, too, because I would like their horizons to be broad and I would like them to be able to think about the world, not just sling code. The problems started when I had to choose a major, and when none of the adults in my life listened to all the "listen, i'm going the wrong way, i feel miserable here, i'm not doing ok, how can i choose my direction in life so the 8+ hours I'll need to put into a job each day don't feel like sheer suffering."

My mother shook her head and said she's read an article about how young people really seem to have trouble launching these days. My professors listened during office hours but were ultimately not invested, save for this one piece of shit who used my confusion to rope me into doing papers for publication for him on which he just tagged his name. I kicked and screamed again, and did a terrible job, and he told me how disappointed he is and how he has given me such a chance bla-bla. I felt guilty. I wondered what's wrong with me. Why can't I do this one simple thing that would help build up my CV when all my classmates would have jumped on it? (After some time passed, way after graduation, I realized some part of me deep down knew it was being taken advantage of. Some part of me knew it was being asked to give up its joy and individuality so a disillusioned, lazy, but ego-driven middle-aged shitstain could notch publications to his name).

My father reacted to my telling him I feel lost by being angry at me until I got back in line and did what he thought I should do. He shouted at me to get a "practical" major, and shouted at me whenever he saw me reading anything that was in any way about ideas. He'd say things like, "this turns my guts, I want to take this book and throw it down the shitter." I thought, ok, I am capable, I can complete "practical major" to please him and then go on to do what I want - but "practical major" sucked me in and sucked the life out of me. (shitstain prof was from "practical major"). I either case, I flunked out of a fully funded phd with a free MA (went to grad school right out of college - another attempt to kick and scream in the opposite direction). While my classmates ended up having reputable careers, some of them in academia, some of them in various think-tanks and intl orgs, some of them in industry, I washed out. And feel like a great loser for not being the sort of person who was automatically motivated to capitalize on the opportunities presented to him. I had the ability, all of them did it, why couldn't I?

I still can't. Trainings don't translate into competence, nothing gets internalized. I'm still kicking and screaming and all my energy goes into trying to drag myself forward when everything in me wants to ... not. It doesn't know what to do any more than it knew at 20, but just like at 20, it knows, not this, regardless of how rational it seems. I'm almost 40 now, and I've had 20 years of practice experiencing myself as incompetent and unlikely to succeed, and experiencing work as a miserable drudgery. I probably have to show for it 1/5th of what the people I studied with do. My life is one giant holding pattern, waiting and hoping for it to stop.

Another reason why I am thinking of this is that I saw a suitable apartment for sale in my home town. Costs 15% of my net worth, needs work, which would make for interesting projects, and is pretty much the ideal apartment at the ideal location if I had to choose something in my city - a studio with a small kitchen and a balcony with a good view, and at a key public transportation juncture from where one can take a bus to any other point in the city. Walkling/transportation-wise, few other locations are better. The remainder of my NW, at 2%, would generate a minimum wage a month (a bit misleading, since min wages have been allowed to slip and most people, even in very menial jobs, earn about 1.5x - 2x this, but still possible to live on frugally given I won't be paying rent.)

It has made me imagine my life if I quit my job and bought it, and while I think it is a good opportunity, it's making me realize I don't want to be in my home town. I don't picture myself happy there. As you may have gathered, my family of origin isn't the most functional. My parents are exactly what you would think of when you think of the worst of developing country people - traditional, with set expectations for how one should live, and with set expectations for their entitlement to run my life and to keep nagging at me for falling short. That apartment would be what I want, but it's not what they think I should want - a large one, with a wife and children, a car, a shiny profession, me giving them money. While I know they don't run my life, it's wearing for people who are your family and who you cannot help but love to constantly purse their lips at you and lecture you on how disappointed they are, how you're bringing bad face and shame to your family by not being one of those respected people with the shiny upper middle class jobs, etcetera. And when will you get married? Look at you, you're not getting any younger, you should get married and have kids.

My home town is small, and people in it are also exactly what you would expect of small town people everywhere. Conservative, uneducated, set in their thinking, uncritical. Pretty much anyone not like that has moved to one of the bigger cities where the actual shiny professional jobs are - and where anyone marginally able or of diverse lifestyle moves to as soon as possible. Certainly all my high school classmates who were in any way capable, interesting, or intelligent now live somewhere else. My siblings live elsewhere, too, which, guess who will be saddled with elder care (I guess culturally it would be me anyways, as I am the oldest). I also don't like how small the town is. Everyone you have some history with. The entertainment is gossip, booze, and pot/amphetamines for those so inclined (in the states this is associated with the lower class, but in my country it is much more prevalent. IT types for instance use amphetamines to be able to drink hard and work hard. I know a few).

tl;dr: between rock and hard place. hate current life, hate life i could fi to. Hesitant to make decisions when this depressed. Maybe I should buy the place anyway, to have somewhere to stay when I inevitably have to return to wipe my father's ass.

HalfCent
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by HalfCent »

At some point you have to acknowledge that you tried their path. (And frankly, they sound abusive -- however well-meaning.) When will you allow yourself to try yours? Also, remember the greener grass effect. Sometimes people think some other life is the one they should be living, until they try it and discover that other life, too, is filled with some share of the usual drudgery. HOWEVER there is also that glorious sensation when you find yourself doing exactly what you always dreamed of.

So, what have you always dreamed of? What fleeting moment of passion have you felt? The apartment could be great. Or some other project. Also, allow yourself to fail ("fail"). We all do.

And maybe it's just eliminating the negative first, then getting to homeostasis, THEN searching for glimpses of nirvana.

But at 38 you are old enough to be your own man. Clearly brilliant, empathetic, curious, erudite. A great writer.

Why else would you journal if it did not give you pleasure?

HalfCent
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by HalfCent »

I also want to thank you for providing international perspective. I do not know what country you are in but I realize that I enjoy a great comfort and advantage merely by the accident of my birth in a wealthy country that is not currently in recession, where in recent history we have enjoyed great personal freedom of expression (within societal norms). I didn't always feel this way but with age and success and travel and perspectives like yours, I do now. By definition, your experience is harder. You have to uphold the expectations of a family trying to escape the circumstances of culture/nationality/economy. Part of my family is in a developing nation, so I have perhaps more understanding than my average countryman. But any minority person tends to feel that pressure, and is never allowed to just succeed on their own terms.

Frita
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by Frita »

Making decisions (or even doing analysis) seems to be a bad idea with feeling strong negative emotions (Those negative emotions aren’t bad, just sending you a message.). At the time, one feels clear and productive. That isn’t what it always seems like when one’s mood has lifted.

Score, you have eliminated two places for your future homebase: where you are now and your hometown. It sounds like you have outgrown your family which threatens them. ( Do you have a family culture of comparing oneself to others to determine one’s self worth or did you develop it on your own? While one can harness some motivation, comparison is a way to make oneself miserable as hell.) There is probably still plenty to learn from your family and a reworkable relationship; however, that may take some perspective. Your current friends sound like they also value and shape others to be just like them. With consumerism, I find that all too common. I suspect that they are learning from your frugal ways though.

Anyway I wish I could invite you over for brunch to hangout. I am making my Swedish grandma’s cinnamon rolls, a scaled-down recipe as I am not feeding a camp of hundreds of tiehacks. It would not change anything but these sweetbreads are incredibly good. We could talk all things ERE.

Just curious from what type of third world culture you culture come: First Nation, Latin, Asian, Middle Eastern, Eastern European, other? It seems that each has unique demands. If you’d rather keep it private, I understand.

ertyu
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by ertyu »

SPY: 33 down, 133 to go. Bought GDX, ended up a bad idea. Bought USD, ended up also being a bad idea. Oh well.

daylen
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by daylen »

You're an ISTJ by the way.

ertyu
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by ertyu »

daylen wrote:
Thu Feb 27, 2020 1:12 pm
You're an ISTJ by the way.
Thanks, good to know. I always seem to test INFP, why do you think it's ISTJ? I'm curious

Edit: I see you guys talking and using combinations like Ne/Ni etc., but I don't know what those mean. To understand you, I'd probably need something like, "well this bit here in this example of what you said about X is like *this* as opposed to like *that*, so that makes you an S not an N."
Last edited by ertyu on Thu Feb 27, 2020 1:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

daylen
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by daylen »

INFP would have all the same functions but in a different order. ISTJ has Si-Te-Fi-Ne

Si is everywhere in this journal and Te is clear when you give advice to others elsewhere. The form of this journal is I do X -> Y -> Z .. this particularized narrative overrides Te interjections of optimization.

Also, you use Fi but it does not seem dominate to me. Fe seems to be lacking indicating PoLR. There are several other factors but they are sub-conscious for me right now.

ertyu
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by ertyu »

Thanks for answering dude. As predicted, I don't understand haha. maybe some googling

daylen
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by daylen »

ertyu wrote:
Thu Feb 27, 2020 1:20 pm
To understand you, I'd probably need something like, "well this bit here in this example of what you said about X is like *this* as opposed to like *that*, so that makes you an S not an N."
This is going to get convoluted and fun. :D

-----------

I will use this quote as an example. Si can only know in particular circumstances. Someone who uses Ni would infer why something is true by looking beyond the bits and pieces to see fuzzy patterns (e.g. Jacob, Ego ..).

ertyu
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by ertyu »

Hm, I read a description of an ISTJ and it doesn't sound like me at all...

This one btw --> https://www.truity.com/personality-type/ISTJ

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