Self-Improvement & Sense of Purpose. Do you Need it? How does it Work for You?

Home Forums Cognitive Functions Self-Improvement & Sense of Purpose. Do you Need it? How does it Work for You?

This topic contains 51 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  Animal 5 months, 1 week ago.

  • Animal
    Participant
    • Type: SeFi
    • Development: lll-
    • F Attitude: Seelie

    My current understanding of the model, is that it has proposed Ji & Je are more about ‘self improvement’ and whereas Pe and Pi are more about living moment to moment. (I may be mis-stating the nuances here, so correct me if I’m misunderstanding you, Auburn or anyone else.)

    In my experience, the people I know who live moment to moment without purpose, are usually morbidly depressed (regardless of their function order). Then, when they find a sense of purpose, they feel more alive and free. This often goes hand in hand with recovering from depression.

    So the Pe descriptions of ‘seeking stimulation’ and ‘boredom,’ coupled with a lack of interest in self-improvement, purpose or direction, just read to me as a description of depression.

    There are many studies to back this up. Depression descriptions include a lack of sense of purpose, goals, or direction. A lack of interest in investment in anything long-term.  Also, many studies have shown that communities where longevity is most common, are focused on the people retaining a sense of purpose into old age.

    So I wonder how something so fundamentally human can belong to just one set of functions, and not the others?

    The way I see Pe and ‘freedom’ working inside me, personally –  is in having excess energy, desire and hunger, and feeling alive when I channel it toward something greater. Finding purpose, meaning; a reason to wake up in the morning. This is what gets me in the “flow.”

    How does this apply to you?  I elaborate on my own thoughts, and my questions, below.

    • This topic was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by  Animal.
    • This topic was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by  Animal.
    • This topic was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by  Animal.
    • This topic was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by  Animal.
    • This topic was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by  Animal.
    • This topic was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by  Animal.
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    Animal
    Participant
    • Type: SeFi
    • Development: lll-
    • F Attitude: Seelie

    I have always been deeply invested in a sense of purpose, and in self-improvement. Anyone that knows me would describe me as a person who battles my own shadow to defeat it and rise from the ashes, which has been proposed for the Fe description.  This has also been a central theme in my art and expression since I was young.

    I’ve been percolating about the nuances here; trying to wrap my mind around which parts are Fe and which parts are “human,” and which parts I may have emulated due to being Ji & Je conscious since a young age; vs. which parts are intrinsic to Fe on its own.

    My confusion and questions here, have implications for Je and Pe on the whole; and also J and P. So if I can get some clarity here, I might be able to tap deeper into all of the model’s underlying principles; and translate the experience of Se from a Se-lead perspective.

    So I am seeking feedback on this issue, in the interest of deeper understanding and, hopefully, being helpful. Copying from discord:

    @teatime – how do you feel about the idea that Pe (or P) on its own isnt concerned with self-improvement?
    and is more content to live moment to moment?
    you had once told me you were always trying to improve things and you got over it? or something like that. im curious how you conceptualize this in terms of being Pe lead and P heavy.
    i am J heavy, so i need some input here. it’s unimaginable to me, to not either embody or seek a sense of purpose and a (grand) direction toward which to channel my energy.
    i know this is my personality, not “circumstance” – since i lost everything, lost my voice when my ‘direction’ and lifetime training had been music, lost my autonomy (being on medication indefinitely), and even couldn’t walk and almost died from illness. i was consumed by insatiable hunger and sought short-term sexual and artistic conquests to satiate my hunger; not to mention that i became obsessed with working out (when physically capable) to release my energy, anger and suffering, which was choking me alive.
    and i took LSD and did a lot of dream work to rediscover a sense of purpose so i could breathe again.
    i don’t feel FREE without a sense of purpose; i feel that my energy and desire eats me alive.
    freedom is found in direction – building up skills, actualizing a project; aiming and chasing. otherwise, i’m just consuming , and it’s utterly unsatisfying.
    so the way I see Pe and ‘freedom’ (working inside me, personally) is in having all this energy and desire and hunger, and feeling alive when i am able to channel it toward something greater. finding purpose, meaning; a reason to wake up in the morning. this is what gets me in the “flow.”
    i am curious how this works for you as Pe_Pi.
    and if anyone else relates, or doesn’t. and how.

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by  Animal.
    Tea
    Participant
    • Type: NeFi
    • Development: l--l
    • F Attitude: Seelie

    In my case, I see Ne as more of scout of the best the best, but it can’t in itself rank priorities (Ji) or implement any kind of regiment toward any of the goals it has its eyes on. (lol, ne and eyes again). So it sets it sights rather high, but as a standalone function, I don’t Ne is heavily involved in self-improvement. It’s more looking into the candy store. Lots of candy stores. But not just any candy stores. The best candy stores. Because NF.

    I am a gatherer through and through. (Tangent but if we look at Ne as gatherer, we can get to Puer Aeternus from there. Kids are hoardy AF, and this encapsulates the sense of awe, “what if,” and “Though we can’t see it, it’s just around this corner.” I’m also happy with the myth of the Puer. That’s how the outside world will always see us, so it’s a helpful diagnostic.)

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by  Tea.
    Animal
    Participant
    • Type: SeFi
    • Development: lll-
    • F Attitude: Seelie

    @teatime Thank you – this is valuable feedback.

    But what about your personal experience, if you don’t mind sharing? How does self-improvement work for you?
    Do you relate to anything I said here:

     the way I see Pe and ‘freedom’ (working inside me, personally) is in having all this energy and desire and hunger, and feeling alive when i am able to channel it toward something greater. finding purpose, meaning; a reason to wake up in the morning. this is what gets me in the “flow.”

    Tea
    Participant
    • Type: NeFi
    • Development: l--l
    • F Attitude: Seelie

    I totally relate to that! Yes, when my direction isn’t clear, I’m terribly depressed. I seem to thrive best with outside structure. The busier I am, the more wisely I use my time. I’m forced to become my incisive.

    Animal
    Participant
    • Type: SeFi
    • Development: lll-
    • F Attitude: Seelie

     Yes, when my direction isn’t clear, I’m terribly depressed. I seem to thrive best with outside structure.

    This is exactly what I’m getting at.

    I don’t need outside structure; however I do seek structure in the sense of having direction, goals, and steps to get to them. I am able to create that structure myself, without imposition from the outside – thanks to Ji and Je conscious.

    However, I suspected that even with Pe-Pi conscious, and no J, you might say that you get depressed if you don’t have direction.

    In another thread, I argued that ‘boredom’ and ‘lack of stimulation’ sounded like a depressed person with no direction. Auburn essentially argued that he’s not morally judging these people; that living moment to moment is a perfectly valid way of existing. (Again, this is my understanding of the argument. He may have meant something else by it; I’m willing to be corrected if I misunderstood.)

    I am not ‘judging’ them either. Why would I? But while I can see that different types of lifestyles as ‘valid,’ I do think that it’s essentially human to seek purpose. And those who claim not to have purpose, and not to need it, are avoiding something.

    People who travel the world, for example, this requires having your eye on purpose. Most of us aren’t independently wealthy. So in order to make a traveling, free lifestyle work for you – you have to work or find some scheme to make money, to support traveling. My best friend has no home and lives free, without even a car at this point, with two backpacks. But he has a life-long profession in mind-body work, which he takes with him wherever he goes. And he finds a sense of purpose in honing that craft and seeing the world. He enjoys the momentary rush of needing to find clients, acquire money, and survive; and then go on to the next task.

    But this is nothing even remotely close to ‘aimless wandering.’ There’s still purpose in it.

    I also know someone well who fits the Se description, and may be SeTi; but he’s morbidly depressed. He has no sense of purpose, is always bored, and stays up nights stressing out about his future (or lack thereof).

    There is a very strong distinction here. Someone who doesn’t feel a sense of direction or purpose, will be depressed and thus bored.

    This is not Pe.

    Traveling, wanting to ‘see the world,’ wanting to experience specific things – requires a sense of direction and goals. It requires structure in acquiring funds or skills to survive. ‘Sense of purpose’ doesn’t have to mean owning a company or producing a project. But one must channel their energy toward some direction, to simply feel alive.  Sitting there being ‘bored due to a lack of stimulation’ and having no need to find direction, induces feelings of depression and isn’t fulfilling; so it is certainly not the ‘spiritual story’ of any cognitive function.

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by  Animal.
    • This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by  Animal.
    • This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by  Animal.
    • This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by  Animal.
    Animal
    Participant
    • Type: SeFi
    • Development: lll-
    • F Attitude: Seelie

    This is copied from discord.  Candy Drinker had posted it there, in response to my questions. He doesn’t have an account, but this is what he said:

    Boredom is a human condition, I think that a person, if bored, will start doing something that keeps them occupied and this shouldn’t be difficult for a non depressed person whereas in depression there might be a huge lack of motivation and the depressed person won’t likely do anything about their boredom and will continue to be bored. Maybe what Auburn is trying to say is that Pe users are more prone to boredom but a healthy Pe user will do something to overcome the boredom and will no longer be bored eventually.
    I am not an official Pe dom but I’m very likely a Pe dom and I can say, about the improvement thing, that I always try to improve myself, to improve my ideas and I’m often hungry for new knowledge so, admitting that I’m a Pe dom, here’s a counter-example to the idea that Pe doms won’t search for self improvement
    Anyway I wouldn’t see boredom as a negative thing, I think it could be a very effective incentive to do things. Also in my personal experience I noticed that less smart people I know are rarely bored (exception for the extra busy people I know who have always something to do)

    Auburn
    Keymaster
    • Type: TiNe
    • Development: ll-l
    • F Attitude: Adaptive

    It would be more appropriate to say the judgment functions are ..well, judging things as accurate/inaccurate, aligned/misaligned — and thus creating a hierarchical understanding of the relationship between things: better vs worse. perfect vs imperfect. right vs wrong. This causes the world to appear as a place where things (or oneself) either are or are not in their optimal or ideal order. And that can motivate the J functions to bring things into a better order. The desire to improve something/someone/oneself in this case relates to a keen understanding of ‘faults’ or ‘errors’ within a thing, hence criticism/judgment.

    There are other ways of changing (i.e. “improving”) one’s situation, however:

    So it sets it sights rather high, but as a standalone function, I don’t Ne is heavily involved in self-improvement. It’s more looking into the candy store. Lots of candy stores. But not just any candy stores. The best candy stores.

    I like this, as I think it captures the difference. Pe is not a critiquing function, even though it generally understands the concept of greater or lesser (quantity/stimuli). So it goes towards the “more” but it’s not a rigid quantification or segregation of parts. Pe by itself would be attracted to the shiniest and most delicious things, by virtue of their immediate novelty, captivation and real-time allure — without placing them into a more longstanding framework of judgments. There’s a kind of painful self-denial involved in the J functions, where reality is rejected if it doesn’t fit the wider aim or plan (“yes, you love this show, but you have work tomorrow and it’s late”) (“yes it’s delicious, but is it low carbs?”)

    So when I talk about J functions and how they define self-improvement, it’s important to know what this implied. Like any term, it’s subject to interpretation and something like “improvement” is one of those words than can mean anything from a relativistic standpoint. But with J functions, I am talking about the kind of self-control and order-driven, premeditated improvement stated above.

    Now, there are other motivations for improvement that are not based on this hierarchical valuing + order/control. A Pe user may wish to improve their situation into something more lively and engaging, driven more by curiosity and thirst for experience than by criticism. Pe by itself “improves” its situation more spontaneously at every opportunity by seeking after fresher springs and finding new paths.

    Still, for more arduous and premeditated improvements, there would likely be a subordinate use of the J functions, to help them understand what they want or don’t want, so that their Pe may better know where to chase or what to go after. So for example, a PeFi l— may consult their subordinate Fi/Te to figure out what to aim for and what’s worth the work, but then proceed to use their lead Pe gathering/exploring to get there. In a J-lead, the criticism is more central, and the P functions offer perspectives, ideas and patterns that are instrumental in the “getting there.”

    And to the degree that Pe types apply this sort of J self-regulation/criticism, their J signals will also increase. This lets us know that the quality belongs to the J axis. So to summarize, anyone can seek to improve their situation and themselves, depending on what we call “improvement.” J has a hierarchical valuing system it uses to define improvement, and has a premeditated understanding which it then prioritizes above the situation (i.e. “it’s bedtime”) in order to keep to the plan. Pe seeks to improve its situation with drive to go after what it wants, to chase after desires and novel experiences — but by itself it’ll lack structure and discipline, even for getting where it wants to go. And subordinate Ji/Je are drafted to help them get there.

    Sense of Purpose

    “Sense of Purpose” — is far too general a term to be useful anywhere, I agree. I don’t think that’s a J thing. A Pe function may find its sense of purpose to be to live a life filled with as much joy as possible, and to be expressive and free to be themselves. Or thriving in general in whatever they wish. We all want to feel alive and purposeful, but that’s a different thing than a criticism-based approach to error-correcting oneself or the environment. That is what J does.

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by  Auburn.
    • This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by  Auburn.
    Animal
    Participant
    • Type: SeFi
    • Development: lll-
    • F Attitude: Seelie

    @auburn

    I am definitely up for agreeing that my personal case is unique and it is heavily influenced by J development – so I am not saying this to pick an argument about Pe per se; but to point something out about the system in general.

    I just wrote this on discord, moments ago:

    the kicker is for me i don’t have much energy to do ‘random ‘ things that aren’t part of what really resonates with me
    like if i have to go to a party i just deflate
    i only used to go to parties, for example, if there was a specific guy that i was trying to seduce – and i would plan to take him away from the party.
    i don’t have much energy for just ‘random happenings.’
    or ‘random space fillers’
    like, video games and tv have never interested me even as a kid.
    so personally, i dont have energy to do ‘all these things’ but just specific things which enliven me
    and those are always attached to long-term goals, purpose and expression
    if i don’t see the point of it in terms of my own development and place in the world, i am not very motivated to do it
    being ‘bored’ implies that you just need Something – ANYTHING .

    A Pe function may find its sense of purpose to be to live a life filled with as much joy as possible, and to be expressive and free to be themselves. Or thriving in general in whatever they wish.

    The thing is, @ivory finds his purpose in living a life filled with joy, and being free of restrictions. He hates the Je world for imposing stupid bullshit on him and he would prefer to spend his time free, without a schedule, playing video games if he wants, frollicking if he feels like.

    My album title, Slave to Freedom, was based on another person who I saw as  a Slave to Freedom. (He agreed.) Ivory related to it immediately.

    But the original title – about me – was Freedom Broke the Exile’s Heart.

    For me, if there’s no purpose, no structure, no step by step process with goals  – I feel empty. I’ve been like this as a kid. This is why I had a career at 13.

    I find freedom in having direction, and actualizing something. Whereas Ivory finds freedom in breaking free of it.

    And my father, a Pi lead, is a lot like me. He also finds freedom and feels alive when he has a long term plan. Not to mention, he’s polarized P.

    I don’t find any freedom in free time without structure, limitless fun and enjoyment. Those words register to me as boring. What excites and stimulates me, is goal, purpose, direction, challenge.

    And I know I’m not alone. Many other Pe leads have said similar things – famous ones that I follow (Amy Lee, Milo) — and also people I know personally, and people on this forum.

    So maybe this comes from my J functions, but then how would you explain the fact that Ivory, as a Ti lead , resents any structure imposed on him and finds more value in enjoyment than I do? Is this “Je?”

    The other part of this, is that Ivory was miserable – when he had nothing to fill his time but video games.  While he resented the world for imposing limits on him, he also wanted to find The Thing Worth Doing. (Exactly what I have always done.)

    Neither of us find any motivation to get out of bed in the morning without That One Thing driving us at the core. But on the other hand, he idealized “freedom” whereas I never did; I found most people’s concept of freedom (including the one you describe here and ascribe to Pe) to be suffocating and idealistic.

    The Pe leads I know who fill their time with random nothing, are also depressed. I’ve never met, spoken to or  known an actual human who finds real freedom and joy in having absolutely nothing to do . It’s just, some people idealise this state of mind, because they find themselves too depressed, anxious or disorganized to be able to actualize or discover any direction for themselves.

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by  Animal.
    • This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by  Animal.
    Ivory
    Participant
    • Type: TiSe
    • Development: ll--
    • F Attitude: Adaptive

    In relation to the post above, ‘Freedom’ could be seen as a freedom from the devils that you know. Grass is greener on the other side. J-person finding freedom in P and visa versa.

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by  Ivory.
    Animal
    Participant
    • Type: SeFi
    • Development: lll-
    • F Attitude: Seelie

    @ivory

    It definitely could be.  To quote what I said in the boredom thread:

    The idea of ‘boredom’ strikes me as a distorted perception of reality, and I wonder why people assume that it’s so natural and human. To me it’s an indicator that there’s a serious problem.

    There’s so much that I want to do and so much that I have to do – in order to achieve what I want to, and also, in order to survive.  I am not motivated to just  do ‘random things’ to fill the space, whatsoever; but I always have steps I can take toward actualizing the visions, dreams and goals that exist in my life. So – how would it even be possible to get bored? And if such a thing would occur, I would wonder – why? What is missing?

    I have never been interested in television or video games, or “random space fillers,” even as a child. I always had vision, direction.  One of my theories about why I am less prone to boredom, is that I trained my mind to focus and not to expect immediate gratification. To quote myself again;

    I taught myself to not expect immediate gratification. Unbeknownst to myself, I avoided poisoning my mind. I also trained my mind early, due to the pressing demands of my ambition around music.

    And I believe this may be a bigger factor in people getting “bored” than being Pe. Most of us were raised by television and video games, which trained our minds to expect immediate gratification and stimulation. We were also raised in a generation where “every child counts” and, at least in USA, the education is too easy. We aren’t challenged, aren’t taught to think critically, aren’t held to standards.

    Maybe this is one factor contributing to why people get ‘bored.’  I wonder if this state was so pervasive in previous generations, or if more people were able to concentrate.

    I have a hard time seeing this as ‘the grass is greener’ when I’ve always been this way. It’s not like as a kid I just lost myself in  random television and entertainment; and only now I’m saying ‘I need to change.’

    I just don’t see this propensity in myself – to find ‘freedom and enjoyment’ as an ideal – at all.

    But perhaps I take for granted that I’m “already free” in a way you are not.

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by  Animal.
    Animal
    Participant
    • Type: SeFi
    • Development: lll-
    • F Attitude: Seelie

    Ok let me rephrase this.

    A Pe function may find its sense of purpose to be to live a life filled with as much joy as possible, and to be expressive and free to be themselves. Or thriving in general in whatever they wish.

    I find fulfillment in being a vessel through which passion emerges. So there is some truth in what you have said here, @auburn. However, while my passion is to express, my purpose is to polish the vessel – meaning, to challenge myself to improve as an artist so that I’m an appropriate vessel through which these sentiments may emerge, in whatever craft I choose.

    So this is Ji and Je, in service of Pe – ‘being a vessel for passion’ , selfhood, freedom – exactly as I experience it.

    I don’t think there’s purpose to be found in being ‘free to be myself’ because I take that as a given. What could possibly stop me aside from my own lack of discipline?  Therefore, I worship the idea of discipline, as an avenue toward expression.

    This is where @ivory and I differ – he feels his own internal structure limiting him, so he worships the idea of being set free.

    The idea of ‘limitless enjoyment’ as a life purpose sounds decidedly boring to me. I need a challenge, and a larger direction, to feel stimulated and alive.

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by  Animal.
    • This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by  Animal.
    Scientiam
    Participant
    • Type: TiSe
    • Development: l-l-
    • F Attitude: Directive

    @animal

    In my experience, that the way I got out of a very deep depression is finding happiness in my Pe function, in freedom and exploration, to get out of my very heavy Ji and Je ideals/perfectionism which became a sort of jailhouse in my psyche.

     

    Animal
    Participant
    • Type: SeFi
    • Development: lll-
    • F Attitude: Seelie

    @scientiam

    Yes! This is basically what @ivory and I were saying. He’s TiSe, so he finds freedom in breaking free of the J ‘shackles’  through the use of his Se, which in his case, is developed.

    For me, I find freedom in dedicating myself to a purpose. Without that, my life feels utterly empty.  As I said in discord:

    my hunger, my desire, my passion; fuels me
    if i don’t have somewhere to put it, then it becomes a force of destruction

    For people who are J-leads, perhaps it is important to loosen the shackles of categorization (Ji) and goal-oriented action (Je).  But for P-leads, it may be equally important to instill some sort of discipline and purpose, to avoid becoming forces of random destruction motivated by excess energy (Pe) or imploding on themselves (Pi).

    So I don’t think that aimless wandering without direction, is really what fulfills a Pe person. This simply isn’t fulfilling to anyone; though people who are not Pe-leads may romanticize the apparent ‘freedom from shackles’ that Pe people represent to them.

    But claiming that it’s “fulfilling to live moment to moment” is a dehumanizing romanticization of how the life of a Pe lead actually looks.  Moment to moment randomness doesn’t fulfill anyone, even if it serves as a positive addition for J-leads to incorporate into their otherwise ‘jailing’ mindsets.

    A major identifying symptom of depression is perpetual boredom and a lack of structure, purpose and direction.

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by  Animal.
    • This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by  Animal.
    • This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by  Animal.
    • This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by  Animal.
    Animal
    Participant
    • Type: SeFi
    • Development: lll-
    • F Attitude: Seelie

    For any J-leads who are writing or interpreting descriptions, perhaps there’s some projection going on — where their own need to incorporate P into their lives – makes them think that P represents freedom and a lack of shackles. However, being too free, without direction, discipline or definition, is a different set of shackles which P leads may struggle with and it feels very different on the inside. We have just as much need to find freedom in incorporating J, as J-leads do, in incorporating P. Does that make sense?

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by  Animal.
    • This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by  Animal.
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