INTJ vs Doctor

I challenged a doctors diagnosis back in April based on my research. I was certain the doctor was wrong. He said something about the reliability of information found online.

You have to be careful what you read online, he said.

He told me people come in all the time citing something they read online. In the same way you might hear your customers talking about what they read online. He told me, “I’ve been doing this for 37 years.” I thought to myself, that sounds familiar.

Later, on the second visit, the doctor surprisingly changed his mind. He asked, “How were you sure about the diagnosis?” I sensed he was puzzled by my findings. I downplayed it by saying, I know how to decipher data. In this case, I had to decipher bad medical advice from good medical advice in the same way I parse any information.

It came down to being able to identify inconsistencies within the information. It can be spoken words, written words, photos, etc. The analysis works at a level of deductive logic by asking, “is this even possible?” This sort of thing happens all the time, nearly every day, in all aspects of life. My choice is one of two things, 1) speak up when something is wrong or 2) say nothing and allow the “told you so” to occur on its own without saying it.

You could beat the doctor by replacing him with an equation created by people who knew nothing about medicine and had simply asked a few questions of doctors. — The Undoing Project

Typically I go with the second option, but this was a health issue. My motive lies squarely on the prevention of something. In this case, I was trying to prevent a second visit to the doctor because “efficiency.” Part of the process I go through analyzing something is to prevent something from occurring, or existing, or the need to exist. My second doctors visit didn’t need to occur.

Time for Change

We all know someone who consistently goes through the same problems over and over. It could be jobs or relationships, some people go through relationships like painters go through painters pants.

We try to help these repeat offenders by making suggestions when they come to us with a series of why statements wondering what they are doing wrong. And while we know they can hear us talking, they fail to take the necessary actions to change, and you guessed it, they make the same mistakes all over again. These individuals have no control over their lives. None.

People like that think they have life figured out, and their lies the problem. In order to correct a problem, we need to first recognize the problem. We are historically bad at identifying our own problems. This is why repeat offenders fail. They fail to take the time to identify the problem and to make necessary changes to correct it.

Those who have not identified their mistakes of the past are destined to repeat them.

As for the bystanders, the helpers, the ones who often know others better than they know themselves, there is only so much we can do to help them aside from grabbing them by the neck and showing them whats best for them, and they still resist change.

The Solution:

Trust in others close to you to help you identify the problem and listen to what they tell you. Pay close attention. You are not going to want to hear that what you’ve been doing your whole life is wrong, trust me, you will resist. The key to fixing the problem is “undoing” whatever is causing the problem. The solution will always require change.

Cart Before Horse

If the goal is to make less mistakes, then we ought to first understand how we make mistakes. Because if we don’t understand how we make mistakes, we will continue making the same mistakes, even worse, not know until it’s too late.

Before you read another book, or read the Bible, or make another decision, or voice an opinion on social media — you ought to consider reading The Undoing Project. If you do not have time to read the entire book, I suggest reading Chapter 6 The Mind’s Rules and you will quickly realize the importance of reading the rest of the book.

The point remains that people do not follow the correct rule, when left to their own devices.
— The Undoing Project

Last I checked, The Bible explains why the above quote happens, but I’ll leave that for another post.

There are two errors when it comes to understanding how we make judgments and decisions. One is to believe we understand how our mind works. The other is to believe we understand, and to not feel a need to question what we believe. Considering we use our minds everyday, we ought to understand how the mind works. It should come before anything else. We need to be careful we are not putting the cart before the horse.

The Internet is the most insidious source of bullshit and misinformation in human history. The book captures nicely how we deceive ourselves without knowing through the mysteries of the mind.

Following is an example of something I took away from the book.

What happened to Jane was serious. Jane committed to a biblical worldview in which Jane’s interpretation of the Bible made sense, and that afternoon Jane saw the appeal of another worldview in which Jane’s interpretation of the Bible looked silly. Jane wonders how she could have made such a silly mistake.

Something can make perfect sense to Jane, at the same time, be completely wrong. Everything we do and believe can be traced back to one thing, how we think.

Time Stands Still

Understanding anything requires time, analysis, and attention to detail.  We need to pause life to gain a better understanding of things around us. The camera serves as a useful study tool, it allows time to stand still so we can see what is truly going on.

Let’s say, for example, we were one of many people who saw a multi-car accident and each of us questioned as a witness about what happened. Each of us may give similar stories with varying details. Some of us will be vague in our recollection. Some of us will be very confident and detailed about what happened. But can we trust our perception? Can we trust our memory? Well, they say eye-witness accounts are lousy.

I saw it with my own two eyes.

According to a report by the Innocence Project, since the 1990s, when DNA testing was first introduced, Innocence Project researchers reported 73 percent of the 239 convictions overturned through DNA testing were based on eyewitness testimony. Elizabeth F. Loftus of the University of California, Irvine, memory researcher and psychologists describes memory recollection as “more akin to putting puzzle pieces together than retrieving a video recording.”

It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.
— Henry David Thoreau

A photo or video contains details better than our mind can recall. A photo is a record of time. We can study photos for details or clues. I rely heavily on taking photos at work. I learned not to trust my memory to recall every detail. I often find myself gaining a new understanding each time I study the same photo over a course of time. I can study a photo today and one year from now, see something completely different. A picture is worth a thousand words.


The other day I found myself in a discussion about the difference between an expert and non-expert. I gave it some thought over the past couple days.

The difference between an expert and a pseudo-expert is that experts are self-evident. They are simply expert because they treat everything like it’s their job where pseudo-experts simply mimic experts like a parrot without putting in the effort.

Pseudo-experts lack the “real-world” progressive process engagement disciplines an expert goes through. It is not a pragmatic “hands-on” experience of deeper knowledge like an expert. The pseudo-experts’ process is to simply copy and repeat which often comes through their inauthentic persona because they lack the heuristics.

Experts are operationally defined as those who have been recognized within their profession as having the necessary skills and abilities to perform at the highest level.
— James Shanteau Ph.D., Psychologist

Think of pseudo-experts as social media actors lacking experience although they believe they are. They fail to recognize their limited experience, false sense of reality, and illusion of validity comes from copying experts. Which is why they seem disconnected and fall apart when questioned on the work they copy.

And finally, copycats are followers, not leaders, yet you’ll find them in positions as leaders. I suppose that would make them pseudo-leaders or something. I’m not sure, I would need to think about it more.

Does that make sense? Surely there is more to it than a surface perspective.

Quote Source: Shanteau, James. (1992). Competence in experts: The role of task characteristics. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 53, 252–262.

Did you know? The male African gray parrot (Psittacus erithacus) is the most accomplished user of human speech in the animal world; this rain forest-dweller is an uncanny mimic. – National Geographic

This is Broke

The short version for how it works for me is this… There appears to be an ability to look at something and know with certainty it’s missing something. It doesn’t matter what it is. In other words, to achieve <this> then these <things> need to occur, which was the case discovering a flaw in the management software (performance evaluations and benchmarking algorithms). If any of the <things> are missing, the result is flawed. The flaw is noticed first, then worked backwards to discover the cause.

The cause of a mistake matters.
— Daniel Kahneman Ph.D., Psychology

The only problem is not understanding this magical ability, how it occurs, and the source of its accuracy because there is no clear way to know where intuition comes from. Intuition takes precedence followed by rational thought. In other words, both sides of the brain are working towards the accuracy of the outcome.

Some people process information quite different from others. Which is why I wondered why no one in the company (the 4th largest employer in the world) spotted the software flaw and they work with it every day. We’re talking thousands of employees. I come along and sit in front of it for a minute and say, “This is broke.” I find that odd. How did the software developers miss it?

It’s really the epitome of when they say INTJ’s see things others can’t see, which is why it is difficult to win an argument against an INTJ. People often fail to take into account what they are unable to see (what they don’t know) which lends to a shallow opposing position for their argument. They are not seeing the big picture, but somehow these strong intuitives are jerks for exposing a flaw in their argument. It would be like going to court and arguing with half the evidence and getting angry at the judge because you failed to build a solid case.

I never allow myself to have an opinion on anything that I don’t know the other side’s argument better than they do.
— Charlie Munger

If intuition is considered a magical phenomenon of hunches based on past experiences and knowledge, then how do we explain when we sense danger if the moment leading to the sense of danger never occurred before or how do we know when someone is staring at us from across the room when we’ve never seen the person before? I think both scenarios are different from how I identified a flaw in the management software.

*This post will be updated to include the other missing half.  This portion represents the basis of an ongoing discussion elsewhere on and offline.

Frugal Illusion

Jim always looks for good deals. He is all about saving money. Jim spends many hours looking for cheap help.

Anything to save a buck, Jim says.

Jim was outraged by the bids he received for a project he was working on. He thought it would be a good idea to save money by doing some of the work himself.

So Jim spends $2,400 on rental equipment and the next 30 days doing some of the work to save $700 off the bid.

Jim is smart. Be like Jim.

Half Full Half Empty

Optimism is a mental attitude. A common idiom used to illustrate optimism versus pessimism is a glass with water at the halfway point, where the optimist is said to see the glass as half full and the pessimist sees the glass as half empty.

Being optimistic, in the typical sense of the word, is defined as expecting the best possible outcome from any given situation. This is usually referred to in psychology as depositional optimism. It thus reflects a belief that future conditions will work out for the best.

Only the facts please, says the INTJ.

Speaking of optimism… “They have an illusion of control, they seriously underestimate the obstacles, they seem to suffer from an acute case of competitor neglect. This is a case of overconfidence. They seem to believe they know more than they actually do know.” — Daniel Kahneman Ph.D., Psychology

It was nice to see much needed awareness on the topic of optimism, delusion, illusion, wishful thinking, and positive thinking discussed in the book Thinking, Fast and Slow. As an INTJ, I view being overly optimistic as dangerous and unhealthy and the book provides many examples explaining why. One of the more significant examples mentioned in the book was the 2008 financial crisis.

There are overly optimistic wishful thinkers and there are actually people who take control of things and go great lengths to make sure things happen in the future instead of hoping things work out for the best. I know it sounds crazy, but its true.

Are you considered overly optimistic? Learn how to take control of optimism to help you make smarter decisions. The book is a great place to start. It’s important we know things instead of thinking or believing we know, because a glass half full or half empty is an opinion.

Know Things

Do you know how when you read the Bible and all of a sudden it hits you and you realize God’s higher power and intelligence makes everything you thought you knew seem a bit silly?

Blessed is the one who finds wisdom,
and the one who gets understanding
— Proverbs 3:13

It’s like that. #perspective

We tend to think we know things only to discover someone else knows more. We should keep an open mind and listen carefully because there is a difference between thinking we know and knowing. Let me share a valuable lesson I’ve learned being in business 30 years.

We won’t fix anything correctly until the problem is fully understood.

A team of researches at the University of Oregon explored the link between cognitive control and intelligence in several ways including an attempt to raise intelligence by improving the control of attention.

In one exercise they found test participants were prone to answer questions with the first idea that comes to mind and unwilling to invest the effort needed to check their intuitions. Theses individuals scored low on the test.