Personality Typing – Sensing vs Intuitive

ContemplationThe next dichotomy we’ll be looking at in our series on personality typing is the sensing versus intuition continuum.  What we’re dealing with here, in a nutshell, is determining how an individual prefers to gather and interpret information.

Folks who prefer intuition like theories and abstractions, like information that can be associated with other information to form patterns.  They rely on their gut feeling more, because they know that the subconscious makes associations between seemingly disparate information that they may not be aware of.  These folks tend to be big picture thinkers, who either can’t or won’t focus on details.

Sensors, on the other hand, prefer to gather facts that are tangible and demonstrative, that can be understood with the five senses.  They mistrust intuition, or at least wish to have hunches backed up by data and fact.  In contrast to intuitives, these people are very detail-oriented and are definitely the ones you want doing your taxes or putting together your seat belt in the car assembly plant.

So,  now that we know that, how can we all learn to get along?  What can someone with a preference for sensing do to try to pass themselves off as an intuitive?

The key is to be willing to make a decision based on your gut.  Learn to be comfortable when an intuitive says that they did something because they felt like it was the right thing to do.  It may be difficult or impossible for an intuitive to explain what the process was that they used to arrive at a decision, because it often just appears.

However, if you’re willing to invest the time, you can discuss the issue with them, trying to cover conceivably related issues, times where this may have happened before, etc. in order to come to a round-about understanding of what went on below the surface.

Conversely, how does an intuitve learn to speak “sensing”?

Make yourself stop and look at the data.  Ask a sensor why they made the decision that they made, and what the process was that they went through in order to arrive at that conclusion.  Learn that it’s okay to gather information to support a decision, and many times it’s better to gather more information than you think you need.

Like everything else in life, there are positives and negatives of either method.  If you’re an intuitive, what do you need to beware of?

Your biggest challenge (and I’m talking to myself here, as an intuitive) is running off half-cocked, or making snap decisions based on a feeling.  Although an intuitive decision can be right, they’re not always right.  A key phrase to remember is “Don’t trust your gut unless you have to”.

Sensors, on the other hand, need to be aware of analysis paralysis.  Death by data occurs when you prolong gathering of information in order to not make a decision at all.  If you have fear of a situation, a natural tendency is to keep looking and looking for more data in the hopes that the situation will sort itself out.

This rarely happens.  If your data becomes repetitive, that means that it’s time to make a decision.  Right or wrong, learn to live with it.

Again, as in everything else in life, the key is moderation.  A tendency one way or the other is natural, but you should always incorporate some of the other style into your decision making process.  I think most everyone does this anyway, but some of us (especially when stressed) tend to become more extreme in our tendencies.  It’s important to keep this in mind when things get tense, since these situations are typically the ones where we can least afford to make a decision without utilizing all the data available to us.

3 thoughts on “Personality Typing – Sensing vs Intuitive”

  1. Its how I take care of details, I know they build up the big pictures, I know that, how I choose to handle small details is a reflection of how I will handle larger more important details.

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