Episode 25: Understanding Personality Part 4: Why some people do details and others just don’t
Welcome to the Loved Called Gifted Podcast. This is your place to come for musings about spirituality, identity, and purpose.
I’m your host, Catherine Cowell.
So I’m delighted for this episode to be joined again by Polly for a conversation about some of the principles around Myers-Briggs that help us to understand one another. Today we’re going to have a conversation about 2 concepts called Sensing and Intuition. There are 3 others in this series, we did an introduction, and then Polly and I had a conversation about Introversion and Extroversion. Then I had a conversation with Sean about Thinking and Feeling and the differences between those two. So today we’re going to have a conversation about Sensing and Intuition. We roughly divide into people who have a preference for sensing and people who have a preference for intuition. The intuition in Myers-Briggs, if you ever see a myers briggs personality descriptor, has an N next to it.
Just to be clear we are not myers briggs practitioners, we are people who have been working with and journeying with these ideas for a long time so we’re simply giving our insights. If you wanted to really get a good idea about your myers briggs personality type, then the thing to do would be to go and spend some time either with a really good book on the subject, or with somebody who’s a myers briggs practitioner who could help you to do that.
So thank you ever so much for coming again Polly, it’s brilliant.
P: Thank you for having me, it’s a pleasure to be back again with you.
C: So do you have a bit of a definition for sensing and intuition?
P: i do, it’s all around gathering information and taking in information. So for me, I am a sensing, I’d say I am a very highly sensing person. It means that my head is quite busy a lot of the time, because I take in information through all my senses. So if you ask me to remember something, or if I have a memory of something, I won’t just be describing what happened, I will have stored away with that memory potentially smells that might have been significant, noise, any kind of noise, music, etc. If there was food involved I probably would be able to remember whether I enjoyed it, how tasty it was. So if you think about our 5 senses as such, it means that I’m collecting that sort of information through all my senses as I’m wandering through. So in a particular situation, when I’m thinking about things, I tend to be thinking on the basis of pulling in that, what I would call, ‘concrete information’. Whereas on the intuition side, it means that when you sit and think about something, your information is probably more likely to come from stuff that you already know. It comes from somewhere in your head. It doesn’t mean that you pay no attention at all to what’s going on around you, but it’s kind of a more interior thinking and consideration.
C: Yeah. As an intuitive, as somebody with a preference for intuition, I want a theory, and then I’m happy to fill in the bits. Whereas my experience of people with a preference for sensing is that you’re not going to understand the big theory, coz you’re not particularly interested in that, until you understand what the concrete details are. So you want to build up a picture. Whereas I want a framework which gives me a lens, through which I can then look at things. So as we’re talking about it, myers briggs personality typing is one of those frameworks that I would use. So if I’m having a conversation with somebody, and I notice that they are very expressive, that they are talking a lot but I’m not really getting a word in edgeways, then my myers briggs framework comes in and I think “ahhh. I am speaking now with an extrovert.” So I remember when I was working at the hospital, quite often the chief executive team would come up with a big theory about how we were going to ‘move forwards as a hospital’. And quite often those big theories would really annoy and rile my sensing friends. “What on earth does that mean?” At one point they got very enthused by the fact that Tescos had a particular approach to managing things, and they talked about the whole ‘every little helps’ concept and felt that mapped really easily across to the hospital. I thought “yeah, yeah, yeah, I can see how – I can see where there might be comparisons with that, I can see how that works. Whereas my sensing colleagues were saying “well that’s got nothing to do with healthcare”. So unless somebody says “let’s talk about how that might actually apply, on a day to day basis in a hospital setting, where we might think about small things we can improve that will make a big difference.” You can argue about whether that was a sensible theory to be coming up with, or whether it was helpful or not, or not, but I did get what they were aiming for.
P: What’s going off in my head in response to what you’re saying is that a sensing person, in a mixed group where someone is, if you say, ‘vision casting’, for want of a better word, somebody who is sensing can come across as being quite negative about progress. Because before we weill sign up for something, we want to nail down the details. So at the end of a meeting we wouldn’t be happy to say yes or no to a particular set of suggestions, without having worked through all the potential impacts into all of the systems that we know. The other thing I was thinking, what you are describing to a certain extent, was I’m thinking about experiential learning. So both sensing people and intuitive people will have a degree of experiential learning as well. One of the things that I’m quite interested in is how myers briggs fits into people’s preferences for particular ways of learning information.
C: I think about the experiential learning, I think about science lessons at school, and I think part of the issue with science lessons when we did practicals is that quite often the equipment is a bit naff or a bit dirty, or it didn’t quite work as you wanted it to, but I was much much more interested in “what’s the scientific theory?” I’m really interested in working out what it is that we want to know from this experiment and what that tells us about the world. Far less interested in actually sitting and doing the experiment. That was almost a distraction, because I’ve got it now. I understand what we’re doing, I understand about chlorophyll and leaves, I don’t need to bleach a leaf to find our that it’s got green stuff in it, coz you’ve just told me that it does.
P: So you’re happy to accept that there is this stuff called chlorophyll, you don’t have a burning issue to check that it is what they say it is? Respiration in plants.
C: Yes, once I’ve got that, and I do want to know how you’ve come to that conclusion. But I don’t have a need on a sensory level to experience it. Whereas I think a sensory approach would be “I’d like to see this in lots of circumstances, I’d like to see it working, and now I’ve got the proof and I get a picture of how the world works”, sort of that way around.
P: I think a lot of it, when it comes to my own education, I’m kind of working backwards, so I’m having to think through experiences that I had based on what I now know, because I had been through all of my education before I came to an understanding of myers briggs. Something that has made it more interesting is because I’m now in a position where I’m teaching and I’m having to look at things like ‘how do people learn best?’, different ways of presenting information sso I use my own experiences a lot in that sense. I guess that for me, the sciences, Chemistry was always the one that came most easily to me. Because it was so demonstrative. Put something with something else, and something happens. I wasn’t too worried whether the thing that happened was the thing that the teacher had led us to expect was happening, but because there was something concrete that I could connect to and respond to and I had seen something, I had smelled something, I had heard the bang or the fizz or the crackle or whatever. What I do find is that with a more theoretical science, something like Physics, for example, a lot of what I was taught in Physics, I didn’t understand, because it wasn’t exemplified in something concrete. So I know that sometimes I really struggle in some of the conversations I have with Tom and the things we talk about, we talk a lot about beliefs and what could be called philosophy, world views, the way that people think about things. Sometimes the resources that he suggests I might read, I just don’t get on with them at all because it’s too theoretical. So to me somebody could explain some kind of thought process or some kind of theory about how the world works, and straight away I’d be like, “that doesn’t help!” It doesn’t help humanity to be better humans. There is that thing about having something concrete. I need to be able to see how something is going to work in the real world. I have done visualisations. Actually I can very easily get lost in it, especially if the visualisation is about something that has happened to me. For example I’ve done something where I had to draw a picture of the garden of the house that we lived in when we were 7. I could so easily have got lost in that because there are so many different aspects to it, like “Oooh!”
C: There’s a lot of concrete detail in that, isn’t there? Looking at a garden, there’s a lot of concrete detail. So I know that if I am speaking to people who have a preference for sensing, it’s no good just explaining my big theory, I need to say, “so what this means, practically, for you, on Tuesday morning, is – this”.
P: Yes. This is what it will look like.
C: This is what it looks like. So if I’m listening to a talk or a lecture or a sermon at church, then I’m interested in the theory bit. When people start to say “so, what this means you can do is –” I’m like “I’m perfectly able to work out my own ideas, thankyouverymuch.” And I quite like the process of working out my own good ideas from the basis of my having understood the theory. I think one of the powers that intuition can give you is that actually quite quickly, you can see the wood for the trees. So when I’m coaching someone, what I’m looking for is “what’s the pattern here? What’s the big shapes? If you were drawing a picture, what are the big colours? What are the things, what are the links? Where are the things that are beginning to tie together to create a bit of a pattern?” Quite often, I will be able to spot those links, and the person who’s in the middle of it can’t spot them. So you say “well I think I’ve heard you say – this – several times, so I’m wondering if there’s something going on there?” They say “ahh, yes, you’re right!”
P: I think it’s really interesting with that though is that I would do something similar, but possibly because I’ve observed so much over the years, because my thing is people and pastoral care and all those sorts of things. I think because I’ve made so many observations that kind of pattern-matching I do coming from the sensing perspective.
C: I think it’s worth pointing out at this point that we’ve both been around a while, and so one of the things that happens is that as we get older we grow into our opposite. So I am much, much more sensing than I used to be. I’m much more likely to notice things, notice details, and enjoy that than I used to be. So I quite enjoy just sitting and looking at something, in a way that I didn’t. Some of the ways that I relax sometimes might be to sit with a cup of tea, and look. A number of years ago I don’t think I would have done that in the same way.
P: I’m understanding more and more why it was that geology was such a good fit for me. Because there was a whole load of stuff I didn’t understand about myself at the time and how I operate, but coming onto geology, it is so observational, you don’t get much more concrete than a rock, really! Sometimes the rock is concrete, coz I’ve done a lot of work with concrete as well.
C: I’m just thinking about the way that people with a preference for sensing and a preference for intuition can come across to one another as if they’re missing the point. When actually they’re not. The first instance I’m thinking of, I have a preference for intuition, I was leading a staff meeting at the department I was managing, and my question as a vision-y person was, “I’d like us to discuss what we could do to improve the department and make things better”. There’s a bit of silence, then one of the members of staff said “that soap dispenser in the toilet is dripping. I think it would be a very good idea if we sorted that out, coz it is a trip hazard.” I’m thinking “you have completely missed my question!” coz I’m talking about what’s going to improve the department. And then I twigged. It was not long after I’d recently encountered myers briggs, and I thought, “no, you have understood the question, and you think the department would be better if we sorted out the dripping soap dispenser.” And she wasn’t wrong, but that didn’t feel like the big stuff that I was expecting people to say, ike “this part of our service, we could expand, or we could make this a bit smaller, or maybe we could have a project to do communication aids for this group of people”. So I was thinking big picture, and she was thinking very small picture. Then I’m thinking of a convversation I had when I was doing some coaching-consultancy stuff with a very big organisation, I’d done some coaching with one of the members of staff and then was wanting to have a conversation with her boss. He began the conversation by talking about what he perceived to be the changes in politics across Europe. To him, that was relevant to the conversation we were having, but I mean that is big big big picture. “I can see this global trend, which inevitably means that things are going to be shifting in this way, so my member of staff, who’s got a team of 4 people, needs to be thinking like this.”
P: Needs to have 8 or 12 people or something
C: I don’t think it was even that, but it was “so her perspective needs to be influenced by this big move of this socio-political change that I can see coming over the horizon, that we need to be prepared for.” And both of those perspectives have merit, but you can imagine that my soap dispenser person was not going to understand my Europe-wide political person, and vice versa. Actually I did a training day on communication with that particular organisation; we talked about ‘big chunk thinking’ and ‘small chunk thinking’. It’s only one element of the sensing/intuition type perspective, but they found that really really helpful, to know that some people are going to think in small chunks, and some people are going to think in big chunks. And so you need to be able to translate for one another. So if you’re a big chunk thinker, then you need to be aware that at some point, this thing is going to, on Tuesday morning, somebody is going to need to do something. If you don’t understand what it is that they’re going to need to do, then what you’re saying isn’t going to make any sense.
P: Not everybody who works with a product is going to understand that product the way that the designers have.
C: Your passion for instructions and them being good is about how is this going to work on a day to day basis, practically?
P: And needing to understand that the person using something needs to know how to understand it. So certain things, if it’s a practical thing, I guess that I’ve become aware that I need to see it being done, which comes back to the chemistry and science at school, because in Chemistry we would be doing something with physical things. I could then understand the textbook explanation of what’s going on, because I have seen something. I guess with a lot of physics, you can’t, to me, you can’t see it. So you can see the effect. It’s like with the apple dropping from the tree. You don’t see the gravity, you see the impact of the gravity on something else. So it’s a step away from seeing…
C: See, I like, I like abstract thinking. My downfall is that I’m not great with numbers, so thinking with numbers doesn’t work for me, but in principle I think I would really enjoy Physics, because as an outsider what I would observe is that there are a relatively small number of principles, from which you can derive all sorts of stuff. That’s what I like. So I loved, I was very lucky that I went to a school that did Nuffield Sciences. What was brilliant about that was that they would give you the principle, but then when you were in the exam, you’d have lots of examples that you’d never come across before. I loved that, because I really liked that “ok, so which principle, which overarching principle do I need to apply to this now?” That for me was just great fun! I really liked that. Whereas when it got to A-Level Chemistry, there was a LOT to remember. There were lots of – and Organic Chemistry – Oh my life! And I definitely wouldn’t have done biochemistry, because that’s the most convoluted bits of Chemistry with the most convoluted bits of Biology, and I wasn’t into that.
P: It’s interesting because again, for me, the whole thing with Chemistry, and this is where, the atomic structure, there’s an overlap between Physics and Chemistry. I could visualise what would happen because I understand the structure. So with a lot of stuff, my specialty was not just geology and rocks but in particular engineering it, I always think that what I am, in effect, is a materials scientist. So because I understand the layout of the material, and where the atoms are and the structural, how it forms, that’s how I know how it’s going to behave in certain situations. So all of those situations, they can be described mathematically, which is where the design and stuff like that comes in, but mine is an understanding of the material, almost as if I’m inside the material. So it’s interesting that we have found some examples that work really well to show that different approach, even just compare the way me and Tom, even when we’re driving up to a roundabout, I am preparing for the next manoeuvre a lot more further back down the road than Tom usually is. So he would be “oh right there’s a roundabout coming up” and then at the roundabout he then looks as we’re all trained to do. But I tend to be making that decision, rather than being made at the point, I will have been making that decision and preparing for it, much more in advance. So I would argue that my driving is probably a bit smoother. Because I’m kind of responding, processing, responding, the whole time I’m driving, not when something changes or when you’ve got a particular manoeuvre to do. I don’t even know… you’re looking a bit puzzled at me.
C: I think you’re probably right, I’m not particularly listening to the sound the car’s making, I’m not noticing lots of things, I’m noticing the big things. There is a roundabout. We are turning left soon. This is a 40mph zone. Not necessarily all of the details. So in order to drive well I need too empploy some of my perhaps under-used sensory skills sometimes.
I remember hearing somebody say that people with a preference for sensing are much more likely to categorise things into smaller chunks. She’s a myers briggs practitioner and one of her questions is often “do you separate your wardrobe into different colours?”
P: Yes! I do. I do.
C: I do not. And do you have – this is something I would notice – do you have different notebooks for different things?
P: Yes, I do
C: See, I can’t cope with different notebooks for different things, because I can always see how there are overlaps between the different things
P: There are. It’s a challenge sometimes
C: So I have at various points in my life had more than one notebook for different purposes, and always ended up with one notebook. In fact at one point when I had a paper diary, almost all of my notetaking was in the diary.
P: So I have a separate paper diary. I then have a separate notebook which is literally just for reflective stuff.
C: If I see in the supermarket shelves, you know the A4 notebooks with all the different tabs? I do not like those. They don’t work for me, because I don’t know what to put in which section.
P: This is interesting, because I don’t like them either, but the reason why I don’t like them is, I see it as a limitation. That’s probably quite interesting. I can see where it might fit, because I’m very very organised, and the way that I keep everything organised is by colour. So for example at work because I teach on different modules and different subjects that I teach, I’ve got about 5 categories for different aspects of my work that I do. Each of those, and part of the reason for doing colour, is that the files, sometimes even the paper, but certainly ink colour, pens, notebook colour, can sit very well with that. I know what something in concerning. When I was first teaching at Keele I was still working with the engineering and I was also doing voluntary working in other capacities, so having these different colours and different notebooks. I still do it. So I have a particular coloured notebook for church, I write notes in in the back, there’s admin stuff. So from the outside it doesn’t look as structured as it used to, but probably the thing with those notebooks, I love the idea of them, and they look really neat and tidy, because I adore stationery anyway, but if I did try to use one of those in my life, and separate my life, one of the sections would be filled up withing a couple of weeks, and there probably wouldn’t be anything much written in one of the other sections. So that to me would be a waste.
C: That’s really funny, because I listened to you talking in huge detail about how you would organise things and notebooks and what kind of notebook you need for this. That seems like an awful lot of brainpower for something that to my mind, you just want ‘a notebook’. Like I can have one notebook, my life is simpler.
P: My response to that would be that because it’s the way that my brain works, it isn’t hard work.
C: No, and that’s one of the things that I notice, that people with a preference for sensing are much happier with lots of ‘things’ than I would be, in all sorts of ways. I remember when we used to live across the road from one another, your house fascinated me because there was an awful lot of stuff in it. But you knew how to organise it. So the fact that you had – you didn’t need cavity wall insulation, you had book insulation.
C: You had many, many, many-many-many ‘things’; all of those things, you knew exactly where to lay your hands on them. I remember at one point saying “I could do with some –” remember those photo corners that used to exist? “I’ve got a packet of those!”
P: Do you want clear ones, the self-adhesive ones that you lick?
C: I had them and they were miniscule. There’s a level of order and a level of ability
P: My desk drawers have long been admired in my workplaces! People are like “Go and look at Pauline’s desk drawers”, they’ve never seen anything like it! They’re so tidy!
C: I feel quite overwhelmed by many stuffs. Partly because I don’t think in terms of individual things. I think in terms of much bigger categories.
One of the moments when I clearly felt God speak to me was when we were trying to sort out what is now my office upstairs, and it was just full of stuff. I walked in and I couldn’t see “this thing could do with going there and that thing could do with going there” which I know my sensing friends would. Whereas I was just like “oh my life, it’s a big mess!” I clearly heard the Holy Spirit say to me, “one thing at a time”. That’s not going to work for many things, but if you’re saying one thing at a time… so that’s what I did. I did start to take one thing at a time, so I dealt with one thing at a time, which felt… it just didn’t make very much sense to me as an intuitive, because they’re all different things, but actually, I discovered, that one I had been doing one thing at a time for 20 minutes, 40 minutes, an hour, I’d made quite a lot of progress, and got through it.
So I get overwhelmed by many things, I think probably there is also an introversion element to this. I don’t like sensory overload. But I’m not very good at managing lots of details. I sensory friends who remember their bank account details – you’re nodding – I would never, I’ve never got to the point of remembering my bank account number. And I don’t remember in much detail either. So if I’ve watched a film I probably won’t remember particular scenes, I’ll come away with having enjoyed the sense of
P: A sense of something, yeah. A story or something that you enjoyed or didn’t enjoy.
C: Or if there is something in it that gives me an example of a particular principle or a particular idea, then I will remember that. I will remember the scene connected with that. But I won’t just randomly remember the stuff that happened in the film. To the extent that I don’t always remember that I’ve watched something. I remember years ago when we used to go to Blockbusters and get videos out. Had the really annoying experience of going all the way to Blockbusters and getting a film out, that I had watched before and hated. Because I just didn’t remember seeing it. It took quite a while for me to get into it. “Oh no, it’s this one! And I’ve gone and got it again!” Because the same thing that attracted me to it the previous time attracted me to it this time. I think it’s true to say that people who have a preference for intuition are much more likely to have a focus which is towards the future. Because you’re looking at, “where could we go with this? What might happen next?” Rather than a preference for thinking about things that happened in the past, because the things that happened in the past is in some sense, that boring concrete obvious stuff.
P: I think you’re right, I think there is this sense that we’re looking at what we’ve already seen and what we have already experienced. But some of that, bring it down to a practical level, some of the books that I’ve read, it’s things like going on holiday. If somebody is sensing, for example, never surprise them with going away for the weekend because they will struggle with “I haven’t packed the right clothes”, you know what you said about colours and stuff like that. So I would deal very badly if you picked me up and took me somewhere and say “hey, look we’re gonna do this, that and the other” I’d probably be quite uncomfortable because I’d be like “but in order to enjoy this, I need… blah-blah-blah-blah-blah. Which I don’t have, because I didn’t know that this was going to happen.” It can make us seem really staid, and if somebody’s very spontaneous they can think “ugh, you’re such a plodder. You never do anything exciting.” For me, and this I think is probably one of the ways in which it can be negative sometimes, this is what I was thinking about, is that because of that needing order and needing details to be in place. I think sometimes I can find it quite hard to relax, because if something is not where it needs to be, and it’s in my vision, I find it difficult to… I’m fine in somebody else’s house, because I have that thing that “how somebody else has their house is how they have their house”. But in my own house I know I find it quite difficult sometimes to relax because I’m like “there’s that that needs doing, there’s that that needs doing, and if I’m sitting here, all I’m seeing is that there’s this little mess in the corner over there.” I very much control my environment. People will always know where my seat, where my chair is, in my house, because there’s always things around it.
C: Going back to the going on holiday thing, I’m very happy to improvise. I think that’s one of the things intuition can gift you in. Is an ability to say “well it doesn’t matter if you haven’t got a [certain] thing, I’ll find another way of doing it.” I know that can be a sensing thing too. But there’s a “I’ll find another way of doing it” or “there’ll be a different way that we can manage this, I’m not that fussed if I haven’t got the stuff.” Whereas I would notice that when I’ve gone away places with people who are sensors, then they will often take more stuff with them than I do, because a) they can handle the ‘more stuff’, and b) they are much likely to notice the sorts of things that we might want. Whereas I’m really not so fussed, I’m not so worried about things. I like thinking about things, I like experiencing things, I like being with people. I’m not that fussed about the stuff. There’ll be a small number of bits of stuff that I want. But I’m not nearly as bothered.
P: We have a phrase for this in our house, I’m a bit of a boy scout, so it’s that thing about being prepared. For every eventuality.
C: That’s definitely a sensing thing.
P: And also it’s about, it is, it’s kind of around other people as well, because it’s like, sometimes I’ll think, “ok, I’m happy with this”, but because of the Feeling as well I’m always trying to anticipate other people’s needs as well. So it’s like, if I knew that the only person I had to keep happy was me, I would probably, who knows, I might pack in a very different way. Whereas with this it’s very difficult to turn off this thing, especially if somebody else is involved. It’s very difficult to turn off this “what do you think we might need?” Like I say, the boy scout thing. Do I really need my pen-knife? Do I really need something to take stones out of a horse’s hoof?
C: You might(!)
P: Yes! You never know. You never know when it might come in useful. I think my Dad especially, he’s a real example of this. We used to, literally, if we saw a screw or something in the street, we would pick it up and give it to my Dad, and I think it really was the best present that we could give him. It’s just unfortunate that now he has lots and lots of jars and tins filled with different types of screws and stuff. It is that thing of, you never know when it might come in useful.
C: But you know that 40,000 screws are not all going to come in useful
P: Yes yes and again it is one of those things, it can easily turn into, you know, you become a hoarder, because of course anything, any particular size of box. It’s one of those things I’m having to really fight. Because I’m like you cannot keep acquiring stuff and keeping it just because it might come in useful.
C: No, you can’t
P: Especially when it comes to like every single bit of packaging, every single bit of wrapping paper or … it’s like… no no no!
C: And over time you end up with quite a lot of stuff.
P: Yes. Especially if you don’t move. I’ve got a lovely friend and she’s ended up moving a lot. And she used to say she used to love being in my kitchen because she would see all the different bits and obviously they’ve all got a story to them and all this kind of stuff. And lots of the things that she might have she doesn't have any more because she’s moved ten, fifteen, twenty times and every time you move you automatically get rid of stuff. Gains and losses, aren’t there, in everything and I think however it is you’re wired I think the thing that matters I would say is that you understand that it’s OK to be wired the way you’re wired and you - we’ve talked a lot about - and I know when we’re interacting with other people and especially when you’re interacting with people that are very differently wired to you, it’s very easy to end up feeling ‘I don’t fit here because I’m different’ to that person or if I want to do my job better I've got to become like them. And it’s like no, there’s always a way of doing things to fit with who you are and it’s like I would say that it’s way more important that you get confident in who you are and how you do things because if we try to do something that we see other people doing that doesn’t come naturally to us we will never do it as well as they do so it’s almost like we’re always aspiring. You can end up aspiring for something that you’re never gonna get to. Which is really bad.
C: Do a good job of being you, don’t do a bad job of being someone else.
P: You have two choices. You can stay there but be confident in who you are or, you leave and find somewhere that fits you better or that accepts you as you are, that you don’t have to become something that you’re not.
C: I think the sensing / intuition thing does run through so much of what we do. Right at the beginning you were talking about the fact that it impacts the way that you interact with the world on a sensory level and I absolutely see that. And I remember there have been a few occasions when I have famously not noticed things which are significant. So there was once I got into work and this chap Clive who was a colleague he said ‘I waved to you whilst you were driving through Sneyd Green and you didn’t notice me.’ I said ‘Clive, I didn’t notice Sneyd Green!’ And indeed I had been travelling this particular route every Wednesday for a number of years and never noticed that I went through a suburb called Sneyd Green. So I did look out for Sneyd Green then next time that I went and noticed that indeed I did go through somewhere called Sneyd Green.
P: Did you see him?
C: No I didn’t. I think I missed that. I think that was my one opportunity. Evidently. And then there was another occasion when I was out walking with friends and they said ‘Look at the deer!’ and I’m like ‘What deer?’ They said ‘Look at the deer!’ And I thought they meant a singular deer and my concept of ‘deer’ was sort of Monarch of the Glen…
P: Christmas card
C: A deer with horns. And then we got a bit closer and I realised the reason for the extent of their exasperation with me because there was a whole herd of about 200. Yes there was a mass of deer but they didn’t fit my concept so I hadn’t … I simply hadn’t seen them. And I often feel like my memory is absolutely dreadful because I talk to people who have a preference for sensing who remember the details of stuff that they’ve seen or read or listened to and I have come away with a number of theories which I can apply to all sorts of different things but I have forgotten. I’ve just forgotten the details. I think that’s something that’s just part of the way that I see the world and your kind of concrete seeing of things absolutely runs through who you are and how you approach things and your ability to deal with details and I have to work hard to deal with details and I can do it but I need to know which details I’m looking for and I am quite likely to miss things. I mean everybody misses things sometimes but your ability to handle lots of different bits and things and have a bag with lots and lots of stuff in it. My handbag, apart from bits of tissues painkillers and a journal and the book that I’m currently reading and some pens and that’s kind of it. I will not have
P: It used to be quite a joke with some of my friends because I’m not someone who’s had children but I would always have wet wipes in my handbag and they’d be like ‘Why? When you don’t have children?’ And I’m like well
C: They’re useful.
P: Yeah. So if somebody ever wanted one I’d be the place to go to. Needle and thread. Buttons fallen off. I am the kind of person that those little sewing kits in the tourist shops… I’m the person they’re designed for. There’s all those kinds of things. And sometimes I react to it. Sometimes I just want to get rid of it all. It might just be an age thing. I do wish sometimes that I could just turn off all of that stuff. And not be in that position of being kind of mother board all the time.
C: Less of the things. I think you can probably make a pretty good guess as to whether someone is a sensor or an intuition person depending on How neat are their nails and how much jewellery have they got.
P: So what’s your theory then? You think that sensors have more jewellery?
C: yeah more. And you’re not a particularly girly girl but you still have more jewellery than me. I’m not a particularly girly girl either but I have got one engagement ring..
P: Very new
C: Very new engagement ring. Yes I have. But that is the extent of my jewellery. But you needed to remove some bangles and there are some other non jangly bangles so you’ve still got about 10 bangles. And how many rings?
P: I guess they have memories because I kind of have. I have a gold arm and a silver arm.
C: Of course you do because you are colour co-ordinated.
P: But the main items
C: You have categorised
P: The bangles. They are from India so they’re quite special
C: Yes. And now we’re back into details because now I’ve mentioned bangles you’re going to tell me all of the things about the bangles whereas as an intuitive
P: It’s making noise…
C: I’m like ‘I’ve done the bangles now’ I just wanted to join to point out
P: It’s making noise. Take them off.
C: But my interest in the bangles at this point is I’ve got a point, I have a theory about sensing and intuition related to jewellery.
P: It seems to work.
C: The evidence works and I’ve pointed that out now. I don’t need to know where each of your bangles came from.
C: Whereas you would be very
P: Message received. I assumed that you had an interest in my bangles but you obviously don’t.
C: no I don’t, I’m sorry.
P: And again, that’s the thing that you could really wind people up with and you could easily get quite wound up by somebody always giving you the detail
P: Of stuff.
C: Whereas in the course of this conversation I’ve been like, well, we’ll talk about this and you’ll go on and talk about all of the different things and I’ll wait for it to come back.
P: I think we’ve just - This has been really helpful. It’s always really helpful to talk because talking is a big part of how I process things. I don’t always talk in detail. It depends what you’ve asked me. If you don’t want me to talk in detail ask me a closed question. It’s easy isn’t it.
C: Do you think we’ve got to the end of this conversation now?
P: I don’t know, what do you think? We probably have. There’s probably a lot more we could say. You’ve certainly made me think. I guess historically I’ve thought that the extraversion and the feeling made the bigger difference but I think in talking about this I’m like, yeah, actually…
C: It’s really key.
P: The sensing probably is the thing and I guess it’s probably the thing that potentially would cause arguments.
C: I think it definitely causes misunderstandings because you’re thinking about and prioritising and seeing the world in different ways. Just to finish with I remember at a Myers Briggs workshop the first time I encountered this stuff having a conversation about the difference between people who do sensing and intuition and my point being well, I don’t need to look at everything. I just need the relevant details and then somebody saying ‘well how do you know which the relevant details are?’ And that made me think Ah. Yes. Actually it’s really really helpful to have other people who do spot more details than I do because it’s very easy to come up with a completely different logical argument if you start with different details.
C: And so having a healthy disregard for my grand theories and my kind of ‘this is how the world works’ - I could parse that differently is I started with a different set of details.
P: I guess that’s why we need each other. Because I would just be swamped with all the details if I didn’t have a focus of where we’re trying to get.
C: And sometimes you need somebody else to say ‘actually we’re heading this way.’
P: Yes and sometimes it’s like ‘get out of that hole’
C: Yes. ‘I know that one’s interesting.”
P: But actually we don’t have time for that hole now. I need you to look at that hole.
P: Other holes are available.
C: this one’s really interesting but there’s other bits too.
Fab. Thank you very much for that. That’s great.
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