January INTJ Challenge: Let’s Get Real!
“My identity is defined by the commitments and identifications which provide the frame or horizon within which I can try to determine from case to case what is good, or valuable, or what ought to be done, or what I endorse or oppose.” ~ Charles Margrave Taylor, Philosopher
We began this month with an exploration of newly emerging identity frameworks and how they might be used as a starting place for the annual practice of goal-setting. Identity frameworks, such as MBTI, Enneagram, Five Factor, and others are a good starting point for us to imagine the path we’d like our lives to take. Even though identity frameworks are rooted in cultural norms, they are especially powerful when they are made a part of goal-setting because when we embrace an identity, whether that identity is placed on us by others, or it is one that we choose for ourselves, the identity becomes a standard that shapes our vision of ourselves and our future, thereby becoming the organizing action the behaviorist school of psychology claims it to be. In the book, The Opposable Mind, Roger Martin puts it this way: “…we fail to see how our view of who we are governs our unquestioned assumptions about the way things are… [this becomes] our model of reality that we mistake for reality itself.” In this, Martin is pointing out one of the key problems with goal setting. Oftentimes, when we set goals, the goals are not based on reality. Human beings have a tendency to assign meaning to the events that occur in our lives and to shape these events into a story that fits comfortably into the identities that we embrace. Yet, as the author, Haruki Murakami states so eloquently in his book, Underground: The Tokyo Gas Attack and the Japanese Psyche, “A narrative is a story, not a logic, nor ethics, nor philosophy.” Moreover, identity narratives come with implications, with pressures, and with challenges. Even so, Murakami further explains, “Just as ceaselessly as you breathe, you go on dreaming your story.” It is human to apply meaning and to shape our lives into narrative, especially in terms of forming goals. For those of us who have embraced the mastermind mindset as an aspect of identity, it is vital to take responsibility for our stories. We do this through using a more conscious approach to the process of assigning meaning and choosing how we pursue identity development. This also means that we consciously choose tools that free us from limited narratives and that move us along a narrative path that not only recognizes who we are at the start of the journey, but also helps us move toward who we wish to be.
Reality Marks the Start
Real. That’s the starting point. We live in a culture where we are constantly inundated by shaped narratives that have no basis in reality. Because of this, getting real with ourselves can be difficult. Often, rather than starting from the truth of who we are and where we are, we base our view of who we should be, and what we should accomplish, on someone else’s story. From Murakami once more: “…without a proper ego nobody can create a narrative…once you’ve consigned your ego to someone else, where on earth do you go from there?” While we cannot escape being given narratives by others, we do not have to accept a narrative that is not of our own, much less take one just because it’s offered. Moreover, when we judge ourselves by someone else’s chosen narrative, we can end up being discouraged by repeated failure as we try to force ourselves into someone else’s mold. Even if we succeed in following their narrative, there is no guarantee that success will make us happy. That is why reality is the mastermind’s starting point. The more we put aside the things that are not authentic, the closer we get to a true model for ourselves and our goals.
Reality is the starting point but to where? The answer to that question is different for each of us. And that’s a good thing because the endpoint is not to achieve some cookie cutter mastermind mindset but to start that journey to your true self – from who you are now, to who you will become. This journey to self doesn’t happen from an hour spent setting goals. As the new personality frameworks show, self-actualization is a continuing process. We began this month exploring how personality frameworks impact goal setting, let’s keep the conversation going throughout the year by exploring the different strategies available to us for improving our mastermind reach. As for this month’s mastermind challenge, the challenge is to write a sitcom pitch about yourself, even if it seems silly. The pitch should include the following:
A description of you as a character
What is are your biggest goals?
What are your biggest Challenges?
What is your vision of success?
Yes, these are standard insight questions. Next month, we’ll try to get some insight from what you’ve written. If you’d like to share your pitch, do so in a comment, but do not use your real name, or any other identifying information.