How do you make decisions? Do you rely mostly on your head, or do you rely on your heart? Do you like to think your way to a solution, or do you just feel it in your gut? While you may decide logically in one situation and emotionally in another, you most likely rely on logic or feeling more often and more automatically than the other. You may strongly favor one or only slightly favor it, but just like you favor your left hand or your right hand when writing, you most likely have a preference in decision making.
In the scientific world these preferences are called Thinker (T) and Feeler (F). It’s important to understand that Thinkers have feelings and Feelers have brains. There is no intent here to minimize or elevate one preference above the other. Both have their strengths and both have their weaknesses depending on the observer. A preference may be an asset in one situation and a handicap in another. The value of understanding the preferences (and the people that own them) is that with better understanding, hopefully we’ll be inspired to be kinder to everyone, not just the ones we recognize as similar to ourselves.
Your Thinker-Feeler preference was determined long before you could read about it. It is an integral part of you. You can not and should not attempt to change it. The example I was given went something like this: You can remove a tiger’s fangs, but you’ll just end up with a toothless predator, not a pussycat.
Though you cannot change your preference (and shouldn’t want to), it is possible to learn to recognize if a situation favors your preference or not. You can learn to adapt your behavior to better deal with people and matters you encounter. You likely interact with people everyday who have a preference the opposite of yours. It could be a boss, a friend, a colleague, or a family member.
While you can’t know someone else’s preference unless they tell you, most people reveal enough of themselves over time to suggest their preferences. If you are prepared to look for it and to understand your own preference, you can use this knowledge, not to change them, but to affect your own attitude and perspective. It is my intent that any effect will be positive.
My next post will talk about the Thinker preference. It will be followed with another post about the Feeler preference. My purpose is to share information that helps us to see each other more clearly. Too often I have heard people call one another names. If we’re going to do that, let’s use some names that allow us to explore the feelings and motivations behind each one.
Hope you’ll come back to see the next installment of this subject.