INTJ doubt.

As an INTJ, having doubt is something that goes against… something, I’m sure. The thing about doubt is that it can function as an emergency break that stops me from doing something that I at one point was sure of. When I analyze the moments where doubt has stopped me from doing or saying something, I have realized that there are two sources of doubt:

  1. The lack of certainty in the  knowledge that I will impart or the correctness of what I will do.
  2. The idea that other people will take what I have to say or do as correct or acceptable.

The first one is pretty normal. No surprise there, at least to me. It’s more infrequent than the second one. The first source of doubt is manageable: I either increase my knowledge in the particular area or I just ask an expert… or I can just Google it. There are times when I start saying something with certainty but by the time I finish saying it I am questioning whether what I was saying was correct or not. It’s annoying to realize that my analysis of the content as it was being spoken by me was one to question something that I knew as true.

The second source is common as well, though I don’t know how common it is for an INTJ to have this source of doubt. The doubt is not on the content of what I am imparting or transmitting but on how it will be perceived. My name has no weight in the social environments I am at, so even if I have a awesome idea (My ideas are always awesome*) I am still questioned. The questioning is not based on the idea but on what I represent to them.

Because I have been in these types of environments all of my life, I have the perception that my ideas will be question with intent to invalidate 99.9% of the time. So when I have the brain synapse to act on an idea, I immediately start to doubt whether the action will have the desired effect because past data have shown me that doing something to provoke a significant change in my environment will be challenged, then it will not be accepted. This makes me use the emergency break… a lot.  This second source of doubt is not as manageable because the trigger is based on external situations. Even though it is true that the doubt only occurs in my mind, this source of doubt is reinforced by my environment.

I have experienced doubt in every environment I have been in.

  1. In my family the two sources of doubt have always been present, especially because I am the youngest.
  2. In my elementary and high school years, the situation was no different.
  3. In my bachelor’s degree, this wasn’t that big of an issue unless it had to do with the perceived risks that I sometimes took in my essays.
  4. In my master’s degree, the situation was somewhat different. In that environment, the doubt was common for the first reason because a lot of the time us students had no idea what we were doing. The other difference was that I had more validation for my creative ideas and insights than in any other environment. So the second source of doubt was less prominent than in other environments.
  5. In my church, I have wanted to do things that would make it a better place, but the existing data makes me question whether it would be a good idea to act has more to do with how my ideas will be perceived than with the content I am offering. The thing about the church environment is that at times I have to take the Jeremiah approach and act even though I know that the church leadership will not will not take my genius ideas for what they are, genuis ;), and actually put them to practice. (Oh well. It’s their loss.)

Doubt, if not dealt with, is a feeling that can save you a lot of embarrassment but also has the potential to be one of the biggest obstacles in one’s life. There are times when doubt will help you and is healthy. When it isn’t healthy or warranted, you can think yourself out of doubt. Other times you have to push yourself to act in spite of doubt.

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