The effect that “Whose Line is it Anyway?” had on me.

The show “Whose Line is it Anyway?” has a soft spot in my heart because of the influence that it had on my development.

As any typical INTJ, I wasn’t in a very good social standing in all of my social environments (home, school, church) during my adolescence. I was so different from everyone else and just didn’t have the social skills to have a good social standing. Because of this I had to deal with a lot of rejection.

As an adolescent, I wanted to be noticed for something outside of my parents and 4 other siblings. My thought process was that I would be able to do this by showing that I am smarter than everyone else. So my paradigm from 15-16 years of age was “I want to make them think”. What that really meant was “I want to say things that are so awesome that people have to shut up and acknowledge that my brain is awesome”. Selfish and douche-bag like, I know.

In the summer of 2007, when I was going from 11th to 12th grade of high school, I was watching TV and found a re-run of the show. My curiosity was sparked and payed more attention to what whose line actually was. During that day two things happened:

  1. As I saw what the improvers did and the response that it garnered from the audience and myself and I got the desire to adopt improv comedy as a part of how I deal with social situations.
  2. My social paradigm changed. It changed from “I want to make people think” to “I want to make people laugh”. Really what I wanted was to use what I did to control people’s reactions. Yet I knew that this was an upgrade to my previous paradigm.

What I did afterwards was typical INTJ: I dedicated hundreds of hours to study what they did, how they do it, and try to find how I can translate those principles in social situations. I especially focused on what Colin Mochrie did, because I saw that he always found ways to make the other cast members laugh in a very witty and sometimes out of the box ways. I identified with him more when I saw in an interview that he stated that he was shy as a kid.

This journey has taken more than a decade. Along the way, I have learned what works and what doesn’t. I learned to work with the way I speak to make sure people know that I am being sarcastic and funny. I learned how to time what I say within the context of a conversation to make a joke or say a funny comment. I learned to take calculated risks to get a laugh. I learned that the knowledge that you have can and should be used in the form of a joke. I learned that comedy is a marathon, not a sprint. I learned when to take the attention for yourself and when to be a second fiddle to someone else. I learned how powerful laughter is to encourage a connection to be made with someone else. I learned how useful making jokes is to break the ice, but it is not the end game of social situations.

The journey to incorporate comedy and improv into my daily life has been one of training my brain to tackle social situations as an improv comedy show: taking whatever the other person gives you and run with it to make anything funny. Because I as an INTJ suck at improvisation, being able to train my brain for improv at a formative age really helped improve my social skills.

Now I watch recent Whose Line clips from YouTube and I am nostalgic and thankful for what being exposed to improv comedy did for my development.


How does an INTJ show that they are a friend.

I’ll be very honest. I try to keep myself free of having a lot of friends. I do this because I am not always willing to do what I expect for a friend to do. Yes. I admit it. I am selfish. In a way having friends is an inconvenience… but I know that I as a friend am an inconvenience. So I know that at times I need to force myself to be a good friend. So with that I know that the first indicator that I am being a friend is if I force myself to do things that are inconvenient at the time.

The second thing is that if I see that a friend is telling me something because he needs to let something that they are feeling out, I do everything I can to listen attentively. I turn this switch in my brain where I temporarily shut up my brain to take in the information that he gives. I say temporarily because doing this takes away a lot of energy for an INTJ and after we do this we feel physically and mentally tired.

The third thing is that I make time for our friends. We are willing to plan things with our friends and seek them out. I at least value planning my own things. So if I am willing and able to make time for someone else, then that person is quite privileged.

The fourth thing is that I have expectations based on what I am willing to do back. I limit my expectations on people because I know that people suck. So to minimize the amount of deception that I feel, I limit the amount of expectation on the human race. I do make some exceptions though. So if I expect something of another person, it means that I consider that person part of my inner circle.

The fifth thing is that I am willing to help them become the best version of themselves that they can be. The way I do that is be helping them do things and sharing with them what I think they can/need to do to be better over time.

The sixth thing is that I open myself up to them. I force myself to show the sides of myself that are typically hidden from everyone else. This is key because I have learned to keep a mask on at all times. Showing who I am and what I stand for means taking risks and expending energy in flexing the emotional muscles that I do my best to not use.

The seventh thing is that I pray for you. No one will really see this, but I have noticed that I as an INTJ show that I am a friend if I pray for them.

INTJs theoretical model for preparing to give a sermon.

As an INTJ, I am always thinking. One of the things that I have thought about is how I want to prepare a sermon. I have turned the answer to the “How I want to prepare for a sermon?” question in theory and model form.

As a Christian INTJ, I live a more contemplative form of Christianity where I maintain myself open to God’s interruptions. It’s easier for us that way. Because of this, I am always on the lookout for opportunities to put into sermon form whatever I learn from those interruptions. So the pre-first phase to prepare a sermon is getting the main idea.

Once the topic is in place, I am left with the task of preparing the sermon itself. I do the body of a sermon in an outline form. When I write the outline, I only put the minimum necessary to help me recall what I want to say about the topic. It is my preferred style because I can focus inwardly to get the rest of the rest of the content instead of having to get that from a paper.

Because the way I activate my intuitive processes is by asking myself questions and them waiting on my brain to subconsciously get the answer, I tend to structure my sermons in a question and answer form. I usually tend to follow the “The newspaper model”: “What? Who? How? When? Where? And why?” I call it the newspaper model because it’s what I was taught about how journalists wrote the beginning of newspapers articles.

Once I have the sermon prepared, assuming that I have already been assigned a date to preach, I make time to practice the sermon. When I practice, I try to keep in mind several things:

  1. I want the sermon to last between 30-45 minutes long, which is 3-4 pages of outline in Courier New 14 font. This is because I need to make my sermons fit into Thursday time slots for preaching. I also always practice with a chronometer.
  2. Reading of the Bible and the introduction shouldn’t last more than 5 minutes. My mentality is that I want to have as much time as I can to dedicate to the topic at hand. The way that I do this is making sure that I have my introduction is written in the outline as I would say it. I know from experimentation that if left to my own devices I would extend the introduction more than it should be.
  3. If I do it for the home crowd of my church, which is what I plan for, I try to make it so that the flow of the sermon goes from the base of what is known to whatever new idea I want to present, as if I am constructing an image in people’s minds.
  4. I also want people to walk away from the sermon with an idea of how to apply it in their daily life.

When I practice my sermon, I use 4 things:

  1. My phone’s chronometer. This way I know exactly how long my sermon will be.
  2. The final version of the outline on my tablet to get familiar with what I need to say with each bullet point.
  3. A surface to function as the podium.
  4. The Bible. I practice everything, including reading the Bible and praying for the moment.

What I look to determine during the practice is:

  1. What will I say?
  2. How will I say it?
  3. How will I move physically to enhance the sermon/calm my nerves?
  4. How long will I talk about each topic?
  5. How can I give this to make it relateable and applicable in their lives?

To be able to prepare good sermons, you have to be confident in who you are, what you stand for, and what you have to offer to your audience. You also have to allow that to be seen in a way that hasn’t really been seen before. I as an INTJ have to prepare myself for that, because I have many walls up at all times.

INTJs theoretical model for preaching.

I as an INTJ love to preach. It is an opportunity to share what I have learned from God in recent times. I love it because I don’t get any response from other people until after I am finished. So I have an already thought out model for how I go about doing this.

When I start to preach I use the local church protocol when delivering a sermon because it allows for the physical nervousness to subside before I give any meaningful content.

The way I preach is based on three aspects:

  1. A sermon. Duh!
  2. Health Education intervention. I am a Health Educator, so I don’t believe in not using my education in whatever I do. I tend to be intentional in making sure that the content I bring is understandable and applicable in people’s lives. I make sure to market whatever I bring up can better the audience’s health.
  3. TED Talk. I love the laid back feeling of a TED Talk. I love the fact that they are such experts in their field/life experience that they don’t need to shout to get their point across.

 Because of how I practice my sermon, I tend to preach in chunks. How that looks like is:

  1. Read the bullet point behind the podium.
  2. Discuss whatever I need to discuss about the topic while moving around the altar.
  3. Get back to the podium from wherever I am when I am finished discussing a part of the outline… in silence.

I try to do as much of the sermon outside of the podium as I can. I do this because I plan it this way. I think that stepping out of the podium brings a bit of closeness to the audience because I am speaking to them in a more horizontal way. I also do it because being behind the podium makes me nervous. I know that being behind the podium has its function, but I prefer to not be behind it all the time.

When I preach I never do any praise to God during the sermon. Why? Because I believe that most people do it as a crutch to avoid any silences or indicators of nervousness. I already have enough to say to be wasting time by doing crutch praise.

Does INTJs ever say I love you.

I have noticed from looking at what posts gets viewed in a day that the post “When an INTJ is considering saying ‘I love you’ to someone” gets daily or almost daily views. When I saw this pattern, I got to thinking: Do I as an INTJ ever get to say “I love you” to whoever “deserves”it?

The quick answer is that 99.9% of the time I never get to say it.

Why is that? Saying “I love you” is expensive. It takes a lot of energy out of me because it is the phrase that I have the least amount of experience stating. It is a phrase that has so much weight that I am really hesitant to state it to the person, even if it were true. The other reason why I rarely say “I love you” is because the topic has never come about, and I don’t want to force it.


INTJs Theoretical model when giving a testimony

As my last few posts have shown, I like creating theoretical models to guide how I tackle different activities. It allows me to not have to improvise all the time, because I have “planned” for them prior to the moment of truth. Giving testimony is no exception. So here is an INTJs theoretical model when giving a testimony.

  1. Whatever the testimony is should be told in a short story format.
  2. Make the testimony funny. Don’t be afraid of making jokes… unless they are PG-13.
  3. Stay on topic.
  4. Only say what is required for people to understand what you want to testify about.
  5. Make sure God receives the glory.
  6. Come prepared with an outline of what you want to say… even if you end up not using it.
  7. Less is more. A good 5 minute testimony is better than a crappy 15 minute one.

INTJ theoretical framework when praying.

Lets’ be honest: the way we pray during a service is almost never the same way we pray outside of it. We have to pray out loud, remember what we are expected to pray for, and limit it to a certain time frame. I don’t pray during a service often. When I do, I want to have some guidelines in place to aid in improvising a prayer on the spot.

  1. Understand what you are praying for. Not all prayer is the same or done in the same way. There are intercession prayer, prayer for “God’s Word”, prayer to give thanks, prayer to start/end a service, prayer before/after giving a sermon, among others. Before you start deciding how to pray, understand what you are praying for.
  2. Have a go to introduction to prayer. An introduction to prayer doesn’t just give you something to say while your subconscious thinks of how to go about the prayer, but it also gives you something to say at the time to start being in the presence of God. My way to start a prayer tends to be: “God. We come to you with praise and adoration. We thank you for the opportunity to be here today to praise your name and learn about your ways without persecution.” Simple, right? It’s also a bit different than what other people do where I am at, because after about 20 years of practice I have found a way to make this part of my public prayers my own. Don’t be afraid to experiment and steal parts of other people’s introduction to prayer. But also be aware of what you are saying during those first sentences, because it shouldn’t just make sense. It should have meaning and sincerity and not just be a performance prayer.
  3. Stay on topic. Don’t pray for Israel when asked to pray for the Word of God. Staying on topic eliminates the probability that you will cause people to lose focus on the prayer. It will also model proper prayer to newer Christians.
  4. Be realistic. Prayers shouldn’t go against doctrine. Prayers shouldn’t place expectations that God wouldn’t fulfill. It should also encompass all possible scenarios to cover all of the bases.
  5. Less is more. Expectations of prayer is, at times, based on emotional things. It is not always necessary. What is necessary is that the Holy Spirit is involved in the prayer and backs it up. Good oratory is important in prayer, so as to keep people engaged. But if the Holy Spirit is not there oratory doesn’t matter.