My age? I don’t know. Just a kid, but old enough. Wondering about the world. I asked Dad whether I should believe everything I heard on TV. His reaction? More than just amusement… Laughter! He knew my sincerity because he knew my introspection, but for him the answer was obvious, and he knew that I didn’t want to accept the obvious nor the implications.
Youth is trusting, at least until something or someone gives reason to question—dishonesty, selfishness, perfidy, or many other infidelities. Still, in adulthood, we can remain unaware of certain aspects of our environment. This naivete is further complicated by our being unaware of our unawareness, despite our belief (and insistence?) to the contrary. It’s weakness, a blind spot if you will, which leaves us exposed, especially to those who would do us harm. Even the mighty Achilles, invincible in battle, had his heel, which ultimately led to his downfall.
Weakness is an element of cognition, and each personality type has its own unique strain. But the source of this weakness, aptly called the “Trickster”, is also the foundation for personal growth and relationship development. It gives humility and counters hypocrisy. It necessitates human interaction. Here then is the potential for mastery over weakness, especially with help from those who can lend their strength for the 16 types.
ESTJs and ESFJs
Protective of tradition and committed to duty, Judicators (ESTJs) and Cavaliers (ESFJs) feel an obligation to attend to the needs and wants of others, to guide humanity along a responsible path. Interestingly, however, they are much less aware of their own desires or their own path forward. Yes, they may believe they know, but this belief prevents them from seeing the risks of their decisions, not only for themselves but for others. They believe it’s “ok” to want anything.
Protect them by telling them what they should do. Show them the implications. Help them with decisions that affect their future and that of those in their care. In this way, their awareness awakens and their decisions become clear.
ESTPs and ENTPs
Independent and practical, Gladiators (ESTPs) and Rogues (ENTPs) are confident in their intellect and seek to strengthen it in others. They can be quick to criticize another’s intelligence, but they are just as quick to correct themselves when presented with evidence of an error in judgment. They genuinely look for the good in others, even to please, yet others often label them unsympathetic, heartless, and immoral—particularly hurtful criticisms. The reason: they can’t discern good from bad for themselves. Personal morality for them is subjective and contextual. Anything can be moral, that relativism is the source of their vulnerability.
Strengthen them not by telling them to avoid evil or even the appearance of it, but by being an example. Lend them your morality to help them differentiate between right and wrong. Lead them to the tree of knowledge of good and evil so they may learn discernment for themselves.
ENTJs and ENFJs
Goal-oriented and desirous to share experiences with others, Marshals (ENTJs) and Clerics (ENFJs) are driven to achieve. It is their pursuit of an ideal, however, that also belies their frailty. Tradition, duty, loyalty, and personal comfort hold little focus for them. Even memory, aside from that of traumatic or other events of significance, can be sporadic and lacking. They can forget lessons learned and repeat past mistakes. They may sacrifice themselves and others in pursuit of ambition.
Help them remember. Encourage them to write of their experiences. Remind them of past decisions and results. Show them their folly in hoping for a different result this time around. Be unwavering in commitment to them to ensure their progress toward achievement is neither slow nor derailed.
ESFPs and ENFPs
Committed to personal morality and steadfast in the acquisition of knowledge, Duelists (ESFPs) and Bards (ENFPs) have the unique ability to see into other’s thinking without prejudice. They are learned and rational, but they are also without certainty in absolute truth. For them, perception and belief are reality in the absence of communication or explanation. Logic remains subjective despite their best efforts at reason. The danger presented to them is groupthink and flawed analysis.
Help them logically reason. Teach them to discern fact from fiction. Complement their wealth of knowledge with independent verification and walk them through to logical conclusions. In time, their internal repository will not only be informative but also accurate.
ISTJs and INTJs
Systems and processes, policies and procedures, these are the domain of the Archivists (ISTJs) and Rangers (INTJs). They develop, monitor, and assess structures for understanding the world and our progress in it. They are aware of their own values and generally assume that everyone else holds those same values. And therein lies risk – they have little awareness of social rules, norms, or etiquette. They are the ones who arrive at your door unannounced, who are late for an appointment without concern for those waiting, or who violate accepted restroom protocol. Unfortunately, their routine social faux pas often results in them being badgered as being uncaring, or socially inept.
Instruct them in ways to interact effectively with others. Help them understand that public standards for behavior, though not officially enumerated in a book of law, do in fact exist and require adherence to avoid undesired consequences. For them, an understanding and appreciation for etiquette leads to a mastery of effective human interaction.
ISTPs and ISFPs
Adept in all things tangible, and desirous to share meaningful experiences, Artificers (ISTPs) and Druids (ISFPs) yearn for personal space and freedom to create. They like to push envelopes and confront traditions. They challenge us to perceive the world in unorthodox ways, yet they can be blind to the intentions of others. Unaware, but thinking otherwise, they can jump to conclusions, or worse, fall victim to exploitation and abuse.
Show them the warning signs. Teach them to identify the tactics of manipulators. Share with them shrewd insight into character and behavior to protect them from those who would cause personal and financial ruin. Doing so helps them to build an armor of self-protection, thus safeguarding the inspiration of their creation.
INFJs and ISFJs
Though empathetic and reflective, Paladins (INFJs) and Knights (ISFJs) cannot “read minds” despite their beliefs to the contrary. The strength of their emotional connection to others hides an inability to see into another’s thoughts. They can believe anything. This naivety can manifest as both unintended condescension and intellectual vulnerability. For all their strength in logical thought, they are captive to the accuracy of information they consume. Thus, they can fall prey to narcissists and false prophets.
Help them verify before they conclude. Expose for what they are the lies, the misdirection, and the manipulations that they may believe. Protect them in this way to ensure the purity of their reasoning and self-sacrifice can continue without risk of exploitation.
INTPs and INFPs
Ardents (INTPs) and Mystics (INFPs) are visionaries. Logical and moral assessments of fresh ideas and possibilities in all their varieties hold their attention. And while these imaginings are vital for human progress, they can distract from hard reality, from the here and now. For them, reality is subjective. Anything can be real. While they may seem negligent in physical appearance or fumble with tools and implements, the actual danger is the comfort of a daydream. Personal development and success in life can be delayed or stifled altogether.
Interrupt their dream. Intervene with discomfort, the most effective tool in motivating them to action. Not only does their quality of life and happiness depend upon it, but so also does the world’s hope in their ideals. In strength, they show what’s possible for us all.
Vulnerability, weakness, blind spots… The Trickster plays a game of happy naivety. If life is to notice our own limitations and be less critical of those in others, if it is to grow in responsibility, maturity and happiness, then mastery is strengthening another and allowing another to strengthen us. For these reasons, I view the Trickster as a steppingstone to love. It facilitates the relationships that are the fertile soil for the seeds of love.
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