Personality: Sensor & Intuitive (Blog 2 of 5)

In this second blog of determining personality, using the MBTI standard, we discuss the next portion of personality, Sensor and Intuitive. This round will determine the next letter of your four letter personality type.

To briefly recap, the MBTI measures across four categories (two possible personality factors per category) resulting in a four letter combination, or personality type, per person. There is a total of 16 personality types.

Category Two: Sensor vs Intuitive*
(S) for Sensor and (N) for Intuitive

*This area of personality examines how a person’s mind tends to notice information and remember it. Not everyone experiences information the same way. This is how an individual or several individuals can witness the same event and recall it differently. Sometimes the variations are small, others can vary wildly. (S) and (N) personality types plays a role in how we process incoming information and later on recall it. Other factors will come into play such as an individual’s health, personal feeling, and memory ability. Yes, recall, and how well you can do it is an actual skill. S’s and N’s alike have the potential for strong memory.*

The information an (S) notices tends to be in the present, collecting information as the data itself is occurring. The information is concrete and usually free from an individual’s personal projection. S’s put less of their personal feeling or personal memories onto the information they are currently receiving. It does happen, but not as a matter of course.

(S) Sally works in an office. (S) Sally has an errand to run in the office and requires that she get up from her desk, walk down the length of a hall, and stop into several co-worker’s offices. (S) Sally gets up to begin her task. She takes exactly ten steps before she reaches the first office. (S) Sally knows it is exactly ten steps as she has walked the length between her office and the next office several times and noted the distance the first time. (S) Sally also knows the exact steps between this office and the next several that (S) Sally will need to stop in at. This first office belongs to (N) Neville. (S) Sally takes note of (N) Neville’s dress, gray suit, blue tie, one class ring on Neville’s opposite ring finger. (S) Sally noticed this ring the first time she met (N) Neville and associates class rings with (N) Neville as no other male in the office wears one. (S) Sally, now knowing what (N) Neville is wearing this day, will be able to visually spot him for the rest of the day no matter where he is in the office or the building in case she needs to follow up with him later. The same will be true for of all her co-workers that (S) Sally must interact with in order to complete her inter-office errand.

(S) Sally also recalls it’s Friday. (S) Sally is briefly joyed by that fact and recalled it simply b/c she walked near another co-worker who tends to wear a little too much perfume, and only on a Friday. (S) Sally has never asked this particular co-worker why she wears a little too much perfume, only on Fridays. (S) Sally only knows that this colleague does so and has come to think of Fridays as a scent.

Sally takes note of her co-workers reactions as she disseminates her errands, often resulting in more work for people to do, and on a Friday too. (S) Sally hates giving out fresh assignments at the end of a work week, but (S) Sally’s feelings have nothing to do it. It’s work, end of story.

Some colleagues show no reaction, it’s work as usual, and (S) Sally knows she will receive follow-up on the work promptly and without complaint. Others barely suppress rolling their eyes, (S) Sally makes no comment other than to note to herself to personally follow-up with him or her regarding progress. Others wave the work off with a shrug and a, ‘I’ll get to it,’ demeanor. Sally knows she will need to follow-up directly with these folks too in case their version of “getting to it,” is a little too untimely.

– S’s notice concrete information, or ‘just the facts ma’am.’ Because S’s are grounded in the specifics, they often describe themselves as practical and literal. They are often perceived by others as being the same. Friends of an (S) usually have no hesitation using adjectives like detail-oriented, grounded, practical, sensible, factual.

– Because an (S) has an appreciation for the facts, they are much more likely to trust past experiences than to invent a new modality for dealing with something. This also means an (S) prefers practical solutions, and not wildly inventive ones. If there must be a new solution to a new problem, then a practical, trial and error solution is sought after.

– S’s will see, and often accept, what a person, an object, or a situation is at face value. If an (S) were to meet a loud stranger for the first time, the (S) is not likely to explore reasons to as to why they are loud. An (S) is going to accept the information they’ve been given unless there is obvious proof available to explain it. If the person is elderly and is inclining their head while listening, there is a good chance the stranger in question is just hard of hearing, in which case, the loudness of speech is perfectly acceptable.

– S’s like step-by-step instructions and will follow them to the letter. An (S) will not become inventive with a way of doing things until they have nailed the original way of doing things. By then, an (S) is an expert and trusting their past experiences of building on knowledge will then begin to modify things, usually considered a more personally efficient way of doing things.

– An (S) likes to work at a steady pace. S’s can portion their energy well and work consistently throughout a given time period. How an (S) is feeling about the job at hand can play a part in how long they work and how well, but an (S) is pretty good about staying the course and getting the thing done once the task has started.

The information an (N) notices tends to be big, impressionable, evocative of thought or feeling. Any information that makes an impression, an (N) is more likely to notice it. N’s are more likely to use their past memories and feelings in order to form new memories. Which is why when an (N) recalls something, it tends to be a little more personal b/c of the impression it made in the first place. An (N) will likely self-perceive, and be described as, a good story-teller, a big picture thinker, a creative solution person. B/c N’s take in more of the new, the different, the impressionable, they are more likely to offer input and solutions that are based on the same.

(N) Neville does not know how many steps it took for (S) Sally to reach his office door, although he himself has frequented her office. (N) Neville does not recall what (S) Sally was wearing when she handed out new assignments on this Friday. What (N) Neville does recall was the rapidity of her steps as the way in which (S) Sally walks has always left an impression on (N) Neville. (N) Neville perceives (S) Sally to be punctual to a fault and usually rushing to and fro. (S) Sally’s walk reflects her day-to-day impression, busy, professional, rushing, and a little impersonal. Not that (S) Sally is difficult to work with or indifferent to her colleagues. (N) Neville thinks and feels, it’s only that (S) Sally’s busy and professional demeanor makes it hard to get to know her as a person and so doesn’t leave much of an impression on (N) Neville. He recalls less of what (S) Sally says compared to other colleagues who are more open and amiable. These colleagues leave impressions on (N) Neville and so he is able to recall personal details about them, unlike (S) Sally whom he sees nearly every day.

(N) Neville grimly takes a new assignment, briefly dampening his feelings on the fact that it’s Friday and acknowledges that while he is not motivated o begin his new assignment today, he will make up for studiously on Monday. He also knows this not in favor of (S) Sally’s preference of beginning work right away, but (N) Neville just isn’t feeling it. The company meeting is on Tuesday, (N) Neville is confident he can develop and deliver an adequate assignment report on Monday. (N) Neville likes working under the gun, in fact, (N) Neville believes his best ideas are developed under pressure, as spontaneous feeling takes over. As much as (N) Neville has tried (and failed) to tackle assignments in advance, he feels no inspiration. (N) Neville insists his work lacks creativity when he tries to plan and portion out his work.

(N) Neville also passes that same colleague who wears a little too much perfume on Fridays and is cheered once more. While (N) Neville dislikes the cloying smell, (N) Neville perceives the perfume as a personal cheer for a Friday. (N) Neville feels this co-worker is quietly celebrating the end of the week and that is something he can relate to.

Not to (N) Neville’s surprise, (S) Sally checks in with him towards the close of the day. He has made note of this habit that (S) Sally has to check in on those days when less popular assignments come through. (N) Neville knows this part of (S) Sally’s efficiency and does not take it personally. He notices the slight frown she nearly concealed when (N) Neville said he had not begun the assignment, but gave his sincere reassurances that all would be well by Tuesday’s meeting.

– N’s notice the different, the outstanding, the impressionable. They notice what evokes thoughts and feelings, not only in themselves but in others. N’s also notice what isn’t present such as what is deliberately left out in a piece of music, an artwork, or in a speech. N’s make memories more easily when feelings and past memories are evoked by a person or situation or object. Thereby through no one’s deliberate doing, a person might be remembered and/or associated with nothing to do with themselves, it is completely at an N’s discretion. An (N) may not remember what you were wearing (unless it made an impression), they may not remember your name the first several times they hear it, but they can have full recall of you by what you said, or did, by a simple gesture you made with your hands, or by the look on your face or the sound of your voice.

– N’s are imaginative and theoretical. In this regard, an (N) could be confused with an (E) or Extravert. N’s tend to think aloud and usually at length. The difference is no one need be present.

– Unlike S’s who trust tried and true methods for problem-solving or “established methods,” N’s trust their own instinct, and would rather build a solution for themselves than do what everyone else has done. N’s trust themselves to come up with something, and value creative solutions. S’s tend to see what could be, not what already is. This is where we get the big-picture image of certain people. They are likely an (N).

– N’s like to figure things out alone, this does not automatically make an (N) an (I). Because N’s value creative solutions, the implication is the skill or solution is self-taught. For this, N’s don’t need outside influence; to think aloud, perhaps, but for default work, an (N) usually likes to work alone.

– N’s, unlike S’s, like to work in bursts of energy as opposed to steady-paced, planned work. N’s are creative, and they may be big picture thinkers, but the delivery of their work is often dependent upon how they feel. An (N) may have hours and hours of uninterrupted energy in which to work on something or all of ten minutes, but the point is, that work will be of quality and to their liking.

Some of you will know absolutely if you are an (S) or an (N). Others will struggle. There is a scale and you would need the full version of the MBTI to understand where you fall, particularly if you are unsure.

Personally, I am a high-level S. Case in point, I’m writing this on a Sunday. Despite the fact that I am a moderate (I), I wanted to be around people today so I decided to pack up my laptop and head to Starbucks. regret that. It’s busy in here today and my sensitive (S) is taking in EVERYTHING, even with my earbuds in place. My (S) exacerbates my (I) and all the sensory data I’m picking up is draining my (I) energy faster. I am painfully aware of how long this blog was and would continue to be about two hours ago. I was tempted to pack up perhaps an hour after arriving, but because I was determined to start what I finished, I shove my feelings aside to get the work done. I think what about what I promised myself I would do – write a minimum of two blogs a week. I tell myself I need to meet that. I think about how I can portion out the rest of my mental energy so I can finish writing this thing and publish it.

Being a high-level (S) is exhausting. I notice all things, that doesn’t mean the information is useful or in any way intelligent. I am aware of bodily movements, conversations, smells, light, temperature, background noises. I can’t tell you how many times I heard the frother (frother is not a legit word and yet I do not care) at the Starbucks counter since I’ve been here – no wait, yes I can – 22 times! You may not believe any one person could be aware of all those things, but you would be wrong. (S) people are legit when we say we notice a lot. I’m telling you, if I witness an accident you were the cause of, you and I will not be friends. I will have seen and noticed all that went down including what you were wearing and the stunned look on your face, and the license plate? That’s child play memory stuff for me, my friend.

My husband is a moderate (N). You might imagine the hilarity of our marriage as we notice, and determine importance to, wildly different things. My husband is full of creative ideas, all the time, day in and day out. He will often interject ideas into a conversation that had no bearing whatsoever to what was being discussed, but it was an idea that impressed upon so much he had say it out loud. Ideas, ideas, ideas galore, many of them wonderful and I am amazed by. His creativity is already well exercised as a software architect and I know he has the creative power to come up with something independently of his job. It takes discipline to start and maintain something of value. That’s where S’s like me come into play, we can override our feelings of exhaustion and boredom if it means getting the job done. Idea people and the get-it-done people work well together in this regard.

I’m a fiction writer, as an (I) I am comfortable living in my head and I can take my time flexing my creative muscles. I put all my sensory data full of odd human behaviors over the years to work in fiction and at my own comfortable pace. In my own way, I get to appreciate both worlds as the creative in me meets the practical.

Still two more MBTI letters to suss out. Until then, are you an (S) or an (N)? And make note, I know the S’s will. Haha.
Austin, Texas