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Old 7th-January-2017, 10:05 PM   #1
Auburn
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Default Getting Unstuck, Evolution & Growth

This thread is about demotivation, mental paralysis and stagnation... whether in one's personal growth or outer dreams.


I wonder how many forumers here feel like they've gotten stuck in a mental swamp? an emotional quicksand from which there seems to be no escape?

Often, the ironic thing is that stuck-people are overthinkers. So they know a lot more than people may believe about what they maybe 'should do' to get out of it, in principle. But what seems simple and straightforward to others can feel like an utterly impossible energy expenditure.

I think it can be a bit cruel (though understandably so) to view people who are stuck in stagnation and say to them things like "you just stop thinking and start doing" or "you just have to make a decision". If it was that easy, I suspect it wouldn't be such a conundrum. Something (feelings/ideas) disallows it, mayhaps...

(It doesn't help that overthinking leads to metaphysical questions, and a visit with the ultimate demotivator, a la entropy; from whose lens all paths seem equally vain.)

I wonder if any of you would like to share your experiences with being stuck, and maybe what sort of things help you out? ...where are you now, and where would you like to go?
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Old 7th-January-2017, 10:19 PM   #2
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Default Re: Getting Unstuck, Evolution & Growth

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Originally Posted by Auburn View Post
This thread is about demotivation, mental paralysis and stagnation... whether in one's personal growth or outer dreams.

I wonder how many forumers here feel like they've gotten stuck in a mental swamp? an emotional quicksand from which there seems to be no escape?


I think it can be a bit cruel (though understandably so) to view people who are stuck in stagnation and say to them things like "you just stop thinking and start doing" or "you just have to make a decision".

Often, the ironic thing is that stuck-people are overthinkers. So they know a lot more than people may believe about what they 'should do' to get out of it, in principle. But what seems simple and straightforward to others can be an impossible energy expenditure.

It doesn't help that overthinking leads to metaphysical questions, and a visit with the ultimate demotivator, a la entropy; from whose lens all paths seem equally vain.

I wonder if any of you would like to share your experiences with being stuck, and maybe what sort of things help you out? ...where are you now, and where would you like to go?
I'm not sure I can articulate the experience, but the overall gist is that I became so miserable in indecision and my own lack of efficacy that I finally got off the fence and made a decision about one thing I had been stuck on for a long time. It definitely unsettled my life (and I ended up being separated and eventually divorced later); but remarkably since it improved my quality of life, it made it far easier to make more decisions in the future... in part because I realized I could deal with any problems involved with the choices I made, and that it would improve my life overall... and if it didn't, I'd just make more decisions and change my life again. It was very empowering, gave me better skills to carry out decisions, etc.

So I ended up changing employers, and moving to a new city, and making many more decisions on much smaller scales. I realized how much time and energy I had squandered in indecision over the years. You only live once. If you make no decisions, you don't accomplish anything.

Needless to say, yes, I was getting older and my mortality was also sitting on me more heavily, slowly suffocating me. I didn't feel like I had the luxury of indecision as much either. When you are younger, it's easier just to wait and see. When you're older, it's more "now or never."

I also seem to care less about having the perfect answer before I choose something. I'm more liable to just jump in, then deal with the fallout, versus sitting in the middle. Again, more pragmatism, more realism, less fear of mistakes (because you can recover/adjust from most), and more confidence in my coping abilities.

EDIT: For background about my legendary indecision, my supervisor once at my last job actually called me the "Poster Child for Ambivalence" at one of our project meetings. He meant it as a joke but later felt bad; I thought it was actually funny and insightful, he was completely right about me back then.
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Old 8th-January-2017, 12:14 AM   #3
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Default Re: Getting Unstuck, Evolution & Growth

i can feel myself degenerate with every passing year because of my lethargy
i do get some bouts of motivation every now and then but they always seem to dematerialize too soon. i know i am mostly worthless, but its so hard to accept it. to accept my mediocrity.
this may be grim, but i think some people are born with self discipline, and some simply arent. and theres nothing i can do about this. i have tried countless times since childhood to combat the lethargy, tried to talk myself into believing my efforts are fruitful and meaningful but its no use, all the while i could see almost everyone else breeze through what i struggle to finish or start. this has always been the case for me, for as long as i can remember. i dont really know what my problem is...i just know that ive been fighting apathy since forever, that im only alive through the effort of others, and that im waiting for my life to wrap up in some kind of meaningful resolve *shrugs*
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Old 8th-January-2017, 12:25 AM   #4
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Default Re: Getting Unstuck, Evolution & Growth

Nothing I say will help you, the process of overcoming stagnation is entirely personal, so my story isn't instrumental here. I've spent many years trying to support my best friend who was facing a similar existential crisis as I had, except he's still there and nothing I do or explain seems to be helping them.

I think there are two essential elements to it. First I had to believe in my potential and second I had to put myself in an empowering frame of mind and create a healthy lifestyle that fuels my growth.

I knew I had the potential, I did some amazing things even after I put only a small % of the required effort.

What allowed me to get past that was my depression and imagination. I stopped being afraid and ashamed. I had some 50 odd years of life left, time is running out and if I don't follow the beautiful kinds of dreams I see in my mind, nobody will. I don't care about risks or consequences, I know I can deal with issues as they come, world belongs to the people willing to fight for it and I want my share of the cake. I want to be strong enough to surround myself with the kind of reality I wish to see.

Depression is very soothing and peaceful and since I despised myself so strongly, I thought that I could kill myself at any point if I give up, so why not increase my suffering by actually working diligently on my life. It was and is very painful, but there are also effects. I don't hate myself for who I am now, but I also don't escape the discomfort of the challenging things I set out to do and as long as I'm consistent it has effects and more often than not I find myself enjoying some parts of the process and these are the bits I focus on pursuing.
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Old 8th-January-2017, 12:26 AM   #5
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Default Re: Getting Unstuck, Evolution & Growth

I went to my local comunity college and asked if they had free classes. I am 29 yet I have only had 1 semestor of college. They said all they had free was basics so I took a test. The test was the (TABE). It says that with everything together I have a fifth-grade education level. I read at the 2nd-grade level. My vocab was the highest score, 12th grade. The test is 10 years old though. I begin classes Jan 24 - 6 PM to 10 PM, tuesday and thursday. My mom says she will take me. I tried to register for school 4 times but each atempt did not workout. I never prepared to go to college in highschool. Had a breakdown after I graduated. When to a group home and they took me to my classes for that one semester at the university. I can't get loans, I know that loans are not good. At least now I am doing basics.
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Old 9th-January-2017, 10:50 PM   #6
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Default Re: Getting Unstuck, Evolution & Growth

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and if I don't follow the beautiful kinds of dreams I see in my mind, nobody will.
What are some of those dreams, ..if I may ask?
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i do get some bouts of motivation every now and then but they always seem to dematerialize too soon. i know i am mostly worthless, but its so hard to accept it. to accept my mediocrity.
..why worthless?
and would it truly be a good idea to accept a feeling like that? o:

or wait, maybe you mean acceptance in the zen sort of sense, where we are humbly at peace within ourselves?

Quote:
I was getting older and my mortality was also sitting on me more heavily, slowly suffocating me. I didn't feel like I had the luxury of indecision as much either. When you are younger, it's easier just to wait and see. When you're older, it's more "now or never."
It seems there are a handful of responses to mortality that people seem to have. Some choose to despair or go numb in the shadow of its imminent arrival, and others rise up to meet it. I'm glad you chose to rise.

But you still have a chance to make it to the singularity! Though I wonder how mortality's (potential) absence will change our psychology in the future, since it is such a strong motivator for us.
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Old 10th-January-2017, 12:39 AM   #7
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Default Re: Getting Unstuck, Evolution & Growth

I once read a book titled getting unstuck. About depression. All i remember of it was it's critical review of how ineffective psychopharmaka are.

In my experience (hanging out with people who have social anxiety) we are successful as soon as we have chosen the correct goal and we remain stuck as soon as we have illusory ideas of what ought to be possible, either for us, [meaning we don't understand who we are,] or in the world, [meaning we don't understand society, business, people.]

And a neurosis (depression or anxiety) is exactly this.
An illusory idea of self and other.

All of this motivation talk is largely a misunderstanding of ego, because ego simply can't make anything happen at all. Only the mind changes the imagined path and as soon as the sails are right, the wind blows in the right direction, the water current is right and the icebergs are right, we will either travel around the globe or sink to the bottom of the sea, whichever is our destiny.

I read another book. It's much more interesting but really hard to read. Robert Fritz: "The path of least resistance. learning to become the creative force of your life." He speaks of this. Of rubber bands, not of wind and sails.

An example that i currently struggle with, which he also mentions in the book, i believe, is about weight loss:

If you want to make something go away (like your body fat), your motivation to stay on that diet will vanish, the closer you get to your goal. Likewise if you want to attain something (like perfect health) and are willing to fight (hunger, exercise) for it, you will become lazy, when you have it. And loose it again.

What the hell is the solution for that trap? I don't even remember what his book suggested. In fact i may not have read the whole book.

The best i know to do is to be idealistic about everything i do. So that my actions are not relative to motivations or goals at all. But they are simply the right way of being, they are my nature, perhaps my identity. Such actions are sustainable.

But it's tricky to design a concept of change or growth that makes change or growth into 'simply the right way of being', that makes them independent from motivation (desire) or goals (needs) or fears (escape).

Its easy in the case of "learning". I am always learning, for the sake of learning. Or rather curiosity.

But when it comes to extroversion, social or professional freedom, i want this stop and go, i want in and out again, this interrupts the process or won't allow a process to begin with. I just don't want 'being in the world out there' to become a permanent ideal of mine. Way too scary. But then goals, desires, needs, fears are needed to drive me into every single experiment with the world.
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Old 10th-January-2017, 12:43 AM   #8
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Default Re: Getting Unstuck, Evolution & Growth

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What are some of those dreams, ..if I may ask?
I don't talk about such things. It wouldn't mean much and announcing one's goals before accomplishing them feels like begging for validation.

Most of my dreams are impossible, except ultimately nothing we're capable of imagining in our minds is impossible. Simply put our brains and our thoughts can't work outside of a continuous reality, so everything we can think of is naturally attainable.

It might not make much sense and it's not meant to, it's true enough.
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Old 10th-January-2017, 03:35 AM   #9
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Default Re: Getting Unstuck, Evolution & Growth

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I don't talk about such things. It wouldn't mean much and announcing one's goals before accomplishing them feels like begging for validation.

Most of my dreams are impossible, except ultimately nothing we're capable of imagining in our minds is impossible. Simply put our brains and our thoughts can't work outside of a continuous reality, so everything we can think of is naturally attainable.

It might not make much sense and it's not meant to, it's true enough.
Erm no. My dreams are impossible because they break physics.
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Old 10th-January-2017, 05:29 AM   #10
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Erm no. My dreams are impossible because they break physics.
Dream physics?
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Old 10th-January-2017, 05:39 AM   #11
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Default Re: Getting Unstuck, Evolution & Growth

Between 2012-2013 I was stuck as a depressed, unemployed, college dropout. That was perhaps the lowest I've ever been, but it made me realize I didn't have a purpose in life up til that point, that I was living in bad faith. Like the story about the fox and the sour grapes I've always told myself "no" but really I was just afraid to say yes to myself, afraid to confront people and situations with assertiveness and afraid to put in the work to make my dreams happen. At the end of it, when I was perhaps near psychosis, at the behest of a cousin, I swallowed my pride and applied for government aid. I also registered to go back to school, although still not sure of what I wanted to pursue, not being great at math and dispassionate towards programming, but I met with a counselor and discovered that I could study networks and systems. A few months later I also got a fun job that had my body in a workout and allowed me to interact with various people, suddenly all the things I wanted to do in life started coming back to me. I decided at that point that I wouldn't allow myself to ever fall back into that dark place ever again and that I'd make short term goals for myself that I would achieve in pursuit of reaching greater heights until my last breath.

Perhaps my situation doesn't relate if your "stuck" is suffocating from ennui as an accomplished professional-creative or being in-between relationships as a tragic romantic, I guess people have their different stucks, but I wanted to share.
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Old 10th-January-2017, 11:10 AM   #12
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I used to have a lot of motivation, inspiration and drive. My problem was despite that, I failed at what I wanted to accomplish. I restarted quite a few times in different unis and jobs with a new sense of direction, but it always ended in failure. Even things that should be simple just kinda fell through. Eventually I also got sick and together with the stress/ depression I got burned out and it took quite some time before I managed to recover from depression.

To get out of that rut, I changed my perspective quite a lot. I gave up on earlier ambitions and tried setting some more realistic goals. I accepted that a lot of the stuff I wanted to do and achieve might be impossible for me. So instead of "I want to work with physics" or "I want to manage an interesting, difficult job", my goals are more in the form of "I'm going to read book x" or "I'm going to go hiking every week". I accepted my situation, but I'm also open for things changing in the future and me being able to figure something out. I just don't feel bad anymore if things don't work out.
The process from start to finish took like 1-2 years or so, and I came out on the other side a transformed person emotionally and mentally.

I have a more moderate view on things now than what I used to have. It doesn't have to be all or nothing, small bits are okay. So I read and learn when I feel inspired, and if there are a few months where I just do useless things that is okay as well. I'm sickly, unable to work or study, but even so I feel more at peace now
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Old 10th-January-2017, 01:13 PM   #13
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Default Re: Getting Unstuck, Evolution & Growth

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Originally Posted by zerkalo View Post
i can feel myself degenerate with every passing year because of my lethargy
i do get some bouts of motivation every now and then but they always seem to dematerialize too soon. i know i am mostly worthless, but its so hard to accept it. to accept my mediocrity.
this may be grim, but i think some people are born with self discipline, and some simply arent. and theres nothing i can do about this. i have tried countless times since childhood to combat the lethargy, tried to talk myself into believing my efforts are fruitful and meaningful but its no use, all the while i could see almost everyone else breeze through what i struggle to finish or start. this has always been the case for me, for as long as i can remember. i dont really know what my problem is...i just know that ive been fighting apathy since forever, that im only alive through the effort of others, and that im waiting for my life to wrap up in some kind of meaningful resolve *shrugs*
I disagree with the notion that discipline cannot be learned. If you'd asked me prior to about 8-12 months ago, I'd totally agree. However, having spent the last 2 years trying as hard as I could to pull myself out of the all familiar lethargy of which you speak, I've learnt some things I believe are of some value:

1. Working hard is not enough, and is not necessarily discipline.

2. Comparing yourself to others is one of the worst ways to try and develop discipline.

3. Not everyone was taught from a young age to have discipline, but it's attainable.

4. Challenges to developing discipline (at least in my experience) boil down to a lack of understanding and/or confidence and/or accountability*




*accountability may be the key here.

Anecdote:
I absolutely struggled to develop discipline in an academic context, and upon reflection, the reason lay mostly in my natural ability to achieve top grades with the absolute minimum amount of effort. That, combined with never having anyone disappointed in me (first in family to get a higher education), was a pretty terrible starting point to develop discipline.

Fast forward to working professionally post-university and I found myself in an entirely opposite scenario where I was accountable for everything I did and there were real consequences to my actions. It didn't take long for my wake up call to come a couple of months into my first post-grad job from where I was fired. Oops. That's about when the idea that I was accountable for my actions sank in. I couldn't just glide by anymore.

So that led to a bunch of discoveries and was when I really started to understand how to attain discipline. It's something that I still work at every day, as. I absorb loads of books, podcasts, articles, etc on the topic. Things have taken off since accepting that I'm accountable for my actions and in the last year alone, I've 10x'd my productivity in my work and home lives. I do believe now that discipline is certainly attainable, but the conditions need to be right in order to trigger the internal necessity.


I'd like to say more, but I'm not sure where to start. Plus, it's past my bedtime. If anyone is interested in anything I've mentioned, let me know and I'll happily elaborate.
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Old 20th-February-2017, 11:33 PM   #14
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Default Re: Getting Unstuck, Evolution & Growth

There's more struggle/pain here than what I could possibly understand. But I can empathize, to different degrees, with all of you. There's some really good suggestions here, many of which I could learn a great deal from.

Quote:
I realized how much time and energy I had squandered in indecision over the years. You only live once. If you make no decisions, you don't accomplish anything.
I've been ruminating on this for a while.

I think, one type of very difficult decisions to make - which isn't logistical - is a choice to allow yourself to live a new experience. To decide to let go of grief, or bitterness. For fear of naivete; the bitterness is there for a reason! It's justified! The world's a harsh place; people are harsh and untrustworthy things. I've struggled with that one a lot.

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To get out of that rut, I changed my perspective quite a lot. I gave up on earlier ambitions and tried setting some more realistic goals. I accepted that a lot of the stuff I wanted to do and achieve might be impossible for me. So instead of "I want to work with physics" or "I want to manage an interesting, difficult job", my goals are more in the form of "I'm going to read book x" or "I'm going to go hiking every week". I accepted my situation, but I'm also open for things changing in the future and me being able to figure something out. I just don't feel bad anymore if things don't work out.
I think this is a really helpful transition in thought. It reminds me of zen a bit? Life can be wonderful in its subtle humility. Have you had any luck trying out different environments?

Immersion in new landscapes (as Jenny said; moving cities), or even just trips elsewhere, forces the mind to get unstuck.

When you're at a pier, wading your feet against the teeny fishes, staring off into the horizon; you forget it all momentarily. Then you wonder why things couldn't be this tranquil all the time. It's this close. It's right here.
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Old 21st-February-2017, 01:43 AM   #15
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Default Re: Getting Unstuck, Evolution & Growth

Despite appearances getting stuck is a constant companion. It's cyclical and depends on what I've got going on. For example, atm I have a project I'm working on so the down periods aren't as down as when I don't have anything particular going on. There's several cycles, weekly, monthly and yearly. I don't really keep track, but just follow my energy as it goes up and down. Generally I deal with it best through a kind of structural approach; if I have good things going on (as I mentioned) then my down periods won't be too bad.
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Old 21st-February-2017, 11:26 AM   #16
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Default Re: Getting Unstuck, Evolution & Growth

I do feel a bit stuck lately... not a lot going for me riight at the moment, however I have high hopes for the not too distant future and believe that things are going to turn around.

It sucks being stuck... it's like there's less pleasure at the time and it seems none is being gained for the future. I wouldn't say that's true though - getting out of a low period is equally bit important as what happens when things are going well. It's just that it's hard to see what is good in life while in that state.
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Old 22nd-February-2017, 02:15 AM   #17
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Default Re: Getting Unstuck, Evolution & Growth

I find that I fluctuate between existential paralysis and roleplaying Buridan's Ass. The brief period between seems to allow for basic survival functionality. Maybe eventually the external world limits my options and I'm forced to narrow my focus and be more productive. Maybe doing something drastic to force that narrowing would work.
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Old 22nd-February-2017, 04:08 AM   #18
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Default Re: Getting Unstuck, Evolution & Growth

Maybe you should accept being stuck. Try falling in love with the crappy moments (or stretches of time) in life with the understanding that it makes the interesting and unique insane bouts of passion that much more incredible. Like the feeling of being alone with your laptop after spending all day dealing with people, standing in line, or doing shit that just doesn't mean anything to you at all. Like hunger, boredom can make the best seasoning when finally sated.

When I'm bored my mind races, hunting endlessly for something to grab my interest. I feel like im going crazy and my fight or flight goes haywire. I calm this down by reminding myself that I am going to die. Dead. Ill be dead, like everyone and everything else and no matter what path I take that will always be the result. This helps with FOMO to. I will always be missing out on something no matter what choices I make. And blah, blah, blabbity. Diggity diggity dog frog lost in the cog time.

Haha. I got tired of my answer.
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Old 22nd-February-2017, 07:30 AM   #19
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Default Re: Getting Unstuck, Evolution & Growth

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I find that I fluctuate between existential paralysis and roleplaying Buridan's Ass. The brief period between seems to allow for basic survival functionality. Maybe eventually the external world limits my options and I'm forced to narrow my focus and be more productive. Maybe doing something drastic to force that narrowing would work.
I would personally recommend not doing anything drastic. The way you've phrased that makes it sound as though it is something you are overestimating the worthwhileness of (based on my own experiences) and will likely afterwards see it could have been done in a much more basic and riskfree manner. Try being proactive and giving limit to your own thought processes before the world forces such a thing upon you.
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Old 22nd-February-2017, 11:02 PM   #20
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Default Re: Getting Unstuck, Evolution & Growth

Dario Nardi claims that the sixth function (Ni for the INTP) has to do with this. In this video I watched, he brings up the example of the INTP and claims that those who integrate/develop Ni can have a vision and a purpose about the future, and can for example write a book or develop a theory that can have a large impact on society. However those INTP's who don't develop their Ni can, for example, dabble in ESP for fun, or won't have a clear vision of what they'll be doing in five years, or will jump from interest to interest (these are all his examples of immature Ni). Ultimately he believes that the INTP (in this example) is still and INTP, but with a well developed Ni there/s a sense of energy and purpose diffused through the background, which is missing from the less developed Ni INTP.

I'm not sure what to make of that. I have a clear sense of personal vision and don't suffer much from aimlessness at this point in my life, have I developed my Ni, possible due to having a Ni dominant partner? Or is it something else?
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