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Why INTPs Can't Finish Things

v3nge

Too busy thinking to make any decisions.
Joined
Aug 21, 2015
Messages
77
#1
I've just had a moment of clarity and I'd like to share it with you all. Perhaps you will gain some insight from it as I have.

I struggle, like many INTPs, with getting things done and doing things consistently. I have great ambitions, but implementation is very difficult for me.

I was thinking this afternoon (it's rainy here and I like to think when it rains... and when it doesn't for that matter) and I realized that it goes down to the very identity I have for my self.

As a child I was treated differently because I tested as gifted. I wasn't held to the same standard as other students, because of this, and frankly I did the very minimum amount of work possible. (A trait that would follow me all the way into my college years.)

This created in me a self-esteem that wasn't tethered to whether or not I actually accomplished anything, but to the possibility that I may accomplish something great in the future, if I so choose.

I identified myself (subconsciously) with the lazy genius, the aloof professor, the archetype of a person who has vast untapped potential.

To this day I find myself identified with that archetype, and so despite great efforts, various meticulously planned daily schedules, timers, memos, and even prescription medications, I can't get myself to stay consistent enough with my habits for there to be a possibility of achieving the things I want in life.

The reason being, because I'm identified with this "lazy genius" archetype, I find it much more appealing to live in the future potentiality than to actually finish something. Because upon finish something, you're saying "That's it. That is the best I can do." And if it isn't as good as you thought it would be, or as good as other people thought it would be, then the identity is destroyed, and that is as good as death to the ego.

In the same vein, I can't stay consistent with things, because I'm unconsciously afraid the longer I stay consistent with something the closer I get to the moment when I could potentially fail and be forced to realize that I'm not competent and that I will never actually accomplish anything. Again, killing my identity.

My unconscious mind would rather fail from not trying than risk failure due to incompetency, because at least without really trying, I can still say "I could have done that."

My subconscious then feeds my conscious mind the excuses "One day won't hurt." "You can do that tomorrow." "Just skip today, you've worked hard."

I don't know yet how I will disidentify myself from this identity, but I think this is an interesting epiphany I've had.

Does anyone else relate to this?
 

Cognisant

Condescending Bastard
Joined
Dec 12, 2009
Messages
7,687
#2
100%

I've got nothing to add right now but I'll give it some thought.
 
Joined
Apr 26, 2013
Messages
1,149
Location
Shallow grave
#3
I 100% relate. I’ve also had the epiphany, exactly as you describe.

My existence has been mostly geared towards trying to fix it since 2013. Furthermore, I’m currently in therapy for anxiety related to the aforementioned.

It seems futile. I hope we can all one day overcome this crippling ailment.
 

Pyropyro

Magos Biologis
Joined
Feb 3, 2012
Messages
3,966
Location
Philippines
#4
100% relate but that lazy genius thing got shattered hard at Uni where I faced actual and hard-working geniuses.
 
Joined
Jan 24, 2018
Messages
16
#5
I can relate to the not getting things done part. I thought it was a more common problem with people in general though and not just INTP's. There seems to be a lot of self-help stuff about it.

I have a lot of big goals floating in circles in my head. Let's say I was to crack down on one. Oh no, now I realize that before I start on what I thought was step one, I'll actually need to set some mundane preliminary steps up first. Then I start asking if those things actually land that high on the priority list of bigger-picture goals. Is cleaning the garage really going to further my life? What am I going to do when I'm 50?

I've tried whipping myself into a programmed routine. That really doesn't work for me, but in that process, I realized that it was more productive to ask myself what was important in the moment. Never mind tomorrow or next week, what good can I do right now?

I know my answer is a little simplistic and not offering much. But lately, I'm considering a new tactic. Being okay with getting just a little bit done sometimes. It kind of works like reverse psychology. Maybe. It's working so far, and I might keep you updated on that one.

About the part of being potentially able to do anything, I give trust that anyone is able to do anything if they put the right attitude towards it.
 

Niclmaki

Disturber of the Peace
Joined
Oct 21, 2012
Messages
341
Location
Canada
#6
Aaay ENTP here. Surprisingly similar sounding story to me.

I was also tested and identified as gifted as a child. I built stuff like a radio, hand fan, flashlight. Just for fun (in elementary). I pretty much excelled in everything at school. My small community didn’t know what to really do with me.

In highschool I was still treated differently, but year one was the only year I did homework / projects. I determined them a waste of my time after that because I could pass on the exams alone. 60% (the passing grade) was all I aimed for. It really pissed off all the teachers.

Come college I was consistantly told to go to university because “I was too smart for this”. I wanted to be an ECE (early childhood educator, 1yo -5yo). Looking back, I’m pretty sure this was mostly just sexism, but I listened and transitioned into university.

My epiphany there was essentially, “umm, I actually have no desire to be doing this. I’m just doing what everyone else is telling me to”. Especially my parents / extended family. I was really a wonderful piss stream for them to throw out in their pissing contests with other families.

I suppose my great diffetence here is that I don’t really have any ambitions now.

I do have some guilt though. Am I obligated to use my abilities for whatever reason? Or ought I? I’m quite content with how my life is. I don’t desire more, in fact I’d consider it greedy to want more.
 

Hadoblado

The choicest fuckboi
Joined
Mar 17, 2011
Messages
4,932
#7
Self-handicapping is very common, INTP or not. But yeah, it's a bit of an eye opener about the irrationality of behaviour.
 

Polaris

Radioactive vision
Joined
Oct 13, 2009
Messages
1,922
#8
Dunno if this is MBTI related - seems pretty common.

I have multiple projects going on. There are significant people involved - the reason I get these projects is because these people seem to think I can do all this stuff (don't know how I manage to somehow convince people that all this stuff has merit, which means there are suddenly multiple projects mushrooming everywhere). So now I'm getting closer to the deadline on two of these mushrooms - and with what results?

A lot of thinking, many emails to many people followed by invitations to slightly drunken meetings at the elite university private member's club (what am I, of all people, doing in there....???); incomprehensible random drawings and notes in my computer and all over my "diary" (more like a severely disorganised frazzled, black book of obscure functional origins), an inordinate accumulation of data on various devices plus a bunch of kangaroo bones floating around the kitchen.

I've woken up in the morning to find my external hard drive under my pillow - don't ask me how it got there.

It really is mad scientist 100%.

The project is done.


Errr, in my head, that is :D:ahh:

So I'm sitting here playing the piano, reading the forum, drinking tea, cuddling the cat and thinking about my next project.


But people expect tangible things...


"Polaris, you must publish"


:ninjahide:


:ahh:


:rip:
 
Joined
Apr 26, 2013
Messages
1,149
Location
Shallow grave
#9
I have multiple projects going on. There are significant people involved - the reason I get these projects is because these people seem to think I can do all this stuff (don't know how I manage to somehow convince people that all this stuff has merit, which means there are suddenly multiple projects mushrooming everywhere). So now I'm getting closer to the deadline on two of these mushrooms - and with what results?
Hey yeah! Wtf is this about? I have the same problem! I’m like, constantly buried with multiple projects (most people at my level have 1 or 2, while I seem to have between 5-10 at any given time). So I somehow manage to keep my head just above water, somehow suspended in this constant state of “FFFFFFFUUUUUUU—” and everyone is like “oh mang - Happy is crushing it, better give him more projects”.

What the fuck? What is happening? I thought it was just me - do you have some insight into this bonkers phenomenon @Polaris ???
 

Polaris

Radioactive vision
Joined
Oct 13, 2009
Messages
1,922
#10
Oh dear, @Happy your situation sounds even worse....:phear:

The fact that someone pays you to do all that stuff just increases the pressure, IMO. I'm only getting paid for one of these projects, and this thing is consequently hanging over me like a death sentence...."fuck, they're paying me, fuckfuck....must perform"

The rest of them are all my own fault, thanks to my big mouth and what I suspect is an inability to say no, combined with momentary over-enthusiasm...at least, I have been getting some funding lately, but it seems to also add to the stress because this means I am also obliged to cough something up eventually.

I really need to change my outlook on this. I mean, I should be pleased that people are finally wanting to support me financially for my ideas.

I don't know. I would guess we're the type of people who thrive on momentary waves of enthusiasm/creativity, but then end up completely overwhelmed because of over-commitments. Resulting in increasing anxiety, which then affects performance/output.

At my age, you would think I would have learnt something, but no, I keep up the kamikaze pace, regardless of my sanity. Damn it, I'm developing a heart problem because of it. I don't intend to warn you of the pitfalls, I know you already know.

Oh well, if I die of a heart attack due to stress from doing what I love, I guess it's not so terrible....

:slash:
 

Cognisant

Condescending Bastard
Joined
Dec 12, 2009
Messages
7,687
#11
My robotics project continues slowly but surely (with breaks that may last months) I find it helps to keep in mind who I am, what I'm passionate about and why I'm passionate about it and also to keep telling myself that as long as I'm closer than I was yesterday it's all okay, any progress no matter how small is progress, I just have to keep going.

Hand.png
 

Serac

Prolific Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2017
Messages
1,186
Location
Stockholm
#12
I agree with OP, but I would add another aspect to the whole thing which I experience often.

When you are initiating some ambitious project, and the project exists mostly in theory, it is in some sense a perfect thing, protected from the messy realities of the world. Thus while it remains in that realm, it is very pleasant to think about it, and it supplies a good measure of self-esteem. Once you start actually implementing your ideas, you have to face all the difficulties of reality and all the imperfections this entails. You have to be prepared to take significant blows to your ego and face your own limitations and ignorance if you do that. I guess that's just another aspect of fighting one's ingrained vision of oneself as some genius or clever individual. If something potentially undermines that vision, you will tend to avoid it.
 

Animekitty

World A.I. transfomantion is Near
Joined
Apr 4, 2010
Messages
5,430
Location
4D Archaeology computer grid
#13
I can't finish anything because I am not smart enough.
I am unable to work things out in my head.
I can't hold all the steps so forget things.
I can't really make designs for my abstract ideas.
 

v3nge

Too busy thinking to make any decisions.
Joined
Aug 21, 2015
Messages
77
#14
I agree with OP, but I would add another aspect to the whole thing which I experience often.

When you are initiating some ambitious project, and the project exists mostly in theory, it is in some sense a perfect thing, protected from the messy realities of the world. Thus while it remains in that realm, it is very pleasant to think about it, and it supplies a good measure of self-esteem. Once you start actually implementing your ideas, you have to face all the difficulties of reality and all the imperfections this entails. You have to be prepared to take significant blows to your ego and face your own limitations and ignorance if you do that. I guess that's just another aspect of fighting one's ingrained vision of oneself as some genius or clever individual. If something potentially undermines that vision, you will tend to avoid it.
Yeah, that's definitely an aspect of it too. Idealism.

I find it interesting that so many of you relate to this. I've been thinking about it more, and I've realized that there's also a sense of impostor syndrome as well, especially when things are going well. I think some of you hinted at this, as well.

For example, things are starting to pick up in my business right now as I'm getting my first clients since graduating college last year, and I'm starting to feel a lot of anxiety.

"What if they find out that I'm not really as good and experienced at what I do as I let on?" "What if someone tries to sue me?" All these irrational things start to come up.

I don't have any real reason to think these things, other than my fear of being inadequate.
 

Jennywocky

guud languager
Joined
Sep 25, 2008
Messages
10,610
Location
Charn
#15
Without reading much of the thread:

- I like thinking/exploring more than doing/producing.
- Translating ideas into real life is messy and I have to live with imperfect results for something that was once beautiful while in my head. Everything I produce feels like a miscarriage in some way.
- It involves a channeling of my mind that requires I stop thinking in radiant directions (Ne); I don't mind chasing something down as much as having to shut everything off / limit my divergent thinking while I'm chasing something down... excluding things to focus on one thing.
- I feel like I will be misjudged by others for my imperfect product, yet don't care to waste the energy to explain/justify.
- my perfectionism demands a LOT of intense effort. It's like having a baby; it takes dedication and sacrifice and hurts like hell throughout the birthing process.
- I am very go with the flow, I hate the intensity of planning and careful alignment I need to do to implement an idea.

But yeah, I'm getting the idea a lot of people agree with the feelings of inadequacy. I never quite feel like I can rise to the level of my idea.
 

scorpiomover

The little professor
Joined
May 3, 2011
Messages
1,640
#16
This created in me a self-esteem that wasn't tethered to whether or not I actually accomplished anything, but to the possibility that I may accomplish something great in the future, if I so choose.
True. Then you are a container of great things, a book that contains wonders, a magnum opus, a Principia Mathematica, if you will.

If a tree falls in the forest, and there is no-one to hear it fall, what sound does it make?

As long your potential never gets realised, there is no difference whether your potential is to accomplish something great, or your potential is to accomplish nothing whatsoever.

It is only in the actualisation of your potential, that there is any relevance in your potential.

Where the love of potential differs from the love of accomplishment, is in the sage, the wise man. The wise man who knows that he will do more by helping a few children than becoming President of the universe, spurns the honours by becoming the man that others think of as great, but is really for the most part, irrelevant and full of hot air. Instead, he becomes great, even though only a handful know of him.

What matters in this world, is not what accomplishments others will praise you for.
What matters in this world, is what you actually achieve, no matter how many are unaware of what you have achieved.

Fame is fleeting, and little more than hot air. But a woman of valour is worth praising to the skies.
 

baccheion

Active Member
Joined
May 2, 2016
Messages
170
#17
I don't finish things because I lose interest, didn't get clear and plan it all out before I started, or usually, because others start getting in the way. I learned at a young age that when I start on something and no one bothers me, then it gets done. If it didn't, then it was because it lost relevance or I was wrong about its significance (ie, it was irrelevant, but I didn't notice).

Nowadays, there's selegiline, SEMAX + selank + alpha-GPC, automation, apps, services, etc. It's good to know how to write code. Almost anything can be automated and put on autopilot (ie, the program will repeat consistently or will see it through).

Adding a multivitamin, D + K, and magnesium supplement stabilized energy and had other positive effects I can't quite articulate. I still remember when I first found a good multivitamin (it was in 2010 after searching for 9 years); it was a great day.
 

KilledCat

Curious INTP trying to satisfy his curiosity
Joined
May 31, 2018
Messages
7
#18
I think I struggle with that, but also ADHD which makes me lose focus.
Speaking of which
I need to get my paper done for tomorrow
 

Serac

Prolific Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2017
Messages
1,186
Location
Stockholm
#19
I was gonna start painting a few years back, since I was considered a prodigy in drawing when I was a kid. I painted exactly one painting, which I was quite happy with, so I ended my paining career with that.
 

Manipulator

analyse, manipulate
Joined
Sep 11, 2013
Messages
601
Location
my head is my home
#20
Does anyone else relate to this?
100% same story.

I learned to finish stuff, but it's complicated to explain.
I can't force myself, in the past I was trying to and it was really bad. So now I do only what I want and I hope my brain will do good decisions for me (because I think my brain is much more intelligent than me). I start study for exams when I begin to feel anxious, I don't care about some courses and I don't pass some, but it's everything ok for me.

Getting job done for me is getting it done in any time. So I always give myself a lot of time and I don't hurry. I write a book and I know I need about 2-3 years to finish it. I play games and I know I need to practice a lot to get to the top. I'll finish university, but later than my peers. I get the job in AI research, but it'll take about 5 years, I don't hurry.

I still can't get rid of some very ambitious ideas, like creating AI intelligent equal to human, creating new theory in physics or starting my own IT business. I know that everything is possible for me, but at least I realized that there is only small percentage of chance of success.
 

Puffy

Demon Alpaca Overlord
Joined
Nov 7, 2009
Messages
2,763
Location
SOON
#21
Worked from home today. Procrastinated until 7pm. Finished preparing presentation at 2am.

I thought the late night coffee was a necessary strategy but now the buzz hasn't worn off and I doubt I'll get much sleep. :coffee::sleepy:

I can relate to this thread, I don't think it's a type thing and is probably common outside this forum. I significantly delay and post-pone things as I tend to over-think from all possible angles to make sure what I'm going to do is optimal. It has lead to great work sometimes. But underlying that I'm unsure it's purely a desire to do great work so much as a dread of doing the task rooted in anxiety - that I'm not good enough, that the work won't be good enough, that I'll be judged as a fraud - and procrastinating (just more thinking time) is the means of relieving the anxiety until a future time.

The result is putting it off until the deadline is looming enough that I'll experience greater anxiety (i.e. failing) if I don't confront it and so am forced to deliver what I can in the available time.

I often resent people who pressurise me but they play a necessary devil's advocate. :goat: I think it's about learning to just enjoy what you're doing and lessening the expectations so that you can do so.
 
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