Category Archives: Type 3

Type 3: Embrace Your Inner Underachiever

To say that 3s want to succeed is like saying that penguins kinda sorta might like to get to their breeding grounds if it’s not too much trouble (see March of the Penguins).  3s are not only determined to succeed in all areas of their lives, they are also driven to avoid both the experience and the appearance of failing. Because 3s are the type most caught up in the issue of image–constantly trying to project an image both internally (to themselves) and externally (to everyone else)–experience and appearance become somewhat undifferentiated.

Wanting to achieve great things, being highly motivated, and working extra hard in order to succeed are all admirable qualities. No one wants to belong to the losers’ club. But too much single-minded devotion to the pursuit of achievement can easily become too much of a good thing.

By constantly measuring the value of their lives according to a pass/fail grading system, 3s risk missing out on so much that is not measurable by that yardstick. By screening out evidence of perceived failure–the thing they are most afraid of admitting–they risk denying their own experience. By attempting to mold themselves into a laudable persona according to other people’s definitions, they risk losing themselves to themselves. By always striving to achieve more and more on the success treadmill, they risk remaining forever unsatisfied and restless.

If 3s learn to embrace their Inner Underachiever and let go of the need to rise to the top in everything they do, they might be able to open themselves up to a totally different kind of success. They might be able to graciously sit one out now and then and let someone else get the win. They might be able to let down their guard, relax, and do something just for fun. They might find out that losing once in a while (or at least not always winning) makes it easier for people to relate to them. They might succeed in finding out who they really are.

Our “Fatal” Flaws

The words guilt and shame are often used interchangeably, but they have very different meanings. Guilt is the result of something we either did or didn’t do (if we believe we should have done it). In other words, guilt arises from an act we have some control over. The act or omission may be unintentional, but we were still the agent in the situation.

Shame relates to our sense of self, of who we are as a person, our very identity. Some of the things we’re ashamed of are things we may have no control over. People are often ashamed of some aspect of how they look (too short, too tall, freckles, thick ankles) or of their backgrounds, for example. We are often ashamed of our perceived flaws, whether those flaws are physical, mental, emotional, or some combination thereof.

Guilt and shame are both feelings. It’s definitely possible to feel both guilty and ashamed of something we did or didn’t do—especially when our actions seem to confirm our worst fears about ourselves. Continue reading

Songs for the Road: Feeling Center

Last time, I summarized the Doing center in order to arrive at the best choice of road songs for Types 8, 1, and 9. Now I’ll tackle the Feeling Center, which is definitely not my go-to Center of Intelligence. Decades ago, when I was introduced to the MBTI, I tested as an ENTP/J (Extraverted, INtuitive, Thinking, Perceiving/Judging). The alternative to Thinking was Feeling, so no surprise I tested as a Thinking type. But Thinking/Feeling measures the decision-making function, and at the time, I was absolutely confounded that anyone could or would make decisions based on feelings. How was that even possible? (I should add that as a child, I accused my mother of being overly emotional.) After years of attempting to open up to the possibility, I sort of get it now—at least theoretically.

These comments on two aspects of emotional intelligence are excerpted from Daniel Goleman’s book “Emotional Intelligence,” but they come from psychologist Howard Gardner:

Interpersonal intelligence is the ability to understand other people: what motivates them, how they work, how to work cooperatively with them. Intrapersonal intelligence…is a correlative ability, turned inward. It is a capacity to form an accurate, veridical model of oneself and to be able to use that model to operate effectively in life.

The Feeling center—also referred to as the Heart, Emotional, or Relational center—consists of Types 2, 4, and 3. This center is concerned with emotion/feeling, relationship, sexuality, self-gratification, and empathy. Continue reading