“Isn’t the moon big tonight!!” says the man. “It’s as if you could almost reach up and touch it!”
After a brief pause the woman says, “Well, actually it’s no bigger than it always is. It’s not closer either. There theories why it is, but no one knows. It’s a mystery that has puzzled people for centuries.”
“Oh… right” says the man. And they say romance is dead!
Here we aim to shed some light on how different people can perceive the same thing very differently through the little understood dynamic of Carl Jung’s irrational function of sensing and intuition – which describes:
• How we perceive and make sense of our world
• How we use and process the information we take in
• Often how we go about problem solving
For some people the way they perceive the world is pretty grounded and they tend to be interested in actualities and the present. They may appear to others as very clear and practical. What they consciously take in through their senses is what is real and trustworthy.
People who have a preference for what Jung called sensing find that systems and order in work and life come naturally to them and they instinctively ask questions like “So how does that work?”, “What do you mean exactly”, “Could you give me an real example” and “How will that affect (this other) area?”
“Sensation perceives things are they are and not otherwise.” (Jolande Jacobi, 1962)
All 4 colours (read more here) can have a preference for sensing. However when combined with strong introversion (High Green and Blue together) sensing is strongest.
For others the way they perceive the world is much more about possibilities and they tend to be more interested in the future. They may appear to others as innovative as they often listen more easily to their 6th sense and trust in these subconscious ‘hunches’ and flashes of insight and inspiration.
People who have a preference for what Jung called intuition (N) find that often in work and life they dislike routine and instinctively ask, “So what?”, ” What does this mean”, “What’s next?” , and “ How will things change?”
“Intuition perceives… through its capacity for unconscious inner perception of inherent potentialities of things” (Jacobi, 1962)
All 4 colours can have a preference for intuition. However when combined with strong extroversion (High Red and Yellow together) intuition is strongest.
Another time where sensing and intuition meet and see the same thing in different ways in relationships is time keeping. If we arrange to meet at 6 o’clock then that may be interpreted in different ways.
To someone is strongly sensing 6 o’clock is when the big hand points to 12 and the little hand points to 6! To their more intuitive friend 6 o’clock is more of a concept. It means early evening and is more of a target than an exact time.
At work especially in meetings, problem solving, reviews and strategy design intuitives want to look at the big picture, find new solutions and move forward creatively and freely, while sensates see a diagnostic and step by step process as the way to go.
More positively we can list the characteristics as follows:
Sensation: Specific, practical, down to earth, persistent, keenly observant… they see the specific dimensions that get to the heart of things!
Inituition: Imaginative, insightful, inspirational, innovative, inventive (all the ins!)… they make the out of the box call or perspective that creates something new and exciting!
Our advice is to understand, value and use the strengths of the different approaches, be aware of your own and others’ preferences and do your best to meet the needs of both types at work.
If your colleagues and/or situation need more Sensation
• Talk about the present
• Put things in context
• Show people examples, let them touch and experience things wherever you can
• Show the different stages
If your colleagues and/or situation need more Intuition
• Give the big picture
• Run with ideas
• Avoid saying ‘yes, but…’
• See opportunities, not problems
In conclusion; always seek to understand and not judge. Take responsibility for your own reaction to situations and behaviour and try to affect it positively!
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