Energy: Intuitive vs. Observant

The second scale in our model is called Energy and it connects Intuitive and Observant styles. In our opinion, this dichotomy is the most important – while the other four scales determine how you interact with the world (Mind), make decisions (Nature), schedule your activities (Tactics), or react to external feedback (Identity), the chasm between Intuitive and Observant individuals is far more significant as it actually determines how you see the world and what kind of information you focus on. It may seem like your decisions are the most important, but a decision is only as good as the understanding that backs it up.

With this in mind, all personality types can be divided into groups of those who favor the Intuitive (N) energy style (visionary, more interested in ideas, focusing on novelty) and those of the Observant (S) energy style (more interested in facts and observable things, focusing on the tried and tested).

Individuals with the Intuitive trait prefer to rely on their imagination, ideas and possibilities. They dream, fantasize and question why things happen the way they do, always feeling slightly detached from the actual, concrete world. One could even say that these individuals never actually feel as if they truly belong to this world. They may observe other people and events, but their mind remains directed both inwards and somewhere beyond – always questioning, wondering and making connections. When all is said and done, Intuitive types believe in novelty, in the open mind, and in never-ending improvement.

One of the best examples of such thinking that we can give is the results of a study of ours where we asked people whether they wish to have been born in the Age of Discovery. It quickly became clear that the Intuitive types would be much more willing to give up the convenience, comfort and predictability of the modern age in return for excitement brought by exploration, distant civilizations, and undiscovered mysteries of the New World.

In contrast, individuals with the Observant trait focus on the actual world and things happening around them. They enjoy seeing, touching, feeling and experiencing – and leave theories and possibilities to others. They want to keep their feet on the ground and focus on the present, instead of wondering why or when something might happen. Consequently, people with this trait tend to be better at dealing with facts, tools and concrete objects as opposed to brainstorming about possibilities or future events, handling abstract theories, or exploring fantasy scenarios. Observant types are also significantly better at focusing on just one thing at a time instead of bursting with energy and juggling multiple activities.

These traits determine communication style as well – Intuitive individuals talk about ideas and have no difficulties with allusions or reading between the lines, while Observant types focus on clarity, facts and practical matters. This is why Intuitive types are likely to find it quite challenging to understand someone with the Observant trait, and vice versa. The former may even think that the latter is materialistic, unimaginative and simplistic, and the latter may see their Intuitive conversation partner as impractical, naïve and absent-minded. Both sets of assumptions can be quite damaging and it takes a mature person to get past them – but statements like these are fairly common.

Finally, it is important to point out that this scale has nothing to do with how we absorb information – Intuitive and Observant types use their five senses equally well – rather, it shows whether we prefer to focus most of our energy on looking for novel, intuitive connections or on observing and utilizing what we already see around us. If you are familiar with the Big Five personality traits, we built this scale on a reworked form of the Openness to experience concept, mostly focusing on preference for (and tolerance of) novelty and ambiguity.

Also, as discussed in our main theoretical article, there are other theories sharing these type acronyms, many of which are based on concepts defined by Carl Jung in the beginning of the 20th century. This scale is one of the most important differences between them and our model. Even though the Jungian concepts of sensation and intuition are likely to have some correlation with our Energy scale, these approaches are fundamentally different and may not be compared directly.

6 days ago
I'm an ExTP-A, I consider myself so even if I am 63% Observant because I recognize myself quite much in the Entrepreneur (ESTP) type but also in the Debatter (ENTP) type. I'm hands on, like to learn as I go, but I have no trouble understanding abstract concepts. I hate speaking about possibilities or future and just live in the moment, but on the other hand, I consider myself being far from unimaginative ; my mind is full of ideas when I meet the new and the unexpected. That is true I am an absent-minded, sometimes even naive Intuitive dreamer, but if I forget or misplace things, it isn't because I'm lost in thought but just because I live here and now like a down to earth Observant type, no time to think about future. I don't see progress as being bad and I am really curious, always trying to know the reason why... but I also think that we do not always need progress and that world was made without any structure or purpose. Simply, there isn't always a reason why... Then, I prefer communicating clearly and directly for others to understand what I want to say with ease, but I don't have so much difficulties reading between the lines, and my conversations sometimes suddenly become abstract. Now, the biggest factor : I do live here and now, but if a situation isn't intrusting to me, if the concrete world isn't worth my attention, -here comes my Intuive (N) side, even my Introverted (I) side- I escape in thoughts, daydream. So here is my conclusion : these 63% Observant describe me well, since it isn't an especially high or low rate ; and my 37% Intuitive aren't a false value either. I think I just know how to take advantage of my Intuitive side when it's needed. Now if you had the courage to read this comment till the end, I can only thank you. If you have anything to say, a remark to express, just do so, it could help me. Sorry if I made mistakes in my writing, I'm a frenchy ;)
Deborah
3 days ago
I agree to what you had said, as I myself am not highly observant, nor intuitive. Only a particular reason that made me observant is that I uphold traditional values over new changes. Other than that, I'm in the same thought pattern as you are.
3 days ago
There are a few articles on the website that address this. The framework is in favor of the idea that everyone is one particular personality type, but that we can each learn to adapt and leverage aspects of other traits in certain situations as needed. It doesn't mean we are multiple personality types as we each have one dominant type. It's just we've learned to manage sometimes if we need to. /articles/unsure-about-your-personality-type /articles/is-it-possible-to-change-your-personality-type /articles/strength-of-individual-traits /articles/on-the-topic-of-ambiversion
Moe
1 month ago
87% intuitive. (Campaigner). That's how I knew you (pl) were going to say that. ;-)
3 months ago
I am right on the cusp of these two traits (49/51, or 51/49), which probably makes sense, as I'm rather creative and like thinking on how things could potentially happen, but I am nevertheless too practical for my own good. Hmm...
Jon
8 months ago
An interesting dichotomy. Being right on the cusp (55/45) I now have a better understanding of my general approach - that works but how can we make it better?
9 months ago
I do have a really good imagination but when it comes to expressing my ideas, I tend to go with something that has already been proved as reliable.
9 months ago
I feel the same way and btw my N/S results are between 40/60 and 60/40. I can't figure out which energy takes my dominant position. :|
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