Welcome to 2019, people. Here’s to your best year ever. Here’s to our best year ever. Here’s to New Years Resolutions, Words of the Year, Gym Memberships, Meal Preparation Subscriptions, and Diet Plans. I’m cheering us all on. May we become the people God wants us to be in 2019!!!
2019 is exactly 12 hours old at the time of this writing, and already I am getting messages from friends asking the same basic question: What are your goals for 2019? My friends are responding. My text message groups are already out of control with GIFs and inside jokes. However, there is a fair amount of serious talk being had. Most of us are setting goals for 2019. And, most of us are introducing our goals with one of two distinct phrases: I think… or I feel…
Have you ever stopped to notice how often you use these phrases to introduce an idea or to make a decision? Perhaps you and your friend groups are messaging the same way right now in your group chat.
I think I am going to buy the Toyota. I just feel that red will look better than blue in this room. I think I am finally ready to date this person. I feel like this career path will be best for me. Think and Feel. The two basic methods of human decision making.
The Two Types Of Humans
For years I have understood human nature as operating in a sort of binary way, flowing from two dominant processing methods — thinking and feeling — which, when harnessed and interrelated into one’s life, puts you into two distinct camps of humans — thinkers and feelers. On the one hand, there are the thinkers, of which I am a due-paying member. We love to think. We love to process. We love to ponder, to walk pensively through the hallways, mind adrift but locked into whatever curiosity is currently hitting our fancy. We like a good book or article or long form essay.
But, unlike the other group, we actually read books all the way through. Then, we immediately post an in-depth Amazon review. This is before we read through other reviews and begin to check the reddit community for discussion groups about said book. Those of us who are more academically inclined (read “glutton for punishment”) sign up for grad school to read additional books and enter into additional debates and write formal reviews that appear in stuffy books or online journals (Hello, JSTOR). We love ideas. We love analysis. We love to think.
On the other hand, there are the feelers, to which a good number of my friends pay monthly subscriptions (You know who you are, Enneagram 4s). Feelers love love. They love melancholy and frustration. In fact, they love all of the emotions. Every time psychologists discover a new emotional sub-category, feelers dive in to re-examine all of life’s experiences in order to determine if they have felt this particular sub-feeling before. They consume art and culture as a way to experience new feelings for the first time and to feel old feelings afresh.
Now with all this feeling talk, thinkers may wrongly assume that feelers are prisoners to their emotions — they are not. In fact, feelers are masters over emotions, and they have learned to utilize their emotions as a dominant lens by which they process through decision making in life. This group feels things deeply on purpose. They are a kind-of genius at understanding the complexity of human emotion. Some emotional implication of a decision that would take thinkers years of counseling and the advantage of hindsight to comprehend, feelers knows intuitively and in real time. That is their gift to the world.
But What If There Is Another Way?
For 37 years I have more or less operated as if there were only two ways of operating as a human being. But in the past few months I have observed the possibility of a third way of operating in life. This third way adds an additional factor into the binary options and then invites me to begin integrating the three factors into a radically different way to live.
In Part 2 of this post topic, I will begin to discuss this third way. And for the foreseeable part of 2019 I will be devoting my writing to the exploration of what this third way looks like in both practical and philosophical ways. If you would like to join me, keep reading this blog. You can subscribe for your convenience in the right sidebar. Or you can follow me on social media at @doughankins where I will likely post my weekly updates.
Here’s to the best year of our lives. 2019.