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Cognitive Function Development | Master Your Cognitive Functions

I'm sure you thought that you could just ignore cognitive function development. I don't need to become developed, […]
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I'm sure you thought that you could just ignore cognitive function development. I don't need to become developed, Erik. I've got my dominant function. It's awesome. All I need is my dominant function, all other functions suck. If everyone just used my dominant function, the world would be a much better place!

But no, you're wrong. I'm sorry. While your dominant function is great - and a superpower, to be sure, it's not enough to make it in life and to become a happy and well rounded individual.

You need every cognitive function to become a healthy functional individual. Developing all cognitive functions is going to take a long time. With every cognitive function you can master, you will feel more complete, happy, and fulfilled. But how are you going to develop your cognitive functions without even understanding what they are? Check out my article on the cognitive functions here to get started exploring your mind.

Read it? Good. Now let's talk about cognitive function development.

At the end of this article, I'm going to show you a table that explains every cognitive function and it's role in your mind.

How To Develop Your Cognitive Functions

Internalised (Part of ones first self)

We have a first self and a second self and the first self is the first things you build a relationship with in life, or your top four cognitive functions to be more clear. The other four have a more unconscious influence and are often projected as coming from the outside world. They are something that happens to you, not something that you actively engage in.

Convergent (Intrinsically valued - but protective of)

We have cognitive functions that we actively seek - and fear losing. The first and second function are examples of such functions.

1: Performative

Often symbolised by a hero, it represents our best version of ourselves, and also our most archaic and primitive version of ourselves. Very important function when you are in a state of flow and naturally expressing yourself to the world.

2: Aspirational

The second convergent function. It represents an ideal world or image for ourselves, what we strive to become, and what we regard as important and seek, but feel that we never fully can possess.

Divergent (Valued as a tool - avoided as a potential punishment)

The third and fourth function are divergent, that means we pursue them as means to an end. We do not value them, and will discard them whenever we have the chance.

3: Iterational

Represented by a student, something we try to learn and develop. Often represented by an image of what we don't want to be, for example, we don't want to fail or make mistakes. Often defined in negative terms of things to avoid.

4: Conservational

A protective force to the first self. Represents defensive mechanisms and things we do in order to guard and maintain our identity and health. Very important but often neglected function, especially at an early age. Developing this function is associated with developing your ego and identity and becoming a complete person.

Externalised (2nd self)

When we start working on our second functions, we develop a second self. These functions are associated with rebirth and often drive huge transformation in your life. You can look like a completely different person once you are able to unlock and integrate these functions in your life.

Convergent

The fifth and sixth functions are once again, convergent functions.

5: Inspirational

With this function, comes the power to be creative and vulnerable. It meansa being able to reveal yourself to the world without force or without trying to protect yourself. I mentioned that the 2nd self functions drive a huge transformation in your life. It's not that you have become a different person, only that you have changed the rules for how you participate and engage with the world. You are no longer an individual trying to express your identity to the world, as much as you are a person a part of a world. This function marks the beginning of overcoming ego.

6: Supporting

This is a super important function and represents a sidekick or a supportive character in our life. When we can integrate this function, we gain the ability not just to be a person in the world but to be a person a part of a world. You learn to manipulate the rules of life and to use them to support yourself and your emotional health and well being.

Divergent

7: Judgement

The seventh function represents your ability to have a healthy judgement and an ability to perceive the world accurately. Up until this point, you have often been clouded by a bias and an inability to see or be aware of things. This function is sometimes called a blindspot, until we develop it. We tend to actively deny it exists or is important, or pretend not to see it. Unlocking this function is often a big aha experience and revelation. You finally acknowledge the existence of dark and evil and understand its purpose. This brings the ability to not just act as a force in the world but also a judge of it.

8: Wisdom

Finally, the eight function represents self-awareness. It can be hard to see yourself clearly and people often struggle to form a healthy view on themselves. Who are you and how do you influence the world? Can you be honest about both your strengths and weaknesses and can you see yourself in a full sense? The eight function teaches us to look at ourselves and not just what we want but also how we go about doing things. Many fear their own true nature and think they carry a darkness or something wrong or twisted about themselves, but when you develop this function, you embrace your humanity and you see yourself both for your strengths and weaknesses.

Take my spiral dynamics and see which level you are at!

The Cognitive Functions Summarized

PositionArchetypeMotiveFunction
1HeroPerformativeSelf-expression
2IdealAspirationalSelf-affirmation
3StudentConventionalSelf-improvement
4ProtectorConservationalSelf-protection
5MuseChangingSelf-transformation
6SidekickHelpingSelf-reliance
7MentorJudgementSelf-control
8MagicianWisdomSelf-awareness

Also see how I apply this model to understand INFPs in my last video!

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