The Flow Code 101: How The 16 Personalities Enter A Flow State
Erik Thor & The Flow Code
This is my system and how I connect the study of the 16 personalities and the cognitive functions to flow, stress and motivation.
The System In Brief
There are flow states, stress states, autopilot states and growth states. There are assertive and turbulent subtypes, and positive, playful subtypes, and serious, industrious subtypes. There are 8 core personality traits and 8 core cognitive functions.
The Flow State
- Flow States
You enter into a flow state when you engage in your dominant personality traits or dominant cognitive function. Your personality type is what you do when you are motivated, secure, energized, passionate, and confident. People who experience more Flow are called Assertive Types.
- Stress states
You experience stress when you engage in tasks and activities opposite to your personality type, for example tasks related to your inferior function. These tasks are draining, negatively motivating, stressful, and outside your comfort zone and skill level. People who do this more often are called Turbulent Types.
You experience autopilot when you do things that cause you to lose energy and motivation, yet things that are comfortable and easy for you, within your skill level and ability. People in a state of autopilot experience low consciousness and are generally unaware of their own actions and behavior. People who are more in a state of autopilot can be described as Industrious or Serious types, as they tend to have less humor, and less joy. The tertiary function tends to put you in a loop like the autopilot.
- Growth states
You experience growth when you do things that are outside your competence or comfort zone, yet activities that feel intrinsically valuable and meaningful, and things that energise and capture your attention. People who do this more often are Positive or Humor types. They tend to seek challenges and growth, and are more open to taking risks. The auxiliary function tends to put you in a state of growth.
- Introversion and extroversion flow states
Introversion or extroversion represents your comfort zone. Introverts prefer to do things slowly and carefully, in a methodical and focused manner. Extroverts prefer to do things in a swift and effective manner. Extroversion is bottom-up, meaning it is triggered by external information and action in the outer world. Introversion is top-down, meaning it is triggered by personal intention or knowledge, in the inner world.
- Introversion and extroversion stress states
Introverts are made uncomfortable by having to go out into the real world and to engage other people. They do not like to be rushed or to do things in a swift manner. Extroverts on the other hand, are made uncomfortable by being tasked to go inside and to engage their own thoughts, and to not be able to discuss things with other people. They also respond badly to being slowed down or told to do things more carefully.
- Intuitive and Sensory flow states
Intuitives enter into a state of flow when they engage in:
1 Novel or unusual tasks
2 Pattern recognition or speculation
3 Formulating a theory or hypothesis
4 Experimentation and testing
Sensory types enter into a state of flow when they engage in:
1 Experience and familiar tasks
2 Tasks that require attention to detail
3 Gaining proof or evidence
4 Defining and demonstrating
- Intuitive and Sensory stress
Intuitives are stressed if they are required to demonstrate or provide examples to their theories or ideas. They become less attentive and engaged the more familiar or repetitive a task becomes. They feel less interested if they are forced to provide proof or evidence to their conclusions, and if they are asked to explain their thought process in detail. Intuitives will describe most of these activities as draining.
Sensory types are stressed by being asked to speculate on what-ifs or to imagine different possible options or outcomes. They are also stressed by being asked to engage in novel or unfamiliar tasks outside their knowledge or experience. They also feel it is draining to come up with a theory or hypothesis about a situation, and dislike experimentation and testing.
- Feeling and Thinking flow states
Feeling types enter into a state of flow when they engage in:
- Studying characters
- Looking at context
- Investigating intention and nuance
Thinking types enter into a state of flow when they engage in:
- Mechanical tasks
- Studying logic and reasoning
- Looking at results and consequences
- Making cost-benefit analytics
- Feeling and Thinking Stress
Feeling types are generally stressed by being asked to define the time, cost, and necessary effort or tasks to complete a goal. They also dislike defining or making their goals concrete or tangible. They dislike having to explain the results or consequences of a certain action, or defining step by step how to do a certain task.
Thinking types are generally stressed by being asked to clarify their own intentions or meanings to certain activities. They dislike being forced to act or play a certain role or character in a situation, they dislike having to explain their motivations or the context or situation behind their behavior, and having to explain their own behavior or personality to other people.
- Judging and Perceiving Flow States
Judging types tend to enter into a flow state the longer they are able to work on a task without interruption or distraction, and when there is a clearly defined process or rules or steps to follow. Perceiving types enter into a flow state when they are able to switch between different tasks and manage a varied and diverse set of goals and possibilities.
- Judging and Perceiving Stress states
Perceiving types dislike being told what to do or being micromanaged. They dislike having a too narrow set of constraints or rules to follow, and prefer to keep an open and adaptable environment. Having to focus one one thing at a time and not being able to switch tasks will cause them to feel more stressed and tense.
Judging types on the other hand, dislike having a too open or undefined process. They dislike when there are too many options or possibilities. They dislike when there is a lack of structure or order to follow, and they dislike being interrupted or distracted.
Cognitive Flow States
- The dominant function
The dominant function is your core flow function. It is your engine that propels you forward. You use this function when you feel confident, energized, motivated, and comfortable.
- The auxiliary function
The auxiliary is your growth function. You use this when you challenge and motivate yourself to push through in a difficult but valuable course of action. This function requires a positive, humorous mindset to navigate mistakes, challenge and risk.
- The tertiary function
You use the tertiary function when you are in a state of autopilot, doing an activity that does not motivate or energize you. This function requires a task to be easy, comfortable, and within your skill or competence. People that use this function more are more serious and industrious, and tend to be more perfectionistic.
- The inferior function
You use the inferior function when you are stressed or focused on external motivation. People who use the inferior function more are called Turbulent types and score higher on Neuroticism. These types tend to be more focused on their persona, identity, status, or on outer rewards, such as money, bills, status and recognition.
- The inspirational function
The 5th function represents something that gives you energy and inspiration from the outer world. It can be the mystery of the unknown for an ENFP, or the sanctity of the inner self and one’s own purpose for an ESFJ. The stronger your dominant function, the more inspiration you need in order to stay energized and on track. Otherwise, you are going to burn out. This function is a vital component alongside the auxiliary in inspiration and growth.
- The ideal function
The 6th function represents your sense of goodness and self-worth, your belief that you are a good person, and that you deserve happiness and rewards. You need to constantly nurture and take care of and treat yourself with kindness in order to feel good and in order to stay motivated, and this function teaches you to do that. This function is the secret ingredient of any flow state, and without it, your flow will eventually sizzle out.
- The boundaries function
The 7th function represents your ability to set boundaries and to speak out for yourself and stand up for yourself. It represents your ability to think of consequences and to determine rules and boundaries for yourself and other people. Using this function can trigger stress, similarly to the inferior function.
- The control function
This function represents your capacity for self-control and to monitor your own actions and behaviour. It can represent shoulds and musts and actions you tell yourself are necessary to take even if they are boring or draining. Therefore, it can drive you into a state of autopilot, similarly to the tertiary function.