In the last letter, we reviewed the enigmatic type, introverted sensation, referring to it as "aesthetic" sensation. In this letter, we will review that type's complement on the extraverted side of the compass: extraverted intuition. On the Gifts Compass Inventory, we refer to it as the "catalytic" gift set, for wherever new possibilities are being realized, extraverted intuition is often found as a catalyst, initiating the change.
Extraverted Intuition: The Catalytic Gifts
Like introverted sensation, we could consider this type a "crossover" type for it is oriented in two directions simultaneously. It begins with a functional orientation to the inner life; yet it is drawn outward into the world where an intuitive grasp of possibilities discerns tangible opportunities for change.
Starting as the opposite function to sensation, this type ends, transformed by its extraverted attitude, as a compatriot of extraverted sensation. The two become quite compatible allies. "But since extraverted intuition is directed predominantly to objects, it actually comes very close to sensation . . ." (CW 6, par 611).
It is as though intuition walks through the closet door of C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia from a magical and dazzling world within, into the practical and tangible normal world on the other side.
Full of an intuitive sense of possibilities, entrepreneurs often exemplify the catalytic gifts well. They can envision a project's completion well before it is even begun. They have an intuitive grasp of where the culture is going, what people might accept or not accept, what could work or not work. Steve Jobs used to muse that he felt like hockey player Wayne Gretzky--skating to where the puck would be, not where it was.
Andrew Carnegie is another entrepreneur who no doubt engaged the catalytic gifts of extraverted intuition. Even as a young boy, he seemed perpetually attuned to emergent possibilities. He built his enormous fortune by following his intuitive sense of possibilities, but always with more practical managers who carried out the detailed work of realizing the ventures he imagined.
Entrepreneurs exemplify the catalytic gifts in action. Yet, extraverted intuition is not just limited to commerce. It finds opportunities for change and innovation in every domain of life; it sees possibilities for people, relationships, families, organizations, processes, and events. Wherever possibilities for growth or change exist, extraverted intuition is often engaged as a catalyst for seizing those possibilities.
James Graham Johnston
Orienting people to their greatest potential
and highest well-being.