The Cognitive Functions Expressed in Famous Quotes

There is a lot of information out there about the cognitive functions, but sometimes the best way to understand them is to see them in action. I see a lot of sensors who think they are intuitives until they’re around an intuitive, or Fi users who think they’re Fe users, Te users who think they use Ti. It can all be a little confusing. So I got this bright (hopefully) idea to describe the cognitive functions using famous quotes. My hope is that these quotes will help you to not only appreciate all of the cognitive functions but to have a better idea which ones you identify with more.

Remember, you use ALL the cognitive functions, you will just relate with some more than others.

Extraverted Feeling (Fe)

The dominant function of ENFJs and ESFJs
The auxiliary function of INFJs and ISFJS
The tertiary function of ENTPs and ESTPs
The inferior function of INTPs and ISTPs

What is it? Objective feeling. The ability to sense, understand, and “feel” the emotions of others. Fe is able to understand complex outer emotions and quickly assess the mood of the environment. Fe users are courteous and concerned with maintaining harmony and positive morale.

extraverted feeling

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn the life around.”
– Leo Buscaglia

“Try to introduce courtesy into your speech to each other. You have no idea what it will do for your brother or sister to whom you speak, and you surely have no idea what it will do for you.”
– Maya Angelou

“I want to have dialogue with all…simple piety, a certain naivete….To be available straight away and to be gentle and loving.”
– Pope Francis

“I love the idea of being completely devoted to service with zero vanity.”
– Anne Hathaway

“Compassion hurts. When you feel connected to everything, you also feel responsible for everything. And you cannot turn away. Your destiny is bound with the destinies of others. You must either learn to carry the Universe or be crushed by it. You must grow strong enough to love the world, yet empty enough to sit down at the same table with its worst horrors.”
– Andrew Boyd

Introverted Feeling (Fi)

The dominant function of INFPs and ISFPs
The auxiliary function of ENFPs and ESFPs
The tertiary function of INTJs and ISTJs
The inferior function of ENTJs and ESTJs

What is it? Subjective feeling. The ability to deeply understand and sense one’s own emotions and values. Fi users have a strong moral compass and believe in being authentic and true to themselves and their beliefs. They are private about their emotions and moods, and tend to handle them more internally than externally. They believe in championing the “underdogs”.

“Conscience is a man’s compass.”
– Vincent van Gogh

“To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”
– William Shakespeare

“Although I’m only fourteen, I know quite well what I want. I know who is right and who is wrong. I have my opinions, my own ideas and principles, and although it may sound pretty mad from an adolescent, I feel more of a person than a child. I feel quite independent of anyone.”
– Anne Frank

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
– Oscar Wilde

“Stand up for the underdog, the ‘loser.’ Sometimes having the strength to show loving support for unacknowledged others turns the tides of our own lives.”
– Alexandra Katehakis

“Don’t bother trying to explain your emotions. Live everything as intensely as you can and keep whatever you felt as a gift from God. The best way to destroy the bridge between the visible and the invisible is by trying to explain your emotions.”
– Paulo Coelho

“The deepest feeling always shows itself in silence.”
– Marianne Moore

Extraverted Thinking (Te)

What is it? Objective logic. The ability to organize and understand the outer world and make logical sense of things as they happen. Extraverted Thinkers focus on remaining objective and logical in all their decisions and they like to accomplish tasks quickly and efficiently. They are good at delegating and prioritizing.

The dominant function of ENTJs and ESTJs
The auxiliary function of INTJs and ISTJs
The tertiary function of ENFPs and ESFPs
The inferior function of INFPs and ISFPs

“Ambition is never in a greater hurry than I. It merely keeps pace with my way of thinking.”
– Napoleon Bonaparte

“I’m someone who gets on with the job…says it as I see it and actually delivers on what I say.”
– Theresa May

“My own sex, I hope, will excuse me, if I treat them like rational creatures, instead of flattering their fascinating graces, and viewing them as if they were in a perpetual state of childhood, unable to stand alone.”
– Jane Austen

“Directing is really exciting. At the end of the day, it’s more fun to be the painter than the paint.”
– George Clooney

“A rational man never distorts or corrupts his own standards and judgment in order to appeal to the irrationality, stupidity, or dishonesty of others.”
– Ayn Rand

“The commander must decide how he will fight the battle before it begins. He must then decide how he will use the military effort at his disposal to force the battle to swing the way he wishes it to go; he must make the enemy dance to his tune from the beginning and not vice versa.”
– Bernard Law Montgomery

Introverted Thinking (Ti)

The dominant function of INTPs and ISTPs
The auxiliary function of ENTPs and ESTPs
The tertiary function of INFJs and ISFJs
The inferior function of ENFJs and ESFJs

What is it? Subjective logic. Introverted Thinking forms an internal, logical framework of how the world works. It is constantly being modified with new information, experiences, and data to form an ever-expanding web of knowledge where everything is related. It is less interested in altering or affecting the outer world, and more interested in understanding something deeply.

“To really understand something you’ve got to reduce it to its principles.”
– Milton Friedman

“I find that pursuing truth is more important than trying to control people.”
– Larry Page

“My style is to absorb all the data I can to make the best-informed decision possible…sometimes to the point of over-analysis.”
– Paul Allen

“The thing that doesn’t fit is the thing that’s the most interesting: the part that doesn’t go according to what you expected.”
– Richard P. Feynman

“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.”
– Albert Einstein

“Whenever a theory appears to you as the only possible one, take this as a sign that you have neither understood the theory nor the problem which it was intended to solve.”
– Karl Popper

Extraverted Intuition (Ne)

The dominant function of ENFPs and ENTPs
The auxiliary function of INFPs and INTPs
The tertiary function of ESTJs and ESFJs
The inferior function of ISTJs and ISFJs

What is it? Extraverted Intuition sees possibilities and creative solutions everywhere in the outer environment. Ne is richly imaginative, and sees how one thing could lead to another, or how one concept could lead to many complex alternatives. It thrives on contradictions, potential, and the unknown.

“Do not quench your inspiration and your imagination; do not become the slave of your model.”
– Vincent van Gogh

“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”
– Albert Einstein

“Everything’s changing, everything’s dynamic…You get this idea, and you get another idea, and this doesn’t work out and you have to replace it with something else.”
– Steve Wozniak

“Dreams pass into the reality of action. From the action stems the dream again;  and this interdependence produces the highest form of living.”
– Anais Nin

“There’s nothing I know for sure, because I know for sure that things change.”
– Ellen DeGeneres

Introverted Intuition (Ni)

The dominant function of INFJs and INTJs
The auxiliary function of ENTJs and ENFJs
The tertiary function of ISTPs and ISFPs
The inferior function of ESFPs and ESTPs

What is it? An ability to understand how the world works through internal analysis, insight, abstract thought, and symbolism. Ni users have the ability to easily spot patterns and trends that will lead to a future outcome. They value quiet contemplation where they can focus on discovering truths and possibilities for the future. Their intuitions seem to appear “out of nowhere”.

“At the moment of vision, the eyes see nothing.”
– William Golding

“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light but by making the darkness conscious.”
– Carl Jung

“I feel like I’ve dreamed half of my life that hasn’t happened yet, so a lot of times I’m going along, and I do stuff, and I know that I’ve done it. I have deja vus more than I have regular experiences. If half of your day is deja vu, then you start to wonder, ‘What is real and what isn’t?'”
– Marilyn Manson

“Words are not the truth; they indicate the way to go, but you need to go alone, in silence. Symbols have a language that kills the words.”
– Alejandro Jodorowsky

“My phone rang, and although it wasn’t a sinister time of night, and although nothing had happened that I would later see as foreshadowing, I knew, I knew.”
– Hanya Yanagihara

“A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in — what more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars.”
– Victor Hugo

Extraverted Sensing (Se)

The dominant function of ESFPs and ESTPs
The auxiliary function of ISFPs and ISTPs
The tertiary function of ENFJs and ENTJs
The inferior function of INFJs and INTJs

What is it? Experiencing and perceiving the outer world in the present moment. Being able to quickly and acutely notice and respond to life and experiences as they happen. Extraverted Sensors are skilled at taking advantage of opportunities as they arise.

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.”
– Henry David Thoreau

“Do not look back and grieve over the past, for it is gone; and do not be troubled about the future, for it has yet to come. Live in the present, and make it so beautiful that it will be worth remembering.”
– Ida Scott Taylor McKinney

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
– Theodore Roosevelt

“Always be ready; not thinking, yet not dreaming; ready for whatever may come.”
– Bruce Lee

Introverted Sensing (Si)

The dominant function of ISFJs and ISTJs
The auxiliary function of ESFJs and ESTJs
The tertiary function of INFPs and INTPs
The inferior function of ENFPs and ENTPs

What is it? A powerful memory for details and past experiences, and a desire to structure one’s life around traditions and tried-and-true techniques. Introverted Sensors are very aware of the details of their environment and believe in things they trust through personal experience.

“To neglect a detail is surely to neglect oneself; since in the hour of danger, one’s life will depend on it.”
– Xenophon

“I’m a guy that finds common-sense solutions to things as opposed to esoteric mumbo-jumbo.”
– Rand Paul

“Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
– George Santayana

“Life is not a plot; it’s in the details.”
– Jodi Picoult

“You should always be taking pictures, if not with a camera then with your mind. Memories you capture on purpose are always more vivid than the ones you pick up by accident.”
– Isaac Marion

What do you think? Are there any quotes that you feel describe YOU? Let me know in the comments!

Find out more about your personality type in our eBooks, Discovering You: Unlocking the Power of Personality Type or The INFJ – Understanding the Mystic. You can also connect with me via Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!

Like this post? Then you’ll probably enjoy these!

How You Use Introverted Thinking Based on Its Location in Your Function Stack

Are you a Ni-User or a Si-User? The Difference Between Introverted Intuition and Introverted Sensing

How You Use Extraverted Feeling Based on Its Location in Your Function Stack

How You Use Extraverted Thinking Based on Its Location in Your Function Stack

How You Use Introverted Feeling Based on Its Location in Your Function Stack

Find out what the cognitive functions REALLY are and what they say about your #personality type! #MBTI #INFJ #INTJ

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  1. Hello Susan,

    Great post 🙂 I really like your website. I’m new to the whole MBTI thing, but I find it very interesting. I’m still trying to figure out my type though. I took a test and was typed INTP, however two of my colleagues said I was way too mellow to be that type haha. I think I’ve got to do more reading before I figure out what my true type is. I’m really glad I found your website. I only read a few posts up until now and I found your writing enjoyable and clear.

    Looking forward to reading more,

  2. Fi is fascinating. As an INFJ, learning to assert more personal truth in conversations with people would make using my Fe alot more appealing.

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