Am I Intensive?

Intensives are innovators, leaders, risk-takers; funny, smart, pains-in-the-ass, wise; gut-driven, quick to anger, all-in or all-out. Intensives work like hell and rest like the dead, and by the time everyone else gathers their wits, the intensives are on to something new.  Everything is a triumph or a tragedy.  There is no in-between.  Intensives are the founders and the heroes–and often the villains.  Intensives drive the plot, save the world, and are always trying to squeeze in just one more thing before dinner.

So if you live on the bleeding edge and can’t quite tell if it’s pleasure or pain when you taste the blood,

If you do a month’s work in a week and then sleep it off for days,

If you’re always right most of the time,

And if you piss off a lot of people just being yourself, even when you’re keeping them from getting killed?

You’re an intensive. 

Welcome to the club.

What intensives are not is boring, run-of-the mill, or easily consistent about anything mundane.  Intensives are not good with authority figures or following rules or doing anything just because it’s always been done that way.  Sometimes we have learned to be that way to survive, to support our loved ones, or fulfill a higher call, but it chafes. It chafes until we are sore and bleeding; it chafes until we go numb.  But who we are never goes away.

We are made to rise up, to stick out, to change the rules, and to lead the way through the crisis to higher ground.

Intensives are needed.  Intensives are going to save the world, now more than ever…if we don’t trip on our own shoelaces first.  We need all the help we can get.

The rest of the world, the expansives?  They are the meat and potatoes, flesh and blood and bone of the world.  They are the world.  We’re usually operating in their universe, because they are the people we love and the people we buy groceries from.  They are the rise and fall of the breath of the earth.  They like ease and predictability and moderation.  They keep us on track, they make use of the ideas that we carelessly let fall because there are more where those came from. 

Expansives are the people for whom the word “contentment” was coined.  We’re not that good at contentment.  We wish we were, but sit us still too long and we reach for the vagaries of innovation and transformation.  We start companies from that restlessness, and we save lives.  We invent and create and innovate and begin and begin and begin, and the world tells us that we are immature and too much, that we are angry or hysterical, that we are literally really crazy or just unrealistic, which they call being out of our minds.  They think we don’t understand what we’re working with…but we usually do, we’ve just decided we don’t care that no one has done this, before or this way or at all.  We’ve decided to make it happen, and so we begin.

If we want to succeed, though, if we want to succeed at whatever impossible thing we’ve set on the table, we need skills.  Instinct will get us partway there, but strategy will get us farther. Self-knowledge will get us farther.  Knowing how to tie those shoes keeps us from tangling the laces when we start to move.  We don’t always like to admit it, but training is good for us.   

If you’re an intensive, you know you were born to be a hero. It might feel conceited. It might feel weird.  Someone probably told you that you were too big for your britches, or “acting grown”. 

But you were right.  You are supposed to be a hero.  It’s time to become one.