Monthly Archives: February 2010

Success is the achievement of a desired outcome. Whether it’s to become a bestselling author or getting the world to leave you alone, success requires actions to achieve those goals. So why do some INFPs get better outcomes then others?

All MBTI types have strengths and weaknesses. The strengths move us two steps forward. The weaknesses bring us one step back. Successful INFPs nurture strengths and mitigate weaknesses. Nurturing strengths means improving those qualities that give us the outcomes we want. Mitigating weaknesses means finding ways to compensate for those qualities that move us from our goals.

Whatever it is we want to achieve, INFPs have four qualities that bring us closer to our goals. It’s these qualities if nurtured, bring us better outcomes.

1. INFPs are self-aware.

INFPs know when something we’re doing feels wrong. I may not know if I’m doing it right, but I definitely know if I’m doing it wrong.

Our primary cognitive function Introverted Feeling (Fi) and our secondary Extroverted Intuition (Ne) give INFPs an edge to self-awareness. Introverted Feeling makes constant decisions about our internal. Extroverted Intuition helps with those internal world decisions by helping us see patterns from external stimuli.

I’m changing. Or at least, I’m trying.

Self-help guru Tony Robbins says that change happens in an instant. It’s not some long drawn out process. It happens the moment we decide. I choose to believe him.

People decide and then take action in that direction. Someone decides to stop drinking then they take action to go to AA. Someone decides to stop living paycheck-to-paycheck, they re-evaluate their spending habits. Change does happen in an instant, but results from actions taken require time to come to fruition.

Time enough

For INFPs, time becomes the problem. How long does it take us to decide anything?

We ask ourselves endless questions. Is whatever I want to change as bad as I think or am I just overreacting? What will this mean to me afterward? It could take years before we reach the point where enough is enough and we make decision. It’s those years of inaction that we regret later, wondering why it took us so long.

If things had worked out the way I wanted, I would have been Spider-Man by now. Unfortunately, radioactive spiders are to hard come by. Who knew?

Whether you’re 14 or 40, you’ve probably figured out that things don’t always go they way we want. I didn’t get the cool bike I wanted for Christmas when I was eight. I didn’t date the pretty poetess from drama class when I was sixteen. I wanted to have my first novel written by twenty-six. I wanted to be retired by now. Things didn’t work out, but this doesn’t mean I will stop wanting.

It’s good to want things. Buddhism says wanting leads to suffering. Duh. Wanting also brought the world vaccinatons and the microchip. The good can’t exist without the bad. Helen Keller said it best, “The world is full of suffering, but it is full also of the overcoming of it.”

Someone asked me on Twitter how I became so knowledgeable about INFPs. The question makes me a little uncomfortable because it infers that I have some expertise with INFPs. I don’t. I’m just very knowledgeable about me as an INFP.

I read Type Talk and Please Understand Me when I was 20 and fell in love with personality psychology. I read Myers and Briggs’ Gifts Differing. I read Please Understand Me 2. That’s the extent of my formal knowledge of the MBTI, and on top of that I disagree with the books.

I’ve always disliked the various descriptions for INFP. Some of it was true some of the time. Other parts didn’t apply at all. One sentence described me incredibly accurately and the next would be way off base. I quickly decided that the MBTI types were really MBTI stereotypes. I don’t mind stereotypes. Stereotypes are generalizations and generalizations can be useful, but they have no nuances. They don’t take explain the gradations and the exceptions. The INFPs throughout my life are all very different even though we share certain common behaviors.

That’s got me to thinking over the last 20 years of why INFPs are so different. Why are some Christians and others are Wiccans? Why are some more successful in their careers than others? I wrote this blog to share those thoughts about INFPs.

I have a System. It works for me. It’s still an idea in progress, but for an INFP what isn’t?

I will try to explain it briefly because I see all things through this System view.

  1. The System exists. It is made up of relationships between people and things and ideas.
  2. The System is made up of smaller systems like government and game shows.
  3. The smaller systems are made up of Games.
  4. Games have Rules. You play the Games with the Rules to get the Reward (happiness, a job, physical objects, self-improvement goals, or just wanting to be left alone are all Rewards).
  5. If you don’t want the Rewards, don’t play the Games. If you don’t want to play the Games, don’t whine that you’re not getting the Reward.
  6. You don’t have to play by all the Rules, but you have to learn the Rules in order to break the Rules. Breaking the Rules is necessary to maintain your individualism.
  7. Rewards are not specific to a particular Game. You can choose another Game to get your Reward if you don’t like the one your currently playing.
  8. Not all Rewards and not all Games are available to everyone. Sorry, but life isn’t fair. Deal with it.

If you haven’t read Part 1, you missed the other types of Tweeters.

The Reciprocal Tweeter

Tweet: @ToWhomEver I thought your new blog post was great. Here’s a link to mine.

To be fair, it’s sucks to give without getting. But that’s not how Twitter works. That’s not how relationships work. Nowhere does it say if I like you, you have to automatically like me back. Reciprocal Tweeters thinks a Rule of Reciprocation should exists. If they follow you, you should follow them. If you don’t reply when they reply, if you don’t retweet if they retweet, if you don’t comment when they comment, they’ll consider it a slight. Enough slights added up and they unfollow you.

Reciprocal Tweeters are the it’s-not-me-it’s-you people in relationships. They can’t understand how they end up dating so many jerks. What they don’t realize is that the quid pro quo approach to relationships ends up creating heavy expectations. When those expections go unmet, then it’s never them being wrong for having expectations of another person’s behavior, it’s the other person not changing into someone more suitable.

Jerks have always been jerks. It’s not their fault that they’re a jerk to you because they’re a jerk to everyone. Who’s fault is it really to decide to try to have a relationships with one in the first place?