Monthly Archives: March 2010

On April 1st, this blog will be a year old. Yes, I chose that date on purpose.

So how do I feel I did? Okay, I guess.

That’s not a great answer. Unfortunately, this year that’s the best answer I have because I didn’t set clear goals when I started this blog. When I set clear goals for success, happiness is simple.

With clear, measurable goals, I get one of two results. Either I complete my goals and after having a success, I get a self-esteem boost which makes me happy. Or I don’t complete my goals and after having a failure event, I am unhappy. Those two states are productive states for me because I celebrate when I’m happy and I make new plans when I’m unhappy. I don’t mope when an action doesn’t get my desired results because I start thinking about all the possible new actions I should take next.

For this blog, I avoided measurable goals. I have a bad tendency not set goals when I’m in a low period because I don’t want to risk failing. It’s a vicious cycle. I start a new project to boost my self-esteem and to get myself out of my down cycle, but then I avoid setting goals. I feel great for a few weeks or months because the project is something new and exciting. However as my project continues, I feel less and less motivated because I haven’t set goals so I don’t know if I’m doing good or bad. Eventually, I’m just doing something new that’s become old and I forget why I bothered in the first place which puts me back in my down cycle.

I’m special. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator told me so. As an INFP, I’m 1-5% of the total population. On the days I want to be more special, I quote the 1% number from Keirsey’s Please Understand Me instead of the 5% number from Luckily, I don’t believe everything I read.

Being 1-5% just makes me different not special. I haven’t done anything particularly special. As an INFP, I’m aware of our need to feel special in a world that just recognizes us as different. However, instead of doing things that make me feel special, I waste time telling people I’m special in various subtle ways like quoting Myers-Briggs stats. It’s like being the guy who tells you he’s going to be famous and then has to move back in with parents because he couldn’t find a job that wasn’t beneath his sense of specialness.

People admire Olympic athletes and entrepreneurs for a reason. People don’t admire the natural inborn talent. We’ve all heard stories about the valedictorian that ends up working at a bookstore or the kooky genius that never made it out of his parent’s house. We admire Olympic athletes and entrepreneurs because they’ve proved it. They dedicated years to athletic training or risked everything to invest in their company. These people become recognized as special because they’ve done something special.

As INFPs, we live in an internal dream world of our ideals where everything exists the way we think it should be. When reality forces us to wake up, it feels a little like dying.

Elizabeth K├╝bler-Ross in her book On Death and Dying, wrote that people experience five stages of grief when they are confronted with significant loss like receiving news of terminal illness. As the real world begins crowding into the INFPs idealized world, INFPs realize that we have to let go of the our idealize version of the world. In doing so, we move back and forth through the stages until we wake up.

Stage 1: Denial

“If I can’t make a living doing what I love then I’d rather be dead.”

The denial stage manifests as avoidance of facts. Denial is wanting the Reward without knowing the Rules. Denial is wishful dreaming while refusing to look at how those dreams manifest.

INFPs in denial believe that writing their first book will somehow automagically translate to being able to eat and pay rent as a writer through some series of serendipity. INFPs in denial believe that if the right person was in their life then everything will work out.

INFPs in denial know their desired Reward such as “I want to write books for a living” but can’t answer questions about the Rules such as “do you know how much an average Times bestselling author makes?” They don’t want to know the answer because the answer brings them closer to waking up.

I waited a year before taking the time to design my blog. The first iteration took me 15 minutes to throw together from a template I found. This version, I spent roughly 60 hours designing and coding over the last 2 weeks. Even before I started design, my two questions were “so what?” followed by “who cares?”.

Amanda Linehan, an INFP who writes a self awareness blog, Look Far, wrote about asking the right questions. For me, “So what?” and “Who cares?” are my most important questions. They give me perspective. They moderate my need for validation. “So what” reminds me that even though I think I’m unique and special, the universe is under no obligation to acknowledge this in anyway.

INFP Blog is my third blog. The first two failed. I forgot that the fundamental objective of any blog is building a relationship with your reader. Anyone who says that they write blogs for themselves needs reminding that if a person wants to write something no one reads, it’s easier to keep a diary under the bed. Pen and paper have smaller learning curves than WordPress or Blogspot.