Monthly Archives: May 2010

Being an INFP can make life easier not harder.

No matter what MBTI type, people want to be happy and to feel fulfilled. Fulfillment comes from meeting our Six Needs. Happiness derives from feeling we have a control over the direction of our lives. INFPs have natural qualities that make both easier.

Some of those qualities are Authenticity, Adaptability, Intuition. This post focuses on authenticity.

How Authenticity Improves Our Lives

Being authentic means being genuine with yourself and with others. Authenticity requires that a person be honest about themselves and their motivations.

How many times in our lives have we gone after a goal and realized that goal wasn’t what we wanted? It was what our parents wanted or what society expected or what we thought would make us look cool. Being more honest doesn’t mean that we would change our actions, but it would make us more aware of our values.

I love TED videos because they make me rethink my view of the world. In the video, Harvard psychologist and happiness expert Dan Gilbert explains why we make bad decisions.

I’m going to explain how I think it applies to INFPs.

Since the video is long, here are the important parts:

  1. Expected Value of Anything = (Odds of Gain) x (Value of Gain)
  2. People make poor decisions because we make errors in estimating Odds of Gain and errors in estimating Value of Gain.
  3. Using memory makes us prone to errors in Odds.
  4. Shifting comparisons make us prone to errors in Value

In the video, Dan gives specific examples about how people commonly make mistakes estimating Odds of Gain and Value of Gain.

How an INFP Values Anything

INFPs value things ideally in order to get our ideal outcome.

The basic formula of Expected Value of Anything = (Odds of Gain) x (Value of Gain) becomes:

Ideal Expected Value of Anything = (Maximum Odds of Gain) x (Maximum Value of Gain).

In other words:

Perfection = (Being Almost Positive We’ll Get What We Want) x (What We Get Is Everything We Wanted)

I’ve never been a fan of Mazlow’s hierarchy of needs because I never saw people moving from Physiological needs to Self-Actualization in any type of linear progression. We jump around. Sometimes love is more important than eating. Sometimes people forgo love completely for esteem through achievement.

Instead, I prefer Tony Robbins definition of the six basic human needs.

Certainty – This is our need to be free from constant worry. In order to achieve this we develop a certain amount of consistency like getting a job or buying a house. We don’t want to worry everyday about how we’re going to eat or where we can sleep safely.

Uncertainty – This is our need for variety. If we knew everything that was ever going to happen in our lives then our lives would be boring.

Critical Significance – This is our need to feel special. Some people make a lot of money to feel significant. Other people get a lot of tattoos. It’s different for everyone.

Love and Connection – This is our need for belonging. We don’t want to feel like we’re all alone inside our heads and our lives.

Growth – This is our need to avoid stagnation. Our lives never reach equilibrium. We are either growing or dying. If we stay at the same point in our lives for long enough, our level of happiness declines.

Contribution – This is our need to feel our lives are more than just ourselves. We don’t want to die feeling like our lives made no difference to anyone.