What I learned as an INFP tonight at a seminar
I just got back from a wealth lecture about 2 hours ago. I love going to events from this particular company because I went to their almost-free three day seminar two years ago and I thought it was amazing and life changing. And no, I’m not mentioning the name of the company because that’s not the point of this blog entry.
A few years ago, my wife and I attended their 3-day financial seminar. Tonight’s lecture reminded me of the that seminar which sticks in my mind to this day. As an INFP, it was one of the harder things I’ve had to do.
I’m in my late 30s and I probably wouldn’t have gone in my 20s when I thought I knew everything. INFPs like to find their own way because it’s about the journey and that so opposite of what this seminar was. Seminars are about someone teaching you their particular way of doing things. I’ve always been a bit rebellious about being told how to live my life.
In trying to find my way to certain goals, I often re-invented the wheel. That was fine in my 20s when it seemed like I had all the time in the world, but now I feel that sometimes, it is about the destination. I’d rather be financially free then just be in the process of becoming financially free.
Another issue I had with the 3-day seminar was the active audience participation which included speaker-audience response, group recitations of key points and activities which can feel pretty silly. Going to a seminar, there is a certain amount of groupthink and brainwashing that occurs. The INFP in me defines my identity by my individuality, by not being like everyone else. However, the only way to really get the most out of that seminar was to be like everyone else and to immerse myself into someone else’s way of thinking.
Lastly, many of the activities from that 3-day seminar required that you reveal personal details about your history and your feelings to complete strangers. That was very uncomfortable and so against INFP type for me.
So why did I subject myself to this? Because it changed the behaviors I wanted changed and I’m a better person because of it.
I think that was my biggest hangup as an INFP in my 20s. I was adamant about who I was and what I liked and what I didn’t like and what I felt comfortable doing and what I thought wasn’t me. All those restrictions of this-is-me and this-isn’t-me as I got older became a very small box to try to fit myself in.
Going to that seminar two years ago wasn’t unusual. I’m open to learning new things. However, fully participating in spite of feeling silly or ridiculous wasn’t something I would have done in my 20s. I realized that the things that I’ve always done wasn’t getting me to where I wanted to go. I couldn’t keep doing the same things, taking the same actions and expecting to get a different result.
I like going to these types of success/self-help seminars because I always learn something new that I haven’t read or heard before. At the lecture I went to tonight, this is what stuck in my mind:
I’m not as successful as I like because I don’t have to be. I have other options. I have the option of living my comfortable middle class life with the yearly vacations without any extra effort.
That gave me a lot to think about. So for the next few days, I’ll be re-evaluating my commitment to my goals.
I took a break last Wednesday to figure out the direction of this blog and where I wanted it to go. As an INFP, I don’t quite know if I’m doing things right, but I certainly know when I’m doing it wrong. That was how I felt about my blog entries.
My previous blog entries are just my very opinionated opinions and sometimes even I don’t really care about my opinions so why should I expect someone else to care. The purpose of this blog was to give someone a better understanding of what it means to be an INFP. My opinions aren’t what makes me an INFP. It’s what I do and what I don’t that defines me, that defines what kind of INFP I am. That is what I’ll try to share.
May 17, 2009
I’m an INFP with a degree in accounting and marketing. Love to read everything regarding wealth, finance, applied finance, property economics, valuation. I think its very unusual for me to be so money focussed as an INFP. But I was in my own creative business for 13 years. Now I’m 40 and looking for more fulfilment – maybe writing etc. Lately I’ve been working as a Project Scheduler/Co-Ordinator. Love the “being on the go” and doing my own thing (sort of). THe job ties in with my INFP values, pays the bills. Later I’ll put my finance and property knowledge to use (& some creativity) and do somthing in property. Point is – maybe its the way you look at it. I think INFPS are great at money (I know I am the best, non INFPS tell me so) and INFPS can develop this skill. Isnt strategic thinking a NF skill? (Keirsey). SO apply it to money, careers etc. Thats my thought
February 21st, 2011 at 12:37 am
I agree. I’m an INFP with a degree in finance/accounting. I think INFPs restrict themselves a lot. We think we are different from others, and as a result engage in destructive behaviors.
But, I think the NP combination is one of the drivers of innovation in this world. NP sees things other people can’t.
I like to think of things like math and discipline (STJ things) as fundamental skills that you need to engage in the world. These are things that are easily learned. It’s intuition, creativity, and self-awareness that are difficult to learn, if you aren’t naturally inclined. STJ things are important to know, so that my NP abilities can be used. You can’t think big picture if you don’t understand the little pieces.
More INFPs should major in finance. It would make the world a better place.
February 21st, 2011 at 2:49 am
Personal finance is a necessary skill for excelling in a first world country. However, it requires that you care about money in order to learn that skill. I find that many INFPs think money is unimportant until their 30’s. In our 20’s, viewing money as important seems crass and materialistic and something we should be above. Unfortunately that attitude moves us away from learning financial skills.
February 27th, 2011 at 9:28 pm
This is very interesting. I am an INFP that majored in finance so that I could understand how money works and to help people. I found myself however in a strict business insurance environment and now trying to find what’s best for. me. Thank you for sharing that more INFP’s should work in finance. I feel as though I made the wrong choice and thus not working in my strengths and true to my personality type…
May 6th, 2013 at 11:11 pm
I totally agree with Lulu. You put it perfectly. I think that, in fact, INFPs can be good at any number of things if they can discern a clear purpose in that activity that furthers their values and sense of idealism. Increasingly, there’s so much openness in the business world to idealist-type principles, like corporate social responsibility, economic development through microlending to low-income women, and renewable energy projects. Business, finance, and engineering are concrete fields that tend to draw Sensing and Thinking types; but I think there’s also the opportunity for INFPs to find a niche, perhaps not as the number crunchers, but as those who can see the big picture and explain these technical things in a way that everyone can understand and get on board with. This is an INFP gift.
Lulu also mentioned discipline, which I think is very important for INFPs. I don’t know that INFPs don’t have the aptitude for things like finance so much as INFPs may lack the requisite self-discipline to persevere at tasks that may not immediately capture the imagination. But personal growth is experienced in finding that bigger picture and seeing how mastering this little thing will further the big thing you think is really important.
May 5, 2010
I realize I’ll be talking about my girlfriend again, but from what you wrote here, I have/want to do it again.
“I think that was my biggest hangup as an INFP in my 20s. I was adamant about who I was and what I liked and what I didn’t like and what I felt comfortable doing and what I thought wasn’t me. All those restrictions of this-is-me and this-isn’t-me as I got older became a very small box to try to fit myself in.”
I…see this a lot whenever she writes things. It always puzzled me, because I would see her do something directive or more extroverted and do so well, and then she’d write about how when she does so, she doesn’t feel like herself. I usually ended up wondering why. I’ve got a better understanding of why now, I think, though I feel that she still thinks of it in terms of placing herself in a limiting box rather than truly making the changes she wants for herself.
May 5th, 2010 at 6:06 pm
For me, in my early 20’s, it was definitely a self-esteem issue. I based my entire identity on who I was and not on what I did. The way I thought, they way I saw the world was the thing that made me uniquely me and that uniqueness gave me identity and esteem. I felt right holding so tightly to my beliefs about myself. The problem was that as I got older, those beliefs didn’t manifest externally into the things I wanted like love or happiness. I don’t think it was until my late 20’s that I let go of needing to being right in order to be effective getting those things I wanted like love and happiness and peace of mind.
May 6th, 2013 at 11:21 pm
Gosh, this is such an important point for growth into greater maturity. What is important becomes less about “What do I like? What do I feel?” and more about “What is needful? How can I serve the world around me with what I have? What will produce a good end?” Perhaps INFPs tend to use their convictions about the world around them to define their boundaries, whether or not those convictions are actually producing good fruit in their lives. Also I don’t know if this is just an INFP thing, I think it can also be a general maturity thing.
Jul 27, 2010
I’m an INFP in my early 20’s, 23 to be exact. I find that, while I enjoy finding my own way, part of my process is looking to people who know more so that I can learn from them. My own way simply translates to “not my parent’s way”. Even if I come to a conclusion that my own parents could have taught me, I still can’t hear it from them. It’s sad, and I understand it’s a problem because who wants me to succeed more than my parents? However, this is one of those things that I just have to work to change. As for “re-inventing the wheel”, I may do this on occassion to make something my own, but for the most part I look online or ask questions of people who have gone before me so that I can get it right, right away! What I find most often though, is that even though I tried to be SO thorough and do things EXACTLY the right way, I still mess up.
I thought my career goals were right on the money in college, after graduating from high school valedictorian, I got most of my college paid for and decided on a major right away. I thought the most expensive college would give me the most impressive degree. Now I’m in debt and I decided not to go into the field of my degree. I should have listened when I was told it doesn’t matter where your degree comes from, and it’s ok to switch majors. I was good at school, it defined me, and now look where I am. I really DO reach for advice and knowledge from other people than myself, but I think my problem comes from picking and choosing that advice which fits with the ideas I already held, and discarding the rest. That is where I’m experiencing my trouble. Do you find you do that? Even in these wealth seminars, do you see yourself consciously or unconsciously picking and choosing the ideas that already fit comfortably in your world or are you able to see where you are wrong on an idea and change your mind? I think the real work, at least for me, is being conscious that I tend towards the former!
Aug 28, 2010
this really got me…i found an opportunity where i’m supposed to attend financial seminars on how to gain financial freedom…the reward if you continue with the seminars is really enticing…i mean who doesn’t want financial freedom?..normally people would find ways to achieve this…but as an infp as i am…yes, i do hate it when people tell me what to do with my life…so i started with one seminar at first but i wasn’t able to complete it (since it’s a gradual process)…i was thinking before that i don’t think i would be able to follow all the rules and policies that they are creating to gain financial freedom.. it would be too frigid and strict and it would defy my P which is very strong…i’m going to find things on my own to achieve that reward without having very strict or frigid rules…so i wasn’t able to continue it despite being offered for another financial seminar…and yes im in my 20s now so i can really relate to the feeling that i have all the time…however, i know i need to take action if i really really want that reward despite having to follow someones’ rules which can take a lot of effort on my part…
September 1st, 2010 at 10:40 am
The most important thing I’ve learned about the path to financial freedom is that it’s not about how much you make but about how much you spend. It’s always about how much you spend. Learning to make more money without developing really good spending habits is like exercising while all you’re eating is junk food.
May 15, 2011
Was this seminar organised by ‘Landmark Forum’? I am asking this as I am contemplating going to one of these seminars.
May 16th, 2011 at 9:26 am
It was the 3-day Millionaire Mind seminar from T Harv Ecker. It’s free if buy a copy of his book. There’s some coupon code in each book that let’s you register for free. I was invited 3 years ago. Then I went again at the beginning of March.
And it changed my life again, but not financially since the techniques they use to help you understand your relationships to money can be used for any type of relationship. So the 2nd time I attended I took notes specifically on the techniques and started using them to break through my bad relationship habits with other people.
Mar 18, 2015
I am seriously considering majoring in Accounting. That being said I should explain I spent three years after high school working full time while I was preparing to serve a mission for the LDS church. I worked with an ESTJ and an ENTJ and as much as I hated the ESTJ’s guts I have to admit they are the best types to learn from regarding work. My goal is to make a decent amount of money and be self employed. Hopefully marry an ENFJ and make it a family business. I know of INFP ENFJ couples who work together that literally don’t know what to do if they are seperated. They are adorable. Probably not rich, but adorable.
May 24, 2019
I discovered late in life I am an INFP. I have enjoyed your blog and would love to subscribe to your site but have not found a link.