You are what you believe
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.
- The System exists. It is made up of relationships between people and things and ideas.
- The System is made up of smaller systems like government and game shows.
- The smaller systems are made up of Games.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- Rewards are not specific to a particular Game. You can choose another Game to get your Reward if you don’t like the one you’re currently playing.
- Not all Rewards and not all Games are available to everyone. Sorry, but life isn’t fair. Deal with it.
I like Jon Krakauer’s non-fiction novel, Into the Wild, as an example. In the story, our fearless protagonist Christopher leaves middle-class America and wanders into the Alaskan wilderness. He runs out of resources, starves to death and dies weighing 67 pounds.
Christopher goes from one system, middle-class America, to another system back country Alaska. He goes from one game to another, maybe the “White Picket Fence” Game to the “I Don’t Want To Die” Game. Perhaps, Christopher thought he was playing the “I Want To Be Free of Material Trappings” Game and that’s why he lost the “I Don’t Want To Die Game” because he was playing by the wrong Rules.
What are the Rules?
The Rules are created by those who have gotten the Reward. Some people choose to write books to teach you how to get the Reward. The Rules are any set of guidelines that get you to a particular Reward.
Can I make up my own Rules?
You don’t make up Rules. You discover Rules that let you get a Reward. Yes, new Rules exist, but discovering new Rules is time-consuming because it’s usually by trial and error. If discovering the Rules takes too much time away from actually playing, don’t be surprised if you don’t achieve your Reward.
What if I don’t like any of the Games?
Like I said, you don’t have to play. Just don’t whine when you don’t get the Reward.
Good Players vs Poor Players
Good players know what Rewards they want.
Bad players just play and wonder why they aren’t getting anywhere.
Good players learn more than one set of Rules to get to the Reward they want.
Bad players don’t think the Rules apply to them and feel slighted when they are not rewarded.
Good players choose their Games. They don’t get sucked into Games by not choosing.
Bad players complain that they didn’t want to be playing in the first place, but they didn’t choose not to play and then do something about it.
Good players know when to stop playing the moment they no longer want the Reward.
Bad players think that they have no choice but to continue playing whatever crappy game they’re currently in.
Some of the Games That I’m Currently Playing
“I Don’t Want To Die” Game
Reward: not dying
Rules for Games are system specific. For my current system, first world country, the rules are pretty simple. 1. Do something someone will pay you money for. 2. Buy food and shelter with said money. 3. If possible avoid things that will kill you like traffic accidents and sociopaths.
Some of the other Games I choose to play:
“I Don’t Want To Be Poor When I’m Old” Game
“Make Sure My Family Knows That I Love Them” Game
“Be A Good Friend” Game
“Don’t Suck At Being You” Game
All of these have Rewards. All of these have Rules. I only like some of the Rules. I don’t know all the Rules but I know enough of them to know which ones I can ignore.
INFPs and the System
INFPs that resist the System are the unhappiest.
Unhappy INFPs don’t like their system, but are unwilling to play the “Moving To a Different System” Game. They don’t like their relationships in the current environment (i.e. their relationship to the government, their relationship to society, their relationship to other people — all systems are relationships), but are unwilling to take action to move to a different system.
Unhappy INFPs don’t like the Rules for some of the Games they are forced to play like the “I Want To Eat” Game. Rules are system specific. You don’t have to work, but don’t complain when you don’t get the Reward – eating.
Unhappy INFPs think the System, the systems, the Games, the Rules are unfair. Of course they’re unfair, but they’re unfair to everybody.
The Lesson To Be Learned From All of This
The great thing about life is that we can believe any damn thing we like. I find that INFPs more often than not choose to believe things that hinder them instead of help them.
We believe we’re not good enough because our parents taught us this by belittling us or by just ignoring us. We believe if we find the right person, everything will be better meanwhile we put our lives on hold until that magical person comes along.
Beliefs are taught. If we don’t like the ones we have, learn better ones.
Or just make them up.
Feb 3, 2010
Well, at least INFPs are good at making things up. Meanwhile, the game theme made me keep saying, “Valkyrie needs food… badly.” Fortunately my husband understands me and it just made him laugh. (I actually wasn’t looking for a magical person but found one anyway. My life is lucky like that. How does luck figure into your games?)
February 3rd, 2010 at 7:31 pm
I always liked playing Elf. The speed made up for the lack of health.
Game: “I Want A Meaningful Relationship” Game
Reward: someone to share your life with
Since Rules are dependent on the system. Those Rules are different if you’re 20 and in college or 40 and divorced with young children because the system is different. However, anyone can go down to any local bookstore and find a book for the 20 in college or 40 and divorced.
Say your 20 and in college and you find this great guy you end up marrying and you weren’t actively looking. Is it luck or were you playing by rules that you didn’t know existed? Go to any relationship expert and you’ll find various sets of rules for the 20 and in college. Go through the checklist and see if you we’re doing any of the things you weren’t suppose to be doing (ie breaking the rules). For example, we’re you needy and called to check up on the him every couple of hours. I’m pretty sure maintaining your own independence is one of the Rules.
Montana J. Shane Reply:
December 8th, 2014 at 5:20 pm
Luck constitutes the majority of my experience. Though I’ve come to understand exactly what luck really is(complex would be an understatement!), I’ve more importantly figured out its particular rules to me and the basic or specific influence it has when mine interacts with “others” luck and well basically: got really good at playing the hands I’m dealt. I feel card game luck best simplifies it’s mechanics. Some people this turn get dealt that 3 aces hand(and some a perfect royal spades flush), and others that 2, 5, 3, 7, 9 or such. It’s not about WINNING it’s about enjoying the game you are playing: 2,5,3,7,9 is JUST as much fun as 4 aces or any other hand. Also any hand can win, because some ignore that luck exists and don’t know they are holding a perfect royal flush and fold each time they are delt it which is every turn. Others bluff their way, and others don’t care about winning or losing as it’s the playing with others that is fun for them. Besides challenge is fun and luck is a GREAT challenge since it can be fairly all powerful against/with some people.
It’s SO pervasive in some lives, and completely neutral in another’s. Anyway my point is I may not ever be dealt a “good hand” like i may never find a special someone but I can still enjoy my hands… And hey maybe I’ll get into a bet, and bluff my way to happiness, or maybe they’ll fold their hand of royal flush and choose me anyway ;)! Luck keeps it real interesting with unknowns!
Also gratz that you’ve got a special someone I’m so happy for ya :D!
Feb 3, 2010
Sue – it made me laugh too. 🙂 thanks.
Excellent points as always.
Sometimes, I’ve found I only want to play by the rules when I’m losing. But once I’m ahead of the game again, I stop playing by the rules.
This makes me slide much further back than I intended.
February 3rd, 2010 at 7:40 pm
All the Rules stuff is really just a rewording of Tony Robbins’ idea of modeling. If you want a certain result, find someone was in the same situation and who has achieved the results you want to achieve and do the exact same thing.
Some Games suck. The “Eat or Die” Game is annoying. Photosynthesis is just more convenient and I probably wouldn’t mind being green. Games are based on Rewards. And whenever I find myself backsliding because I’m ahead of the Game, I have to question if I really wanted that Reward in the first place.
October 16th, 2013 at 9:01 am
I agree Tony has capitalized on the mentoring thing wonderfully. Because someone somewhere has been where we all are at one point or another and experience is the best teacher. Getting a mentor who got through the forest, jungle, desert, effectively is a valuable resource and teacher. Wisdom comes through experience and experiences teach us all valuable lessons, so finding someone who has credentials in that arena you are being swallowed up in is not only practical but necessary for survival.
Feb 3, 2010
I see this, and I hate to admit it but I’m an infp who hates the rules. I hated school so much for that. I actively still search for glitches and bugs in the games. So, I can get the rewards with out the hassles. Why can’t I play by my rules I’m different then all the above. I understand, but I don’t like it. Again though, I saw this the same way. However, I am going to get thru with my own rules. Granted, playing by the rules is the only way i learned to play guitar. I couldn’t give up another way to express myself fully. I gave, up drawing, painting, and writing. Didn’t like not just being able to pick it up and do it. But, music I forced myself to Learn, because i couldn’t give up on the way to make people truly understand me. I knew I had to stick this out. Hmmm…. i like what you have to say a lot. I always get the “ah-hah’s” reading your stuff. Because, your am INFP I guess lol.
February 3rd, 2010 at 10:56 pm
I had to really think it through if Games had glitches that could be exploited or if it’s just a different Game with different rules for the same Reward. I think it’s the latter. That’s where the illegal activities come in. Same Reward (financial gain), but different Rules and usually more dangerous Rules.
In my younger days, I thought I was above the Rules. I didn’t want to play the Games. I also didn’t get any of the Rewards.
December 17th, 2010 at 11:29 am
Hm, I have to admit, I’m also a ‘glitch’ person. Always trying to shortcut things.. maybe trying to be too clever.. and looking back a ‘glitch’ is a glimps of an alternative game… but still a game with possibly a different reward.
I think the hard thing about being an INFP is that it’s a rare type, so ‘modelling’ is tougher, so finding the game that fits an INFP is harder. (plus all the other aspects of one’s charactaristics that are not covered by the INFP type)
October 16th, 2013 at 9:06 am
bingo, we are only a small percentage of the population, but turn it around and look at it as the challenge we are up for because of our visionary outlook. We dance to a different drummer, so our creativity fuels us to a more unique ride. No cookie cutter, conformists among our crowd YEEEEEHAWWWW!
Feb 4, 2010
wow that was very insightful and funny…
I always imagined my life as a game, kind of like The Sims… In that game I would have to accomplish certain goals, pass by checkpoint, or collect items in order to move on to the next level…
February 4th, 2010 at 4:54 pm
The great thing about Life as an amalgam of Games is that you get to choose which Rewards you want.
There’s really no next level. There’s just getting Rewards and not getting Rewards.
October 16th, 2013 at 9:07 am
It is all about strutting the peacock dance. 🙂
Feb 4, 2010
Okay I agree, after a lot of thinking. I just had a hard time admiting that even I have to play these “games” I don’t wanna play. 🙂
October 16th, 2013 at 9:08 am
so opt out and break out into a new dimension, the sky is the limit
Feb 4, 2010
I am actively playing 2 of the games you mentioned: “make sure my family knows I love them” and “be the best me 100% of the time (or as often as I can).”
Feb 6, 2010
[The “Eat or Die” game is annoying…I wouldn’t mind being green]
Can’t tell you how I find it difficult to explain to people that I really love myself and I’m not trying to die, I just don’t feel like doing the things I need to do (i.e. Playing the game) to get the food. Aha moment.
February 6th, 2010 at 8:26 pm
I know. Playing the Games for the Rewards can get tedious and sometimes, it’s downright annoying. I understand the ones who don’t want to play. As long as the ones who don’t play understand that by not playing, they don’t get the Rewards and shouldn’t complain about not getting the Rewards.
Feb 6, 2010
And you made me laugh.
Feb 7, 2010
hmm.. my idea of levels sort of ties in with the idea of rewards. To reach certain rewards you must first pass by certain blocked levels.
For example if you want to reach the reward of “being financially satisfied” you might choose to pursue the “having a high-paying proffessional job” game which would require completing the “college degree level” and the aquiring of “networking and kissing up to your supervisors” skills as well as passing checkpoints of “experience”. By choosing to play that game you must adhere to following a specific order of levels unless you know a back-door…
February 7th, 2010 at 5:26 am
I don’t believe in the idea of levels and backdoors. There are just Rules and Rewards. The “Get Paid Lots of Money” Game has a few basic rules.
1. Be useful. If you can’t be of service to anyone but yourself, then who’s going to give you money. The more useful you are, the more money someone will give you.
2. Learn to sell. Even if you are useful. Someone has to give you money. And they’re not just going to give to you. You have to convince them to give it you.
Those two rules pretty much explains someone who spends 15 years getting their medical degree. It also explains Zuckerberg dropping out of Harvard and making money with Facebook instead.
April 13th, 2016 at 12:08 am
Those are the two points that i am not able to do.
I am a fully grown adult (by age, but inside me is just a child/teenage) and i made it until here just by luck and mercy from others. I am not able to create value thus can’t be useful even in the simplest thing like hanging around with ‘friends’. For example, usually friends will offer to give a ride, or any good idea to where to hang out, so naturallly; yet it is so hard for me so i didnt do it.
Have you written any articles about “How to change your beliefs from ‘I am not useful’ to ‘I am indeed useful'”, or “How to be useful”, “How to believe you are useful”, “It’s not too late even when you are actually not qualified to be in your position now” or something like that.
I kinda know that with effort anything is possible, yet because until now i am not able to make that effort to the required level for the position i am now – i.e. lazy; i cant believe i can be useful in work and relationships (in anything!).
Or maybe article about “How to walk the talk”. “How to believe you are walking the talk” etc.
Maybe they sound stupid.. but because feelings are the energy source of an INFP (at least for me), so just knowing is not enough, we need firm motivation to start doing it, i think.. or maybe i am just a real lazy person. Yes, by doing it we will get the momentum/motivation.. still if there are motivation articles like these especially for INFPs by INFPs, it would be a great pleasure to read them..
If you have written these, if you don’t mind, please tell me the links.. thank you very much.
May 4, 2010
Another great post! This one made me laugh too:-)
As a coach, one of the things I do with my clients is have them clarify the rewards they want and the games they can create to get them. i love how you laid it out!
May 4th, 2010 at 2:31 am
I find that clarity about your rewards requires that I be absolutely honest with myself. That’s hard to do. There’s a quote by Thomas Carlyle that I love. “A person usually has two reasons for doing something: a good reason and the real reason.”
Getting myself to admit the real reason why I do something is tough. I admire coaches who can help other people to find that honesty in themselves.
October 16th, 2013 at 9:17 am
can I add the famous quote, what you aren’t changing you are choosing, so really the only one that holds anyone back is themselves, we all got here with NOTHING, and we take NOTHING out. If you live in America, then you have really don’t have any excuse to NOT getting what you want in the game, foreignors prove that it is possible on our soil everyday. It takes an investment…time, energy, focus, sweat, and a dream. It might be hard but not impossible.
Jul 22, 2010
I think in observing the world a lot, I sometimes end up focusing on the perceived insignificance of the game, which can in effect overwhelm my desire for the rewards. But those desires nevertheless present themselves time and again. I might as well expect it, and not allow myself to get so detached to the point of no longer feeling a need to act.
Thanks. This blog has helped me see the virtue of “games” more sharply (and I’m sure you know how important virtue is to an infp).
July 23rd, 2010 at 10:19 am
I use to think what’s the point. Everyone is chasing their various rewards and I didn’t want to be part of that. I would only play the “I don’t want to die” game which meant getting a job, food and rent. However, I realized how unsatisfying doing well at only that one game became. It’s the games that make life interesting. So after that, I started the “I want to have good friends” game. That one just took years and years.
Jan 19, 2011
I managed to avoid participating in the “not die” game for all of my adult life. I went from living with my parents to my husband supporting me. I became “allergic” to working and I’d spend my days learning web and graphic design, Spanish, healthy eating and whatever else tickled my infp fancy. But, this wore on my marriage and I felt very insecure around other people because I wasn’t a “real” adult. So, this lead to isolation and I continued to play the “dependency” game. This game requires being extremely creative because you have to come up with more and more excuses as to why you should be allowed to skip what everyone else in society has to do.
I like your take of Tony Robbins theory because it helps me to separate things in my head. I feel like most of the time everything that I take in goes into a large bowl of soupy nebulous slosh. For the past year, I’ve been playing the “Not suck at being me” game. I had to admit to myself what I was doing and now I’m working to turn it around.
At the same time, I’m working on the “Show my family I love them” game.
January 20th, 2011 at 12:42 am
Maybe you wouldn’t avoid work if you did what you loved for a living. Graphic Designer? Spanish Interpreter? Nutritionist? Why not?
January 20th, 2011 at 2:23 am
As I grow older, my definition for “real” adult has broaden greatly. I think to be a real adult, a person has to talk full responsibility for the current state of their life and accept the consequences of the actions that have brought them to where their life is now.
It doesn’t mean getting a job. I’ve worked really hard so my wife wouldn’t need to work so she could focus on other things. Now were working hard so I don’t have to have a job. I find it really weird that Western society is so focus on telling us that the mature way to live is to make money by having a job so you can work until 65 and not work.
I just don’t meet many people who would continue their current paying job after “retirement”. I look at it this way. If you love what you’re doing, you never really retire from doing it.
February 24th, 2011 at 7:29 am
Agreed on the last point. I may have spent time in my 20s and 30s being unproductive but I have in my head that I am going to work until I’m 75 if I physically can. So in all ways I will end up working the same amount of time as everyone else who retires at 65. Kind of a Benjamin Button thing.
Jan 20, 2011
Lily, after much deliberation, I decided on graphic design. I feel quite comfortable doing it and I do it anyway. I just need some formal education to round things out.
Corin, I never wanted to be like other adults I saw. It seemed they were all pretending. But the problem is, I never decided what I actually WANTED to do. I would like to one day be able to work so that my husband doesn’t have to worry about that stuff. He has been the sole breadwinner for 10 years. I agreed to work once he decided to go back to school over 3 years ago. I worked from home doing customer service. Then my position became more detailed and I had to meet quotas and I couldn’t work with the customers and take my time with them. I became discouraged and restless and I quit. It’s been a serious struggle for us financially since he went back to school. It had also been a strain on our relationship.
I have to say that reading your blog has made me feel a little more hopeful about being able to make a living and even travel and help others that are in need. Infps can be misunderstood as being lazy or unmotivated. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been fired for not taking initiative and not focusing. Coupled with this, I have epilepsy. For a long time, I thought that my behavior was a result of having so many seizures as a child. It’s been a long, hard journey, but I feel that things have been turning around.
Mar 10, 2011
Thanks for this life perpective! As an INFP, I’m always looking for a new angle on how to deal with a society dominated by ESTJ’s. The hardest part is that the d@mn rules change, at least in certain games. I say this as a business owner who had it all worked out, then the recession hit, and that game TOTALLY changed, and now I’m working 3 times as hard making 1/3 the money. Still, it’s way better than the game of “I have to work my ass off at a job I hate so I can eat and pay mortgage” game, and yet I have moments when it seems that I’m one step ahead of the “bankrupt, foreclosed, divorced and living out of my car” game. It’s a lot for this dreamy INFP with ADHD to handle….Then I have a P moment, and I thank ________ (insert your name for god here) that the human spirit is so deeply resilient.
Mar 15, 2011
I spent the whole last year going through a quarter life existential crisis trying to figure out what game I wanted to play (retail was fine for college, but I want a grown up job with grown up pay and it’s frustrating starving with a crappy job and everyone you know expecting more from you) I have the aptitude for a great many things, but I’m done with the get-in-serious-debt going to school to be further behind financially and professionally game. Some of my friends are doing this and I think 80k in debt to make 55k a year. After looking at every career imaginable I realized that it was partially the game I was playing that mattered (if I became an attorney I’d cry myself to sleep at night) and partially the rewards I wanted. I have always wanted to work in film, but I’d rather have financial stability and a nice house and comfortable work hours (lol, I can’t understand. Why some people work 80 hours a week to make 100k a year… its the same as 40 for 50k… maybe they live to work, lol) so I decided to find a medical sales job and work really hard at that game and maybe it wont be ramen another night.
October 16th, 2013 at 9:30 am
and those people get to play the I am in the hospital suffering from a heart attack, because I didn’t use the brains I was given to avoid STUPID behavior. Why have a house that you NEVER do anything but sleep in because the upkeep is so HIGH. Makes more sense to rent a bedroom in a boarding house. Maybe riding in the expensive car strokes the ego, but really it is just a means to get from point A to point B, so find other ways to stroke the ego and forego the huge payment and huge insurance to make sure the public doesn’t ruin it. The Jones’s aren’t worth the investment to keep up with, unless you want to die young, and have everyone at your funeral saying I wish they had their priorities set on better sights.
Apr 18, 2012
Corin – I just have to tell you that I am very impressed with this blog. I’ve found many sites and some blogs out there on INFPs and they focused so much on all our “faults” it depressed me. Just the few posts I’ve read here, and all the comments, has lifted my spirits. I feel centered again. Thank you.
May 4, 2012
Hi Corin, I’m learning a lot from your blog. I was happily surprised to see you mention Chris McCandless in this post, his story has made a huge impact on me for better or worse. I remember seeing the movie at the cinema when it came out, I was only about 15 years old, and I just remember the gravity of it for myself, it was like one of those amazing experiences when you see parts of yourself expressed in art or a story and your feel like “wow, this is it, this is how I feel”, and before then you sort of thought you were the only weirdo contemplating this stuff? As I see it now though it’s a bit of a paradox or catch-22 because the more I begin thinking of myself as an outsider, with values that I view as more authentic than everyone elses, the more I isolate myself from the possibility of connecting with a large majority of people. I once heard a writer say that he didn’t think the purpose of fiction was to make the reader a better person, because he said he read Catcher in the Rye when he was 19 and became a jerk till he was 24, believing everyone to be a phony till finally, he snapped out of it. I also think that there is something to be said for the Enneagram personality types in this. INFP’s are usually correlated to fit into the enneagram Type 4 – the individualist http://www.enneagraminstitute.com/typefour.asp
I don’t really know what my point is, I think I’m just trying to express how hard it is to be self confident in my actions when even the idea of my own authenticity and struggle for authenticity can and does sometimes become a hindrance to growth.
Does that make any sense?
P.S When reading Into the Wild, did you consider what type McCandless might be? I’m thinking maybe INFJ. He has to be an idealist NF; he didn’t have a whole lot of friends, and liked his solitude, so I’m thinking he’s an introvert. But then on occasion he could be very charismatic and outgoing, so I think he must’ve had Fe, not Fi, which fits in nicely with him being a Judger, and very black and white with his opinions about people and his stubborn attitude. But then again and INFP can be all things sometimes too. Thanks for your time if you read this.
May 10th, 2012 at 3:45 pm
I wrote a long article on my view of authenticity and my practical approach to practicing it. I don’t see authenticity as something you are. I see it as something you do.
Our beliefs affect our actions and those actions produce results. We change beliefs when the results we get are no longer useful. So the writer you read Catcher in the Rye believed everyone was phony and he acted accordingly. When you treat someone negatively, they react to you negatively. So the result you get is, no friends. If having no friends is useful, then you continue the behavior. If having friends is useful (e.g., makes you happy, makes you feel fulfilled, makes you feel like a good person, etc.), then you change your belief so your behavior will produce what you would consider useful results.
So the question is: what if I’m trying to be authentic by holding to these beliefs but those beliefs are not producing useful results? I disagree that holding strong to one’s beliefs is what makes a person authentic. Beliefs change with environment. Our parents teach us our initial beliefs and we act according to those beliefs. Then the environment gives us a smack down based on our actions and then we go, well that didn’t work. Maybe that belief or parents taught us doesn’t fit our live and our situation. So then we go believe something else that does work better for us.
I don’t hold my parents beliefs on parenting. In fact, I try to do the opposite of what they did because that’s how un-useful I found them to be.
P.S. – I have to observe behavior and environment to determine type. I look for unconscious cues and that’s hard to do from just reading a book.
Aug 1, 2012
There’s a great book called “Finite and Infinite Games” (By James P. Carse) – I think you would like it: pretty much everything it’s talking about is present in your post as well.
I especially like the part about the difference of finite and infinite players:
“Finite players play within boundaries; infinite players play with boundaries.”
More on the book on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finite_and_Infinite_Games
Feb 22, 2013
This concept is very interesting. I’ve often noticed that when I treat some part of my life like a game, it’s easier for me to focus on the dynamics, see the moving parts, use the pareto principle and find the sequence to getting to the desired outcome. but I do have to force myself to see it as a game.. I usually see it more fluid and interconnected.
Also when I treat things as games, I notice that I’ve been playing a lot of games while not really knowing about it.. and most of them I’d like to opt out. mostly stuff other people expected of me, and from my past where I didn’t quite understand life as I do now, etc.
Ah, and then there’s the self defeating games that I play. I don’t like to quit, so I just start to reject something and myself set up to failure so I get booted out.
I’d like to know, do you have more info on this since the years you’ve been implementing it? I’d like to know what games are out there, and identify them in my own life.. So I can actively keep track of them. I think I’d be way more in control if I can just objectively look at myself, and manage things from there.
And also so I can root out the games I don’t want to be part of. I think most of my procrastination comes from commitments that I haven’t really accepted as such, and instead lug them around as burdens that I’m reluctant to make progress on.
Mar 29, 2013
I’m an INFP as well and I just want to address the concerns of some of the people that say that they’d much rather find the glitches or cheat the system to get the reward than follow a strict set of rules. The funny thing is is that “cheating the system” still goes along with his formula. He already addressed it but those people may have overlooked it.
“Good players learn more than one set of Rules to get to the Reward they want.*
Bad players don’t think the Rules apply to them and feel slighted when they are not rewarded.”
Pay attention to the part where he says “learn more than one set of rules TO GET THE REWARD THEY WANT”. There are more ways to get to the reward than we think. There is a classical set of rules and then there’s a “new set” of rules and I think that’s what he’s implying here. Keep in mind, this new set of rules can be legal, illegal, or unorthodox and that’s where hacks/glitches fall in. Just wanted to point that out because there are people complaining about it.
Aug 31, 2013
“We believe we’re not good enough because our parents taught us this by belittling us or by just ignoring us. We believe if we find the right person, everything will be better meanwhile we put our lives on hold until that magical person comes along.”
This is most definitely how I was raised and I held out for the “right person” for years and years and years, and of course, they never showed up. Someone one else showed up that plugged my holes, and unfortunately, they are an ESTJ which equals lots of conflict. Ugh. Now my rules have changed, and I seek out joy & fulfillment in other areas of my life knowing that it will never, ever, ever, come out of my relationship and it isn’t supposed to. But still. One seeks forever the base need of love not received from parents one way or another don’t they? Does that hole ever go away completely?
September 1st, 2013 at 12:26 am
I don’t believe the love from parents can be replaced which is why I’m so conscious of making sure my kids feel loved. We were poor and my parents worked all the time and they demonstrated their love by providing for us the best they could. What they couldn’t give me was their time so that’s why one of my primary Love Languages is quality time.
And though other people, wife, kids, friends can give you love in your language, it doesn’t necessarily fill the love not received from parents. So you go through the grieving process and accept.
I use the what I learned from the book the Five Love Languages and each of my children have different love languages. I use the ideas from the book with my wife, my children, my friends. I make sure they understand my top two languages. If they don’t know, I can’t really blame them for not doing the things that make me feel loved.
I rarely write articles about relationships on my blog because I feel that relationships that work for the parties involved are more dependent on values and beliefs than personality type.
October 16th, 2013 at 9:39 am
I think mutual respect does more for any relationship than a personality type does. It is a conscious choice to be respectful to another, and any human has that ability.
July 9th, 2014 at 6:43 am
I fully agree, Although my ESTJ partner and I have our differences , we balance out one another and I have never been happier in my life. Sometimes he battles to understand this ”deep inner self” side of me but he tries very hard to and is interested and attracted to me because of it. Our value systems, respect and love for one another ensure that we thrive. A person cannot always blame their own or their partners personality for unfulfillment in a relationship..
Sep 4, 2013
so true. I wrote in my diary this week “I don’t play the game but I won’t change the rules”, it’s exactly what you wrote
Jan 24, 2014
This was so interesting and it really got to me. I read online that INFP sometimes are capable of putting on a ESTJ business suit even though it drains their energy. I´ve found in my short 18 year old life that when I´m passionate about something I really am capable of anything…. but sometimes I overdo it and realize that it`s not in my personality to be as closed minded and firm as an ESTJ. At least not for me. It goes against my nature.
What I suddenly found in high school was a complete and sudden lack of interest. I was once the best student, complaining about how others just couldn´t play by the rules of the system and get good grades. Then suddenly, I stopped caring at all, I realized that being the best student wasn’t´t my true ambition… I became a bad player. Started thinking that the rules didn’t apply and getting frustrated when I didn`t get my reward… I sort of feel like mediocrity is one of the INFPs biggest discomforts (Yes or No?)
It´s amazing how well you have put those thoughts that crossed my mind into these accurate words.
I just discovered MTBI types. And dealing with the feeling that I was ¨different¨ and even ¨special¨ has made my life difficult. I know realise that I Am special, but also that everyone is special too… the difference is that INFPs are just really particular. (Haha this sounds really cheesy, but I think you understand where Im coming from.)
Reading about this has been really comforting, but I have a theory that I would like to verify with you… I sort of feel that INFPs, growing up with that sense of not belonging, will suddenly dedicate a lot of their energy and time to becoming like everyone else, becoming ¨ ordinary ¨, normal. And eventually will reach a point in which they discover that they actually have a greater purpose, an ideal, that they used to seek but now got lost. And realize how empty this way of life has actually made them feel…
I don´t know if it perhaps is just my particular brand of INFP or if you can relate to it. If you´ve read Herman Hesse´s Siddhartha, he also goes through a phase like that. (Incidentally, my name is Siddhartha haha.) It´s almost as if the INFP child secretly wished to be another type, one of those types that isnt as sensitive and reflexive and that knows exactly what to in social situations. But in the end realises that his qualities really do make up for it…
Thank you. Thank you for this blog. You have no idea how much it`s helping me right now.
Much love and awaiting your reply
also excuse my english it not be my first language 😉
May 12, 2014
I have begun to journal my games, but I having a really hard time trying to convince myself that friendships is one. A large part of me doesn’t care to have many friends. Or any stable good friendships. I guess it’s really selfish to say, but they take too much effort and time, and for what? They all seem so fake and people often use each other in friendships. I feel that sometimes I have to fake that I am interested when I have a conversation with a friend. Any advice?
May 22, 2014
I must say that when I have been ‘not following the rules to play the game’ aka getting farther away from my ideal self, I feel horrible, like I am down sliding, self-destructing. (I made some poor decisions last week, followed my feelings and spent more money than I should have…. Which goes against my ‘I want to be more self-sufficient not rely on others, get a place of my own Game’). It’s a slippery slope when I go against what is actually good for me.
Jul 6, 2014
I have always been happiest in life when I was able to “break the rules” or “game the system” or “get over.” It is weird, I always have gotten immense psychological satisfaction from that!
Jul 6, 2014
for me i do failure when i put on others rules
i always have to try it on my own way to take the reward
Jul 26, 2014
I realize that I have backed out of many of the games I used to play due to a difficult on-going family situation. Of course, I’m also not reaping any of the previous rewards which makes my life and that family situation even harder. I want to play the “Have a few close friendships” game, but I am often afraid or distant or uninterested. I have stopped going to places where I used to meet like minded people and friends. I haven’t followed up on existing or potential friendships out of fear.
I’m having a bit of an existential crisis not really knowing who I am, why I’m here, or if I should even embark on any games. What’s the point of it all? Yet if I don’t embark, things become worse. Then it’s time to get back in the game or else suffer the emotional pain of not playing. When I do play the right game and I play it well, I usually meet with success and fulfillment even if it is fleeting. I suppose I need to take on a few more appropriate games and get back into this life more frequently. I have let a sad family situation hold me back from playing. I think that’s a mistake though. I think I need to play more. I’m trying to push myself against some negative inertia and I know I will be better once I push through it and turn the tide.
Aug 6, 2015
I am an infp and I have gone through the exact thing this infp blogger has gone through. In attempt to compensate for the lack of writing while in my “zone”, I became — or wanted to become — an enfp. I idealized extroversion to the point where I developed Ne well, but I had to pull on it, created a persona, and wondered why, deep down, it was so difficult. I had lost touch with my writing — my purpose. I have many — and I’ve regained touch with myself with the help of an ENTJ. It’s been a painful process regaining touch with myself and reality again, but I’m going to be all right. I’m growing, and it’s what I know I would do. Delaying it didn’t make it any easier.
Like the blogger, I went through burned bridges to the point where I could not share any of my ideas and “revelations in progress” with. All I had attracted were depressed, angsty people and a few SPs, and I didn’t want to be with the former any longer. I had learned my lesson after a INFJ friend (who was a severely unhealthy infp) dragged me down with her and I couldn’t take her negativity any longer. No more. I cut her off rather heartlessly but I didn’t know what else to do because I wasn’t communicating at all. Now, I have decided to speak up a bit more when the line has been crossed. I am still going through the “waking-up” phase and becoming a bit more outspoken. I will turn my life around. I will write. I am good at what I do. Taking credit for work or believing in myself does not mean I can’t be humble. That it is perfectly all right to understand and SEE clearly the strengths and weaknesses and minimizing those said weakness for personal development and growth.
This blog is heaven sent. I think I can now, with the help of this blog and my own self and the people I haven’t met yet and the people in my life, move forward toward self-acceptance, contentment, and cultivating self-love. Being an enfp or infp or any type for that matter, does not make you immune to life and the joys and struggles and disappointments we all share. But we share with love. I certainly do. I have infinite love inside of me. No matter what.
Aug 31, 2015
Very nicely written and inspiring! I’m currently struggling with a lot of the games in a system that maybe not is 100% ideal but one that i probably want to stay in for a while longer. Just need to acknowledge the rules and learn to play by them in a way that is both suitable for me and in the same time beneficial for the people around me that i love.
Ps. Found your blog a couple of days ago and like it very much. Keep it up.
Aug 3, 2016
I’m still reading your blog after all of these years. It means so much more to me as an INFP of 28 for some of reason. I guess I had to exhaust all of my dreamy idealism before I could take in reality. Thank you for your blog and I wish you well.
Aug 15, 2016
Sometimes the games required for survival are messed up and must be forsaken and held out for the proclamation of a new way. It costs people their lives.
Sep 19, 2016
It’s a good read, but also it’s like you try to change yourself by applying rules to yourself. I read a lot of negative things in your personal rules (though you’re very honest and open). (Not that I would do any better right now). I feel like that many times when I read what other INFP’s say on other forums and blogs. And honestly, it seems hard being a successful INFP in this society. On the brighter side, with imbalance there’s always 2 to suffer, so I bet it’s not that fun at the top anyways, and it makes success relative. So I’m working on thinking more and more positive, and connecting to the people who make me feel good and vice versa. And of course trying to learn the rules on every level, and seeing where I can break them to make people’s lives better. Take care!
Oct 13, 2016
INFP here, 32 years old. The post resonated with me from the moment you mentioned you have a system but it’s only a work in progress / an idea. I have my own system for my business drafted out, it spans over nested 1000 bullet points, all brainstorming ideas on their own. Hopefully I will live to see that one finished 😉
The “I don’t want to die Game” made me smile. Humorous approach to something serious. The best part about your blog post to me was the awareness that we can choose our own paths in live, including what we believe in. Since we INFP have a great sense of fantasy and imagination, using the metaphor of a game is much more useful than however else I thought about life until now.
Thanks for that, bookmarking your blog.
Nov 9, 2016
Corin! I want to say thank you for your articles. They are difficult to read but are the things I need to hear and have never heard quite in this way. Keep writing!