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5 Insightful Dilemmas Of The Obscure INFJs

5 Insightful Dilemmas Of The Obscure INFJs

Every year 2 million people take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) to recognize their personalities out of the 16 different types. Created by Isabel Briggs Myers and her mother, Katharine Cook Briggs — where they were influenced by the Swiss Psychiatrist Carl Jung’s 1921 book Psychological Types — MBTI has been criticized for its validity of the test and the scientific evidence to support the studies.

Although it has divided many experts on the value of the test, MBTI has made its way in to fortune 500 companies, government agencies and to universities. Addition to this popularity, many are being registered as a MBTI practitioner to administrate the assessment where the MBTI industry became an imposing multi million dollar business.

Setting aside the debated issue, the test as mentioned produces 16 types. Out of all the 16 types, only one makes up less than two percent of the world, the INFJ: Introversion (I), Intuition (N), Feeling (F), Judging (J).

INFJ personality types are widely known as the counselor or the advocate. They pour out their hidden feelings behind closed doors to salvage anything deemed worthy. Their rarity might be attention worthy and attractive, instead they endure the silent suffering. Their solitude is perceived as a barrier, their behaviors are too erratic, their creativity is peculiar and their thoughts are misunderstood.

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Whether you are an INFJ or know someone of this type, here are the five fine points to keep in mind of the INFJs and their struggles within the harsh reality.

1. They are the silent contributors

INFJs live in a world of solitude. Group discussions and activities are their weakness for they are the introverts of the introverts. INFJs are complicated indeed, but do not resemble them as a mere statue in a room. Instead perceive them as a perceptive think-tank ready to explode with ideas which you will thank them later for their perspicacity.

INFJs love to contribute and strive for moral value for the benefit of everyone. But their process of taking information is based on their intuition and to make it more complicated they are structured to formulate a decision in an orderly process.

INFJs are sensitive individuals and they do not want to offend others since they naturally empathize with pain and woes. INFJs need time to think and whatever they have to say must be full of meaning with realms of viable discussions. If you need insightful opinions, listen to the INFJ, and prepare for waves of information and question nobody else bothered to ask.

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2. “Leaders are supposed to be outspoken and articulate. Sorry INFJs” – Non INFJs

INFJs prefer to be behind the group, but a leadership role is a dream they hope. However in reality they hesitate to bluntly seize the opportunity. They are weary of criticisms and are drowned in the thoughts of self-doubt. INFJs have reverence for roles with responsibilities and they are shrewd on what depicts a good leader, which is why they think twice before accepting such position. However in a society where leaders are perceived as extroverts, INFJs are immediately shelved.

Do not fool yourself because INFJs make inspiring leaders. It’s no surprise many careers linked to INFJs are clergy work, art, writing, entrepreneurship and counseling. The natural inclination toward human emotions and the ability to sincerely listen makes them aware and skilled at gently touching the human affection.

3. They want to achieve the impossible: Creativity and Originality of INFJs

Their spoken words can be extremely persuasive and their ideas are all about hitting the blue ocean strategy. Because of their natural inclination to connect symbols, meanings, events and feelings, it can be an eye opener when they offer ideas. INFJs think before they speak, although their ideas may be latent, they lay out their ideas to build upon. Their visions are their expressions, but when it gets touched or misinterpreted they can sometimes present precipitous manner or be defensive.

Often times their ideas are too idealistic or highly unlikely to make a product of their vision. For INFJs, ideas are carried by emotions, for others pragmatism carries ideas. this is what irritates the INFJs. In their minds they have mapped out many situation and scenarios, but when it get rejected by someone without much thought, INFJs will record this individual negatively in their books. Anything is possible because they have imagined it with probable reactions and emotions in direct relations to their ideas. All it needs is to get it done, but there’s the common saying, “It’s easier said than done.” Which an INFJ might respond, “It’s easier if you know how to think.”

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4. They are serious for True Love, but too Serious for 21st Century Love

With media portraying casual flings or straight to bed scene transitions, the pervasive casual dating to love has left INFJs bitter and dazed.Although considered as introverts, they are often seen as extroverts, affable to connect and build rapport.. However the ultimate goal of an INFJ in a relationship is exploring their partner’s potentials and interest. Unfortunately this serious exploring can be seen too serious for others.

INFJs will invest everything they have into a healthy relationship, assuming they find the perfect mate, but if for some reason their loved ones leave the relationship, it is as if detaching a part of their soul. Losing a partner is one less person they will be able to help which is a problem. INFJs always seek improvement and change which might come off finicky and an invasion of privacy. But this is all done with good intentions.

5. “Your standards are low. Bring it up.” – INFJ

An INFJ would not say this directly, but if there were a device to listen to inner feelings, an INFJ’s mind can be terribly shocking and crude. They believe in perfection, dedication, passion, altruism, conviction and are high achievers in their life and goals. Shortcuts are perceived as a virus and they will pursue their goals with ambition and zeal.

Some say work harder, others say work smarter. INFJs will say work harder and smarter. This mentality culminates to physical and mental burnout, but only to come back again to the same routine. Close individuals admire the ethics of INFJs, but they have a hard time understanding the cause and reasons for working endlessly. A perfect world for an INFJ is to have everyone be like them. INFJs believe anything is possible if thoughtfully done with strong passion and if someone is incapable, INFJs will scrape into that person’s intrinsic motivation and values. Their erratic lifestyles pursue greatness instead of self-indulgences. They will test you and tear you apart just so you can be stronger.

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Think of INFJs as an upside down pyramid. They are willing to accept meaningful burden if it leads to harmony and improvement. They indeed are complex and unpredictable, but they are out there with a yen to make a difference, silently and impatiently.

Featured photo credit: Jason Taellious via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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