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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 August 12, 2020

When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

Learning how to trust your gut, otherwise known as your intuition, can keep you safe. Your gut can guide you and help you build your confidence and resilience. My own gut instinct has saved me on more than one occasion. It has also guided me into making sound career choices and other exciting, big decisions. I’m also aware of the times when I’ve gone against my instincts and really regretted it later, wondering why I didn’t tune in to that valuable internal voice that we all have within us.

In this article, we’re going to explore why and how you should listen to your gut, as well as some concrete tips on how to make sure you’re making the most out of your gut instincts.

How to Listen to Your Gut

The key when making any big decision is to always take a minute to listen well to yourself and your inner compass. If you hear your actual voice saying yes while inside you’re silently screaming no, my advice is to ask for some time to think, or simply take a breath and pause before the yes or no escapes your mouth.

Use that moment to breathe, check in with yourself, and give the answer that feels congruent with who you are and what you want, not the one that always involves following the herd. Trusting your gut means having the courage to not simply go with the majority. It can be about holding your own. Here’s how to hone that skill for yourself and reap the rewards.

1. Tune Into Your Body

Your body gives you clues when you’re faced with a big decision. There are many visible and obvious symptoms that we feel in uncomfortable situations. Our body’s reaction is often something that we might try to hide, for example, blushing, being lost for words, or shaking. There are things we might do to try and hide that physical reaction, whether it’s wearing makeup, having a glass of wine or coffee to perk us up a bit, or learning to control our nerves.

However, paying attention to your body when you experience these feelings of anxiety can teach you so much and help you to make sound choices. Some people will experience an actual “gut” feeling of stomach ache or indigestion in an uncomfortable situation.

Ask yourself what’s really going on here, and explore what is happening behind your body’s response to the situation. What can your reaction or instinct teach you? Understanding that can be a clue and can help you either learn something about yourself, the situation, or other people. The answers are often within us.

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Sometimes we’ll get this “something’s not right here” feeling and cannot quite put our finger on it or explain it. That can still be incredibly useful and really guide us away from danger, even if we don’t know the reason.

In his book, Blink, Malcolm Gladwell also argues this, making the point that sometimes our subconscious is better at processing the answer we need, and that we don’t necessarily need to take time to collect hours and hours of information to come to a reliable conclusion[1].

2. Ensure Your Head Is Clear Before Making a Decision

Energy, sleep, and good nutrition are so vital to nourishing our minds, as well as our bodies. There are times when your instinct could lead you astray, and one of these is when you are hungry, “hangry” (angry because you’re hungry!), tired, or anxious. If this is the case–and it may sound obvious–do consider sleeping or eating on it before making an important choice.

There is, in fact, a connection between our gut and our brain[2], which is where terms like “butterflies in the stomach” and “gut-wrenching” originate from. Stress and emotions can cause physical feelings, and ignoring them might do more harm than good.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Say What You Think and Feel

Listening to your gut and really paying attention to it might involve standing up and being counted, calling something out, or taking a stand. As someone who works for myself, I’ve become used to following the less-travelled road, and that’s given me the chance to strike out on my own in other ways, too.

As they tell you in the planes, “put your own oxygen mask on first,” and part of that self-reliance is knowing what you really want and like and what is safe and good for you, including what resonates with your personal and business values. Making good decisions with this in mind means making choices that do not go against your own beliefs, even when it may mean taking a stand. This is part of trusting yourself and trusting your instincts.

This does not always mean taking the “safe” option, although keeping ourselves safe is an important part of the process. This is how we learn and grow, by following our own inner compass. When you do take risks, go outside of your comfort zone, or choose the less popular option, spending some time researching the facts can stand us in good stead, too.

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4. Do Your Research If Something Feels Off

As well as listening to our instincts, we can also back up the evidence for our chosen course of action before taking the leap. I had a gut feeling about the need for a learning and development network when I noticed my clients getting stuck with the same problems. I set up and now run such a network, but instead of simply going for it, without evidence, I followed up on my instinct with research.

Having confidence in your gut instinct through these kinds of tests can help to minimize your risks, as well as spur you on. It will encourage you to trust your gut again in the future and trust that you are an expert with foresight and experience. You are!

5. Challenge Your Assumptions

When you look at the assumptions your making, this could be the clue to mistakes you are making.

In order to check that our instincts are wise, we need to ask ourselves what blanks we might be filling in, either consciously or unconsciously. This is true not just when it comes to our own decision-making. It’s also true when we are listening to someone explain a problem or situation, and we’re about to jump in and give some advice. If we can learn to be aware of our own assumptions, we can become better listeners and better decision makers, too.

A useful tool to become more aware of your assumptions before making a final decision is simply to ask yourself, “What assumptions am I making about this situation or person?”

6. Educate Yourself on Unconscious Bias

Unconscious bias is something we all have, and it can trip us up big time!

There is a vital caveat to bear in mind when wondering about whether you can trust your gut and the feelings your body gives you, and that’s having an awareness of your unconscious bias. Understanding your own bias–which is hard to do because it literally does happen in our subconscious–can help you to make stronger, better, decisions instead of re-confirming your view of the world over and over again.

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Bias exists, and it’s part of the human condition. All of us have it, and it colors our decisions and can impact on our performance without us realizing.

Unconscious bias happens at a subconscious level in our brains. Our subconscious brain processes information so much faster than our conscious brain. Quick decisions we make in our subconscious are based on both our societal conditioning and how our families raised us.

Our brains process hundreds of thousands of pieces of information daily. We unconsciously categorize and format that information into patterns that feel familiar to us. Aspects such as gender, disability, class, sexuality, body shape and size, ethnicity, and what someone does for a job can all quickly influence decisions we make about people and the relationships we choose to form. Our unconscious bias can be very subtle and go unnoticed..

We naturally tend to gravitate towards people similar to ourselves, favoring people who we see as belonging to the same “group” as us. Being able to make a quick decision about whether someone is part of your group and distinguish friend from foe was what helped early humans to survive. Conversely, we don’t automatically favor people who we don’t immediately relate to or easily connect with.

The downside of that human instinct to seek out similar people is the potential for prejudice, which seems to be hard-wired into human cognition, no matter how open-minded we believe ourselves to be. And these stereotypes we create can be wrong. If we only spend our time with and employ people similar to ourselves, it can create prejudices, as well as stifle fresh thinking and innovation.

We may feel more natural or comfortable working with other people who share our own background and/or opinions than collaborating with people who don’t look, talk, or think like us. However, diversity is not just morally right; having a mix of different people and perspectives that can be genuinely heard is also a valuable way to counter groupthink. Diversity stretches us to think more critically and creatively.

7. Trust Yourself

It is possible to learn how to truly trust yourself[3]. Like any talent or skill, practicing trusting your gut is the best way to get really good at it. When people talk about having great intuition or being good decision-makers, it’s because they’ve worked at honing those skills, made mistakes, learned from them, and tried again.

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Looking back at decisions you’ve made, what you did, what the outcome was, and what you’ve learned can help you become a stronger decision maker and develop solid self-trust and resilience. Making a mistake does not mean you are not great at decision-making; it’s a chance to grow and learn, and the only mistake is to ignore the lesson in that experience.

If you are in the habit of asking others for their input, then the trick here is to choose your inner circle wisely. Having a sounding board of people who have your best interests at heart is a valuable asset, and, combined with your own excellent instincts, can make you a champion decision maker.

The Bottom Line

The above tips are all actionable and easy to start immediately. It’s simply about switching your thinking around, slowing down, and taking great care of this amazing machine that is your body and mind!

Learning how to trust your gut is one of the most fundamental ways to make decisions that will help you lead the life you want and need. Tune into what your body is telling you and start making good decisions today.

More Tips on How to Trust Your Gut

Featured photo credit: Acy Varlan via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Science of People: Learn to Trust Your Gut Instincts: The Science Behind Thin-slicing
[2] Harvard Health Publishing: The gut-brain connection
[3] Psych Central: 3 Ways to Develop Self-Trust

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