The INFJ has a desire to truly understand. It’s not enough to just learn by rote, we need to know how all the pieces of a given problem fit together and what those connections mean within the context of the whole.
Failing frequently, without apparent improvement may not be a particularly efficient way to learn. Repeated failures could signal a lack of aptitude and potential to both the student and the teacher imparting the knowledge. But, the fault may not necessarily be found in the failure itself. This could be a result of not being able to comprehend a given concept, rather than a failure to understand it.
To not understand generally means that one has not yet grasped the value of what the final result should be, but to not comprehend is to have not grasped at the conclusion to begin with. This results in a need for further investigation into how or why the results have or should be achieved from a perspective of quality.
To progress effectively the INFJ learner uses a preferential mode of enquiry in order to be able to build up a broad perspective. This contemporary process takes several metaphorical bites of the ‘apple’, so to speak, from various locations to gain a proper sense of what ‘appleness’ can potentially be, before fully committing to what an apple actually is. A rudimentary association is investigated from the inside out. Seeds, core, starchy flesh, skin, leafy stalk, branch, tree, wood, desk, teacher, apple… This all happens in the background, but can often be sensed in an abstract way. The information is perceived as a feeling rather than a thought.
Data is processed and contrasted with previous patterns of experience. After adequate scrutiny of the phenomena has taken place it’s constituent parts are threaded together into a larger network, like data nodes in a constellation, primed for further integration.
Sensing types often have an inclination towards a step by step sequential mode of filtering information. Intuitive’s on the other hand tend to bounce around from one node to another in a non-linear fashion testing options and possibilities before arriving at fixed conclusions. This can prove problematic in the short term as this approach is less energy efficient and can be much slower.
One advantage the system does have, is that it’s always on, chugging along in the background meticulously sifting through the data scanning for connections. →
“And the first lesson of all was the basic trust that he could learn. It is shocking to find how many people do not believe they can learn, and how many more believe learning to be difficult. Muad’Dib knew that every experience carries its lesson.”
— Dune, Frank Herbert.
"I was a personality before I became a person - I am simple, complex, generous, selfish, unattractive, beautiful, lazy and driven."
— Barbra Streisand
The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a system designed to identify and categorise specific personality types through psychological cognitive functions. It is presented in the form of a questionnaire that investigates cognitive preferences and motivational stimulus. All personality types are quantified using a matrix of sixteen models. Eight of the models are an extraverted type and the other eight are an introverted type. Each model is identified by four letters, i.e. E.N.F.P. The first letter will either be an E which stands for Extravert or an I that stands for Introvert. The next three letters in the acronym define other cognitive functions which I will return to shortly. But, first let’s rewind slightly.
The MBTI system was created by a mother and daughter duo, Katherine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers respectively. They based the system on psychiatrist Carl Jungs research into psychological functions of the mind. He believed that human cognitive functions could be categorised into four principle groups: Extraversion/Introversion, Sensing/Intuition, Thinking/Feeling, Judging/Perception. This grouping of four personality types can be traced back much further to ancient Greece where the physician Hippocrates described the balance of four principle fluids of the body; blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm as an explanation for changes in behaviour and mood. This has been adopted by subsequent physicians and philosophers throughout history, updating the grouping as four temperaments to explain various theories on the relationships between the elements; Sanguine: sociable, choleric: authoritarian, melancholic: avoident and phlegmatic: balanced. The present MBTI system uses a much more robust data set than previous iterations of personality assessment, but that is by no means a validation for the efficacy of the system. Some professional psychiatrists and analysis’s shun the MBTI system for not being very scientific as in relation to the five-factor model. It is true that the questionnaire can sometimes give contradictory results when used by the same person on different occasions. But that could be as much to do with the individual as the questionnaire itself.
So with that said let’s continue with the remaining three groupings for each type; (thinking: T / feeling: F), (sensation: S / intuition: N), (Judging: J / perceiving: P). →