Getting it wrong in order to get it right; INFJ learning

The INFJ has a desire to truly understand. It’s not enough to just learn by rote, we are divergent creatures by nature and 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 is not a particularly efficient way to learn. Before the journey of edification has properly gotten underway, repeated failures could signal to both the individual and the teacher imparting the knowledge, a lack of aptitude and potential. 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 grasped what the final result should be, but to not comprehend is a lack of understanding of how or why those results have or should be achieved.

In order to progress effectively the INFJ learner needs to be able to build up a broad perspective by taking several metaphorical bites of the ‘apple’, so to speak, from various locations to get a proper sense of what ‘appleness’ can potentially be, before fully comprehending 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 happens in the background, but can often be sensed in an abstract way. The information is perceived as a feeling rather than a thought.

As the data is processed it’s compared and contrasted with previous experiences.
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.

Less intuitive sensing types usually have an inclination towards a step by step sequential mode of filtering information. INFJ’s on the other hand tend to bounce around from one point 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 and scanning for patterns. →

The INFJ creative;
10 tips to keep focus, Part 1 of 3

It’s not at all obvious to the creative in flow that this run of positive energy could potentially stall and signal trouble ahead. If we don’t take care of ourselves and protect that very thing which is most precious, the belief in ones innate ability can soon come into question. The INFJ personality type is especially vulnerable to this dilemma and I want to touch on a few key points that might be helpful when the creative process runs into difficulty.

If you are unfamiliar with the Myers Briggs Personality Type Indicator (MBTI) and what all the odd four letter acronyms stand for then I encourage you to check out this previous post that explains in a little more detail just what this system is and how it can be used to help improve ones potential.
So here is the first part of a list of ten issues and accompanying suggestions in no particular order to hopefully help maximise on creative production and minimise potential obstacles.

1. Physical health: This one cannot be stressed enough. Having extraverted sensing way down at the bottom of the cognitive stack means that it’s easy to neglect the physical aspects of ones experience and forget that the body is not just a vessel to carry around our idealistic minds. We need to stay healthy and look after our bodies by eating well, exercising regularly and making sure we get a good nights sleep. That being said, it’s not always easy to stay on top of this. As an Aikido practitioner I’ve come to learn that meditation is a great way to keep the mind and body in harmonious check. There are many differing techniques and opinions on how one should meditate, but I find that getting into a comfortable sitting position that suits your body is the most important thing. Then close the eye’s and just focus on breathing naturally. It’s good to find a regular quiet time and place to do this in order to be better prepared to form a lasting habit. Meditation can be done in solitude or with others, but the main thing is to keep practising regularly without self criticism. The duration and quality is not so important. Over time the practise will improve, the experience will deepen and the benefits will manifest naturally. Meditation is an investigation of the self beyond the mind, this takes practice and patience, but definitely worth it. →

An introduction to The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

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, motivational stimulus and social behaviour. 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). →