Do you know what’s common between Benedict Cumberbatch (who plays Sherlock Holmes in Sherlock), Carrie Fisher (who plays Princess Leia in Star Wars) and Oprah Winfrey (talk show host)? Apart from the fact that they’re world-famous celebrities who have left quite an impression on their audience, they share the INFJ personality type.
Also known as Introversion (I), Intuition (N), Feeling (F) and Judgment (J), INFJ is a rare personality type. While there is plenty of debate as to whether personality types are accurate, they have been in existence for a long time. People all over the world take the Myers-Briggs test and you or your friends may have taken it too.
Read on to delve into the history of personality tests, and the types and the meaning of INFJ. You’ll also learn how understanding your personality can help you navigate your personal as well as professional life.
The Emergence Of Personality Types
In the early 20th century, two American writers, Katherine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers, proposed the Myers Briggs test, currently known as Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). They took interest in the work of the famous psychologist Carl Jung on the classification of personality attitudes as introversion and extroversion.
While Jung proposed the groundbreaking theory that revolved around personality types, it was the Myers-Briggs duo who translated it into a practical assessment tool. The MTBI is an introspective questionnaire that indicates different psychological preferences. The test attempts to understand how people perceive the world and make decisions.
The questionnaire is made of four scales. Each scale interacts with others that inform various types of personality. The goal of MBTI is to help people understand various interrelated factors driving their personality, such as strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, preferences and so on. The four scales are:
1. Extraversion (E) – Introversion (I)
It describes how an individual interacts and engages with the world around them. Extraverts or extroverts are outward-turning. They enjoy frequent social interactions and feel good about spending time with others. Introverts are inward-turning as they enjoy deep and meaningful relationships and interactions, and seek comfort in spending time alone.
2. Sensing (S) – Intuition (I)
People who prefer ‘sensing’ pay attention to reality as they focus on facts and enjoy hands-on or real-time experiences. They learn from their senses. People who prefer ‘intuition’ engage in abstract theories and pay attention to patterns and impressions. They enjoy thinking about possibilities that the future can hold.
3. Thinking (T) – Feeling (F)
It refers to how people make decisions based on information they have gathered through sensing or intuition. The ones who place greater emphasis on facts and objective data prefer ‘thinking’. It helps us be logical, consistent and impersonal when making a decision. The ones who are considerate of others and emotions prefer ‘feeling’ when arriving at a conclusion.
4. Judging (J) – Perceiving (P)
This scale shows how people deal with the outside world. Individuals leaning toward ‘judging’ prioritize structure and firm decisions. Those who lean toward ‘perceiving’ are more flexible, open and adaptable.
By using these scales, the Myers-Briggs duo identified 16 different personality types and INFJ is one among them.
Exploring The Meaning Of INFJ Personality Type
If you score INFJ on your MBTI, then you are Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Judging. This personality type is sometimes referred to as ‘advocate’ or ‘idealist’. Such people tend to approach life with imagination and thoughtfulness. They can be both logical and emotional and often constitute the rarest MBTI personality type. The beauty lies in the complexity of this type and such people are quite versatile.
Here are the defining characteristics that elaborates on the meaning of INFJ personality:
INFJs can be empathetic and soft-spoken while having a strong sense of intuition. Despite their emotional understanding, they aren’t pushovers. Their strongly held beliefs ground them and they tend to act decisively to achieve what they want.
INFJs tend to exert control over their environments through planning and organizations. They like to stay ahead in the game and make decisions as early as possible.
High levels of emotional understanding push INFJ types to form strong emotional bonds with people, despite their introverted nature. While they enjoy helping out and engage well, they also need time away from people.
4. Emotion And Logical
INFJ types often strike a balance between emotional and logical thinking. When making decisions, they rely on emotions. However, this doesn’t stop them from being pragmatic and realistic. They know when to rely on their logical thinking side as well.
Because of a good balance between emotional and logical thinking, INFJ personality types have the capacity to translate their idealism into action. In other words, they just don’t dream about making a difference, they follow through.
INFJs are also known as the advocate personality type. Because of their deep sense of idealism and integrity, they take steps towards turning their dreams into reality. They strive to leave an impact and empower others in the process. In short, they believe in having a purpose and leading a meaningful life.
The Two Sides Of INFJ Personality Type
INFJs or people with advocate personality types have their strong and weak points. Let’s explore the strengths and weaknesses in detail:
Strengths Of Advocate Personality Type
- They are creative as they rely on a vivid imagination. They enjoy problem-solving and their compassionate nature encourages them to help others.
- They prioritize going beyond surface-level interactions and impressions. By getting to the heart of things, they understand people better and gauge their true motivations and needs.
- They are often guided by their deeply held beliefs which is why they have a strong sense of integrity. Their convictions and principles often shine through their conversations, which is why they are often inspiring communicators and leaders.
- They are highly dedicated beings, which is why they don’t like to settle for ‘good enough’. Advocate personality types are passionate and pursue their goals with a single-minded focus.
- They believe in the greater good, which is why they are often altruistic. They think about how their actions affect others. Combined with their compassionate nature, they make sure that they help people around them.
Weaknesses Of Advocate Personality Type
- They don’t take criticism well and can become highly defensive. Because of their strongly held beliefs and principles, they find it difficult when someone challenges them.
- While they value honesty, they also seek comfort in being private. They can find it difficult to open up about their true feelings and deprioritize their own problems. They may hold themselves back and not ask for help when needed.
- They are often driven by idealism and this aggravates their perfectionist tendencies. They can find it difficult to appreciate their lives, jobs or relationships because they tend to fixate on imperfections.
- They value a greater purpose in life and are often motivated by it. This also means that they place too much emphasis on the larger picture, forgetting about the smaller compromises in between.
- In the process of perfecting things and always being ahead in the game, they face high levels of stress. They find it difficult to find a balance between productivity and relaxation. They tend to overlook self-care and rest in the process, which leads to faster burnout.
Therefore, INFJ advocate personality types are complex beings with a range of emotions and priorities. Let’s see how such people navigate the world of work.
How INFJ Personality Types Navigate Professional Life
Despite the strengths and weaknesses of INFJ, such people tend to do well in professional life when they can capitalize on their strong points. Their beliefs and creative urge encourage them to take up challenging responsibilities and step outside their comfort zone. They excel at workplaces because they tend to put in a lot of effort in whatever they do. While they may find it challenging to exert authority in supervisory roles, they are great at helping people and being empathetic. Some professions where INFJs excel are:
- Business (entrepreneurs)
- Language and arts (actors, musicians and writers)
- Social services (counselors)
- Education (teachers)
- Health care (nurses)
INFJs work well in teams as they uplift and motivate others. They listen actively and are mindful of others’ feelings. In leadership positions too, they promote their personal vision. Their passion and willingness to do good deeds keep them focused. If you’re an INFJ personality type, it’s best to gauge what your primary goal in life is and chase your passion. Choose your career path based on what you want to achieve in the long term, but also be mindful of the smaller goals and initiatives that’ll help you achieve those objectives.
Why Interpret Yourself?
If you’re an INFJ personality type and want to make the most of your positive personality traits, you need to be able to self-reflect and introspect. Harappa’s Interpreting Self course will teach you how to understand yourself better and strengthen your self-knowledge. By fostering self-awareness, you can leverage your strengths and overcome your weaknesses. The Kaleidoscope framework will teach you how to reflect on your actions and behaviors. The River of Life framework will help you look deeper at life-shaping experiences. The more you understand yourself, the easier it is to understand others. In the professional world, self-knowledge can not only help you build strong relationships but also collaborate and cooperate better. Improve your world of work with Harappa!