In a recent conversation with a guest on The INFJ Personality Show, I was reminded of the importance of two INFJ needs:
- Continual learning
As I reflected on the value of these needs in the lives of the INFJs I know, as well as in my own life, I was reminded of two others:
In the past few years, again and again, I’ve observed just how important these four needs can be to the quality of an INFJ’s life. They’re certainly not everything, but they’re a phenomenal starting point.
(What’s your personality type? Take a free personality assessment.)
Do they resonate with you? If so, why are these needs so important to us INFJs? Read on to learn four reasons why.
Why Do INFJs Need These Things?
If you take a look at the INFJ’s functional stack, it quickly becomes clear why these needs rise to the top.
(Want to know what a “functional stack” is? Get a free copy of my book, The INFJ Personality Guide, and find out.)
Beyond the four preferences that make up your personality — introversion, intuition, feeling, and thinking — lie the cognitive functions, which originate from the work of Swiss psychologist Carl Jung. The four cognitive functions, or mindsets, that make up your personality include:
1. Introverted Intuition (Ni)
2. Extroverted Feeling (Fe)
3. Introverted Thinking (Ti)
4. Extroverted Sensing (Se)
These functions occur in a hierarchy. The first one, Ni, is the most influential in your personality, and the last one, Se, is the least influential — although they all play an important role.
While you may not pursue them in that exact order, learning, impact, independence, and beauty are things that consistently attract the attention of INFJs. Let’s take a look at how each is the source of one of our four needs.
Ni is a function that yearns to understand the world and how it works. It makes you, and other INFJs, extremely curious. When you dive into a subject, you research a number of angles and perspectives, turning the topic over like a diamond in your hands until you see all its different facets and can boil it down to its essence.
Annie, the podcast guest who I referred to at the beginning of this article, pointed out that’s why she enjoys reading authors such as Malcom Gladwell and Jodi Picoult. I couldn’t agree more when it comes to Gladwell, and I’d probably agree for Picoult, if I’d read any of her books.
You don’t have to be an academic learner to be a learner, either. I’ve heard from several INFJs who said school wasn’t their thing. No worries.
Instead of reflecting on your school experience, ask yourself:
- Do I learn all I can about an interesting subject for a time, pouring hours of research into it?
- Then, when I’ve learned enough, do I move onto something else new and interesting before boredom sets in?
If you can answer yes to both those questions, then you likely have a high need for learning and acquiring new skills due to Ni.
Our second cognitive function, Fe, causes INFJs to want to help people. Often, more than they want to benefit themselves, they’re tuned into others’ needs and emotions. To some extent, their own happiness is wrapped up in that of the group, and that fact is a big reason why INFJs tend to be peacemakers.
When Fe is combined with Ni, the result is a desire to impact the world on a grand scale. Ni tends to think globally and often isn’t satisfied with impacting only a few. As an example, contrast the ways ISFJs tend to serve humanity with that of INFJs.
This is one reason why Annie and I aren’t satisfied with classroom teaching. Helping a group of 25 students is meaningful, but helping thousands — or even millions — really excites us. (And please understand that I’m not trying to belittle the work of classroom teachers, just highlighting a typical INFJ desire.)
The more I understand the INFJ personality, the more I realize that INFJs — at least many of them — have a strong desire to control the process and product. They want to create and accomplish on their own terms; they want to be their own bosses. And that’s one of the quintessential traits of Ti.
Ti hates being controlled. It’s confident of its own logical conclusions and thoroughly enjoys coming up with efficient, custom solutions to problems — which can be hard to do in many roles when you work for someone else.
Interestingly, depending on the specific type of INFJ you are, you may be more introverted or extroverted as a result of focusing more on Fe or Ti. Other sources, such as CognitiveType.com, suggest that INFJs may focus on Ni or Se as well. Depending on your specific interests and upbringing, you may manifest quite differently than other kinds of INFJs. All this to say, if Ti independence doesn’t resonate with you as much, no worries. You’re still very much an INFJ.
Finally, INFJs need beauty, and this need is a result of the pull of Se on your personality. You appreciate attractive surroundings, freedom to think and enjoy the outdoors, as well as sensory experiences, like exercise, long car rides, and similar activities. You need them in your life to be refreshed and feel at your best.
In addition, you should try to brainstorm systems and habits that’ll help you take care of the details in your life, according to Dave Powers of ObjectivePersonality.com. (Click here to listen to my conversation with Dave.) If you don’t, you’ll be regularly ripped out of your Ni thoughts and dreams for the future in a disruptive and frustrating way, and you’ll have to deal with regular stress and perhaps even depression. So Se is often a source of pain that you need to proactively tackle before it tackles you.
INFJs, do these needs resonate with you?
This article was originally published on iSpeakPeople.com. It’s republished here with permission from the author.
More INFJ Resources
- What INFJs Do When They Get Stressed Out
- Why INFJs Process Their Feelings Outwardly, Even Though They’re Introverts
- 10 Secrets of the INFJ, the Rarest Personality Type
- 21 Signs That You’re an INFJ, the Rarest Personality Type
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