It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. No, not Dickens, but an apt summary of the radical opposites taking place between my INTJ psyche and the corporate world I found myself working in for almost 16 years. It's a story of contrasts and comparisons between the massive success I achieved and the desperate, inescapable desire to "get out while you can."
For years, self-help gurus and mindfulness experts have been preaching a simple mantra; if you want to improve your life, you have to change the way you think. Dream big and you will have success. Visualize yourself rolling in dollars and you'll become a millionaire. Unfortunately, science suggests that positive thinking might not work. In fact, the opposite may actually be true - that if we act happy, we become happy, something psychologist Richard Wiseman calls the "as if" principle.
Anyone who knows anything about personality theory understands that some personalities need a predictable rhythm to help them keep order to their day (we're looking at you SJs). Take away the routine, and these personalities have a tendency to get stressed, feel overwhelmed and become paralyzed by inactivity. They might even blame themselves for losing control of a situation.
A lot of things determine how successful you'll be: the career you choose to pursue; the company you keep; the things you love doing; whether you possess a burning desire to prove other people wrong. There's no one-size-fits-all prescription. This is good, because we all define success in different ways.
For idealistic INFPs, success often means having the freedom to live a moral, beautiful, and virtuous life. Success in the conventional sense (power, prestige, money) doesn't matter as much as pursuing your passions, expressing yourself creatively, and growing without restraint.
Compassion opens the door to happiness. We all want to receive compassion from others, since it shows that people see and understand us. Compassion is the mode of expression that tells us we are not alone; that hearts and arms are open for us if we choose to accept them. It is the instinct that drives someone to serve food at a homeless shelter, donate money to famine victims, or help a friend in need without expectation of reward.
Years ago, I was chatting with another mom at a play group, who had daughters just a few months older than mine. She was talking about how much she adored her kids. Possibly, she loved them to the exclusion of everything else. She could not imagine how dull and pointless a person's life would be without them.
ENFPs are true free spirits. It's no secret that they loathe the cubicle life, hate dressing for success, and value intrinsic rewards over financial pay-offs. Freewheeling ENFPs want to do what they love, and the careers that are recommended for them - actor, public relations professional, photographer, drugs counselor - are sufficiently non-conformist to appeal to their independent, unconventional nature.
But .... aren't these suggestions just a little boring?
INTPs have a reputation for being the "oddball" personality type. They're the architects, the thinkers, and the logicians of the personality theory universe. They want to understand the world in all its glorious complexity, and love using others as a sounding board for their brilliant ideas and theories. Some might describe the INTP as the smartest personality type—rational, creative, and ceaselessly curious. Others might describe him as an insufferable know-it-all who can never admit he is wrong. One thing's for sure—the INTP divides opinion.
INFJs love people. They love being with them. They love forming intimate relationships with them. They love surrendering to the connection between two people when all the distance falls away and they each express themselves openly and without censorship. And they love sharing their endless warmth and sensitivity with their soulmate. As has often been observed, there's no one more loving than an INFJ in love.
Most of us, whatever our personality type, have a lousy voice in the back of our heads telling us that we will never quite be good enough. It plagues us to the point that we may be unwilling to take risks or attempt certain activities, in case we fall on our behinds. When the voice looms large, performance suffers, and we're prevented from realizing our full potential. Virtually everyone hears the voice to a greater or lesser degree. It even has its own name - atychiphobia, the morbid fear of failure.