Myers-Briggs: Understanding an INFJ-A

infjFor over a grueling month, I have been prospecting for a career and have consulted the Myers-Briggs Personality Indicator with the goal to evaluate positions where my natural personality compliments.

After taking a personality test, I discovered that my personality type is INFJ-A. To learn more about the basics of the Myers-Briggs personalities in general, click here.

The purpose of this blog entry is to give more analyzation towards the Advocate archetype.

INFJ-A

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When I first viewed my results, I noticed the little Merlin-like man pointing towards a list of personality aspects that I had little knowledge understanding. I quickly googled INFJ-A, and was not shocked to find that this is the rarest of all personality types. I then decided to take a break from the submitting of applications to  dive deeper into the Advocate archetype.

Testing My Results with Knowledge of Self

My first decision towards analyzation was to see if I actually agreed with my testing results. The easiest way to know if something is true is to test it on what you already know.

Mind

The balance between introversion and extroversion in Mind was accurate from my point of view of self. After all, I was 4% shy to being labeled as an extrovert.  It makes sense that an Advocate would have to switch between the two extremes depending on the environment of what was needed, and I know I am just as much extroverted as I am introverted, although agree I have a sliver more introversion. Barely.

Energy

My mental energy direction was also in the median district with me being labeled as Intuitive, but only being 5% off from being labeled as Observant. At first, I  thought it should have been reversed so spent some time researching to understand, and actually came to agree that I am indeed more Intuitive based on the definition parameters.

In short, the chasm between being Intuitive and Observant determines what kind of information is focused upon that shapes how one sees the world. Intuitive signifies imagination, ideas, and possibilities, with persons in this type relying in the realm of their own imagination, ideas and possibilities. Detached dreamer types in a way, not really feeling like they belong to the world.  Such types seem to question why things are the way they are and observe other people and events, but in their mind remain directed both inwards and somewhere beyond – always questioning, wondering and making connections. Intuitive types believe in innovative and different, have an open mind, and believe in never-ending improvement.

In contrast, Observant is more sensory to the actual world and what is happening, utilizing sight, touch, feeling, and experience. There are not so much the type who will theorize and leave possibilities to others. Not perhaps the best problem solvers, Observant relies on what is happening verses would could happen. To drive an Observant nuts, take away the facts, tools, and concrete objects and make them brainstorm about possibilities, trends, or future events. Observant types are better at focusing on one thing and not multitaskers.

Being well- balanced in this category, it dawned on me that being an INFJ-A is akin to being able to do what is needed which makes the necessity for balance a ping-pong between polarities.

Most people may have a hard time understanding this concept because they are geared one way or the other, but this is precisely why the INFJ is so rare because the better they are at being an Advocate, the more than can do both sides depending on who needs what.

More specifically, if I was working with an Intuitive, I would have to undertake more Observant traits to balance the dynamic of the relationship. Even though I am more Intuitive, I also know I am rare and can switch to Observant whereas the other person most likely cannot. I can also take my Intuitive traits and strengthen or weaken the other Intuitive for their growth.

Nature

I disagree with my testing results in this category, but after a fifteen minute analyzation, understand how this testing could be correct. Why are INFJ’s so rare: we think differently based on feeling with logic being a combination of the two.

Trust me, I am a logical person, but I am not the best at logic puzzles and couldn’t find my way out of a cardboard box without Garmin.

While I have been an academic for eight years and worked in corporate positions of which thinking was mandatory, I never stopped to analyze how the information I process via feeling influenced my logical ability to think through situations. What makes me different than the person who can solve the logic puzzle? Why am I different?

You see, people with the Thinking trait seek logic and rational arguments, picking head over heart every time. Emotionally they are safeguarded and override feelings with their rational logic.

In contrast, people with the Feeling trait follow their hearts and would rather cooperate than compete. Not naive or easily swayed, they are gullible but will fight tooth and nail for what they believe in with principles and ideals being more important than professional success. A decision that makes everyone happier is just as valid as a decision that gets the job done fastest.

Under these definitions, I have tested correctly, but it somewhat makes me irritated as I do require logic and rational arguments or could not function.

However, I started to think about it even in analogy over writing this blog entry in lieu of submitting my resume to employers. In my mind, I had a choice today: I could submit my resume to potential employers for the hope of a call-back to receive a job of which I need. Without submitting my resume, I know logically I can not receive a phone call from an employer who has no idea that I am interested in the listed position.

However, another option is: I could 1) start analyzing myself to better target job opportunities based on my natural personality by conducting personality tests and studying the results; 2) help others like me or dealing with someone like me by blogging as I learn; and 3) forego the mindless repetition of submitting resumes for a day.

I then proceeded to determine why I selected the second option, and realized it was derived from feeling that I formulated a logical approach with options. A Thinker would probably have opted to continue submitting resumes with maybe taking off an hour or so to research. For me, I relied on my feeling of mindless repetition with formulating a new strategy to avoid wasted hours. The modified approach would perhaps have been splitting the day in two equal parts for balance, but in my brain, I chose feeling as I did not have to do so. Thinkers would want to see the rational facts related to my choice, which would be hard to show. Even if I got a job tomorrow, it would not necessarily be related to what I did today. This type of grey zone can lead to Thinkers and Feelers paradoxes!

Tactics

This category relates to one’s ability to work, plan, and make decisions. Here, I scored relatively higher in Judging than Prospecting, and had to conduct a bit more research, but do agree with the testing results.

The Judging trait is geared towards having a plan with clarity and closure. Check-lists are always welcome. This type has a strong worth ethic and puts their duties and responsibilities over everything else. This type is more strict and prefers to analyze options and make a committed decision with work efforts being carried out for that decision to manifest positively.

Prospecting traits are more flexible and relaxed when it comes to expected or unexpected challenges. These people leave options open and scan for opportunities with a reluctance to commit to something that may be an inferior option in the future. This type focuses on what makes them happy as opposed to what others expect.

Identity

What makes an INFJ-A not an INFJ-T is the distinction between Assertive and Turbulent. This trait shows how confident one is in his or her own abilities and decisions, with me scoring much higher in Assertive than Turbulent, of which I would agree.

Assertive (-A) individuals are self-assured, even-tempered and resistant to stress – they refuse to worry too much and do not push themselves too hard when it comes to achieving goals. While they compile data of the past, they do not dwell on it as it prevents from enjoying the present.  This type is more confident in their abilities to handle challenging and unexpected situations.

In contrast, individuals with Turbulent (-T) identity are self-conscious and sensitive to stress, experiencing a wide range of emotions. Tending to be success-driven, perfectionistic and eager to improve, they are more willing to change jobs than Assertive types and push harder to achieve goals.

Understanding More About the Advocate

So now, I officially agree that Myers-Briggs is accurate and I am a INFJ-A. Now, I am ready to learn more about what it means to be an Advocate and compare it to myself.

According to 16personalities.com, the Advocate personality makes up less than one percent of the population, but leaves their mark on the world having an inborn sense of idealism and morality with the ability to make dreams a reality.

A key cornerstone to this type is helping others. However, Advocates are not always the ones who believe helping others is writing a check to a charity – the real passion is to get to the heart of the issue where the charity need not exist because the problem is eliminated.

Introvert, Dear writes: “INFJs can feel like walking contradictions. They read others well and easily “see behind the mask” that people unconsciously wear; ironically, however, INFJs may struggle to understand themselves. Their reactions and behavior sometimes confuse even their own sharp intuition.”

INFJ’s are also highly sensitive empaths that rely on being highly in-tuned to others with abilities that range to absorbing others emotions.

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