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How To Get From The Front Door To The Car

Somebody (I don't know who) said that an INFP is someone who getslost between the front door and the car. I am INFP and thatstatement describes me very well. An INFP will know that the caris the goal but will take so many side-trips (physical,intellectual, and emotional) that the car may never be reached.

You might expect, then, that an INFP would be at a total loss fororganizational ability. This isn't true, because the lessdominant Thinking and Judging functions can be summoned at needto allow an INFP to perform organizational skills.

Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes is often given as an example of INFP.Calvin seems perfectly normal to me. I don't know why peoplethink he's funny. But I recognize Hobbes, the tiger. He's theaspect that surfaces to deal with practical world. The humour isin the extremes. Most INFPs are somewhere along the middle rangeof Perception.

It is healthy to summon a recessive trait, to awaken a sleepingtiger, in case of need. It is also healthy to restrain thisseemingly new power. Awareness is the key. The business world, inparticular, demands Thinking and Judging organizational skills.Under this pressure, an INFP can summon the recessive TJ andplace it in the starring role, rather than its natural supportingrole. If the role reversal becomes permanent, the cost topersonal satisfaction is too high. INFPs in this situation arelikely to have success, money, friends, and misery. They gave thewhole show to TJ, who is exhausted, while poor FP starves.

Is INFP handicapped, then, in this highly organized world ofours? Not at all! A good example is my own specialty - whatoffice workers call "putting out fires." My INFP plays the majorrole, flitting from crisis to crisis in true INFP fashion,analyzing and solving them, while my supporting TJ takes notes. Inever go anywhere in an office without a notepad. In truth, INFPcarries the notepad; TJ writes in it. INFP deals with the issues.TJ makes and reviews the notes, writes the memos, and keeps therecords. The unstructured job kept me happy as INFP. It'simportant to distinguish between the kinds of decisions that Iwas happy with: they were based on long experience in acomplicated field with right answers. I knew the right answers.This isn't the same as making snap decisions in unprecedentedsituations, which would not be ideal for an INFP at all.

An area where an INFP needs guidance is setting goals. Goals areoften built into a job description, which can simplifyprofessional life. On a personal level, however, an INFP mightneed prodding to set goals and guidance as to priorities. Astheir first goal, for instance, many people would write "Pay offmortgage." Mine was "Swim with dolphins." Obviously, a nudge froma counselor (or maybe a recessive trait) would be useful. TheIntuitive function that is so useful to an INFP must be allowedits input to the goal-setting process. This is why INFP goals mayseem a little odd to people who greet the world in a more Sensatemanner. The same balance should be allowed in structuring pathsto reach goals.

Now that we've set goals and steps to achieve them, we have onlyto follow the path to the goals. In other words, we have to tryto get from the front door to the car. It can be done if INFP iscontinually hip-checked back onto the path by TJ. However,completely unrelieved attention to goals will result in a veryfrustrated INFP driving a car that she has come to loathe. No,INFP must take the detours to meet the world through Intuition,to evaluate by Feeling, and to exercise Perception. TJ, with themaps, organizational lists, and pie-charts, must stand aside. Atagreed intervals, TJ can bump INFP back onto the path. After manyhappy detours and returnsFind Article, INFP will succeed in going from thefront door to the car - goal achieved!

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Chris McDonough is a writer and observer of life. You can visit
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