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Famous People and Their Myers-Briggs Personality Types: Part 2, the Introverts

The Myers-Briggs personality test has been used to analyze many famous people. While most celebrities, past and present, have never taken a personality test, psychologists who are knowledgeable about typology believe they know what the outcomes would be.

Introverts are usually deep thinkers, complex individuals who can be charming in public but are private in their personal lives. Introverts aren’t easily categorized or put in boxes. Most politicians, entertainers, and leaders of large organizations are extraverts. Part 1 of this two-part series described some famous extraverts, living and dead. This article, Part 2, is about famous introverts.

Famous Introverts of the Past

ISFJ: Mother Teresa
Introverted, Sensing, Feeling and Judging

03-motherteresaMother Teresa was an ISFJ, a type called the “Protector.” True to her personality type, she was caring, down-to-earth and dependable. Working in the slums of Calcutta, India, she founded a charity that ran homes for the dying. Like most ISFJs, she was compassionate and dedicated to helping others.

INTJ: Bobby Fischer
Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking and Judging

06-bobby-fischerBobby Fischer, world chess champion. was an INTJ—a Myers-Briggs personality type called the “Mastermind.” He was a brilliant and creative strategist, but a difficult man. Like many INTJs, he sometimes seemed so confident of himself as to appear overbearing. True to his type, he liked to design models based on theories he’d developed.

INFJ: Mahatma Ghandi
Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling and Judging

09-ghandiThe foremost advocate of nonviolent civil disobedience in the world, Gandhi was an INFJ who led India to independence in 1947. It was Ghandi who inspired American civil rights advocates struggling for racial equality in the 1960s. Like most INFJs, Ghandi was idealistic, determined and compassionate. His integrity was evident in everything he did.

INTP: Marie Curie
Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking and Perceiving

11-mariecurieThe INTP “Problem-Solver” personality type, Marie Curie discovered radium in 1898. True to type, she was quiet and modest. Exacting in her work, she was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize. Like most INTPs, she adopted an approach to life and work that was intellectual and independent. She was intensely private.

INFP: Princess Diana
Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling and Perceiving

12-princessdianaPrincess Diana, beloved by millions, was an INFP noted for her compassion and global philanthropy. INFPs are soft-spoken idealists who dedicate themselves to helping others. They avoid conflict and try not to create waves, but when they see people behaving unkindly, they can become surprisingly assertive.

ISFP: David Bowie
Introverted, Sensing, Feeling and Perceiving

13-davidbowieDavid Bowie was an ISFP, a personality type called the “Artist.” He was a world-famous singer, songwriter and actor with a reputation as a flamboyant celebrity onstage. In private, Bowie was like most ISFPs—a gentle, modest human being. He had a natural curiosity that fueled his creative spirit.

Famous Introverts of the Present

ISTP: Dalai Lama
Introverted, Sensing, Thinking and Perceiving

14-dalailamaAn ISTP, the Dalai Lama is a famous Buddhist leader. True to his personality type, he is practical, reserved, and expresses himself in deeds. He is an independent man with an analytical mind. His enterprising, adventurous spirit were evident in his flight to India after the Chinese invaded his homeland, Tibet.

ISTJ: Angela Merkel
Introverted, Sensing, Thinking and Judging

15-merkelAngela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, is an ISTJ. As a political leader, she is organized, objective and demanding. While ISTJs know how to be gracious and articulate in social situations, at heart they are independent, private types. They don’t make decisions without first collecting detailed information.

 

 

 

 

Introverted Animals and Their Myers-Briggs Personality Types

Animals are more complicated than most of us realize. We can appreciate the many sides of dogs and cats that live with us, but wild creatures are a different story. Because they live in their own worlds and we aren’t close to them, we underestimate their intelligence, intuition, and altruism. We think they’re simple beings. They’re not. They’re as varied as we are.

This is an introduction to the introverted (I) members of the animal kingdom: the owl, sloth, deer, octopus, wolf, beaver, meerkat, and house cat. Unlike extraverted (E) animals, the introverts are generally quiet and often shy.

INTP: Owl

Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking and Perceiving

intp-owlLike most INTPs, owls have logical minds. They’re mindful and quiet. They’re solo operators and don’t socialize with other owls unless they’re mating. They don’t have patience with rules, even those laid down by other owls. While they’re not very friendly, they’re perceptive and wise.

As pets, owls never lose their wild behavior unless hand-raised from birth. People who use owls for falconry can tame baby owls, but only if they bond with them from the time the owlets open their eyes. Taming these birds is a challenge. An owl is an independent creature and never becomes affectionate unless it’s hungry. Owners who allow them the freedom of their houses are likely to find plants knocked over and glassware broken on the floor. They also have to deal with owl droppings on their curtains and upholstery.

ISFP: Sloth

Introverted, Sensitive, Feeling and Perceiving

isfp-slothLike human ISFPs, sloths are easygoing peace-makers. They take things as they come and live in the moment. In the company of other sloths, they are caring, mellow and considerate. While they have principles, they don’t make an issue of them. They avoid confrontations or standing up for their rights. While people think of them as lazy, what’s closer to the truth is that they’re just more laid back than humans.

Some people keep sloths as pets. The can become quite dependent on their owners, and they’re gentle with kids. Since they move slowly, they’re no trouble to keep up with. However, they do need large living spaces and plenty of tall climbing equipment. They must be kept in a consistently warm environment to maintain their body temperature. They need special diets with just the right amount of trace ingredients, and their veterinary care is costly. Finally, owners should be prepared for the long haul, as sloths can live to be thirty.

ISFJ: Deer

Introverted, Sensing, Feeling and Judging

isfj-deerAs ISFJs, deer are serene creatures, but they’re alert to everything in their environment. Their acute powers of observation help them avoid danger. They make themselves scarce during hunting season, avoid predators, and are even careful to avoid cars on busy roads. With their own species, they value harmony and show respect. The few people who live with them describe them as sensitive and trustworthy.

Not many people have been able to keep deer as pets. If not reared from their early days of life, they remain wild. Occasionally, humans have rescued fawns and raised them by hand. When this happens, deer often become loyal pets, even making friends with other animals in the house. They can be house-trained if they’re given access to the outdoors. However, an indoor life is unnatural for deer. They need plenty of space to wander in and opportunities to run with other deer.

INTJ: Octopus

Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking and Judging

intj-octopusDoes the octopus have enough personality to deserve a Myers-Briggs type? Like all INTJs, these sea creatures are independent, intelligent and creative. Octopuses are quite aware of their own sharp minds, solving difficult problems. And they’re smart enough to know when a challenge is too much for them. Unless they’re looking for a meal, they ignore other ocean life. They work alone.

Marine biologists say that the octopus may be among the smartest ocean dwellers. Some move their arms in ways that copy the shape and movements of other sea animals. In captivity, they’ve been seen at play, much like children in a swimming pool. They grab toys in the water, then let them go in a circular current so they can catch them again. They escape from aquariums in search of food. They’ve even climbed into fishing boats and opened boxes to eat crabs. It’s unrealistic to try making a pet of an octopus.

 INFJ: Wolf

Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling and Judging

infj-wolfINFJ wolves, like their human counterparts, have morals and values. Often creative and inspired, they re skilled at sensing emotions in others, but they’re not likely to reveal much of themselves until complete trust has been established. Still, they are intensely concerned with the well being of their friends and families. They tend to remain mysterious and complex even when others know them well. Pack members see alpha wolves as protectors and natural leaders.

Few people keep wolves as pets because socialization isn’t possible unless a wolf pup has been adopted within the first 2 weeks of life. For the first 4 months, the puppy needs to be kept away from other dogs in order to bond with owners. Pet wolves can become unpredictable and dangerous when they reach adulthood. These intelligent and dominant animals aren’t meant to live with humans. All wolves need 10 to 15 square miles of free space for exercise. They are running, hunting animals, always on the move.

ISTJ: Beaver

Introvert, Sensing, Thinking and Judging
istj-beaverLike all ISTJs, beavers are logical, hard-working types. They’re organized and live by team rules. They have a reputation for taking a practical approach to everything. When busy building and maintaining their dams, they’re dedicated workers who will do whatever is needed to get the job done. Like their human counterparts, they aren’t always easy to get along with. Both males and females get into fights on occasion, and many have scars on their rumps from being bitten by other beavers.

Beavers don’t make good pets. They need rivers to live in. Can they be kept in a pool? Only if the owner is willing to clean out the feces (poop), because beavers defecate in water. Any furniture in the house will be reduced to wood chips. And beavers will use their skills as busy workers to rearrange pillows and other household items. Then there’s the matter of size. Many grow to be more than four feet long and weigh over 50 pounds. Even zoos find beavers hard to keep.

INFP: Meerkat

Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling and Perceiving

infp-meerkatINFP meerkats are loyal to their families and friends. They stick together and live according to their values. Their behavior reflects an innate idealism and desire to coexist peacefully. They are curious about everything that goes on around them and are open to new experiences. However, when any of their family is threatened, they rise to the cause and get aggressive.

Like most INFPs, meerkats are easygoing and friendly, but they have alert minds. In the wild, they guard against danger by giving one family member the job of sentry while the others search for food. Some people, drawn by media images of these furry creatures, adopt them as pets. Usually, the work and risks are more than they bargained for. While meerkats can be cuddly, they also tend to destroy household belongings and sometimes hurt children. Their special diets and veterinary care are expensive, too.

ISTP: House Cat

Introverted, Sensing, Thinking and Perceiving

istp-housecatAs a typical ISTP Myers-Briggs type, the house cat is a study in contrasts. Cats are quiet and analytical, always trying to figure out how things work. But they’re easily bored. They’re keen to move on to the next adventure. As ISTPs, they’re often daredevils racing around or jumping off high places. If they were human, they’d be bungee jumpers. They’re live-and-let-live types, not particularly concerned with rules, regulations, or the good opinion of others.

As pets, house cats have many of the same qualities as their wild cousins, including bobcats, tigers, and leopards. The pet cat is just a lot smaller and therefore less dangerous. However, pity the mice that think it’s safe to be around one. Pet cats have the same basic instincts as jungle cats. They stalk prey, sharpen their claws, climb trees, and leap from one surface to another with grace and beauty. ISTP cats are sometimes sociable, but often they’re aloof, enjoying their private space.

 

 

 

 

INFJ Meets ISFJ

INFJs and ISFJs are alike in many ways. They’re introverted, feeling, and judging. They differ only on the intuitive/sensing dimension of the Myers-Briggs Inventory. Both types put much of their energy into helping others and share a drive to make the world a better place. People can count on them in times of trouble.

Although INFJs and ISFJs have high ideals, they’re modest about them. They prefer to make their values apparent in their actions. This is partly due to their introverted personalities and desire to avoid the spotlight. Seldom do they call attention to themselves or demand recognition for their achievements.

The main difference between INFJs and ISFJs is that INFJs are more perceptive. They pick up on the motives of others quickly. Because they’re so sharp at spotting phony behaviors in people, their judgments are sometimes harsh. On the other hand, ISFJs are somewhat naïve. They have a hard time understanding power-hungry people or those with self-serving motives. They are bewildered by greed and unkindness as it’s so foreign to their natures. INFJs and ISFJs complement each other because they meet somewhere in the middle. INFJs protect ISFJs from their gullibility, and ISFJs are models of tolerance.

Quiet and unassuming, INFJs and ISFJs aren’t easy to get to know, but people close to them value their friendship.

In Love

Both INFJs and ISFJs take romantic relationships seriously and are attentive to their partners’ needs. In their speech and demeanor, they’re tactful and kind. At the same time, their introverted natures make them cautious about expressing their feelings for fear of rejection. These two types may be so cautious in their approach to romance that more extraverted partners get impatient with them. INFJs and ISFJs have a tendency to hold back on the playful aspects of their personalities until they know people well.

INFJs and ISFJs sometimes remain in partnerships that are no longer working. The thought of leaving a relationship makes them nervous and insecure. When either of these types is left by a partner, they’re deeply hurt. Typically, their self-esteem suffers and they go through a period of painful self-examination. If they don’t turn to friends for support, they’re slow to regroup and move on. Some grow quiet, trying to appear composed and stoic to the people around them.

At Home

The homes of INFJs tend to be more cluttered than those of ISFJs. An abundance of books, crafts supplies, musical instruments, and other paraphernalia lie around the house, allowing INFJs to pursue their hobbies at a moment’s notice. While they would prefer a tidy environment, housekeeping has a lower priority than having fun. When family members complain about the mess, however, INFJs will pick up after themselves.

ISFJs’ homes are usually neater, as they’re more prompt about attending to home maintenance and domestic chores. Sometimes their sense of responsibility prompts them to take on more than they can handle. They may complain about their workload in a martyred sort of way, but then turn down offers of assistance from family members. To accept help makes them feel inadequate and guilty.

Celebrations such as birthdays and anniversaries are important to ISFJs, who are more traditional than INFJs. To get the most enjoyment out of such events, they participate enthusiastically in the preparations—cooking the holiday meal, cleaning the house, and so on. This is one way they show their commitment and love.

Both Myers-Briggs types take their parenting responsibilities seriously. For them parenthood is a lifelong commitment. Protective and patient, they’re likely to set aside their own needs to be sure their children are taken care of first. They give them every opportunity for a good education, for example. While ISFJs tend to encourage their children along conventional career lines, INFJs are more broad minded. They’re tolerant of unusual extracurricular and career interests as long as their children put forth genuine effort.

INFJs and ISFJs desire harmony above all. They want their partners and children to be happy. As a result, they sometimes sidestep family conflicts that should be resolved for the good of everyone.

At Work

INFJs and ISFJs need careers that are consistent with their values and desire to serve others. ISFJs are generally satisfied with conventional careers that focus on short-term goals and hands-on attention to detail, while INFJs feel fulfilled only when their intuition and creativity are called into play and they’re involved in long-range planning and problem-solving.

Both personality types are averse to conflicts and stress in the workplace. INFJs can become rigid and uncommunicative in a competitive or intense work environment. Eventually, they look for another job. ISFJs are likely to keep trying, working harder in the hope that the situation will improve.

Growing Older

INFJs and ISFJs enjoy their retirement years if they’re free of financial worries and have leisure time to pursue their interests. INFJs, once preoccupied with world problems, become more relaxed as they grow older, leaving many of their worries behind and enjoying the present. They’re likely to decide that the state of the world is the next generation’s problem.

ISFJs, always more now-oriented than INFJs, also enjoy being released from the time-consuming obligations that characterized their working years. With age, they become less self-critical and more extraverted. Their give their own needs and desires higher priority than they once did. Still, being of service to others remains important.

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INFJ Meets INTJ

INFJs (introverted, intuitive, feeling and judging) and INTJs (introverted, intuitive, thinking and judging) are suited to each other in many ways. Both are independent and guided by their intuition. However, INFJs are more tactful about insisting on their autonomy. INTJs can be confrontational. Sometimes they’re so confident that they seem argumentative. INFJs aren’t comfortable with this. When an INTJ seems to be picking an argument, an INFJ friend can be surprised and hurt, even though this is rarely the INTJ’s intention.

At Work

Like INFJs, INTJs are organizers. As a result they often rise to leadership positions. Blessed with strong intuition, both types are good at seeing the big picture and solving problems.

They’re effective workers because they’re skilled at planning projects and carrying them out efficiently. They don’t walk away and leave the details to others. The main difference is that INFJs are more content to work in the background, while INTJs want to be sure they get credit for their efforts. INFJs cooperate with others more easily and avoid conflicts.

In Love

When an INFJ and INTJ fall in love, they want to include each other in every aspect of their lives. Both express their affection more by what they do than by what they say. They’re cautious about discussing their deep feelings for fear of rejection. INTJs are likely to purchase expensive gifts for their partners. The INTJ man in love with a woman who enjoys jewelry may buy her an expensive ring. The INTJ woman involved with a man who’s into winter sports may buy him cross-country skis.

If a relationship between an INFJ and INTJ starts to fall apart, the INTJ is likely to withdraw and remain silent about his or her feelings, even with the partner. INFJs are affected more deeply and deal with the crisis by looking for their own mistakes and shortcomings. Unlike the INTJ, they may need friends to help them overcome their grief before they can regroup their energies and move on.

Because of their need to be loved, INFJs are more likely than INTJs to get involved with partners who aren’t right for them. Even when they suspect this, they often continue the relationship because the intimacy and commitment are so important to them.

INTJs are more particular. Even before they find a partner, they know what they want and how they want a relationship to function. They don’t continue a relationship that doesn’t meet their needs. An INTJ who does a lot of camping and hiking looks for a partner with outdoor interests. No matter how attractive a bookish INFJ type may appear, the INTJ won’t feel drawn to them. An INTJ who makes a living as a concert violinist won’t be interested in an INFJ who dislikes classical music, no matter how appealing the person is otherwise.

At Home

Both INFJs and INTJs are inconsistent about how tidy they keep their homes. Sometimes their homes are neat and organized. Sometimes they’re not. Keeping the environment in order is probably more important to the INTJ than to the INFJ.

When the partners and children of INFJs complain that their house is a mess, they will try to tidy the place up to keep everyone happy. Their work areas may be cluttered, but, as with INTJs, their minds are extremely organized. INTJs may let some parts of the house be in disarray, but they usually keep their personal quarters organized. To both the INFJ and INTJ, their inner lives are the most important. Both types need solitude, but the INTJ is more demanding about this than the INFJ.

INTJs develop idealistic models of how people should lead their lives, applying them to family members as well as themselves. An INTJ father may decide what college would be best for his son and what his major should be, failing to consider the boy’s preferences and personality. If the father was a business major in college, he may discourage an athletic son who wants to study physical education. A mother who is a biologist may not understand a daughter who wants to be a musician. Music doesn’t fit her model of what a child should pursue in college.

As parents, INFJs are more broadminded than INTJs. They’re more tolerant of the types of playmates their children choose, what kind of extracurricular activities they’re involved in, and what they choose to study in college. To them, the important thing is how much effort their children put in and whether they’re developing into happy, productive human beings.

Leisure

INFJs and INTJs like purposeful leisure activities, but INTJs are more serious about it. When vacation time comes, the families or companions of INTJs shouldn’t look forward to unplanned, carefree days. Outings must have a goal and be scheduled. INTJs don’t feel comfortable lolling on the beach. They must be scuba diving, taking pictures, or collecting shells. INFJs are also more comfortable if their leisure activities have purpose, but they’re not as goal-directed. Planned activities are mostly an excuse to have fun.

The dedication of INTJs to specific sports or seasonal pursuits can be daunting to INFJs. Perhaps an INTJ plays tennis three times a week in the summer, then goes cross-country skiing three times a week in the winter. Most INTJs like to keep their bodies in shape. In contrast, INFJs give more importance to having fun with others. They like sharing hobbies and outdoor activities with close friends. In the company of others, they don’t necessarily talk a lot, but they enjoy easy, informal exchanges connected with what they’re doing.

INTJs and INFJs are able to enjoy each other if the INTJ is accepting of the INFJs’ enthusiasm and open display of feelings, and the INFJ is patient with the INTJ’s reserved, competitive tendencies.

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INFJ Men as Lovers

INFJ men are complex, warm, and perceptive. They’re drawn to women who are intelligent, creative, and compassionate. While few INFJ men ever achieve perfect relationships, they always wish for them. This is a positive quality when they stay in a committed relationship but it works against them when they move from one woman to another, always seeking a partner who lives up to their ideals.

If you’re in a relationship with an INFJ male, your feelings won’t go unnoticed. He’ll pick up every nuance and shift in your mood. Sometimes you’ll think he can read your mind. He’s a skillful, attentive lover who won’t be happy unless he can give as much pleasure as he receives. He views lovemaking as a nearly spiritual experience and wants you to feel the same.

Have no fear that he’ll leave you on a whim. He’s steadfast and loyal. Hurting people is not what he does. In fact, he has a tendency to hang on to partnerships long after they start going bad. If your relationship begins to deteriorate, you’re likely to see him struggling with himself. If he finally concludes that his efforts are useless, he’s likely to move on quickly. Don’t expect to go through a series of arguments. That’s not his style. There’ll be no shouting or fighting, just a quiet announcement that it’s over and time for him to go.

If your relationship stands the test of time, you can look forward to years of meaningful companionship. You’ll receive thoughtful gifts, favors and compliments. INFJ men enjoy showing their love, but they also like to hear that their efforts are appreciated. Getting material gifts from you isn’t necessary. They’re happy with your words of pleasure and gratitude.

Don’t risk being dishonest with an INFJ man. You won’t get by with it for long. INFJs have little patience for people they consider fake or corrupt. They recognize lies quickly, even if they don’t say anything about it.

You may notice that other women are attracted to your INFJ partner. He may not realize this. He’s hard to resist because of his intelligence, warmth, and consideration. He has interesting ways of viewing the world. He inspires people to be their best. Yet because he’s a selfless person, he doesn’t recognize the impact he has on others. His modesty is part of his appeal.

If you’re lucky enough to find an INFJ man, don’t count on his making the first move. INFJs are rarely the first ones to initiate social contact. Ask whether he’d like to have coffee sometime. If he’s interested, you’ll know. Also, keep these pointers in mind:

1.  On a date, don’t talk about designer labels, top ten music, and other superficial matters. This is a major put-off for INFJs, who enjoy the simple pleasures of life. Money and fads are of limited interest.

2.  Leave your hand-held devices at home unless you need them for directions to a theatre, restaurant, etc.

3.  Don’t flirt with other men. You won’t impress your INFJ man. He’ll worry that you’re an unreliable partner.

4.  Don’t suggest that you’re out for a temporary affair.

5.  Don’t pressure him into going places that involve crowds of people, unless they’re quiet spectator events such as concerts, art shows, etc. Remember, he’s an introvert.

6.  Even though he may talk about expensive places he can take you, let him know that your idea of a good date is spending time one-on-one with him—that you’d rather be picnicking next to a river in his company than eating at a five-star restaurant.

7.  If your relationship moves on to sexual intimacy, take your time at lovemaking. Don’t rush the process. Savor every moment.

8.  Don’t lie to him, even about little things. He’ll pick up on it and your deceits will lower his opinion of you.

9.  Be patient about learning the INFJ’s innermost secrets. INFJs are more guarded than most Myers-Briggs types. If your partnership flourishes, he’ll eventually tell you everything.

Of all sixteen types, the INFJ has the greatest capacity for love and compassion in a relationship. If you find an INFJ man, hang on. He’s one in a hundred.

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Famous INFJs—The Good and the Evil

 

INFJs are the rarest Myers-Briggs personality type—found in only one percent of the population. The combination of introversion, intuition, feeling and judging make INFJs insightful, persuasive, charismatic, and passionate. When famous INFJs worked for good, they were positive forces in the world. When they turned evil, they became dangerous and desperate people.

INFJs whose childhood influences nourished their desire to do good in the world include Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, and Martin Luther King. INFJs turned evil include Adolf Hitler, Osama bin Laden, and David Koresh.

Here are their stories.

The Good

Nelson MandelaNELSON MANDELA

Born to the royal Thembu family in rural South Africa in 1918, Nelson Mandela spent his early boyhood tending cattle in the countryside. He grew up with two sisters in his mother’s village. At the age of seven, he was sent to a Methodist school where a teacher gave him the English name Nelson.

As a young man, Mandela studied law in Johannesburg. Because of his legal efforts against apartheid, he served over 27 years in prison. He was released in 1990 only after international organizations campaigned for his pardon. In 1994, he was elected South Africa’s first black leader. During his life, he received more than 250 honors, including the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize. He died in 2013 at the age of 95.

Among the most influential leaders of the 20th century, Mandela exhibited the best traits of the Myers-Briggs INFJ type. He was eloquent and had a sharp sense of humor that defused many touchy situations. He was confident enough to laugh at himself frequently, endearing him to followers.

Mahatma GandhiMahatma-Gandhi-Gandhiji-300x250

Born in 1869, Mahatma Gandhi was the spiritual and political leader of India from 1921 until 1948. Gandhi was raised in a prominent Hindu family. When he was 19, he traveled to Britain to study law. Returning home, he led a nonviolent national struggle for India’s freedom from British rule, which was finally granted in 1947. It was his greatest achievement. He became famous for his many fasts to protest social injustice.

Gandhi was a true INFJ. Even at an early age, his value system was so strong that no one could talk him out of his convictions. Although deeply committed to social change, he achieved his goals without violence. He was a visionary who infected others with his dreams.

October 2, Gandhi’s birthday, is celebrated as the International Day of Nonviolence.

Martin Luther KingMARTIN L. KING

Born in 1929, Martin Luther King was leader of the American civil rights movement in the 1950s and 60s. He used Gandhi’s nonviolent methods to combat racial injustice. King organized numerous peaceful protests U.S. cities, including the 1963 March on Washington, where he delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

As a child, King attended church regularly. His belief in the church’s mission led him to study the ministry in college. After earning a PhD degree at Boston University, he decided that church work helped him satisfy his “inner urge to serve humanity.” In 1964, King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his nonviolent protests against racial inequality.

In 1968, he was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. Riots followed in many U.S. cities. After his death, King received numerous posthumous awards. In 1986, Martin Luther King Day was declared a U.S. holiday.

Martin Luther King showed the best traits of an INFJ. He was committed to his ideals and ready to put himself in peril to defend them. He was a brilliant speaker, articulate and forceful. He was able to convince others of his beliefs and pinsire them to action.

The Evil

Adolf Hitleradolf-hitler-2

Born in 1889, Hitler was the leader of Nazi Germany from 1934 to the end of World War II. He was responsible for the deaths of at least 5.5 million Jews in Nazi concentration camps. Like many INFJs gone bad, Hitler had an unhappy childhood. He got in trouble at school, and his father beat him regularly.

Hitler’s only love was art, which his father considered a waste of time. Adolf was sent to a technical school where he performed poorly and dropped out. After his father died, he worked as a watercolor artist to make a living. His hopes for the future were dashed when he was rejected by Vienna’s Academy of Fine Arts because of his poor academic record.

Hitler had an idealistic streak typical of many INFJs. He was a vegetarian, often trying to persuade friends to give up meat in their diet by describing the inhumane slaughter of animals. He quit drinking and smoking, as well. He was kind to a select few people around him and to his dogs, which he loved. Some of Hitler’s extreme behavior has been blamed on his amphetamine addiction during the war.

Osama bin LadenOsama

Born in 1957, Osama bin Laden was the founder of al Qaeda, the terrorist organization that destroyed the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Bin Laden also claimed responsibility for other deadly attacks against civilian and military targets.

Bin Laden was raised a devout Muslim. As he was growing up, his main interest was religion, charitable work, writing poetry, and reading. In these respects, he was a model INFJ. Colleagues described him as gentle and soft spoken. However, like many INFJs, he was considered a mystery even by family members. He was known to be opinionated and severe in many situations. In the Muslim tradition, bin Laden had five wives and fathered over 20 children. Most of his wives were educated women, not subservient females as one might expect.

Bin Laden’s career as a jihadist began when he joined Muslim forces in Pakistan against the Soviets as a young man in 1979. His life ended in 2011 when he was killed in a covert military operation carried out by U.S. Special Forces and the CIA on the orders of President Barack Obama.

David Koresh220px-David_Koresh

David Koresh was the charismatic young cult leader whose “Army of God”—the Branch Davidians— had a 51-day stand-off with the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in Waco, Texas, in 1993. The siege began after the cult stockpiled weapons to prepare for the apocalypse. The ensuing firestorm left 76 cult members and 4 federal employees dead. Koresh shot himself in the head.

Born to an unwed teenage mother in 1959, David Koresh was raised by his grandparents in Houston. He was a lonely child, often ridiculed by kids his own age. He did poorly in school and eventually dropped out. Finding comfort in the Bible, he memorized long passages by the time he was twelve. A high school dropout, he moved to Hollywood at the age of 20 in a failed attempt to become a rock star.

At 22, Koresh moved to Waco, Texas, in 1981 to join the Branch Davidians. Taking over the cult after the death of its leader, Lois Roden, he instituted “spiritual weddings,” which permitted him to have sex with female followers of all ages. As a result, he had 12 children with women other than his wife.

With a sense of misguided idealism, Koresh exalted his own ego at the same time as his Christian bliefs. A powerful orator, he transmitted his ideals to others, as other INFJ cult leaders have done. His Myers-Briggs traits went unchecked and eventually expressed themselves in extreme, destructive behaviors.

 

How Myers-Briggs INFJ Scores Can Change

The Myers-Briggs scores of INFJs can change over the years, sometimes dramatically. Twelve-year-old INFJs who never turn their homework in when it’s due can, by age 17, become academic achievers. That’s because the childhood years of INFJs are devoted to developing imagination and creativity. They daydream, have just one or two friends, and share their make-believe world with only one or two trusted adults. Between ages 6 and 12, their introverted function occupies the main stage.

In their teen years, INFJs become more extraverted, getting good grades and excelling at sports, acting, or other extracurricular activities. They become conscious of their appearance and want to dress attractively. They take on added responsibility, often holding down part-time jobs. At the same time, being INFJs, they always feel a little out-of-step with their peers. They know they’re different and tend to think that something must be wrong with them.

As teenagers, their feeling preference turns their attention to causes such as animal welfare, human rights, and so on. They become more aware of ways they can help others. They may get so involved in these activities that they have little time for themselves—quite a contrast to the reclusive children they were between ages 6 and 12.

From ages 20 to the mid-thirties, socially approved ambitions take hold. INFJs look for ways to become autonomous, run their own lives, and succeed at their jobs. They learn to be smooth and accomplished in many settings, even though inside they may still feel unsure of themselves.

Many INFJs decide in early adulthood that they were too submissive in their earlier years. The INFJ becomes assertive and sometimes rebellious. Family and friends may be puzzled by the change. What happened to the quiet, accommodating INFJ they used to know?

At the same time, INFJs start to tap into their sensing abilities and put them to work. In their early twenties, they may learn to play the guitar, take up oil painting, or collect antiques. INFJs pursue these new interests with enthusiasm, attentive to the smallest detail. Unlike their former tendency toward introversion, the company of others becomes desirable in their quest for new interests.

The departure from the ingrained INFJ style serves their overall development well. With time and maturity, the fully evolved person should be proficient in all eight personality functions.

Readers may get the impression that it’s best to develop all the functions equally. According to Carl Jung, the Swiss psychoanalyst who developed personality theory, it doesn’t work this way. If a person dedicates a period of his or her life to, say, sensing and intuition simultaneously, neither function will get the attention and energy needed to become fully developed. The same is true of the other three trait pairs. One of each pair of functions must be dominant at any given time to produce a stable, reliable personality.

The objective of personal development in terms of the Myers-Briggs theory is to have access to each of the mental functions when its use is appropriate. By being able to use the less-preferred functions when they are needed, the person brings more balance to his or her life.

Prevalence of INFJs in the General Population

According to researchers, the INFJ Myers-Briggs type occurs in about 1% of the population—the lowest prevalence of any type. Studies vary regarding the exact percentages of the 16 types, but INFJs always walk away with the prize for the most rare.

The downside of being an INFJ is that there are few people out there with whom they can relate deeply. Also, they don’t fit into social norms because their qualities are unusual and, to some people, unsettling. INFJs can size up others quickly and those who don’t like to be sized up are likely to avoid them. Friends and colleagues find many INFJs almost clairvoyant.

The upside for INFJs is that they have gifts not common in other types. This makes them valued as leaders, workers, and friends. They also have rich interior lives.

In work settings, INFJs collaborate well with the second rarest type, ENTJs—also known as the CEO type. While ENTJs prefer the footlights, INFJs are happy to operate behind the scenes. Both types are intuitive; when they combine their insights they make a formidable team. INFJs can soften the edges of ENTJs, who prefer logic and rationality and are often insensitive to the feelings of others. The quiet, tactful INFJ can steer the ENTJ away from decisions that will alienate colleagues. Since the two share a Judging preference, the two types can forge productive partnerships and get a lot done.

At the other end of the scale are the three most prevalent types, shown in dark green: the ISTJ, ESFJ, and ISFJ. Each constitutes between 11% and 14% of the general population, for a total of over 35%. The ISTJ, sometimes called the Inspector, is reliable, works conscientiously, and follows rules and regulations. INFJs and ISTJs often have trouble understanding each other, probably because they have neither intuition nor feeling in common. ESFJs, called Harmonizers, are friendly facilitators. ISFJs, called Protectors, live to serve others often at the expense of their own interests. The ESFJs and ISFJs are liked and admired by most people.
prevalence

INFJs—Smile!

On days when it seems hard to be an INFJ, it’s worth looking at some of the qualities that come with this Myers-Briggs personality type. We may be only 1 percent of the population, but we have a  lot of work to do in the world.

1. Actively contribute to the welfare of others.

2. Are patient and gentle with others but often hard on ourselves.

3. Lead others quietly; not imposing our will but influencing them behind the scenes.

4. Have an intuitive understanding of the motives and acts of others.

5. Charm people with our intelligence, warmth and insight.

6. Read other people’s emotions often before they’re aware of them.

7. Nurture and protect people, animals, and the environment.

8. Relate to others with compassion, always willing to lend a hand.

9. Listen to people attentively; observe their body language.

10. Value close relationships and nurture them.

11. Seek intimate relationships as a way to connect with the world and grow.

12. Expect relationships to evolve, not remain static.

13. Are often quiet in groups, focusing on what’s being said.

14. Avoid group activities because socializing drains our energy.

15. Look for meaning and purpose in life.

16. Live with integrity, always attuned to our value systems.

17. Behave in a manner consistent in our ethical positions

18. Can quickly separate the authentic from the fake.

19. Are more interested in tomorrow’s possibilities than today’s realities.

20. Are prepared to redefine our values as we grow and mature.

21. When being creative, feel in harmony with the universe.

22. Never rest on our laurels; look forward to the next creative process.

23. While often quiet and visionary, are also productive.

24. Focus on the big picture rather than the details of life.

25. Trust our intuitive judgments over other people’s opinions.

26. Avoid conflict unless the issue is important.

27. Think and problem-solve logically and effectively.

28. Think in images much of the time.

29. Are visionary, almost clairvoyant about the future.

30. Express our complex feelings and ideas eloquently.

31. Are spontaneous and witty when relaxed; find the humor in everyday life.

32. When overburdened, can easily burn out and slip into depression.

33. Are considered colorful, sometimes eccentric, by friends and acquaintances.

34. Often show a mischievous, daring side.

35. Grow up wiser than one would expect for our age.

36. As perfectionists, worry about failing to meet our full potential.

37. Tend to be private and guarded about our personal sensitivities.

 

 

 

 

 

When INFJs Go Bad

When INFJs are on track, they’re creative and insightful. They’re almost clairvoyant. In addition, they’re compassionate and generous. They are protectors of the weak. As idealists, they have strong values. And they get a lot done. While they prefer private time to socializing, they use their solitude productively. INFJs can be depended on to come through—and to come through on time.

How can they miss? Any Myers-Briggs type can overuse or abuse one or more traits.

Ways of Losing Out

When INFJs act on their ideals and do good in the world, all is well. But some INFJs focus on their visions without doing anything except talk about them. If unpleasant realities come along that contradict their utopian views, they try to ignore their existence. Focusing on their single-minded beliefs, they cling to goals that can’t be attained. INFJs who have painted themselves into this corner need to reframe their visions, attune them to reality, and be more flexible in their objectives.

Many INFJs dislike conflicts and go to great lengths to avoid them. As a result, they may fail to be assertive about important issues—only to find later that their ideas are overlooked or played down. People who might have been their allies don’t come through because the INFJ didn’t share his or her thinking.

Similarly, INFJs may be so conflict-avoidant that they’re afraid to voice criticisms that might offend friends or colleagues. Even though their concerns are valid, they keep them bottled up for fear of creating ill will. Their negative energy builds up, like steam in a kettle. When the pressure gets too great, they blow up, causing conflict and making the resolution of problems difficult. In reality, their fears of antagonizing others are mostly groundless. INFJs are masters of tact. They can count on their customary encouraging style of communication to reassure others that their intentions are good.

Another way INFJs lose out is by focusing obsessively on minor details. An INFJ preparing to give a seminar, for example, may get so caught up in preparation of name-tags, seating arrangements, projection equipment, and so on, that he or she doesn’t spend enough time on the presentation itself. The students are there to listen to the INFJ. The housekeeping details aren’t that important.

Getting Support

INFJs are, of course, introverts. Asking for advice isn’t their long suit. But getting help from others is a major ingredient of success. Also, the very process of discussion prompts INFJs to come up with ideas and insights of their own.