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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.

 

 

 

 

Famous People and Their Myers-Briggs Personality Types—Part 1: The Extraverts

In recent years, Myers-Briggs experts have analyzed many famous people to make educated guesses of their personality types. 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.

Most politicians, entertainers, and leaders of large organizations are extraverts. 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. Part 1 of this two-part series describes some extraverts, living and dead. Part 2 about introverts will follow.

Famous Extraverts of the Present

ENTJ: Bill Gates
Extraverted, Intuitive, Thinking and Judging

04-billgatesAn ENTJ personality type called the “Leader,” Bill Gates has always been decisive and strategic, willing to challenge old ideas and attract other people to his causes. ENTJs can be demanding, but they’re also objective and fair. Bill Gates built an empire based on his leadership skills and ability to innovate.

ENFJ: Oprah Winfrey
Extraverted, Intuitive, Feeling and Judging

05-oprahwinfrey_2005With her outgoing, enthusiastic personality, ENFJ Oprah understands people. True to type, she’s articulate and tactful. ENFJs have the interpersonal skills to make others want to join them to make things happen. The ENFJ is idealistic, compassionate, and shows integrity in everything he or she does.

ESTJ: Margaret Thatcher
Extraverted, Sensing, Thinking and Judging

07-thatcherAs the “Supervisor” ESTJ type, Margaret Thatcher was the first female prime minister of England—a decisive, organized woman. Like most ESTJs, Thatcher was direct, objective and often impersonal. She based her plans of action on logic and past experience, monitoring progress every step of the way.

ESFJ: Barbara Walters
Extraverted, Sensing, Feeling and Judging

08-waltersA congenial, tactful ESFJ, Barbara Walters is an American media star. Compassion and thoroughness are her hallmarks. Called the “Caretaker,” this personality type places a high value on harmony. The cooperative nature of ESFJs make them naturals for drawing out other people while respecting their sensitivities and needs.

ESFP: Steven Spielberg
Extraverted, Sensing, Feeling and Perceiving

16-spielbergSteven Spielberg, famous Hollywood director, is an ESFP, a personality type called the “Performer.” Spielberg has been honored in many countries for his ground-breaking films. He is outgoing, flexible and observant. With his lighthearted approach to life, like most ESFPs he is generous with his time and money.

ENTP: Barack Obama
Extraverted, Intuitive, Thinking and Perceiving

01-obamaAs a Myers-Briggs ENTP, Barack Obama is outspoken, creative, and analytical. Congenial ENTPs have a sixth sense for the needs of others and go out of their way to help them. The interpersonal skills of this personality type attract others. They’re able to unite people to work for their causes.

Famous Extraverts of the Past

ENFP: Walt Disney
Extraverted, Intuitive, Feeling and Perceiving

02-disneyTrue to his Myers-Briggs personality type, ENFP, Walt Disney was creative and independent—a pioneer of animated films. Like most ENFPs, he was congenial, insightful, and versatile. His ability to identify with others was almost uncanny, as made evident from his wide range of film characters.

ESTP: John F. Kennedy
Extraverted, Sensing, Thinking and Perceiving

10-jfkAs an ESTP personality type called the “Promoter,” John F. Kennedy was persuasive, energetic, and easy-going. This Myers-Briggs type is practical and action-oriented, always ready to join in whatever is happening. True to type, Kennedy was direct in his politics, mincing no words while being tactful with those around him.

 

 

 

How INFJs Can Lose Out

INFJs walk in the footsteps of such illustrious figures as Carl Jung, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, and Eleanor Roosevelt, to name a few. The path can be challenging. But for INFJs who struggle to evolve throughout their lives, it’s a rewarding one. However, problems can come up if one or more Myers-Briggs functions move to the extreme end of the scale.

• When their expectations aren’t met, the resulting stress damages their ability to function. 

• Their perfectionism can get them in trouble when their perceiving function is too weak to buffer setbacks.

Their idealism can bring them down if people disappoint them.

They can trick themselves into thinking they’re above rules and regulations—a sense of entitlement resulting from their superior grasp of principles and ideas.

They may be intolerant of people who lack their gifts, becoming arrogant and difficult to approach.

They can let their four dominant traits get out of control and lead them into depression.

Expectations

Because their expectations are high and they work hard to achieve them, INFJs stumble when their efforts backfire. Under stress, they’re likely to do more of what they’ve been doing all along, trying to force things to turn out as planned. More of the same is not what’s needed. They need to acknowledge what is and adapt. In situations where their judging function leads them astray, they need to tap into their flexible perceiving function to adapt their expectations and strategies to current realities.

If an INFJ is planning a big party and the caterers are late delivering the food, he or she may come unglued. Someone must fetch the caterers! It’s hard for INFJs to reframe the problem of no food arriving in order to devise an alternative solution. Instead they waste time blaming themselves for not having the foresight to avoid the disaster. At this point, wringing their hands is not helpful.

Idealism

Having intuition as a dominant function, INFJs can become wedded to their expectations for the future. When facts conflict with their predictions, they’re inclined to cling to their hopes despite evidence to the contrary. If, for example, they have watched their Widget stock rise over several years, they may be confident that it can’t fall. When the stock market has a downturn, INFJs may hang on to their stock with unrealistic fantasies of a market reversal.

False expectations can be personal. INFJs can be disenchanted by friends and co-workers who turn out to be less perfect than they thought. When a person shows himself or herself to be flawed in important ways, the INFJ feels let down. To them, this is a reasonable reaction because they expect no more from others than they do of themselves.

Entitlement

INFJs resist rules that make no sense to them. If they park where a sign says “One-hour parking” and stay for 90 minutes, they’re indignant when they find a police citation under their windshield wiper. There were no other cars on the street! They believe in the spirit not the letter of the law. Other sources of frustration are penalty fees when a payment was only hours late, returned forms for minor missing information, and so on. Bureaucratic details are beneath INFJs.

Impatience

INFJs have little patience for sensing/thinking/judging types, considering them to be barriers to progress. They consider many STJs to be shortsighted and obsessed with trivial details. Why can’t they see the big picture? INFJs get exasperated when required to follow protocol, even when it’s necessary to the smooth operation of an organization. This is why INFJs tend to do poorly in administrative positions where routine is critical. Security jobs, for example, are often unsuitable because they require so much focus on detail.

Attitude

Knowing that they’re gifted with more wisdom than the average person, some INFJs adopt an attitude of moral superiority. This puts others off. As a result, friends and colleagues hesitate to ask them for guidance. Only when INFJs use their feeling function to empathize rather than criticize are they able to relate to others authentically and help them as equals.

Depression

Many INFJs are prone to depression. Each of their four dominant traits contributes to this tendency. Being introverts (I), they are focused inward much of the time. Their highly developed intuition (N) provides them with insights into themselves, others, and the world at large—insights that are sometimes painful. Their feeling function (F) gives these insights emotional weight that wouldn’t count as heavily in a thinking type. Their judging function (J) sometimes leads them to gloomy conclusions. If they could call on their perceiving abilities, they could open their minds to more promising possibilities.

INFJ Meets ENFP

INFJs are generally attracted to energetic, friendly ENFPs. ENFPs understand people and connect with them easily. They read the motives and behaviors of others with almost psychic accuracy.

Life is fun with ENFPs, who never tire of developing new interests. They’re at their best in situations that are fluid and changing. Even in their day-to-day activities they look for new ways of doing things.

Similarities and Differences

INFJs and ENFPs are similar in their curiosity and enthusiasm, but the INFJ is less demonstrative. If the two spend much time together, the INFJ may weary of the ENFP’s inexhaustible sociability and want some solitude. Even away from crowds, INFJs can find the energy of ENFPs demanding. Once ENFPs get excited about something, it’s all they can talk about. INFJs aren’t big on extended conversations.

Another difference between them concerns punctuality. The INFJ is rarely tardy and gets things done when promised. ENFPs have a tendency to be late. They lose track of time, because they underestimate how long it will take to finish what they’re doing. They miss deadlines or are slow in meeting their commitments. This happy-go-lucky attitude often annoys INFJs, who consider it irresponsible. ENFPs, on the other hand, may consider INFJs clock-watchers.

Romance

Whether male or female, ENFPs can be seductive. They know how to appeal to the opposite sex and make themselves desirable. Sometimes they go too far in their quest for affection, making the INFJ feel pressured. When this causes the INFJ to back off, the ENFP is likely to get anxious and become even more needy.

A discussion about the need for boundaries may help ease the ENFP’s jittery response to a partner’s withdrawal. They both need to understand that extraverts are energized by connection with others while introverts get tired of it and seek solitude. It’s nothing personal.

Family Life

INFJs who marry ENFPs find that they’re enjoyable to live with. They also make good parents. They know how to turn family chores into enjoyable activities. If there’s a task that’s boring, they’ll find a way to make it interesting. They infuse family life with creativity and avoid letting their home get too structured, with no room for imagination. When the free-wheeling goes too far, however, the INFJ may complain that things are getting out of control.

ENFPs may consider themselves organized in their home life, but INFJ partners can take issue with this. The ENFPs’ desire to be open to new possibilities is usually stronger than their need to keep things neat and tidy. When they fix meals, the kitchen is likely to be a mess. Their offices or dens are cluttered. There’s always something more interesting to do than clean up.

Outside the Home

ENFPs need work that offers more than a paycheck. They must feel fulfilled and know they’re making a worthwhile contribution. Because of their wide-ranging interests, it’s common for them to change career tracks more than once. Partly this is due to their success at landing jobs for which they’re not fully qualified. If the family needs the income, INFJs married to ENFPs may get frustrated by their partners’ tendency to quit jobs or get fired.

Common Ground

The need to look after the welfare of others is shared by the INFJ and ENFP. They’re champions of causes. They promote services that help people, animals, and the environment. When they’re given a leadership role, they ask for advice from people around them. They’re generous with their praise to friends and co-workers who have helped them. They make good partners.

Famous Examples

twainMark Twain was an ENFP, famous for his engaging stories. Andrew Carnegie said of him, “The public knows only one side of Mark Twain: the amusing part. Little do they suspect that he was a man of strong convictions on political and social questions and a moralist of no mean order.”

Like many ENFPs, Mark Twain had insights that were almost clairvoyant. He once said, “I came in with Halley’s Comet in 1835. It is coming again next year and I expect to go out with it.” Indeed, he died of a heart attack on April 21, 1910, one day after the comet’s closest pass by the Earth.

mother-teresa

Like most INFJs, Mother Teresa was a risk taker, able to enter dangerous situations with courage and insight. She was independent and spirited, willing to explore new roles and ideas. True to her type, Mother Teresa was articulate in expressing her beliefs and putting them into action. She had visions of a world without poverty and took steps to make that a reality.

It’s Hard To Be an INFJ: The Author’s Personal Story

Since posting “It’s Hard To Be an INFJ” on this blog, I’ve received hundreds of e-mails from other INFJs. Their main theme has been how disconnected they’ve felt surrounded by extraverts and more sensible, earthbound types. Their posts and my responses appear after that blog.

This is my personal account of what it feels like to be an INFJ.

Growing up

As a child, I felt like an outsider. I’ve felt this way most of my life. Even though all evidence suggests that I was successful and respected by my peers in school, I knew that I was an odd duck. I never liked large groups of kids. I preferred being alone or in the company of one friend—a typical preference of INFJs. Most introverts tend to feel insecure about their preference for privacy because of the high value our culture places on extraversion. People who enjoy being alone are considered odd.

As a student in elementary and high school, I did well academically and had two close friends. For an INFJ, I was surprisingly active in extracurricular activities: acting in community theatre, studying the piano accordion and sometimes performing publicly, editing the school paper, and so on. I was like two people—one who appeared successful and the other who always felt a little lost.

When I left home for college at the age of 17 and began to date, my relationships with boys were fragile. If I fell in love, I couldn’t figure out how to hang onto the boy. He usually tired of my neediness and left. If a boy I didn’t care for kept pursuing me, I couldn’t figure out how to escape without hurting him. With my overactive feeling function, relationships with boyfriends put me on emotional rollercoaster rides.

Personality Traits

Like most judging types, I’ve always been highly focused. I’ll stay up all night working on a project, never miss a deadline, and be punctual for appointments. I like closure, not uncertainty. I make decisions quickly. Thanks to my highly developed intuition, they tend to turn out well.

My opinions on social and political issues are pretty unshakeable, without shades of gray. I recognize the problems my inflexible positions can cause, however, and try to open my mind to other perspectives. When I have strong feelings about an issue, I share them with only one or two trusted friends. I am generally not a leader of causes in public. I write about them passionately, though.

My intuitive, feeling, and judging functions, acting in concert, make me quick to respond to emergencies, especially those involving injury or danger to people or animals. Even at age 82, I still rush into threatening situations. I always emerge unharmed because my intuitive function steers me away from personal danger while my emotions give me the courage and force to act.

Career Experience

Like me, many INFJs are writers. We make good investigative journalists, science editors, and nonfiction writers. The social sciences interest us more than physics, mathematics, electronics and other theoretical and physical sciences. The social sciences engage our feeling function. On aptitude tests, we excel on the verbal portions. However, our thoughts usually have a strong visual component. What we describe in words we see in pictures. We’re more concrete than abstract. Highly creative INFJs are drawn to careers like acting, painting, designing, and so on. However, they are more concerned with pursuing truth than creating art.

Because of their creativity, many INFJs are successful entrepreneurs. They’re good at coming up with fresh ideas, taking risks, introducing new products, marketing to the public, and trouble-shooting. All the while, they maintain their idealism and desire to make life better for those around them. If they get too caught up in the profit motive and are seduced by materialistic goals, they end up demoralized. They suffer from stagnation, burnout, and loss of creativity.

In my early 60s, I earned over $250,000 a year for three years in a row. (I saved most of it and am now enjoying the fruits of my intuitively guided investments.) The problem with all that money was that I became too attached to it. It made me feel very important. Ultimately, my confidence and self-esteem relied on my six-figure income. Approaching retirement, I realized that money could be a trap. I needed to release this attachment and start volunteering. I began to give more money to causes I believed in—mostly animal welfare, education of children in developing countries, and women’s rights. Now, at 82, I have all the money I need to feel safe and enjoy myself. When I work, I don’t accept money for my professional services. Charging money would spoil my pleasure.

Life Can Be Hard

Life can be difficult for those of us who share INFJ traits. First, we’re often misunderstood—perhaps because we make up only one percent of the population. There aren’t enough of us around. Although we often don’t recognize a fellow INFJ when we meet, we’re likely to become fast friends once we recognize the common ground we stand on. Here’s how each of the four traits challenges us:

Introversion: Our preference for privacy can isolate us. We retreat into our thoughts too much and can find ourselves in a cycle of brooding.

Intuition: While well-developed intuition is a gift, it seldom makes us popular. Because the intuitive individual can seem almost clairvoyant, he or she can make others feel uncomfortable. Our forecasts usually turn out to be true, but in the passage of time they’re usually forgotten so we go without credit. We may become so confident of our insights as the years pass that we’re shaken by the rare occasions when they’ve led us down the wrong path.

Feeling: The truths that underlie our accurate insights can wound us. For example, if I have a hunch a friend is lying to me, the chances are I’m right. Knowing this and having it confirmed can be more painful than it is for people whose dominant function is thinking. Although our feelings often bring us joy, when they’re negative we suffer, particularly when rejection is involved. Many of us are prone to depression.

Judging: Our judging function can lead us into premature decisions with uncomfortable consequences, especially in relationships. Many a marriage has foundered because an INFJ didn’t take enough time to understand his or her partner fully before the wedding. (I’m an example of this—more than once.) As the saying goes, “Marry in haste, repent at leisure.” In groups of people, INFJs may appear aloof, even arrogant, because they’re concentrating on sizing up others before they can relax.

We’re in Good Company

INFJs are in good company. Famous INFJs of the past and present are Mahatma Gandhi, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Carl Jung, Simone de Beauvoir, Eleanor Roosevelt, Mother Teresa, Noah Chomsky, and Oprah Winfrey.

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