When I entered college, the first thing the engineering department had us do was take a career assessment. The questions it asked and the answers I supplied were quickly lost in my barely-adult mind, but the two things I do remember from this test are as follows: it proclaimed that my answers best-aligned with those that chose the “College Professor” route (which still elicits a “What does that mean?” response from me), and it raised absolutely zero red flags. (It still amazes me how little questioning I did when I was 18 about the massive decisions that laid ahead–where did that self-assured–or maybe I should say naive?–millennial wander off to?)

Fast-forward a decade. I’m happily pursing my long-lost dream of making a career out of my zeal for creating, and living the (very frugal) good life in Austin. This past weekend my friends and I made a night out of sitting in a hotseat and taking personality-type tests over some beers (these were the beers left over from our Mexican Beer Blind Taste Test, which happened before dinner [spoiler alert: We couldn’t consistently distinguish between the better ones, but we all correctly identified Tecate]). Fun was had, and my result was no surprise, least of all to me. I’m an INFP according to every Myers-Briggs survey I’ve taken, and this night was no different. Long before I started listening to myself, I was pegged as an INFP in my very last humanities elective in college–Personality Psychology. (I promptly ignored all the qualities of this particular type that make for a truly awful engineer and carried on my way to a successful technical career. [If this sarcasm is unclear, please read my bio.] )

I’ll leave it to Wikipedia to give you the full breakdown on my particular personality type according to this metric, and I hope if you do explore it that it brings some depth to the person who’s doing all this painting! And before I go on and humblebrag about my awesome type by sharing insights from well-known INFPs, I want to quickly explain the reason why I’m posting this at all. First, I’m hypnotized by this sort of thing. I find it endlessly interesting to learn about myself, as well as those close to me. Second, and perhaps most importantly, I think it’s significant and helpful. To be able to qualify the defining characteristics about your personality and the way you (and those you’re surrounded by) process the outside world is sincerely valuable. I think it can, in some ways, give you a bird’s eye view of the way you choose to interact with your environment. An example that stands out in my case was how it was such a relief to identify my anxiousness and understand my convoluted process when it comes to making any decision (I mean ANY). So now I just don’t make ’em! (Kidding, but I do account for and schedule extra time for my trips to the grocery market). Anywho…

While there are of course certain personality disorders that tend to be associated with certain personalities, the typical descriptions that they have written are generally very flattering for all types, just like the Zodiac. So without further ado, here are some high-brow INFPs and quotes from them that really exemplify this personality-type:

Jean-Jacques Rousseau: “Reason is greatly indebted to passion. The human race would long since have ceased to be, had its preservation depended only on reason.”

Albert Camus: “Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.

C.S. Lewis: “[I have] a boorish inaptitude for formality.” (This conjures up memories of my passing, but not pretty senior design project at the end of my chemical engineering curriculum!)

A.A. Milne (Winne the Pooh author): “Sarcasm, directed into the blue in the hope of hitting the person you want, may not be effective, but it does relieve the feelings.”

Edgar Allan Poe: “They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.”

Vincent Van Gogh: “Aren’t the wise ones, those who never do anything foolish, even more foolish?”

Hans Christian Andersen: “The whole world is a series of miracles, but we’re so used to them we call them ordinary things.”

William Shakespeare: “To thine own self be true.”

And a few from popular culture:

John Lennon: “Reality leaves a lot to the imagination.”

Kurt Cobain: “I just can’t believe anyone would start a band just to make the scene and be cool and have chicks. I just can’t believe it.”

Louis C.K.: “There’s been a lot of simple vilification of right-wing people. It’s really easy to say, … ‘You’re anti-this and that, and I hate you.’ But to me, it’s more interesting to say, ‘What is this person like and how do they really think?'”

So there you have it, folks. Some shining (and some tortured and melancholy) examples of the folks that operate similar to me, according to the Myers and the Briggs out there. I hope you enjoyed, and I encourage you to learn about yourselves! And as far as art goes, don’t fret, I’ll be back soon with some things I’ve been working on. Thanks for reading and enjoy your weekend!

9 responses to “INFP

  1. Mexican Beer Identification Night and Personality Test Night sound awesome. I’ve never taken the Myers-Briggs because I can’t seem to find a version online that isn’t really very expensive. Where’d you take yours?

  2. Well this explains a lot. I’m an INFP, too, and for that reason I also struggled working as a defense analyst. Sure, I loved the writing, the research, and the melding of minds, but I chafed at the more linear and restrictive demands of my work. I’ve also been consumed my whole life by a need for meaning. I have to believe what I’m doing is worthwhile and part of something bigger and yet at the same time, I must have my solitude and separateness. Sometimes I feel so schizophrenic! That’s why I think the Albert Camus quote is my favorite. In any event, I’ve found that the creative life is the best fit, for me, too.

    • I can absolutely relate…to everything you just said! I was hoping to feel fulfillment when I taught (and I did on the good days), but there were so many other incongruencies with that job and my personality that it just wasn’t sustainable. I’m glad we have taken the leap into the creative life, I know it’s for the best!

  3. Pingback: Swinging Naked | Red's Paintings·

  4. Glad you included Louis C.K. in your quotes. There is a lot of truth in the funny stuff. From the other end of the age spectrum I think it can take a lot of years to evolve and some things will change and smooth out in the process. I have also seen the analytic and scientific exist alongside the creative in some people; they do not exclude each other. In fact, I think those skills augment each other.

    • I could not agree more! The real pioneers in the science and math fields have a tremendous capacity for creativity, it is just expressed in a different type of deliverable than the geniuses of the Arts. I’m equally fascinated by both!

    • That is so true! I’m in complete awe (and envy, I suppose!) of anyone that can have the energy outside of such a demanding career to create such great works. What a beautiful balance!

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