Recently, a group of fellow INFJs and I were discussing INFJ Superpowers, the things that we do better than other personality types. The discussion invariably turned to INFJ cognitive functions, or mindsets, and the first and second ones in particular (introverted intuition and extroverted feeling). During our discussion, we tossed around a number of ideas that fit into three main categories:
- Strengths related to introverted intuition (Ni) – (Part 1)
- Strengths related to extroverted feeling (Fe) – (Part 2)
- Strengths related to the intersection of both Ni and Fe – (Part 3)
Over the next three weeks, we’ll take a look at each of these three categories, in turn, starting with Ni-driven strengths. By the end, hopefully, you’ll come away with knowledge that will help you…
- Better understand what you bring to the table when you’re working with a team
- Help you focus and maximize your personal development
- Increase your impact on the world
- Enjoy life more as you start engaging in energizing activities that yield better results
And by the way, this is by no means an exhaustive list. So please add your own thoughts, insights, and reflections in the comments below.
Most INFJs love to learn. If you want to make an INFJ happy, give him or her a podcast, video, book, audiobook, seminar, or something of the like – and leave him or her alone for a few hours. We love to acquire and master new schools, and we hate having to do the same thing over and over if we don’t, at the same time, have a chance to learn something new.
INFJs enjoy learning from a variety of different sources and identifying the connections between the different pieces of content. They’re quite good at piecing it all together in a big-picture way that makes sense. Many are also good at distilling a large volume of information down to the most essential and impactful takeaways. They’re insight-hunters.
To learn is but the start. INFJs love to create. They’re happiest when their minds are taking the ideas they’ve learned and putting them together in new, original ways.
Some INFJs write, others paint, and still others play music or do something else. Creativity shows up in organizational systems, instruction, and various forms of communication too. The ways INFJs create vary, but all are creative. Creativity is an intrinsic part of the INFJ personality, and regular opportunities to create are necessary to a healthy lifestyle. In fact, I’ve never met an INFJ who doesn’t create, or at least want to create, on a consistent basis.
4. Seeing the future
Ni postures INFJs toward the future. Unlike introverted sensing (Si) types, such as SJs (e.g. ISTJs and ESFJs), who tend to prefer what’s worked in the past, INFJs prefer to think about “what could be.” They enjoy dreaming about and working toward a more-ideal future.
5. Planning (backward)
If you want to plan the future, talk to a someone with Ni as their number one mindset, or cognitive function. He or she will have an uncanny ability to apply Habit 2 of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: begin with the end in mind. INFJs intuitively start with priorities and major life goals. They enjoy working backward and creating a plan to honor those priorities and reach the goals.
In general, intuitive types prefer talking about theories, ideas, and meanings more than they like discussing the practical details of day-to-day living. As dominant intuitives, INFJs are among the most theoretical of types. They get excited about theories and do well in settings that allow them to explain why things are the way they are and how they got to be that way. This is true even when the theories have not yet been verified with empirical data. INFJs enjoy connecting the dots and “putting the pieces together.”
7. Working with ideas
Similarly, INFJs are wired to work with ideas. Every personality type is equipped to do a special kind of work. For example, ISTPs have an abundance of physical energy and ISTJs can work with details for extended periods of time. An INFJs gift is working with ideas.
It comes as no surprise to me that one of my 5 StrengthFinder Strengths is intellection: “You like to think. You like mental activity. You like exercising the ‘muscles’ of your brain, stretching them in multiple directions.” I imagine this is true for many INFJs, considering the nature of Ni.
8. Big-picture thinking
As I’ve already alluded to, INFJs excel at big-picture thinking. In contrast with the majority of people who prefer to analyze and break tasks or information down into details, INFJs prefer to put it all together and see how it makes sense. This type of thinking is vital to achieving balance, sorting out priorities, and establishing purpose. It’s also primarily a right-brain activity, something that’s more difficult for the majority of people.
9. Thinking about their own thinking
As thinkers, INFJs excel at metacognitive thinking where they’re thinking about their own thinking. They have a solid ability to pull back and evaluate their own motivations and thought processes when they take the time to do so. This isn’t surprising, considering metacognition is grounded in psychology (a theory) and requires a good deal of reflection and work with the question “Why?”
10. Communicating (linguistics)
Whether they excel in foreign languages, their own language, or both, INFJs are impressive communicators. They enjoy working with words. Many INFJs are exceptional writers, but others may enjoy speaking opportunities too. The key to communication for INFJs is adequate time to prepare, arrange, and organize thoughts.
As futuristic, big-picture, creatives, INFJs are among the best vision casters. They enjoy dreaming up better possibilities for people and for organizations. In leadership positions, they inspire colleagues and co-workers toward a brighter future, and they get a lot of joy out of doing so.
Finally, INFJs can be great advisors. Because they love to read deeply and broadly and learn from the wisdom, insight, and advice of others, seasoned INFJs can make outstanding counselors, provided they do more listening than talking and truly diagnose the core issue or problem. They know that “Timely advice is lovely, like golden apples in a silver basket.”
None of these strengths comes fully-developed. Each is a “diamond in the rough” that will only shine after it’s been polished. And the polishing happens when you intentionally and consistently work on these skills over the long haul. But the bear in mind, these strengths are the seeds of greatness, so the results are worth the effort.
For part two of 23 INFJ Superpowers, take a look at Fe-Driven strengths. And again, if you can think of other Ni-driven strengths, please add them to the comments.