“You always need a mountain to climb.”
That’s what my father often told my mother. What he meant was that she was happiest when learning a new skill, solving a problem, or tackling a difficult challenge. She’d never be content following the same old processes and procedures for any length of time.
This is true of INFJs too. We’re often happiest when we’re learning new skills and researching interesting topics.
Last week, another INFJ reminded me how much we love to learn and grow. He said he’d typically move onto a new skill or topic every two years. Once he’d master something, he’d lose interest, even if he was good enough to garner 1.3 million views on YouTube.
Can you relate? Do you bounce from interest to interest every couple years? Or do you wonder whether or not you have the capacity to stick with a skill or interest for any length of time?
INFJs are by nature creatives. We love to think up new possibilities and exciting opportunities. But we sometimes struggle to decide what we should pursue for the long haul.
We want something that will capture our interest, enable us to use our strengths, and challenge us to grow. But is there anything like that? And if there is, how can you find it?
How to Stick with One Interest
You can find an interest and stay engaged, and these 5 tips will help you do just that.
1. Choose an interest with built-in opportunities to grow and develop.
If the interest your pursuing has multiple levels of complexity, it’s a good fit for you. You want something with a considerable degree of mental challenge. You’ll also want to choose an interest that’s deep – one that you can dive into for years to come.
Music fits the bill. A songwriter can combine notes and melodies in a myriad of ways. I have enjoyed Myers-Briggs personality theory for its complexity. The eight cognitive functions that drive the 16 personalites are complicated and dynamic. I could research them for decades without getting bored.
No matter what you do, you’ll likely want to pursue something creative. Creative ventures will give you the best cognitive challenge and opportunity to use your natural gifts and talents in ever-evolving ways.
2. Make sure it’s something you keep coming back to.
What do you keep coming back to time and time again? Look at your past to discover what you kept going back to. And ask friends and family what you couldn’t stop talking or thinking about.
Author Jeff Goins says that even though we often think the answer is to look to the future, there’s much we can learn from our pasts.
3. Can you combine interests?
If you’re still struggling to make up your mind, then consider combining your interests. Can you combine your love of guitar and writing to start a guitar blog? Or are you an ecologist at heart who loves to paint? Why not paint nature scenes? Your best contributions will likely come from a combination of your strengths and interests.
4. Would you sacrifice for it?
Steve Moore recently taught a webinar on finding your passion. One of the points he made was that a real passion is something you’ll sacrifice for.
While choosing an interest or subject to focus on means letting others atrophy and die, it’s the best long-term move. Focus is powerful. If you focus light into a laser beam, you can cut through steel. And that’s just light. Imagine what your life will do when you zero in on one interest!
5. Mix it up.
Later on, when your subject or interest grows stale, learn new skills within your field. I know bloggers and podcasters, for instance, who’ve lost interest in what they teach. But in the moment they felt like quitting, they made a decision to “mix it up.” They started creating videos to teach the same content, and the new medium ended up being just what they needed to spice up their work.
If you’re a teacher, could you work as a consultant or coach? If you’re a counselor, could you start working with clients online? No matter what you do, keep your eyes open for opportunities to apply your skills in new and interesting ways because you’ll inevitably get the itch to try and learn new things.