In the series on INFJ Superpowers, we discussed your greatest strengths. A critical follow-up question to that conversation is: How do I maximize Ni, my greatest strength?
Developing and learning how to use introverted intuition more effectively can…
- Increase your productivity
- Improve your confidence
- Bring you greater joy
- Reduce frustrations
- And even open up new opportunities
So let’s take a look at 4 important factors that will help you maximize Ni.
1. Maximize Ni through input.
“You are what you eat.” I’m sure you’ve heard that statement before. It’s true of Ni too.
Because INFJs are especially curious people, we have big questions about how and why the world works the way it does. We’re also born problem-solvers. We love generating solutions that help people overcome challenges and grow.
One of the best ways to supercharge your Ni so that it can tackle big-picture questions and solve problems is to feed your mind information from a number of different perspectives. Research your question or problem, and look at it from different angles until you can boil it down to its essence.
This might entail reading or listening to 3, 5, or 10 books on a topic. Or you might want to explore podcast episodes and YouTube videos. Do what works for you and helps you paint broad strokes on the big-picture canvas of your mind.
At the same time, give yourself the freedom to indulge your curiosity. Learn about unrelated interests that grab your attention and pull you in. The best answers and solutions are the product of out-of-the-box thinking, where seemingly unrelated ideas come together. So give your mind room to learn, explore, and play.
2. Time is your friend.
This process takes time. You can’t force Ni to work any more than you can make a plant grow. You can only cultivate the right surroundings and environment for thought. And one of the most important factors is time.
The INFJ mind must have time to “connect the dots” and identify patterns. While insights often emerge suddenly, they may require days to process and stew. That’s why you need to be gracious with yourself when you’re in meetings. Your best ideas likely won’t come when you’re surrounded by external processors but hours, days, or even weeks later when you’ve had plenty of time alone.
If you want to maximize Ni, learn to appreciate the process and build in think time. Plan ahead a little bit, always keep a journal with you, and ignore the pressure to think like everyone else. The results will speak for themselves.
3. You need quiet spaces.
When I was in college, one of my favorite places to study was in book stacks. I sat for hours there, out of sight, free from interruption, and lost in thought. It was glorious.
The library honored my Ni, which is an extremely fragile process. INFJs often need silence to do their best thinking, though quiet music can be an aid. So a solo car ride, walk in the woods, or workout is a great time to think.
And if you’re fortunate enough to have an office in your house, make the most of it. If not, the library, noise-canceling headphones, and inexpensive ear muffs are your allies.
When you do get interrupted, learn to ask the question What does this make possible? This one query can transform frustration into opportunity. When I was working on this post, my wife and son came into the room, and I lost my train of thought. I felt frustrated at first until I asked What does this make possible. I quickly realized the interruption was a great example of what I was talking about in this section.
4. Exercise your strength.
Ni is a muscle with much potential, but it’s not born strong. You have to build it up through regular, intentional use.
Do you study, research, create, plan, invent, problem-solve, write, or engage in some other kind of intuition-heavy activity? Find out what it is that you do best and love doing, and then try to spend time doing it as much as possible – especially if it’s part of your work. In fact, see if you can invest 70% of your time honing that ability.
Also, trust Ni. You think differently than most people, so that makes your ideas especially valuable. Share them with the world, and resist the temptation to waste time analyzing your ideas to death. No one ever feels ready or good enough in the beginning, so don’t let that keep you from starting.