Lots of INFPs are constantly asking themselves how they can become better sensors and thinkers. How can I become more disciplined? They ask me. The issue of not being an ESTJ is a big anxiety to many INFPs. You know you could if you just pushed yourself enough… You've been able to be like this in the past, but you keep finding it impossible to sustain it. You feel like you need it in work, in family relations, and in life's more practical matters. So how do you become a high performing INFP?
The grip of the ESTJ
Of course, what you should be asking yourself is “Do I really want it?” Truth is, to be like this, that requires a tremendous amount of willpower. And will-power is a finite resource. Eventually, everyone runs out of it. And what's more is, the ESTJ mode for an INFP relies completely on external incentives. The only thing keeping an INFP in this mode is an environment that keeps putting big long-term rewards in their face. INFPs, beyond this, need excessive schedules and outer control mechanisms to ensure their focus doesn't drift away. This is not an INFPs native state, and forcing yourself to be this way is difficult.
Still, it is normal to feel anxious about what we are not. We may wish we were more practical, that we were better with routines, that we were more productive, proactive, and talkative. Interestingly, the ESTJ state represents our primary anxieties and our primary stressors. Even if we avoid the ESTJ mode and we try to forget it is there, if the anxieties and the stress is real, it will persist, and it will block our energy.
Becoming a high performing INFP
What we need is to be smart. In our life, there are things that are directly fueled by what we have energy and motivation to do. And stress and negativity exists to help us with everything else. Stress and negativity, as long as it doesn't become overwhelming or anxiety-inducing, can help us in work and with things we find tedious or annoying. It helps us in school and when learning things we don't care much about. And it helps us in a crisis. Often, the first thing you'll have to realise that you are measuring being high performing according to what society thinks. You've internalised what you think other people want you to be. You've forgotten what you want yourself to be. You will need to realign and rethink about what you truly love.
What we need is to be smart and self-compassionate. We need to ensure that the ESTJ stress and anxiety mode doesn't spin beyond our control and that we prioritise it's use and where we use it. Don't try to conquer the world, just try to get your bills paid on time. Free up as much time as possible to explore your passions and what interests you. Try to live in a way that makes you feel that life is fun, meaningful, and interesting. Try to free up energy by stopping to fight yourself on who you are. In times when you have to compromise, give yourself this affirmation:
- I am sorry I have to do this “annoying thing”, I promise to make it up to myself later.
Remember what flow is like for an INFP
- Maintain a state of idealism (NF)
- Try to be in an advisor/expert state (IP)
- Explore philosophy and theories about the world (IN)
- Practise seeing nuances and different possibilities (NP)
- Explore your deeper self and what you feel deep down (IF)
- Listen deeply to others to learn about their hidden issues (FP)
When you can, this 6 step list is your road map to flow, energy, peace, motivation, and balance. With step one, the key is to practice benevolence, forgiveness, freedom, self-direction, and privacy.
With step two, it's about letting yourself process the world before you respond to it, and letting yourself discern and balance it, rather than trying to control it.
With step three, it's about find your own life philosophy and to reflect on what you think about the world. Explore abstract concepts and theories – it helps give you balance and peace. In step four, see nuances and possibilities, and jump from one theory to the next, letting your inspiration guide you forward.
That helps reduce stress and the feeling of being trapped. With five, let yourself be sensitive and let yourself feel what you think is right. Find your own version of what is right, and ignore what other people think. And finally, in number six, see the nuances inside yourself, listen deeply to yourself, and show yourself different ways of understanding your own inner life.
With all of this, power will come, and it will help you tackle all sorts of issues in life.