One of my favorite personality type YouTubers is a guy named Frank James. Not too long ago, he posted a video entitled “What’s Annoying About Being Each of the Sixteen Personality Types.” For INFPs, he mentioned the annoyance of “Distraction.” However, the kind of distraction he mentions isn’t the typical thing you think of when it comes to distraction. It’s the kind of distraction that happens when you’re trying to reach your most meaningful goals, but outsiders butt in and give you a hard time about it. It’s the irritation that comes from people not getting out of your way so you can do your thing.
This video made me think deeply about my own personal rules of keeping my goals and plans to myself until I feel ready. I know this flies in the face of ideas like having accountability partners and letting a bunch of people know what I’m doing so that I feel more incentive to reach my goals. Although this stuff is supposed to keep you on track, honestly, at times I find that I do my best when I don’t tell anyone about what I’m trying to achieve, and here’s why.
A long time ago, I remember reading, and I don’t remember where, that INFPs and INFJs are like the subconscious of society. This is because the functions we prefer to use tend to be directly opposite of what’s most common. INFPs are intuitive introvert feelers who just want to go with the flow of things. This can go against the grain of societies where most people tend to be extraverted sensors and who are slow to consider the emotional effects of the way they approach their lives.
Since INFPs approach the world in an unique way, INFPs also tend to have unique and unusual goals–to the point that it’s often hard to find social support for reaching such goals.
I’ve often found that when I share my goals with others, the first thing they tell me is why I can’t do it. They tell me why reaching this goal will be impossible for me. “Most people don’t do that,” I’ve been told.
And I want to be like “Hello, that’s why I’m not like most people.”
I like to think that the reason why INFPs are a bit offbeat is because they are meant to handle and accomplish things that most people are too scared or too realistic to even attempt.
But the point is, as an INFP, I’ve found that exposing my plans often attracts way too many naysayers from the start. And this is a distraction because not only does it drain the precious energy I need to do the “impossible,” but what I really need is support, not all the reasons why it could go wrong without any constructive solutions being offered.
And I think what most people don’t realize is that although INFPs may appear soft and dreamy on the surface, the INFP has most likely done a lot of research on the goals they are trying to reach.
I’ve been told, “You can’t do that” by people who know nothing about the landscape of what I’m trying to get into. So INFPs, I encourage you to trust your personal research and vision and don’t entertain the naysayers. Most likely you already know what the risks and difficulties are before anyone has pointed them out to you. Instead focus on people who give you more energy to reach your goals.
On the other end of the distraction spectrum are Hijackers. These are people who get so excited when you share your goals and plans with them, that they jump on that vision like it’s their own and bombard you with unwanted suggestions.
This too can drain the energy you need to reach your goals because it dilutes your own personal vision for what you’re trying to make happen.
As an INFP, I’ve noticed that protecting my vision for my goals is essential for reaching them. That’s because the imagery my mind creates gives me the fuel I need to see a project from start to finish. If I can’t see it clearly unfolding in my mind’s eye with each step I take, it’s not going to happen. And hijackers often blur my internal vision, to the point that I lose motivation to accomplish what I want.
So if you are someone who wants to support an INFP with their goals, please, just listen first. Then when the INFP is done sharing their vision, ask them if it’s okay to share your suggestions. This will help the INFP to draw the line between what their personal vision is and outside influences.
And if you’re an INFP with a goal, keep an eye on how outside input is affecting you. Are the extra suggestions making your goal clearer to you or is it muddying the waters? If the opinions of others are detaching you from your goals, then it may be best if you keep that goal to yourself and do some private research on it via books and articles that resonate with the way you want to accomplish it. If you are feeling thrown off by information in general, it also helps to take some quiet time to check in with what you really want.
They All Mean Well
Hijackers and Naysayers are super annoying, but they mean well.
Naysayers sometimes are people who genuinely care about you and don’t want to see you get hurt. They can also be people who carry a lot of fear related to reaching their own starry-eyed goals and are quick to project that fear onto you.
Naysayers come from a place of fear and unease, and that is unfortunate.
Hijackers on the other hand are enthusiastic people who believe in your ideas and want to be a part of what you’re trying to do. They just have a hard time realizing that ultimately the goal is your own personal goal and doesn’t belong to them. How you go about reaching that goal is your decision only and is beyond their control.
Hijackers can also be people who have failed to reach their own meaningful goals, so they live vicariously through the exciting goals of others. Another unfortunate situation.
It’s Okay Keep It To Yourself
So I’m telling you from personal experience, it’s okay not to tell a single soul about your goals until it’s done and over with. Don’t feel pressured to share with others what you’re up to in the name of keeping motivated if it feels unsafe to you. In fact, if you struggle with motivation, it may have more to do with how you feel about your vision than the lack of people pressuring you to get it done.
Don’t give a lot of weight to the words of people who are quick to take the wind out of your sails but offer zero advice on how to overcome the problems they imagine you could run into.
When dealing with such people, you may also find it helpful to listen to music that speaks truth to the haters or watch documentaries of people who have achieved amazing things in the face of not being understood.
Accomplishing unusual goals takes a lot of emotional energy and fortitude, so surround yourself with resources that refill you and don’t drain your motivation.
(P.S. If you need more help reaching your goals with focus as an INFP, check out The Focused Dreamer Planner Printable)