INFJ Personality Type Interview (with Gary Williams) | Podcast 0432
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In this episode, Joel and Antonia talk with Profiler Training alumni, Gary Williams about his lived experience as an INFJ personality type.
Click Here to Download the INFJ Handy Guide
In this podcast you’ll find:
- Guest Host Gary, INFJ, joins.
- Download our INFJ Personality Type Handy Guide to learn about the INFJ functions.
- How did Gary discover his personality type?
- Why does Gary choose to use his Copilot Harmony (Extraverted Feeling) to show up with an energy that seems more extraverted than introverted?
- Is it important for Gary to have time alone?
- What advice would Gary give to an Introvert getting into their extraverted Copilot?
- How does Gary use Perspectives (Introverted Intuition) to make sure that he will have enough energy in social settings?
- What important purpose does Gary’s Sensation (Extraverted Sensing) 3 Year Old serve?
- Gary shares some important considerations in how he has designed his life.
- Why has Gary overidentified with his Accuracy 10 Year Old function (Introverted Thinking)in the past to the extent that he mistyped himself twice?
- How is it for Gary to be a man who has a preference for Harmony (Extraverted Feeling)?
- How does Gary use Accuracy (Introverted Thinking) and Harmony (Extraverted Feeling) to help others get to the truth?
- Can an INFJ feel like they are more harsh than they actually are?
- What is Gary’s relationship to his Sensation (Extraverted Sensing 3 Year Old )?
- Which INFJ stereotypes does Gary identify with and which does he not identify with?
- What advice would Gary give to his younger self?
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Showing 28 comments
shit now I am not sure if I am INFJ or INFP
I relate to the Sensation stuff he talked about – in the past few years I’ve gotten into the habit of walking places as much as I can. It’s a chance to get some time with my thoughts, while enjoying the outside world
So the question is why each person chooses what is most important to them. Why does a 21 month old baby remember months before and places objects everything and then when your 4 or even 3 remember nothing of there past. Has your cognitive function stack been set over 3 years or are you born like that.
I am an INFJ; I am 40 years old. I identified with much of what Gary spoke of. I spent so much time in my inner world during adolescence that people would say I looked like I wanted to murder someone, or that I talked like a robot. This isn’t what I felt on the inside, so I began to adapt my outward persona by stepping into my Fe. Fe isn’t something that has never been automatic, but it has become easier over time and it is so worth it. I find it hardest to step into my Fe when I foresee a confrontation that needs to be had. I used to find myself avoiding it so long that it blew up in my face. I also tend to get overstimulated (due to my Se 3 year old), which is why I don’t much care for crowds, however, grooming Se by intentionally stepping out of my comfort zones has led to the most growth and balance. At first, I managed the energy drain in large social settings by choosing to focus on one or two people at a time focused on creating a personal connection.
Much of what I did to overcome my fear and step outside of my comfort zone was learned in a book called “The Tools”.
I agree with all the above. My adolescence was very like this and I struggle with the same things. I will definitely look into getting this book “The tools”. I have already read Personality Hacker and love it!
We did a 5 part podcast series on “The Tools!”
Thank you. I will definitely have a listen.
There is something i do not understand NI is visionary it is not just using their own perspective it could be any ones perspective Gary expressed is NI in a very NE style. Example i say i will make the best pizza in the uk and i will think of a million ways of achieving this an NI user will create one way they consider best and run with it unless they get told a million ways of doing it and then they will pick the best way. They will be amazing at it once they find it.
Continuing with the pizza analogy. I think as an INFJ I would start by researching everybody’s method of making the best pizza. At first I would try different methods and I wouldn’t be sure where to start. Then I would narrow down until I was sure I had the answer. Finding the perfect pizza would be the ultimate goal. I think of Ni as starting wide and then narrowing down until I’m completely focused on the answer. Is this right? Do other INJ’s experience it the same way? I am never sure I have an answer until I’ve gathered many opinions.
After posting my comment about pizza, I got on my bike and cycled to my very non INFJ, current job as a cleaner. It then occurred to me that I might have spent ages using my Ni and Fe, contemplating how to get the perfect pizza recipe but really there isn’t one because everyone’s perception would be different. It would then occur to me there is no right or wrong and I should just sit down and enjoy eating it. I’m wondering if this is how my stack of functions works. Ti kicked in and ended with SE?
How do you know you are using NI. When i am thinking alone i am pretty much talking a lot in my head its loud clear. I am sure as you can be that my brother is an INFJ and i will be going on and on with ideas i think he is not listening 10 or 20 mins later he is talking going on like it was 2 mins ago. That is how i see NI.
Do you know thinking about it when i do something i can have one way of doing something and by the end of thinking i have a million ways so maybe INFJs and INFPs work the opposite. Well obviously they do but i needed to get it fixed in my head how the description is being formulated. My INFJ brother never asks the questions i ask them and then he thinks and will answer he is easily the smarter one in the normal factual basis.
I struggle to believe anything everything is possible.
I think all introverted functions (Si, Fi, Ti, Ni) look for reductionist answers to things, and reductionism likes to boil things down to their simplest parts.
The extroverted functions (Ne, Se, Fe, Te), by contrast, look at outcomes. Outcomes can be infinite. And if the outcomes are not infinite, they are at least not the sum of their parts, and for that reason, complex.
Take the game of chess. Trying to understand how the game works in a reductionist fashion by understanding what pieces are available and how the pieces are allowed to move is pretty simple, straightforward and definable.
Trying to understand how the game works by understanding all the different possible plays…well, its difficult and not straightforward; there are more possible outcomes in chess than atoms in the universe. This why we can teach a computer how to play the game of chess but not how to always win.
Its from our introverted functions that we derive something solid and unchanging to anchor ourselves to, such as memories and traditions, morals and values, facts and symbols.
Its from our extroverted functions that we understand the game play of life.
People with dominant Ni find comfort in anchoring themselves to reductionist time, which is why don’t have the NP struggle of thinking of a million ways something could happen. Once we figure out what the most likely thing is, its very hard to budge or imagine another possibility.
Fantastic thanks for that comment.
I am going to reply to this again. This comment helped me so much to grasp introverted my FI is so much easier to see why it narrows human emotional situations down into a clear you should have done that to stop them being upset for example. Brilliant.
Thanks! Glad it helped.
Listened again Gary must be creative subtype enneagram 5.
People question that I am an INFJ, but I identify with all of what Gary was describing and it confirms my type for me. I think the thing is that when you combine enneagram type with MBTI INFJ’s especially will look different from each other. I’m an enneagram sp/sx 641. I seem very different from an acquaintance that is an INFJ sx/sp 478. People forget that MBTI is your hardware and the way make decisions and enneagram type is your software and the motivation the influences your decision.
I was sure i knew two INFJs but not any more if Gary is a INFJ. He sounds more like an INFP without the FI.
How is he talking about the past as himself with no FI SI and he is talking so quick like using NE i am just lost now.
Gary didn’t sound like an INFJ to me either, sounded more like an ENFP or INFP.
Most people end up typing themselves in the beginning more based on their tertiary and inferior functions rather than their dominant and auxiliary.
Gary is both knowledgeable about type and self-aware, so I’d recommend listening to the interview and expanding your definitions of what an INFJ on a growth journey can look like.
Also – People being the same type but showing up as different variations on a theme happens all the time. Gary being an INFJ doesn’t mean the people in your life aren’t also INFJs. 🙂
My two cents on the INFJ experience.
I’m convinced Si and Ni work essentially the same way. They both concern themselves with the story of time.
Si is past time, Ni is universal time.
Much in the way an ISFJ first and foremost goes through their day comparing their experience against their Si scrapbook of past precedent, an INFJ goes through their day comparing their experience against their Ni scrapbook of universal (eternal) ideas.
This is how I would describe what its like being in an INFJ mind. The “aha” moments that people describe are just what happens when you are flipping through the mental scrapbook and see the essence of something match a universal idea you’ve previously identified.
This is why many NJs think in terms of archetypes (Jung), perfect forms (Plato), universal grand theories (Newton, Hawking), and finite repeating periods of time (Marcus Aurelius)
The only difference between Si and Ni is Si is temporal and therefore, unique to a particular moment in time.
Ni is always true, past present or future.
The reason Ni users have the reputation of “predicting the future” is because, once you have logged enough hours in with Ni, you realize time does have a pattern that flows through all things, in both the individual and society (Clare Graves and Strauss-Howe, for example, stumbled on this through their years of research).
The major world religions are a philosophy built on Ni universal time, which is why faith and trust in the timing of things is a key principle in many of them.
One of the reasons INFJs (and ISFJs for that matter) can become recluses is the moment now never matches past time or universal time, it never can and never will, because objective reality is an emergent phenomenon.
so the only place you can attempt to make reality fit that Si or Ni picture is in the confines of your home or your mind. The key to being happy as an INFJ (and an ISFJ for that matter) is finding joy in the beauty and novelty of each unfolding moment, and letting go of the fear of it being unfamiliar or imperfect.
Also, my #1 INFJ pet peeve and why INFJs IMO get depressed and scared to share their opinions : people denying and “destroying” the existence of universal patterns with never ending examples of things that don’t fit the pattern, and going on a trope about chaos and how nothing can be known. INFJ views get constantly discredited.
For example, people who deny the existence of MBTI 16 types because there are more than just 16 kinds of people.
But, many systems with infinite possibilities are rooted in finite principles or pieces. The periodic table, for example–a limited number of elements creates an infinite number of molecules. A limited number of notes creates infinite number of songs. A limited number of letters creates infinite number of words etc
There’s room to accept both, both perfect order and chaos.
While much of what you said makes sense, I would add this. I am an INFJ. My ex wife was an ISFJ. It seems we should have been similar, but we weren’t… at all.
Her Si didn’t pattern recognize by throwing ideas around in her head. We ended up in constant misunderstandings, because the way we thought of things was so different. Abstract concepts and peering behind the curtain, didn’t ever occur to her. She was more attached to finite or concrete past experiences and how they made her feel. She was very in tune with the real world, fitting in and appearing “normal”. Routine and a sense of nostalgia were corner stones for her. She was extremely task orientated and just couldn’t understand how someone might forget things, such as picking up the milk on the way home.
On the surface, I don’t think ISFJs and INFJs are that similar.
And, yes, Si and Ni concern themselves with different information.
But I was referring to the internal structure of the functions, not their appearance from the outside.
A lot of people have trouble envisioning what Ni is like, and if I had to explain to someone what its like have Ni as a dominant function, I’d say exactly what I said above; just in the same way Si has a scrapbook of past images which it is constantly comparing current experience to, Ni has a scrapbook of universal ideas which it is constantly comparing current experience to.
If you can envision what having Si is like, you can envision what having Ni is like, except its not memories you’re accessing; Its like having a flashback to a previous idea you once identified.
Hi Taylor, I am very interested in your comments. A lot for me to think through and embody. Thank you. I wonder if you could unpack the following two ideas of yours a bit more?
“One of the reasons INFJs (and ISFJs for that matter) can become recluses is the moment now never matches past time or universal time, it never can and never will, because objective reality is an emergent phenomenon.”
“so the only place you can attempt to make reality fit that Si or Ni picture is in the confines of your home or your mind. The key to being happy as an INFJ (and an ISFJ for that matter) is finding joy in the beauty and novelty of each unfolding moment, and letting go of the fear of it being unfamiliar or imperfect.”
I find it extremely difficult to reconcile, appreciate and settle into the emergent – I feel like this is key to relaxed, peaceful happiness or pleasure.
Thanks, I’m glad you liked my comment.
In a comment I wrote above responding to Ryan, I said introverted functions are best understood as reductionist, and extroverted functions understood as emergent.
Reductionism looks to reduce things to their fundamental parts, and emergence looks to understand the whole when those parts are thrown together.
I used the chess example above, another one I like to use is music.
Reductionism would try to understand a piece of music by breaking it down into the individual notes.
Emergence would try and understand a piece of music by listening to the whole.
Parts are universal and constant, wholes are unique and infinite.
Both INFJs and ISFJs (and all introverts for that matter) approach life by trying to break each situation down into its individual notes. This is a great tool for understanding how things work or identifying universal and familiar patterns, but if you always revert to this method of going through life, you’ll miss out on the experience of simply enjoying the music.
This is scary for introverts because, they love the parts. And the whole does not reflect the parts.
A song is much different than the individual notes that compose it.
I’d give the advice to INFJs and all introverts to enjoy the music, even though you lose the individual notes in the emergence of the whole song.
Hi Taylor i liked all your responses along the idea of reductionism.
To add one more example to the music and chess ones you gave is in the world of maths. in linear algebra, we have the concept of basis vectors, and all the vectors in multidimensional space emerge from the linear combination of the linearly independent basis vectors(Parts that are independent on their own).
I loved Gary’s description of how it really feels to be a INFJ. As a married mother of 2, in my fourties, my life is very different. My life decisions have also been very different and in my twenties I identified more as INFP. I was surprised when a personality test I did at 35 said I was INFJ. Hearing Gary speak I recognise so many of the same thought processes that underline my decisions. The need to plan and organise ahead of time can be both rewarding and exhausting for me. Also the balance between Fe and Ti is exactly like Gary explained for me. The Ti can sometimes sound so loud inside my own head and the Fe has to be turned on. Sometimes it feels like the Ti is the real me and the Fe is a little fake. I also often think I’ve been rude and said something out loud but it’s stayed in my head. I consider everything I say very carefully so not to hurt others feelings. This podcast has been very helpful for clarifying how I really feel and given me the language to explain it better. Thank you.