A glimpse into the behavioral psychology of a dreamer.
Sunday, October 13, 2019
To me, the 16 personality types always seemed like a contemporary horoscope. The science behind analyzing the 16 personality types seems inexact, some conflation of intuition, and cold reading. I have always been skeptical of these personality designations; I remember first taking the test early in college and finding the result of Mediator to seem insignificant and negligible. Last night, however, I found myself taking the personality test on a whim, out of some spontaneous curiosity about my own behavior. I was looking for insight into myself, and I think that I may have manifested it. Surprisingly, my results were the same as they were years before. I was the Mediator, INFP, (Introversion, Intuition, Feeling, Perception) . Not really knowing what to do with that acronym, I spent a few hours reading and doing research on this personality type and found it to be eerily similar to my own.
I’m not suggesting that a personality test will relay the complexities of the spectrum of human emotion. However, this designation seems congruent with who I know myself to be. Some favorable aspects of this personality include unrelenting ambitions, resilience to criticism, and a heightened capacity for empathy. Negative traits include being overly self-reflective, disorganized, disconnected, and having a low tolerance for overexposure to draining social engagements. While I was learning about the personality type, I found myself reflecting on my previous posts, especially the ones that I have published on this blog. You see, INFP’s are also known as the dreamers. We are the kind of people that are content with spending hours within our own imagination, daydreaming and fantasizing about an ideal future. Productivity often falls behind creativity in terms of significance for INFP’s. We subsist on our individual principals and lofty dreams. Regularly spending time drifting in and out of reality.
If I’m being honest with myself, this describes me all too well. Family members and friends have grown frustrated in the past with my lackadaisical attachment to reality. Often commenting that I live in a fantasy world, far too concerned with idealism, rather than a pragmatic approach to reality. This criticism has resurfaced repetitively throughout my relationships with others. I often hear this about myself and concur to some degree. For me, the outlandish possibilities provide me with a sense of purpose. Dream fulfillment seems to be my only long-term goal that I have given enough attention to justify thorough planning.
Frequent career changes are also a personality trait of INFP individuals. In my young adult life, I worked over 10 different jobs with varying degrees of required engagement and knowledge. The following is a list of part-time jobs or careers that I have attempted or mastered in the past:
- Kitchen Cook
- Bus Boy
- Shift Manager
- Garden Center Vendor
- Emergency Medical Technician
- Student (yes, it is a job)
I am still struggling to determine what career path to take in the future. Teaching is fulfilling and rewarding, but I am prone to fantasize about what careers would be most suitable for my personality and creative endeavors. Expressing my philosophy is of the utmost importance to me. The following is a list of occupations that I would love to experience and master in the future:
- Copy Writer
- Adjunct Professor
- Content Producer
- Multimedia Analyst
- Documentary Producer
- Museum Curator
It is safe to say that some of these jobs are inaccessible without a considerable amount of dedication and education. Even with my degree, some of these job requirements just seem unachievable within the context of my short life. However, some of these jobs are only a few years away from being actualized. It is essential for me to find time to dedicate to these passions, they may be the only path forward to a fulfilling career and life. There is no way that I could possibly achieve all these dreams, but I sure as hell can try. I think the overarching theme of my aspirations is that I need room for creativity in my work. I used to joke with my mother that I never wanted to end up in a cubicle. My practical father would laugh it off, saying that I should just look for stability, even if that came with 4 short walls and a desk. My mother would actively encourage my ambitious outlook and support even my wildest dreams. This balance would tilt the scales back and forth but leave me with enough wiggle room to think creatively about my future.
I’d think that this assessment of myself sounds like I’ve drunk the proverbial Kool-Aid of behavioral psychology. I am fascinated by it, but still skeptical. However, I am willing to embrace this personality designation because it is suitable for me. I don’t intend to become a behavioral psychologist, but I have always been interested in human interactions. I remember purchasing a book on body-language so that I could read a room better. Looking for clusters of subtle behavior that may indicate confidence, reluctance, deception, or authenticity. The book didn’t change my life, but it did offer some unique perspectives when analyzing social and unconscious behavior. The utility of understanding these interactions has proven useful in several careers. Trusting my intuition and expanding my knowledge of human behavior will continue to shape my interactions with others in the world and promote better communication and understanding.
As for the future, I need to stay focused on my long-term goals. Getting trapped in an unhappy career is one of my greatest fears. Developing an exit plan and acquiring all of the necessary components to advance is a top priority for me. Conventional retirement is not something that I see happening in my lifetime. I do appreciate the concept of maturing through a career to earn recognition and some sort of fixed income. However, I cannot ever see myself sticking with one job, working for one company for long enough to ever meet the ever-increasing term requirements for a pension. I will likely work for the rest of my adult life, and I am okay with that. As long as the work that I’m doing is fulfilling and compelling, I will be content. Acquiring the discipline to shift from one career to another will take a great deal of dedication and practice, but fulfilling my dreams is my prerogative, and must remain a priority.