On Knowing

Recently, I have been purging deadweight from my life. During my latest paperwork shredfest,  a long-forgotten Myers-Briggs personality profile came to light. I endured taking that test long ago for a big, important, corporate job I held. I remember answering what seemed like an endless game of questions for the better part of a workday. The thing I remember most about the test was how many times it requested I decide what I thought other people thought and carefully fill in the oval. None of the given answer choices seemed correct, so being the person I am, I decided that I had no clue what other people actually thought inside their own heads. To be accurate, and to efficiently cross the task of test-taking off my to do list, I quickly dismissed any question that required me to decide what other people were thinking with “I don’t know.” In my view of the world, this was the only true and accurate response.

The thing I find interesting about the test results I received is that here, almost 30 years later, my personality profile is dead-on accurate. How could a test taken haphazardly by an impatient 20-year old be so right on?

I am an INFP. That means Introverted Feeling and Extraverted Intuition. So many people who claim to know me well dismiss that I am an introvert. Wrong. Introvert does not mean shy. Consider this: Introverts typically are drawn to their inner world, prefer to communicate in writing, work out their ideas by reflecting on them, focus in-depth on their interests, learn best by reflection and practice, are private and contained and take initiative only when a situation or issue is very important to them. OK. Check, check, check, check, check, check and check. Introverts draw their energy from within.

The way I take in information is Intuitive, and typically: they are oriented to future possibilities, are imaginative and verbally creative, they focus on patterns and meanings within data,  they remember specifics in relation to a pattern, move quickly to conclusion, want clarification of both ideas and theories before they take action, and they trust inspiration. Ditto on the checks. I take in information by seeing the big picture and new possibilities. I go by what I observe.

My decision-making is based in feeling. I consider what is important to me and others. I project myself mentally into a situation to consider possible outcomes, and strive for fairness, harmony and compassion when I make important decisions. I wish to be treated fairly and rewarded fairly for what I contribute and what I have earned. I am guided by my personal values. This assessment is a no Brainer and dead right.

My interaction with the outer world is one of Perceiving. Apparently, I seek ways to experience and understand life, rather than controlling it. I am spontaneous, flexible, casual, open-ended, adaptable, and energized when I must rely on my resourcefulness to rescue something at the last minute.

At first I thought this one was dead wrong, because I typically work like a field marshal, making both long and short term plans based in sound decisions. I want accuracy. I want a clear objective. I bristle at confusion, disorganization, forgetfulness, lack of planning, and shooting from the hip. I loathe discovering there’s a new directive du jour.

Upon further examination of my own way of being however, I have decided that my actual behavior in my own space and the role I play at work are often at odds. At work, I can vacillate between being a control freak or dismissing things that do not hold my interest or offend me. I will withdraw from both people and situations when my inner value system has been violated — unfortunate side effects of my personality type. When I am stressed, I become discouraged, critical, dismissive and judgmental. I doubt my own competence. Yep. I hate it when this happens.

Working at home every day has revealed to me just how much I am at odds with what I have to do vs. who I am. Being in my own space each and every day has fed the introvert part of my personality. After years of being knattered at and having my energy depleted in an office situation and by corporate conundrums, I have come into the power of my own space. It is glorious and makes me a more efficient creative contributor. I suddenly have so much creative energy available to me that I am shocked by my own efficiency and productivity. I am getting things done that have been festering for years, and I am able to sort crap out and ignore what is BS really, really fast now.

It is nice to know.


About Helen Driggs

Metalsmith, Teaching Artist, Writer, Maker of things. Former Senior Editor of Lapidary Jewelry Artist Magazine View all posts by Helen Driggs

One response to “On Knowing

  • Jan Porter

    I just started reading your blog, but went back to look at the previous posts. I was encouraged to see you talk about introversion. I think your description of introversion is right on – they draw their energy from within. It took me 50 years to accept myself as normal, though introverted; not shy, just liking to be alone more than some. At 68, and retired, I now know how “glorious” it can be to have the time alone I crave to develop and work on my ideas. I still see my 2 best friends once a week, but along with conversation about our personal lives, we share jewelry projects, creative ideas, and bead store excursions.

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