INFJ Fantastic Four - Intuition

Thursday, June 09, 2016 2 Comments A+ a-

Hey there! Another post from The Gillicrist Pen coming your way...this one is the start of a small "intro" series I did on the INFJ functional stack. Enjoy!


INFJ Fantastic Four - Intuition
8/13/2014 via The Gillicrist Pen

Morning, guys! It's shaping up to be a beautiful day here in east-central Illinois. Cool, sunny weather combined with low(ish) humidity means the local park will be calling my name. I'll definitely be walking the pooches later today for some fresh air and exercise!

Okay, so I've been thinking a lot about personality type and preferences lately, and I'm going to do a little mini-series here about the four preferences that drive and motivate the INFJ. If possible, I may go into other personality types in the future, but for now, I'm going to focus on the one I know best. :)

MBTI 411

If you know your personality type, then chances are, you've taken a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). I didn't even know this test existed until I was required to take one for my job. And I'm glad I did, because it offered an explanation for the way I viewed the world...and it let me know that I wasn't crazy.
The MBTI is based mostly on the work of Carl Jung and his theories about the cognitive aspects of personality. There are eight basic preferences: introversion, extraversion, feeling, thinking, intuition, sensing, perceiving, and judging. Every person uses all eight in some capacity, but some are more dominant in our personality than others.

So...blah, blah, blah, what does all this jargon mean? It means that while your brain is a very unique and beautiful thing, it's hard-wired to think, dream, rationalize, and perceive in certain ways. Our preferences make us tick, and our experiences shape us individually into the cool human beings we are today.

The Fantastic Four

The INFJ is driven primarily by four preferences, in the following order (strongest to weakest): intuition, feeling, thinking, and sensing. Each of these has an introverted or extraverted slant. Our specific breakdown: Introverted Intuition (Ni), Extraverted Feeling (Fe), Introverted Thinking (Ti), and Extraverted Sensing (Se).

Today's post covers our most dominant function, the Ni. It's basically a strong intuition that we internalize in order to build beautiful fantasies, create complex worlds, rationalize outcomes, and predict the future. And yes, people, this is totally a superpower.

What does Introverted Intuition look like? Well, for starters, it means we live inside our heads. Sure, we deal with reality, but there is a playful, non-stop imagination going on in the forefront of our brains. And when I say non-stop, I mean it. Everything I hear, see, feel, smell, and taste gets put into that world, and it's mostly on a subconscious level.

For example, yesterday I was listening to a song on the radio as I drove to the coffee shop. One phrase in the lyrics totally grabbed hold of my brain, triggering a series of "what if's" that went down like a row of dominos. I was still driving, of course, sipping my tea and singing along. But the ideas and possibilities from that one phrase completely took over my imagination. What will I do with it? I don't know. Maybe apply it to the Gambit sequel, or use it as the basis for a short story or post.

But this happens all the time in my head...with or without my permission. It's beautiful, passionate, overwhelming, and occasionally annoying (like when I'm trying to sleep, lol).

I See Dead People...NOT

Over at Personality Junkie, Dr. A.J. Drenth has an awesome article about Introverted Intuition. He writes that Ni gives the INFJ (and the INTJ), an otherworldly quality:

Because it does much of its work subconsciously, Ni can seem to have a certain magical quality about it. In fact, it is not unusual for INJs to be viewed as having some degree of psychic or prophetic abilities.
Is this true? Are we really psychic?

Eh, not the way people think. Dr. Drenth goes on to describe how the INFJ's extraverted sensing function plays a huge role in feeding our Ni with an endless supply of sensory data. As an INFJ, I pick up on a lot of things that other people miss, and it happens involuntarily. So when I "jump to a conclusion", it's often an accurate one. Sort of like the Mentalist, but not with intention or training. It's not a supernatural thing, it's just how my brain works. I definitely don't see dead people.

Oh wait...THOSE dead people?
Yeah, I see those!

Prediction Thingy

One other, very cool thing about Ni is that it enables us to quickly predict outcomes. INFJs often excel at picking up patterns (one reason I can't fall asleep to white noise on a digital loop), and we can "project" our thinking into the future. I do this a lot while writing. I envision a scene from several angles, predicting the outcome of each perspective and how it will impact the main character's immediate or long-term future. I tweak, predict again, tweak some more, consider possibilities. Lather, rinse, repeat. This is why I can't crank out twenty pages a day, lol. Too. Much. Thinking. :)

But I apply the prediction thingy to real life as well, and it often helps with planning. Sometimes it gets a little irritating, like when I can see where my life will be in five years, but can't figure out what to make for dinner. Most of the time, though, prediction is a helpful part of my thought process. It generates tons of ideas and gives me a bird's-eye view of the world around me.

Glorious Purpose

The bittersweet thing about Ni? It gives the INFJ a very rich inner life...that takes time to process and unravel. The INFJ can be alone for long periods of time without ever being lonely. I call it my "wilderness" time, because it reminds me of Jesus going into the wilderness to think, pray, and find comfort. When we've had time to sort through our thoughts, INFJs come back to reality with ideas and visions that we can either savor or act upon.

Guys, I said SAVOR or ACT UPON. Sheesh, nobody listens...

Anyway, there you have it, folks...the most creative and mysterious aspect of the INFJ. Our intuition. Coming up next is Extraverted Feeling. Stay tuned! :)

Image Credit: Pups (by me), Dead People, Glorious Yet Clueless 


Write comments
June 9, 2016 at 2:05 PM delete

As INFJs, how do we keep our intuition in check? Often times, I feel intensely convicted regarding a particular matter; however, when I speak with others, they find my ideas to be quite delusional, which then leads me to question my own intuition. When I find myself in these situations, I think to my favorite Biblical story -- the story of Abraham and Isaac. Abraham was entirely alone in his conviction. To others, even the religious, his conviction was absurd. Yet, he still trusted that he was, in fact, not crazy and was truly hearing from God. In the end, He was rewarded for his faith. Are we, INFJ's, called to have this level of faith, even when all evidence points to the idea that we might just be crazy?
And what do we do with our ability to trust ourselves when our intuition is proved wrong? For instance, we are convinced with all of our being that something is one way, and we then come to find out that it's not? I seem to fall apart when I find out that I can't trust my own intuition.

June 9, 2016 at 5:57 PM delete

These are really good questions! I can't speak for other INFJs, but for me, keeping my intuition "in check" often means thinking things through before reacting. I tend to make intuitive leaps--going from A to C and completely skipping B--and people don't always get where I'm coming from. So I think carefully before deciding to share. A lot of times, though, I keep quiet and just watch things play out. I find that my intuition is the perfect guide for my own personal life, but not always acceptable or workable for others.

Which brings me to questioning my intuition. I don't. I look at my intuition as an instinctive, subconscious way of responding to a situation. There's no judgment in it. It's not right or wrong, it just "is" and comes along with being an INFJ. Others (especially others with more experience in certain situations) may scoff or look at me cock-eyed, but that's usually because they don't process things intuitively. If I choose to follow my intuition, I do so knowing that there's a chance it might not play out the way I think it will. If it does, hurray for Ni, right? If it doesn't, I learn from the experience and move on. I don't allow anyone else to influence the way I feel about my Ni.

Is this an Abrahamic level of faith? Well, for me, faith and intuition are slightly different. Faith is a choice. Intuition isn't--it's simply the lens I use to view the world. Can I put faith in my decision to follow my intuition? Absolutely, and this is something I think intuitives struggle with all the time. Choosing intuition over worldly logic/reasoning is risky. We must decide if it's worth the risk.

I honestly feel that INFJs should trust their intuition. Not because it's always right or the perfect answer, but because it's a gift. We have it for a reason. By trusting it, we can offer a different perspective or open someone's eyes to a new way of thinking. Even if it takes us down a path that doesn't provide a solution, that path is an experience we were meant to have. At least, that's how I look at it. For me, intuition isn't an infallible skill that has to magically be right all the time; it's more of a "sacred gift" (as Einstein called it) that serves as a lens, teacher, and guide.

This is just my way of thinking...feel free to discuss and debate! :)