Friday, January 29, 2016

An Artistic Personality Type - ENFP

A Peek Into My Cranium!




When starting any new project, and I love starting new projects, especially a creative project, such as writing, I invariably ask myself a question like: “What should I write about?”

Answer: “Daily Double!”

Me to myself: “Stay on task”

Answer: “Am I too task-oriented?”

Me to myself: “Oriented. What an interesting word… I wonder what the etymology is?”

Answer: “Go Google it” 

(Boot up computer to Google)

Me to myself: “Hey, I need to check my Facebook/Update Twitter!”

(10 min later…)

Me to myself: “What was I doing again?”

Answer: “Writing blog post about being an ENFP”

Me to myself: “ Right! What to write about? Hey, right and write, homophones!”

(Begin to think other homophones. Google is now open on my computer, finally get back on task: blog post)

Answer: “Google is right there, use it to look up post ideas.”

Me to myself (Quoting Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory): “Thanks brain!”

Google Answer: “Write what you know best!”

Me to myself: “What do I know best?”

Answer: “You know yourself (about personalities, MBTI), art: music, painting, drawing and writing…


Analysis of Chaos



At this point, I think you get the idea… yes, that is how I work (my brain works), shocking as it may seem to some of you. You may be thinking: “How on earth do you get anything done?” That is a fair question, but an excellent one. Two answers:

1. I have an associative mind, leaping at high speeds to each new topic and often finding great humor between the connections. Again, this is constant and occurs very quickly, meaning that I get back to the first topic (my goal), relatively fast… if… and this is a big IF… no external actions are required to continue. In my example, I started the computer and therefore, probably would have had another 20 thoughts before getting to: “I need to check my Facebook/Update Twitter.”

2. This is normal to me. I have always been like this, and have developed creative ways to stay on task. If I am actively engaged in a project (in the middle of the a task already (the specific example above is drawn from the planning stages of a project and not during), my thoughts tend to be more streamlined and on target, but not all of them, and it takes conscious effort to stay on target. As naive as this sounds, I have more recently become increasingly aware that many other people’s minds do not work the same way, some do, but not all…. and that fascinates me! 


ENFP – What Does This Acronym Stand For?


Extroverted
Intuitive (N)
Feeling
Perceiving

This acronymic description comes from Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), which divides all humans into 16 distinct personality types. This test does not truly define who you are, (ENFP’s like me, hate to be defined…but that’s another post topic) but generalizes your approach, mental process, and reactions to life, highlighting preferences. You may be similar to another person with the same type (same preferences), but your experiences and genetic makeup are unique to you and will modify those preferences accordingly.




It was only about six months ago that I took a MBTI test and found out that I was an ENFP. This was very illuminating experience in my life, enabling me to relate and think about myself in direct and honest fashion. Other ENFP’s that I have interacted with on Facebook and read about online, dislike the MBTI test, because it “put’s them in a box” or so they feel, but my love of understanding people and my desire to become the best and most complete person that I can, compels me to utilize the MBTI system.

System Default.


Before I jump into explaining what the letters mean for my personality type (ENFP), I just want to further emphasize that these are my natural preferences in how I approach the world around me in my day-to-day life. I can choose to go against my preferences, but these are my “default manufacturer settings” if you will.

Underlying the letters of each type are cognitive functions, formed from the interaction of two of the letters in combinations (like Extroverted Intuition – my primary function). For the purposes of this post, I am going to paint in broad strokes here, and not delve into the functions. If you would like to learn more on this topic – simply Google “ENFP Cognitive Functions” and you will find a plethora of websites and blogs dedicated in their entirety to this topic.  How does this all relate to this blog? To me, being an ENFP forms the basis for my creative endeavors as an artist and if I can better understand myself, I can embrace who I am and live a happier and more productive life! 





ENFP – What Do the Letters Mean?





Extroverted

I am an extrovert, which basically means that I am outward focused. Yes, I am social, but more importantly, I gain energy from those around me. I then spend that energy working on creative activities, like blogging.

For example, I go and play board games on Wednesday nights each week with a group of my friends who live in a neighboring town. I then work hard on Thursday morning writing this article, using the energy that I gained from the previous night interactions. I like to talk about ideas, and process my feelings and thoughts about life verbally. This can be a turn-off for some people, so I have attempted to develop a timing filter of when it is appropriate to do this and when not (no, I have not perfected it yet, I may never get it right, but I try anyway). 

Intuitive

I am an intuitive thinker and my primary approach to the world and new situations is through intuitive, external interaction: this means that I am quick to spot patterns and connects between ideas—a global thinker over details. I like to work in short burst of energy as well. This is an abstract type feature (letter of the acronym), but that makes since, because “intuitive people” like abstract ideas, and tend to be more theoretical than practical or detail focused. 


Feeling

I am feeling based person, but do not necessarily equate the term “feeling” with “emotions” here. Feeling implies more than just being strongly emotional; although, in my case, this is probably truer than I would at this point like to admit. :  ) Ok, you got me, I’m emotional. I cry in Pixar movies, but then again, if you don’t — you have no soul!
  
 I usually enjoy interacting with people, and I have a sincere desire to understand them, help them to grow, and to have a fun time in the process. I am interested in their thoughts, desires, life-goals and dreams. In addition, I have strongly developed principals and morals on which I live my life, and I value harmony over clarity (people like my wife, an INTJ, value clarity over harmony. Those whose preference is for Thinking rather than Feeling—seek clarity in life.) This does not mean that I just go with my feelings when making decisions. I have worked hard to be more rational and logic based in my decision-making, so that I don’t get carried away with myself, but my feelings do matter to me throughout the process.  


Perceiving

Lastly, I am perceiver. I am constantly taking in data and am open/eagerly seek new experiences, places, and friends. I dislike micro-management, schedules etc… as they restrict my artistic impulses and creative endeavors, but also understand their value in that they greatly help me to keep up with my career responsibilities and objectives.

Opposites



For the sake of completeness, here is a diagram below of the eight possible letters that can compose a personality type in the MBTI system. To form a personality type, you must choose one letter from each pair of opposites to create a four letter acronym, like: ENFP, INTJ, ESTP, ISFP or ESTJ etc.

 VS.
Extroverted
Introverted
Intuitive (N)
Sensing
Feeling
Thinking
Perceiving
Judging


To give a quick generalized overview:

If you are not Extroverted then are Introverted and prefer to spend time alone to gain energy to spend on interacting with others.

If you are not intuitive (N) then you are a Sensor, meaning that you use your senses in a concrete way to explore the world or processes things.

If you are not Feeling based then you employ Thinking (I already highlighted one the differences when talking about my Wife: Harmony vs. Clarity).

Lastly, if you are not a Perceiver like me, then you are a Judger (no negative connotation here) – someone who is organized, analytical, and objective.        


ENFPs: General Info



According to several websites on the ENFP personality type, ENFP’s comprise 7-8% of the population (I am not sure if this is US population or the world population); regardless, ENFP’s are typically female: 2:1 ratio of female to male ENFPs.

ENFP’s are the most introverted of the extroverted personality types, because we gain energy through interaction with others and then turn around and spend all that energy being creative and doing quiet activities alone, which we really love doing! Most extroverts do not like being on their own very much, but, to an ENFP, alone time is important for number of reasons: mostly thought/emotional processing and creative endeavors.  

In some future post, I could talk about going against the typical Male stereotype, because I have a predominantly female personality type (sensitive, warm, enthusiastic, emotional and free spirited person — you get the idea). But in the end, I don’t think that way of thinking is point of all this, or really that relevant to this blog. To me, using the MBTI method has enabled me to gain a better understanding of myself, grow as a consequent of it, and to embrace the fact that I have a creative personality type — I am able to channel who I am creatively and enjoy living my life doing the things I love!     



Post a shout out if you are ENFP in the comments below, because you are awesome! Have you ever taken an MBTI test? If so, what personality type do you have in this system?  

Remember to go out there and be creative!


—Charles
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