I like to think that I’ve overcome a lot of my fears by this point, but I got up to use the bathroom at 4AM and when I turned on the light, I saw an enormous beetle. I thought it was a cockroach first, which made me want to puke. But I looked it up and it was a beetle, which didn’t change anything. I couldn’t move. I could only stare at the little bastard, examining what to do about it.
I had no weapons, no shoes and there was no way I would crush it with toilet paper. The thought of the crunch of such a huge bug, even beneath layers of t.p. creeps me out to the core. I moved toward it and it ran so-fucking-fast and the sound it made as it’s hard shell slammed into objects in the bathroom! “clink, clank” shudder
I just kept picturing and feeling him crunch in my mind. Then I pictured trying to get him on to an empty toilet paper roll and saw him running up my arm. I grabbed a wand for my toilet bowl cleaner and pictured him running up THAT on to my arm.
Finally I went in for the kill and gave him a good whack. He wasn’t moving. I blew on him, still not moving. I’m freaking out at this point because I’m thinking he’s playing games and as soon as I go to get him, he’s going to run up my body and eat my soul. But I persevered and grabbed the empty toilet paper roll to scoop him up. I dumped him in the toilet bowl and he started flapping his little legs. In true INFP fashion, I felt remorse for senselessly beating and being in the pre-flush glory of mercilessly drowning one of god’s beautiful creatures. And then flush. More chills tickle my body.
30 minutes where I could have been sleeping! 30 minutes instead of 2 for any other human with a spine! WTF?!
I hope this account of the true terrors of the tiniest, most harmless things in the world can provide some entertainment this morning and show you that we can really make real fears out of ridiculous things.
Now it’s your turn! What scares the shit out of you and makes you feel like a doe in the headlights?
I spent an entire evening reading Dr. Jim Nolan’s blog entries and found many of his observations both insightful and hilarious. I love the idea of a college that is aware of the unique methods of an INFP and encourages it, instead of smothering it. INFP’s all over the US should be aware of this unique school and know not all colleges have to be scary. I am not affiliated with this school, heck, I don’t even live in the same state or had contact with them other than a comment on a blog. I dislike endorsements from those that have a vested interest in it. Endorsements, recommendations and advice should be genuine and written in order to assist others in finding what’s right for them.
Whoops, I’ll get off my soap box…for now. :-D The link below shouldtake you to a blog written by Jim Nolan entitled “It is Not Easy Being an INFP”. If it does not, I apologize, it is my first time using “PRESS THIS.” Please let me know if there is any problems. Thanks!
I know a lot of you have been reading this blog for a while and I appreciate the readership. But it turns out, I’m actually not an INFP. In fact, I’m not an introvert at all. It turns out, I’m actually an ESFJ. And by “it turns out,” I mean “I’ve actually been lying this entire time. ”
I started this site as an experiment to understand INFPs because my mother was an INFP and she was a bit weird. She used to raise snakes in our bathtub. I thought this site would help me understand her better, but I have to admit, after all the years, I can only say INFPs are 100%, Certifiably WEIRD!
I mean, I don’t get you people at all! What planet do you even come from?!? A reader of this site sent me a picture of her riding a giraffe naked with a tarantula on her head! Was that a pick up attempt? Art? What? I don’t get it!!!
So this is a failed attempt at a social experiment, but honestly, I will be ok because I’m an ESFJ. But you, on the other hand are not and I fear for you all; just for a few minutes though. I’ll move on quickly while you’re stuck reeling in this agony of betrayal for years to come!
*sigh* I read that your percentage is increasing in the population and I fear for humanity.
Good luck. And most importantly APRIL FOOL’S!!!! BOOM! Did I get you? Let me know below!
Carmen Medlin is a full time artist who has achieved multiple streams of income through licensing (I’m too cool to use the phrase “living the dream,” but if I weren’t, this would be my definition) and is one of the artists featured on our INFP Art Gallery (which you can also be part of by submitting your own work).
I’m quite certain most of us have dreams along the lines of being a full-time, self-employed artist/musician/photographer/sculptor/awesome-maker, so I wanted to find out what things from her life helped her succeed.
And now, the interview…..
***************************** When did you start drawing?
Like a lot of artists, I started drawing when I was a toddler and never stopped. I come from a very artistic and musical family, so my mom (also an artist) always let my brother and I play with all her art supplies. Not the kid stuff either, but the real stuff! Although we enjoyed things like crayons, too. In fact I still love to color in coloring books with crayons, and I’m in my late 30s!
What were you like as a kid?
I was always daydreaming, especially in class. There were times when we’d have a test in school and I’d have no idea there was going to be a test or even have any clue about the subject matter… I was too busy imagining cartoon dogs and unicorns frolicking around the classroom to pay attention. Somehow I managed to get through elementary school anyway! I did better in middle and high school, where I confined my imaginings in class to doodling on assignments. My imagination was huge. I lived in it all the time. Most other kids thought I was odd so I often played by myself with the dandelions in the schoolyard, giving them names and voices, or a misshapen playground ball I named “Awkward”.
How did you know you were good enough to make money?
I guess I didn’t, really. I started the art business out of desperation because I badly needed money, and I saw other people selling their art at places like eBay. I thought I may as well give it a shot! There were a lot of things that didn’t sell at first, but I made TONS and TONS of art and kept putting it out there. My skills improved rapidly because I was constantly painting. I didn’t get discouraged when things wouldn’t sell… just kept painting more and more and putting it out there. It helps to not go in with huge expectations at first and just let it grow. From that practice I learned to be extremely prolific. I started the art business in 2005 and to date I have painted well over 800 images.
I give myself permission to make bad art. I don’t make a big deal out of trying to be perfect… that will just choke all the enjoyment out of it. It is important to just MAKE ART, and make a lot of it. People will still buy it even if I don’t like it! Art is funny that way.
You basically have multiple streams of income which is awesome and very smart. How did you manage to create that?
A lot of this just happened along the way, either by seeing some new way that people were selling their art, by happenstance, people seeking me out or new opportunities from friends. As far as licensing goes, I was approached by different companies through the years for that. Now I think it is important to actively pursue licensing, as well. One thing that helped me tremendously opportunity-wise was getting to know other artists online. Blogging, social media and art forums have all been great helpers for me to make art friends. Generally I have found that other artists are happy to share what works for them, and you can learn a lot.
Besides networking, another huge thing that helped me to think up new ways to sell art was to take small business classes and webinars. My first class was from IttyBiz / Naomi Dunford online, and it seriously turned things around for me. Before then I really had no clue about running a real business, so I had kind of reached a certain point with my art and stalled there for years. I thought “business” was boring. Turns out, it is not at all!! If you are an artist who wants to make a living from art, what you actually have is a small business, not a nebulous career that is hard to define. I ended up LOVING business. It’s like a shiny toy to play with, tweak, test, etc to see what works. I devour business webinars and blogs, especially art-related ones, and I do a lot of obsessive research.
Do you think your parents had anything to do with your success?
As for my mom, yes. She always told me I could be anything I wanted. She always encouraged our imaginations, creativity, and art-making. I realize she is a rarity among parents that way! Not everyone in my family has been supportive; a few have been very negative and discouraging about it indeed, and still are to this day. But, art is something I want to do so badly that I mulishly plow forward and do it no matter what people say. I have an obsessive drive to succeed with it; I feel I HAVE to. I know my mom would love to also have an art business, so I feel it is encouraging to her to do better and better.
Are you spiritual?
Oh goodness yes. As with many INFPs, spirituality is the center of who I am and I need it to be fully present in the outer world as well as in my inner world. There is no separate box from the rest of life that I put spirituality in. It is life. I am a Christian, and God is not some old bearded guy way up there to be prayed to formally on special occasions. He’s here all the time with me in the trenches. I talk to Him like I talk to anyone, not anything flowery or formal. Just talk. Or listen. Or just be. When I am fully present with God, it is indescribable, transcendent joy. Heart-breaking beauty! So much of my art revolves around nature and innocence — animals and trees and flowers and things, because that is where I feel closest to God; out in nature. He gave me the art skill and the drive to pursue it, and I think of Him as my business partner.
How do you manage the typical INFP problems like lack of focus, exhaustion, laziness and lack of productivity?
Lack of focus is a constant challenge… I am very distractible! I have had to learn to pair certain things with certain activities. If I’m writing a blog post or newsletter or even writing out this interview, it is music with no words to keep me focused. If someone tries to talk to me or if I hear other words, I’m sunk! If I’m drawing, music helps me the best because I get sucked in and the drawing often takes on characteristics of what I’m listening to. Once I get to the painting stage, it helps me best to binge-watch tv programs on Netflix or Hulu. It can’t be movies because they suck me into the cinematography too much. Has to be tv series! Books on tape or radio dramas are also good choices.
I also keep a list of daily/weekly/monthly goals as well as to-do lists via Evernote. I literally have a checklist for the daily one that I have to check off each item (that one is the same list every day). I have found it impossible to make myself keep a planned, rigid daily time schedule (like work from 9-5, lunch at noon, etc), so I find that the checklist works better for me. I have Evernote documents for lots of things in my business, like latest stuff to put in my blog/newsletter, things to write to new customers, idea lists, time logs for certain clients, show schedules, etc. I forget things very easily, so I always write stuff down in these lists and refer back to them.
As for laziness and lack of productivity, it is mostly the need to make my income goals that keep me on task here. There’s no automatic paycheck that shows up, so I have to drive myself to keep on top of deadlines and whatever is “closest to cash.” Bills are a pretty good motivator.
Exhaustion — still trying to get a handle on that one. A few months ago I made a rule that I don’t work on Saturdays (unless I absolutely must for a deadline or something). Only fun stuff and hobbies allowed. Otherwise, I would work every day of the week until I can’t stand it anymore. And I have done that for extended periods of time, especially when I was also doing part-time work at a nursing home kitchen.
The downside to working from home is that you never really leave work. It’s always there, staring at you! I often work until midnight or later, because I am a night owl and think more clearly later in the day. I like to have slow mornings and try to have Bible study time, journaling and exercise time then if possible. Some mornings I have to start work right away because of deadlines. If that happens I usually forget to have downtime, as I get caught up in everything. I really need to be better about being deliberate with self-care/downtime since otherwise I eventually crash and burn, and my body will make me take time off!
Do you have any questions for Carmen? Post them in the comments section and I’m sure she’d be happy to answer!
I’m very happy to announce a great new communication tool for INFPs; the INFP Forum. I hope that this will give you more avenues to meet people like yourself and discover that you’re not the only one who feels alone in the world. I hope we can also put our brainpower and creativity to use to solve all of the world’s problems
Signing up is simple: just click the register link at the top of this page OR click the INFP Forum link above and sign up. Then get started posting! Have fun, be weird and meet other people like you!
If, for some god forsaken reason, you’ve chosen to make your career in an office; or, like me, you’re stuck in one for the foreseeable future, here are some tips on making the most of your sentence stay.
Be part of it
Don’t be a casual observer of the world revolving around you. Don’t spend all of your time analyzing an dissecting people. Take part! Do what’s asked of you and more. Step up exceed expectations.
The most important part of surviving the black-and-white carbon copy syndrome of working in an office is to make friends with a few people. Find people you can be yourself around and exchange survival techniques for your company.
Nothing relieves stress like taking a few minutes to act silly, tell a joke or make someone laugh. A good sense of humor is important in surviving being buried alive in an office
Kick a$$, take names
Just kill it, crush it and other tough-guy cliches. Wake up, get the cobwebs out of your head. Get some coffee and focus up for an all out battle to achieve awesome for the day.
Drink tons of water
It’s far too away to neglect your body when you’re busy kicking a$$ and taking names. I recommend getting a big reusable bottle and plopping it right in your desk. Make sure to finish one by lunch and another by the end of the day.
Go for walks
Getting away from your work and your desk for a bit is super important for your mental well being. Find someone who needs a break and go walk up some stairs or to get a coffee or tea.
Pay attention to how you feel when you put crap in your body. Then eat some clean food the next time. Totally different feeling. And it turns out, the crappy stuff only leaves you feeling lethargic and empty. Also, keep away from vending machines!
Have a hobby
This will quite possibly save your life. You’re an INFP with a lot of creativity. Channel that energy after work. Create something beautiful.
Dream big, execute flawlessly
Spend some of your INFP dream powers to envision your company as more efficient, profitable and lean. How would you achieve that? Come up with an idea and see if any of your superiors like it. Working on your own ideas at work is a freeing feeling!
Life is a balancing act and it’s easy to think sleep isn’t important. Spend a week getting 8-9 hours each night and see how different you feel.
Talk to your boss when you’re unsatisfied
If you’re not doing anything you like. See if there’s something else you can be doing. A lot of people are afraid they’ll get fired, but I’d rather be fired for trying to better my life and the company than for being too scared and miserable. Any good company/manager should understand that a happy employee is a productive employee.
Get a new job!
If it’s bad, look for something new. I routinely get a new job every 3 years or so. I don’t set a timer or anything; that’s just when I get bored.
Always work on an exit strategy
My goal in life is to run a business and quit my job. Without that dream, I will lose hope and fall into despair. So I’m constantly working on something outside of work that I think will push me toward that goal.
Find things you like to do and get more involved
If you hear about committees or groups within work, volunteer! Talk to your manager about getting on those committees. It’s a great feeling to be in the bowels of the company trying to fix things for everyone else.
Find allies with power
Again it comes down to befriending your boss and their boss. Show your worth to them. Help them whenever possible. Make it your mission to help them succeed and you too will succeed.
Learn the politics of when to speak up and when to shut up
Get massages regularly
Massages are something everyone needs more of. If you’ve never had a professional massage, go get one! They’re an important way to help you relax. If you have had one, schedule one now!
Be passionate about your company
I once bought stock in my company just so I would care more about their success and would resist slacking off at work. After all, my wasting of time was wasting company money and killing stock price.
Take time for yourself to have fun
Don’t be afraid to take days off to just chill, relax and get things done around the house.
Learn to laugh about the things that annoy you
There’s a great cartoon that we software developers love called Dilbert. The little guy boils down office culture in succinct and funny little comics.
A corporation is full of lessons on learning, especially about how to run – and not run – a business. You’re destined for greatness if you take these lessons to heart and use them to create your own brand of awesome in the future.
Take risks and break rules
Being comfortable is great. But it signals something is wrong. You’re not growing. Talk to your manager about getting more responsibility. Forget the social contract that we “won’t go over our boss’ head.” Just talk to your manager’s boss whenever possible. Try to understand where they’re coming from. This will open more opportunities for you.
Workout as much as possible
If you don’t exercise during the week, you should. Exercise helps burn away anxiety and helps you feel mentally and physically strong, so you feel like you can deal with any BS the workday throws your way.
Make friends with your manager
You can look at your manager as your enemy. Or you can get to know them on a personal level and try to understand what they’re trying to accomplish at work. You’ll unleash a ton of empathy and work will be more tolerable as you try to help them with their goals.
Take a lunch break
I know so many people who have stopped going to lunch and I have skipped it at many of my jobs. But I now have a friend who forces us to go to lunch. Turns out it’s a great way to recharge and relax mid-workday. I don’t feel nearly as anxious or drained at the end of the day.
I’m very interested in hearing what other people do to survive Corporate America.
Do you think I missed something? Let me know in the comments and I might include it in this post!
Since my wife is Chinese, I consider myself to be half Chinese. And if you’re like me and a lot of other INFPs, you’re already losing the fight on your 2014 New Year’s resolutions. But the good news is that today is the start of Chinese New Year! So why not renew some already weakened resolutions and use this opportunity to come up with some more easily accomplished resolutions.
I’ve compiled some Chinese-inspired resolutions to help you along:
Drink More Tea - By now we all know the health benefits of tea and particularly, green tea. Take this opportunity to integrate it into your daily routine so that you can cleanse your body.
Drink Hot Water - It was hard for me to get my head around this, but the Chinese (and many Asian cultures) believe that hot water can melt the junk out of your insides and cleanse you. After a while I was happy to have hot water. It’s calorie free and is nice when I just want a hot drink. Give up cold soft drinks and start drinking hot water instead!
Eat Fresh Fish – As an American, I feel we eat so little fish. But it’s so vital for heart health and cholesterol. And although I still don’t LOVE it, I am learning to appreciate it. You should too.
Eat Clean – Authentic Chinese is usually very simple. There are fewer ingredients so you know exactly what you’re eating. And when you eat that way long enough, you just feel better. Although he’s not Chinese, I like Tony Horton’s take on clean eating.
Be Generous - One of the cornerstones of Chinese culture is generosity. Give to others with no expectations of getting something back. And if you’re in San Francisco, we’ve started a site to help you donate your skills.
Take Time off of Work - You know what? I’m a workaholic. I barely take time off to recouperate. But as an INFP, I need to understand how essential it is to just stop for a bit. Random days off and vacations throughout the year are a great way to accomplish this. Plan something now!
Use Feng Shui to Redecorate a Room in Your House - I think that INFPs are a prime group of people to practice Feng Shui. As a sensitive individual, I’m sure you’ve walked into places that just feel nice; that have a good vibe to them. And I’m fairly certain that most of that feeling can be attributed to Feng Shui. The arrangement of the items in the room greatly influences the flow of energy throughout the space. Do some research and do some simple Feng Shui in a room to see how it changes the feel of the room. P.S. Sounds like a great job for INFPs!
Clean to Get Rid of Last Year’s Bad Luck - A big part of Chinese New Year is cleaning your house. The idea is to sweep away bad luck from the previous year and welcome in good luck this year.
Learn Tai Chi – Tai Chi is a beatiful form of Chinese Martial Arts that is all about energy flow and allowing your body to align to the energy of the universe. Sounds like another great job for INFPs!
Get Closer to Nature - I think all INFPs need to be closer to nature. Go walk in a park. Enjoy the beauty of nature around you.
Waste Less - Another hard concept for me to grasp was eating the ENTIRE animal. I was totally freaked out when my mother-in-law and wife were eating chicken’s feet and congealed pig’s blood. But when you look at it, that act is more “green” than any act of recycling I’ve ever seen in the U.S.
Get a Haircut - One common act is to get a haircut at the end of the year. Which means it’s too late for this year! Cutting anything during the New Year (which is just over two weeks long) is considered bad luck.
Spend Time with Family – The best part of Chinese New Year is taking time to relax and spend time with family. We go out and eat together and it’s nice to just take a small break to appreciate what we have.
I hope you can take something away from these ideas and please let me know if you have any others in the comments below!
I’m the CIO of a great non-profit called Generosity Street, that my friend in San Francisco put together. It’s based on the concept of a gift economy and allows people to volunteer their services and request help from others. The entire point is to do it for free. No expectation of rewards, payment or pay back of any sort. Just the feeling of doing something good for someone.
We originally tried to launch it across the U.S., since I’m in New York, but it was too hard keep multiple regions in focus. So it was scaled back to SF.
There are frequent events called Skill Shares, where a number of awesome presenters come and show you how to do things like yoga or crafts or whatever. There is also a raffle, a swap table and food. And the best part, it’s free!
The next Skill Share is coming up January 25 and I thought INFPs would be a great group to tell about it since we love helping people. It will be a great experience and a great way to meet like-minded people, as well as something that I think is essential for INFPs – focusing on your higher purpose. You can also reach out and volunteer to help with the event itself!