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On Being An Advocate

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I’ve always been interested in psychology but never went further than college with it. Recently a friend introduced me to the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator Test. It illuminated some important traits of my personality and hilighted the motivation behind the goals I have. I thought I’d go over a few points that interested me here.

I studied Carl Jung a bit in college, and always found psychology an absorbing and fascinating field. I was particularly drawn to the practice of counselling, and pursued that for a while before realising that’s not what I really wanted to achieve in life.

The website Sixteen Personalities has a scarily accurate test which identifies your type based on the theory that there are 16 main personality types.

In my test, it was revealed that I am an INFJ personality type — identified on this website as “the Advocate”. So here’s a little bit more about him.

”INFJs tend to see helping others as their purpose in life” #

This really struck a cord with me. Whether it’s helping to find other developers work, providing training or support for colleagues, or just listening to the personal troubles of my friends, I’m always aiming to help others pursue their goals.

I try not to be motivated by self-interest and find no satisfaction in sales targets or monetary bonuses. I’d like to be in a position where I can encourage and help others in work and in life generally.

”There is a running theme with INFJs, and that is a yearning for authenticity and sincerity – in their activities, their romantic relationships, and their friendships” #

I find I identify quite closely with this statement. I’m always trying to be honest with other people and expect honesty back. At the same time, INFJs have a tendency to be able to spot insincerity and lies. If I found I have been lied to I can react quite badly.

”If there’s anything INFJs avoid, it’s the accumulation of power over others – and the people who are drawn to that type of power” #

I sometimes derail situations when I perceive that I have power over others, and it’s one of the reasons I don’t like to speak publicly even though I have been told I’m a competent speaker :- it puts me on a pedestal and could lead to others investing confidence in me personally, whereas I want others to focus on the goals they have and the tasks they’ve been assigned.

I have been known to actively undermine the confidence of others in me, so that I don’t feel like I have authority over them.

”INFJs crave creativity, the ability to use their insight to connect events and situations, effecting real change in others’ lives personally” #

Hmm, how interesting this is in conjunction with my chosen career. I am not content as a coder or a designer, but I want to perceive the connection between the two, as well as the role of content writer and information architect. I have always sought a holistic approach to my career.

”INFJs are still Introverts, — they will need to step back and act the lone wolf from time to time, pursuing their own goals in their own ways” #

This was an interesting revelation. Whilst I feel satisfied in contributing to the goals of others, I still love the times I’m working on personal projects, or writing articles for this blog.

”[INFJs] imagination and empathy make [them] someone who not only cherishes their integrity and deeply held principles but, unlike many other idealistic types, is also capable of turning those ideals into plans, and executing them” #

It’s always nice to get a bit of a personality massage, but I do have deep-seated principles which I am not prepared to compromise on. Yet when I comprehend the reason these are asked of me, I can usually think of a way around the situation in a mutually beneficial way.

Conclusion #

The trouble with taking this test is that now I want everyone I know to take it so I can discover more about them! There are a few people whom I have no idea where they’re coming from, so I’m scheming for them to take the test at some point in the hopes of understanding them a bit better.”

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“Wisest are they who know they do not know.”

— Jostein Gaarder