INFP: The Personality Type of Celebrated Writers, Artists and other Creatives

Assalamualaikum wbt.

I’ve always been interested in psychology. And one day when I was about fourteen or fifteen, I discovered the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). Basically, these psychologists divided human personality into sixteen types, based on four main traits: introversion/extroversion, intuition/sensing, feeling/thinking, and perceiving/judging. Of course, human beings can’t easily be categorized into specific ‘types’ because being human itself is extremely complex, but MBTI is A SURPRISINGLY ACCURATE PERSONALITY TEST. And it’s not just me that testifies to this, but millions of people all over the world. The research has been going on since 1917 and is MUCH less superficial than just Gryffindor-Ravenclaw-Hufflepuff-Slytherin. After people discover their type and read about it, they usually say things like, “It’s so wonderful to finally be understood!”.

mbti

Recently I made all my friends take the test because I wanted to know their types. Haha. I also think I’m leveling up on guessing people’s types. For example, I was so sure that Zazu from the Lion King and Sebastian from the Little Mermaid were ISTJs (because my Dad is an ISTJ lol). And many people on the internet think so too!!! (I can’t say ‘I was right’ because well, they are animated fictional characters, and the rest of us can only speculate).

So if you are a narcissistic person — I mean, want to further understand your own personality, go ahead and take the test at 16Personalities.com (my personal favourite)! It only takes about 12 minutes. There are many other websites though. But 16Personalities explains about the strengths and weaknesses, romantic relationships, friendships, parenthood, and even career paths for each type!

So anyway, my type is INFP. When I first read about INFPs, I felt like THE MISSING PUZZLE PIECE IN MY LIFE IS NOW COMPLETE.

Some descriptions of INFP according to 16Personalities.com:

  • while they may be perceived as calm, reserved, or even shy, INFPs have an inner flame and passion that can truly shine
  • a live-and-let-live attitude comes naturally to INFPs, and they dislike being constrained by rules
  • they prefer a more democratic approach, and work hard to ensure that every voice and perspective is heard
  • INFPs are private, reserved and self-conscious, this makes them notoriously difficult to really get to know
  • INFPs combine their intuitive nature with their open-mindedness to allow them to see things from unconventional perspectives
  • INFPs will focus their attention on just a few people, a single worthy cause – spread too thinly, they’ll run out of energy, and even become dejected and overwhelmed by all the bad in the world that they can’t fix
  • INFPs are often so focused on the big picture that they forget the forest is made of individual trees
  • when something captures INFPs’ imagination, they can neglect practical matters like day-to-day maintenance and simple pleasures
  • comprising just 4% of the population, the risk of feeling misunderstood is unfortunately high for the INFP personality type – but when they find like-minded people to spend their time with, the harmony they feel will be a fountain of joy and inspiration

It’s scarily accurate. Though I believe that I am less ‘idealistic’ and ‘good’ than the typical INFP description.

infp

But anyway, I’m going to focus on only one aspect of the INFP personality for this blog post, which is our endless creativity.

  • Very Creative – INFPs combine their intuitive nature with their open-mindedness to allow them to see things from unconventional perspectives. Being able to connect many far-flung dots into a single theme, it’s no wonder that many INFPs are celebrated poets and authors.
  • At their best, these qualities enable INFPs to communicate deeply with others, easily speaking in metaphors and parables, and understanding and creating symbols to share their ideas. The strength of this intuitive communication style lends itself well to creative works, and it comes as no surprise that many famous INFPs are poets, writers and actors. Understanding themselves and their place in the world is important to INFPs, and they explore these ideas by projecting themselves into their work.
  • INFPs have a talent for self-expression, revealing their beauty and their secrets through metaphors and fictional characters.
  • INFPs’ ability with language doesn’t stop with their native tongue, either – as with most people who share the Diplomat personality types, they are considered gifted when it comes to learning a second (or third!) language. Their gift for communication also lends itself well to INFPs’ desire for harmony, a recurring theme with Diplomats, and helps them to move forward as they find their calling.

A while ago, my dear friend Fuzia led me to CelebrityTypes.com where they list the generally-agreed MBTI types for celebritites. Here’s the list for INFPs.

infpp

And I was so proud that SOOOOO MANY uniquely creative people are said to be INFPs.

  • J.K. Rowling (author of Harry Potter!!!)
  • Tim Burton (this one is SOOOOO important)
  • Vincent Van Gogh (THIS ONE TOOOOO!!!!!!!!)
  • John Lennon (The Beatles)
  • Kurt Cobain (Nirvana)
  • Antoine de Saint-Exupery (author of The Little Prince)
  • Florence + The Machine
  • Johnny Depp
  • Hans Christian Andersen (author of the Emperor’s New Clothes and the Ugly Duckling)
  • Chris Martin (Coldplay)
  • Lana Del Rey
  • J.R.R. Tolkien (author of Lord of the Rings)
  • William Shakespeare
  • Regina Spektor
  • Neil Gaiman
  • Helen Keller
  • Anne Frank (author of the Diary of a Girl)
  • C.S. Lewis (author of Narnia)
  • Virginia Woolf
  • Heath Ledger
  • George R.R. Martin (author of Game of Thrones)
  • A.A. Milne (author of Winnie the Pooh)

You have to understand!!! There is a difference between me just liking an artist v.s. me really respecting them for their creative work. For example, I like some One Direction songs… they’re catchy and fun, but I don’t believe that they are the work of artistic genius. COLDPLAY, NIRVANA, THE BEATLES, FLORENCE + THE MACHINE, LANA DEL REY, is a whole other level. I don’t consider myself huge fans of them but when I do listen to their songs, I really, really, really, appreciate and respect the emotion and depth and uniqueness they fostered into their music, through the lyrics and the instruments. I can tell that their music is really genuine and comes from the heart. Even when I don’t even LIKE the song (e.g. Smells Like Teen Spirit). But I know that Kurt Cobain is a true artist and I’ve always looked through his journal entries on the internet. I’m actually surprised that Lorde, Gerard Way and Marina Diamandis aren’t on the list.

Next, Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, THE iconic duo. No big deal. It’s not like Tim Burton is my favourite director of all time or anything!!! And that Johnny Depp is basically a Legend with a capital L!!! There were many other people in film on the list, but I choose to focus on these two because I admire their work the most. Their films are beautifully crafted and sculpted with great care, I swear. Sometimes literally. The Nightmare Before Christmas is number one in stop-motion animation. And have you guys seen Edward Scissorhands and Alice In Wonderland? I could go on but I’ll probably just repeat the words “unique” and “genius” again and again. I used to follow a Tumblr blog specifically dedicated to Tim Burton’s illustrations.

the_starry_night-t2

And then there’s Vincent Van Gogh. It’s not just that Starry Night has always been the number one painting I hold most dear to my heart, but I also personally identify with him a lot! The starving, mad artist. I absolutely love that Doctor Who episode featuring him, it moved me to the core. There’s also an upcoming film about him, Loving Vincent, hand-painted by more than 100 artists!

Last of all, the writers. HARRY POTTER. NARNIA. LORD OF THE RINGS. GAME OF THRONES, ROMEO AND JULIET. Need I say more??? These are written works that sparked revolutions. And I haven’t even read all of them. But anyone who knows me knows that I’m a huge Potterhead. And Neil Gaiman’s ‘Make Good Art’ speech is to me as the Hippocratic Oath is to doctors. And ‘The Little Prince’ is one of the best literary works of all time, a clever metaphorical criticism of society disguised as a children’s fairytale. I’m actually disappointed that Roald Dahl isn’t on the list (people seem to agree that he is an ENTP/ENFP). But I’m glad E.L. James is nowhere to be seen!

*

A few days ago, I asked myself what my biggest achievement so far in life is. I suppose I could’ve listed down ten things from my resume, the typical ‘achievements’ that employers like to hear, but I ended up answering, “inspiring others through writing, art, and other creative works”. Because that’s what really matters to me. I honestly hardly care if people compliment me for grades or leadership positions (because I don’t feel like I deserve them anyway). But if they tell me I wrote an uplifting blog post, or that my latest art journal entry was super unique, or that they appreciated my latest photograph on Instagram.

One of my proudest moments ever in UiTM was when the short film Ghibah from my team and I was screened in Dewan Taming Sari in front of all the Mass Comm and Art & Design students. The audience screaming of horror as they watched it, hearing strangers talk about it in the shuttle and at the cafe, friends clapping me on the back when it ended screening and congratulating me, the intense surge of happiness in my chest. THAT’S MY BRAINCHILD, YOU GUYS!!!!!!!! Though of course my team members were essential in bringing the idea to life.

Oh, and that one time I succeeded in designing the huge backdrop for FESIM ’16. Not that I worked really hard on it, it was quite simple to design. But I was so scared something would go wrong during printing because it would be the biggest thing I ever designed. I even had nightmares about it.

burton

Wrote this when I was seventeen. And it will always be relevant.

I aspire to be a creative genius. No – not an accountant or a doctor or a lawyer, but a CREATIVE GENIUS. Think Picasso, Van Gogh, Da Vinci. But the best example I can give is Tim Burton. A film director, film producer, writer, poet, stop motion artist, illustrator. THAT’S my dream in bright lights – to go to interesting places and to do and learn interesting things, then express it through art, and inspire and give hope to people all over the world through art. To DIRECT like Spielberg, to WRITE like Rowling, to DRAW like Dato’ Lat, to IMAGINE like Hayao Miyazaki, and to have VISION like Walt Disney. THERE IS MORE TO SEE THAN CAN EVER BE SEEN, MORE TO DO THAN CAN EVER BE DONE!

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