I got a job in an automotive shop after graduating from college. It was my fourth job (since I was a working student before). Yet, six months into my role as a marketing assistant, I was already on the verge of quitting. Again.
Six months! Sigh.
Leaving could’ve been easy since I was a fresh graduate. But to me, it wasn’t that simple. Not with the ghosts of my past job failures haunting me — a track record of being a quitter.
See, I was already anxious every time I quit jobs. However, my time in the auto shop led me to heavily doubt myself. It’s like, I no longer have a reason to give up, right? I can no longer use my studies to bid goodbye to my employers.
Yet here I go again, quitting. I did not understand myself.
By that time, I started believing that all my talents and recognitions didn’t amount to anything in real life. That I’m only good at school but lack the intellect to cope with real-world problems.
What are all those talents and recognitions for if I can’t even do the job right? I was a jack-of-all-trades and a master of nothing — I had no skill near helpful in real life.
Hah. What a joke.
This much self-doubt gave me anxiety every single day back then. This is the me before.
If I may ask, are you an INFP dealing with such setbacks, too?
Despite being multi-skilled, are you still yearning for some focused skill? An expertise? Are you feeling left behind because you lacked direction?
If you’ve found yourself in the same labyrinth, you’re not alone. The good news is that I may have an answer to the question, “How can INFPs master a skill?” so you won’t be stuck the same way I was.
Here I am to tell you the story.
What are we waiting for?
Here we go.
Why Do INFPs Get Distracted Easily?
First, why are INFPs so distracted?
You see, INFP’s minds are like kaleidoscopes. They continuously shift between various ideas and possibilities.
The culprit? INFP’s Extraverted Intuition (Ne) function.
Of course, being an Extraverted Intuitive (Ne) is such a delight to INFPs. It’s so fun living in a rosy and vibrant perspective, recognizing opportunity after opportunity.
Even I personally love being an Ne user. Just imagine the butterflies in our tummy as we bathe in the downpour of inspiration. Breathtaking. Absolutely captivating.
However, along with this creative instinct come a few downsides. Due to Ne, INFPs acquire too many shiny objects and multiple imaginative paths that lead them to chase new ideas at the expense of anything they’re working on today.
What’s more, being a Feeler isn’t even helping. Instead, INFPs get so emotionally invested in their thoughts that they can’t let such a beautiful, compelling, mind-blowing idea go.
The end result? Goal-hopping.
We accomplish none, and thus, the dreading notion that INFPs are “project starters but not finishers.”
Moving forward, let’s ponder this idea:
A wise man centers on breadth, and a master focuses on depth.
Let’s be clear: gaining wisdom is different from gaining mastery.
The wise wear a gigantic cloak of experience, allowing room for broad yet deep insight. They’re the ones who experienced life at both ends (or many ends!), and as a result, they effortlessly swim in the rhythms of this world. Thus, the wise is capable of consistently making good choices.
No, they may not know everything about one craft, but because of their wide range of experiences, they acquire perceptive discernment.
Meanwhile, a master embodies dedication, expertise, and commitment to their chosen craft or discipline. Instead of acquiring a wide array of skills and getting swayed by people’s opinions and opportunities, a master is keen on picking up information that supports their goal in mind.
They can easily brush off the ideas that don’t nurture what they started because their thought process leans on wanting depth, rather than breadth. They have laser-like focus and dislike deviating from their path.
From my observation, many mature INFPs grow to be wise rather than masters of a craft. Even though these Dreamers claim that they love their job, it’s noticeable how there’s still an innate urge among INFPs to seek new paths and explore a few years later.
Instinctively, these idealists are drawn to feed their curiosity.
But note, I’m not saying that wise people can’t be masters or masters aren’t wise people.
Rather, I’m pointing out INFPs’ preference when perceiving and processing information, which is to cultivate themselves in an expanding manner.
So, as an Ne user, it’s natural for you to be wiser each time you gain a breadth of information, connect them, and self-reflect.
There’s no issue in becoming wise among INFPs. But in this post, we’re more concerned with gaining mastery.
If that’s your goal, here are a few steps we must lead in life.
What Can INFPs Do To Gain Focus and Mastery?
1. Explore more paths and pin down your TRUE strengths and weaknesses.
INFPs as late bloomers? I’ve heard some INFP themselves refute this notion. However, if we contemplate the phases of INFP’s life, it’s quite evident how most of us enter a stage of disappointment, confusion, and purposelessness when finding our first careers.
A lot of searching and quitting happens during the early years of adulthood. Not to mention, some INFPs can feel lost even after decades. I firmly believe this phase — finding their career and purpose — is a miserable time for these idealistic souls.
So if you’re feeling lost about your career, or on the verge of quitting and confusion, here’s my not-so-appealing advice:
Please endure a little longer. Your “discovering stage” is still in progress.
It may drag on a little longer, but you will get out of it.
I’m not telling you a “just be positive” advice nor a “look at your job from a different perspective” motivation. No.
Been there, done that.
All these motivations are temporary. Despite the numerous self-improvement books I read, liking my job wasn’t one of the outcomes.
But let’s go back to reality.
I’m telling you to endure a little longer and persevere until you’ve learned enough and struggled enough to learn the mechanics of your job. You have to pick up two lessons here:
- Technical/ management lessons
- The reasons why you liked and disliked your job
The technical lessons come helpful in your next endeavors. Contemplating about your likes and dislikes help you pin down your negotiable and non-negotiable values.
There’s a lot of factors affecting your decisions. It’s not as simple as “you don’t like your job” followed by a shrug. Nooo. There’s more to the details.
Which aspects do you love? Which ones do you especially loathe?
Note them as your negotiable and non-negotiable values.
Say, you may like the job but dislike the toxicity of your co-workers. You might enjoy being a consultant but dislike the company’s dishonest culture.
Perhaps you might love teaching but detest the overwhelming commitment that eats up your holidays and days off.
As an INFP, you have to gain firsthand experience because bringing yourself out there is the only way your introverted Feeling (Fi) can evaluate your options accurately.
Rather than envisioning, INFPs need to stroll around, discover, and uncover the shadowed areas of their life map. We’re starting as blank slates, needing to be filled with real-life knowledge.
Truth be told, this is the hard part about being an INFP. “Discovering” takes a while. It’s the reason why I’m saying we come as late bloomers.
But thankfully, after years filled with various experiences, you’ll gradually discern a path aligned with your strengths and begin to drop skills that you thought you were good at, but don’t really aspire in the long run.
Without gaining experience from a toxic job, I wouldn’t have realized that I don’t fancy being in a box. And that I opt to be independent rather than bossed around.
I was passionate about playing the guitar for a time, but when I was given the responsibility to play every week, I must admit I didn’t enjoy it that much.
I liked teaching, and while I enjoy it, I’ve discovered my preference lies in teaching humanities rather than technical subjects, despite my specialization in the latter.
If not for the numerous jobs I loathed, I wouldn’t land on the job I love: being a writer.
All of these values will unfold if you gain more experience.
INFPs bloom late, but INFPs bloom great. They grow wise, authentic, and efficient.
But first thing’s first, you have to go out there and experience. Identify your strengths and build from that.
2. Do you recognize your real strengths now? Then cultivate depth and master it.
Once you’re experienced enough and have chosen which path resonates with you the most, the next question is, how do you master it?
One effective way is to expose them to the world. Bring your talents to life.
Whatever your strength, you can either find a job around it or create one around it. Apply to companies, create online, publish videos, or sell your crafted products.
If mastery is what you want, you’ll gain it not by having only yourself as an audience but by listening to real and constructive feedback from people.
Instead of jumping from one interest to another, take your strengths from one level to another. Start digging up opportunities surrounding your chosen skill.
For instance, if you’re into videography, don’t just create videos and store them away. Instead, spend months or years to improve it.
Here’s an example of how someone can dig deeper rather than wider in skill.
Level 1: You have raw talent and passion for creating captivating videos. You might still be at a mediocre level despite being passionate, but don’t allow that to hinder your progress.
Level 2: Cultivate and practice. Join communities so you can learn from professionals. As you learn and apply more techniques, post your work on your Facebook or Instagram page to showcase your progress.
Level 3: You may also submit your work to platforms that pay for videos. Make it a side hustle, perhaps?
Level 4: Ask your friends to model for your videos. Practice, practice, practice!
Level 5: Then, seek clients as a videographer for simple events. Family events? That will do.
Level 6: Then do major events! The ups and downs of your experience will make you stronger!
Level 7: Hey, you’re getting better. Why not buy better equipment now?
Level 8: Expand. Create your own videos and monetize them. Because why not?
Level 9: Teach people how to take videos. You’re probably a professional now. Life’s short, and you have to pass on your expertise. Serve others by teaching them, too. Like a true master!
That’s one instance of how mastery of a skill unfolds. Remember, this doesn’t happen overnight. Masters dedicate years, even decades, to reaching such heights.
I tell you, our raw talent barely scratches the surface, but exposing it is the first step in nurturing. You’ll be amazed at how many opportunities there are surrounding your craft.
3. Set sail and discover again.
It’s been a journey since 2018. I’ve lost count of the blogs and articles I’ve written for clients, and I genuinely cherish my humble journey. Operating on my own platform a few years later was one milestone I would always be grateful for. (Gosh, I’m feeling a bit nostalgic here.)
Of course, I’ve once thought living a writer’s life was the dream, my ultimate purpose. But now, my views have drastically changed.
I thought I found my purpose in life, but as an INFP, I must admit, my mind still wanders a lot. I mean, A LOT. I find myself still drawn to other pursuits.
No, I’m not pursuing a new skill. Rather, my shiny object is to cultivate the other strengths I put aside for a while, so I can venture as a writer.
I have two more things on my bucket list: establishing a flourishing craft business and returning to the university to teach.
Still don’t know when it will come to fruition. Next year? Next decade? I’m not sure.
What I know is one day, I’ll be setting sail again, and cultivate depth in those areas. Test the waters and see if it truly resonates with me like how it played out in my mind.
Those dreams are not abandoned. I only honor the fact that there’s a waiting time. So, no rush.
I also found out that the ultimate purpose in life is not to find the best career. It’s not riches or a professional title before your name.
But to multiply and cultivate your true talents in a way that will serve you and the people around you, whatever your career is.
When you’ve recognized your true strengths, be realistic enough to focus on one passion at a time, and make your one passion flourish so that it can benefit others, too — your family, friends, and even strangers.
And if there are other skills you want to cultivate, pursue that, too, but with the right timing.
Discover, cultivate, help people, and then set sail to discover again — that’s just how INFPs are. We’re not bound to a single path.
Adventurous, aren’t we?
I see INFPs as multi-talented individuals. I believe we gain mastery quicker if the tasks resonate with us enough, allowing us to focus on it for a long time. And if we can focus a few years on a skill, we actually have the potential to be wise and masters of many.
Patience, my dear INFPs. We will get there.
Thanks for reading! I hope this gave you insights. 🙂
I wrote an e-book tackling INFP procrastination! You can check it out here.
If you also enjoyed the read, you can buy me a coffee. Thanks! 🙂
You may also like:
- 3 Ways INFP Can Overcome Fear of Failure
- 7 Unique Strengths INFP Must Nurture
- Are INFPs Really Jack-of-all-Trades, But Master of None?