Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Battle of the Most Creative Types

The Angry Artist and Angry Engineer
Research indicates that many creative types are close to being INFPs (Healer/Mediator) or INTJs (Mastermind/Architect.) There is one trait common to both; Intuition, the ability to solve problems in an abstract way. But INFPs and INTJs vary in another very important respect. Let's take a closer look at that difference in these these two creative personality types.

Mediators (INFP) are optimists, always looking for even a hint of good in even the worst of times, people and things, always searching for ways to make things better. Comprising just 4% of the population, the risk of feeling misunderstood or unappreciated is high for the Mediator – but when they find like-minded people to collaborate with, the harmony they feel will be a fountain of joy and inspiration.

Coming from their purely rational perspective, the Mastermind/Architect INTJs are equally idealistic but also the bitterest of cynics. This is because INTJs tend to believe on the one hand, that with effort, intelligence and consideration, nothing is impossible, and at the same time they believe that people are too lazy, short-sighted or self-serving to actually achieve fantastic results. Yet, because of their drive, that pessimistic view of reality is unlikely to stop a motivated INTJ from achieving a result they want. INTJs are the autocratic masters of their universe.

That is the primary differentiator; INTJs are task oriented.  Mediators are relationship oriented. This contrast plays out in a multitude of ways and venues, from boardrooms to bedrooms all around the world nearly every day. Its the age old Battle Between The Healers and the Masterminds; aka, the Artists and the Engineers.

When the pressure is on these relationship style differences start to cause problems - the negativity and criticism can begin to wear on everyone, which doesn't bother the object oriented Masterminds but threatens the people oriented Healers who then won't leave the Masterminds alone, which can set up a vicious cycle.

What Stresses the INFP - Healer 

– Being pressured to focus on the details.
– Inauthenticity or shallowness in others and themselves.
– Having their personal values violated, criticized or dismissed.
– Rigidity in rules and timelines, which they see as stifling their creativity.
– Criticism or confrontation and the fear that they might harm a relationship.
– The need for socializing and small talk, which is part of relationship building.

When under stress, an INFP becomes overwhelmed by internal turmoil. They feel caught between pleasing others, maintaining their own integrity, and taking care of their own well-being. Their natural tendency to identify with others, compounded with their self-sacrificial tendencies, can lead to an identity crisis.

They may start feeling lost and perplexed. As that stress builds they can fall back on their inferior function; extraverted thinking. When this happens, they will do things that are out of character. They may become obsessed with fixing perceived problems, and righting wrongs. This can be perceived as threatening and criticism by others.

INFPs may blurt out hostile thoughts or engage in destructive fantasies directed at others. They also can express biting sarcasm and cynicism. They may become aggressively critical of others and themselves, dwelling on all the “facts” necessary to support their overwhelming sense of failure.

What Stresses an INTJ - Mastermind

– Being in unfamiliar environments. (Ambiguity)
– Disregarding their intuition and vision of the future.
– Having their own well-laid plans disrupted or dismissed.
– Having their skills, visions, ideas, or competence criticized.
– Having to pay attention to too many details at once. (Complexity)
– Working with people whom they see as lazy, incompetent, or ignorant.
– Being focused on the here-and-now. Which naturally happens when they are afraid.

When in a state of stress, INTJs can feel an immense amount of time pressure – as if everything is on the line. This raises the specter of loosing their effectiveness at making a difference. They may find themselves feeling overwhelmed, thinking about ideas and options which are impractical or don’t have a productive conclusion.

As their stress increases, the INTJ can become argumentative and disagreeable. Social interaction becomes increasingly difficult, as they may become preoccupied or obsessive about ideas and plans. They may start to spend massive amounts of time doing things in an effort to appear productive and relieve their thoughts and feelings of worthlessness. They may ruminate about their past mistakes, inadequacies and weaknesses and stop working on a project for fear of failure.

In a case of chronic stress, the INTJ may fall into the grip of their inferior functions. When this happens, they may give into self-destructive indulgences, like over-eating, over-exercising, alcoholism, or buying lots of useless items. They may obsessively clean or re-organize the house, office or possessions.

Note that the primary difference is in the area of relationship building and maintenance. Masterminds are focused on results. Healers are focused on the people - who often make the results happen. If you are in an environment which needs people doing creative things, this element should not - must not - be ignored. When the pressure is on the relationship styles of the Masterminds and Healers can become antagonistic.

In either case, before your creatives start to un-wravel;

– Validate their feelings.
– Let them express their thoughts and feelings without judgment.
– Give them some space and time alone to process their thoughts and feelings.

– Remind them of their strengths.
– Forgive them if they’ve been overly critical.
– Understand that they may be irrational at times.

– Let them “get away” from it all.
– Reduce sensory stimulation like noise, TV, radio, or bright lights.
– Let them work on a project they’ve been interested in, but haven't had time for.

– Don’t give them advice. This will only make them feel worse.
– Exercise can help. However, suggest it later, after they've calmed down.

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