The Mastermind & the Performer
How I get along with ESFPs as an INTJ
On the surface, nothing seems to be in common between these two types. None of our 4 letters are matching. Here’s me — an INTJ — someone who thinks through his path and future. I intensely focus on a vision and dedicate my life to achieve it. You’ll find me scheming inside my head or observing from afar. ESFPs on the contrary live in real-time facing life head-on and act so fast, it’s almost instinctive. And I gotta ask…
Like how?? Like why??
ESFPs… When it happened, did you think through it? Was it a good idea? How did you seem so sure? Did you consider the repercussions?
You’d smilingly answer back: Why not? Who the fuck knows.
And you’d be right. I mean, who really knows what will happen? Why spend my time worrying about all the possibilities of what would happen if most of them won’t happen? Or if none of them will happen? I think back about my life and how it isn’t a straight path at all. It’s full of luck, mistakes, and surprises. I have no regrets and it’s been fun as hell. I stayed true to who I was and did what I wanted to do.
Maybe that’s it. As long as I’m not lying to myself and stick to what I believe in, I’ll be alright. I look back at you realizing that maybe you’re the one that has life figured out. And you have the stories and accomplishments to show. I’m humbled. Your motto is to catch what life throws at you and do your best. Why did I think so hard? I strive to become more like you. In return, I hope that you can see me as somebody to model too.
First, let’s throw away the stereotypes. You’re not (always) a party animal. You’re not this loose canon that’ll combust spontaneously. You aim for a straight path to accomplish anything you focus on. It can be completing a list of errands, goals, project tasks, or life milestones — You’re getting shit done. You’re not unfocused, in fact you can be hyper focused and industrious. You understand that the world is chaotic and turbulent, and that you might as well dance with it. Life is like a game. You can learn fast and do great at anything it throws at you.
Very importantly, you’re not a selfish asshole. You won’t allow yourself to be. You’d personally own up to anything you do. You reflect a lot on the things you’ve done during the day: Did the decisions you’ve made aligned with your values? Could you have better expressed yourself? What is and always will be true is your authenticity. It needs to be conveyed straightforward without hindrance. You seek an environment that grants you full creative freedom and authority of expression. There are many dimensions to your character that is worth exploring and understanding. What drives you is the sheer fantasy of what you could be, sometimes it’s to test yourself.
From what I understand about your cognitive stack, you springboard to action off of your gut feelings. That means those gut feelings are grounded, firm, and deeply rooted. Everything around you are physical manifestations of your identity. It can be your job, your friends, your music and hobbies. And that’s a dilemma because systems, labels, and groups around you all fail to sum up who you actually are.
It’s funny really, ESFPs are described as one-dimensional characters when in reality you are a very complete human being who’s continuously adding tangible dimensions to yourself. Like maybe you’re not just some guitar player, you’re not just whatever your job title is, or you’re not just a groupie of some subculture. NiFi tells you that you are beyond that, larger than life in your own unique way.
Each day is a chance to show that. The entrepreneurial spirit of SeTe leads you to acquire a wide array of skill sets and experiences. If there was a contest for who out of all the MBTI types has checked the most off their bucket list, my money is on you. INTJs are known to be able to do anything they put their mind into. I’d like to think that ESFPs can do everything they put their mind into. Even becoming anything all at once.
There’s a lot we can relate here. The last paragraphs above could have totally described me! We are writers and heroes of our own stories, and we want our plot to be something we can be proud about (I’d love to have Hans Zimmer composing for mine). We have the same cognitive stack of NiFi/SeTe. It’s simply flipped on where we mainly reside either in our internal or external reality — I live more in my internal side. In other words, I am the introverted version of yourself.
I’ve been looking for a personal growth roadmap like a lot of us who have gone through all of that MBTI stuff. I support the idea of developing ourselves into our opposite types. So you are who I model when I want to go out “extrovert-ing”. Switch off my internal ruminating and reflecting, and go kick some ass. Learning from you will help me become a more developed and well rounded person.
To attempt explaining our contrast, imagine this — Say you can only do one thing for the next ten years. You still want to have your sense of freedom and authenticity. You still want to make big tangible results that can affect the world. These two criteria cannot be compromised. You’ll be researching the whole planet to find what would be the most fulfilling thing for you to do. Looking for “The One” will make you very ambitious and dream big. It’s a lot like looking for a long-term relationship.
This One thing you’ll be doing won’t be mindless and repetitive. It’ll put you in a position where nobody can tell you what to do, ideally you don’t have to tell anybody what to do as well. And it’ll also make you grow, you’ll develop a way of life within its confines. And once you find it, you get on that path and fully commit to master it. Like a freight train that starts off slow. But once it gets going, there’s nothing that stops it from reaching its destination. Aim, point, shoot. Then in the next ten years, onto a new adventure. The INTJ way.
I hope this is insightful as we don’t realistically start with a blank canvas everyday. We need to choose and commit on something longer term if we want greater rewards. ESFPs may see this getting on a path to realize a vision — to feed your NiFi with your SeTe. INTJs on the other hand can’t just keep on looking and waiting for something to happen, we have to go get it. There are situations where we can’t be patient about and must take initiative. I’d hate to think ten years have passed and I have nothing to show for it. Like FOMO on a ten year scale. Nothing gets done unless I exert my SeTe like the way you do and make shit happen.
I also need to get out of my NiFi. To learn to forgive then to ask permission. When I’m out there grinding and hustling, I don’t have time to reflect deep in my emotions. That’s time and energy wasted and I’ll lose being present. I need to rely more on my instincts. I must remind myself I don’t need to ruminate any further. I shouldn’t always have to rationalize my emotions when I feel bad, especially when my values are crossed. I have to understand I can’t realistically attain the highest moral ground, I’m human after all. I’ll learn along the way when I make mistakes. I’m not that special, but I hope people’s time with me would be. I can’t just listen to my gut, I need to act on it.
We can learn a lot from each other. Learning each others’ strengths, I truly believe we can accomplish anything. For one, you taught me to believe more in myself. I need to fully embrace being a student of life. To absorb everything it gives me, knowing it makes me a better person. In a weird way, it’s as if life believes in me. There’s nobody else to judge me besides myself and life itself. We can’t judge until anything happens– until we make it happen. Plus it’s not like life takes me seriously, so I shouldn’t either take it seriously either. But I do take it seriously.
There are many of you who I’ve come across that have big goals. And it’s so inspiring to hear your reasons and what you’ve done to reach them. You may not necessarily be a performer on stage, but you’re definitely performing at life. For which I am your audience and a big fan. Whatever idea we come up with, let’s build up the vibe and run for it. I’d love to be the one that’d get you excited to help me feed off your energy. I mean… If I think it’s a good idea, it’s gotta be right?? But honestly, why not? Who the fuck knows.