“Authenticity” as a Decision-Maker

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First see “How Your Mind Makes Decisions”

Introverted Feeling (or what we’ve nicknamed Authenticity) is the part of us that asks, “Does this feel right to me?” When we need to make a decision that is true and honest to who we are, it’s Authenticity that guides us. When you understand how an action or word will impact the subjective human experience or when you feel conviction, you’re using Authenticity as decision-making criteria.

Example:

There is a famous story in the Hebrew Scriptures of the Bible where three young gentlemen are faced with either giving worship to a god they believe is false (according to the religion and culture of their youth), or dying in a fire. Their conscience does not allow them to do even a single act of worship and so they are thrown into a huge furnace. In the story, an angel is said to protect them from death as reward for their loyalty.

The magical elements of this story aside, the willingness to die for a conviction or belief is at the heart of Authenticity.

Authenticity-driven people are far more driven by personal conviction than any other consideration. In fact, it is sometimes difficult to motivate an Authenticity person unless they are personally touched or inspired. Once committed, however, they are a powerhouse and oftentimes unstoppable.

This often takes them in idealistic directions, believing something to be possible because they first felt it on the inside. Outside considerations are not nearly as interesting or compelling as internal feelings, and so they are often strangers – or even blind – to metrics. Something can be done because they believe it can, and others will stand in disbelief as an Authenticity person moves mountains to accomplish a vision.

At best, Authenticity is a true inspiration to others, congruent with all of their inner voices and aligned toward a mission.

At their worst, Authenticity people are fickle, unable to tell the difference between something feeling ‘wrong’ or it simply feeling ‘bad’. Unable to deal with any internal negativity, Authenticity can become impossible to please and project all their internal discomfort onto friends and family.

In order to make the best decisions, Authenticity people should remember a couple of things. First, believing in yourself and in the power of convictions is your gift, but it can easily turn ugly if idealism is all you can accept. The best way to keep you from entering an unhappy world of disappointment is to keep a strong grip on reality. Ask yourself what is actually happening, not simply what you would like to be happening. A good exercise is to remove the word “should” from your vocabulary and your internal dialog, replacing it with the word “is.”

Be careful not to mistake convicted for right. There are times when you may believe something to the core of your being and still be wonderfully and fabulously wrong. Keep an open mind and stay observant. You can make amazing things happen as long as you don’t lose your grip on reality.

Authenticity people tend to have a blind spot in Effectiveness.

 

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Showing 30 comments
  • Natasha Heredia
    Reply

    You said in one of your podcasts that INFP’s aren’t good at building processes to get things done. So, what are some tips that I can use to build daily routine into my life in order to accomplish personal goals? (Learning a language, paying off a credit card, etc.)
    I haven’t found it in your already published info, so hoping you can point me in the right direction. Thanks!!

  • Mack Garner
    Reply

    I am an INFP public defender who represents outcasts and unfortunates. I have been forced to learn Effectiveness in order to help these folks and make more real my dreams of the justice system. I did not like having to do it, but now I feel I have my dream job. Even though you hate it, just get out and do it and the rewards will be amazing.

  • Hannu
    Reply

    This might be self-evident but still it hasn’t been mentioned here:

    Getting more information relating to one’s conviction helps also to find arguments to defend your conviction with.

  • Hannu
    Reply

    INFP? – For me it is easier to decide when the matter affects only me. When I have others to consider, it feels that I cannot force my criteria on them. This is partially, because I don’t believe that 1) forcing anyone to your opinions will turn anyone’s head and 2) abandoning friends because they disagree is aiding the conversation about right and wrong. Mostly I don’t have others to consider and my convictions come up rather in conversations or when for example deciding what to eat. I’d like to believe that I’m slowly getting better at standing up. In many cases the best thing to do is to be an example.

    I guess I must keep reminding myself of how I feel after a decision that is not in alignment.

    Another thing is that often the decision is not about subjective good/bad but rather choosing an option within the good or bad. For example: “What do we eat today?” or “What actions shall we take to get more members into our sports club / franchise?”. It might be that I’ve neglected my co-pilot all too long and therefore I’m clueless in such situations – a total blank in my head. That or something else.

  • Jen
    Reply

    Hi and thank you so much for your work in Personality Hacker! I listen to you two regularly on my hour+ commute to and from work and have learned a whole lot! My daughter is onto you guys too now.;-)

    I do have a request. I realize that both of you come from what sounds like oppressive “Christian” homes and that saddens me. I do feel that maybe you have thrown the baby out with the bathwater, though, but that is another conversation. My request is that probably many of your listeners do embrace Christianity (hopefully not the way you have experienced), and when you call Biblical stories “magical” or “mythical,” it’s a bit off-putting. Rather than assigning value judgments to them like that, can you respect the fact that there are people who believe these stories to be true? I think your purpose is not to debunk Christianity, or at least I hope that’s not your purpose, and therefore perhaps you could guard against judging. It’s distracting to your message. Thanks for considering my request!

  • J.D.
    Reply

    I don’t come from a christian or strict background by the way

  • J.D.
    Reply

    ‘Authenticity’ rings a loud bell. With it the eyeopener : so to many others this is not as important? And it will not be important in the future? Or : the importance of this is not without question, but subjective? And : how can we meet in the end when we’re different in this? Abandon all hope.
    🙂 (self-mockery)

  • Leanne
    Reply

    I’m in my fifties now and can attest to the fact that it took me many years to settle into my authenticity. Not that I didn’t have deep personal convictions; I just didn’t regard them as valid in the outside world and so tended to downplay them. It made me feel inferior and wonder how I could ever play a useful role in the world. Once I began to play with my exploration function, however, this started to shift. And yes, Julia Cameron’s book, “The Artist’s Way” was a significant factor in the process. Little adventures, like visiting unusual places or attending talks on subjects that attracted very different people from those with whom I had mixed before, opened my eyes to a whole new world and I began to see how my convictions were either entirely valid or misinformed. The past ten or so years have been exciting, not least because I am at a stage in my life when I can really do something about supporting the causes I care about.

    • Mariona B
      Reply

      Hi Leanne, totally with you on this one. I also read the Artist Way – I remember her suggesting to make a list of things and places I wanted to do and visit. I did that as part of my Artist Dates (on my own or with my daughter) during a holiday in the Pyrenees and I treasure that month as wonderful. The ‘sensory exposure’ that I experienced helped me 1)to discover my passions 2)to be courageous to be true to myself. And yes… stuff self-doubt! But what did i do? Put Artist Dates away!! And back to “boring” routines…. Well .. enough!! I need Artist Dates.. to spice my life and to ground myself. Without exploration and “adventure” I get stuck into boredom and I totally lose my purpose and spark in life.

  • Rachel
    Reply

    Decision making I should one of my biggest faults! Especially when I’m in a new experience or job…. I just don’t know the priorities! And I can get really mixed up. It makes perfect sense when someone else talks it through, but I struggle to see the true value of the priorities when in tallying the problem on my own.

    • Rachel
      Reply

      Also… autocorrect.

  • Michael E Maitlen
    Reply

    I’m currently in the middle of trying to sort out a big decision. I got into grad school for counseling, which would take me in a completely opposite direction of the Software consulting career I’ve been in for 5+ years. I’ve idealized other professions for the longest time, but have built a stable career.

    Now that it’s almost time to go to school (I’d have to leave NYC but could keep my current job) I find myself questioning if I really want this change and if I really want to leave new york. The financial reality is hitting me as well – paying for school will not be easy, but neither is affording NYC.

    I’m literally going back and forth on this between the idealism and new career path and the stable career I’ve built and staying in nyc. Add to the mix I’m studying marketing on the side for fun and the future is a mess! I’m almost scared to NOT give schooling a shot because then I’ll never know what could be been.

    Welp, there’s my life! Thanks for all you guys do, I love your work and am looking forward to seeing you both in NYC May 6th.

    Best,
    Mike

  • Dale
    Reply

    I think what turns an INFP ugly is when people of other types chip away at their convictions and ultimately force an INFP to make a decision they would likely not make on their own. For instance if an INFP is painting a wall and wants to do all the steps in such a way that that is authentic. (ie. fix holes, texture wall, primer and then paint). When someone else comes around and tells the authentic INFP to not worry about priming because it’s just a rental and nobody will notice. You can knock holes in this theory but this is the type of stuff that makes an INFPs head explode.

    • Lorelee
      Reply

      Yes, the biggest regrets in my life have resulted from allowing others to “chip away at my convictions”. Your example is right on – not priming because it’s just a rental would absolutely make my head explode!

    • Matt
      Reply

      Absolutely agree! My biggest ‘disappointments’ in the world have come from a place of having my ‘convictions’ or ‘beliefs’ put aside or disregarded for something seemingly more tangible or easy. Being in that kind of environment for a long time chips away at your self-confidence and your willingness to listen to that little, passionate, voice.

      As a fellow INFP, the hardest pills to swallow have always been the “big-picture delayed-validation” loops:
      – Finding a topic that triggers your Authenticity
      – Using your Exploration to dive deep into it, understand it further, discover a bigger picture
      – Finally build up enough courage to address it
      – Be dismissed repeatedly and consistently by others who “know better” over years
      – Eventually, out of the blue, one day, have one of those people pop back up and say: “huh, you were right”

  • Martina
    Reply

    Would you mind elaborating on this:

    Authenticity can become impossible to please and project all their internal discomfort onto friends and family.

    ? 🙂 thanks.

  • sarah
    Reply

    I looked at your ‘fast personal growth’ article about the types + i do have to say that i don’t feel like traveling to physical places really changes my outlook/helps me grow. i sort of feel like ‘wherever you go, there you are’ and that applies to myself and other people. people experience the same emotions in different configurations and landscapes are different configurations of the same beauty that i feel like i dream up in almost a more real way. i get how in theory traveling would be helpful but in reality when i get to that place i’m like, ‘oh but i’ve already been here before, this is just in a different configuration i’ve already imagined and i already made that shortcut in my imagination.’ sorry if this doesn’t make any sense.

    • Antonia Dodge
      Reply

      The goal as an INFP is to have as many widely varied experiences outside of your frame as possible. When you’re confronted with something that confronts a value of yours which was only crafted in a hypothetical or conceptualized space it forces your Authenticity process to reevaluate based on the new information. It doesn’t have to be travel, but travel is often a simple way to put yourself in these contexts.

      We interviewed my very good friend Dan (who is an INFP) on personal development and he talks about his experience with using travel – and other things – to expand his world. I recommend checking it out! https://www.personalityhacker.com/podcast-episode-0038-personality-types-in-personal-development/

      Cheers!

      -A-

  • sarah
    Reply

    hi antonia!
    i’m wondering if you can do an article on INFP struggles and how to overcome them. i see SO many posts and comments all over the interwebz and irl about INFPs who just can’t figure out what to do… so many INFPs who are just completely adrift and sad. honestly i see this depressing trend for INFPs more than any other type. we generally are naturally quite creative but it can be very difficult to translate that into a fulfilling career or vocation. would really love to see you address this in a specific way and maybe touch upon your past interactions with ‘successful INFPs’ aka fairly content people of this type. how can we embrace our beautiful ‘unreality’ of imagination while simultaneously existing in the here and now? how have INFPs done this?

    it would also be awesome if you could talk about romantic relationship trends for INFPs… it does seem like we also struggle to find relationships that last…. dom-Fi in a longterm romantic relationship seems to be tricky.

    • Antonia Dodge
      Reply

      Hey, Sarah! I’m on it. I’m currently in the middle of writing an INFP article. It should come out in February.

      Thanks for the comment! 🙂

      -A-

    • Ron
      Reply

      ” just can’t figure out what to do… so many INFPs who are just completely adrift and sad” Me to a T Sarah. It’s what led me here. 🙁

  • Leon
    Reply

    This is great! As an INFP, I would say though there tends to be a rather paradoxical nature to types, so my type is one of the more likely to have strong convictions, yet at the same time lack it a lot due to not believing in oneself.

    • Antonia Dodge
      Reply

      When an Authenticity person has belief and conviction in themselves, they’re unstoppable. I recommend the book “The Artist’s Way” by Julie Cameron for building confidence in yourself and your Authenticity process, as well as removing any ‘crazy makers’ in your life (who are there to promote self-doubt).

      Thanks for your comments. 🙂

      -A-

      • DaNy
        Reply

        Hey Antonia, do you recommend this book also for other personality types, who havent Authetncitiy as dominant (1st car) position? I am INTJ and have Authen. in 3st position. Thank you

      • Mariona B
        Reply

        Thanks Antonia!! I’m back into The Aritst Way, Morning Pages and Artist Dates!! Thanks for ypur articles!!

    • Valerie Alexander
      Reply

      I can relate very much to this. I have all sorts of great and wonderful dreams and aspirations and now that I’ve been given some extra time, I’ve stalled out. I think it has a lot to do with the words of my mom as a teenager when in response to hearing my dreams, she told me, “Just wait until you get to the real world!” So heart crushing in so many ways!

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