I have found there are many different paths people take to not only achieve their passions but to discover those passions in the first place. Some people have always known what their passion was from a young age. They may have spent years cultivating a path to live out their desires freely. Others do not discover their passions until they reach college or even later in life, perhaps in a relationship, or after witnessing or experiencing a tragedy that mystically uncovers a hidden passion within that they never knew existed. Many people have yet to discover their passions or claim they don’t have any, which could be due to a number of factors.
My goal in this article is to lay out a few optimal paths to not only help you discover your passion but know what to do after you have discovered it. Knowing there’s not a “one size fits all” model like many people may believe, I will be laying out these optimal paths according to Myers-Briggs Personality Types. If you don’t know your best fit type, you can take a test on PersonalityHacker.com and then confirm it fits through descriptions of the cognitive functions, which I will be using throughout this article.
Introverted Feeling – “Authenticity”
People who use Authenticity may be very introspective. They have spent a great deal of time searching their inner world, motivations, and emotions. They have a clear picture of what drives them, so they may struggle less than most types to identify their passion. This clarity is a great quality to have because having a vision of who you would like to be and where you would like to go is a vital part of getting there.
However, I have found that such people often tend to lack the drive and logical how-to ability to achieve their passion. So their vision can be frustrating for them as they see the clear path, and have all the gas needed to drive, but struggle to start the car and get it into motion. Their destination changes from a motivating challenge into a taunt and a reminder of their failure to take action.
My advice for these people would be to not worry so much about a direct path but to focus more on exploring and having fun on the journey. Tori Kelly, a well-known singer that I believe to be ISFP said in her song “Confetti:”
People seem to think
That you’ll be happier, once you reach the top
You’ll have it all
But I’m living for right now
‘Cause what if tomorrow never comes
I’m not waiting; I’m not waiting
For the confetti to fall.
Tori is essentially stating that although she knows where she wants to be and what she would like to be doing, as she tries to obtain that life, she is not forgetful of the life she is living and makes sure to maximize each moment of that journey to achieve what she wants.
Typologically speaking, although I am sure other types may relate, I would presume IxFPs tend to deal with this problem the most due to their dominant Introverted Feeling function, causing them to self-introspect all day every day. Inferior Extraverted Thinking (“Effectiveness”) gives them that strong logical push to go out and accomplish their mission. The IxFP will find more contentment if they focus on their Copilot — Extraverted Sensing (“Sensation”) as an ISFP or Extraverted iNtuition (“Exploration”) as an INFP. IxFPs should jump into action even if they do not know exactly where to head, and just enjoy the journey. As long as they are keeping their goal in mind and staying true to themselves, they will inevitably wind up at their destination. Do not be afraid to take action and explore the possibilities before you.
Extraverted Feeling – “Harmony”
For those who did not figure out their passion until their early 20s or even later in life, I would suspect they are usually more attuned to the world of feelings and people around them, which makes them less attuned to their own inner feelings and motivation. In typology, these people tend to be the FJs, or Extraverted Feeling users. Personality Hacker nicknamed this cognitive function Harmony because of its constant concern with the emotional interplay between people and social dynamics. Harmony users tend to be more aware of other people’s feelings than their own feelings, which paradoxically gives the FJ the ability to identify their feelings as they observe how others feel. This process can take time, and for this reason, I would say most Harmony users do not get a strong sense of the world’s problems until they have experienced a lot of other people’s pain. FJs may feel like it is their responsibility to find a way to bring more harmony to this world and, depending on the type, they may go about it in different fashions.
The INFJ may continue to absorb and ponder all of society’s problems and listen to people’s complaints until he has formed a grand long term plan that may finally bring some recovery and peace to society.
The ENFJ, being more action oriented, will most likely also listen to people’s complaints about society, but rather than go into a cave and brainstorm the perfect solution, they would rather use their intuition to rally people toward the solution that achieves their vision of harmony.
The ISFJ and ESFJ, being more practical and hands-on, may be more inclined to serve different from the NFJ types. The ISFJ, leading with Introverted Sensing (“Memory”) may have the drive to not only create good experiences for others but to also replicate them.
Being keen to the effect of experiences in people’s lives, ISFJs work tirelessly to serve and create great experiences for those they care about and for humanity as a whole. The ISFJ may not go into a cave to ponder life’s perfect solution like the INFJ would but can be found helping humanity in more of a day-to-day practical sense.
The ESFJ is similar in that they prefer to impact the world in a more practical sense, such as throwing holiday parties, serving at homeless shelters, expressing gratitude, and even contributing to the medical community.
As you can see, all four of these types are concerned with making society a better place. They find their passion in serving society in a way that not only creates harmony but makes up the level of harmony we currently have in our society. My advice to these types would be to keep paying attention to the needs of people, but don’t neglect meeting their own needs in the process. As Antonia Dodge often states, “When meeting the needs of everyone, make sure you include yourself with everyone else.” In finding passion, keep in mind the well known INFJ Gandhi’s quote: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
Extraverted Sensing – “Sensation” & Extraverted iNtuition – “Exploration”
I believe ExFPs may also fall into the group of those who do not figure out their true passions until later in life. This is more likely due to their dominant functions being an Extraverted Perceiving process while their auxiliary function of Introverted Feeling is an Introverted Judging process that is not engaged until the ExFP matures. ESFPs lead with Sensation, which is concerned with being in the moment; not thinking too much about the future, but being in tune with their body. ENFPs lead with Exploration which is all about exploring possibilities in a theoretical sense such as by asking “what if” questions and actualizing those thoughts when possible.
These types are similar to the IxFP types only their processes are reversed. Rather than knowing their passions at a young age and then spending time trying to explore ways to live them out, ExFPs tend to live their lives exploring and enjoying life. With time they begin to tap into their auxiliary process of Introverted Feeling and find their passion there. In time, Extraverted Thinking begins to team up with Introverted Feeling to actualize and carry out their passionate plan. Then their dominant function can become more focused on exploring and enjoying life now that it has an end goal in mind. My advice for ExFPs would be to make sure they always remain faithful to themselves and solidify their values as they are engaging their dominant function. Do not let the tertiary — Extraverted Thinking — kick in and cause you to objectify people as resources to achieve your goals and/or find short cuts that go against your values or are unethical.
Introverted Thinking – “Accuracy”
ExTPs are similar to the ExFPs in that they either lead with Sensation or Exploration, but their Judging function is Introverted Thinking, which is primarily concerned with accuracy and understanding frameworks and empirical data without all the biases the human component can bring. Right beneath this function lies Extraverted Feeling as a tertiary. I have seen this pairing of functions give the ExTP the innate desire to help the world in some fashion that assists people to have a better life through inventions, frameworks, models, and scientific data while remaining level-headed and objective in their pursuits. My advice to these types would be similar to the ExFP advice, to explore the world as they may already be doing through ideas or experiences, but don’t forget people. Similar to the Harmony users, these types may have the best luck in finding their passion when they have spent enough time with other people and can see a need they can meet which will help humanity as a whole.
IxTPs are like the middle ground between IxFPs and ExTPs. These types lead with Introverted Thinking, so they are most concerned with the data and have either Sensation or Exploration as an auxiliary. These Extraverted Copilots are important because they allow IxTPs to have a way of getting outside of themselves to explore the world and check or apply their internal knowledge. They also have an innate desire to help the world, like the ExTP, only in an even more objective and detached manner being that their Harmony function is inferior. My advice to them would be similar as the IxFPs: don’t be afraid to explore possibilities and fine tune ideas with the eternal world as the testing ground. Through this, the IxTP may find their niche and how they may impact the world while also enjoying the process.
Extraverted Thinking – “Effectiveness”
Lastly, I have found that Extraverted Thinking users, or ExTJs and IxTJs, may have the opposite problem of the IxFP. They have so much knowledge on how to actualize their passion and dreams in a very logical and practical manner, but discovering passion may be difficult for them due to their weak feeling function of Introverted Feeling. My recommendation would be to spend time in reflection. Get familiar with your Introverted Intuition (“Perspectives”) if an NTJ or Introverted Sensing (“Memory”) if an STJ. This will inevitably help you get familiar with your hidden vision tucked away inside Introverted Feeling, which will provide the fuel needed for the drive to your destination.
So, in essence, our decision-making functions are where our passions are hidden, and our perceiving functions give us a means of finding a way to accomplish our goals after discovering them with the help of our decision-making function.
Because people are complex and not always cleanly cut into categories, you may have found as you read that you relate to a “path finder” of a different type from your own, and that is fine. I intended this article as a model to help you get started. I hope it has brought you some insight and you are at least a few steps closer to discovering and achieving your purpose.