Oxford dictionary describes creativity as “The use of imagination or original ideas to create something.”
And while that may not have been the most creative of openings, I promise I am an INFP, and I’m here to talk to you about creativity and INFPs.
So, now that we have a definition for creativity for us to keep in mind, I would like to say this: Yes, INFPs are creative. But that’s not a good enough answer, is it? Let’s look deeper into the creativity of INFPs, and see what it is that makes them creative.
Auxiliary function: Extraverted Intuition
So, what makes an INFP creative is their secondary cognitive function of Ne. INFPs tend to have an endless inner world of imagination. They continuously use what if scenarios to help them think through numerous possibilities before they can make a final decision. They use their intuition to channel their dominant and lively inner world, and engage with the external world in a way that makes sense to them.
Their endless sea of imagination is what makes INFPs creative. They are usually very out-of-the-box thinkers, and are often seen as strange and weird because of the way they go about their lives. But it is their weirdness that allows an INFP to come up with ideas and concepts that often blow other people’s minds.
It is common for INFPs to lose themselves in their imagination. They tend to spend a large amount of their time daydreaming about how they’d like for their lives to be. It is this free and open thinking that allows INFPs to come up with unconventional and often ground-breaking ideas and solutions.
How is INFP creativity manifested?
INFP creativity has no singular form to manifest itself as. It varies from one INFP to the other, but the creativity in INFPs knows no bounds.
The most obvious manifestation of the INFP creativity is the art world. A large majority of INFPs consists of people who are naturally inclined towards art and express their true selves through the work that they create.
An INFP can be a writer who bares their soul in the pieces they write, or a poet, who weaves their feelings into regular words, and makes them sound magical. INFPs can be incredible story-tellers, or have a way with music that baffles the minds of everyone who gives it a listen. They can create incredible paintings, or move in a way that can only be observed with awe and never explained with words.
The technical world.
This may come as a surprise to most, but an INFP’s creativity is not bound only to the art world. These people utilize their creativity in any and every job that they have. They may be a PR manager, or a promoter, a project manager at a firm, or a sales person; an INFP will always manage to come up with creative ideas to help their companies succeed, and make themselves indispensable. An INFP can be a lighting technician at a movie set and use their creativity to reflect different colours of lights on different characters or in different scenes, to highlight different emotions or traits etc.
I personally see Taylor Swift as an INFP. The how or why of it, I will reflect more on some other time, but she comes up with some of the most creative ideas to help with her album sales. She wasn’t being allowed to possess ownership to her music, so she found a loophole and is now not only rereleasing all of her old music so it can belong solely to her, but is also adding more musical numbers that didn’t make it in the albums the first time around. She is putting out her old work, and rebranding herself at the same time. Her ten minutes long version of her old song All too Well was made number 1 on Billboard Hot 100! A ten minute long musical number. She made history with that.
Sounds strange, but it is absolutely true that INFPs can be very analytical, and find creative ways of doing it. INFPs who love mathematics and analytics often refer to their work as making art. And they truly believe that, too. An INFP that I came across on YouTube shared that, “Mathematics, in large part, is just creativity.”
He is actually the one person who has helped me get in touch with my analytical side. INFPs can be found in the fields of finance, accounting, mathematics, economics, and even physics. And unless they’re being forced into it, these people really do come up with some of the best, most creative ideas and solutions to things and problems they’re presented with.
The humanistic side.
The thing is, a lot of INFPs are great at giving advice and helping other people solve their problems. These people are highly empathetic and compassionate towards others, so they’re more than motivated to come up with creative and unique solutions to people’s problems. They always give original advice that is tailored to the needs to each person specifically. These people use their creativity to better the conditions of the society as social workers, and also provide expert assistance to their clients by presenting them with unique and effective methods of helping themselves, as therapists.
How does INFP creativity lead to unproductiveness and inefficiency?
INFPs need a balance between creative freedom and structure. Problem arises when the imaginative side of an INFP takes over, leaving no room for productiveness. INFPs often lose themselves in their inner worlds, and this may lead to procrastination, and may even bring forth a demotivated, dull INFP.
A strict routine, filled with mundane tasks also causes an INFP to become inefficient and lose their creativity. Other types may benefit from structure, but INFPs despise feeling caged in, to the point that they become rebellious and often even self-destructive, if they feel like they’re being forced to limit their creativity. But that is sometimes a requirement. Structure isn’t a bad thing, deadlines, and being given direction isn’t always to control and rob someone of their creative freedom, and INFPs often struggle with understanding that.
How to channel your creativity into Success?
After having shown what an INFP’s problem can be, I thought it would be best to help them utilize their creativity in a positive way that helps them become productive and succeed.
Take a step back and unwind.
It is easy for an INFP to lose themselves in their endless stream of thoughts and ideas. That, when it happens in the middle of an important project, can become quite overwhelming and may cause an INFP to shut down. In order to get back to being productive, it becomes important to take a break from what it is you’re doing, and relax your mind. Flush out all the thoughts causing disruption, and take a step back from your work, so you’ll be able to see the big picture.
Turn your attention to tasks or activities unrelated to your work.
This really helps get things back into perspective. If you’re an INFP who is struggling with keeping your head in the game and is impacting your creativity, try doing things that go in a completely different direction of your work. Do a puzzle, solve some logical reasoning questions, engage yourself in a tiring workout to let the excess energy out, or even do a chore like doing the dishes, so that you can let your mind be occupied with something else. It may not be evident, but this would actually help you relax your mind.
This may be by taking a nap, meditating, going for a walk, or laying down in a room with mood lighting. Whatever it takes for you to relax both your mind and body, is the way to go. Listen to your favourite songs, or watch a relaxing movie, read something that soothes you, or play a video game. Allowing your mind to calm itself down and flush out all the overwhelming thoughts and feelings will help you channel your creativity in a very productive way.
Visualize your destination.
This helps if it is concentration and focus that you’re struggling with, and if you’re feeling entrapped by a deadline or a crazy schedule. Take ten minutes, clear out your mind, close your eyes, and think about the direction you’d like your project to go in. If it helps, write it down. And if you already have it written down somewhere, go over it. This will not only help fight the procrastination and negativity, but is also going to give you the motivation to hold on a little longer.
Imitate and learn from others.
It is helpful for an INFP to have a TJ type of person in their lives. Thinking types as well as judging types are more organized and like to plan ahead. When it comes to INFPs, they could really do well with having a TJ friend, partner, or parent to guide them on how to channel their creativity best, without letting the inner chaos of their thoughts or their fear and hatred for all things structured take over and cause them to lose something they really love and believe in.