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How to Deal With Uncertainty Best, According to Your Myers-Briggs Personality Type

Jenna Birch

Jenna BirchMay 28, 2020

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These past few months, the coronavirus crisis has upended everyone’s lives in some way, and knowing how to best handle these unprecedented times is tough. To be sure, these are uncertain times, and knowing how to deal with uncertainty is a helpful trait—one that looks different for different people.

For some, there will be more free time and opportunity to chase dreams they’ve put off; uncertainty can be intoxicating in that way. For others, there will be tons of dread associated with the need to create new routines to replace the old ones that worked so well. This disparity exists because every personality has different methods for how to deal with uncertainty differently.

Below, use your Myers-Briggs personality type as a guide to learn how to deal with uncertainty in the best way for you, so you can keep the road ahead as smooth as possible. (Still haven’t learned your Myers-Briggs personality type? You can find out more here. And if you want to take a deeper dive, learn more about the cognitive functions here.)

Below, learn how to deal with uncertainty best, according to your Myers-Briggs personality type.

Graphics: W+G Creative

ISFJ: Focus on your routines

ISFJs can easily feel out of sorts when their lives undergo massive change. You rely on meticulous plans to feel centered and balanced, so when you can’t really make plans at all, you may struggle to get much accomplished. You love your old-faithful routines, but now is a time to re-create them for a new phase of your life. This will feel arduous, but once you figure out how to regularly socialize (distantly) and structure your WFH day, you’ll be much happier.

ESFJ: Ask friends to keep you in check

When an ESFJ doesn’t have a lot of social contact and has very little ability to plan, they tend to catastrophize and think about worst-case scenarios. To quell this anxiety, anchor yourself with people you know and trust. Plan a new friend phone call each day. Ask your partner to do a date night. FaceTime with your mom. Make sure to make plans and stay social, even if it all stays in the confines of your own home. And if you are worrying nonstop about something, let your closest friends and family be your sounding board; they can tell you if your concerns are valid or overblown.

ISTJ: Use a day planner

When ISTJs can’t fall into their favorite old routines, they need something else to anchor them. A day planner is the best way for them to deal with anxiety, because they thrive with structure. Organize your weeks in advance, plotting out at least some of your must-do tasks, and penciling in others as you go. Checklists are also great; closing the loop on a line item will always give you a tiny dose of motivation and confidence.

ESTJ: Lists, lists, lists

ESTJs love to get stuff done, and the best way they know how to deal with uncertainty is to make lists of what they can do to avoid stress. Whether that’s organizing your finances, budgeting, grocery shopping, completing a project, or work item, if it’s under your control, you can put it on a to-do list; if it’s not, leave it off. Commit yourself to focusing on your lists only, and forgetting the rest for now.

ESFP: Move

ESFPs are physical beings. You don’t need a lot of certainty, per se, but you do need reliable friends and an outlet for your energy (your job, your workout regimen, etc). This is a great time to invest in a new physical hobby. Maybe you dust off the weights in your home gym, buy a bike, or pick up volleyball or basketball with your S.O. Just don’t sit still amid stress.

ISFP: Channel feelings into creativity

ISFPs feel a lot of stress when things are uncertain, but they may not be able to easily identify those feelings. The best strategy for you to deal with uncertainty is to carve out time for creative pursuits. Maybe it’s songwriting, sketching, or taking on a home project. Methodical, creative work that’s entirely in your control can be a great outlet for accessing your feelings and keeping you centered.

ESTP: Embrace your free time

ESTPs don’t like to have a plan, so uncertainty has little effect on your mood; in fact, you embrace it, because there’s no outside force telling you how to live your life. In this time, really let yourself gravitate to new things—hobbies, project ideas, jobs, even dating in quarantine. You thrive in the unknown, when you start to shed the baggage of life that you never intended to adopt, so embrace this time by being free and open to change.

ISTP: Lean into alone time

ISTPs need their friends, but they can typically get their fill in very small doses—like video-gaming sessions from afar, or the occasional FaceTime. Often, you feel more pressure to be involved in a group activity than stress about not having plans. Really take this time to focus on yourself instead of dedicating energy to the group, as you normally do. When things are uncertain and there are zero social obligations, you can be selfish with your time.

ENFP: Make a dramatic change

It’s your time to shine, ENFP. When the world is uncertain, all you see is possibility. You might see a new business idea among the problems of the day or finally realize life is too short not to take that leap of faith. Uncertainty gives you a chance to pause, assess a new landscape, note what is evolving, and find your place in it again. You were not made for just one path in life; you will take several. Maybe now is a great time.

INFP: Shake up your normal patterns

INFPs are often dreamers, locked in a world of expectations and obligation. Uncertainty can be scary, but think about this time as a gift. When your typical to-do list is stripped from you, and the well-trodden path is removed, how would you spend your time? How would you mold your life? Maybe you would look for a new job, or reconnect with your family. Use this time to shift your priorities, and believe you can create the life you want; you are highly adaptable, so you definitely can.

ENFJ: Lean on your mentors and friends

So often, ENFJs support others with a kind word or gesture. But during times of uncertainty, when you are thrown off balance and need to shred your plans, look to your closest friends, family, and mentors to keep you centered and prop you up. Schedule as many friend Zoom chats as possible to talk about what you’re feeling and get new perspectives. Call home. Ask your mentor for a review of your career amid what’s happening, and ask for feedback on how to maximize results during uncertain times. External forces will help keep you on track when so much is changing.

INFJ: Focus on the long-term plan

INFJs are always looking at the bigger picture. You know what your long-ranging goals are, and while you might need to shift your sails a bit after the world settles into a new normal, those aren’t changing. Focus on enjoying the moment, and simply keeping an eye out for opportunities to take a step forward. Even when so much is uncertain, so much is possible. This is when your creative juices fire up.

INTJ: Make micro-adjustments to reach your goals

INTJs are master contingency planners. You don’t just have a plan, but you have multiple additional plans in case the original plan falls through. During these uncertain times, make some micro-adjustments to make sure you are still on track to reach our goals. Maybe you need to re-prioritize within your budget, streamline your social calendar to include more family time, or prepare more for grad school to change your career path to a sector with more opportunity. Uncertainty feels scary to you, but you are actually great at making the best of it.

INTP: Study or innovate

INTPs usually do not have enough time to do exactly what they love—to research something in-depth, or to spend their time on projects that may or may not pan out (like a side hustle, or home improvement). You handle uncertainty well, and enjoy when life is slower, because you can re-route your energy into being more innovative. Don’t focus on what you can’t control when things are uncertain, which will frustrate you. Focus on being able to learn.

ENTP: Chase your passion

ENTPs have a tendency to start tons of projects, but never finish them, and get into funks when their lives become routine. Uncertainty appeals to you as a new flavor, because anything can happen. You can be flexible with your time, and actually sink your teeth into a project that might turn into a new passion or entrepreneurial pursuit. Focusing on projects can definitely help keep your mind off any lingering existential stress, as well.

ENTJ: Focus on one area of your life over which you have control

Uncertainty is a recipe for ENTJ frustration; you are used to a highly-regimented lifestyle, so you can achieve the maximum amount of success in a day, week, and month. Obviously, careful planning won’t help you right now when the future is uncertain. Instead, consider this a time to to adapt and focus on just one area of your life where you have total control, whether that’s physical health or communicating in your relationship.

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