To get insight into your own below-the-surface motivating factor, look no further than your Myers-Briggs personality type to help you figure it out. (Don’t know what your MBTI is? Read this first!)
Check out what motivates you most in life, according to your Myers-Briggs personality type.
You, ISFJ, have strong family values and easily prioritize based on what you think is right and important. For instance, you’d never miss a close friend’s wedding, no matter how much travel is required or expenses are incurred. You also always stand by family, even if you don’t totally agree with them. Just be careful to check in with yourself every once in a while, and forget what the outside world thinks. Sometimes it’s okay to abandon what you think you “should” do in favor of what you want to do. Otherwise, resentment can build up.
ESFJs just want to serve and be liked by their closest friends—and that’s okay. You absolutely love making others happy, and often do things that promote that outcome, like send a birthday card to out-of-state friend or helping your bestie’s future fiancé pull off a surprise engagement. Few others share in this level of outward motivation, so ESFJs are often waiting for their closest friends and significant other to notice their efforts. Fight the urge to do this, and if you need something, express that clearly.
ISTJs always play their part, no matter how big or small, and perform at the highest level they can. You are motivated by doing your personal best in the name of a higher cause. Noble as you are, you’re also often too hard on yourself because you’re aware of ways in which you could have done something better. You stress over making the right call when it comes to handling a friend who’s lost their way, or whether to take a new job. Work on worrying less, because rest assured, you generally put in the right amount of forethought to make a good decision.
ESTJs are the director of the movie, the boss in the office, the commander of the ship. Basically, you help everything run smoothly. You’re motivated by making systems work, whether it’s a group project where everyone must play a part, or deliverables that must be passed among coworkers until the assignment is completed. You’re keenly aware of deadlines and expectations, and want to meet both. Just make sure you’re not trying to be so efficient that you adopt a “my way or the highway” attitude. While you’re great as a leader, leaders also listen to other ways things can be done.
To get an ESFP out of the house, make sure it’s for something exciting—they hate missing out. The term FOMO was practically invented for ESFPs, who want to have as many experiences as possible. Although you have endless energy and a thirst for excess, just make sure you’re turning your experiences into meaning: How does this travel experience inform your views of the world? How did this job impact your sense of self? How did this date teach you something about what you want in a partner? Although you’re motivated by experience alone, you become wise when you process what you’re experiencing.
ISFPs are kinesthetic, adaptable and motivated by creative expression that conveys a deeper meaning. This inspires your work, your beliefs, and the way you navigate your life. Sometimes though, you funnel your feelings into art instead of speaking up for yourself when your friends, family, or partners might benefit from a clear explanation. Problems cannot just strictly inform your creative side, so work on developing both your artistic and diplomatic muscles.
For ESTPs, the pace of normal life is simply not enough. You want to drive fast cars, travel to the most obscure locations, have a high-stakes job, and have the most passionate relationship you can fathom. You are motivated by living on the edge, but you often forget how fleeting and unstable it can be. Don’t forget to enjoy the quiet moments that build up to a fulfilling job, a strong relationship, and an exciting life. Eventually, a life of cheap thrills will seem far less appealing or worth your investment.
ISTPs are content and self-motivated. No one will inspire you to commit to a relationship, go on a trip, or pursue a certain degree except you—which is great because you avoid the resentment associated with being too self-sacrificing. But don’t forget that while doing the big things for yourself is smart, doing small things for others is what makes the world go ‘round, keeps you connected to your family and friends, and makes you the best partner long-term. And whether you want to admit it or not, those are all things you care about.
The underlying goal of every ENFP is to use their skills to better humanity in some fundamental way. Usually, you have a combination of interests, passions, and skills that can help in this cause, but your primary means of doing this is encouraging others. Prioritize striking a balance between focusing on your personal passions and helping others go after theirs instead of being constantly on call for your many friends. Otherwise you’ll end up drained and burnt out.
INFPs hate doing things that do not feel authentic. You don’t want to be friendly with people you don’t trust and don’t want to spend time on hobbies you don’t care about. You hate hate that feeling of “going through the motions.” The most important thing any INFP can do is choose the right friends and partner to support their need to be wholly authentic rather than accommodating.
Somehow, ENFJs seem to be able to foster friendship with anyone. You’re motivated by intimacy in any and all relationships; you want the kind of bond where you share your feelings, support each other through ups and downs, and celebrate the little things, like birthdays and job promotions. Your downfall is hypersensitivity when others aren’t quite as invested in the relationship as you are, which happens often because you’re so close with so many people. It’s important to appreciate others for the way they do show their feelings, since people have different love languages. Understand this, and you’ll feel better.
INFJs always want to take what they know and expand upon it, whether that’s in personal relationships or an area of expertise. You want to learn your friends’ needs better so you can offer better advice. You want to study an area of research closely, so you can apply it to your work. You are motivated by expanding the wisdom upon which you build your life, making better and better choices. But don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Life is full of little setbacks. Accepting this, instead of working so hard against it, will make you happier.
INTJs are a unique mix of cool on the surface, passionate beneath, scientific in presentation, and values-driven at the root it all. Ultimately, you are motivated by using what you already have in order to create more—or, more simply, using the skills you’ve been given to advance a cause that speaks to your soul. Sometimes, though, being so dead set on accomplishing a goal for the better good can come at the cost of your personal relationships, which may cause a major identity crisis when you’re finally across the finish line. Keep seeking balance, and prepare yourself for long-term emotional stability.
INTPs are in search of any objective or higher truth. Whatever it is you’re working on, you’re looking to move the needle on a conversation. But you’re also often entirely consumed by your work, and frequently prioritize the pursuit of truth over personal time. This is fine, so long as you’re not committing to social obligations or relationships you don’t truly have the bandwidth to handle. Be honest with yourself before saying yes to others.
ENTPs are the most inquisitive minds of the Myers-Briggs universe. You are motivated by mental exploration, and, quite simply, the possibilities that come with learning new things. You’ll ask your friends a million questions about their personal lives, read up on the most random thing just because it interested you in amid a Wikipedia click-tangent, and constantly want to advance your skills to grow at work. Just be careful that you don’t dance all over the boundaries of others.
ENTJ: Peak experiences
ENTJs are sort of the quintessential go-getter; the type that might aim for the corner office, a big paycheck, and a picture-perfect family. And while there’s nothing wrong with having goals, you are prone to get so caught up in reaching a peak rather than the climb it takes to get there. As long as you don’t lose sight of the top of the mountain, it’s okay to take your eyes off it for a while. Sometimes, the best of life happens in the in-between.
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