Look ahead, and never back at any given time. If you’re an ambitious person, and most writers are, everything you’ve ever wanted is ahead. Yet, once we get what we wished for, something else steps in. Fear, uncertainty, sure chaos. We realize it. We must face fears and embrace chaos. We must do what we’ve never done before.
For many of us, it means trekking alone through a narrow path in a dark forest that leads to an unknown destination. We’re going to have obstacles, too. Hills, crevasses, rivers, streams, and any other obstacle within our path.
Wild animals in the form of ignorant, arrogant people?
Greedy shapeshifters that will try to throw us off our path?
We will meet them.
Guardians that will tell us it’s best to turn back and live the life we left, for while it wasn’t what we completely wanted, we were safe and happy while living it.
And why not?
What’s wrong with snagging a normal, nine to five day job in a depressed or obscure area, live the life of a working or middle-class citizen, and just be an average every person?
In all honesty, nothing at all is wrong with this lifestyle.
But for writers who crave others read their words, it’s different. We need recognition. We both need and require recognition. Maybe not for ourselves, but for the stories we wrote and the characters we brought to life.
Then there are writers who happen to be the rare Introverted iNtuitive, Feeling, Judging (INFJ) type, which consists of less than one-percent of the population.
The Mysterious INFJ
Yes, we INFJ’s are definitely unique, quiet, and mysterious.
What we want for ourselves, we want more than anything else. If we’re sitting or standing at a nine to five job, or any line of normal work, we’re not happy. We could make more than enough money to live on and we still wouldn’t be happy.
We’d look at everyone around us, those we met earlier in life, and those we went to school with, and sometimes our own family.
And we want what they have, but no, we want more than what they have.
Are they making more than enough money, living in a decent area of the country, meeting new people, and appearing happy on social media?
We want that, but we want more.
Because we know many of them have already sold their soul to the corporate or government world consisting of intelligent life in the form of drones.
Us INFJ’s go deeper. We need something that will actively spark change in the world, be it on the right, left, or middle side of any spectrum.
You could even give us riches, but if we’re not making riches on our own terms, we deem them worthless.
Give us our passions, and no matter how tough it may be to making a living in such passions, we can guarantee, at the very least, our efforts will go through the roof.
The INFJ Trap
Yet, there’s a notorious trap facing the INFJ, those who are more ambitious in life than a pure-blooded Slytherin in the Harry Potter Universe.
We. Live. In. Fear.
Which personality is the most resistant and hesitant to change?
Which personality overthinks everything and tries to justify their strange methods of thinking?
Which personality makes absolutely no sense to the other fifteen, ah maybe some sympathy from our INFP and INTJ cousins?
Again, go figure.
We want to make a lot of money for ourselves working in a field we know will make a difference in others.
We want to strive above and beyond and set new standards for everyone else, for them to see some of our grand accomplishments.
But we hate to face the fact changes will take place and it’s something that holds a lot of INFJ’s and others like us back.
We’re hesitant, very hesitant to change.
I’m sure most of us faced change, hated it because we never gave it a fair shot it deserved, went back to our normal lives, and in the end, kicked ourselves for not seeing the changes through.
Can I get a show of hands?
Anybody like this?
I’ve been there, done that, probably at least three times.
Embrace Chaos, Face Fear and Grow
But, there have also been changes that have driven me completely out of my comfort zone that I’ve come to like.
I didn’t know what was waiting for me on the other side after moving out of my parents’ house.
But boy, I’m glad I’m out.
I’ve no idea what a new day job in addition to my writing will be or how I’ll be able to schedule in effective writing times into my new schedule.
But I know this new day job is something unique and yes, it will make a difference for a lot of people, something an INFJ craves in the workplace.
I know I get a nice dose of midday downtime which will be instrumental in my writing. In other words, I’ll still have time to write, though it’ll take a week or two to get everything in order.
I don’t know what everything is going to be like. Will it be stressful? Chaotic? Will I even succeed?
There’s uncertainty and INFJ’s like myself shy away from uncertainty.
We’re the most ambitious personality type out there. Yes, we daydream of a clear-cut path in an enchanted forest, but the reality for us and everyone is we’re looking at a narrow path in a dark forest.
We daydream of walking straight to a magical sword and pulling it out of a rock with a sleeping princess nearby and the rest will be history.
But in reality, we’re walking toward an unknown end and are unsure of what lays in our path.
We know a few things about reality.
One, we’re going to experience chaos.
Two, we’re going to face uncertainty.
Three, we’re going to have ups and downs.
Four, it’s possible we get so distracted we lose sight of our goal.
Five, fear will set in so much we might desire our old lives and we forget what pain of regret feels like.
How to Combat Fear and Chaos
The final piece of this article deals with ways to cope.
For one, many of us INFJ’s are writers or avid readers.
If you caught it earlier, I spoke of shapeshifters and guardians.
The INFJ might receive the life-changing calling they’ve always wanted but when push comes to shove, their resistance and fear to change might cause them to refuse the call.
You readers and writers know where I’m going with this.
What about, in any job, we have managers who act as something called a mentor, who bestow upon us something that will help us succeed in our journey.
Now are you sensing where I’m headed?
And like in any new job or field, it’s likely we make at least one really good friend who wishes to accompany us on such a journey into the unknown.
Guys, if you’re INFJ like I am, look at this as your own personal hero’s journey. Think of many of those epic characters you idolized reading about, and some of us actually wrote about.
Heck, Northern Knights is based on the hero’s journey and it’s evident when ignorant Cain wants to become a professional athlete but something called chaos derails his ambitions. He has no choice but to face fears (plus a haunting past) and embrace chaos.
But, how do you do this? Where do you begin?
I believe most INFJ’s can be comparable to the Harry Potter character Neville Longbottom, a seemingly talentless laughingstock who later becomes a hero in his own right and is arguably the Series’ breakout character.
Now, the rundown. How do you deal with chaos and changes in life?
1. Get comfortable being uncomfortable. Discomfort is a new comfort. Any time something stressful is happening, act like you’re falling in love with it. The more discomfort, the better you are.
2. Spin stress. Stress really isn’t always a bad thing. Instead of getting stressed about goals and expectations of others as many INFJ’s do since we’re out to impress everyone which is impossible, look at high goals and expectations as opportunities. As ways to evolve.
3. It’s a challenge. John Cena once said he never backs down from a challenge and this is both in real life and in his WWE character. Well, aren’t these words of wisdom? If nothing else impresses people, your desire to see every single challenge through will pay dividends. Since many of us are writers, isn’t writing one of the greatest challenges out there? What about getting people to read our work? Guys, no challenge is too great for the writer.
4. It’s growth. Just like when I first started lifting weights, I knew growth would come from it. It did, and not just that, it did quickly. Look past your comfort zone and you’ll find a new comfort zone beyond what you believed once was. All the new challenges and expectations will cause growth, and nothing’s better than it.
5. Power and Influence. Many INFJ’s want this because we’re looking for one thing; to seek control of our own lives. We love living for ourselves on our own terms, but to do so we must grow, which we don’t like. But, we need to realize our true ambitions of power and influence stem from steady growth. And we’ll be at the top of our game.
6. Look beyond instant gratification. The sixth and most important one is to look beyond instant gratification. Instead of retreating to your comfort zone where your growth will stagnate and you’ll end up feeling sorry for yourself, remember what pain of regret feels like. You’ve one life to live and do you really want a life of regret?
Pain of Discipline versus Pain of Regret
In this first version of My Freedom Flame before its rebranding, I wrote an article called Pain of Discipline versus Pain of Regret.
What I meant in the entire work was while instant gratification and current comfort levels are desirable, they’re ultimately undesirable. Let me tell you a short story and I’ll let you go.
Two years ago I decided to leave my comfort bubble and failed miserably. And I mean lost more games than the 2016-2017 Browns combined, and they went 1-31 those two seasons.
I went 0-32.
It wasn’t because I couldn’t do the job. I was more than capable of doing my job. Only the second I left my new life was in such disarray I craved the old days of success, comfort, and hope.
By the end of 2016, I’d put back more money than 90% of American citizens and I did it on my own.
But, I struggled with this and guess where I ended up spending half my downtime?
In my parents’ living room, watching family, friends, and former peers scatter all over the country and take on new challenges and a new life.
And where was I?
In my parents’ living room in Steubenville, Ohio. Though I still had my own place of residence, I, well, had nowhere else to go other than back and forth.
Miserable as hell for someone approaching their late twenties.
It was a failure, but I also know that as a loser, a winner is simply a loser who tried one more time.
A winner is someone who exercises pain of discipline.
A winner is someone who learns from their losses and changes the ‘L’ words around. You don’t win or lose.
You win or learn.
And when you learn, you learn from mistakes that set you back.
And when you learn from mistakes that set you back, pain of discipline seeps in.
And when pain of discipline seeps in and you face fears and embrace chaos, wonderful things are waiting despite the darkness of the path ahead.
Finally, you will win. You will find your Franchise Quarterback and embark on leading your team to become the next dynasty.
But, you need to exercise pain of discipline or face the ultimate pain of regret.