"Losing out"

Each type has the potential to overuse or abuse its preferences.  This is likely to happen when individuals are under great stress or  pressure.  The following paragraphs describe some of the ways PISTs, ESTJs, ISFPs, ESFPs, ESFJs, ISFJs, INFJs, INFPs, ENFPs, INTJs may "lose out", in addition to some strategies that they can use to get back on track.


 - One way of losing out for the ISTP has to do with looking for the easiest route by taking shortcuts and slacking off in their efforts.  In their desire to have more free time, they work in the most expedient way and cut corners, consequently their work may be incomplete.  They can appear indifferent and unmotivated.  When the work is complete, it usually is the part they enjoy.  Their haphazard style gets them in trouble and they often are put on probation.

A strategy for ISTPs is to develop a step-by-step plan, put in the effort to accomplish the plan, stay on plan by developing perseverance, and make sure that others are aware of their efforts.

ISTPs may "lose out" when they keep important things to themselves and fail to let others know what is going on inside of them.  When they do share with others, they may unintentionally point out only the faults and problems that they see in others, not the good things.  As a result, others may see them as insensitive and uncaring.  As a strategy, ISTPs may need to be more open in their relationships with others, even when this feels unnecessary to them.  Others need to know where they (and the ISTP) stand.

Because ISTPs are oriented toward collecting new facts and details, they may sometimes feel overwhelmed by all of the information.  They may resist decision-making in order to keep their options open.  In this process, they may appear indecisive and undirected, especially to those who are waiting for the ISTP's decision.  They can become so involved in the day-to-day problems and data gathering that they pay not enough attention to the long-range needs of others or the business, nor do they develop or communicate priorities to others.  Subsequently, others feel a lack of direction and relations flounder.  A strategy in these situations is to develop priorities, set both short and long-range goals, and communicate those to others.

The final way ISTPs "lose out" is that they may move on to new tasks before their previous efforts bear fruit.  They short-change themselves and those with whom they are in contact, sometimes for years to come. As strategies, they may need to develop perseverance and the ability to stay with tasks, projects, or programs until they have completed them.

When ISTPs are back on track, they are using their strengths of problem analysis, trouble shooting, and responding quickly to meet the needs of the occasion.  They can be tireless in the pursuit of expedient problem solving.  Otherwise, they are continually playing to their weaknesses and they and those with whom they relate pay a price.


 - One way of "losing out" for ESTJs has to do with their directness in getting the job done.  They tend to decide too quickly and to form opinions of how things ought to be done.  When things vary or change, the original "ought to be" may not fit the new situation.  ESTJs may hold consistently to their original plan and stand firm against what they consider to be impertinent or irrelevant new information.  The result of this is that they can be "boxed into corners" and miss reaching their goals.

As a strategy, ESTJs need to remember that a decision can be changed and perhaps should be changed.  Sometimes a change in the ESTJ's plans, based on new information, may allow him or her to get the job done more readily.  ESTJ's also may need to "bite their tongues", ask others for advice, listen to it, and stop themselves from giving their own directions and decisions right away.

Another way ESTJs "lose out" is when they do not see the need for change.  They hold to their view and become quite rigid and unyielding in favor of upholding their principles.  As a strategy, they may need to prod themselves to look at the benefits of change, determining if their plans are still workable in that context.  They need to avoid being stuck in ruts because "that's the way we've always done it".  ESTJs will discover that changes in plans can be positive and may even be better than their original way.

ESTJs may "lose out" when they overlook the niceties in others.  They may drive themselves and others hard, forgetting to say the necessary "pleases" and "thank yous".  As a strategy, they need to make a special effort to show appreciation to others and also to encourage others to be involved in the accomplishment instead of preferring to do it "alone":  my way.

Another way ESTJs "lose out" is when they get emotional.  Being so conscientious, reliable, and task-oriented, ESTJs may not be consciously aware of their needs or of those of others.  When they ignore their feelings, a seemingly inconsequential incident may set off an emotional explosion.  As a strategy, ESTJs may find it helpful in such situations to use the proverbial method of counting to ten.  They desperately need to learn to apologize without justifying themselves.

Because they rely heavily on logic, they may overlook their own and others' feelings and values.  They may not see the value of certain activities nor appreciate the relationships in them until it is too late.  They do not anticipate the opportunity to experience the pride, joy, and association that comes from certain endeavours.

When they are back on track, ESTJs are using their strengths of structuring things in a logical way, using critical analysis to find the right way to proceed, and standing firm on principles.  They can be tireless in getting a job done.  They must take care not to ride over other people in their pursuit of the completed job.


 - For the ISFJ, one way of "losing out" has to do with paying too much attention to what actually is and neglecting to look beyond the facts to find implications.  They may often see the present so clearly that they cannot see any different possibilities for the future.  Thus they may get stuck in ruts and not see a way out.  Using their past experience as a basis on which to judge their future, they focus on past negative experiences and face the future with uncertainty and fear.  They often imagine the worst possible thing that could happen.  When they look for meanings and relationships suggested by the facts, they tend to see what is missing, rather than what is possible or a potential opportunity.  Additionally, because the future is filled with the unexpected and the unknown and past experience may not apply, ISFJs may see the future more pessimistically than is necessary. They often do not look beyond their present poor experience to other facts that may have just as valid a meaning of their present circumstances.  They may continue to feel sorry for themselves long past any reasonableness and not to seek new interests or develop relationships they already have.  They worry about the future without attempting to make it better.

As a strategy, ISFJs need to focus on the practical and the real and to know that this focus can guide them well in the future.
They are well advised to look for at least three possibilities in their current situation that have the potential for working out.       Because ISFJs are dependable, reliable and conscientious, they usually are able to find a niche for their services in almost all situations.  This fact can serve as a comfort to them.

ISFJs may be inflexible and unable to relax and take what comes.  They want to plan excessively.  They want things to go a certain way, becoming upset if they do not turn out to be right or on schedule.  They spend so much time trying to circumvent potential problems that they waste their time and the time of others, i.e, arriving at airports hours before needed.  As a strategy, they may find that something as simple as a worry stone to rub may help them regain their orientation by giving them something specific to do.  They can thus be freed up to look more broadly at all the facts and to be more flexible in their approach.

ISFJs may feel undervalued as a result of their quiet, self-effacing style.  They may not be seen as sufficiently tough-minded when presenting their views to others.  They tend to undervalue the importance of their role in contributing to the smooth functioning of an organization because they see themselves "as merely doing their duty".  Strategies to help in these situations may include the need to speak out their feelings and insights, need to realize that speaking of one's accomplishments is not necessarily boasting and need to remain open to other ways of doing things.

When ISFJs are back on track, they are using their strengths of accurately focusing on reality and being practical with a penchant for remembering details and facts.  They can be tireless in the pursuit of providing services if they do not allow the past to bog them down in the present.


- ISFPs may "lose out" when they neglect their own needs.  Because they see others' needs so clearly and because they are heavily motivated toward meeting others' needs, they may overlook their own requirements.  They "put one foot in front of the other" and don't look too far ahead, taking one day at a time in order to meet tremendously pressing needs of others.  This ability to face and focus on the actual situation in a day-to-day fashion helps; however, by giving high priority to everyone else's needs, they become extremely tired and prone to physical breakdown in some way.  As a strategy, they need to take recuperative rests after major crises.  They need to learn how to respect their own needs and to be assertive and direct with others in asking for their help and for time to care for themselves.

ISFPs also "lose out" when they are afraid of conflict and mismanage it as a result.  Sometimes they take personal responsibility for conflicts and issues that in actuality belong to others.  They may become hurt and withdraw.  As a strategy, they need to learn to give negative feedback in a timely manner.  Confronting conflict directly may help them in the long run because the confrontation may "clear the air".

When ISFPs become too gullible, they may be taken in by people who have a strong need to control and take charge.  As a strategy, they need to develop a more skeptical and logical method for analyzing information and actions, rather than just accepting the views of others.

Finally ISFPs can "lose out" when they become self-critical, and do not appreciate their own accomplishments and contributions.  Because ISFPs are gentle types and focus internally, much of their self-criticism is not apparent to the outside world.  If it does not get expressed outwardly, it is in a form that is anything but gentle, such as "Why did I do such a dumb thing!"  A possible strategy for ISFPs would be to share their reflections and feelings with others so that their thoughts can be openly and realistically evaluated.  Without outside scrutiny, these thoughts can become negative and destructive.  Other people may be able to help ISFPs see that their concerns are ill-founded or unusually harsh.  Additionally, ISFPs may need to appreciate their own accomplishments more, even though this is likely to be difficult given their modesty.

When ISFPs are back on track, they are using their strengths of adaptability, gentleness, consideration, and concern about the needs of others.  They can be tireless in the pursuit of gentle care for all living things.


- One way ESFPs "lose out" is to spend too much time socializing and not enough time on the task at hand.  They may talk on the phone with their friends rather than concentrating on their work.  Others may begin to resent the time and money they spend on entertaining and "outside" expenditures.  As a strategy, ESFPs may need to look at the wider picture, which includes more than enjoyable, good times, and to prioritize what is important and what needs to be done.  Prioritizing can be stressful to ESFPS.  They tend to take the first thing that comes along as most important, often delaying the completion of another project, although they always have good intentions to do it all.  That life can be enjoyed, even when it is not fun all the time, is an important concept for ESFPs to learn.

Another way ESFPs may "lose out" is when they are too much "in the moment" and move from one thing to the next without finishing what they have started.  As a strategy, they need to develop planning skills, working on time management, and increasing their "stick-to-it" attitude which will help them with this potential liability.

A third way ESFPs "lose out" is when they overemphasize "their own", personal data, when they try to look only on the good side of things and when they fail to reflect on and take note of the logical facts. As strategies, they need to build a firmer foundation beyond what is gained from their direct personal experience, paying attention, for example, to what can be learned from theories or books.  They need to understand the pieces so that the whole can be seen.  They need to be able to take the concept and bring it into experience:  "doing it".  Finally, they need to consult with others to see the implications of their current actions.

A final way ESFPs may "lose out" has to do with being so activity-oriented and busy that they do not plan ahead.  They also "lose out" by simply waiting before doing what they know needs to be done to correct things.  They do not assertively seek help and assistance from others.

When ESFPs are back on track, they are using their strengths of noticing and enjoying what is and spontaneously adapting to helping others .  And, as they can be tireless in the pursuit of fun, they can also be productive as they learn to be realistic.


- One way ESFJs "lose out" is when they engage in too much harmonizing with the intention of smoothing over issues and differences.  They tend to avoid conflict and sweep problems under the rug.  Attempting to have others work cooperatively when problems actually do exist may be less fruitful than actually allowing the conflict to surface.  As a strategy, ESFJs need to learn how to manage conflict and appreciate that conflict can help people in relationships to understand each other better.

ESFJs may not always value their own priorities enough; as a result, they may put others' needs ahead of their own.  ESFJs need to know that they can say no or negotiate.  In many cases, they ought to do so without feeling that they hurt or disappoint others in the process. In fact, by saying no, ESFJs may find that others are challenged to rely on their own resources and may develop new skills.  They need to remember that they can ask others to do for themselves and that others need to learn to do for themselves.

However, when ESFJs are concerned about pleasing others, they may overlook their own needs.  This can lead to taking on too much, both in terms of the tasks and responsibilities that are required.  They thereby overload themselves trying to get everything done.  They often put their own health in jeopardy by doing do.

Sometimes it is difficult for ESFJs to give and receive corrective feedback.  They may not tell others where they fall short, thus depriving others of a chance to hear another point of view.  Also, ESFJs may not ask for appreciation and respect that they deserve and do not easily accept praise and nurturing from others.  A helpful strategy may be learning not to be disappointed when others are not as sensitive as they are.  This is important work for an ESFJ.

ESJFs may also "lose out" when they assume they know what is best for others and state those opinions about what others ought to do.  This can make them appear bossy and rigid, even emotional and irrational to other people.  When this happens they may be hard to reason with and may back themselves into a corner and not see a face-saving way out.  When they become overly domineering, they may destroy relationships that they have worked hard to build.  They may hold too much to their "shoulds" and the relationships will be damaged.

Strategies in these situations are that ESFJs need to accurately assess the facts - dispassionately and impersonally.  They may need to see what a wise, impartial third party might say, listen to what others really need, and look beyond the immediate situation to the logical implications of their actions.  ESFJs could think in terms of options, alternatives and choices that others may find valid and then consider those besides their own.

ESFJs may "lose out" when they become caught up in the daily details and fail to see the overall larger picture.  They may get in a rut because they overlook new ways to deal with situations and problems.  Being traditionalists, they may need, as a strategy, to step back to see if they are focusing on the standard ways - the old way - and not looking for the novel, unusual or global approach.

When ESFJs are back on track, they are using their strengths of harmonizing with others, creating warm, close, personal relationships, and meeting their immediate needs and those of others in responsible ways.  They can be tireless in giving help to others.


- One way INFJs "lose out" is when they become blinded by the idealism of their visions or focus only on their ideas.  They hang on to those ideals, ignoring reality when it contradicts their views.  Because of their persistent and single-minded belief in their vision, they stay with a commitment beyond what the facts would prudently seem to dictate and may not know when to cut their losses and move on.  An example might be their idealistic view of marriage or friendship.  A helpful strategy might be to relax, be more open to the present realities of the situation, and stop fruitlessly searching for the ideal.

Another way INFJs "lose out" is when they do not behave assertively and feel reluctant to intrude on others with their ideas.  As a result, they tend to keep many important things to themselves and find that they or their ideas are overlooked or underestimated.  Others who might have been able to help them achieve their vision cannot because they were not included in the INFJ's thinking processes.

As a strategy, INFJs may need to develop assertiveness and political savvy to champion their ideals.  They may need to involve others in the development and implementation of their visions.

INFJs may "lose out" by not being forthright with criticism of others.  They seem to believe, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all".  They hold their criticism inside themselves far longer than they should.  When it becomes too much, they can blow up.  As a strategy, INFJs need to realize that feedback can lead to self-correction.  In presenting feedback to others, they can rely on their customary gentle style of focusing on the overall concept behind the behaviour and encourage others to see for themselves where they fall short.

Another way INFJs "lose out" is when they zero in on unimportant or incorrect details or focus on a fact that is not relevant to the situation at hand.  They may obsess, for example, over a hurtful comment or minor detail.  They may waste important time obsessing on the mundane details - like doing unnecessary cleaning for a party - rather than relaxing in preparation for future enjoyment.  INFJs need to learn which details and routines are important and which are not.

When INFJs are back on track, they are using their visionary strengths, their creativity for finding new outlets for human expression, and their commitment to their values.  They can be tireless in the pursuit of a vision for people.


- One way INFPs "lose out: is through focusing on their dreams so strongly that they do not see others' points of view.  They do not adjust their vision to the facts and the logic of the situation.  They may appear to and be so out of touch that others may describe them as mystical.  They may be so sure that they have the solution to a perfect system or situation that they keep presenting their theory to others, emphasizing how important it was for everyone "to get along", etc,. but never offer concrete, practical, realistic suggestions for how this desired state is achieved.  As a strategy, INFPs may need to "reality check" with others to see if their dreams are useful in actuality and if their plans are indeed workable.  They may need to be more activity-oriented and less reflective.  Being "out there" gives them a broader picture.

A second way INFPs may "lose out" is when they try to please too many people and hesitate to criticize others.  They do not say no to others' requests and, as a result, may take on too much.  They may inadvertently send a message to people that they are in agreement with them, when in fact they disagree strongly.

INFPs need to become aware that some people's needs are actually being neglected by them instead of helped when they attempt to please everyone.  INFPs need to develop more tough-mindedness and assertiveness, along with the skills of giving negative feedback.  As a strategy, assertiveness training workshops for professionals might be good therapy.

INFPs may delay completion of projects because they are holding out for perfection.  They often spend too much time focusing inward, relying on their own inner resources and thereby delaying action.  The author of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Isabel Briggs Myers, was an INFP who delayed for more than thirty years the publication of her most important work, "Gifts Differing", because she wanted it to be a "perfect" representation of type theory.  As a result, her important message was slow in reaching others.  It was only when the ultimate "deadline" came - her impending death from cancer - that she decided it was good enough to publish (but not without a lot of help and persuasion by her son).  As a strategy, INFPs need to involve others both for their encouragement and their view of reality.  INFPs can commit their ideas to public scrutiny, recognizing that they may not be perfect but that something to start with is better than nothing at all.

A final way INFPs "lose out" is when they become overly sensitive and critical; with everything bothering them, they lash out at others.  Everyone around them appears to be irresponsible and incompetent.  They lose their ability to look at a situation logically and let their negative self take over.  The criticisms then do not come from logic but from some deeply felt and not understood value.  As a strategy, they need to step back, relax, and let their natural appreciation come out, not their unnatural critiquing - unless it is needed and is done logically.

When INFPs are back on track, they are using their strengths of valuing individual contributions, dreaming about the future, and genuinely helping others reach their ideals.  They can be tireless in the pursuit of their ideals.


- One way ENFPs "lose out" is when they become caught in a state of ideaphoria, a feeling akin to drowning in a sea of ideas, all of which seem equally important and vital.  This leaves ENFPs with little focus or direction.  They feel an inability to turn off their minds and allow matters to settle.  Because ENFPs do not prioritize, they reach information overload.

A possible strategy for ENFPs would be to prioritize their ideas based on their own or others' needs and values.  They should pay attention to what is actually required in a given situation.  A second strategy is to stop idea-generating activity, pursuing instead some physical activity such as walking or swimming.  This allows them to invest their energy in a more direct fashion.

Another way ENFPs "lose out" is when they fail to factor in the actual details and facts of a given situation and thereby obscure reality.  Sometimes ENFPs will find a particular fact and become obsessed with it, even when it is out of context. Obsessing can lead them off the path to some other "reality" and they will make plans around the other "reality" only to discover later that their imagination had worked overtime.

One possible strategy to help ENFPs deal accurately with reality is for them to write down the facts and details of the situation they have to deal with.  The written facts may help keep ENFPs from going off on imaginative tangents.  Also, they
could look at logical consequences, the pros and cons suggested by the facts, establishing how important those facts are to them or to other significant people in their lives.  Only after these steps are taken should ENFPs generate possibilities suggested by the facts.  A helpful strategy would also be to determine if, indeed, they should be generating new possibilities or should be following the path already laid down for them to the letter.

Because ENFPs are zestful and fun loving, they may not complete important work and meet basic responsibilities.  They may squander their energy and inspiration on ill-chosen tasks.  Others may tire of working with them because they have to "clean up" after ENFPs.  Strategically, ENFPs should choose their commitments carefully and finish what they start.

ENFPs also "lose out" by overextending themselves.  Sometimes they overeat, party too much, or overindulge in "the good life" to the point of saturation.  They become overstimulated and overtired.  A strategy to deal with overextension and trying to do too much is to realistically evaluate the effects of their behaviour on themselves and others and to screen activities and projects for those that mean the most to their present situation.

When ENFPs are back on track, they are using their strengths of enthusiasm, seeing possibilities and generating new ideas.  They can be tireless in the pursuit of new possibilities.


- One way INTJs "lose out" is when their future visions are not based on actual facts or current realities.  They may have difficulty letting go of impractical ideas.  Sometimes their ability to see and predict what might take place in the future takes precedence in their lives, and they seem to be living in the present in an almost detached fashion.  They may keep their vision so much to themselves that they neglect to involve others in its implementation.

While they may have strong beliefs about the direction a situation should go, realities may intervene and their plans rendered inappropriate.  Unfortunately, the INTJ may not give up - with severe consequences for them.  As a strategy, INTJs may need to learn when to give up on impractical ideas and to solicit input from others to help them get back on track.  Just because a model or a vision exists does not mean it is the correct way to proceed.  Course-correcting may not be an affront to the INTJs competence but rather an appropriate way to proceed in the larger context.

INTJs may ignore the impact of their style on others.  Often they do not care what others think.  With their more impersonal and independent view of life, they may believe others also function best in an impersonal environment.  People may see them as unyielding, detached, and so logical that they may be afraid to approach or to challenge them.  They may find that their work habits alienate others because they do not solicit their opinions nor encourage them to speak up and let their disagreements be known.  As a strategy, INTJs need to take time to foster their relationships and consider their impact on others; they should not assume that others are in agreement.  They need to make sure that they have shown appreciation to others and need to ensure the entrance of the niceties into human interactions.

INTJs may have a specific model in mind and critique others who do not fit that model.  They may become resistant to others' desires to be different, including their children.  As a strategy, INTJs may need to allow their children (and others) their own choices.  The goal of the INTJ is improvement.  However, their suggestions are often received as criticism.  It would serve the INTJ well to show appreciation to others based on their merit, not just on the fit with the INTJ model.

Another way INTJs can "lose out" is to become obsessed with unimportant details.  Their need to control all possibilities results in them being unable to focus on what is really necessary.  They sometimes choose a detailed and arduous solution when a very simple one would have sufficed.  As a strategy, stepping back from the situation, looking at the total picture, and checking with others about possible alternatives often help.

When INTJs are back on track, they are using their strengths of recognizing new possibilities, setting goals for the future, and developing novel and ingenious solutions for problems.  They can be tireless in the pursuit of improvement.