Each one of us is the protagonist of our own story and one of the important aspects of story is good character development. Characters at the beginning of a story are incomplete in some way that events of the story will serve to resolve or make whole. In real life, each MBTI type has its own figurative dragons to slay by virtue of their inferior function struggles and the quest to integrate and cultivate healthy use of their cognitive functions. Here is what the story arc for each Myers Briggs type development looks like.
INFJ starts off as someone who is mostly avoidant, guarded and highly self-reliant (Ni – Ti loop). They were not always this way, but something in their past — some tragedy or abuse has made it difficult for them to trust people or experience emotional connection and empathy. INFJ’s fear of the unknown holds them back. They’re not really living and choose to stay in their fantasy world disconnected from reality. Then the unexpected happens, and INFJ is forced out of seclusion and into a new environment. INFJ is suddenly forced to quickly adapt to new and dynamic circumstances in order to survive. The story events force INFJ to confront and overcome fear after fear and in the process, they discover what they have been missing. They start to enjoy it and become gradually intoxicated by their Se. They are having fun but inside they are empty. Se starts to take them down a path of self-absorbed self-destruction and only after they rediscover what it means to open their heart again and accept the help of others are they able to resolve the story goal and become whole again.
INFP starts out in a rut where they are torturing themselves by living in the past or holding onto something that is halting their progress in life. The world is changing and they don’t like it. Their life is stultified by a reluctance to consider alternative perspectives. Their morals or beliefs are binding them and closing off their perspective. A problem arises that threatens to change INFP’s life as they know it and they must do something to stop it. INFP is forced to join an organization and learn their proven methods and tactics to defend their world from being changed forever. With the help of a mentor guiding them, INFP trains and must master the new skills and tactics. In the course of the story, a revelation causes a shift in INFP’s perspective and they realize they have been fighting for the wrong thing. There is a fork in the road and they decide to switch sides and help the people they have been fighting against. Now they must use their knowledge and skills to take down the same organization that trained them.
INTJ starts out as someone who is preoccupied with improving themselves and chasing an ideal that is very personal to them. Their self-image is wrapped up in perfection but then an opportunity or crisis arises that renders their current abilities inadequate. They must push themselves physically and venture outside their comfort zone of perfection and control, and allow themselves to be more animalistic, reactive to their environment, raw and spontaneous. They must learn to let go and be more in the moment and rely on their instincts to guide them. In the process, they become intoxicated by the sensual world they have for so long denied themselves. They push themselves to the brink of their limits and it takes a toll on their mental health. As they get closer to their goal, they become more and more stressed and psychologically chaotic. In the end, after finally conquering their inner chaos, they are able to pull themselves together and execute the performance plan successfully.
INTP starts out as someone who thinks that they have it all figured out. They attained a level of self-sufficiency and security and they feel that most people have nothing to offer them. It may be that they are obsessed with the details of some event in their past which is connected to their jaded and nihilistic lack of care about anyone and everything. An opportunity or crisis emerges that involves a group, society, or INTP’s family. Some type of person or group of persons are being taken away, threatened to be taken away or being introduced to INTP. In order to protect their interests, INTP must either immerse themselves with some group to accomplish some goal or they must fight to restore or protect the group from someone or something. In the process, INTP’s individualism and aloofness clashes with the group dynamic. INTP is presumed to be arrogant or cold when really they are just socially awkward and shy. They have interpersonal hurdles to overcome. Certain bonds are formed and INTP learns to be more affectionate but their feelings start to conflict with their fear of losing something specific. INTP is forced to make a tough decision that alienates them from the group. At their lowest point, INTP makes a breakthrough about the past that never made sense until now (the key insight that was right in front of them all along) that changes the game and allows INTP to come back and save the day and regain everyone’s trust and support.
In the beginning, ENTP is someone who suffers from a lack of focus and is too busy trying to be charismatic and admired for their wit and creativity. They display a lot of irresponsible behavior and fail to tend to the regular day to day duties and are often late and forgetful of details and specifics. They are very codependent and rely on the people around them for validation and help managing their life. A crisis or opportunity occurs that forces the ENTP to rely on themselves to do things that they previously relied on others for. Accomplishing their goal requires them to remember as much as they can and dig into the past to find answers. At the same time, a very detail-oriented and methodical antagonist enters the picture who is committed to their duty in catching and taking down the ENTP. In the end, ENTP is able to piece together the puzzle using their Ti and discover the truth that will set them free and defeat the antagonist.
ENTJ starts out as someone who is out to conquer the world. They are nailing it and their success is hard earned. They are either quickly rising up the ranks or are already at the top enjoying the view. Every day they are motivated by a desire to keep pushing and rack up more victories. They may have been consumed with ambition to the extent that they have been cutthroat and ruthless. They may have behaved sociopathically and exploited individuals along the way. At some point, a crisis occurs that causes them to lose everything and they are reduced to an unfortunate position in a very karmic fashion. Alternately, an opportunity to get ahead or attain something they deeply desire may force the ENTJ to go against their values or adopt a different value system more conducive to their goal or situation. In the end, ENTJ is made to finally understand the consequences of the choices they have been making and they set out to do the right thing and become a better person for it.
ENFP starts out as someone super naive and curious. Things are coming together for them, they have a lot going on and they feel like they are in control over their life and destiny. That all changes when someone or something enters the picture that serves to thwart ENFP’s momentum and hold back their progress. Suddenly ENFP is laden with responsibilities they were not prepared to deal with or encumbered by limitations and rules that restrict their actions. They must learn the rules in order to succeed under these conditions and get their life back on track. They must collect clues and uncover details that will help them along the way until finally, they rediscover themselves and what is most important to them. ENFP has a newfound respect for the historical significance of some institution or their ancestry because of how it informs who they are today and what will provide them true fulfillment.
ENFJ starts out as someone who is living a socially engaged lifestyle that is full of adventure and stimulating experiences. They can’t stand being alone and they crave constant companionship. They are living their life like one non-stop party. They have problems stemming from a lack of personal principles and self-reliance. A tragedy occurs A crisis emerges for which ENFJ is unable to rely on others to help them with. They are forced to buckle down and figure things out for themselves. In the process, they are learning to rely on themselves and their own problem-solving skills which are not well developed at this point. They make a lot of mistakes but they get better and better. In the end, success or failure will depend on their ability to step up to the plate and not give up or cave under the pressure.
ISTJ starts out as someone who stays in their comfort zone and does everything by the book. They are all about duty and honor and being an upstanding individual who is above reproach. They are afraid to take certain risks and are secretly envious of characters in movies and tv shows and also people in real life who seem so witty and clever. At the same time, ISTJ may notice an individual who does not do things by the book and has earned more recognition and success for it. A problem or opportunity arises that is unconventional and mysterious. ISTJ tries to use their Te to resolve the chaos but fails. ISTJ is forced to unlearn what they thought they knew and expand their mind in order to deal with a problem that defies all known solutions. ISTJ stumbles and makes mistakes as they develop their Ne. As they delve deeper, their Ne puts them further and further out of touch with reality. They accomplish their goal when ISTJ’s Fi morals come to the fore.
ISFJ starts out as someone who likes to keep their world just the way it is. They are quiet and shy and their lack of openness to new things is holding them back from something they desire deep down. An opportunity emerges, a call to adventure beckons them but ISFJ refuses to answer it. Circumstances ultimately push them out of their comfort zone into a new world of possibilities like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz or Alice in Wonderland. ISFJ is aided by unconventional allies and individuals who are very different from them and offer a greater perspective to the ISFJ. As ISFJ pursues the story goal, they are exposed to a number of confounding and perplexing problems that they are able to overcome with the help of their friends or team members. In the end, ISFJ’s success or failure will depend on their ability to apply what they have learned and uncovered the ultimate truth that will restore order.
ESTJ starts out as a hard-nosed and intimidating personality. They exercise a lot of control over their life and their moral scruples are questionable. They aren’t very sympathetic and tend to judge others harshly. Beneath the surface, they struggle with internal fears and insecurities that they actively work to avoid being overcome by. A problem or adversary arises who is driven by a cause or ideology that undermines the structure that ESTJ upholds. ESTJ attempts to enforce law and order but the ideology has infiltrated the system and a revolt or revolution is now taking form. The story goal involves a moral dilemma that forces ESTJ to search within themselves to decide which path they should take. In the end, success or failure will depend on a radical leap of faith in an idea that may or may not work.
ESFJ starts out as someone who derives satisfaction and meaning through the groups and associations they belong to. They rely heavily on the opinions and feedback of those around them and lack faith in their own thoughts and ideas. At some point, a problem arises that reveals an unconventional truth or revelation about the people in ESFJ’s life. This may also involve people disappearing. ESFJ tries to rely on details or facts about the past to address or resolve the issue but it results in failure. The story pushes ESFJ further and further down a rabbit hole that will reveal more and more insight on a path that will hopefully lead to the whole truth. ESFJ will struggle to integrate and grapple with what they uncover. In the end, they will have to tap into their own powers of intuition to put all the pieces together and solve the central problem.
ISTP starts out as someone who is a master of some tool or trade. They have some type of insecurity that hinders their social life and they are highly self-reliant and antisocial. At some point, a crisis or opportunity arises that either causes ISTP to be outcast or celebrated by some group. The story plot may force ISTP to ally themselves with some group or pit them against a group or former alliance. The story goal involves undertaking an action-packed quest full of obstacles and opponents that ISTP must defeat using their tactical skills and physical abilities. ISTP must figure out who they can trust and be wary of deceptive and two-faced spies. In the end, success or failure will depend on ISTP’s ability to make the correct choices to prevent a tragic prophecy or premonition from coming true.
The ISFP starts off as a free spirit in pursuit of freedom and stimulating experiences. This desire is impeded however, by some controlling force under which ISFP is beholden to. They feel encumbered by the system that binds them and would like to break away if they could find the means or opportunity. ISFP has some personal ideal or dream that they would like to achieve but in order to make it a reality, they will have to engage in tactics and methodology that they are not accustomed to. ISFP learns to utilize schemes and effective plans in tandem with their sensory instincts in order to accomplish their goal. In the end, ISFP must focus on a specific course of action to achieve the outcome that they truly desire.
In the beginning, ESTP is an overconfident individual who is a slick talker and enterprising individual who plays all the right moves to get what they want. They are like MacGyver in their ability to get themselves in and out of trouble. ESTP encounters a problem or opportunity that seems too good to pass up but has unintended consequences that ESTP cannot easily fix. The story forces ESTP to start thinking ahead and calculate their moves carefully to avoid an undesirable outcome. ESTP will require the help of an oracle or visionary mentor who will guide ESTP in the right direction. In the end, success or failure will depend on ESTP’s ability to unite or gain the support of an important group that will provide the key to victory.
ESFP starts out as someone who just wants to have fun and is without a strong sense of purpose or direction in their life. They don’t take life too seriously and don’t worry about the future. However, their reckless behavior catches up to them when they experience negative consequences to their actions. They make a series of bad decisions that forces them to reassess their values and priorities. ESFP is forced into a situation where they must discover what they truly care about and discover their passion and purpose. In the process, they may become obsessive and become overzealous which leads to a number of pitfalls, mistakes and learning pains along the way. In the end, ESFP’s success or failure will depend on their ability to master self-discipline and devise and execute a winning strategy.
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