Perfectionism is a meticulous and consuming desire for precision and completeness. What actually constitutes perfection is subjective and determined by whatever standard or metric of one’s choosing. How perfectionism manifests in each MBTI type likely differs and may be stronger in some types than others. Here is a look at how perfectionism takes form based on Myers-Briggs Type.
(NJs) – INFJ, INTJ, ENTJ, ENFJ
NJs are considered to be most likely of all to fall prey to perfectionist tendencies. Because of their different judging preference, INFJ, INTJ, ENTJ, and ENFJ may manifest perfectionism in slightly different ways. Their Ni leads them to form a subjective ideal of how things “should” be and obsess about perceived flaws and imperfections in anything that falls short of that standard. INTJ and ENTJ can sometimes cultivate a preoccupation with competence and proficiency as a source of self worth, validation and meaning in their life. They may utilize their Te to acquire mastery of systems and frequently exercise their knowledge to provide undeniable evidence of their capabilities. Any failure or significant error they make can deeply rattle their ego and threaten their self concept.
Underdeveloped Se can contribute to fears of being useless and a fear that life is meaningless. INFJ and ENFJ may manifest their perfectionism in the striving to be someone who is worthy of the love, respect and support of people. INFJ’s ideals are formulated around a powerful vision of the world they want to live in and so they may consequently feel discontent and dissatisfied with how things currently are. This may cause them to be less appreciative of what they have because they are always chasing an often unattainable or unrealistic ideal of what they want from themselves and other people.
(SJs) – ISTJ, ISFJ, ESTJ, ESFJ
Because of their low tolerance for chaos and confusion created by mistakes and negligence, ISTJ and ISFJ both strive to do things correctly and by the book so as to avoid undesired complications down the road. They are also averse to criticism and this may be a very strong motivator for them to get things right and make themselves above reproach. This also applies to ESFJ and ESTJ who like having a playbook to follow. Having clearly defined standards and procedures where they can just focus on hitting the mark they need to hit in a consistent and clearly demonstrable way. The general desire shared by ISTJ and ISFJ to avoid risks and play it safe makes them less willing to experiment or improvise with possible alternatives.
SJs may suffer from performance anxiety and a strong fear of being the person who screws things up for everyone or doesn’t measure up to the standard expected of them. These criticisms may cut them deeply and so they are likely highly motivated to avoid these outcomes as much as possible. Their peace of mind is strongly tied to their mastery of their craft and how well prepared they are for dealing with all known situations. They may devote substantial effort to learning all the rules and instructions for how to do things correctly and may strive to adhere to them religiously.
(NPs) – ENFP, ENTP, INTP, & INFP
NPs are less likely than NJs but more likely than sensors, to engage in unhealthy perfectionism. Because of their desire to make themselves available to many possibilities and potentials paths, neither ENFP or ENTP are inclined to get hung up on fulfilling a narrow or overly specific ideal or standard. They are able to adjust and modify their plans rather than adhere to any one of them resolutely. If they fail, they can try and try again until they get it right. NPs like INTP and INFP less inclined to get down on themselves for their mistakes because they generally view everything as a potential learning experience. They redress and update their understanding and keep it moving.
However, for certain things that carry a deep significance or importance to the NP, they may devolve into an obsessive persistence to “get it right” at all costs so to speak. They can become motivated to get the physical reality to match their vision and may persist doggedly until it does. When this becomes the objective, ENTP, INTP, INFP and ENFP may initially procrastinate while anticipating all the work in front of them and fearing they may not be able to deliver. Because of their low Si, ENFP and ENTP may suffer from a disconnect between what is realistically possible and what may just be naive wishful thinking. These two types share an interest in lofty conceptions which may seem impractical to the naysayers and critics of a more practical bend. When discomfited by repeated failures, NPs may eventually become either disenchanted or driven even further into an obsession with succeeding to an almost relentless degree.
(SPs) – ESFP, ESTP, ISTP & ISFP
SPs such as ESFP, ISTP, ISFP and ESTP are much less likely to manifest perfectionistic tendencies than other types. They are excellent improvisers and so they are not inclined to put much emphasis on following preformulated protocols down to the “T”. ESTP and ESFP are competitive however, and in their pursuit of gaining an edge over their competitors, may develop an abiding obsession with mastering what they do. They may learn to develop discipline in the service of becoming the best at what they do and achieving greatness in that capacity.
However, these types, especially in their immature stages, may rely on shortcuts to achieve their goals sometimes sacrificing their long term interests for the sake of short term gratification. ESFP and ESTP when they set their sights on a chosen objective or goal, may become obsessed with it’s attainment at an unwise expense. In order to realize their “vision”, these types may adopt an “ends justify the means” mindset and take whatever shortcut available. They may pursue what they’re after with an almost single-minded fixation while potentially neglecting or overlooking certain costs and complications that may arise down the road.
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