Do you ever feel like life is just a minefield of mistakes and failures? When you do make a mistake, do you find it difficult to move on? In today’s article we’re taking a look at how each of the 16 personality types tends to manage mistakes. Some mull over them while others try to quickly find a lesson and move on. Still others look for distractions.
I feel rather pompous even writing an article about how each type “should” better handle their mistakes. The truth is, I still make mistakes every day. As a mother of five and a business owner I feel like I regularly am questioning my choices, experimenting and failing, trying and looking back a year later wondering why I didn’t do something a different (better) way.
The truth is, we all make mistakes. But they don’t have to define us. We can find a lesson in them and avoid making them again; it may take a few tries, and that’s okay, but if reading this post helps you even a little I consider it a win for both of us.
The theory behind my article is that most people tend to lean on their favorite mental preferences when a mistake happens. If you’re a thinker, you probably look to logic to solve your problem. If you make a mistake as a feeler, chances are you focus on how people (including yourself) were emotionally impacted. Responding to mistakes this way makes sense! After all, when you want to eat a bowl of soup you’ll grab a spoon not a fork. We all want to work with the tools we know best.
When we make a mistake, we can easily go to our relied-upon mental tools for solutions. But sometimes we keep making similar mistakes because we’re not looking at our less-preferred functions. Sometimes, for example, an INTJ needs to consider the emotional impacts of a mistake or the plain old details rather than logic and patterns. Sometimes an ESFJ needs to consider logic and patterns over emotional impact and facts.
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How You Can Better Learn From Mistakes, Based On Your Myers-Briggs® Personality Type
Table of contents
- How You Can Better Learn From Mistakes, Based On Your Myers-Briggs® Personality Type
- What Are Your Thoughts?
Estimated reading time: 38 minutes
Many ISFJs are especially hard on themselves when they make a mistake. This is especially true if someone else was hurt by the ISFJ’s actions.
If you’re an ISFJ you probably replay your failures over and over in your head, which can make it difficult to move on. You might clam up, retreat, and stick to a safe routine rather than face the possibility of making another mistake. This inner torment can cause you to only learn that mistakes are “bad” and should be avoided at all costs – even at the expense of your well-being.
The key for ISFJs is to learn from their mistakes without dwelling on them. Acknowledge what went wrong and make a plan to avoid falling into the same problem again.
A mindset shift from “mistakes are bad” to “mistakes are lessons” can help ISFJs learn and grow from their experiences and find the value in them rather than fixating on the shame and getting stuck.
If you find it difficult to move past a mistake, here are a few things that may help:
- Talk to someone you trust about what happened. Getting it off your chest can help you to move on. Many times fellow FJs are empathetic or encouraging.
- If you feel like you have blind spots, consider talking to Intuitive, Thinking, or Perceiving personality types. They might offer you a perspective or insight you’d never considered before.
- Brainstorm some ideas or solutions to avoid making the same mistake again. Be as silly or ridiculous as you want. Just write down every thought that pops into your head. You can laugh at the absurd ones and possibly find a surprising solution! Aim to do this when you’re not stressed.
- Remember that everyone makes mistakes, and that you’re not alone.
- Forgive yourself. This is probably the most important step, but it’s also the hardest. Be gentle with yourself and give yourself some time to heal.
“When you find your path, you must not be afraid. You need to have sufficient courage to make mistakes. Disappointment, defeat, and despair are the tools God uses to show us the way.” – Paulo Coelho
Find Out More About ISFJs: The Shadow of the ISFJ Personality Type
As an ISTJ you’re a bit of a perfectionist. You expect a lot from yourself and have high standards. Because of this, you take every precaution to avoid making mistakes. However, this can actually hold you back from learning and growing.
Failures teach us; in fact, sometimes they’re the best teachers!
Trying to be extra cautious, meticulous, and perfectionistic can keep you from trying new things. The result is that when you do make a mistake you may simply double down on perfectionism rather than taking the lesson, improvising, and trying again with an optimistic spirit. In the end you can wind up paralyzed because of your desire to do everything perfectly.
You may also find yourself blaming outside sources because you feel so certain that you “did everything right.”
How to Learn From a Mistake and Try Again:
- Remember that the only constant thing in the world is change, so you have to adapt and be flexible. Be patient with yourself as you learn from your mistakes. Recognize that you may have to change your methods or try something new.
- Realize that perfectionism is unattainable, and that mistakes are normal and human. Try to take a step back and look at the situation objectively.
- Give yourself a break to relax and calm your overworked spirit. This can help you to be more open-minded when it comes to learning from a mistake. Take a walk in nature, read a book, meditate, or do something else that helps you to relax.
- Realize that sometimes the solution to a problem is something unconventional. ISTJs tend to rely on tried-and-true methods and feel forsaken if those methods don’t work out. This can limit your ability to be innovative and come up with new solutions. When you’re relaxed, give yourself a 10 minute brainstorming session and write down every idea you have, no matter how “ridiculous” it may seem. There may be some gold in those “crazy” ideas!
“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.” – Elbert Hubbard
Find Out More About ISTJs: 7 Things ISTJs Experience in Childhood
You’re someone who is deeply invested in all things personal. You are interested in how people feel, why they feel the way they do, and the stories that make up their lives. When you make a mistake, you can get so wrapped up in the personal implications and trying to explain yourself that you don’t learn from the mistake itself. It’s easy to get wrapped up in how people feel, how others were impacted, and try to “firefight” the situation without learning anything.
The key is to try and step back from the situation, calm your body, and breathe. Sometimes before this can happen you need to cry or unload in your journal just to unleash your feelings in some external way. This is nothing to be ashamed of; it’s an essential part of processing for you.
After you’ve let the emotions out of your system, try to breathe deeply, relax your body, and turn down any stimulation in the environment (music, bright lights, etc,.). This will help you to be more clearheaded and objective. From there, you can start to see the situation for what it is rather than what it means for you or others emotionally.
For solidarity and empathy, talk to someone you trust. You may find that Feeling-Judgers (FJ personality types) will relate to you easily.
For a new or challenging perspective or to see if you have any blind spots, consider talking to an Intuitive, Thinker, or Perceiver (N, T, or P personality types). As an SFJ, these types can see alternatives or insights you might not have considered.
How to Learn From a Mistake and Try Again:
- First process your emotions. Don’t immediately jump into solving problems without taking time to process first. Journal, write a letter and throw it away, cry, listen to music, do whatever it takes to just ride the wave of emotion and then let it go. Try to breathe through the emotion, sit with it for a couple of minutes, and then move on.
- From there, you can start to look at the situation objectively. What are the facts? What can you learn from those facts?
- Look at the big picture. How can your lesson from this mistake be an opportunity for you to embrace wisdom, humility, self-awareness, and deeper compassion.
- Make any apologies that need to be made and then move on with the lessons you’ve learned. Don’t let shame fester – mistakes are part of being human.
“Well, we all make mistakes, dear, so just put it behind you. We should regret our mistakes and learn from them, but never carry them forward into the future with us.” – L.M. Montgomery
Find Out More About ESFJs: A Look at the ESFJ Leader
You are a decisive, action-oriented individual. As an ESTJ you believe in solving problems quickly and moving on from them, learning from the past as needed. This all seems very healthy, but sometimes you need to slow down and really look at the underlying emotional issues or values that were involved in a mistake. In your hurry to stay on task or get things done, you can learn all the external issues that caused a mistake but devalue the internal issues underneath.
When a mistake is made, especially a personal one, it’s important to take time to consider your values. What values were at play in the mistake? Did you violate any of your own or others’ values? What emotions were impacted, for yourself and/or the other person?
If the mistake was not a personal one, you can take time to consider the facts and implications. Write them down if necessary. Look at the long-term effects. Think about your values as well, if that is pertinent. Take some time to be patient and learn; but don’t get dragged into prolonged feelings of shame or despair either.
For solidarity with like-minded people, talk to those you trust. You may find that Thinking-Judgers (TJ personality types) will relate to you easily.
To get a better glimpse of your blind spots, consider talking to an Intuitive, Feeling, or Perceiving (N, F, or P personality types). As an STJ, these types can see sides to a situation that you may not have considered.
How to Learn From Mistakes Without Getting Absorbed By Them:
- Try to look at the facts and the long-term effects of a mistake. This will help you to see what needs to be learned in order to prevent future mistakes.
- Consider your values and how they were impacted by the mistake. What can you learn about yourself from this? What can you learn about others?
- Don’t get bogged down in self-recrimination or allow your mistakes to define you. You are not your mistakes; you are so much more than that.
- Take time to acknowledge with others how your mistake may have hurt them and apologize for the specific ways they were hurt. Try not to make excuses or pressure them to move on too quickly.
“All men make mistakes, but a good man yields when he knows his course is wrong, and repairs the evil. The only crime is pride.” – Sophocles
Find Out More About ESTJs: A Look at the ESTJ Leader
As an INFJ, you are likely an intuitive and compassionate individual. You are also highly sensitive to the emotions of those around you. This can be both a strength and a weakness when it comes to learning from your mistakes. On the one hand, you can quickly see the emotional fallout of your mistake and understand how it has impacted others. On the other hand, you can get so wrapped up in the emotions of the situation that it’s hard to move on from it. You may look for a grand meaning or you may avoid seeing your mistake as a mistake because you believe you were right (IxxJ personality types can be stubborn at times).
When you make a mistake, it’s important to take some time to process your own emotions first. Don’t try to push them down or ignore them. Acknowledge how you are feeling and why. Journal, talk to someone who understands, or simply breathe through the emotions in a quiet place.
Ultimately, you’re wired to look at a mistake from an Intuitive and Feeling perspective. But sometimes after looking at the NF side of things, you need to tap into your Sensing and Thinking sides to find the blind spots you might have been missing.
But how do you do this?
Start by working with what you trust and know. Consider how people were impacted, what values are at stake, and how you personally feel. This is the Feeling side of your personality type.
Next, move onto your Intuition. What are the implications of the mistake? What patterns do you see for yourself or others? What’s going on under the surface?
Now move to the Sensing side of your personality. What facts are involved? What observable truths have you noticed? Are there any that you are missing? What do you know without a doubt to be observably true?
Now move to the Thinking side of your personality. What is objectively true? What are the pros and cons of a situation? What cause and effect took place? Are there any illogical thoughts or feelings that need to be rooted out?
If you find this whole process difficult, you can always talk to friends with different preferences. As an NFJ speaking to anyone with Sensing, Thinking, or Perceiving preferences can help you to catch any blind spots or data points you might have been missing.
How to Learn From Mistakes and Be Aware of Blind Spots:
- Take time to acknowledge your own feelings in the situation. If you have time, go to a quiet place and breathe through the emotions. Breathe from your belly and count to five slowly. Then exhale for five counts. Do this several times.
- Try to look at the facts of the situation and what you can learn from them. If you find this difficult, ask a friend who you trust for input.
- Consider the impersonal logic of the situation. What cause led to the effect (mistake)? How can you avoid it next time?
- Are there any “triggers” that led to the mistake? How can you avoid those in a healthy way?
- Remind yourself that everyone makes mistakes. Vulnerability feels scary, but it’s okay to be imperfect. People are impressed by those who own up to their mistakes. Forgive yourself and think of anyone you need to ask for forgiveness.
- Don’t hide away in shame. There is not one person who has not felt overwhelmed by a mistake. Take some time to heal and find calm, but then leave the mistake in the past. Physically brush it off your shoulders and start fresh.
- Don’t be afraid to get help if needed. Sometimes counseling can be encouraging and helpful when getting out of a rut or a negative cycle.
“To err is human, to forgive, divine.” – Alexander Pope
Find Out More About INFJs: How INFJs Say “I Love You”
As an INTJ, you are extremely analytical and logical. You believe in rationality and strive to achieve your perfect vision. Unfortunately, this idea of a “perfect” vision or insight can trip you up. Because you have such high standards for yourself you tend to see your own mistakes as unforgivable “failures” rather than opportunities. Alternatively, you may double-down on your perspective without admitting any wrong.
INTJs are often very stubborn about their ideas because they take a great deal of time to settle on a particular vision or strategy. This time usually involves noticing an inner pattern and carefully discarding any possibilities that don’t line up with it logically. INTJs have either spent a lot of time choosing and refining their ideas, or they have had an epiphany when their mind synthesizes a lot of data unconsciously.
Thus, when INTJs make a mistake, they tend to be skeptical at first. They’ve prepared so much, how could they miss something? They may blame outside sources, such as other people or extenuating circumstances. It may take some time for them to come around and realize that they need to course correct because they are so singularly focused on their original plan.
As NTJs, INTJs will prioritize input from their Intuitive and Thinking sides. This means they’ll reflect on the implications of their mistake and search for patterns that led to the error. They will also consult their thinking side; mull over the situation’s pros and cons and what they could have done differently with a clear head.
But sometimes INTJs are blind to the Feeling and Sensing issues at play in a mistake. They may forget to see how the mistake emotionally impacted others or they may get so caught up in pattern-seeking that they miss some observable details that are right in front of them.
How to Learn From Mistakes and Be Aware of Blind Spots:
- Talk to a friend with Feeling and/or Sensing preferences who can help you to process the emotional impact of the situation.
- Take some time to reflect on your own feelings about the mistake. What exactly bothered you? What about the situation made you feel uncomfortable or upset? Take time to process the emotions so that you’re not repressing them in an unhealthy way.
- Consider your values. Are there any values that were violated (your own or others)?
- Look at the observable facts and real, lived experiences. This allows you to tap into your sensing side so you’re not missing any relevant details.
- If you’re feeling overwhelmed by a sense of failure, remind yourself that some of the most ingenious INTJs in the world made mistakes in order to “fail up.” Steve Jobs, for example, was fired from his own company. He then went on to create one of the most successful companies in the world.
“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein
Discover More About INTJs: The Best 10 Careers for INTJs
As an ENFJ you are deeply in touch with the needs and emotions of others. You value harmony and interpersonal connection and any mistakes that affect this can feel devastating. You may find yourself re-playing past mistakes over and over again, trying to figure out how you could have done it differently. Alternatively, you may try to bend over backwards for others in order to make up for the mistake.
Sometimes in your efforts to immediately fix a mistake, you don’t take time to pause and reflect and see things clearly. You may react without thinking or considering all the facts. Additionally, because you tend to be highly self-critical after a mistake, you may dwell on it to the point that it impairs your ability to move forward.
How to Learn From Mistakes in a Healthy Way:
- Take some time alone to calm down and regroup after a mistake. Practice deep breathing, tense and relax your muscles, or do something else to physically release the stress you’re feeling.
- Talk to a trusted friend or family member about what happened and how you’re feeling.
- Write down your thoughts and feelings about the situation. This will help you to organize your thoughts and see things more clearly.
- Grab a piece of paper and a pen. Work through the feelings and values in the situation. How do you feel? How do others feel? What personal values are at stake? What values of others have been impacted?
- Next, write down your intuitive insights. What implications do you see? What patterns led to this mistake? What underlying themes do you notice? Do any symbols or insights pop into your head?
- Access the Sensing side of your personality type. Are there any tangible observations you’ve noticed or failed to reflect on? What are the plain, hard facts?
- Finally, and only in a relaxed state, tap into your thinking side. What is the logic of the situation? What is the objective truth? If you’re not sure, talk to a Thinking friend you trust for their perspective.
- Considering the Intuitive, Feeling, Thinking, and Sensing sides of the situation can help you to see the situation from every angle and make wise decisions that take all factors into account. Just don’t spend too long on this activity. 5-15 minutes is enough. Overdoing it can put you into a place of analysis-paralysis or self-criticism. Anytime you feel yourself getting overwhelmed, take a break and breathe or get up and move for a little while.
- If you find yourself beating yourself up for a mistake, remember that everyone makes mistakes. These failures don’t define you. Don’t let anyone hold these mistakes over your head unfairly.
“It takes guts and humility to admit mistakes. Admitting we’re wrong is courage, not weakness.” – Roy T. Benett
Discover More About ENFJs: 10 Things You Should Never Say to an ENFJ
As an ENTJ, your response to a mistake is typically to find out what you can learn from it and move on quickly. You like critique and self-development as long as it doesn’t take too long or get in the way of progress. Patience doesn’t tend to be your strong suit.
While some people may think you’re callous, you actually are very hard on yourself when you make a mistake. People don’t realize that as much as you may critique others, you critique yourself twice as hard. You often crave perfect achievement from yourself and will analyze a mistake immediately to avoid facing the pain of it again.
While your determination to learn is commendable, the truth is, however, that you like to rush. You often try to learn while in action, and slowing down to ponder or analyze can feel like a waste of time. This means that you may rush past a lesson waiting to be learned or push for a solution that is hastily planned.
How to Learn From Mistakes Without Getting Impatient:
- When you’re out of a high-pressure situation, take some time to relax your body. A mistake can inevitably tense you up and make thinking clearly more difficult. Breathe deeply, close your eyes, and work on relaxing your muscles.
- Take roughly 5-10 minutes to process the mistake. Consider the logic of the situation as well as the implications and patterns.
- Next, look at the facts of the situation. What did you observe? What’s the history of the situation? What relevant facts might be pertinent?
- Finally, look at the Feeling side of the situation. Consider your values, and the values of others. How has the mistake impacted others? How did you make people feel? Do any apologies need to be made? Have you betrayed any of your own values or ethics? Try not to get bogged down here. Dwelling on your Feeling side in a state of stress can push you further into an anxious place. If you notice yourself starting to get overwhelmed or tense take a moment to breathe, move, listen to a song, or otherwise calm yourself.
- Remind yourself that mistakes are often lessons wrapped up in frustration. They’re ways to become wiser and more compassionate. Learning from your mistakes and forgiving yourself allows you to practice resilience, troubleshooting, and humility. It also gives you the growth needed to be forgiving of others when they fail.
“Mistakes are the growing pains of wisdom.” – William Jordan
Discover More About ENTJs: What ENTJs Do When They’re Stressed Out
As an ISFP you tend to withdraw when you make a mistake. You’re someone who values integrity deeply and you feel like you have to atone when you make a mistake that goes against your personal code. You need time to think things through, process your feelings, and figure out what to do next. It’s easy for you to put yourself in other peoples’ shoes, so you can often empathize with how the mistake might have impacted individuals personally. Apologizing and making up for the mistake with action is something you value.
But sometimes you can struggle to realize the long-term implications of a mistake, or to see the patterns that led to a mistake in the first place. A mistake might repeat itself because there’s a pattern at work that keeps cycling through your life over and over again. Or perhaps there’s a logical component that you haven’t considered because you naturally tend to fixate more on your feelings and experiences over impersonal logic.
Here are some things that can help you learn from your mistakes in a more holistic way:
- Take time to pause and calm yourself down physically before analyzing a mistake. If you try to process what happened in a state of charged stress, you’re likely to overlook important details. After you’ve calmed yourself down, take some time to process the mistake from different angles.
- Take some time to analyze the problem. But don’t overdo it. Set a timer for 15 minutes so that you don’t get overwhelmed or overly critical. During those 15 minutes take the next steps:
- Consider your values and feelings. Did you violate any of your personal values or the values of others? How can you show the people affected acknowledgment for how they were impacted?
- Look at the observable facts. Is there anything that happened that you might not be considering?
- Next, look for patterns. Do you notice any cycles that keep repeating themselves? Write them down. How can you prevent these cycles from continuing?
- Finally, consider the logic. What truths, untruths, or inconsistencies are there in the situation? How can you learn from this?
- If this process is difficult for you, consider talking to an Intuitive, Thinking, or Judging personality type. You naturally excel at the Sensing, Feeling, and Perceiving perspectives so types with alternate preferences can help you to see any blind spots.
- Work on self-forgiveness. A lot of times when we make a mistake, we dwell on it and beat ourselves up. We all make mistakes – the point is whether we can learn from them and be better as a result!
- Sometimes counseling can be significant in getting out of an unhealthy cycle. If it’s feasible, you could consider talking to a professional who could offer new insights.
“I am glad that I paid so little attention to good advice; had I abided by it I might have been saved from some of my most valuable mistakes.” – Edna St. Vincent Millay
Find Out More About ISFPs: How ISFPs Say “I Love You”
As an ISTP, you actively solve problems and have a knack for troubleshooting. When you make a mistake, you are curious to understand the situation and grasp what caused it. You like solving problems, so that will be your first goal. Of course, sometimes mistakes come up in high-pressure situations where there’s a lot of emotional chaos and disruption. During these situations you might not be able to think as clearly as you would like. It can be overwhelming at any point to be surrounded by high emotions, but especially when you have a problem to solve. If possible, find a way to get a break – a “breather” from the chaos. If you’re in a conflict with someone, tell them you need a moment to think.
With your ISTP preferences you can usually see the facts involved in a mistake. Noticing relevant details and staying grounded is fairly natural for you, so you’re unlikely to catastrophize or get all emotional (unless you’re really stressed). You’re also likely to analyze logically what happened and see what weak spots were involved in the mistake. Your next step will probably be to figure out how you can shore up those weak spots and make sure the mistake doesn’t repeat itself.
Your blind spots tend to be more in the areas of Feeling and Intuition. Because of this, you may not learn how certain mistakes impacted people, how to handle the interpersonal aspects involved, or how to escape cycles that have more to do with patterns than facts.
How to Manage Mistakes Holistically:
- When you’re feeling overwhelmed by a mistake, try to take some time to distance yourself from commotion and other people. This will help you to stay calm and feel mentally clear.
- Some ISTPs need to let out some energy or tension when the situation is chaotic or they are feeling emotionally overwhelmed. Take a minute to go for a jog, punch a punching bag, or do some other physical activity to help you come back and think more clearly.
- It’s natural for ISTPs to notice the facts and details (Sensing) as well as the logic (Thinking) of a situation. Take time to consider the personal implications as well. This means looking at your values, the values of others, as well as your feelings and others’ feelings. What values were violated? How did the mistake make people feel? If you owe someone an apology, try to acknowledge their feelings and give them a chance to speak freely.
- As a Sensor, you naturally notice observable realities. But sometimes there are patterns at work in a situation that cause a mistake to be repeated. To address these, you may need to look at the big picture and consider any cycles in your life that might be repeating themselves. How can you disrupt negative cycles so that you don’t keep falling into mistakes that can be avoided?
- Don’t let mistakes make you feel hopeless or disillusioned. Remember that even the great innovators and geniuses make mistakes in order to learn. They use their mistakes as a stepping stone to something new and amazing. You can do the same!
“Success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time.” – George Bernard Shaw
Find Out More About ISTPs: What ISTPs Do When They’re Really Stressed Out
As an ESFP, your first instinct when you make a mistake is probably to fix it as quickly as possible. You’re very hands-on and prefer to take action rather than sit around and mull over what went wrong. Some ESFPs, rather than try to fix things, choose distraction instead. This can be a way of avoiding the problem and the negative feelings that come along with it.
If you’re more like the first type of ESFP, your natural tendency is to look at the situation from a practical standpoint. What needs to be done in order to fix the mistake?
Then you might consider your values and emotions. Have you betrayed yourself in any way? Have you betrayed others? Do you need to do something to calm the storm of negative emotions you may be feeling?
Both of these perspectives are helpful, but it’s also important to look at the bigger picture. How did the mistake happen in the first place? What can you do to prevent it from happening again?
Your blind spots tend to be in the areas of Thinking and Intuition. This means that you may not always see all the logical inconsistencies that may have led to the mistake. It may also be difficult for you to spot underlying patterns that led to the mistake happening. This means that this type of mistake can keep cropping up, even after you think you’ve fixed it.
How to Manage Mistakes in a Healthy and Holistic Way:
- When you’re feeling overwhelmed by a mistake, take time to calm your body. Don’t look for an immediate distraction. Just breathe through the frustration as deeply as possible. Stretch. Go for a run. Meditate. Do something to get your body calmer and less restless.
- As tempting as it may be, try not to immediately distract yourself with something that will derail you. It’s okay to grab a cold drink of water or listen to a calming song; it’s going to be more negative if you scroll social media or binge fast food. The sooner you deal with the issue the sooner you can move on and feel better.
- You’re gifted at seeing details. What details led to this mistake and how can you avoid the cycle repeating itself? Are there certain activities, experiences, or inputs that put you in a more likely place to make this mistake again? How can you find a healthy distraction when these experiences show up again?
- You’re a social person – use that to your advantage! Find people you trust that have different perspectives than you. Are there any Intuitives or Thinkers in your surroundings that you deeply trust? Go to them to find your blind spots. If you know any fellow Sensors and Feelers (SF personality types) you can go to them for solidarity and empathy.
“At an early age I learned that people make mistakes, and you have to decide if their mistakes are bigger than your love for them.” – Angie Thomas
Find Out More About ESFPs: 7 Ways That ESFPs Make an Impact
As an ESTP, you’re a person of action and impact. You’re not likely to mull over a mistake unless you’re really in a rough time of your life and feeling especially stressed. Rather, you’re someone who wants to take action and move forward. Troubleshooting is the name of the game, and you’re likely to try to quickly fix any mistakes you make.
There are two potential problems with this approach. The first is that you may rush through the process of fixing the mistake and not take the time to learn from it. The second problem, and one that besets the more unhealthy ESTPs, is that you may try to fix the mistake in the same way that you made it (example: an ESTP who’s made a financial mistake may try to quickly earn the money back in the same way they lost it).
Thinking quickly on your feet is one of your strongest abilities, but there’s a point after a mistake when you need to slow down and take some time to analyze. Thankfully for you, you have a process called Introverted Thinking (Ti) that helps you do just that.
Introverted Thinking is focused on understanding the principles at the root of a problem, spotting logical inconsistencies, and understanding how ideas and things work. You can use this quality to your advantage by taking some time to really understand what went wrong before you try to fix it.
What principles were at play (or not at play) in the situation? Was your thinking logically consistent? What moving pieces affected each other?
Another thing that can keep you from learning from your mistakes is that you may completely devalue the Intuitive and Feeling aspects of a problem. This means that you may have blind spots that are keeping you in an unhealthy cycle.
How to Manage Mistakes in a Healthy and Holistic Way:
- The first step is always going to be acknowledging the mistake. Acknowledging it doesn’t mean wallowing in it; it means taking the time to understand what happened and how you can prevent it from happening again.
- Make sure you’re accessing your strengths when analyzing the mistake. What are the facts? What details are relevant? What was the logical outcome? What logical choices could you make to avoid this happening again?
- Next, look at your blind spots. Let’s start with Feeling. What personal values were violated, if any, when the mistake was made? Did you violate any of your personal ethics or values? Did you violate anyone else’s? How did the mistake make you or others feel emotionally? Do you owe anyone an apology? Do you need to forgive yourself?
- Finally, look at the intuitive aspects of the problem. Are there any patterns that are repeating themselves that you could circumvent? What are the long-term implications of the mistake? How can you move forward with insight?
- Don’t hesitate to talk to friends or people you trust in this process. Other SPs might be able to empathize with your struggles. People with Intuitive, Feeling, or Judging preferences might be able to help you sort out your blind spots.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Sometimes counseling can be significant in getting out of a rut or a negative cycle.
“Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment.” – Rita Mae Brown
As an INTP you’re one of the types who is likely to mull over a mistake for far too long. You’re all about analyzing and digging into all the principles of a problem. Whether you’ve made a social mistake or a business mistake, chances are you’ll mull over it with the same precision each time. While some types need to be reminded to slow down and analyze their mistakes – sometimes you need to be reminded to get out and get some fresh air for a new perspective.
Go for a hike, a drive, or a nature walk. Meditate. Listen to some music and focus on relaxing your body and breathing deeply. Have a drink of icy cold water or take a hot shower. Do something that gets you out of your head for a little while. Try to tense and then relax various parts of your body to make sure you’re not holding in tension that could later come back and bite you.
When you drown in analysis over a mistake, you run the risk of getting trapped in a maze of thoughts that have no end. Over time this can become self-defeating and you can feel paralyzed or trapped. Sometimes learning from a mistake means doing things you wouldn’t typically do – because sometimes those very things can alert you to new and unexpected insights.
Tips For Processing a Mistake Without Overthinking It:
- Tap into your body. Practice deep breathing. A simple way to do this is to breathe in for four counts, hold your breath for four counts, and then exhale for four counts. This will help you to focus on the present moment and release tension.
- Shake your body out in order to release the tension and stress. It might feel silly, but this can help you to let go of some of the physical manifestations of stress.
- Give yourself 15 minutes to analyze the problem. Set a timer. Start by writing out the facts and details. Then move onto the patterns and implications. Next look at any logical issues that came into play. Finally, look at how you or others were emotionally impacted. After analyzing the problem from the perspective of Sensing, Intuition, Thinking, and Feeling, you may have a clear idea of what to do. It can be easy for INTPs to stay in a Thinking and Intuitive place without looking to Sensing and Feeling. Or, if deeply stressed, you may stay in a place of Feeling and become emotionally insecure and overwhelmed. Giving yourself only 15 minutes to analyze the situation can help you not to get stuck in a stressed or hyper-analytical space.
- Write down what your next actions should be. Sometimes it can be helpful to have a physical list of next steps. This can help you to move on from the mistake and take action towards fixing it. Again, set a timer if you need to so that you don’t get trapped in this process.
- Give yourself some time for self-care after making amends for the mistake. This can be anything from reading a book to taking a nap to going for a walk in nature. It’s important that you do something that helps you to relax and recharge and move on.
- Don’t let this mistake define you. Yes, you made a mistake, but that doesn’t mean that you are a mistake. It’s important to remember this when you’re feeling down about a screw up.
“You’re afraid of making mistakes. Don’t be. Mistakes can be profited by. Man, when I was young I shoved my ignorance in people’s faces. They beat me with sticks. By the time I was forty my blunt instrument had been honed to a fine cutting point for me. If you hide your ignorance, no one will hit you and you’ll never learn.” – Ray Bradbury
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Like the INTP, you can be someone who is prone to overthinking things and getting lost in your head. You might find yourself dwelling on a mistake and replaying it over and over again in your mind. Mentally you can get lost in a maze of feelings and possibilities that all seem negative and self-defeating.
But sometimes this whole process can help you to miss the lesson in the mistake. Or at times you can get so wrapped in the emotions of shame, overwhelm, or grief that you don’t see a practical or logical reality.
The truth is that everyone makes mistakes. You are not a failure because you made one. If you look at any great person in history you will see a trail of mistakes in their past. The point is that they learned from them. People who don’t make mistakes don’t often do anything that challenges them. Their lives are mundane because they’re too afraid of failure. As an INFP one of the things that makes you stand out is your ability to think outside the box and imagine a new reality.
Imagine a life past this mistake, one where you’ve become stronger because of it.
Tips For Processing a Mistake Without Getting Stuck in Guilt:
- Acknowledge your feelings and give yourself some space to process them. This can be anything from writing in a journal to talking to a friend. It’s important that you allow yourself to feel whatever it is you’re feeling without judgement.
- After processing your feelings, take some time to notice any patterns that may have led to the mistake. Are there any negative patterns in your life that are impacting your ability to move on? Is there a self-defeating cycle that you can stop in its tracks?
- I know that you’re not a Sensing type, but take some time to look at the facts and details. This can help you to see the situation more clearly and understand what went wrong.
- Look at the logic of the experience. Consider the cause, effect, and potential outcomes of the situation. This can help you to understand what needs to be done to fix it.
- Take some time to develop a plan for moving forward. What are some steps that you can take to prevent this mistake from happening again? How can you grow from this experience?
- Finally, forgive yourself. This can be easier said than done, but it’s so important. Remember that everyone makes mistakes and that you’re not defined by them. You are so much more than your failures and sometimes the failures are just a catalyst for growth and maturity.
“What a waste my life would be without all the beautiful mistakes I’ve made.” – Alice Bag
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ENTPs tend to be less fearful of mistakes than many other types. They are often masters of “failing up” and trying new ideas and strategies even if there is some element of risk. When they encounter mistakes they will typically analyze them quickly and move on with a nugget of wisdom for the next time.
This doesn’t mean that they don’t feel the sting of a mistake, they can. But they are often more forgiving of themselves and others when things don’t go as planned. They see mistakes as a part of life and an opportunity to learn and grow.
What ENTPs often struggle to learn is how the mistake impacted them or others emotionally and what values they may have violated in the process. They may also be so anxious to move on and keep trying a new idea that they wear themselves out physically and emotionally.
How to Manage Mistakes in a Healthy Way:
- Take some time to calm your mind and body when you encounter a mistake. Depending on the severity of the mistake or the impact you may need a shorter or longer time to do this.
- Make sure you’re taking care of yourself physically and emotionally. How are you feeling? What emotions are showing up for you? Do you need rest? A glass of water? A time out to calm down? If you’re ignoring the physical & emotional world you may make a mistake from a place of charged stress, emotional suppression, or physical exhaustion.
- Don’t try to fix everything at once, take it one step at a time. Trying to do too much too soon will only make things worse.
- It’s natural to think of creative solutions right away or analyze the mistake from a logical perspective. Just make sure you’re not forgetting the human component. How did this mistake make you feel? How did it make others feel? Did you violate any of your values or any of others peoples’ values? Don’t beat yourself up, but try to make amends with anyone you may have hurt in the process. And make sure to forgive yourself as well.
- Look at any practical realities that may have tripped you up. As an intuitive, you naturally think in big-picture ideas. But sometimes the details matter and can help you to avoid making the same mistake again. Ask a sensor for advice if you find yourself feeling stumped.
“I make mistakes like the next man. In fact, being–forgive me–rather cleverer than most men, my mistakes tend to be correspondingly huger.” – J.K. Rowling
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You’re someone who’s all about finding a new possibility, even in a dire situation. When a mistake is made, you see it as an opportunity to learn and grow and know yourself better. For this reason, you often handle mistakes with more resilience than others.
But sometimes your idealism can get the best of you and you may be tempted to deny that a mistake was made at all. This can backfire and make things worse. You may also have a hard time forgiving yourself for your mistakes, even though you’re quick to forgive others.
How to Manage Mistakes in a Healthy Way:
- First, take some time to acknowledge the mistake. Don’t seek out distractions or “numbing” activities.
- If you’re feeling overwhelmed or down on yourself, take some time to breathe and recenter yourself. Then, start thinking about what you can learn from the mistake. What did it teach you about yourself? About others? About your values or boundaries?
- If you’re calm and not in a place of stress, consider perspectives you might not typically look at. As an intuitive you’re good at seeing patterns, but what are the facts at play in the situation? Write them down. They may give you some insight into how you could avoid the same mistake again.
- As a Feeling type, you naturally sense the values at play in a situation. This is important. But take a moment to also consider the logical realities. What systems or structures may have contributed to the mistake? Were there any lapses in logic that contributed to the problem?
- Make an action plan. What steps can you take to make sure this mistake doesn’t happen again? Do you need to make amends with anyone? Do you need to forgive yourself?
- After analyzing the mistake and creating an action plan, give yourself some grace. This is something you’re still learning from. You may make the same mistake again, but each time you’ll get a little better at handling it.
“Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one’s mistakes.” – Oscar Wilde
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What Are Your Thoughts?
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Find out more about your personality type in our eBooks, Discovering You: Unlocking the Power of Personality Type, The INFJ – Understanding the Mystic, The INTJ – Understanding the Strategist, and The INFP – Understanding the Dreamer. You can also connect with me via Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!
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