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The more I learn about myself and INFJs the more I realize that my woes aren't as unique as I once thought they were!

That said, I'm feeling totally lost about my direction in life. A recent college grad, I'm currently living on a fellowship researching for the next seven months. But, after that, I'm off into the world... and not sure where to go.

Are there any other INFJs who have, perhaps, once felt like this and have since gained clarity about your life's purpose/or whatever it is you've chosen to do professionally? Or anyone else who feels a similar sense of being lost in the abyss?

I realize that I am the only one that can make choices for myself but am unsure of how to arrive at these decisions. I feel paralyzed by my lack of direction.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts!
 

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The more I learn about myself and INFJs the more I realize that my woes aren't as unique as I once thought they were!

That said, I'm feeling totally lost about my direction in life. A recent college grad, I'm currently living on a fellowship researching for the next seven months. But, after that, I'm off into the world... and not sure where to go.

Are there any other INFJs who have, perhaps, once felt like this and have since gained clarity about your life's purpose/or whatever it is you've chosen to do professionally? Or anyone else who feels a similar sense of being lost in the abyss?

I realize that I am the only one that can make choices for myself but am unsure of how to arrive at these decisions. I feel paralyzed by my lack of direction.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts!
Yeah, I majored in mass communications, and now I'm planning on going back to get my masters in psychology.

What was your major?
 

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sure did! since learning about myers-briggs my life now makes so much more sense.

how did you come to the conclusion to venture into psychology?
It's looking at the big picture.

I have also written things for "the world" to think about.

Not all INFJs are completley the same, but I would say that bascially we are harmony-seaking idealists. On some level we can get inside of the hearts and minds of other people. If we are not too bitter in our thinking of humanity in general, then we should want to "help" others in some way.

What I wanted to do originally was to write thought-provoking movie scripts, but I came to the realization that everything I was writing was more appropriate for independent films than it was for mainstream, and I wanted it to be mainstream.

I've seen A LOT of movies- more than some people who are old enough to be my parents. If a movie has deep, symbolic meaning, then I see it, BUT the majority of people out there do not. They look at the surface level and the action. And I used to hold this against them, but I have decided to let it go. It's just the way many people are. They don't take it as seriously as I do. So I feel that this dream of mine would not be "helpful" to most people.

As soon as I discovered more about what it means to be an INFJ, I decided that the most important thing was to do something that would actually help other people- something more realistic and less idealistic. And so, I decided to become a psychologist and to eventually write something about my experience as an INFJ to help other INFJs out there.
 

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Are there any other INFJs who have, perhaps, once felt like this and have since gained clarity about your life's purpose/or whatever it is you've chosen to do professionally? Or anyone else who feels a similar sense of being lost in the abyss?
I"m afraid that I haven't gained any clarity about my life's purpose yet, and I'm 32.

Lost in the abyss is a good way of putting it. When I was younger, I lived for helping other people and although I got some happiness, it left me rather disillusioned. So I started living for myself and doing much more of what I wanted, and that left me feeling cynical and selfish, and not feeling like I was actually contributing much of anything to the world.

The key for me, I think, is in helping the right sort of people. The people who need and want my help, and who will actually put in the effort to help themselves as well. I want to see positive results. But I still haven't figured out just who these people would be, and how I will be able to help them.

For now, I am creating a new life, and will spend the next several years working on her and my husband's happiness and development. Baby due in January and it's going to be a very interesting experience for all three of us :happy:
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I"m afraid that I haven't gained any clarity about my life's purpose yet, and I'm 32.

Lost in the abyss is a good way of putting it. When I was younger, I lived for helping other people and although I got some happiness, it left me rather disillusioned. So I started living for myself and doing much more of what I wanted, and that left me feeling cynical and selfish, and not feeling like I was actually contributing much of anything to the world.

The key for me, I think, is in helping the right sort of people. The people who need and want my help, and who will actually put in the effort to help themselves as well. I want to see positive results. But I still haven't figured out just who these people would be, and how I will be able to help them.

For now, I am creating a new life, and will spend the next several years working on her and my husband's happiness and development. Baby due in January and it's going to be a very interesting experience for all three of us :happy:
Congratulations on your baby! Best of luck :) Maybe finding your sense of purpose is on it's way!

I agree with you on feeling caught between doing what you want (and then feeling selfish) and then living for others (and then feeling potentially disillusioned/unsatisfied). I am finding it hard to satisfy both of these wants, for me, at least: 1) to be able to express myself creatively 2) but also to do this in some way that isn't entirely selfish.

sigh.
 

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... Or anyone else who feels a similar sense of being lost in the abyss?

I realize that I am the only one that can make choices for myself but am unsure of how to arrive at these decisions. I feel paralyzed by my lack of direction.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts!
Oh yes, very familiar feeling. Just a few months before I learned about MBTI I was walking with a friend along a street and I asked her whether she ever feels lost. It is a common perception for me sometimes just going out and seeing all these people and everything around and being overwhelmed by this abyss as you have described it.

The problem that INFJs have is that we have awesome powers of observation of things that have happened, in past. Then we contemplate about past a lot. And conclusions we make and patterns from past that we see we flip them into the future. This enables us to predict certain events but it can also backfire. It can sometimes give us a feeling of predetermination. Like you are unable to change anything about your life and create your future so to say, and even if you want to do something you just don't know where to start. Whenever I feel like this I usually try to make myself think about present moment and goals I'm trying to accomplish here and now instead of the totality of life, universe, and everything. I've been raised by two SJs and I know this is how they go about life, just thinking about things that they have to accomplish today and may be tomorrow. So my advice would be to take it slow, figure it out piece by piece, and not thinking too far into the future because life introduces new elements all the time and scraps even the best planning. Try to figure smaller pieces of the puzzle sequentially instead of entire puzzle in its entirety right away. Most importantly do something even if you are feeling paralyzed and not certain. By doing something, you'll be getting somewhere, may be meeting some new people, may be getting exposed to some new things, may be you'll waste your time, but from there it is easier to figure stuff out. If you go out on the street and look at people there all of them are just like you, going about their life faced with many uncertainties, trying to create their own future, succeeding, failing then trying again, that's just how life goes so you're not alone in this.
 

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The more I learn about myself and INFJs the more I realize that my woes aren't as unique as I once thought they were!

That said, I'm feeling totally lost about my direction in life. A recent college grad, I'm currently living on a fellowship researching for the next seven months. But, after that, I'm off into the world... and not sure where to go.

Are there any other INFJs who have, perhaps, once felt like this and have since gained clarity about your life's purpose/or whatever it is you've chosen to do professionally? Or anyone else who feels a similar sense of being lost in the abyss?

I realize that I am the only one that can make choices for myself but am unsure of how to arrive at these decisions. I feel paralyzed by my lack of direction.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts!
I'm 25 and I'm not quite sure what I'm doing. I have an undergrad degree in poli sci, and now I work behind the front desk of a large college library. It's a great environment and I enjoy it a lot. It's the perfect mix of helping people, being creative, and finding information for others.

I would *highly* recommend working for the government or a college, in the public sector. My experience in academia has been quite positive. You don't get paid a lot, but you have nice benefits, and you work with people who have priorities in the right place (ie, not work).

I have yet to gain clarity on life. But so far my resume is building in a certain direction that I'm happy about. In a few years I'll go back and get a masters (probably in library science). I want to continue working in the library or museum field.

I live my life with this principle: Do what you love and the money will follow.

I would recommend choosing an entry-level job in a field that you think you will like - and start building experience there. It may take a few years to take the next step, next promotion, or grad school... but at least you're working towards it. And if you find you do not like that field at least you'll know early.

I think INFJs and INFPs struggle with direction pretty bad. The perfectionist - idealist combo can be deadly when it comes to choosing a profession.
 

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I"m afraid that I haven't gained any clarity about my life's purpose yet, and I'm 32.

Lost in the abyss is a good way of putting it. When I was younger, I lived for helping other people and although I got some happiness, it left me rather disillusioned. So I started living for myself and doing much more of what I wanted, and that left me feeling cynical and selfish, and not feeling like I was actually contributing much of anything to the world.

The key for me, I think, is in helping the right sort of people. The people who need and want my help, and who will actually put in the effort to help themselves as well. I want to see positive results. But I still haven't figured out just who these people would be, and how I will be able to help them.

For now, I am creating a new life, and will spend the next several years working on her and my husband's happiness and development. Baby due in January and it's going to be a very interesting experience for all three of us :happy:
that is where i am right now.... i live to help people it seems and i have been contemplating your next stage for quite a few months. i lucked out though and am not lost but it is only because of others. i am probably forever going to be in a way relying on others for purpose and reason.
 

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I'm almost ashamed to reveal it... theater. and writing.
Nothing shameful about that....
A lot of us here are writers. We have a creative imagination. When we write, it is like the characters are alive and all we are doing is watching every move that the character says and does. All we're doing is writing down word for word what they are telling us!!! It's like watching a movie as we close our eyes and drift off to their world.
 

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I don't think it is uncommon for young people (all types) to not have a clear sense of direction. I suspect we tend to worry about it more though!

My advice is don't worry about it!

Nothing is cast in stone. Many people change career directions part way and there has never been a better time for flexibility in what you do. I have had the chance to do so many different things in my career. Consequently I tend to view my progress in terms of working on cool projects rather than climbing the corporate ladder.

i lucked out though and am not lost but it is only because of others. i am probably forever going to be in a way relying on others for purpose and reason.
I too have lucked out several times in my career. Quite often I only realised later how others had helped me find different roles etc. But is this really about being lucky? Or is it that you are a person who others genuinely appreciated and liked and wanted to help. We sometimes underestimate the power of relationships.
 

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I've been lost and probably still am. I used to not really have any set idea about the future, which was a scary thing. Then I thought up careers I might like, but changed them when I realised they weren't quite right.

Then I had to pick a degree to go into... I've chosen (Japanese Studies and Publishing Media), but I keep having doubts, because there are so many other paths available. It's easy with my hobby at least, as I know exactly where I want to get to.

I think feeling lost is not having set goals. Flexibility in life is good, but it's not secure - which, personally, makes me anxious.

It doesn't help that, currently, I'm just waiting to get through my gap year (I hate my job and have to go back soon after being ill to get money). It's like floating in a big, open sea... (I almost wish I'd get fired :confused:)

Anyway, the only advice I could give is: try not to dwell on it. It'll make you depressed and stressed.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I don't think it is uncommon for young people (all types) to not have a clear sense of direction. I suspect we tend to worry about it more though!

My advice is don't worry about it!

Nothing is cast in stone. Many people change career directions part way and there has never been a better time for flexibility in what you do. I have had the chance to do so many different things in my career. Consequently I tend to view my progress in terms of working on cool projects rather than climbing the corporate ladder.



I too have lucked out several times in my career. Quite often I only realised later how others had helped me find different roles etc. But is this really about being lucky? Or is it that you are a person who others genuinely appreciated and liked and wanted to help. We sometimes underestimate the power of relationships.
excellent advice.
 

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I have worked with geoscience for the government, been a teacher, worked as a project manager and script writer in the multimedia industry, worked in a psychiatric hospital, I've even worked a couple of years within finance... My CV looks pretty scattered :blushed:

I think the best way to manage is to think "what could be the right job for me, right now". Over time, the right thing to do might change, just as you yourself will change. My best advice is to follow your heart, instead of thinking "career wise moves". I think it is quite typical for INFJs to not excel in climbing the corporate ladder, but to seek fulfillment by doing something that coheres to their inner values.

My guess is that you would make a really good theatre critic, because you know the theatre as well as how to express your thoughts with words. Maybe you could start freelancing a bit for a local newspaper?

Or what about putting up theatre plays as a means for people with different disabilities to express themselves and overcome some of their problems? For someone with social anxiety it would be a tremendous victory just to play a non-spoken small part in a play, just to give an example. Or you could have a homeless guy do King Lear, or girls in wheelchairs doing the Swan Lake ballet. I'm sure you could come up with much better ideas yourself, and it might be possible to get private funding by companies that want to show some community awareness and responsibility.

Sorry if this sounds like sales pitch talking, but my point is: Don't get stuck in what you think you can do sometime in the distant future. Use your energy to live and learn in the here and now.
 
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Reflections on the Art of Living by Joseph Campbell. That book is gold for INFJs. Especially if you at a point in life where you don't know where to go next. Its helping me tremendously.

I had the same feeling after finding out I was an INFJ. Everything I did made so much more sense. The best that I can say is try to remember doing something, even if it was for an hour once, or something you did for a while like a job, that you felt most alive. Whatever that was, go into that. The biggest high I ever got was from interviewing patients. INFJs make good counselors, tutors, etc. We thrive on small groups and more on one on one situations. Find what makes you feel most alive I would say.
 

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Definitely have felt lost during my first unemployment and at times feel lost on this 2nd bout of it (I am 24). I spent and sometimes still spend way too much time thinking about what could have been.

I wish I was better at focusing on the here and now and the not so great situation I am in. I think we can feel lost when unexpected things happen and even more so when those things are not things we were exactly hoping for.

I know the best things I can do are to stay positive, stay active (in looking for work and physically speaking), and to not give up on goals I have. The only way I'm going to reach any goals is if I stay determined.

Good luck to you, the world can be tough. But that doesn't mean we should lay down and feel sad about it. If we do that then we really have given up.


--
As others have said, relationships are so important. They can lead to pretty much anything. Ideas, opportunities, etc., you just never know who you're going to meet.
 

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I felt this way when I graduated from college, too. I've always been goal-oriented, but suddenly I'd reached all my goals and had nothing more to work toward because I had never really thought about post-college. I was lost for a year, partially because the economy tanked and I couldn't find a job.

I had a stroke of luck, though, when my alma mater offered me a graduate assistantship if I returned to complete my MA. Now when I finish this program I'll have teaching experience, and I think that's the route I plan to continue on, at least for now.

Sometimes life just happens, both in good ways and bad ways. I know how worried and frustrated you feel, but my advice is to stay open and pay attention. You may receive signals that point you in one way or another. You never know what you'll stumble across.

Best wishes!
 

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Sometimes life just happens, both in good ways and bad ways. I know how worried and frustrated you feel, but my advice is to stay open and pay attention. You may receive signals that point you in one way or another. You never know what you'll stumble across.

Best wishes!
That is a good way to look at it. Thank you for your thoughts! Reading this already makes me feel better. :)
 
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