This past Sunday I was babysitting my ten month old niece and after lulling her to sleep I rewarded myself with a beer from my brother’s fridge, and a plethora of TV streaming options. I settled on the movie, High Fidelity, which I had never seen before and while there are a myriad of noteworthy qualities to this film what struck me was the following quote:
“I always had one foot out the door, and that prevented me from doing a lot of things, like thinking about my future and… I guess it made more sense to commit to nothing, keep my options open. And that’s suicide. By tiny, tiny increments.”
That’s when it hit me, that this exact attitude encompassed everything I struggle with as an ENFP. Now unless you have been living under a rock you are probably aware of what the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is, and there is also a good chance that you know what your four letters are as well.
The thing to know about me is that I’m a textbook ENFP; a free spirit who craves creativity and freedom. The thing to understand about people with a similar personality is that we are often looking into the next yard to see that the grass is greener. ENFPs often have a difficult time remaining in one place because there is always a buzzing sound in our ear that tells us, “something better is out there waiting for you.”
I wouldn’t necessarily say Rob Gordon is a fellow ENFP, but we share the same problem. Neither one of us likes to commit, whether it is to people or otherwise. If you don’t commit to anything there is nothing to hold you back from picking up and moving to Ireland in the middle of the night. When people ask me the question, “where do you see yourself in five years?” I always panic because I don’t really see anything. My future has always been a giant, white canvas.
That’s not to say that I don’t have dreams or ambitions, but like Rob Gordon my dreams end up on a top five list of what I would do if money weren’t an issue. In my mind, my goals were always kind of like playing dress up. In my head I would try on the fantasy of being a stand up comedian, or television writer but the costume came off and it always seemed like a role I could play for a little while and not something that was a sustainable option.
It’s not until recently that I realized I’m not doing myself any favors by not committing to things. I’m really just hurting myself. I haven’t committed to one idea since graduation because I’m afraid that means I’ll be crossing off everything else on my list. It’s suicide by tiny increments because that is no way to live a life at all. You keep yourself from opportunities that could have led to ten different list items.
I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to shake the fear that I’m missing out on something. What I do know is that if I’m always waiting for something better to fall from the sky then I’ll be waiting a long time. It starts with saying, yes. Being able to make one decision at a time, and even though to me it feels terrifying, I know logically I can still continue saying yes to other things that I find along the way. The only person that is keeping me in one place is me. Commitment doesn’t have to be restricting. My hope is that it will yank me from this feeling of complacency, and be one of the most liberating things I do.
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