I can be something of a movie-junkie, so I’ve seen a lot of movies. So, any movie that causes me to say, “Wow, that has got to be one of my favorite movies”, means that that movie must be really good. And so, saying that The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (with Ben Stiller) is my all-time favorite, that’s saying a lot.
However, what does this movie have to do with INFP? This a blog dedicated to personality types, you know.
Let me give the premise to the movie first:
“Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller), an employee at Life magazine, spends day after monotonous day developing photos for the publication. To escape the tedium, Walter inhabits a world of exciting daydreams in which he is the undeniable hero. Walter fancies a fellow employee named Cheryl (Kristen Wiig) and would love to date her, but he feels unworthy. However, he gets a chance to have a real adventure when Life’s new owners send him on a mission to obtain the perfect photo for the final print issue.”
There are several reasons why I feel like, first of all, that Walter Mitty is INFP. Secondly, there are also a few reasons why I feel that The Secret Life of Walter Mitty speaks to INFPs especially.
Why I Think Walter Mitty Is INFP:
1. Walter is Introverted.
Walter Mitty isn’t socially awkward, but he does have trouble in social situations. That’s not to say that all INFPs have trouble in social situations, but Walter Mitty, like many of us, prefers working in his own little space, several stories below everyone’s noisy, crowded cubicles.
In stereotypical introverted fashion, Walter has trouble confronting people about work. There’s even a scene where he imagines himself telling his boss a comeback that causes his co-workers to burst out laughing, but Walter decides in the end not to voice the comeback.
When around his other co-workers, Walter stays to himself and doesn’t join in with the other conversations.
2. Walter Daydreams. A Lot.
Either imagining himself saving people or impressing someone he loves, Walter’s head is always in the clouds. Even his mom comments on how frequently Walter “zones out”.
Now, there are reasons for why he daydreams so often, which I’ll get to in a second, but Walter is a lot like many INFPs who find themselves daydreaming frequently.
He, like the rest of us INFPs, may find himself daydreaming about adventures, fantasies, imaginary conversations, etc.
3. Walter Dreams of a More Exciting Life.
In the movie, Walter has a very dull job at Life magazine, and so he dreams of having a more exciting life. Perhaps, if he’s INFP, it’s because of his Extraverted Intuition.
Of course not all INFPs are going to have a dull life like Walter, but I’m sure most if not all INFPs do dream of having a more adventurous, thrilling life.
To cope, Walter daydreams a lot of such a thrilling life, as do we INFPs as well.
4. Walter Likes Staying Home.
Walter Mitty is stuck at home in the sense that he must help support his mother and sister because he is the only one with a paying job. He is also stuck at home because he’s comfortable at home. Adventures cost money and are stressful. Staying home is safe.
The thing is, Walter is afraid of having an adventure. He can’t even remember if he’s ever traveled farther than 50 miles from his city.
Even though he dreams of having adventures, he’s too comfortable at home to have a stressful, expensive adventure.
And, if we assume that Walter is INFP, he is a lot like other INFPs in that we all dream of having adventures and living more exciting lives because of our Extraverted Intuition. However, our Introverted Sensing cares deeply about how we feel physically and emotionally. It’s easier to stay at home where it’s safe for Introverted Sensing than it is to go out and live an exciting life.
Now, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty does not speak to INFPs specifically. It’s directed at the general audience, to people who wish they had more exciting lives.
Also, I can identify with many heroes. However, Walter Mitty, because he feels likes a stereotypical INFP, I feel I can identify with him more. I know how he feels. I have been through the same struggles he has. I have thought the same thoughts and dreamed the same dreams as he has.
Ironically, it’s because of Walter’s job that causes him to go on his mission to search for Negative 25. Sean O’Connell calls Negative 25 the “Quintessence of Life”. Again, ironically, Walter is searching for the quintessence of life as he goes on his adventure.
His adventure is an inspiration to INFPs especially. People who dream constantly of finding more meaning and adventures to their lives but are afraid to leave their comfort zones in order to do so.
In general, it’s a great movie. But I feel that most INFPs probably understand Walter more and where he comes from before he goes on his adventure. It’s a story of a man who wishes he had more out of life and imagines himself having adventures, and soon, he finds himself having the adventures he dreamed about.
Not only does it teach the general public but INFPs as well that though life isn’t always dull, we should all try to find meaning and adventure in our own lives.
If you haven’t seen it yet, you really should. If I could only recommend one movie to you, I would recommend this one.