As reflected by the recent posts in my Philosophy Corner, I’ve become enamored with exploring my Myers-Briggs type of late. Although I’ve known for years that I am an INTJ, prior to this past week I had no idea how rare this type is (~2% of the population), or that being a female INTJ (~0.5% of the population) is about three times less common than being a male INTJ (~1.5% of the population). I’ve always know that I’m different but I never knew that feeling this way is an experience shared by the majority of INTJs…I may be rare, perhaps even special, but I don’t have to be alone.
As reflected by my various test results, I love to learn, seek out new information, theorize, find patterns. I’ve never pulled all of my test results together in one place, so now I am. I feel very strongly as though what follows truly describes me very well, on so many different levels. Collecting these results in one place is perhaps primarily motivated by my strong desire to organize everything, but I’m also not ruling out the potential for new insight be reading all of this together. If you’re really interested in who I am, see below dear reader!
Myers-Briggs Type: INTJ, The Scientist
INTJs love intellectual challenge, stimulated by the conceptual, the abstract and the complex. Imaginative, quick and creative INTJs are intellectually curious who can grasp complex problems and data, analyze them quickly and come up with solutions. They are the strategic problem solvers preferring the big picture to the mundane and set high standards for themselves and others. Getting close to the INTJ will take some time, and they may not always involve others in the decision-making process. This can make them seem slightly detached, but it is simply that the processing which takes place, (and a great deal of processing takes place), goes on inside their heads and this can make others feel a little left out.
The INTJ is the patient visionary with a clear view of how the future should look and will work with quiet and logical determination to make it happen. Although quite deep, and mistrustful until they have the measure of people, the INTJ loves an intellectual challenge and will be stimulated by the conceptual, the abstract and the complex. The INTJ loves the complex, the new, the untried and the untested. Facts and figures bore them, and they will be looking to see the ‘bigger picture,’ planning for the future that they create.
Getting close to the INTJ will take some time, and they may not always involve others in the decision-making process. This can make them seem slightly detached, but it is simply that the processing which takes place, (and a great deal of processing takes place), goes on inside the head.
Unlike the ENTJ who will happily engage in verbal sparring and will be happy to process thoughts outside the head, the INTJ will be private and keep thought processes inside until they emerge with ‘the plan of action.’ This may the first opportunity for others to even realise that so much was going on ‘inside.’
INTJs make decisions based on rational logic, rather than emotion and they will be quite measured in their approach to other people. They generally have strong opinions, are independent of thought and action and have no need to verbalise these, other than to declare the conclusions. This economy of information can be a handicap as it may leave members of the team feeling that they are ‘on the outside.’
The INTJ’s dislike of the basic facts may, at times, work against them as they can make decisions based on their theories and concepts and at times they may overlook ‘the obvious,’ seeking instead the complex solution. However, they will generally trust their own judgments, especially as these have been considered, chewed-over and processed for a long time prior to being announced.
Original and complex, INTJs have active minds, directed internally and their intuitive trait, (the high ‘N’) enables them to see very clearly the interconnections between things and the longer term implications of trends, current actions and events. Innovative and analytical, INTJs have a unique talent for analysing complex problems and issues and determining how they can be improved, whether it be a small innocuous product or the whole organisation. Their favourite subject for improvement, however, is themselves and they are on a constant quest to learn, develop and progress.
Imaginative, quick and creative INTJs are intellectually curious who can grasp complex problems and data, analyse them quickly and come up with solutions. They are the strategic (as opposed to day-to-day) problem solvers preferring the big picture stuff to the mundane. They set high standards for themselves and love the novel, the difficult, and the complex.
However such is their introversion and high ‘N’ that they spend a great deal of their time in an internal world of complexity and imagination which can see them viewed as slightly eccentric or ‘not of this world,’ and this creates issues when they try to explain to mere mortals what it is they are working on. As they prefer the abstract and theoretical, ‘S’ like explanations are difficult for them and so others may perceive them as disconnected and a bit ‘boffin-like’ and intellectual, maybe even arrogant.
This can also make the INTJ seem impenetrable to others who can totally misunderstand them. They often leave a void and when a void is left other people often fill the void with their own assumptions and predilections, rarely positive ones. So one person may say “he’s not interested,” another may say “she doesn’t like me,” and yet another “she is so full of herself,” all missing the point about the difficult to read INTJ who is primarily interested in intellectual pursuit rather than tuning in to the actualities of everyday life. Yet when on their chosen subject, or explaining the most complex of theories, the INTJ can be like a wave of enthusiasm, lucid, passionate and engaging; but when it’s over, it’s over.
And others often find it difficult to comprehend that the same visionary, enthusing them, wowing them with some genuinely groundbreaking ideas and radical new ways of doing things, will then disappear back to the project; but this is of course what the INTJ wants to do: get on and prove that it can be done, not talk about it. INTJs may love ideas, the new, the novel, seeing what might be possible; but ultimately they get their buzz from getting on and proving it can be done, and that indeed they were right.
For the INTJ everything has a scientific base so getting close would be difficult
initially, as they don’t see the need for emotional connection. Their engagement tends to come via intellectual arguments with like-minded people. For INTJs
emotion doesn’t compute and so they may not understand their impact on others or indeed gauge the emotional reactions of others, which can make them appear as insensitive or a little cold. INTJs are private and can often be naturally impassive as well, which makes them easy to misunderstand. INTJs want people to make logical sense and so feelings are difficult for them to fathom. INTJs are intellectually curious and love complex problems and analysing data to and come up with unique solutions, driven more by concepts and abstract ideas than by the emotions of people.
The INTJ is often impervious to their environment as they are deep and private and love getting their heads into complex problems. They love the intellectual robust debate and won’t really ‘see’ conflict. For the INTJ it is about creating something new and worthwhile and this will be their focus. They won’t really see the emotional issues and will work at a more cerebral level where they are more comfortable. INTJs work more at an intellectual than emotional level and so would see conflict, if they did engage, as simply an extension of the debate and their arguments would be well thought through, based on data. As the INTJ inhabits an internal world of complexity, ideas and possibilities, working towards conclusion, any conflict would simply be seen as part of that process, enacted then it’s time to move on.
The emotional reactions of other people can be difficult for an INTJ to gauge and they may therefore appear to others as insensitive and cold and to staff as neglectful of their ‘people’ responsibilities. The INTJ is a perfectionist and may also find it difficult when other people or projects etc do not come up to their high expectations and standards. This can make them seem a little superior and so some people may love it if they trip up, but this would be unusual for the INTJ. INTJs are generally extremely private people, and can often be naturally impassive as well, which makes them easy to misread and misunderstand. Perhaps the most fundamental problem, however, is that INTJs really want people to make sense. Although quietness pervades, the INTJ is capable of being a real chatterbox – but not in general or small talk – only on issues which are important to them or which stimulate them. When an idea is fully formed (until it is the INTJ would prefer not to speak of it), the INTJ is prone to wax lyrical about it even to the extent of becoming an expert bore!
Careers, strengths, weaknesses, best & worst work environments and best careers:
Linking ‘type’ and ‘careers’ would be easy if it was just about listing specific jobs that perfectly fit specific personalities. However in truth it is more difficult than that as ignores other, more important issues, such as the organisation, the values and the culture, which are far better determinants of suitability than a job title. Also individual jobs vary widely from industry to industry, organisation to organisation and person to person. Therefore our focus on ‘type’ and ‘careers’ will be far more on you: your personality, your aptitudes, interests, likes, strengths and weaknesses and then matching these to the sorts of environments, cultures and norms within organisations that will allow you, given your character, to thrive grow and flourish. We spend a lot of our time at work and so it is important to get these issues right or we could spend a lot of working time unhappy, unproductive and unfulfilled.
INTJs combine the ‘N’ capacity for seeing possibilities with the ‘J’ relentless desire to plan and drive for closure. If it is of interest to the INTJ they will work long and hard and dedicated, most often in a solitary way to make sure their ideas come to practical fruition; if the are not interested they tend to be completely not interested and in that sense they can be binary: either driven and passionate or thinking deeply, seeking something about which they can be driven and passionate. INTJs love the idea of making improvements and they have the willpower, confidence and strong independent streak to do so. They aspire to such high standards of competence and get so immersed in their interests that the may neglect the “niceties,” as they would see it, of social interaction. The INTJ will happily wax lyrical about their projects, their interests and what is important to them, but they may not always understand their impact especially with those who have a greater need for the more human side of human interaction. People do not conform to laws of physics and sometimes the more irrational aspects of human behaviour can baffle the INTJ who is looking for ‘the answer’ in a logical and objective way and so any emotion or human frailty can puzzle them and make them head back off into to the world of logic, projects and making things better.
INTJs prefer environments where they can immerse themselves in something complex, different and important. INTJs are not anti-people and if they choose to work at people issues, in the same way they work at their intellectual pursuits, they can be effective team players or managers but the sheer irrationality of people issues are more difficult for them to comprehend. The problem is that people issues can sap their energy, unless that people issue is an intellectual discussion or robust debate; however if it is chitchat and more mundane issues the INTJ will prefer to withdraw and go back to thinking, designing, driving for closure, excelling at analysing masses of complex data and coming up with genuinely unique solutions. This also can manifest itself in the INTJ becoming impatient with those who don’t immediately ‘get it,’ as they like to keep moving steadily forward and do not like being slowed down. So on occasion they may have to remember to take people with them. INTJs don’t really understand feeling, they often do not ‘compute,’ and so may inadvertently upset people with their direct and robust, factual arguments. If it drives the INTJ interest they become consumed by the activity or task, if it is tedious they will lose energy and tend to go off and find something big enough for them, as they need a challenge. So often people say they like a challenge but for the INTJ they need a challenge, as this is what energises and enthuses them.
INTJs value independence, both in themselves and in others, and prefer an environment where they can use their imagination to come up with unique solutions, with space to drive it through to completion. They thrive on challenge, especially intellectual challenge, and love analysis, drilling deep and earning new things. They value the opportunity to be free to think and create, in an environment that welcomes innovation and groundbreaking ideas, but also wants to make it happen. They do not like to be controlled or micromanaged but value being allowed the freedom and trust to withdraw and do things their way. They do mot like the mundane, the routine and will work best in an organisation that has high standards, or indeed wants to create them. They like to organise themselves, and to focus intensely on the task at hand, which is why that task needs to be important and worthwhile. If allowed this freedom the INTJ will be great system builders, ie they will have a clear vision of what might be coupled with the drive, energy and planning ability to make it happen.
The INTJ would feel stifled in an environment that did not have intellectual stimulus or challenge. They love the new, the conceptual but also the facility to get on and drive it through; they are not just ideas people but completers who need the space to think, plan and then deliver. They dislike sloppiness, or mess or mediocrity and will need an atmosphere of aspiration and high standards where they can input at a high level. They will need freedom from control as the INTJ is confident with a clear vision of how it needs to be and would not welcome what they saw as interference or someone slowing them down. They are not primarily people-centric, although will be happy with more cerebral contributions, and so an environment of small talk or lower level discussions would not let them flourish or be at their best, for them of the organisation. INTJs need to keep learning and progressing and they like to do so at pace, so an environment of stasis or inefficiency or plodding would not bring out the best in them nor would the organisation get the best out of the INTJ.
INTJs are often found in consultancies, or specialist engineering, science or medicine based organisations, usually a specialist role or a specialist organisation, where they can associate with like-minded, bright people and make unique things happen. They like to be respected for their expertise and this is why they are often among the best in their fields. They are deep thinkers, creative but added to this is the desire and ability to relentlessly and systematically drive things through to execution and completion.
In a work situation, the INTJ is the radical innovator, coming up with interesting theoretical ideas and they are superb at ensuring the team covers all the bases. Although introverted, the INTJ can bring out very strong opinions, honed over much mulling around inside the head, and may surprise others by how much is ‘in there.’ They love to immerse themselves in deep, reflective, intellectual thought and use this in the team to come up with genuinely unique solutions.
The INTJ loves the intellectual challenge and will come to the fore when there are difficult problems to solve, but those which require a complex understanding of many disparate issues. They love to deep dive, a solitary pursuit, then they come to life when the team is stuck and are superb at cutting through the extraneous issues and getting to the real meat of the problem. The INTJ is a genuinely free and radical thinker with an incredible ability to pull together all the disparate strands into one cogent whole.
INTJs will overturn established practice be forward thinking and truly radical. They love the intellectual challenge, coming alive with difficult problems to solve then step back again when it becomes mundane. The INTJ will be at their best with the facility to work for long periods on their own. If they do lead they prefer like-minded people who also love the intellectual debate and complex challenges. They are so forward thinking and the downside is that once it becomes tedious the INTJ will revert back to their introvert nature and seek to go off, satiate their thirst for interesting tasks and analyse more complex data. The INTJ is capable of holding masses of complex and often contradictory data in their heads and then bring this to bear on ‘big,’ strategic problems coming up with solutions that are leading edge.
An INTJ will choose to speak (if they choose to speak at all) only on issues close to their heads (very rarely their hearts), and have been known to hijack whole meetings and drag the agenda towards ‘their’ issues. Once the meeting is back on track, however, and the mundane, or factual is being discussed, the INTJ will again disappear into the intellectual cocoon and say very little. Certainly the INTJ will not want to work as part of a large team and prefers an environment of solitude or with a small number of people who are as competent, diligent and quietly focused as they are.
The INTJ will often find the mundane and routine tedious and energy sapping and may prefer individual contribution excelling at deep diving and working on the unique, the interesting and the complex. INTJs are perfectionists, with an endless capacity for improving upon anything that takes their interest. They will work long and hard on such tasks, driving towards closure, impervious to the outside. INTJs are ideas people. Anything is possible. INTJs love developing unique solutions to complex problems, and, conversely, if it were not complex or interesting then why would they bother?
Analytical – people who are especially talented in the Analytical theme search for
reasons and causes. They have the ability to think about all the factors that might affect a situation.
Instinctively, you quiet outspoken people with your quick and clever thinking. You rely on facts and reason to support your ideas. Many individuals choose to submit to whatever you tell them to do. Few dare to resist and ignore your orders. Frequently your mental agility overpowers people who traditionally like to take charge. By nature, you probably have a fascination with numerical data or research findings. When given the choice, you probably prefer reading these reports more than other forms of printed material. Filling your mind with numbers-oriented information delights you. Often you surprise yourself or others by recalling and using something you read days, weeks, months, or even years ago. Driven by your talents, you might search for the factors that produced a certain outcome or started a particular chain of events. Sometimes you are frustrated until you figure out why things happened the way they did. Because of your strengths, you critically examine the essential elements of the current condition. You toil tirelessly to identify the basic parts of various plans, problems, opportunities, processes, or ideas. It’s very likely that you are a rational thinker. You rely on reason to investigate what started a chain of events. You collect and study evidence. Then you pinpoint the key parts of a machine, idea, problem, or process. You discard bits of information that are irrelevant to your research.
Responsibility – people who are especially talented in the Responsibility theme take psychological ownership of what they say they will do. They are committed to stable values such as honesty and loyalty.
It’s very likely that you conduct yourself in an exceptionally mature and orderly fashion even when your teammates, classmates, friends, coworkers, and colleagues are acting childish. Driven by your talents, you yearn to be given additional duties. You expect to be held accountable for your productivity, profit, behavior, comments, and actions. Because of your strengths, you consistently work at assignments and chores to their conclusion. People have confidence that you will see whatever you do through to the very end. Chances are good that you place a premium on doing everything correctly. Whatever you are involved in or associated with must typify — that is, symbolize — accuracy and precision. Your high standards demand exactness. By nature, you prepare for assignments by reading extensively. Your capacity for pulling together information from books, publications, correspondence, notes, or Internet sites serves you well. As a result, you often avoid feelings of self-reproach — that is, blaming yourself for not knowing something you should have known.
Input – people who are especially talented in the Input theme have a craving to know more. Often they like to collect and archive all kinds of information.
Instinctively, you exhibit a never-ending need to gather lots of facts, data, or background information. Frequently you combine your interest in collecting ideas with your ability to make individuals feel truly valued. For example, when a person enlightens you about something you did not know, you are apt to tell him or her how much you appreciate that insight. People usually recognize your sincerity. They enjoy having influenced you. Because of your strengths, you relish conversations with people whose vocabulary is as sophisticated as their thinking. Discussing philosophies, theories, or concepts is exhilarating. You do not have to translate this or that word or explain the basic points of a complex thought. You love to ask questions and be readily understood. As engaged as you are in the dialogue, you still make a point of pulling together insights so you can use this knowledge later. It’s very likely that you see yourself as highly qualified to perform specialized tasks. Undoubtedly, your uncommon vocabulary distinguishes you from the ordinary person. Adding words to your professional vocabulary indicates that your knowledge base is expanding. As a result, you can converse more easily with experts about a subject. Furthermore, you can understand what they are saying to one another. By nature, you tend to gravitate to reading groups that converse about an author, a book, or printed materials on a given topic. Prior to the session, you are likely to gather as many facts as possible from the assigned reading. By storing this information in your mind, you increase your chances of recalling an insight you want to share with the other participants. Driven by your talents, you tend to read several books or publications at the same time. Without confusing yourself, you can peruse — that is, studiously examine — one for a while, then put it down, pick up another, and continue reading where you left off the last time. Your need to gather lots of information probably explains your capacity for juggling a variety of topics, plots, and authors in the same time span.
Achiever – people who are especially talented in the Achiever theme have a great deal of stamina and work hard. They take great satisfaction from being busy and productive.
Chances are good that you exhibit the physical and mental endurance needed to continuously toil long after others have stopped working. You are hardwired to pursue goals until they are reached. When obstacles arise, you become even more determined to succeed. It’s very likely that you toil with little rest and enjoy it as long as you can partner with individuals who share your strong work ethic. Having slackers in the group certainly tries your patience, especially when they are content to meet the minimum expectations. Your drive to do more and better work undoubtedly annoys and even threatens them. Instinctively, you strive to hear what individuals say. Your attentiveness reassures many of them that you comprehend what they are thinking and feeling. You are delighted to hear, “Finally, someone really understands me. Thank you for taking the time.” Because of your strengths, you ordinarily take time and exert extra effort to comprehend what you are reading. You probably refuse to rush through written material. Why? You likely intend to commit to memory as many facts and concepts as possible. Driven by your talents, you may ignore distractions to concentrate on your assignments. Sometimes you keep reading, researching, experimenting, or writing until you know all you need to know about a particular subject. You might not rest until you have mastered certain concepts, committed important information to memory, or completed specific course requirements.
Significance – people who are especially talented in the Significance theme want to be very important in the eyes of others. They are independent and want to be recognized.
By nature, you seek jobs and assignments that allow you to influence people to do whatever needs to be done. You are eager to be in a position of authority. Driven by your talents, you might want specific individuals to conclude you are trustworthy, competent, and accomplished. Perhaps you aim to impress key authority figures, experts, family members, peers, neighbors, or friends. It’s very likely that you propel people to higher levels of excellence by assuring and reassuring them that you value their contributions and their capabilities. Because of your strengths, you often pressure individuals to reach their goals. After meeting these challenges, you ask them to examine everything they did right. You actually see yourself as the catalyst — that is, the stimulus — for their success. Instinctively, you urge people to attain their goals by pressing ahead without stopping. Some people feel threatened by your forceful messages. You probably use this technique with individuals who are slow to start or who are inclined to quit before the work is finished.
Enneagram Type: Your basic personality type should be one of the top three scores.
Type I (score 8) The Reformer. The principled, idealistic type. Ones are conscientious and ethical, with a strong sense of right and wrong. They are teachers, crusaders, and advocates for change: always striving to improve things, but afraid of making a mistake. Well-organized, orderly, and fastidious, they try to maintain high standards, but can slip into being critical and perfectionistic. They typically have problems with resentment and impatience. At their Best: wise, discerning, realistic, and noble. Can be morally heroic.
Type 3 (score 6) The Achiever. The adaptable, success-oriented type. Threes are self-assured, attractive, and charming. Ambitious, competent, and energetic, they can also be status-conscious and highly driven for advancement. They are diplomatic and poised, but can also be overly concerned with their image and what others think of them. They typically have problems with workaholism and competitiveness. At their Best: self-accepting, authentic, everything they seem to be—role models who inspire others.
Type 5 (score 6) The Investigator. The perceptive, cerebral type. Fives are alert, insightful, and curious. They are able to concentrate and focus on developing complex ideas and skills. Independent, innovative, and inventive, they can also become preoccupied with their thoughts and imaginary constructs. They become detached, yet high-strung and intense. They typically have problems with eccentricity, nihilism, and isolation. At their Best: visionary pioneers, often ahead of their time, and able to see the world in an entirely new way.
Big Five Personality Test: There has been much research on how people describe others, and five major dimensions of human personality have been found. They are often referred to as the OCEAN model of personality, because of the acronym from the names of the five dimensions.
Openness to Experience/Intellect – 93rd percentile
High scorers tend to be original, creative, curious, complex; you enjoy having novel experiences and seeing things in new ways.
Conscientiousness – 98th percentile
High scorers tend to be reliable, well-organized, self-disciplined, careful; you are very well-organized, and can be relied upon.
Extraversion – 7th percentile
Low scorers tend to be introverted, reserved, inhibited, quiet; you probably enjoy spending quiet time alone.
(From another Big Five test, score 0/100) You are introverted, preferring to interact with a few close friends rather than a large group. Introverts tend to be reserved and quiet, and less involved in social interaction than the more outgoing extroverts. While extroverts tend to feel lonely and withdrawn when denied the company of others, introverts relish time alone. They tend to deal with problems on their own rather than seeking out advice from others. Introverts also tend to have a more active imagination and complex inner world.
Agreeableness – 2nd percentile
Low scorers tend to be critical, rude, harsh, callous; you find it easy to criticize others.
Neuroticism – 76th percentile
High scorers tend to be nervous, high-strung, insecure, worrying; you tend to become anxious or nervous.
Are you highly sensitive?
Score – 16; a score of 15+ is considered likely to be a highly sensitive person.
Are you a sensation seeker?
Score – 14; a score of 11+ is considered likely to be a sensation seeker.