The Life of an INTJ

I recently did a personality test again and I came up as an INTJ which is slight change as I used to be an ENTJ.  So what does it mean to be an INTJ?  Well, we are referred to as the Masterminds so ego is not in short supply.

From Similar Minds

loner, more interested in intellectual pursuits than relationships or family, not very altruistic, not very complimentary, would rather be friendless than jobless, observer, values solitude, perfectionist, detached, private, not much fun, hidden, skeptical, does not tend to like most people, socially uncomfortable, not physically affectionate, unhappy, does not talk about feelings, hard to impress, analytical, likes esoteric things, tends to be pessimistic, not spontaneous, prone to discontentment, guarded, does not think they are weird but others do, responsible, can be insensitive or ambivalent to the misfortunes of others, orderly, clean, organized, familiar with darkside, tends not to value organized religion, suspicious of others, can be lonely, rarely shows anger, punctual, finisher, prepared

Personality Page sees me this way

INTJs live in the world of ideas and strategic planning. They value intelligence, knowledge, and competence, and typically have high standards in these regards, which they continuously strive to fulfill. To a somewhat lesser extent, they have similar expectations of others.

INTJs are natural leaders, although they usually choose to remain in the background until they see a real need to take over the lead. When they are in leadership roles, they are quite effective, because they are able to objectively see the reality of a situation, and are adaptable enough to change things which aren’t working well. They are the supreme strategists – always scanning available ideas and concepts and weighing them against their current strategy, to plan for every conceivable contingency.

They also see this in us INTJs

Other people may have a difficult time understanding an INTJ. They may see them as aloof and reserved. Indeed, the INTJ is not overly demonstrative of their affections, and is likely to not give as much praise or positive support as others may need or desire. That doesn’t mean that he or she doesn’t truly have affection or regard for others, they simply do not typically feel the need to express it. Others may falsely perceive the INTJ as being rigid and set in their ways. Nothing could be further from the truth, because the INTJ is committed to always finding the objective best strategy to implement their ideas. The INTJ is usually quite open to hearing an alternative way of doing something.

Typelogic describes me as this

To outsiders, INTJs may appear to project an aura of "definiteness", of self-confidence. This self-confidence, sometimes mistaken for simple arrogance by the less decisive, is actually of a very specific rather than a general nature; its source lies in the specialized knowledge systems that most INTJs start building at an early age. When it comes to their own areas of expertise — and INTJs can have several — they will be able to tell you almost immediately whether or not they can help you, and if so, how. INTJs know what they know, and perhaps still more importantly, they know what they don’t know.

INTJs are perfectionists, with a seemingly endless capacity for improving upon anything that takes their interest. What prevents them from becoming chronically bogged down in this pursuit of perfection is the pragmatism so characteristic of the type: INTJs apply (often ruthlessly) the criterion "Does it work?" to everything from their own research efforts to the prevailing social norms. This in turn produces an unusual independence of mind, freeing the INTJ from the constraints of authority, convention, or sentiment for its own sake.

This part drives my boss crazy

INTJs have also been known to take it upon themselves to implement critical decisions without consulting their supervisors or co-workers.

Many of our conversations start with, “I may have overstepped my boundaries…”

Personality Page mentions that I am socially challenged which is fair enough.  I have struggled with deep and dark feelings of loneliness my entire life (bet you didn’t know that) that I am just kind of resigned to.  I also think it’s why I enjoy having a dog around and why I love to read.  Weird.

I love how it describes my feelings

Feeling has a modest inner room, two doors down from the Most Imminent iNtuition. It doesn’t get out much, but lends its influence on behalf of causes which are Good and Worthy and Humane. We may catch a glimpse of it in the unspoken attitude of good will, or the gracious smile or nod. Some question the existence of Feeling in this type, yet its unseen balance to Thinking is a cardinal dimension in the full measure of the INTJ’s soul.

First of all, this is all wrong, I have only one feeling and I often leave it behind.

Keirsey sees me this way

All Rationals are good at planning operations, but Masterminds are head and shoulders above all the rest in contingency planning. Complex operations involve many steps or stages, one following another in a necessary progression, and Masterminds are naturally able to grasp how each one leads to the next, and to prepare alternatives for difficulties that are likely to arise any step of the way. Trying to anticipate every contingency, Masterminds never set off on their current project without a Plan A firmly in mind, but they are always prepared to switch to Plan B or C or D if need be.

Masterminds are rare, comprising no more than, say, one percent of the population, and they are rarely encountered outside their office, factory, school, or laboratory. Although they are highly capable leaders, Masterminds are not at all eager to take command, preferring to stay in the background until others demonstrate their inability to lead. Once they take charge, however, they are thoroughgoing pragmatists. Masterminds are certain that efficiency is indispensable in a well-run organization, and if they encounter inefficiency-any waste of human and material resources-they are quick to realign operations and reassign personnel. Masterminds do not feel bound by established rules and procedures, and traditional authority does not impress them, nor do slogans or catchwords. Only ideas that make sense to them are adopted; those that don’t, aren’t, no matter who thought of them. Remember, their aim is always maximum efficiency.

Well back to work…

In their careers, Masterminds usually rise to positions of responsibility, for they work long and hard and are dedicated in their pursuit of goals, sparing neither their own time and effort nor that of their colleagues and employees. Problem-solving is highly stimulating to Masterminds, who love responding to tangled systems that require careful sorting out. Ordinarily, they verbalize the positive and avoid comments of a negative nature; they are more interested in moving an organization forward than dwelling on mistakes of the past.

Back in 2005, I took the Enneagram for the first time and I was an investigator

Enneagram Type 5 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.

Of course that is too nice to be true.  Apparently we are the way we are because we are insecure.

Behind Fives’ relentless pursuit of knowledge are deep insecurities about their ability to function successfully in the world.

In case you are wondering, Wendy is an INTP and blogs about it here.

6 thoughts on “The Life of an INTJ”

  1. One of your challenges will be finding critical mass – five or six others of the same type. Since you are one of the rare types – 2.1 percent – finding others will take some effort. One thing to recognize is that the distribution of types is based on college graduates; while the blue-collar world has a much greater skew to the distributions. Finding rare types is easier amidst well-educated groups and communities. Large metro areas are also preferable to rare types – the distribution is flatter, plus the logistics are a whole lot more efficient. Having coffee across town is easier than across the country. The internet helps, but face to face is also good.

    Once you have critical mass of other INTJ’s, then the next challenge is how to link your worklife to your type. It helps to have “bridge types” – those medium sized MBTI types (around 8%) – that link you to the largest types – those over 10 percent. Bridge types often help the larger types understand the smaller types. INTP’s are surrounded by three small types – Counselor, Field Marshall and Architect – and one big type – ISTJ inspector. It’s easy to wind up working for an ISTJ, and getting smothered, never getting respect for ideas and creativity. But being part of a staff of other small types means you can work together, and collectively achieve some professionalism.

    The church poses a problem in that the distribution is even more skewed. Most Christians (especially in paid positions) are the top three MBTI groups. One solution is to have a volunteer position that maximizes the traits of your type, while supporting yourself with a good-paying day job.

  2. Mike, I totally agree but within my work, I have the flexibility to be an INTJ and work to my strengths which I really, really appreciate. I have worked for a ESFJ before and it wasn’t a good experience.

    We do use MBTI at work to help us understand each other (we are doing some of it next week which is why I took the test again)

  3. One tool to use is to think of the percentages as proxies. If a type has a lot of percentage, say 11 percent, think of that as 11 votes. If a type has few – like INTJ with 2 percent – think of that as 2 votes. If you work for and around a bunch of SJ’s, then their 11 times howmany outvotes your measly 2 percent. No coalition is even possible.

    But, if enough small and medium types band together, then they have a say, by forming coalitions and presenting a unified message. Then things work well.

    If the organization (or the boss) totally dismisses all this, then run. You are toast!

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