The INTJ Personality
The Engineer / The Architect / The Mastermind
[dropcap]I[/dropcap]NTJ stands for (I) introverted (N) intuitive (T) thinking (J) judging. These represent the preferred cognitive functions employed by this personality type. The INTJ cognitive stack is as follows:
- Dominant – Introverted Intuition (Ni)
- Auxiliary – Extraverted Thinking (Te)
- Tertiary – Introverted Feeling (Fi)
- Inferior – Extraverted Sensing (Se)
INTJ Cognitive Functions:
Introverted Intuition (Ni) – Introverted intuition is a perceiving function associated with abstract interpretation and pattern finding. It is predictive and focuses on reading into the underlying subtext and significance of things and events beyond what is physically and concretely obvious. It is concerned with probable outcomes, interpretations of meaning and the future.
Extraverted Thinking (Te) – Extraverted thinking is a judging function that organizes information into physical or meta-systems, and visual graphs and charts. It applies logic and proven concepts towards the fulfillment or service of some project or goal. It focuses on testing, analyzing, strategizing and problem solving. Extraverted thinking optimizes for efficiency and identifies weak points to be improved upon.
Introverted Feeling (Fi) – Introverted feeling is a judging function concerned with subjective valuations of good and bad, right and wrong. It cultivates personal integrity and a unique and creative temperament. Introverted feeling can seem self-absorbed and anti-social and may rebel against the expectations of prevailing social norms. Fi wants to be true to itself and resists outside impositions against it’s will. It is also compassionate self-sacrificing with a noble desire to do what is believed to be right.
Extraverted Sensing (Se) – Extraverted sensing is a perceiving function that is highly aware of details of the physical environment. (Se) is experiential and sensation focused. It is impulsive and in the moment and is highly reactive, responsive and action oriented. Extraverted Sensing is concerned with appearances and anything that can be directly experienced through the senses.
About the INTJ Persona
In the Keirsey temperament sorter, INTJs belong to the group Keirsey dubbed the “Rationals”. This grouping is one of four classifications into which he sorted the 16 personality types. The Rationals are composed of the INTP, ENTP, INTJ, and ENTJ. The INTJ personality is among the rarest types in the MBTI. It comprises only 2% of the general population with INTJ women being even more rare at 1% of the female population. Their scarcity ensures a status as intellectual outliers; a personality type that will often find itself at odds with the predominant attitudes and reigning mores of society. INTJs may exhibit narcissism and a propensity for being highly judgmental of what they view as idiotic and meaningless. They can be harsh and highly critical of others but they generally possess a number of virtuous qualities that give them an aire of refinement, mystery and nobility.
INTJs prefer a lifestyle that is structured over that of a vagrant, unpredictable and unstable one. They are world-class planners who like to think ahead and make preparations in advance. Deadlines are taken seriously and they will work out a realistic plan of attack to ensure that their task or aim is completed in timely fashion. INTJs develop excellent strategic skills over time which allows them to become highly efficient at what they do. They are capable of becoming proficient in many areas wherever they focus their energy and attention. They have the concentration and cunning of a chess grand master and indeed the legendary chess champion Bobby Fischer was reputed to be an INTJ.
The high achieving and ambitious nature of INTJ types compel them to engineer their futures years far in advance. They have uncanny foresight that allows them to set pieces in motion that will yield to success for them down the road. They are often viewed by others as a highly intelligent, academically inclined overachiever and tend to be over-represented among those who rate highly on I.Q. tests. Their thought processes are highly intuitive and visionary. INTJs often form hunches and notions that turn out to be correct upon following them up with a series of testing and examination. They are like scientists with a bit of prescient mysticism thrown in. They often do not know where their insights come from exactly. Perhaps they are transmitted from a higher power or a demonic one (just kidding). Once these ideations take shape in their minds, the INTJ is compelled to seek out a means to validate and give life to them and this is often what drives and preoccupies the INTJ’s time.
INTJs embody a host of contradictions. They are both cynical and idealist; robotic yet sensitive. They are mysterious persons who live inside their minds analyzing the possibilities that do not even register with other types. INTJs do this in an almost magical, uncanny way. They are very private, reserved and aloof individuals. Others may view the INTJ as arrogant and cold. They are self-contained and not emotive or inclined to put their feelings on display for other people to see. They would rather let others believe they haven’t any emotions but they know this is not the case at all. INTJs do not focus on feelings but they are aware of what they feel. They simply prefer not to act on those feelings in the moment choosing instead to analyze it later and reflect on why they feel the way they do so they can reach a rational verdict on the matter.
INTJs are self-confident and generally care little what people think of them. They often do not fully understand the way they are perceived by others but social acceptance is not of great personal importance to them anyway. Mature INTJs eventually learn to conform a bit and play the social song and dance recognizing it as a means to accomplish their objectives and ambitions within the framework of society. INTJs can put on the semblance of being outgoing and sociable and when they do, people are often very responsive. INTJs prefer to talk about ideas especially their own ideas and thought processes. They enjoy people who share their interest in the unusual and a mindset that is generally future-oriented. INTJs get along best with other rational types and idealists who prefer intuition over sensing.
Individuals with the INTJ personality type take pride in their intellect and competence and this is primarily what they judge others by. They are not impressed by tokens of authority such as rank and superficially manufactured titles. An INTJ will criticize anyone they deem incompetent and stupid regardless of what rank or title they hold. The INTJ person tends to be a terse and concise communicator but they often possess an extensive vocabulary. They sometimes have to water-down the way they speak to adjust to the person they are speaking to. INTJs can be too abstruse and verbose for other types to comprehend clearly and this contributes to the INTJ’s feelings of being misunderstood and alone. If someone is unable to understand them, INTJs are liable to place the fault on them. In many cases they would rather not bother conversing with those people at all and would sooner move on than try ‘dumbing down’ their communication to accommodate an inept listener… unless they really like them.
INTJs are creative problem solvers. The bottom line for any approach they take is: will it work? They care about practical efficiency and effectiveness over tradition and orthodoxy. INTJs are great at constructing systems that optimize productivity. For this reason, they make for excellent managers and leaders in many fields. Although they are well suited to be leaders, they are often not compelled to do so unless they perceive the current leadership as incompetent, in which case, an INTJ will be motivated to step in and seize control of the ship so they can correct course.
INTJs lead with a visionary mindset. They are highly capable of bringing to fruition their lofty and ambitious personal goals. Once they’ve identified their mission, they will set about completing it like the relentless Captain Ahab in his obsessive pursuit of the white whale. INTJs hold the big picture in their minds and they equip themselves with abundant knowledge and data so that they possess the technical know-how for assembling the pieces to their puzzle. INTJs are purpose-driven and the focus and energy they invest in thinking and researching is rarely for it’s own sake much the way it is for the INTP. They do it with a goal in mind or a specific objective they want to accomplish be it short-term or long-term.
Others tend to respect or even fear the INTJ. They carry themselves in a respectable manner and dignity but their mysterious nature can often call their motives into question by others. Why is he/she so aloof? Does he/she think they’re better than us? Is he/she plotting to destroy us all? The INTJ type, like a lot of introverts, is bound to be the target of negative introvert stereotypes such as the quiet lone wolf person who one day shoots up their school without warning. INTJs may also get a bad rap as being particularly devious and mephistophelian. They are often characterized in fiction as the evil genius out to destroy or control the world. In reality, INTJs are some of the most admirable and noble persons including the likes of Elon Musk, and Mark Zuckerberg, two individuals who have done great good through their innovations and life’s work.
The INTJ Employee
INTJ people are concerned with understanding the underlying principles and mechanisms at work in the world so that they can then apply them to their own projects and endeavors. They have high standards and substantial willpower and discipline that shows through in the work they produce. The INTJ person loves complexity and the challenge of figuring things out until they’ve gained mastery of that thing. Simple tasks are a bore to them, they require variety and intellectual stimulation from their jobs. INTJs are highly independent and work best on their own in a structured environment with clear objectives. They dislike noisy, chaotic workspaces and prefer quiet environments where they can focus. They are diligent, reliable and trustworthy workers who function best when they are given adequate freedom and autonomy.
INTJ people are generally great at managing their time effectively. They are punctual and have a good sense for the amount of time and work required to complete a given task. They can be trusted to carry out their responsibilities with diligence and professionalism and they respect others who do the same. While INTJs are willing to operate from a subordinate position and take orders from a superior, they are not inclined to blindly follow the directives of others. They, above all else, think for themselves and will cast a critical eye to anything and everything that is requested of them. INTJs refuse to be lemmings and are determined to be true to who they are and what they stand for. They expect the same of others because they understand that all people are fallible and that not all people in positions of authority are necessarily qualified to be there. Individuals, no matter what their rank or title will be judged by the merit of their abilities and character.
INTJs can become disputatious and uncooperative when they feel like they are losing control over their domain or not getting the respect they feel they deserve. INTJs are second only to ENTJs in their argumentativeness. Everything to them is subject to questioning and reevaluation and they are not inclined to adhere to meaningless customs. They can sometimes snub social niceties and will be unapologetic in their disdain for schmoozers and superficial hobnobbers who in their minds possess zero substance. They are open to new ideas if they are supported by logic but they are not fans of by-the-book procedure that does not allow for creative improvement or superior alternatives.
INTJs and Religion
INTJs, are the least likely of all MB types to believe in a religious higher power. However, as it turns out, many INTJs do possess an interest in spirituality both orthodoxical and unorthoxdical. Sir Isaac Newton, the father of physics and calculus and famed INTJ is reported to have been very religious and superstitious. He was also reputed to be paranoid and irascible. It would make sense that INTJs would have some interest in the ethereal realm of spirituality because of their introverted intuition. Ni would be inclined to interpret the significance of events on a symbolic and metaphysical level. There are many things in the world that cannot yet be explained and for many things the possibility of a “god” is still on the table. Ni doesn’t always get it right and sometimes the INTJ connects dots that are not meant to be connected. At their worst, they can become like conspiracy theorists buying into intriguing but unsubstantiated theories as though they were empirical fact. This is why Extroverted Thinking is important for fact checking and edifying the intuitive mental machinations that INTJs come up with.
The Death Stare
INTJs have a “look” often referred as the ‘death stare’ or ‘death glare’. This grave and pensive expression is characterized as appearing vaguely threatening and intimidating to others. INTJs often project a flat affect where little to any emotion shows through in their face. It is essentially ‘resting-bitch-face’ and it can make them appear more unhappy or unfriendly than they really are. In most cases, there is no malice behind this expression although people tend to misinterpret it as such. INTJs, while lost in thought, will forget their surroundings and stare off into the distance at something no one else can see. If someone is standing in the line of their gaze, it can appear as though the INTJ is looking right through them. Because they are so enrapt with the intensity of their thoughts, the INTJ may be unaware of how their unbroken gaze may disturb or concern others.
INTJ Strong Points
- Excellent planner
- Maintains composure under pressure
- Excellent Problem Solver
- Persistent and thorough
- Follows through on commitments
- Reliable and consistent
- Loyal and honest
- Forward Thinking
- Self reliant and responsible
INTJ Weak Points
- Highly judgmental
- Reluctant to adapt to sudden changes
- Taking criticism
- Taking themselves too seriously
- Narcissism and arrogance
- Lack of empathy
- Overly private and aloof
- Suspicious of others
- Emotionally disconnected
As parents, INTJs will be stern and not overly affectionate with their children. Although they may love their children deeply, they may not express this in an overtly obvious way. The INTJ’s devotion may show in the strength and grit with which they protect their kids or the sacrifices they make to ensure their security and best interests. They will try to instill the values they prize most such as self-determination, and self-reliance and will encourage children to think critically and not simply take what they are told at face value. INTJs will likely allow their children ample room to grow and discover on their own because this is the primary way by which INTJs grow and learn.
INTJs may not make the most emotionally available parents and might fall short in their ability to provide for the emotional needs of most children. They want their children to be effective individuals who can deal with whatever life throws at them. For this reason they may be reluctant to coddle or shelter them from going through tough experiences that can serve as an important point of growth in the development of their character.
In relationships, the INTJ type needs an intelligent partner who can appreciate and share in their taste for unspoken truths and hidden meanings. INTJ get along best with other intuitive types, especially ENFP in particular. According to David Keirsey, an American psychologist, and author of “Please Understand Me”, the INTJ’s best type match for friendship and romance is the ENFP. Keirsey believed that the most important factor for type compatibility is a shared perceiving preference. Every other letter in the ENFP and INTJ 4-letter type name is reversed except for the “N”. ENFP’s use Ne (extraverted intuition) while INTJs use Ni (introverted intuition). Although they use different forms of intuition, these two types nonetheless share a fondness for possibilities and are not encumbered by tradition or inclined to do things the way they have always been done. They are both idea people and and they will likely enjoy countless hours discussing interesting topics and bouncing ideas of one another.
Any partner who gets the INTJ’s wry and sometimes dark humor will likely work well with them. INTJs tend to run romantic prospects away with unrealistic demands and expectations. In the end, they are often disappointed and some unfortunately give up looking altogether. INTJs sometimes annoy their partners when they try to intervene and instruct them on how to do things the way they think is best. This may be especially so when it comes to areas in which the other person takes pride in. The INTJ may need to guard against being too controlling or pushy with their advice and not get offended when others decide not to follow their suggestions.
Even though there is likely a powerful libido inside of them, INTJs struggle with managing their sexual interests with their intellectual interests. In many cases the former is subjugated by the latter. Sex for them is just as mental as it is physical. If a relationship falls apart, they are able to move on but will seek closure first. Severing emotional ties is more difficult than they let on but they do it because they believe it is the right thing and they are usually firm in their decision.
You can read more about INTJs here.
- Tech Engineer
- Corporate Strategist
- Organization Builder
- Business Administrator
- Business Manager
- Military Officer
- Computer Programmer
- Management (upper level/executive)
- Consultant (any type, including political)
- Technical writer
- Graphic/website designer
- Creative writer, journalist, editor, blogger
- Film producer/director
- Urban planning
- Chemist, mathematician, astronomer, physicist
- Applied science, technology, technician
- Hillary Clinton
- Al Gore, Bill Gates
- Dwight Eisenhower
- Alan Greenspan
- Ulysses S. Grant
- Stephen Hawking
- John Maynard Keynes
- Ayn Rand, Isaac Asimov
- Lewis Carroll
- Cormac McCarthy
- Sir Isaac Newton
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