Dominant Introverted Intuition with Auxiliary Extraverted Thinking
Tertiary Feeling and Inferior Extraverted Sensing
Analytical • Logical • Independent • Visionary
According to the MBTI® Manual, INTJs make up 2.1% of the population, making this type the 13th most common, of 16, in the US population.
INTJs are known for appearing almost aloof and highly conceptual. They prize competence in themselves and others above all else, and they combine this with their hardworking approach to bring their logical and visionary ideas to fruition. INTJs generally have a passion for solving puzzles, which are often in the form of complex and abstract problems that need to be addressed through creative and rational means. This is most easily accomplished in areas where the INTJ is allowed to create his or her own structure and design and enact his or her own plans. INTJs often become leaders in some capacity.
Normally, INTJs take joy in learning from individuals who are the best and brightest in their fields. As family members and friends, INTJs typically spend a great deal of time trying to improve relationships and design visions for where to take the family and/or relationships.
Normally, INTJs are most thrown off and frustrated by being in an environment that does not appreciate their skills, visions, and ideas. INTJs often become stressed when they are forced to extravert too much without a break to recharge their batteries or working in a place filled with lots of noise. INTJs will also be incredibly frustrated when working with those that they see as incompetent, lazy, or ignorant. They may become bored and/or frustrated with activities that require attention to lots of details or dictate specific processes that must be handled in a certain way.
When faced with stress overload, which may come from dealing with unfamiliar environments with overwhelming amounts of details, having to extravert too much or in uncomfortable ways, or having their well settled plans disrupted, INTJs may find themselves “in the grip” of their inferior function, Extraverted Sensing. During this experience, the individual is likely to do things that are typically completely out of character. This may include binging on the pleasures of the senses by binge-eating, over-exercising, buying lots of useless items, etc.. INTJs may assume the worst of and become angry with the world, even blaming inanimate objects for purposely causing problems (ex. an ottoman tripping the individual on purpose), and they may obsess over details in the world around them that usually seem unimportant.
Fortunately, going through and coming out of a grip experience can lead to growth and balance of the personality and the person.
To learn about INTJs under the particular stress that only comes from being chased by the dead, check out INTJs in the Zombie Apocalypse!
In general, INTJs enjoy learning through inspiration, curiosity, and exploring their vision of the future. They learn best when the big picture is presented first, and details are kept to a minimum. Material sinks in more easily when it logical and general, and the INTJ is allowed to explore it in an individualized way that examines systems and emphasizes problem-solving. INTJs often excel at and enjoy learning through reading and lectures, and they prize their ability for being insightful and visionary.
INTJs like to learn in a way that allows them to work towards a specified goal in their own way. This, combined with the tendency for being self-driven, often causes INTJs to be attracted to self-directed study. Typically, INTJs place importance on their teachers’ competence levels, and they prefer to learn from individuals who are experts in their fields. On the whole, INTJs are intrinsically motivated to learn and will dive head first into topics that peak their imaginations, without needing prompting from the outside world, so classroom learning is largely about marrying that with creating products that meet prescribed requirements.
Individuals of this type may find it helpful to seek expert opinions, through articles, etc., when having difficulty being interested in material. They should try to remember to look at details that make up the big picture, instead of just the big picture. Frustration may occur for INTJs in a classroom where they find the material frivolous or feeling based, and they may be helped by examining ways the material can relate to topics they are interested in and using a problem/puzzle-solving approach. When having trouble figuring out a task, it may be helpful to focus on something unrelated. Often INTJs have some of their best ideas when allowed to leave them to work in the background.
Typically, INTJs like to plan out the gist or big picture of a project’s goals and vision, which they nearly set in stone. That being said, they typically want to keep the details of the plan more open so that they may be tweaked, changed, or created through the process of refining the plan. They will often appreciate the use of organizational aids and systems, as long as the systems are adaptable or broad enough for the INTJ to use them in their own way, rather than contending with categories that are not useful. Motivation for INTJs comes from the intellectual stimulation of strategizing, improving, and solving problems and projects in the best and most ideal way.
INTJs are often thrown off in time management by taking on too many tasks, being interrupted, or becoming so engrossed in a project or new idea that other priorities are put to the side. Procrastination may occur when the INFJ finds a project uninteresting or want to explore a topic deeply in order to create a perfect product.
Tips for staying or getting back on task:
- Keep your eye on the goals, and let go of matters that are less important.
- Plan for the unplanned by allotting extra time for possible interruptions and by making yourself temporarily unavailable to others who may distract or seek help from you.
- Remember that not everything has to be up to your personal standards of perfection, and sometimes good enough to meet external requirements is enough, at least for now.
When approaching decisions, INTJs want to find solutions that are ingenious, logical, stand up to critique, and display competence. Often, they will begin by using their Dominant Introverted Intuition to consider what patterns, possibilities, and innovations they can see for the big picture and systems of the situation. They will then run these concepts and ideas through the filter of logical analysis to determine the best way to achieve the desired outcome. This will likely involve running either internal or written lists of pros and cons to determine the most rational and right solution.
While INTJs may certainly want to talk out decisions with others, they may wish to do internal work on the matter first. They want to think through the decision deeply, systematically, and and in many ways, while at the same time almost wishing the decision was already made and wanting the matter to be settled and off their plates. Individuals of this type may review the decision making process after the fact by considering the impact of each person and piece of data, and giving and taking criticism.
INTJs may fail to consider current realities, details, and past experiences when making decisions, and they may also neglect the people side of decision making, including emotional impacts on themselves and others.. To find more balance in the process, all types may consider discussing decisions with friends of different types to gain new insights and/or utilizing the Zig-Zag Method, which encompasses exploring decisions from the perspective of all four functions. INTJs will likely find this process more natural when exploring Intuition first, followed by Thinking, Feeling, and Sensing.
Personality type is one important part of the process of choosing a career that is a good fit, but it is far from the only part. It is important to first look at your personal goals and values when making a career decision. These may involve retiring early, helping others, having time for hobbies/avocations, having time to spend with kids and family, making lots of money, making use of a specific talent (singing, art, athletic ability, etc.), following in family footsteps, or following a childhood dream.
It is also important to look at skills and preferences. If you hate math, maybe engineering is not the way to go, and you may want to skip being a doctor or nurse if the sight of blood makes you queasy. Interests, from loving the great outdoors to being fascinated by the depths of the human mind, play a huge role in the career choice process as well. Below are some type specific commonalities in the career world.
- Seek careers that allow them to use their skills in analysis, designing logical systems, perseverance, and creativity to improve the workplace and processes.
- Prefer environments where they have time to work alone to focus on the task at hand, diving deep into the topic. They want an environment where competent individuals surround them and where they will feel intellectually and professionally challenged.
- Enjoy tasks that involve analysis of systems and processes as a means to an end, while allowing them to master skills, then move along to the next skill. They also love tasks that involve bringing their personal vision to fruition and solving puzzles.
- Might struggle with tasks that require extended periods of attending to details, where their creativity is squelched, or where they are required to deal with emotional situations in the workplace. They may also struggle to communicate a desire for warmth and collaboration in the work environment and in the job search process.
- Are often attracted to careers such as:
- Law (lawyer or judge)
- Consulting (management or systems)
- Teaching (13+)
- Management/Executive (HR, community, architectural, scientific, education)
- Computer science (designing programs, IT)
- Creative work (arts, writing, acting)
- Psychology (Industrial/Organizational, clinical)
- Engineering (computer, aeronautical, electrical)
- Medicine (pathology, research, psychiatry)
- May be less interested in careers involving repetition of detailed processes or a great deal of emotional or nurturing work.
If the career you are interested in does not appear on this list, or if you simply don’t find any appealing careers listed here, do not worry! Personality type is not meant to sentence you to a life of misery in a career you hate, and this list is far from exhaustive. You may want to check out descriptions of thousands of possible careers at O*Net, and then contemplate how your type may play into some of the careers that do interest you. Also, if your university has a career counseling center (and most do), visit them to gain assistance in finding a career that suits your needs and wants.
As Team Members
INTJ team members will likely contribute to the team by being strategic, systematic visionaries who excel at following through on tasks and the implementation of goals. INTJs have a great propensity for designing systems based on their vision and persuading others to believe in their vision. They appreciate logic, competence, and innovation, and they are known to be honest and direct team members who have a great ability to confront tough situations head on.
While INTJ team members have many strengths, they may find it difficult to accept the opinions of others, especially if they do not fit within the INTJs vision for the team. They may also have a tendency to move directly to action, rather than discussing ideas with the group, and can sometimes forget to take into account a situation’s impact on people. INTJs sometimes develop single mindedness to the point of inflexibility in reaching their goals. Awareness of these areas, as well as seeking out the perspectives of team members with different preferences, can help INTJs gain balance and appreciate team and type diversity.
INTJs make innovative and systematic leaders who begin with a vision and work hard towards bringing their vision to fruition. They tend to be clear and direct with expectations and value competence in those that they lead. INTJs are known for being good at finding imaginative and structured ways to complete tasks, and they are often helpful motivating competent team members by sharing their own expertise and knowledge.
INTJs may find it challenging to focus on systems already in place or conflicting ideas of others, rather than their own visions and ideas. Their often independent nature may lead others to see them as uninterested in gathering ideas and input from the team. It may also be difficult for INTJs to remember to place focus on the impact actions will have on people and to keep the current realities of a situation in mind while working towards their goals.
INTJs take commitment seriously, and they want to know their partners share and honor that commitment. This extends to fidelity, support, and listening. They also prize sharing values with a partner and being able to enjoy spending time together, especially one-on-one. In addition to this, INTJs place great importance on being able to have fun with their partner, and they also need to feel stimulated intellectually in a relationship.
As partners, INTJs may seem a bit mysterious because they often view their continued physical presence in a relationship to be sufficient evidence of continued commitment. In other words, “The fact that I am here shows that I want to be here.” They are innovative problem solvers who love to share, and be appreciated for, ideas and creativity, and they love to connect with their partners on a deep, intellectual level. They may struggle with expressing and nurturing emotions, showing or admitting to vulnerability, and having to explain themselves multiple times.