As one of the rarest of the 16 Myers-Briggs types, the INTJ personality provides a fascinating glimpse into the beauties and pitfalls of the creative, yet analytical mind. I hope you enjoy this quick introduction to a personality type that is often misunderstood, but has so much to offer!
When creative meets analytical
“Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas.” ~ Marie Curie
As an intuitive and judging person, an INTJ (especially in their younger years) may feel like they are constantly contradicting themselves, being passionate in their ideals and constantly thirsty for new ideas. At the same time they often feel a deep-seeded desire to convert their own internal chaos into order.
As natural-born strategists, it is very important to the INTJ that their understanding of the world is non-contradictory. This way they are free to use their knowledge to pursue creative solutions to complex problems.
Quite often, their desire for rationality causes them to see social relationships as problems to solve. This tendency can be frustrating for both the individual and the people around them. Although the INTJ might be perfectly capable of experiencing a wide range of emotions, they are not likely to express them in the “heat of the moment”, preferring instead to wait until they have had time to rationalize them in their own mind.
Reluctant, yet effective leaders
People with this personality type will often try to avoid being the center of attention, preferring instead to move their goals forward in a less-visible role. They likely do this to minimize their risk of conflict with outside ideas.
Given the right conditions, INTJs can become very effective and respectable leaders thanks to their ability to approach large-scale problems and crises with a rational, non-emotional frame of mind.
This is where some of the real “magic” can happen for an INTJ, when they are faced with a complex issue and a seemingly impossible set of options to select from. Instead of limiting themselves to a pre-defined set of choices, the INTJ will look for ways to develop more creative alternatives without being burdened by the “groupthink” that might have led others to believe that no more options were possible.
This is a double-edged sword since the INTJ leader may sometimes appear to be uncompassionate towards others when deciding the best course of action for any given situation.
INTJs as villains
Given some of the traits described above, it should not come as a surprise that the INTJ personality is often represented in popular culture as the villain, or the cold and calculating antagonist in television shows and feature films (think: Charles Montgomery Burns’ character in The Simpsons).
Personally, I think that this portrayal of the INTJ is rooted in the tendency for our culture to associate a misunderstood personality with a hostile intent, rather than keeping an open mind.
Perhaps what is most intriguing about people with this personality type is the sheer variety of talents that can be expressed through these traits, as can be seen in the list of famous INTJs included below.
Strategic creativity can be applied in many different environments and career paths, so if you are an INTJ, you definitely do not need to limit yourself to the roles that you see on the movie screen!
INTJ: I understand, because I am one!
I am a highly creative person, and a highly technical person. When I was younger, I would go through phases in my life where I would try to eliminate one of these traits in a vain attempt to boost the other one (and vice-versa).
I had difficulty finding ways to blend my creative and rational abilities into a single “performance”, because I simply could not understand how to relate my two seemingly incompatible desires: writing computer code, and strumming my guitar (with custom strings that I fitted!) randomly on stage in front of a bunch of people.
After I discovered the world of music production, I finally understood how it was possible to accept wildly creative ideas with open arms, and mould them into a productive piece of work at the end of the day. This understanding also helped me in my career as a software consultant, where the creative process is a vital piece in solving virtually any technical problem long before a single line of computer code is ever written.
A significant step in my own maturing process as an adult has been to recognize and take ownership of many of the INTJ traits described above, while also making an everyday conscious effort to have empathy for the people in my life that I care about, whose feelings I don’t want to hurt with a blunt or ill-conceived remark that I might regret having made later. Although your personality type may heavily influence your overall abilities and desires, it will never entirely define you as a human being. This is up to you.
I hope you enjoyed this quick look into the mind of an INTJ!
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Sir Isaac Newton
Phillip Richard is a software consultant, music producer and introvert blogger. He is passionate about discovering creative solutions to unique problems, and expanding the limits of everyday technology to help people reach their goals. As a proud introvert, he is dedicated to helping others discover the online introvert community, and its amazing people and resources, as they make their way in their life and careers.