By Tiffani Warren
INTJs at their best are nuanced and driven individuals who take advantage of all available avenues to craft and realize the futures they envision. They are very perceptive of the implications of any particular situation or piece of information, and are skilled at developing predictions and making decisions quickly based on limited information. That said, they sometimes “miss the trees for the forest” – being so wrapped up in their grand ideas that they forget to take note of what actually exists and is happening in the present. Their primary interest is in collating and refining their understanding of the world in order to develop complex and multilayered concepts and visions.
INTJs believe that the best way to develop these ideas and possibilities is to collect and manipulate the repository of objective facts and analyses that humanity produces as a whole, trusting that methods and understanding which have been subjected to multitudes of critical eyes have likely been whittled down into only the most valuable and trustworthy pieces of information. They do not trust their own limited experience or subjective logic, and prefer instead to find out what works and what’s true based on the body of scientific and practical knowledge in the world. It is important, however, for INTJs to reflect on their own desires and beliefs about themselves and the values they hold dear, as the information one collects from the outside world is not sufficient to answer every question. INTJs who allow themselves to explore their own feelings and values without rejecting them too quickly for being objectively unverifiable will discover, with pleasure, that doing so allows them to focus their energy and effort on ventures that bring them personal fulfillment and allow them to find meaning in their work.
A young or immature INTJ will avoid scary or uncomfortable experiences, and will often feel as though they have a hard time making their ideas a reality. They prefer to sit on the sidelines and watch as others participate in life. They may feel judgmental and superior to people who find it easy to “seize the day”, or alternatively, they may envy these people and chastise themselves for not being as proactive.
However, as the INTJ grows and matures, they will begin to find a balance between imagining what could be and seeing and interacting with what is. They will become braver in actively participating in new and uncertain situations, and they will become more comfortable at making quick decisions when presented with novel stimuli. They will begin to understand that, although there are general principles that guide how events unfold, each situation is unique in its own way. They will find themselves seeking out opportunities to experience new sights and sounds, and will become more comfortable “going with the flow” and “trying anything once”. That said, INTJs will always be more pensive than most types, seeking the deeper meaning behind superficial appearances and making decisions based on their long term ideas and goals, rarely allowing their “big picture” understanding to be clouded by temporary circumstances.
Mature INTJs are very good at taking objectively accepted facts and analyzing or evaluating them to judge whether they are logically consistent and accurate – whether they actually ‘make sense’ to them – given the other propositions that they hold to be true, but they often do not find much pleasure or gratification in engaging with this ability unless it’s in service of some larger goal or in order to help someone they care about. Because they are so focused on developing intricate theories and grand visions, they resist efforts to direct their attention at each novel and fleeting idea, believing that it would sidetrack them from their true purpose. However, when they are sufficiently motivated, they are very skilled at generating a flurry of new perspectives and interpretations, and those who allow themselves to practice this skill will find it to be very useful when they are stuck in a difficult problem.
INTJs do not enjoy navigating the complex world of human interaction, and will often find themselves confused or annoyed with other people’s emotional expression and social expectations. They often prefer to ask for advice or information from someone whose skills in these areas they trust to help them process and solve these sorts of issues. That said, they are capable of doing it – begrudgingly – when no help is available. INTJs find it very difficult to recall and respond appropriately to information they’ve received through direct experience, and they pay very little attention to the details of their day-to-day lives. Although they may, with much determination, be capable of completing intricate and focused projects where consistency is key, it is not where they thrive. They prefer to work hard at developing their larger ambitions, focusing their attention not on perfection, but rather on what will have the greatest impact as a whole.
To summarize, INTJs are visionary and proactive individuals who seek to understand the inner workings of the world in order to create meaningful changes in it. They do so by interpreting the implications and connections produced by various metaphorical models in their minds as well as by seeking out and absorbing the wealth of knowledge available to them from the outside world. When they balance these skills with a nod toward their own personal values and desires as well as a willingness to push through obstacles and make their visions a reality, they can have a huge impact on the course of human history, creating exciting new projects that others could never have dreamed of.