Extracted from the book
"Please Understand Me: Character and Temperament Types"

by Prof. David Keirsey



PORTRAIT of an INTJ*


(Introvert - Intuitive - Thinking- Judging)


The Myers-Briggs Personality Test: March 2000



"INTJs are the most self-confident of all types, having "self-power" awareness.

Found in about 1% of the general population, they live in an introspective reality, focusing on possibilities, using thinking in the form of empirical logic, and preferring that people and events serve some positive use. Decisions come naturally to them: once a decision is made, INTJs are at rest. They look to the future rather than to the past, and a word which captures the essence of the INTJ is builder - a builder of systems and the applier of theoretical models.

To INTJs, authority based on position, rank, title or publication has no force. This type is not likely to succumb to the magic of slogans, watchwords or shibboleths. If an idea or position makes sense to an INTJ, it will be adopted; if it doesn't, it won't, regardless of who took the position or generated the idea. As with the INTP, authority per se does not impress them.

INTJs however tend to conform to rules if they are useful, not because they believe in them, or because they make sense, but because of their unique view of reality. They are the supreme pragmatists, who see reality as something which is quite arbitrary and made up. Thus it can be used as a tool - or ignored. Reality is quite malleable and can be changed, conquered or brought to heel. Reality is a crucible for the refining of ideas, and in this sense, INTJs are the most theoretical of all types. Whereas an ESTP sees ideas as the pawn of a reality, an INTJ sees reality as the pawn of ideas: no idea is too far-fetched to be entertained. They are natural brain-stormers, always open to new concepts and, in fact, aggressively seeking them.

INTJs manipulate the world of theory as if on a gigantic chessboard, always seeking strategies and tactics that have high payoff. In their penchant for logic, they resemble the INTPs. The logic of an INTJ however is not confined to the expressible logical. Unlike INTPs, they need only to have a vague, intuitive impression of the unexpressed logic of a system to continue surely on their way. Things need only seem logical; this is entirely sufficient. Moreover they always have a keen eye for the consequence of the application of new ideas or positions. They can be quite ruthless in the implementation of systems, seldom counting personal cost in terms of time or energy. Theories which cannot be made to work are quickly discarded by the INTJs.

To understand INTJs, their way of dealing with reality rather than their way of dealing with ideas should be observed closely. Their conscious thought is extroverted and empirical. Hence they are better at generalizing, classifying, summarizing, adducing evidence, proving and demonstrating than are the INTPs. They are somewhat less at home with pure reason, that is, systemic logic, where principles are explicit. In this respect they resemble the ENTJs. The INTJs, rather than using deductive logic, use their intuition to grasp coherence.

They have a drive to completion, always with an eye to long-term consequences. Ideas seem to carry their own force for INTJs, although they subject every idea to the test of usefulness. Difficulties are highly stimulating to INTJs, who love responding to a challenge that requires creativity. These personality traits lead them to occupations where theoretical models can be translated into actuality. They build data and human systems wherever they work if given even a slight opportunity. They can be outstanding in scientific research and also outstanding as executives who generate a plethora of implementations of ideas. Teamed with an INTP who is the architect of systems, the INTJ provides a dimension to an organization which insures that the work of the INTP does not gather dust on library shelves.

INTJs can be very single-minded at times; this can be either a weakness or a strength in their careers, for they can ignore the points of view and wishes of others. They usually rise to positions of responsibility, for they work long and hard and are steady in their pursuit of goals, sparing neither time nor effort on their part or that of their colleagues and employees.

INTJs live to see systems translated into substance; an INTP, by way of contrast, is content to design the system. In both these types however, coherence is the master. Both internal and external consistency are important, and if an INTJ finds that he or she is in a working situation where overlapping functions, duplication of effort, inefficient paper flow, and waste of human and material resources abound, the INTJ cannot rest until an effort is made to correct the situation. Cost-effectiveness is a concept which has a strong imperative for INTJs, who frequently select occupations in engineering, particularly human engineering. They also can be found in the physical sciences, in roles which require development, such as curriculum building, and, in general, any job which requires the creation and application of technology to complex areas.

Fellow workers often feel as if the INTJ can see right through them, and often believe that the INTJ finds them wanting. This tendency of people to feel transparent in the presence of the INTJ often results in relationships which have psychological distance. Thus colleagues find them apparently unemotional and, at times, cold and dispassionate. Because of their tendency to drive others as hard as they do themselves, they often seem demanding and difficult to satisfy. They are high achievers in school and on the job. On the job, they take the goals of an institution seriously and continually strive to respond to these goals. They make dedicate, loyal employees whose loyalties are directed toward the system, rather than individuals within the system. So as the people of an institution come and go, the INTJs have little difficulty - unlike the NFs, who have their loyalties involved more with persons than offices. INTJs tend, ordinarily, to verbalize the positive and eschew comments of a negative nature; they are more interested in moving forward than commiserating about mistakes of the past.

As mates, INTJs want harmony and order in the home and in relationships. They are the most independent of all the types. They will trust their intuitions about others when making choices of friends and mates, even in the face of contradictory evidence and pressures applied by others. The emotions of an INTJ are hard to read, and neither male nor female INTJ is apt to express emotional reactions. At times, both will seem cold, reserved and unresponsive, while in fact they are almost hypersensitive to signals of rejection from those whom they care. In social situations, they may also be unresponsive and may neglect to observe small rituals designed to put others at their ease. For example, they may communicate that time is wasted if used for idle dialogue, and thus people receive a sense of hurry from an INTJ which is not always intended. In their interpersonal relationships, they are usually better in a working situation than in recreational situations. They do not enjoy physical contact except with a chosen few.

As parents, they are dedicated and single-minded in their devotion: their children are a major focus in life. They are supportive of their children and tend to allow them develop in directions of their own choosing. INTJs are usually firm and consistent in their discipline and rarely care to repeat directions given to children - or others. Being the most independent of all they types, they have a strong need for autonomy; indifference or criticism from people in general does not particularly bother them, if they believe that they are right. They also have a strong need for privacy.

The most important preference of an INTJ is intuition, but this is seldom seen. Rather, the function of thinking is used to deal with the world and with people. They are vulnerable in the emotional area and may make serious mistakes here."

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* Guide to the Abbreviations:

E - extrovert ..... v ..... I - introvert

S - sensation ..... v ..... N - intuition

T - thinking ...... v ..... F - feeling

P - perceiving .. v ..... J - judging

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