The INTP's Guide to Tapping Your Inner Muse

Clinically Reviewed by Steven Melendy, PsyD. on October 19, 2016
Category: INTP

Within every INTP lies the spark of innovation, a deep level of creative brilliance that allows you to think up new and better ideas. But your muse is quixotic. What happens when she's sleeping? What if the ideas and inspiration keep slipping away from reach, no matter how desperately you try to grasp them?

Creativity is much talked about, coveted, and misunderstood. Most INTPs feel the urge to create but struggle to unlock the creative genius within. That doesn't mean that your brain is hardwired to block your creativity - quite the opposite. True creativity is available to everyone. And it starts with processes that speak to artists, technologists and INTP-architects alike.

Care to give it a try? Here are some tips to help INTPs tap their inner muse.

#1: Find your medium

INTPs have a drive to create, but often get frustrated when they have no aptitude for painting, writing, composing, or sculpture. What use are creative skills if you can't find an outlet for them?

Fortunately, creativity is not defined by the bounds of art or literature. It's an entire philosophy - a way of looking at the world. As an INTP, your creativity is more likely to reveal itself in ideation and problem solving than in straight-up artistic creativity. You're capable of being ingenious and resourceful and brilliant in all aspects of life. You just have to find your medium.

Some INTPs unleash their creativity through programming. For others, it's cooking, parenting, photography, music, bee-keeping, role play, or soccer. There are ways to show creativity in everything you do, and every tiny action is capable of being explored in new and exciting ways.

#2: Practice every day

Waiting around for inspiration to strike is all well and good, but true creativity can be sweaty. And hard. And boring. You might be one of the lucky ones who has the serendipitous accident that sets their thoughts on fire. But chances are, if you want to be creative, you're going to have to work at it. You're going to have to schedule creative time on the calendar then faithfully show up at the party.

Ideally, schedule 20 minutes of creative time each day. Our brains love routines since it helps us to form habits. Dedicating all day Saturday to your creativity isn't nearly as valuable as dedicating 20 minutes every day of the week. You don't have to accomplish much in your allotted time - just develop the discipline of making your creativity a priority. Practice is how we transition a new skill to autopilot.

#3. Stop worrying about outcomes

Worrying about the outcome of your actions is a creativity killer. You'll start editing your ideas (Will people love it? Hate it? This part really sucks!) and feed your own insecurities, especially if you have a preconceived notion of what a good outcome looks like or have unrealistic expectations for yourself. In the words of Ray Bradbury, "Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It's self-conscious and anything self-conscious is lousy."

The best ideas happen when you hold back on criticizing yourself and focus on the joy of performing your activity. Even if you spend the entire afternoon sketching meaningless doodles on a notepad, you're still spending quality time with your muse. As an INTP, you're bound to get some flashes of insight along the way.

#4: Get out there

"Creativity is contagious. Pass it on." It's strange to think of creativity as contagious, like a virus, but Albert Einstein, the INTP behind this quotation, clearly knew his stuff. INTPs reach sky-high creativity by connecting the dots and considering the connections. Talking to inspiring people and immersing yourself in their ideas can propel your own creativity to new heights - why do you think mega-creative corporations like Google and Virgin encourage their employees to chat and be spontaneous together while on the clock?

Your takeaway from all of this? Creativity is not a fixed sum. Anyone can be creative as long as they observe, question, and connect the dots - skills that an INTP has in abundance. The rest is just training. You have to take your muse seriously if you want her to flourish.

Molly Owens

Molly Owens is the founder and CEO of Truity. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley and holds a master's degree in counseling psychology. She began working with personality assessments in 2006, and in 2012 founded Truity with the goal of making robust, scientifically validated assessments more accessible and user-friendly.

Molly is an ENTP and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she enjoys elaborate cooking projects, murder mysteries, and exploring with her husband and son.

More from this author...
About the Clinical Reviewer

Steven Melendy, PsyD., is a Clinical Psychologist who received his doctorate from The Wright Institute in Berkeley, California. He specializes in using evidence-based approaches in his work with individuals and groups. Steve has worked with diverse populations and in variety of a settings, from community clinics to SF General Hospital. He believes strongly in the importance of self-care, good friendships, and humor whenever possible.


Guest (not verified) says...

I was raised for 20 years by people who didn't understand me. I just started accepting everything I did as failed. How would I go about trying to find my strengths in art and creativity?

Bill B. (not verified) says...

Dear Molly,

This is a great article which speaks to me clearly. All of the points are applicable to me, but I like #1 the best. I have no artistic aptitudes and I missed the window for programming. I find that my medium is creating marketing plans for small businesses and business plans for myself. I love to have a blank sheet of paper or empty spreadsheet to fill up as I see fit and I love to really learn a new industry or service concept. The success of the business plan is secondary, creating them is primary. By the way, the description of the INTP fits me perfectly. Thanks, Bill

MattaD0R (not verified) says...

I've been going back and forth on my muses for some time now. It's so hard to stay focused on anything 

Lillian (not verified) says...

My problem has always been that I can't seem to find my passion, my outlet, my preffered medium. I enjoy so many things, but I'm not really good at any of them. Decent, sure, but not good. And having so many widespread interests makes it difficult to choose something. I study language and science and mathematics, and I've just begun to learn violin, and I read and I write, and I enjoy sailing and rockclimbing. I have so many things that it's impossible to focus on one, which makes it difficult to really practice and improve in one area. Advice? 

Leslie9 (not verified) says...

Same for me ! I tried so much things in order to find my passion but they just loose their appeal one way or another. I can't really stick to one and say : "Yeah I want to do that all my life!"

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