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The INTJ Personality Type

INTJs are analytical problem-solvers, eager to improve systems and processes with their innovative ideas. They have a talent for seeing possibilities for improvement, whether at work, at home, or in themselves.

Often intellectual, INTJs enjoy logical reasoning and complex problem-solving. They approach life by analyzing the theory behind what they see, and are typically focused inward, on their own thoughtful study of the world around them. INTJs are drawn to logical systems and are much less comfortable with the unpredictable nature of other people and their emotions. They are typically independent and selective about their relationships, preferring to associate with people who they find intellectually stimulating.

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What does INTJ stand for?

INTJ is an acronym used to describe one of the sixteen personality types created by Katharine Briggs and Isabel Myers. It stands for Introverted, iNtuitive, Thinking, Judging. INTJ indicates a person who is energized by time alone (Introverted), who focuses on ideas and concepts rather than facts and details (iNtuitive), who makes decisions based on logic and reason (Thinking) and who prefers to be planned and organized rather than spontaneous and flexible (Judging). INTJs are sometimes referred to as Mastermind personalities because of their strategic, logical way of thinking.

How common is the INTJ personality type?

INTJ is the third rarest type in the population, and the rarest type among women (with ENTJ). INTJs make up:

  • 2% of the general population
  • 3% of men
  • 1% of women

Famous INTJs

Famous INTJs include Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, Bill Gates, Dwight Eisenhower, Alan Greenspan, Ulysses S. Grant, Stephen Hawking, John Maynard Keynes, Ayn Rand, Isaac Asimov, Lewis Carroll, Cormac McCarthy, and Sir Isaac Newton.

INTJ Values and Motivations

INTJs are perceptive about systems and strategy, and often understand the world as a chess board to be navigated. They want to understand how systems work, and how events proceed: the INTJ often has a unique ability to foresee logical outcomes. They enjoy applying themselves to a project or idea in depth, and putting in concentrated effort to achieve their goals.

INTJs have a hunger for knowledge and strive to constantly increase their competence; they are often perfectionists with extremely high standards of performance for themselves and others. They tend to have a keen interest in self-improvement and are lifelong learners, always looking to add to their base of information and awareness.

How Others See the INTJ

INTJs are typically reserved and serious, and seem to spend a lot of time thinking. They are curious about the world around them and often want to know the principle behind what they see. They thoroughly examine the information they receive, and if asked a question, will typically consider it at length before presenting a careful, complex answer. INTJs think critically and clearly, and often have an idea about how to do something more efficiently. They can be blunt in their presentation, and often communicate in terms of the larger strategy, leaving out the details.

Although INTJs aren’t usually warm or particularly gregarious, they tend to have a self-assured manner with people based on their own security in their intelligence. They relate their ideas with confidence, and once they have arrived at a conclusion they fully expect others to see the wisdom in their perceptions. They are typically perfectionists and appreciate an environment of intellectual challenge. They enjoy discussing interesting ideas, and may get themselves into trouble because of their take-no-prisoners attitude: if someone’s beliefs don’t make logical sense, the Mastermind typically has no qualms about pointing that out.

INTJ Hobbies and Interests

Popular hobbies for the INTJ include reading, cultural events, taking classes, appreciating art, computers and video games, and independent sports such as swimming, backpacking, or running marathons.

Facts about INTJs

Interesting facts about the INTJ:

  • On personality trait measures, score as Discreet, Industrious, Logical, Deliberate, Self-Confident, and Methodical
  • Among types least likely to suffer heart disease and cardiac problems
  • Least likely of all the types to believe in a higher spiritual power
  • One of two types with highest college GPA
  • Among types with highest income
  • Personal values include Achievement
  • Of all types, least likely to state that they value Home/family, Financial security, Relationships & friendships, and Community service
  • Overrepresented among MBA students and female small business owners
  • Commonly found in scientific or technical fields, computer occupations, and legal professions

Source: MBTI Manual

Quotes About INTJs

"INTJs are the most independent of all the sixteen types and take more or less conscious pride in that independence."

- Isabel Briggs Myers, Gifts Differing

"Difficulties are highly stimulating to INTJs, who love responding to a problem that requires a creative solution."

- David Keirsey, Please Understand Me II

"Their capacity for intellectual and conceptual clarity gives INTJs both vision and the will to see it through to completion—leadership qualities that are prized in our society."

- Otto Kroeger, Type Talk at Work

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Rachael K (not verified) says...

I'm a female INTJ that loves creating garments, sewing, and graphic design also 

Guest (not verified) says...

Hey Me, it turns out all these comments are actually you just as we suspected, or us rather. Heck I don't understand it all exactly either but that's besides the point. We keep returning to this website and agreeing with ourselves on how much we are like us. -Just a friendly reminder:)

INTJ and proud (not verified) says...

Your right it's like my 5th time to a site like this

INTJ and proud (not verified) says...

So true I've been to 5 sites about intj personality types and been to this one 3 times.

kmignano says...

Ditto. Scary yet ditto.

Guest (not verified) says...

omg this changed my life

Fellow INTJ Male (not verified) says...

I agree. Knowledge of the various types has changed my life as well. Personality Types was (one of) the missing puzzle piece(s) I've been looking for. Additionally, there is some debate on whether or not personalities are developed or if it is something we are all born with. I believe the latter. If personalities could be changed or edited, the world would be out of balance. Understanding personalities is especially valuable for me in understanding why people behave the way they do; especially with the knowledge of and acceptance that most won't understand me. This is okay; this is not his or her choice or mine and I don't need everyone to understand me. With best intentions in mind, I am learning what and when something should be shared and with who and most importantly who not to share with. Some people are not capable of understanding and I do not mean this in a negative way. Due to the fact that ‘others’ actually can't understand I feel the reasoning for the lack of understanding is really not relevant. What is relevant is I know my role, whether others understand or not, and continue to edit the world around me, to my liking.

In regards to the INTJ descriptions, I fit perfectly. When thinking about INTJ's in leadership roles, again I agree, I realize not everyone can be good at everything and I prefer to be controlling all things relevant and have to issues allowing someone else to present my ideas as their own. My motivations in life seem to be entirely different than most other peoples; I ‘do’ because I ‘must’ and this isn't up to me. Hopefully some will relate to this 'gift' we've been given. Kind of an inside joke of the perceived genius relative to the outside perspective, it's a "gift" alright...haha. I also seem quite sensitive to being controlled; this is not something that I don't like or prefer, this is something that I cannot allow, if I believe I can control it anyway. I want to be #2, but I can't allow anyone or anything to control me. What does that make me ... hmm ... a leader? Whether I want to accept this or not, this is not up to me. I can not change. Yes, I expect everyone else to change... haha… any they will as they always have; this is a constant. I very well agree that there is possible that I may have lost my damn mind, but again ... this is also irrelevant and until I can measure an actual problem, I have no problem, it doesn't exist. On this ‘crazy’ topic, I recently watched the trailer of 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' when Jack Nicolson was being interviewed by the physiologist. Doc said (equivelant), ‘do you think something is wrong with your mind, really?’ Jack replies, ‘Not a thing, Doc’. I can relate!

On another relatively similar note, I believe our existance-life-equation is actually quite balanced, regardless of all the drama, doom and gloom crap I see, read and hear. "People do not know what they do", wow, how true. I find quite interesting to ponder the needs we all have. This leads me to believe all things are perfect, from a cause and effect perspective, and it helps me to justify why things are they way they are and this is very comforting. I believe things are the way they are, because they have to be, otherwise they wouldn't be. I believe we are all equally important and all are required, even the perceivable 'crap of society'. With out them, we would be out of balance. I'm regularly impressed with how our physical laws apply to seemingly everything and I try to understand the 'net force' for all things. Nothing happens without force and it's a bit of a trigger for me when I hear someone try to convince me that something they said or did was for no apparent reason. I immediately think, “nothing is without reason, nothing happens without force”. And the ever-ongoing follow up question of 'Why?' presents itself. Why are you trying to convince me of this? Why? Why? Etc.

With this, now I can appreciate the lives some (all) people are required to live. I feel as if I should thank them, for playing the card they were dealt, because I'm happy I don't have to, but more importantly so my kids don't have to. All people contribute equally to the required net force of life. I remind my kids and myself of this nearly each time we pass a homeless person begging for money. Historically, I almost never give, but now feel I should. I’m not contributing to their problems. I want to make their live easier, because I get to live a great life of abundance and I realize I can improve theirs in their perspective, which is most important to them, regardless of my opinion of how I /we / others think they should live. Drink on, my people; be happy, if you think it’s best. This is what we all do and have in common. I need to admit that I am not much different and perfectly capable of making wrong choices that can lead me to undesirable places in life. For now, I learn from everyone around me and say my thanks for setting an example of how not to live for anyone who will look their way.

I often push people away from me for various reasons. However, when I analyze this as a problem in a system, I'm quite amazed on how non-random all events are and how I maybe missing the luster of life when I push people away. The unimaginable number of required events in history combined with an unfathomable duration of time required for any given moment in my (our/all) day is infinitely impressive. Everything that has ever happened was required to allow you to read my ramblings. I try to think about this when someone doesn't quite fit in my life, which is quite often. We as a species are possibly very immature and have only scratched the surface of a very small scratch on the surface of a very small scratch on the surface of the unknown. I can easily imagine our understanding of anything is really an illusion, we understand pretty much nothing, we only compare. Up to any point in life regardless to how meaningless is appears, I like to reflect and realize that this moment is what everything that has ever happened in the past has lead to, thus far.

On the topic of wealth, it is fascinating to me to realize how insignificant most things are. Wealth seems to be, understandably, a worldwide goal common amongst the population, but it seems to be imaginary and potentially created to provide a net force for society to strive or improve (or be controlled). In reality life has nothing to do with money and possessions and statuses and so one. Wealth is entirely to do with life's experiences and emotions, even for us robots. At any given moment, the richest person in the world may quite possibly be a child sharing an actual dirt/mud pie, made by his/her mother, with a sibling. In that moment, this person may have several ‘real’ problems in their lives' that seem imaginable to cope with, but I believe it is a possible that no one at that moment may be any richer.

Happiness is relative; it has a variable span, determined by the minimum and maximum happiness previously experienced, specific to the person. Sometimes it really is the small things that make the biggest improvements in someone’s life.
Life and all things are relative, infinite and nothing is random. In legal terms, those reading this now have ‘willful knowledge’ of my perspective. Do with it what you may, whether I am right or wrong, you now know a fraction of my perspective.

Guest (not verified) says...

Typical reply you'd expect from an INTJ...

Guest Female INTJ (not verified) says...

Yes so true a very typical response. I enjoyed your thoughts/perspective and I thank you for sharing. One never truly knows/understands the consequences of each and every single action one makes to string a linking chain of cause and effect.
Sharing is caring :)

Guest (not verified) says...

Well said.

Guest (not verified) says...

100% agree

Guest (not verified) says...

you have too much free time to type all this out

Guest (not verified) says...

Maybe not meant for you to understand, no offense.  I, on the other hand, completely agree. Remember,  we are a group of individuals who aren't meant to be understood.

Karen Elmer (not verified) says...

piercingly (as close to) perfect a description of how we feel and see. Thanks to my decision to read this in its entirety, I'm going to carry a smile around in my pocket today because I feel like I made a true connection with someone, instead of just a meaningless acquaintance. I truly appreciate your writing ability-powerful-thank you so much for sharing!

Guest (not verified) says...

I have to admit, in this lonely world, it feels great to have someone relate! Thank you for the thoughtful complement and meaningful feedback!

Froggy Noddy (not verified) says...

man, the spelling... c'mon you're better than this. double/triple check. 

Guest (not verified) says...

I rarely share my true "great truth" ideas with others too. They'd probably just stare at me mouth agape and I would have to spend the remainder of the day explaining why I'm not a nutter and it really is all very logical and correct. The truth, as I've come to realize it, is so very very obvious. I literally cannot understand why others behave the way they do. An individual must intimately understand their own motivations, why do you lie? Cheat? Steal? Hurt those you supposedly love? Do you want to be that person for the rest of your life? We are not animals, not for several millennia anyway, stop behaving as though you are. Logic cannot survive in chaos, eliminate fractured thought and ill motivation from yourself. It may sound a bit dogmatic but religion has nothing to do with it.

Being an INTJ female can be quite difficult in the workplace. Those who "know" me value my friendship and advice. Those who feel threatened by me look for every reason to call me out. I have to choose my battles carefully. In the healthcare industry, the old guard do not like to be told they are wrong, thankfully there are govt guidelines I can fall back on for most things. In a black and white world I cannot understand why some insist on skirting around in the gray and spend so much energy justifying that decision. It only serves to perpetuate the chaos and inefficiency hindering oneself.

Guest (not verified) says...

But we ARE animals. My cat is a better person than I am; at least she's honest about what she wants.

One may understand one's motivations (or think they do; I rather suspect that amounts to the same thing) but we cannot know what we do to other people. Nobody understands every possible consequence of any decision and the probabilities thereof. We also do not know how other people are going to feel/react to those consequences. Sure, I might statistically "know" the probability of something happening, but how do I know how a given policy decision is going to impact the life of a housewife in Devon, whose family I have never met? I am also in the healthcare industry, and have yet to encounter anything I can see as black and white. (Then again, I am a - female - INTP, and I'm told we specialise in shades of grey.)

I agree with you that I can't understand why some people spend so much energy justifying their decisions. It seems to me that the intentions behind things do not matter very much, at least not in influencing the outcome. Perhaps the only reason people do it is for their own peace of mind. It certainly doesn't appear to be a very efficient or meaningful thing to do. Well, unless you're in mortal fear of being sued, in which case we're told it is in our best interests to "justify" almost everything!

Guest (not verified) says...

I get what you are saying but for me what I feel the largest problem with being an INTJ is thinking. I think a larger amount than anyone else I know. I spend all my time processing what I think and it's most likely outcome. I can't understand others as well as some do so I process in order to look as though I do when for some people it is just natural. I understand what you are saying but if I were you I'd ignore them. If you are truly and INTJ you don't waste your time so in your free time, and everyone has some, use it to surpass them. When you get high enough all below won't be able to influence you at all. Work as hard as you possibly can now so you won't in the future.

First comer (not verified) says...

Chaos Theory written at her personal level. All understood.

Struth (not verified) says...

This is very strange as I am only starting to realise that I am different to most people

I cannot stand controlling people

I used to wonder why people didn't see the obvious sense of my ideas and why I had to try and convince them to do things my way which worked better.

Now I don't bother trying to convince people to do things my way. I finally understand that it takes all sorts to have a balanced world.

I am not motivated by money but I like money. I like making my own money not having someone else's money

I find it trying and tiring to be around a lot of women even though I like them they drain me

i love problem solving no matter how small. I really enjoy coming up with a better way of doing things and find it quite fustrating that people are happy to use old tech and are not interested in updating their knowledge

I can't understand why people don't see the value in improving how things are done. This is how we will reach the next level of human advancement

As for watching lazy leaders who just take and don't give back it drives me mad. Why become a leader if you just want to stick your feet on the table and have people do your biding. It seems that most leaders aim to be the overlords for their own gain not to improve things. I often find myself out of step with people and keep my thoughts to myself

As for the whole religion thing I just can't understand how perfectly intelligent people can believe the whole thing. Again keep this under wraps in general as I don't wish to offend people

It is a lonely world sometimes as I think too much and wish I could turn off my thoughts and stop questioning things and trying to understand people

It is nice to see that someone else has rambling ideas and thoughts and I am not completely on my own

Sometimes I am afraid if I ramble people will think I am a bit mad !

Thanks for sharing

tsamhalc says...

Ah but we know that religion is the very reason, that reason in most is so stunted especially here in the good ole USA. What and who is more scary is the new game we're tacitly on board to play. That merely annoys me..where's the allegiance to honest action? Acting honestly on my thoughts has changed me from a potential mental case with too many unrealized potentialities thats what we have probability and computers for!

Pikachu Taliban (not verified) says...

I wouldn't say a bit, maybe entirely so is more suitable.

As an INTJ myself I have to scrutinize your post. It's a trait. Almost an urge, no impulse or maybe instinct.

Only because you can't command. And why would you assume that your on top when evidence suggests the other?

Yeah I know, bitchin right. It's paradoxical. I'd also like to share a recent quote that's stuck in my mind. "there are two types of people in this world. Those who believe there are two types and those that don't"

(Anonymous) (not verified) says...

Oh my goodness, it's like you're speaking my mind.

I let every single person in the room speak first, I wait until someone asks for my thoughts or I'm sure that I'm sure that I'm absolutely and most certainly saying the most sensible thing in the room.

Often times I wonder if its odd, or wrong even to express my thoughts in a group... Mostly I get the 'oh here comes boss lady' look from people in the room. Some people who love to conform to norms, end up finding divisive ways to hit back at me because I think differently. I'm good with it though coz we're all different. I know they will go about it the wrong way and get back to the drawing board and eventually listen to reason (or best yet, chicken out)... A disappointing waste of time, but yes mistakes are good teachers and we all make them.

Ennoia (not verified) says...

I swear i read this and all the way through i was grinning ridiculously - it's as if you are me. Everything, even the way in which you ramble,my God, you are me.

Guest (not verified) says...

why did you write up your life story

Guest (not verified) says...

Why do you ask?

Felixtricks (not verified) says...

Explain your idea of net life force. Please.

SHAYES (not verified) says...

I literally cried when reading this. This was the most beautiful thing I have ever read.

Guest INTJ (not verified) says...

Interesting thoughts. If I can expound; personalities can be edited to a degree.  For instance, my earliest personality quizzes placed me as an introvert, but I've developed my extroversion capabilities to the point that quizzes are no longer can consistently place me in one group or another.  I still feel as though I'm an introvert, but I must also acknowledge that my personality is now also competently social. Myers Brigg presents percentages of each quality, (exe 51% introvert, 49% extrovert)... When I took the Myers Brigg earlier in my life my percentages were broader, now they are all within a few points of the middle because I chose to work on balancing my personality. I think with conciousness and the desire we can all change, but people seldom have either (for better or worse).

Rob in Cincinnati (not verified) says...

Thank you for this comment. I too have experienced something close to the same thing. However, may I suggest that you give the HEXACO personality inventory - revised a try. For me, it revealed that certain aspects of socialability are still very weak, while other aspects of extroversion have become stronger as I have worked on them (just as you have noticed with your Myers-Briggs Type Indicator scores). The HEXACO test is free and they provide you with a great breakdown of the results in .pdf format. You will need to buy a short book, "The H Factor of Personality" ($6-8 on Amazon) to help you interpret results, but I think it is well worth it. Here is the URL for the test: As you mentioned, earlier results of the MBTI pegged me as Introverted - but instead of a low score, my perception was that I am now closer to the 50% mean. My HEXACO PI-R revealed, however, that I am still quite a bit lower than the mean (my score was 2.81 for eXtraversion and the mean is 3.5. Of the four subcategories of eXtraversion (Social Self-Esteem, Social Boldness, Socialability, and Liveliness), only Liveliness was close to the mean. However, I was well below the 50% mean in all three of the other subcategories; and my Socialibility score of 2.25 is in the bottom 10% for all people taking the test where 3.63 was the mean. This insight made me rethink my perceptions of a higher Introversion to Extroversion score for the MBTI. I am squarely in the Introversion side of the scale obviously. My take away has been to conclude that personality traits are harder to change than most of us realize. We are who we are and can learn most after we accept it.

Lindab (not verified) says...

Unbelievably brilliant. Thankyou!

Kris Chamblee (not verified) says...

Until now I was sure the only long winded INTJs were myself with lack of sleep and the apostle Paul. Try sleeping for more than 2 hours a night, you will find it easier to condense words. Keep in touch, find me on Facebook. I intend to pick your brain on a theory.

Lam Pham says...

What do you do now ?

Guest (not verified) says...

It's scary accurate and since I value privacy, I was scared for anyone to read it. I very rarely share this with anyone.

Guest (not verified) says...

I'm tremendously private and have contemplated how to delete my previous comment, after i posted it. Good thing I posted it anonymously... Evidently, I don't think through everything; guess I'll have to take the MBTI test again... (joke)

Tiana Battistessa (not verified) says...

me to

INTJ person (not verified) says...

I am also an INTJ. This completely describes me as I am very independent.

Guest (not verified) says...

An INTJ would never say that !

Guest (not verified) says...

Yeah me too!!

Guest (not verified) says...

I'm in the IT industry which may really be good for some INTJs who are looking for a direction; IT people understand the INTJ and there are many different types of positions. INTJ describes me to a tee as well. I take pride in being able to make the most complex into something completely understandable. I don't see concepts as black and white, but always look at many aspects of a concept, if that makes sense. I'm very decisive and am almost always ready for decisions. I love to finish things and, above all, finish things well and strategically. I don't have patience for simplistic ways of thought and am always surprised when people are that way. From this Truity description I see though why I have to continuously work on communicating clearly and I have been doing so for a long time, which has paid off. Unlike some INTJs, I work best alone and with focus, but I need to connect to people regularly. But it may be that I am becoming more outward as I get older, since true introversion can be contrary to success. When they say that INTJs will question the existence of a higher power, I don't believe that is accurate. There are so many complexities to religion, that saying we don't believe is in and of itself against the way an INTJ thinks.

Guest (not verified) says...

Yeah, I don't understand how one could possibly outlaw the existence of a higher power as a true INTJ.

Guest (not verified) says...

Me neither, since they want to understand what's behind the curtain.

Guest (not verified) says...

I am a female INTJ. I've seen behind the curtain. The news is good.

PaulNog (not verified) says...

One's first response to that white lie totally reveals whether or not you are wont to believe.

Guest (not verified) says...

I agree with your last statement about religion, and I think the reason that most of us "don't" believe in it is just because it seems silly in a way, to someone who is so reliant on what they have experienced. I also think that anyone who just sits down and thinks about it seriously, it will become obvious to them that there is a God. One of the easiest ways for me to do this is by first arguing for it, assuming that it is true, and then arguing against it, assuming it is false, when I do this I feel like I understand the topic allot better than if I just debate it with another person.

bleaneg says...

Guest (not verified) says...

I love that you debate with yourself in your head. I do too. I also play chess in my head - both sides.

Guest (not verified) says...

Well said. As INTJs we are prone to consecrating the patterns we pick up on. As deep as we look into the inner workings of human behavior, we can still be embarrassingly wrong. Taking the measure of a man, evaluating the merit of a project or sizing up a situation is our stock and trade. However, communicating our beliefs is a fundamental shortcoming of our Type. We're introverted people. Others are alien to us. Or we're alien to them. The impressions we collect at first glance, can slowly take on a different form as we mature. It should be easy for an INTJ to comprehend and respect that the universe didn't evolve everything from a point the size of a period.

Guest (not verified) says...

I think it is true that an INTJ wouldn't outlaw the possibility of a higher power, but as people who question established systems- like religion- and value independence I can't really see an INTJ following blindly either. I think an INTJ would have to come to their own understanding and rationale of the concept of a higher power, and perhaps that rejects traditional understanding. I personally don't believe in a higher power, but I like to think I'm relatively open minded to the fact that one could exist outside of my understanding. I guess I just think that we're never really going to know, and for me that's okay.

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