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What is an INTJ?

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.

What are INTJs like?

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.

What are the core values of the INTJ?

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 can I recognize an 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.

Who are some 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.

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

What do INTJs like to do?

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.

What the experts say

"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

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

Are you an INTJ?

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Check out the INTJ Discussion Forum

Want to have a more in-depth conversation about being an INTJ? Head on over to our discussion forum and post your questions, comments, and/or general musings!

Comments

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: http://hexaco.org/hexaco-online. 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.

Another INTJ (not verified) says...

I'm an INTJ and I neither believe nor disbelieve - I'm agnostic, can't make up my mind.

Not sure if it's classic INTJ or not, but I find I have issues believing anything definitively - sometimes I feel I am TOO open minded and TOO analytical, TOO logical. I also have a real problem with people saying things like they're for sure when they don't know that.

Guest (not verified) says...

An agnostic is an atheist without balls.

Guest (not verified) says...

Testicles don't really have anything to do with it, it's a super positional belief that simply says the evidence is lacking to conclusively declare a belief or disbelief in the supernatural. I'm perfectly content realizing there are some questions which we may never know the answers to. I'd rather not dwell on it and move on to the next question that actually has relevance to me.

Emerald INTJ (not verified) says...

Nearly everyone, regardless of their chosen spiritual label (Christian, atheist, agnostic, etc.), does have a working hypothesis on this issue. Are you living your life as if a wrathful sky daddy is constantly scoring your actions and thoughts to determine your eternal postmortem destination? If not, you are not a believer, are you? If you thought there was even a 10% chance that you have a soul that will be judged and possibly condemned, nothing would be more "relevant" than knowing you're on the good list. Admit it, you have decided. We should always be alert & open to evidence contradicting any of our beliefs, but I think we should be honest, and brave, enough to own where we are now.

Guest (not verified) says...

And if that spot where you are is undecided, then that is where you shall claim to be. If I do not have decent evidence going one way or the other, then I refrain from making my decision. Doing otherwise accomplishes nothing and is untrue.

Also, while many religions do use a form of scoring for good and bad deeds, the one who's god is typically thought of as a "sky daddy" does not. While believers of that religion would still strive to be good, it's simply for the belief that it's the right way to live. The matter of Heaven and Hell would already be considered a done deal.

MetaKnight (not verified) says...

There is no wrathful sky daddy constantly scoring our actions and thoughts to determine our eternal postmortem destruction, you made all that up to feed your ego. You should also know not everyone thinks like you, deal with it.

somebody (not verified) says...

One who does not fully understand the spiritual aspect of religion should not pose definitive and boastful loaded questions insinuating otherwise, flaunting their atheistic bias, as it reveals a true ignorance of the topic to those in the know. Your confidence in non-existance is displayed across your shallow cutting words, and your attempts towards humourous catch-phrasing, mundane and screaming for attention. Read, learn, experience, analyze, and understand before you blanket-summarize a subject of the depth of religion through disrespectfully formed words, or perhaps retake the type test as you're probably not an INTJ....and your flagrant, loose hypothesis-laiden verbiage of non-existance is base and antagonistic.

Guest (not verified) says...

I feel the same.

MetaKnight (not verified) says...

Your elitism/bias is showing.

guest9090 (not verified) says...

I have not decided on the issue of God's existence still researching but I do agree you can be spiritual and a INTJ. My main issue with the idea of God is that he would create a complex universe yet seems to focus onlt humans and has temper tantrums when we do not recolonize his might according to bible. So if there is God I am not sure it would be like any god that any current religions depict of course I could be wrong hence the reason I am still researching the topic.

Guest (not verified) says...

You should look into the book called "Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis. He is an intelligent man and originally was atheist. In his mission to disprove religion he became religious and has written numerous books. The content of the book is worth while and cleared the questions I had.

Guest (not verified) says...

Your experience exactly mirrors mine! C.S. Lewis was enormously helpful to me I. My spiritual quest.

Guest (not verified) says...

It's great to see some C.S. Lewis inspiration here in the INTJ corner. I suspect he was an INTJ, or close to it, as his reasoning behind religion appeals to our logic especially. 'Mere Christianity' is definitely a must-read for anyone who wants to see the bigger picture.

Guest (not verified) says...

If you read mere christianity carefully, you have to start with an assumtion to follow any of his logic.
it would of been more convincing if he were more t and less f.

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