INTJ – Artemis, the Strategist and the Scientist
Welcome to the third part of the Myers-Briggs personality type blog series. If you missed the first post where I explained what the system is about, head there to catch up.
Today’s type is INTJ. The abbreviation stands for Introvert iNtuitive Thinking Judging.
INTJs walk the roads less traveled. They’re independent and strong-willed and determined enough to finish what they start. These visionaries focus on power, not over people but over nature. They strive to understand, control, predict and explain how the world works. They desire competency and respect intelligence.
Since they want to be great at what they do, INTJs can be very self-critical. The quest for knowledge and thirst for excellence can also lead to “all work and no play” mentality. But work is often play for INTJs.
They are one of the types with the highest average IQ. Others may feel intellectually inadequate around the INTJ as they’re not shy with showing how smart they are.
Being introverts, INTJs prefer their hobbies and interests over social events. They might not have a wide circle of friends but they are extremely loyal to their closest people. Even though they might not appreciate their friends’ foibles in other people, INTJs tolerate more from the people they love.
INTJs can have a rebellious streak in them even as adults. They follow rules only if they are useful and make sense. For example, in teenage an INTJ might become a vegan or start dressing in punk fashion, and an adult INTJ could surprise people around them with an unusual career choice. Authorities get similar pragmatic treatment. They are respected only if they earn it.
INTJ is more common type in men than in women. In fact, INTJ is the rarest type among women. NT women can have a difficult time in our society because people tend to perceive them as being too masculine, or “unfeminine” due to their reliance on facts over feelings.
- Strong insights and intuitions
- Find new angles and novel ways to do things
- Most independent of all types
- Usually self-confident
- Not afraid of conflict
- Fairly open to well explained criticism
- See the big picture
- Grasp theories easily
- Good at optimizing things
Lessons INTJs Might Need To Learn:
Break your ideas to others step-by-step. It won’t be obvious to others how you came to that brilliant conclusion. Also, it won’t be obvious to others what you think if you don’t tell them.
Understand that others think different than you. It doesn’t mean their thinking is inferior. IQ and rational logic are just one type of intelligence. There’s also social intelligence that Feelers tend to be good at. And at least 7 other types. Appreciate their strenghts.
Be kind to yourself. You can’t give your 100% in everything. Choose the things that really matter to you and excel at them. Accept good enough performance in everything else.
Be kind to others. We’re all erring human beings. Even at work place, people have feelings that can get hurt. The sentimentality may baffle you but if you ignore it, the work efficiency will suffer due to the bad feelings. So, when someone makes a mistake, encouragement sometimes works wonders. And hey, praise is great every time someone earns it. That’s every time progress happens, not only when everything is perfect.
Your self-confidence can be interpreted as arrogance. And yes, it is your problem too, not just other people’s. You’re 100% convinced of your ideas but you need to convince others too, and really listen to their arguments. *gasp* Some of those arguments won’t be logical. Some of them will be based on feelings and fears. Rational arguments alone won’t beat those.
Sometimes it’s smart to agree to disagree rather than continue the argument until they see your side. Not everyone take criticism of their ideas as well as you do, and then those pesky feelings get hurt.
Don’t let change of plans drive you crazy. Nothing is permanent in this world except permanent change. Let others to explain why the changes are made and talk it through.
INTJs At Work
INTJs need an independent job with enough challenge to keep them interested. They are brilliant at grasping complex theories and applying them to problems to come up with long-term strategies. Vision and the big picture are their strenghts but INTJs prefer to present their ideas to others only when they are ready.
INTJs usually rise to positions of responsibility as they work hard and pursuit their goals steadily.
INTJs can be very demanding bosses with low tolerance for mistakes and inefficiency. They drive others as hard as they drive themselves. They might value people based only on what they they know and what skills they have.
Possible Career Paths:
- Social scientists
- Doctors and dentists
- Professors and teachers
- Corporate strategists
- Business administrators
- Military leaders
- Lawyers and judges
- Computer programmers and systems analysts
Inside the Mind of an INTJ: Plotting vs. Pantsing Our Novel
Lisa’s type is ISFP (The Composer/Artist) so she and Marcy are different in how they take in information, make decisions and how final they want those decisions to be.
Here’s how Marcy and Lisa described their writing processes and the adventure of writing together.
We work really well together…most of the time. Our personalities blend well together…most of the time. But when we’re not on the same page, the results can be disastrous. Plotting is one of those places.
Lisa says: The fun in writing for me is exploring the story as I go on an adventure with my characters. ISFPs are all about the here and now – so I look for ways to make things feel fresh and new. I think you learn more from what you did wrong than what you did right a lot of the time. I have been known to write three or four vomit drafts before I really begin editing. Not very efficient, but far from a waste of time.
Writing with Marcy has been challenging at times because I like to try things out before making a final decision on whether it works. To me it seems like Marcy strives to write every scene perfectly with the first draft. Her instant dismissal of ideas that I’ve thoughtfully considered and put forth (but aren’t in “the plan”) has been hurtful and discouraging.
Marcy says: Much of the fun in writing for me is the planning because that’s where my creativity can shine best. It’s a game, like solving a puzzle. If you can write without a detailed outline and character sketches, you’re not an INTJ. INTJs usually have contingency plans for their contingency plans. Our plans give us the courage to write, and live, without fear, and make us great to have around when trouble hits. My first drafts still need editing, but the changes are relatively minor because I made my big mistakes and learned from them during the planning stage where they were easier to fix.
The uncertainty and figuring-it-out-as-she-goes that makes writing fun for Lisa destroys the fun of writing for me. It’s not only that INTJs love order and enjoy the planning process (we do); it’s also that we hate inefficiency. I get discouraged rewriting so many times. Lisa’s pantsing has made writing our book stressful and exhausting for me. I’ve felt like my process and my desires for the course of the story weren’t respected or even considered.
Lisa & Marcy say: We’re both very ready to look at doing something in an out-of-the-box way, but Lisa does it because the current way is broken, while Marcy does it because she’s constantly searching for a better way, a more effective way.
Our differences here have been a source of conflict because neither of us feels like we’re on our best game when we have to accommodate the other to any great degree. By meeting in the middle, Lisa has felt like she’s in the world’s strictest military bootcamp, and Marcy has felt like she’s jumping from a plane without a parachute and hoping they’ll figure out a way to not die before they hit the ground. But we didn’t give up.
And working together has forced us both to see the weaknesses inherent in our individual processes and find ways to improve on them. We’ve learned patience. We’ve learned persistence. We’ve also learned to give each other the benefit of the doubt. Neither of us means to hurt the other, tromp on their opinions or desires, or take away their joy.
Fascinating differences. Thank you very much, Marcy and Lisa. Sounds like you’ve both learned a lot from each others. I can’t wait to hear more about your book.
This Friday we’ll hear a bit more about how INTJs and INFPs make decisions. And I’ll cover Lisa’s type, the INFP.
Stay tuned. Meanwhile, lets continue with the INTJ profile and its mythical correspondences.
Mythical INTJ: Artemis
Artemis was the goddess of the hunt in the Greek mythology and often depicted with her bow. She was also associated with forests, vegetation and the moon.
She was the daughter of Zeus and Leto and twin sister of Apollo, the god of the Sun. When Zeus gifted her brother a golden carriage and a golden bow, Artemis wanted a silver carriage, a silver bow, fleet-footed hunting dogs and twenty nymphs to accompany her.
Artemis chose to remain a virgin. She avoided men but enjoyed challenging them in masculine sports like hunting and shooting with a bow and arrows.
Men were enchanted by her beauty and tried to catch glimpses of her. When a hunter named Actaion saw her bathing, Artemis turned him into a deer and his own dogs killed him.
Tomboys, singles and Amazons are Artemis achetypes. She lived in close union with the nature so she had the keen senses and unpredictability of a wild animal. Due to her virginity she has innocence but also enough strenght to compete with any man. Since she has features of both genders, she is an androgynous figure.
Mythical INTJ: Prometheus
According to Keirsey system, the personality types with NT element belong to the Promethean temperament.
In the Greek mythology, Prometheus was a Titan, a culture hero and a champion of mankind known for his intelligence. His name means Forethinker.
He sided with Zeus and the gods in the battle against his parents and siblings, the Titans, and had strong sympathies for humans against the whims of the gods.
He tricked Zeus into choosing the bad parts of an animal as a sacrifice from humans. Enraged, Zeus took fire away from the people and hid it. Prometheus stole a spark, hid it inside a giant fennel-stalk and brought it to people.
As a punishment, Prometheus was chained to a rock in the Caucasus and his liver was eaten daily by an eagle, regenerating by night as he was immortal. Years later, the Greek hero Heracles (Hercules) slayed the eagle and freed Prometheus from his chains.
The myth of Prometheus shows that going against the prevailing mores and rules may bring mankind the “gift of fire,” but the personal consequences can be dire.
Prometheans can also focus only on making the gift possible and not think about the consequences. Nuclear weapons are one example. The archetype of scientific genius leading to tragedy made Mary Shelley give the subtitle Modern Prometheus to her Frankenstein novel.
Philosophers: Friedrich Nietzsche (nihilist), Karl Marx (father of communism), G.W.F. Hegel
Scientists & social scientists: Isaac Newton (physicist), John Maynard Keynes (economist), Nikola Tesla (inventor), Stephen Hawking (physicist)
Authors: Jane Austen (author of Pride and Prejudice), Ayn Rand (libertarian), Isaac Asimov (science fiction writer)
Others: Bobby Fischer (chess champion), James Cameron (director), Jodie Foster (actor), Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, Bill Gates (chairman of Microsoft), Martin Luther (Protestant reformer), Betty Friedan (feminist), Mark Zuckerberg (CEO of Facebook)
INTJs in Fiction
Books & Comics: Mr. Darcy (Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice), Lisbeth Salander (Stieg Larson’s The Girl With a Dragon Tattoo), Raskolnikov (Dostoyevski’s Crime and Punishment), Professor Moriarty (Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes), Ozymandius (Alan Moore’s Watchmen comics), Severus Snape (J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter), Raistlin Majere (Tracy Hickman & Margaret Weiss’ Dragonlance series)
Movies: Clarice Sterling & Hannibal Lecter (Silence of the Lambs), Ellen Ripley (Alien)
TV Series: Greg House (House), Spock (Star Treck), Miranda Hobbes (Sex and the City)
INTJ Relationships (Personality Page)
Portrait of an INTJ by Elaine Sanders
Do You Think You’re a Strategist? You’re Probably Wrong by Penelope Trunk
Mr. Darcy’s Cognitive Functions (dominant, auxiliary, tertiary and inferior)
I’d love to hear from you. Do you know an INTJ? What is life like with them? Have you been in situations like Marcy and Lisa where you work with a person who is quite different type from you? How did it go?