Plotting My World Takeover (The Secret Life of an INTJ)

There are questions which we all ask ourselves which are perhaps an essential part of being human. Who am I? What is my purpose in life? How can I give back to the world? How do I fit into society? Even when we think we know the answers to these questions, our lives change, circumstances change, and we begin to ask the same questions again.

Many of us turn to pop psychology for the answer. Yes, I’ll admit it, for a while, I was a Facebook survey addict. Hey don’t judge me – a lot of you took those quizzes, too. Which Book Character Would You Be? What’s Your Social I.Q.? How Well Would You Survive the Zombie Apocalypse? (Okay, really, why are people on the internet so obsessed with zombies? Is it because we all fear that deep down, we are all zombies? Hmm…a topic for a later blog post, perhaps).

Not very long ago, I was able to complete an actual personality test – the Briggs-Meyer Type Indicator (MBTI) Assessment. The one that many employers have their employees take in order to weed out who will do well in management positions based on their personalities. Just a theory. For those of you living in caves, the MBTI is a questionnaire developed in the 1960s by Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers. It consists of about a zillion questions which, after compiled, can be used to place you into your very own little personality box, neatly labeled and sorted into groups of people with similar personality traits, based on the theories of psychologist Carl Jung. Ha! And you thought you were an original.

Your Briggs-Meyer personality type is comprised of four letters, each representing one of the eight preferences: Introvert or Extrovert, Sensing or Intuition, Thinking or Feeling, and Judging or Perceiving. These preferences are combined to produce one of sixteen neatly packaged personality types. Some of these types, such as ISFJ or ESFJ, are quite popular, shared by 9-14% of the US population.

I, however, am an INTJ. Not only is this personality type somewhat rare (about 2% of the population), but the nickname for this type is The Mastermind. What immediately jumps to my mind, of course, is some mad scientist working feverishly in his lab, creating evil potions to take over the world. Really. The antagonist is almost always an INTJ. Don’t believe me? Try a Google Image Search for INTJ and tell me what you find.

Oh great. I’ll just bet that Voldemort was an INTJ. Probably Hitler, too.

Words that summarize a person with the INTJ personality type: Highly independent, analytical, creative, pragmatic, insightful, unsociable, reserved, cold, perfectionist, strategist. Yikes! That sounds like Voldemort. Even worse, that really does sound like me. I guess being a teacher of young children was not the best career path for someone like me. Maybe it’s time to start plotting my world takeover.

22 responses to “Plotting My World Takeover (The Secret Life of an INTJ)

  1. Love this! LOL and yes that does describe you very well. Although “cold” doesn’t seem totally you. I would say more it’s more of a “meh” thing (if that makes sense) LOL But even though you’re an evil genius I still like you 😉 maybe you can help me take over Cuba. (been my dream since I was very young)

    • Haha! So now I’m “meh?” Great. ;P Yes, I suppose there is some truth to that. Baby chicks? Meh. Kittens? Meh. Things that make other people cry or swoon or scream or rage? Meh. I blink once or twice, take it in, think about it, and then offer my cynical analysis to the world. Hmm…now what does that sound like? I’m a robot! *blink blink*

      Cuba? WTH? Um…why?
      I think I’ll start with Canada…

      • LOL. I don’t know, I just figured it was my best chance to be Empress! Also you are not “meh” but your attitude toward most things is “meh” though I think it is mostly a front, cause we both know that you care about stuff. (even if you are a baby chick murderer) 😛 haha j/k BTW we NEED to hang out lol did u see my message about moving? We move in Nov, off Madison like 3 lights down from Auburn. (p.s. forgot to come back and see if u replied lol)

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  4. Learning I was an INTJ made sense of a lot for me. I know INTJ females often feel especially rare too. But I’ve met a lot of them over the years since the Internet makes it easier and I’ve been involved in groups where more of them turn up than usual. So you’re not as alone as you might think!

    • Fascinating link! I read it through, and am now more convinced than ever that my personality lines up very well with the INTJ type. How accurate! The extreme independence, the analytical thinking and thirst to make sense of the world, the frustration with inefficiency…all of it. I was really taken by this paragraph:

      “On the other hand, in some situations, people may mistakenly perceive the INTJ as being too closed-minded. Without confirmation, they will not accept an idea as true, which means that some, who are not in the habit of logically supporting their statements, may find that the INTJ rarely, if ever, agrees with them on any controversial point. Yet to conclude that this stems from an overall closed-mindedness is also a mistake, since the INTJ is actually quite willing – in fact compelled – to shift position if an alternative view is adequately supported.”

      I have a very difficult time coming to an agreement whenever a person holds very strong — and especially unsupported — opinions or beliefs. To me, it is so important to reach a full understanding of both sides, or multiple sides, of any debate. Too open-minded? Perhaps. But when I reach a conclusion, it is usually quite firm. Anyway, I am rambling. I love this topic.

    • One more, because…holy cow! Whomever wrote this analysis of INTJ’s clearly has the ability to see right inside my brain. This segment is long, but I must share:

      “Losing Themselves in Irrelevant Obsessive Thought – In addition to biting sarcasm, another tactic the INTJ may use to distance from the outside world is escaping into their own mind. With their ability to see contingencies and explore possibilities, there is a virtually endless buffet of material available for an INTJ to ponder. And while the INTJ may usually be frustrated by meaningless abstract thought decoupled from constructive action, they may, when stressed, take great comfort in remaining deep in contemplation as an avoidant defense rather than as a step in the pursuit of meaningful goals in the world.

      This is the particular defense mechanism that most links many INTJ’s to the Type 5 in the Enneagram.

      Isolation – In their desire to escape from outside stressors, the unhealthy INTJ may retreat not only mentally through perpetual abstract thinking, but even physically. At the extreme, the INTJ may become almost completely disconnected from the outside world around them.

      Lack of Interest in Day-to-Day Mundane Logistics – The INTJ may experience the day-to-day tasks of living – paying bills, cleaning, shopping – as extremely boring or even threatening distractions from the intellectual deliberations and engaging projects that they perceive as more important and meaningful. When very unhealthy, they may eschew these activities as much as possible while escaping into the much more exciting and stimulating realms of their imagination and autonomous work.”

      I am astounded by how much I identify with these, the weaker side of my personality type. I have often wondered why I am this way, and how normal it is. Well, clearly, not partcularly “normal” if we INTJs only make up 1-2% of the population.

  5. We INTJ’s are freethinkers so we’re willing to enterain all possibilities. But we also don’t want to be conned. Our T means we need evidence to support decisions. So, especially when we are speaking with F’s, who base opinions on intuition or feeling, there can be a lot of conflict if we don’t realize what’s going on there.

    I wrote the page, Tiare. That’s my website. Glad you got so much out of it 🙂 Feel free to share the link with others who might enjoy the page.

    • Hannibal Lecter! Haha…well that’s just great. And Professor Moriarty, too. 😀 I feel as though I drew lots and pulled the short straw for personality.

  6. Would we reject the xSFx types just for being their personality types as they do to us rather than our default rejection due to insufficiency?

    I wonder if the world were full of INTJ folk, would we treat them the way they treat us? The dynamics of INTJ being the most numerous type are not understandable when we account for such a small minority as all of us experience lives as minorities even when we are lucky enough to reach the gated communities where we are more numerous locally.

    • I shudder at the thought of a world filled with INTJ types. As much as I identify with the personality traits and quirks described within this label, I acknowledge that we [INTJs] are meant to be the seasoning that pulls the soup together, that defines how it must taste. A soup without vegetables? Without meat? Without broth? That is no soup at all.

      True INTJ, I believe, understand the need for all of the parts that make up the whole. We do not disparage the xSFx types, or any of the types. Although we may scorn their over-reliance on emotions, their indecisiveness, their lack of logic, we can see the bigger picture well enough to know that this system of humanity simply would not function without their unique contributions, too. Nor would I look down upon such types for viewing my personality type with disdain. It is not because my personality is faulted, but because such types may struggle with the ability to step back and analyze in order to conclude that the world would fall without us, too, quietly working in the background, holding the rest together.

    • I’ve thought a lot about this issue, as well. There is an asymmetry here. INTJ’s are systems thinkers so one of our specialties is understanding how parts make up wholes and each contribute to the whole. Many other types, especially S types, aren’t as fundamentally systemic and abstract in their thinking. So I think it’s far easier for them to fail to recognize how the types all work together within a system (and that, after all, that’s why all the types evolved over hundreds of thousands of years in the first place).

      It’s also worth considering the Openness measure on the Big Five. I think INTJ’s, being freethinkers, would tend to be very intellectually open, which means willing to consider a wide range of opinions, including those more representative of other types. But some of those other types may tend to have very low scores on Openness, so they are more closed-minded and unwilling or unable to see perspectives different than theirs, such as the INTJ’s.

      Of course, I’m speaking in generalities here. But I think they are important patterns to be aware of and this asymmetry has a real impact in families, workplaces, and society at large.

      • I agree, though I’ll admit that I had to take a moment to revisit the Big Five and take a test, on which, yes, I scored very high for Openness (and surprisingly low for agreeableness, which doesn’t sound like me at all). But it rings true that it takes a certain extent of open-mindedness to be able to accept and even understand other personality types that differ from our own.

  7. I think INTJ’s would tend to have relatively low agreeableness compared to many other types. We tend to have strong views about what we believe and to value the truth more highly than just getting along with people. We’re not known for our comfort with submitting or conforming and are more than willing to engage in debate. So low agreeableness combined with higher openness would seem to me to be common for INTJ’s.

    I think one of the biggest growth points for many INTJ’s as they mature is learning how to balance their strong beliefs with an ability to communicate in a more understanding way with others. I know this has been one of the biggest areas I’ve had to work on and it’s one I focus on with many of my NT clients that I work with as a coach/consultant.

    • Ah, so true. Non-conforming, happy to debate, and I am guessing that my high opinion of myself is also credited as disagreeableness, too. It was an interesting test, and rather eye-opening. Always a good thing to discover one’s strengths and weaknesses.

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