"Philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways. The point is to change it."

INTJs at a Glance

  • Confident, iconoclastic, and determined.
  • Independent, strong-willed, and intense.
  • Individualists who devise extensive schemes in their own minds and take great confidence in them.
  • Maintain a critical attitude with little need to state the good, retaining a constant focus on how things could be improved.
  • Pursue their goals with a tunnel-vision drive that may come across as neglectful of other people's feelings and views.

INTJs as They Typically Are

When reading type descriptions, remember that "type portraits" can never accurately describe all people of a given type. Descriptions and portraits like these can only describe the types as they typically are.

INTJs are hard-headed and critical visionaries who live for the implementation of schemes and ideas of their own making. Unlike INTPs, who are often interested in knowledge for its own sake, INTJs tend to discern a singular goal - "a change that needs to happen" - and then push for that goal in an intense and monomaniac way that may be off-putting to others.

Once a worthwhile goal has been distinguished in the mind of an INTJ, he or she will often be extremely persistent in pushing for its fruition. Again, unlike the INTP and ENTP types (and even unlike the ENTJ), the INTJ tends to single out one idea - their best idea - and then give it their all. Once the consciousness of an INTJ has set its sights upon a scheme that has acquired this kind of meaning to them, the INTJ will happily pursue their goal with the greatest tenacity, brewing, musing, refining, and sitting on it for years until so much has gone into it that this one idea appears as practically irrefutable once presented to the world.

It is not just in their presentation of knowledge but also in their collection of it that the INTJ will be seen to be different from other types: For those long swatches of time, which might be termed the "incubation period" where the INTJ is refining their idea, they might, on the face of it, resemble any other NT type. However, even during those periods of latency, another characteristic of the INTJ is that they tend to collect information in such a way that anything that is pertinent to their overall goal is considered relevant while anything that falls beside the goal is summarily dismissed. As C.G. Jung has said of them, INTJs keep circling their vision, amplifying its cognitive connotations in their minds until they have formed a complete mental picture of its significance.

This mental picture functions not just as a roadmap for change, but also as a source of certitude to the INTJ. Hence their dogged conviction on the one hand, and their famous dismissiveness on the other. In their minds they have perceived a very possible version of the future and it is exactly this vision that they are committed to bringing to fruition. Others may contribute in ways that aid the idea towards its realization, of course, but to an INTJ, their vision is their own: The moment others start tampering with the idea, as opposed to merely assisting by working toward its conclusion, they should jump in a lake and get lost.

More so than any other type, INTJs tend to have a high drive for independence and autonomy. For this reason they can often clash with the wishes of others, or come across as insensitive while in pursuit of their goal. To others, the specifics concerning a given goal may be up for debate - part of the polite give and take of social life, no less. But to an INTJ, their self-esteem is often bound up with their ingenuity - they want to know that they were the ones who conceived the change and that it was effectuated in the way that they envisaged it. Start mending the idea too much according to the wishes of others, and this is likely to provoke a forceful response from the INTJ - they must be true to the vision as they saw it.

Thus, while INTJs can often be blunt with people who seek to modify or contradict their opinions, they are rarely as judgmental as they may first appear. Their intensity and one-sidedness tends to pertain to just those areas for which they have an intuitive vision, reflecting their personal desire to turn that vision into reality in accordance with the manner in which it came to them. In other areas of life, an INTJ may be surprisingly laid-back and humorous, reveling in paradox and satire (indeed even self-satire when in the company of an intimate few).

However, at the end of the day, INTJs are still hard-headed, resolute, and decisively businesslike when it comes to the matters that interest them. They tend to think in terms of dichotomies and ultimatums, and they are frustrated by inanity and ivory-tower type of thinking that is weighted down by too many qualifications and 'maybes,' reflecting their own need to arrive at definite and clear-cut solutions.

Overall, INTJs are truly seminal thinkers with an ability to grasp at the root of a problem and re-think the 'givens' that were hitherto thought insurmountable or settled. They set impressive goals for themselves, and they commit to these goals and plan for their execution with a vehemence and forcefulness that may seem slightly eerie or off-putting to other types. For the INTJ, however, the execution of their plans is not so often a matter of pleasantry or its opposite, as it is a matter of inner psychological necessity. Of lofty-minded visions that truly have the power to change the world.

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