Last summer we released a program for INFs called INFx Unveiled. As a result, we received a deluge of correspondence from INTJs and INTPs asking when they were going to get a program to meet their needs.
Over the years that Personality Hacker has been in existence, we have become very aware of the unspoken needs of the INTs. Most suffer in silence or put on a brave face to deny the pain they experience when they receive criticism for being themselves.
I personally became aware of this deep wounding when someone asked my husband and I if we were ever lonely.
I responded, “Never.”
He responded, “Every day.”
I’m an INFJ, and he is an INTJ. It broke my heart that he was quietly carrying around that kind of loneliness. I had no idea.
I don’t think INTPs are any different. They may even feel more marginalized because their Feeling cognitive function is a blind spot for them.
Personality Hacker took immediate action in order to meet the needs of this important demographic. We sent out a survey to gather the information we needed to create a program specifically for INTs.
Over 630 INTPs and INTJs responded to the 14 questions in the survey.
In this series of two articles, we are going to share some of the most common responses we received from each type. I am addressing only a few of the questions from the survey in hopes of giving some insights into these oft misunderstood types.
The questions are:
- What do you do really well?
- What motivates you?
- What do you wish the world knew about you?
What Do INTJs Do Really Well?
- Detached analysis.
- Processing and learning information quickly.
- Explaining complicated things in simple terms.
- I see the underlying structures of ideas, concepts, and theories, and I see how to reinvent them or build new theories from them.
- I foresee how things might unfold and plan for each possibility.
- I can observe flaws and predict trends.
- Analyzing people’s behavior and motivations.
- I can achieve most things I set my mind to.
- I am independent, and I don’t like the limelight.
- I am very dedicated and strategic in my approach.
- Intense focus and reconciliation of inefficiencies.
- I can obtain information and learn in a solitary manner.
- Interconnected reasoning, dynamics thinking, 3D modeling, strategic planning, brainstorming, seeing the non-obvious.
- Solving complex problems. Working in a hybrid role between IT and marketing.
- I think before I do anything.
- Building systems in my head, implementing ideas in the real world.
- Looking at the big picture, understanding interrelationships between multiple concepts.
- Explaining complex relations in a way that makes a 3-year-old understand the problem.
- Curious, Analytical, Persistent.
- Divergent thinking. Taking what works in one area and applying it to another to come up with something new or out of the norm.
- I would say that I am really good at getting down to the root of problems in my sphere of influence. Namely, I’m good at viewing people issues as if they were a system to configure. For example, I’m really good at recognizing patterns in relationship problems and sifting through the emotionality of stuff to get to what is the core issue and how one can fix said problem. That’s incredibly reductionistic, but I don’t deal with the feelings of people problems, I simply see them as certain systems to untangle and find the best way forward. Also, a huge problem I have is that INT and ENT types are characterized as emotionless beings at times, whereas I see myself as a person of an incredibly rich emotional life. I can even, deep down, be a hopeless romantic about an ideal partner, relationship aspiration(s), etc.
- Persisting in what I’m doing, i.e. stamina. Slow but reliable. A good friend. Open to new ideas and using experience as wisdom. A good listener.
- Really good at literally everything except romantic relationships.
What motivates you?
- Learning and challenges motivate me. Anytime I don’t feel challenged at a job, I start to feel stagnant because I’m not progressing or learning anything new. Because I learn fast, I tend to get bored and lazy within about a year at any one job, at which point I’ll start looking for a new one. This has happened to me at nearly every job I’ve ever had.
- In an external sense, looking at the world’s failing systems and dynamics is a huge motivation. The lack of sustainability and long sighted efficiency in virtually ALL of our man made systems is astonishing and unacceptable… from agriculture to the economy, politics to education.
- In an internal sense, I’ve always had a strong sense of independence and determination; my biggest accomplishments are largely self-driven, and from an early age at school, I never expected any assistance or motivation from my parents. As I get older, the tendency to excel at school under strict standards has seemed to mature into constructing my own career paths when clear standards have yet to be established within the industry. Although I’ve always been ambitious, I’m unsure what the root of my ambition is. I don’t think it’s for the approval of others. Although recognition does feel important on a level of validation, it’s not what drives me. I find myself yearning for a legacy like those I admire most in history, people who have truly changed the world.
- Proving to myself and others that I am better than I was before. I like to be constantly striving to improve myself, and when I feel like others think I am lacking, it motivates me to push myself harder, even if sometimes that comes with a sacrifice of pushing myself farther away from people as well.
- Hit a moment in my marriage where I could see a time coming when my partner would ask me to give up the one dream of my own I was still holding onto, and I realized I’d finally found my hard limit of what I would not compromise to keep the peace or meet a common goal. It made me realize I was living half a life and it wasn’t good enough. I started changing my actions to support my own goals and trying to change bad relationship dynamics. The marriage ended eventually. It was like I suddenly had all the pieces of who I am (including some that went missing for years) in front of me and I had to figure out how to fit them together to make a coherent and consonant whole. And having THAT sense of wholeness in myself has helped me figure out larger goals to manifest. Making things happen externally is rarely the problem with me. I typically struggle with figuring out (1) that I need to change something and (2) determining what, exactly, I am trying to do. Action without a plan is only half a step better than no action. It feels pointless or shiftless, even if it sometimes leads to possibilities. I prefer to make my own possibilities.
- At this point in my life, I don’t make any action (outside habits and obligations) if it doesn’t increase my mental capacity, understanding, spiritual feeling of meaning, etc. The action can be improving health so that I can use my mental processes better. However, if I don’t see the long term benefits of something I don’t get the energy and motivation to do it.
- Intriguing ideas motivate me. If I feel I can do something interesting that is not too disruptive, I will be compelled to pursue it further.
- Growth and Contribution motivate me. I enjoy the process of seeing myself improve and I find that if I don’t go to bed a little better than when I woke up I get antsy. In terms of contribution, I enjoy using my strategic abilities to help people. A few of my friends have tech start ups, and I get so excited when they come to me with some problem that requires me to draw from many different disciplines to help solve it. Regarding change, boredom (i.e. I’m not feeling challenged intellectually) makes me change and take action (find the next problem to solve or confusing topic to understand). Also, if a particular environment is too rigid or I don’t see an interesting future that grants me a great amount of autonomy I usually get frustrated and make a drastic change.
- Currently, my significant other. How: Through the feedback of other people. Why: To overcome obstacles that I find particularly challenging. When: When I’m not progressing, or things appear to be moving in a particular cycle that isn’t conducive to progress.
- For two reasons: Either through inspiration or desperation. Having an inner vision helps, especially when I can turn the vision into a solid action plan. A vision for the future acts as a guiding star. I might not have all the previous experience of how to get there, but I try and back that up by gathering information/knowledge first and then getting into action. It might look like I go about it backward. In short; Vision first, (check), <> Process info, creating procedures (check) <> Action! All these are interchangeable and contextual, but this is a rough explanation. I’m also more driven by achievements, so having the right tools for the right job has always been beneficial to my success.
What do you wish the world knew about you?
- My process always involves a lot of thought. Although I’m creative, I’m not always spontaneous.
- I do care, just not in a touchy feely way.
- I think people believe I’m judgemental and arrogant when I care deeply about principle. I want to help others where I can and contribute to a better outcome (organization/workplace/way of doing things).
- Sometimes it isn’t that I am blowing you off because I don’t want to interact, it’s more of how and when you approach me. If you interrupt my agenda and I don’t want to be interrupted, I will probably find a reason to get back to what I’m doing until I’m ready to talk.
- They think I’m serious and well organized. I actually am just a big child who wants to be left alone to read or play Legos.
- I’m only strong because I’ve been hurt so deeply.
- I prefer not to reveal things unless I feel like it. I do not like solicitation.
- I can’t do my best work, thinking, or planning in public or in groups. I wish university profs and society would quit expecting that. Also, if anyone is available, I would like a friend.
- I love, I care…far more than I may show or express. Cruel words that are spoken by others never leave my brain, and I try to resolve what brought it about.
- I’m pretty sensitive, and I feel deeply. I’m just terrible at communicating that.
- Most people believe we are confident. We are not.
- A lot is going on in our minds. We look very quiet.
- I wish they knew that I spend a lot of time always thinking about basically anything. I’ve probably thought about any interaction that I may have with them, so I know what to say and when to say it. It doesn’t mean I necessarily believe they’re dumb, but since I already know their responses, interacting with them can get boring. But I do latch onto people that tend to make rational and compelling decisions, although they tend to do unpredictable things.
- I wish the world trusted me more. I keep my word, I really do.
- I always try to make people grow.
- They think I am emotionless & heartless. I really want the very best for everyone and don’t understand why they let emotions get in the way.
- I am not a rock-solid, emotionless being. By human nature, I am required to respond emotionally to your words and attitudes; I feel, and I feel deeply.
- I am calmly taking it all in to build a bigger picture in my head. So many things feel trivial to me.
- I’m not an asshole. I have very deep emotions, but you’ll never know it if I don’t trust you and respect your mind.
- I care, and I choose to.
- People think I am stupid because I don’t talk a lot.
- I’m very good at presenting the person that others want me to be. They really don’t know my depth simply because I know it would scare them off. I wish that didn’t have to be.
So there you have it. Real INTJs weighing in on their deepest thoughts and emotions. My intention in sharing these quotes is so other INTJs can gain inspiration and clarity. Please feel free to share your personal insights to these questions in the comments below.
If you found the above quotes enlightening, you should check out our new program INTX Unleashed where we interview 6 high performing INTs and explore their strategies for hacking into their personalities and using their strengths as springboards to greatness.