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INTJ Personality Traits: The Mastermind Explained

By on December 11, 2016

1. INTJ meaning

INTJ (introversion, intuition, thinking, judgment) is an abbreviation for one of the 16 Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality types. According to 16personalities, INTJ personality people form just 2% of the population, while INTJ women are especially rare, forming just 0.8% of the population. INTJs are well-known for their personality traits such as logic, rational thinking and planning and are often referred as architects or masterminds.

1.1 INTJ cognitive functions

Each MBTI personality type uses four of the eight cognitive functions that line up by their relative strength and comprise a so called functional stack. This functional stack actually decides on how an individual perceives experience and understands the inside and outside worlds.

INTJ uses dominant introverted intuition, auxiliary extraverted thinking, tertiary introverted feeling and inferior extraverted sensing.

intj cognitive functions

1.1.1 Introverted intuition

Introverted intuition (Ni) is a perceiving function that subconsciously analyzes your past experiences and thoughts, connects everything together and instinctively lets you understand something or reveals a future vision of what is going to happen.

1.1.2 Extraverted thinking

Extraverted thinking (Te) is a function that focuses on external world by processing various facts and data and provides logical reasoning. This is why you always search for logical explanation behind everything.

1.1.3 Introverted feeling

Introverted feeling (Fi) lets you understand your own feelings and sets your beliefs. This is why you have high moral and seek justice and want to make everything right. However, this is only tertiary INTJ personality function and you can easily ignore its importance if logical solution to a problem requires to do so.

1.1.4 Extraverted sensing

Extraverted sensing (Se) deals with how you perceive the outside world at the present moment by using all your human senses. Extraverted sensing is inferior INTJ function and that means that it is being used the least. That’s why you often feel so detached from external world, ignore basic human needs such as eating or sleeping and find it hard to enjoy social activities such as parties – you choose your mind satisfaction over your body satisfaction.

 2. INTJ personality type infographic

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Embed code: <a href=”http://www.intjvision.com/intj-personality-traits/”><img src=”http://www.intjvision.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/INTJ-personality-infographic.png” alt=”INTJ personality type infographic” width=”700px” border=”0″ /></a>

INTJ personality type infographic

3. What does it feel like to be an INTJ?

3.1 INTJ childhood

INTJ personality kids appear quiet and serious for their age. INTJs don’t go out to yard to play with other kids – they rather daydream and explore the world using their imagination or just read books. Parents usually don’t understand that and might force them to go out and play.

However, INTJs often think that other kids are stupid and would rather play or talk with older people, so they can develop their knowledge base. By spending time alone and not playing with other kids, INTJs later find it difficult to fit in and start lacking social skills. That is main root of social awkward situations at later life stages.

3.2 INTJ teenage years

School is usually annoying for INTJ teenagers. They don’t like being forced to learn things in which they have no interest in. INTJs also have problems with authority and asking inappropriate questions might get them in trouble. They also appear as really cold classmates who communicate with very few people. INTJ personality people might be detached even from their closest friends  and often prefer to be alone and shut themselves for a few days. This period can be really difficult for INTJ’s friends, but once they get used to it, it will be much easier to keep the relationship going. Due to INTJ’s under-developed introverted feeling and passion for rationality, they can easily offend others and don’t even understand it.

On the other hand, INTJs usually do well at school, even without trying – common sense is enough more than enough. INTJs take school just as a way to jump into college and career.

INTJ relationships with their parents depend on how strict/ open parents they have. INTJs hate control and need freedom to develop themselves. They usually resist irrational orders and avoid following them – even if orders were given by their parents. According to INTJ, incompetent authority is still incompetent authority, relationship status doesn’t matter at all.

3.3 INTJ early adulthood

At this life stage, most INTJs find out about MBTI and get answers why their earlier life stages were so difficult. This is the time for self-understanding and making whole life plans. INTJs start to better understand their strengths and weaknesses, look for activities where they can be good at and proceed to learn new skills. Many people with INTJ personalities reevaluate their earlier life choices and make the needed changes. Their career ladder movement might be slow at first, because they start much later than other personality types. While other people blindly dive into careers and see where it goes, INTJs invest into acquiring knowledge and making plans. And only then INTJs are ready for the action.

INTJs also start developing earlier forgotten introverted feeling and extraverted sensing functions. They get better at emotional intelligence and expressing feelings and emotions. They also become more open to social activities and might try experimenting with their extraverted sensing by drinking alcohol, using drugs or making other questionable life choices. Other personality types pass that stage at their teenage years, but INTJs lived their teenage years with under developed sensing and try to compensate for it at early adulthood.

3.4 INTJ late adulthood

After reaching late adulthood, INTJs should have already found their interest field, mastered its activities and became inseparable with them. They should have already figured out who they are, what they want to achieve and how to do it in the next few years. This is the time when INTJs can finally relax and find peace with their perfectionism. Often they become mentors and find it enjoying to share their knowledge with others.

However, if INTJs didn’t worked on properly developing their cognitive functions and stopped working on self-growth too early, they might find themselves forever alone while still running on the hamster wheel, trying to catch unrealistic goals and cursing whole world for injustice.

4. INTJ personality traits FAQ

4.1 High intellect: A gift or a curse?

Being INTJ, you might have already noticed that your life is a little bit more difficult… It always seems like you need to put in more work to achieve things, which come so easy for other people. You also often find yourself artificially learning skills (e.g.: small talk, showing emotions), which other people have already acquired at 4th grade. And then you just wonder – what the hell is going on and what is wrong with you. Let me explain.

Haters gonna hate, but INTJ personality type possess one of the highest intellect level averages between all the other MBTI personality types. Does it mean that we are naturally born masterminds, who are more evolutionary advanced than all the other people? Yes and no. By having higher than average intellect, INTJs are the most excellent new problem solvers. Let me repeat one more time – NEW problem solvers.

Some INTJs are over proud and even narcissistic about their brain power and stigmatize other people for being less clever. However, there is no way IQ automatically increases or decreases an individual value to society. It just totally depends on situation. Higher IQ people are more valuable when society needs to solve new and yet unknown problems, but they might just suck at normal everyday life activities, because they just try to re-invent the bike. Lower IQ people will naturally use their collective memory and instincts to get through and INTJs will try to consciously find solutions to everything and that will take just too much time and effort. This is just a simple brain paradox that makes some sort of equilibrium.

4.2 Why INTJs want to take over the world?

INTJ personality people are the biggest idealists and cynics at the same time. By being idealists, they always seek to improve pretty much everything. They also seek justice everywhere and feel that everyone should get what they deserve. However, INTJs also understand that world we live in is far from being a perfect place and there’s not much they can do to fix it. There’s even a well-known cliché joke about every INTJ plotting to take over the world. And that stereotype is true. However, INTJs don’t want to take over the world just for the sake of power – they are idealists and they just want enough power to make this world a better place to live for everybody else.

4.3 Why it looks like INTJs always trying to kill people with their death stare?

via GIPHY

Usually INTJs don’t want to actually kill people with their death ray look, unless someone tries to convince them of something by using stupid arguments.

It just happens, that INTJs find future more interesting than present time and their internal world more interesting than external world. INTJs just disconnect from external world and sink into their own thought process. And then they unconsciously give a death stare.

4.4 Do INTJs have any feelings?

Although INTJs often appear as cold robots, they actually are same human beings just like everybody else. They just don’t find it necessary to show it.

However, INTJs often have trouble naturally developing emotional intelligence and often have to artificially learn feelings just like any other subject. INTJs often feel like their feelings are also logic based. It works like that:

Situation analysis -> Thinking of what feeling is right for that particular situation -> Deciding if it’s worth showing expression indicating that feeling.

4.5 How INTJs are able to master almost everything they do?

INTJ personality people are really dedicated when achieving their goals. INTJ personality  people are perfectionists, who hate making mistakes. They are also very competitive and want to become best versions of themselves at everything they do. But they don’t use any magic to gain success – when they start learning something that is important to them, they will ignore anything else and put all their time towards new activity until they fully understand the whole system.

4.6 Why it looks like INTJs don’t like people and try to avoid them?

INTJs are introverts and get exhausted by being around people. INTJs often need alone time to recharge themselves or else they become too tired, irritated and feel like they can’t lift a finger to do anything.

INTJs also feel that spending time with people to satisfy social needs is ineffective time waste and only delays their future goals. Thinking time is probably INTJs main currency they try to save the most.

4.7 Why relationships is INTJs Achilles’ heel?

INTJ relationships are so difficult, because INTJs often try to create logically based relationships instead of feelings based relationships. They simply don’t see the need to satisfy their feelings, because brains’ development is always number one priority. It is because extraverted thinking is on top of introverted feeling in their cognitive functions stack. Unfortunately, this is not like other human beings mind work and most of them have feelings preferences.

4.8 Why INTjs think there’s something wrong with them?

INTJs usually have difficult childhood experiences, because they didn’t have any relatives or friends who would understand them. Being different than all the other people around them formed self-doubt and self-esteem problems. This is life stage, when many INTJs develop mistakes phobia, acquire perfectionistic traits and become turbulent INTJ versions of themselves. INTJs, before understanding their character type, often feel that there is something wrong with them, but can’t actually understand what. They feel like aliens and even start to think that they are some kind of sociopaths or psychopaths.

4.9 Why INTJs are so proud about being an INTJ?

Curiosity and answer seeking nature leads INTJ personality people to search what is wrong with them and how to fix. They start to learn psychology and sooner or later find MBTI personality types, which actually explains that they are normal human beings. INTJs find relief and start to recover their lost self-esteem. After learning their strengths, they see that they have some great advantages against other personality types. Discover of MBTI is like secret medication INTJs were searching for and it really heals by providing many answers for who they actually are. INTJs really appreciate that and in some cases, forget that there is equilibrium between every personality type and become too over-proud and look even narcissistic.

4.10 Why INTJs overthink pretty much everything?

This is how INTJs make idea interlinking, learn pretty much anything and create accurate future visions and plans. Overthinking usually sounds like negative INTJ personality trait, but once again, it totally depends on situation. Thinking about past mistakes is only useful for short period of time that is enough to analyze mistakes and find ways to avoid them next time in similar situations. However, overthinking about past mistakes causes negative effects and leads to self-doubt and depression. And this is probably the only overthinking case, which INTJ personality people should avoid doing. Overthinking is one of the special natural abilities INTJs have and they should keep doing it and keep creating scientifically beautiful connections, patterns and systems in things, where no one else can see them.

4.11 Who are the most famous INTJ personality people?

There are quite a few out there! INTJ famous people include Nikola Tesla, Bobby Fischer, Friedrich Nietzsche, Isaac Newton, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking, Arnold Schwarzenegger and many more. You can find them all in our ultimate INTJ famous people list.


If you want to understand yourself even further, we recommend INTJ starter kit by Personality Hacker. These guys have created their own model which deeply explains how your INTJ personality really works and how to get the most of it.
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  • Alan David Brandes

    This is the best description I ever seen about INTJ since I got to know MBTI. It comprises all the childhood and tenager issues that so constantly afflict us all. It’s also an excellent guide for those other types who wants to understand and aproach us.

    • INTJ vision

      Thanks!

  • Jimmie Rustle

    Damn, this is my life story.

  • casey sav

    I also always think that there is something wrong with me, I read a lot article about sociopaths and narcissistic, which make me feel awful at that time. Until I found MBTI and everything become make sense. I have this habit since I was little kid, portraying myself in the future, about what I want to achieve and how to get there, usually into detail and specific term. And strangely anything that I imagine somehow always happen, with the big effort of course. That portraying still happen until now, sometime I lost while reading, before sleep, basically anytime. There was one time when I couldn’t portray myself into my future, that was most my depressed time for not being able to do it, and I don’t know why I am not able to, hmm maybe I can find the reason why later on.

  • Telly Banks

    I finally know who I am thanks to this site!!

  • DataLegacy

    Clearly written by an INTJ, I can notice all the amplified greatness bias, haha
    It describes certain general life points deeply than I’ve seen in another description articles, INTJ articles written by INTP’s generally contain more abstract insights

    These 2 are also great:

    http://www.systemsthinker.com/interests/mind/intj.shtml
    http://personalityjunkie.com/the-intj/

Mindaugas Jaceris
Somewhere in the underground library avoiding social interactions at all cost...

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