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INTJ

I first took the Keirsey Temperament Sorter (or maybe it was Myers-Briggs — I can’t keep them straight) when I was sixteen. If I recall, I registered an ENTP. Since then, I’ve taken the test a couple other times and registered an INTJ. I am a borderline introvert (or borderline extrovert depending on how you look at it). Though I typically say I’m introverted, I can distinctly recall getting an extrovert’s high while leading meetings and rallying a large group of people.

As for the P-to-J switch, I’ve just gotten more certain about things as I’ve grown older — for better or worse.

From time to time, I return to reading the description of an INTJ. And though doing so triggers a dull alarm of skepticism, I find the description of an INTJ damn close to sounding like me, even having read the alternatives (for the other fifteen combinations generally, and the other NT combos specifically).

Here’s a clip from the description of an INTJ:

Introverted iNtuitive Thinking Judging

INTJs are perfectionists, with a seemingly endless capacity for improving upon anything that takes their interest. What prevents them from becoming chronically bogged down in this pursuit of perfection is the pragmatism so characteristic of the type: INTJs apply (often ruthlessly) the criterion “Does it work?” to everything from their own research efforts to the prevailing social norms. This in turn produces an unusual independence of mind, freeing the INTJ from the constraints of authority, convention, or sentiment for its own sake.

INTJs are known as the “Systems Builders” of the types, perhaps in part because they possess the unusual trait combination of imagination and reliability. Whatever system an INTJ happens to be working on is for them the equivalent of a moral cause to an INTJ; both perfectionism and disregard for authority may come into play …

Another descriptor associated with INTJ? Single-mindedness. I have a sometimes-maddening tendency to dive deep into a subject for a substantial period of time — a trait my wife will swear by.

I mostly enjoy how I can passionately pursue a subject of study for a period of time; however, I can also be a generalist. This combo leads me to bounce around, intensely learning new subjects but eventually losing interest as I bounce again.

Amidst all the bouncing, I’m always working to fit the varying bits of knowledge I accumulate together to better understand the world around me.

One interesting thing about INTJs (And NTs generally) is that some sources say only 2% of the population are INTJs. Whether this is true or not, I don’t know. What I have noticed anecdotally, however, is that a large number of libertarians and anarchists are NTs. And via the internet, a lot of us NTs have found each other (via things I ca”free hand” mechanisms) and communed!

What’s the point of boning up on a personality test? I enjoy applying the framework of typed-personalities to my understanding of myself and those around me. Though I believe I am good at understanding systems quickly, understanding myself is a never-ending work in progress. Specifically, as I search for my ideal career, I seek guidance both externally and via introspection. I’m always disappointed to find all the guides telling me that careers in sciences and engineering are common in INTJs.

I’m doing neither. D’oh!

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