Since I make reference to being an INTJ in my blog’s subtitle, allow me first to briefly explain what INTJ means, where it comes from, and why I identify with it so well.
There are many tests and assessments built in the field of psychology with one purpose: measuring, identifying, and categorizing personality. If you think for a moment about the depth of your own personality – so many traits, so many factors to consider on what makes you who you are or determine what choices you make – it is easy to see why attempting to measure personality is no easy task. That said, in my limited experience with personality assessments, I feel as though the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) does a fairly successful and accurate job, all things considered. It’s not perfect, of course, but no assessment ever can be.
The MBTI is set up to determine where you stand across four qualities, which combine to create a possibility of sixteen personality types. The four qualities can be thought of like a sliding scale. For instance, Introversion and Extroversion are the first quality, with extreme 100% Introversion on one end and extreme 100% Extroversion on the other end.
A person falls somewhere between and most people will fall more towards the middle, even if they tend to err on one side of the center, towards introversion or extroversion.
More information about the MBTI and the sixteen personality types abound on the internet. It’s a popular personality test, and for good reason. INTJ stands for Introversion, Intuition, Thinking, and Judging. Introversion means that I recharge by spending time alone or thinking and expend energy when I am around people or doing stuff. I happen to be a pretty strong introvert, so I would fall somewhere around here and get exhausted more easily and more quickly when interacting with other people.
Intuition (vs. Sensing) means that I perceive the world best through abstract concepts and thinking. I form patterns of thought and quickly see the interconnectedness of everything. If you don’t think something can be connected to something else, it probably can to me. Remember those idea webs or clusters you might have had to make in school as a brainstorming exercise? My thoughts run like that all the time. Sensing means perceiving the world best through the five senses, relying on very tangible, real world things.
Thinking (vs. Feeling) should come as no surprise by now; I make decisions based on logic and reasoning and attempt to do so with as little bias as possible. Feeling means decisions tend to be made with empathy and understanding the situation from the others’ point of view.
Last but not least are Judging and Perceiving. Intuition and Sensing are considered Perceiving functions (how you perceive the world and & absorb information around you) whereas Thinking and Feeling are considered Judging functions (how you make decisions). Judging vs. Perceiving is reflecting which of these functions is more dominant in how you go about your life. There are more nuanced ways for how the combinations of these qualities and the degree to which you prefer them can be interpreted, but that would require quite a lot of research and extends far beyond the purposes of this post.
Keeping in mind that each of these are a dichotomy and where you stand between them can vary from day to day or depending on the situation, these are not inflexible. I have emotions, I am not incapable of being influenced by empathy, and I can trust my sight to confirm a fact; I am merely naturally inclined to choose the other way most of the time or in many situations.
The real test for whether the MBTI stands up to my personal scrutiny is how well I feel the result actually reflects my personality. Given at this moment I mention it multiple times in this blog, it should be pretty obvious that I feel it reflects my personality very well. It’s the first such personality assessment to really do so. Most of the time I have taken such tests, it felt all so very vague – yes, yes, that could apply to me, but that could apply to a lot of people, really. The MBTI’s description of an INTJ goes beyond that, describing very specific aspects of myself and struggles I have faced for years that I had scarcely admitted to myself, let alone anyone else. In short, it totally gets me.
Since I’m still an individual with different experiences from many other people, the INTJ descriptor of course can only go so far. I have worked very hard, for instance, on developing my Feeling side; trying to experience and decide more things with my heart rather than my head. All that said, it’s still a great tool for getting a good, overall sense and a little in-depth picture of who I am with just the mention of four little letters.