Sunday, May 25, 2008


INTJ; these are the 4 letters that I used to describe myself in my profile at one of the social networking sites. And for sometime already, the 4 letters, INTJ remains a mysterious acronym save for a query or two (which incidentally indicates the popularity of my profile in that social networking site). Anyway, my girlfriend, Katherine recently inquired about it and actually looked it up at Wikipedia to find out what INTJ is all about. INTJ is short for Introverted, iNtuitive, Thinking, Judgmental. It is one of the sixteen possible personality types proposed by Carl Gustav Jung and refined further by Katherine Cook Briggs and her daughter, Isabella Briggs Myers. Dr. David Keirsey, a renowned psychologist identifies INTJ as “The Mastermind” in his book, “Please Understand Me” (for some psychologist, instead of identifying INTJ’s as “The Mastermind”, they would refer INTJs as “The Scientist”). Based on my understanding, the 4 letters represents 4 dimensions or aspects of a personality and each dimension or aspect has two opposing styles. The first letter indicates the motivation behind the person. Is the person Introverted (I) or energized by the world inside one’s own head? Or is the person Extroverted (E) or energized by the outside world? The second letter in the 4 letter combination refers to how a person understand a given situation or problem or simply gather information from the outside world. A person could rely more on his/her Senses (S) or he or she would prefer to grasp it via Intuition (N) i.e., mental observation to discern pattern. In other words, does the person prefer abstract evidence (I) or the more concrete evidence (S)? The third dimension pertains to how would a person process the information and arrive at a decision. In this respect, a person could be rational and analytical and therefore, Thinking (T) or the person may try to get a “feel” for a resolution to a given situation such that Feeling (F) predominates. In short, is the person relying more on IQ to get to a decision and hence “Thinking” or is the person using EQ to arrive at a resolution and hence “Feeling”. Lastly, the last letter of the combo tells if a person is methodical and orderly in the execution of a decision and therefore would be Judgmental (J) in temper or would be spontaneous and flexible and therefore would be Perceptive (P). Of course, there is no such thing as a 100% introvert or extrovert since most people are in some ways affected by outside events albeit in varying degrees even if a person maybe an introvert hence, all people are neither extrovert nor introvert in the strictest sense of the word but lie somewhere in between the two extremes. Neither of course there is a person who wouldn’t rely and be affected by their senses in gathering information. Neither is there a human being whose purely logical and rational in its decision making without taking in some emotional consideration not unless one is a Vulcan (incidentally, for those who aren’t a “trekkie”, a Vulcan is a highly intelligent and rational pointed ear alien beings that is purely logical in its thinking and behavior with almost no emotion at all, just like Spock). So in effect, what the 4 dimensions are saying is that people tend to have one style dominate over the other instead of purely operating in one absolute behavioral style. So in short, an INTJ would be a person who is heavily influenced by ideas going on in his head and trust more on his intuition rather than his senses and tends to be rational and analytical in its decision with little care on the emotional outcome of a decision and tended to be methodical in doing things with some occasional spark of spontaneity. Now, with 4 dimensions or aspects and with two opposing styles per aspects, one gets 16 possible combinations. However, these 4 dimensions of a personality are not entirely independent aspects i.e., they’re not a simple combination of different traits. Instead, the 4 aspects interact to create the personality. For example, linking the second aspect regarding how a person understand the given situation or problem with the third aspect on how they come up with a solution would define whether such person is utilitarian in nature (get things done efficiently and therefore pragmatic) or cooperative (rely on teamwork). This according to Dr.Keirsey created four distinct temperaments, namely: Rationals (Strategic; i.e., see the big picture and develops a pragmatic plan), Artisans (Tactical; i.e., see the whole picture and improvise or expedite things along the way), Guardians (Logistical; i.e., see what needs to get things done and rely more on close coordination of people to achieve things), and Idealists (Diplomatic; i.e., keep everyone happy and not rocking the boat in order to get things done). As such, the interaction of these 4 personality dimensions tended to create a distinct “capability” for each. Take INTJ/Mastermind for instance, an INTJ is referred to as The Mastermind simply because they are good in “entailing” or contingency planning. The following are the 16 personalities along with their temperaments, description and capability:
1. Rationals
1.1. ENTJ – Extroverted iNtuitive Thinking Judgmental – “Field Marshal” – Mobilizing
1.2. INTJ – Introverted iNtuitive Thinking Judgmental – “Mastermind” – Entailing
1.3. INTP – Introverted iNtuitive Thinking Perceiving – “Architect” – Designing
1.4. ENTP – Extroverted iNtuitive Thinking Perceiving – “Inventor” – Devising
2. Artisans
2.1. ESTP – Extroverted Sensing Thinking Perceiving – “Promoter” – Persuading
2.2. ISTP – Introverted Sensing Thinking Perceiving – “Crafter” – Instrumenting
2.3. ESFP – Extroverted Sensing Feeling Perceiving – “Performer” – Demonstrating
2.4. ISFP – Introverted Sensing Feeling Perceiving – “Composer” – Synthesizing
3. Guardians
3.1. ESTJ – Extroverted Sensing Thinking Judgmental – “Supervisor” – Enforcing
3.2. ISTJ – Introverted Sensing Thinking Judgmental – “Inspector” – Certifying
3.3. ESFJ – Extroverted Sensing Feeling Judgmental – “Provider” – Supplying
3.4. ISFJ – Introverted Sensing Feeling Judgmental – “Protector” – Securing
4. Idealists
4.1. ENFJ – Extroverted iNtuitive Feeling Judgmental – “Teacher” – Educating
4.2. INFJ – Introverted iNtuitive Feeling Judgmental – “Counselor” – Guiding
4.3. ENFP – Extroverted iNtuitive Feeling Perceiving – “Champion” – Motivating
4.4. INFP – Introverted iNtuitive Feeling Perceiving – “Healer” – Conciliating
There is no such thing as a superior personality or an inferior personality. Each personality has its own strengths as well as its own weaknesses and liabilities. Rationals for example tends to have difficulty grasping (ok, more like question the logic or rationality) establish customs, rituals, and way of doing things not unless they subject it under the microscope. What is important here though (which is why I even bothered writing this article) is for the person to know who he/she is. As Socrates once put it, one must “Know Thyself”. If you don’t know who you are, what is the point of knowing everything else around you? I mean with knowing who you are, you’ll know what you want, what can do and why you want to live. Otherwise, one would just be simply “floating” around life rather than “living” life.
P.S. if you want to know your personality type, go to. and take the KTS-II test.