INTJs are analytical problem-solvers, eager to improve systems and processes with their innovative ideas. They have a talent for seeing possibilities for improvement, whether at work, at home, or in themselves.
Often intellectual, INTJs enjoy logical reasoning and complex problem-solving. They approach life by analyzing the theory behind what they see, and are typically focused inward, on their own thoughtful study of the world around them. INTJs are drawn to logical systems and are much less comfortable with the unpredictable nature of other people and their emotions. They are typically independent and selective about their relationships, preferring to associate with people who they find intellectually stimulating.
What does INTJ stand for?
INTJ is an acronym used to describe one of the sixteen personality types created by Katharine Briggs and Isabel Myers. It stands for Introverted, iNtuitive, Thinking, Judging. INTJ indicates a person who is energized by time alone (Introverted), who focuses on ideas and concepts rather than facts and details (iNtuitive), who makes decisions based on logic and reason (Thinking) and who prefers to be planned and organized rather than spontaneous and flexible (Judging). INTJs are sometimes referred to as Mastermind personalities because of their strategic, logical way of thinking.
How common is the INTJ personality type?
INTJ is the third rarest type in the population, and the rarest type among women (with ENTJ). INTJs make up:
- 2% of the general population
- 3% of men
- 1% of women
Famous INTJs include Friedrich Nietzsche, Elon Musk, Christopher Nolan, Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, Bill Gates, Dwight Eisenhower, Alan Greenspan, Ulysses S. Grant, Stephen Hawking, John Maynard Keynes, Ayn Rand, Isaac Asimov, Lewis Carroll, Cormac McCarthy, Sir Isaac Newton.
INTJ Values and Motivations
INTJs are perceptive about systems and strategy, and often understand the world as a chess board to be navigated. They want to understand how systems work, and how events proceed: the INTJ often has a unique ability to foresee logical outcomes. They enjoy applying themselves to a project or idea in depth, and putting in concentrated effort to achieve their goals.
INTJs have a hunger for knowledge and strive to constantly increase their competence; they are often perfectionists with extremely high standards of performance for themselves and others. They tend to have a keen interest in self-improvement and are lifelong learners, always looking to add to their base of information and awareness.
How Others See the INTJ
INTJs are typically reserved and serious, and seem to spend a lot of time thinking. They are curious about the world around them and often want to know the principle behind what they see. They thoroughly examine the information they receive, and if asked a question, will typically consider it at length before presenting a careful, complex answer. INTJs think critically and clearly, and often have an idea about how to do something more efficiently. They can be blunt in their presentation, and often communicate in terms of the larger strategy, leaving out the details.
Although INTJs aren’t usually warm or particularly gregarious, they tend to have a self-assured manner with people based on their own security in their intelligence. They relate their ideas with confidence, and once they have arrived at a conclusion they fully expect others to see the wisdom in their perceptions. They are typically perfectionists and appreciate an environment of intellectual challenge. They enjoy discussing interesting ideas, and may get themselves into trouble because of their take-no-prisoners attitude: if someone’s beliefs don’t make logical sense, the Mastermind typically has no qualms about pointing that out.
INTJ Hobbies and Interests
Popular hobbies for the INTJ include reading, cultural events, taking classes, appreciating art, computers and video games, and independent sports such as swimming, backpacking, or running marathons.
Facts about INTJs
Interesting facts about the INTJ:
- On personality trait measures, score as Discreet, Industrious, Logical, Deliberate, Self-Confident, and Methodical
- Among types least likely to suffer heart disease and cardiac problems
- Least likely of all the types to believe in a higher spiritual power
- One of two types with highest college GPA
- Among types with highest income
- Personal values include Achievement
- Of all types, least likely to state that they value Home/family, Financial security, Relationships & friendships, and Community service
- Overrepresented among MBA students and female small business owners
- Commonly found in scientific or technical fields, computer occupations, and legal professions
Source: MBTI Manual
Quotes About INTJs
“INTJs are the most independent of all the sixteen types and take more or less conscious pride in that independence.”
– Isabel Briggs Myers, Gifts Differing
Strategy. INTJs not only see the plan or course of action, they are ready and prepared with several back-ups depending on the various circumstances that could possibly arise. With their expansive, future-focused vision for seeing possibilities and recognizing potential, they are also detailed and logical enough to see holes, gaps and inconsistencies.
Innovation. Though the INTJ may outwardly appear intractable, as a type they are actually quite receptive to and supportive of change and innovation, and this open approach helps to enhance their problem-solving savvy. They believe that most people, processes and systems have the potential to be improved upon and they will seek new and creative ways to try to bring about that change.
Determination. INTJs are revered for their bravery and steadfastness in the face of challenge. They are characteristically determined in whatever they are doing, even to the point of relentless, and are not afraid to move in to tackle the really difficult challenges. Rather than feeling daunted or frustrated, this excites and exhilarates them. They trust their judgment and are confident in their ability to solve the problems and overcome the challenges they encounter in their personal or professional lives.
Willingness to Learn. INTJs aren’t only looking to change externals and other people. They are also diligently committed to working on themselves. Though they won’t typically dwell long upon their feelings and emotional state, they are fully engaged in the work of self-improvement. They are lifelong learners and will always be looking for ways to increase their knowledge and skills.
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Superiority. The INTJ’s prowess in the area of intellect, logic and reason is unarguable and definitely among their chief strengths, as is their confidence in their ideas. However, these strengths can turn into weaknesses when they morph into a superiority complex. Unfortunately, among INTJs, this is not uncommon. They may be arrogant and condescending, as well as impatient with people who don’t catch on as quickly as they’d like. With those who demonstrate less ability to think logically and rationally, they may be particularly judgmental and intolerant.
Emotional Distance. INTJs are also known for their low EQ and unwillingness to engage the emotions—their own or others. Preferring to conceptualize the world on a logical, rational basis, they tend to have little patience for emotional concerns. They struggle to pick up on and respond to the emotional cues and needs of others. This can stifle interpersonal relationships, as well as their own growth and development, and may end up keeping others at (at least) arm’s distance.
Perfectionism. While the meticulousness of the INTJ can be a strength, as in all things, too much of a strength can easily become a weakness, and for the INTJ, this natural fastidiousness quickly becomes perfectionism, and in this they can be quite fierce and painstaking. Their standards in general are exacting and this critique may be directed not only toward themselves, but toward others as well.
Imbalance. The INTJ places a high priority on work and will be quite devoted to his or her professional life. But this comes at a price, namely in time that might be spent on family, other relationships and leisure. It is easy for the INTJ to find him or herself with misplaced priorities and, as a result, relational problems. While their drive to succeed professionally can certainly pay off, it can take a toll on the rest of their lives.
INTJ Growth and Development
In order to reach their full potential, INTJs should:
Go outside of themselves. INTJs are internal processors and accustomed to finding the right answers or the best plans within their own minds. However, such a constant internal focus can mean the INTJ may miss important details, as well as the potentially insightful and helpful contributions of others. To improve their own ideas and plans, INTJs should seek input from friends, family and colleagues. Though the INTJ has full confidence in his or her own abilities, conferencing with others can breathe new life into a stale approach and can help to uncover blind spots.
Go inside. INTJs don’t naturally introspect deeply or spend much time considering their emotional state. They focus internally on their many ideas and abstract concepts, but when it comes to looking at themselves and their feelings, they often avoid the activity. Out of touch with their own blind spots and character defects, INTJs can be quick to find fault with others. One solution is to work on cultivating humility and compassion.
Balance. It is easy for the INTJ to become completely consumed with work or some project or plan that he or she has devised. In the moment, this will feel exhilarating for the individual, but may have consequences for personal wellbeing and relationships in the long run. The INTJ should strive for better work-life balance. That also means, as mentioned, taking time to examine his or her emotions and responses. It won’t come naturally, but will help interpersonal relationships immensely.
Pick their battles. It is not necessary to argue every single point, though the INTJ’s Thinking nature will compel him or her to do so. This is the default response of their perfectionistic hyper-logical nature. Thus, to better navigate all areas of life, the individual may need to understand that sometimes you have to let the small things go so you can accomplish the big things in the long run.
If it ain’t broke…and even if it is. The INTJ may need to resist the desire to be continually improving and changing. Their view on potential and possibilities for all products, systems and people, leads them to want to always be fixing and “improving.” What they may not realize is that not all people want to be fixed and not all companies want greater efficiency.
The INTJ at Work
At work, the INTJ excels at creating and implementing innovative solutions to analytical problems. They naturally see possibilities for improvement within complex systems and are organized and determined in implementing their ideas for change.
INTJs are comfortable with abstraction and theory but gain the most satisfaction from turning their ideas into reality. They often enjoy working independently or with a small team, taking measured, strategic steps to implement change.
INTJs enjoy working with logical systems that they can understand in depth. They enjoy the challenge of comprehending complex ideas, and want to understand how they can improve the way things work.
The ideal work environment for an INTJ is logical, efficient, structured, and analytical, with colleagues that are competent, intelligent, and productive. The ideal job for a Mastermind allows them to use their analytical skills to problem-solve in a challenging environment, and to take responsibility for implementing their ideas to create efficient, innovative systems.
Top Careers for the INTJ
INTJs are best suited to careers that allow them to use their logical, orderly reasoning to solve interesting problems. Although they are often drawn to STEM fields, INTJs can also be found in business or even the arts. The common theme for satisfied INTJs, however, is that they must be in a career that provides an intellectual challenge.
Top careers for the INTJ include:
Business, Finance, and Math
- Accountant or Auditor
- Financial Analyst
- Management Consultant
- Market Research Analyst
- Financial Advisor
- Top Executive
Architecture and Engineering
- Aerospace Engineer
- Biomedical Engineer
- Civil Engineer
- Computer Hardware Engineer
- Electrical Engineer
- Environmental Engineer
- Mechanical Engineer
Science and Health Care
- Atmospheric Scientist
- Biochemist or Biophysicist
- Chemist or Materials Scientist
- Environmental Scientist
- Medical Scientist
- Political Scientist
- Physician or Surgeon
Computers and Information Technology
- Computer Programmer
- Computer Systems Analyst
- Network Administrator
- Software Developer
- Computer and IS Manager
- Computer Scientist
Arts, Design, and Communications
INTJ Careers to Avoid
It is important to note that any personality type can be successful in any occupation. However, some occupations are well suited to the natural talents and preferred work style of the INTJ, while other occupations demand modes of thinking and behavior that do not come as naturally to this type. Occupations that require the Mastermind to operate outside their natural preferences may prove stressful or draining, and often sound unappealing to INTJs who are choosing a career.
The following occupations have been found to be unpopular among INTJs, based on data gathered from surveys of the general population.
- Teacher’s Aide
- Preschool Teacher
- Home Health Aide
- Production Worker
- Advertising Sales Agent
The INTJ on a Team
INTJs are analytical team members who focus on strategy. They are often perceptive about systems and how to improve them. They are thoughtful and clear in their analysis, and good at defining team goals. They are capable of synthesizing ideas of some complexity, and often see clearly to a unifying plan of action. INTJs take a characteristically critical approach, and analyze ideas and proposals with a detached, objective logic. They want to be free to make improvements to existing systems, and do best on a team where change is favored.
INTJs are open to ideas, and will consider the perspectives of the team members with an even-handed approach. However, they are firm and clear in their logical analysis, and have little patience for nonsense. They are unlikely to offer support or assurance to teammates who they don’t perceive as useful contributors. They are persuasive in their reasoning and often get teammates on board based on the clarity of their ideas. However, they may have friction with team members who have a focus on relationships; the Mastermind seeks a free exchange of ideas, not a personal connection.
The INTJ as a Leader
In leadership positions, INTJs are strategic, analytical planners and problem solvers. They are good at making tough decisions and sorting out complex issues. Masterminds excel at managing projects that implement a vision of improved efficiency or innovation, and although they usually prefer not to have to manage other people, they will take over if no other leader steps up. As leaders, they are democratic and hands-off: they generally prefer to share the overall goal and let their reports determine exactly how to complete their work.
INTJs value competence and decisiveness, and may sometimes neglect to listen to differing opinions once their mind is made up. While they focus on creating logical and innovative solutions, they may sometimes leave out the details of their plans, leaving their teams to wonder exactly how things will be accomplished.
INTJ Career Stats
- Earn more, on average, when self-employed
- Second least likely of all types to report being a stay-at-home parent
INTJs and Other Personality Types
People of the following types are more likely than most to share the INTJ’s values, interests, and general approach to life. They won’t necessarily agree on everything, and there’s no guarantee they’ll always get along, but they’re more likely to feel an easy rapport and have plenty of things in common. ISTJ The Inspector INTP The Architect ENTJ The Commander
People of the following types are likely to strike the INTJ as similar in character, but with some key differences which may make them seem especially intriguing. The INTJ may find people of these types particularly interesting and attractive to get to know. Relationships between INTJs and these types should have a good balance of commonalities and opportunities to challenge one another. INFP The Healer INFJ The Counselor ENTP The Visionary ENFJ The Teacher
INTJs may not feel an immediate connection with people of the following types, but on getting to know each other, they’ll likely find they have some important things in common, as well as some things to teach one other. Although people of these types may not attract the INTJ initially, their relationships present a lot of potential to complement and learn from one other. ISTP The Craftsman ESTP The Dynamo ESTJ The Supervisor ENFP The Champion
People of the following types present the most potential for personality clash and conflict with the INTJ, but also the best opportunities for growth. Because people of these types have fundamentally different values and motivations from the INTJ’s, initially, it may seem impossible to relate. But because they are so different, their strengths are the INTJ’s weaknesses, and if they are able to develop a relationship, they can learn a tremendous amount from each other. ISFP The Composer ISFJ The Protector ESFP The Performer ESFJ The Provider
INTJs in Love
In relationships, the INTJ is loyal but independent. INTJs can be almost scientific in choosing a mate and make devoted partners once they have found a match that fits their rigorous list of requirements. They often have clear ideas about what makes for a solid relationship and are unwavering in their pursuit of this ideal.
INTJs often have a passion for self-improvement and are encouraging of their partners’ goals and intellectual pursuits. However, they do not usually see the need for frivolous affection or romance, feeling that their devotion should be evident. They are more focused on serving their partners with hard work and resourceful problem-solving than they are on showering them with attention.
INTJs’ partners often find them difficult to read, and indeed they do not show emotion easily; they find the process of discussing emotions much too messy and disorganized. They enjoy solving difficult problems, but are often out of their depth when it comes to illogical, unpredictable personal issues.
INTJs value a partner that allows them the independence to achieve their goals, and one who appreciates their efficacy, insight, and ability to offer creative solutions to problems.
INTJs as Parents
As parents, INTJs are devoted and supportive. They set firm limits and provide consistent reinforcement, but within that structure allow a lot of latitude for their children to explore their own interests and potential. They are encouraging of their childrens’ intellectual pursuits and enthusiastic about sharing knowledge.
INTJs enjoy the process of developing a young mind, and get a lot of satisfaction from parenting. They want to develop productive, competent, and self-sufficient children who think for themselves.
INTJ Communication Style
INTJs are direct and detached in their communication. They often naturally see how something could be done better and usually communicate their criticism in a straightforward, logical manner. They are typically independent and calm; they are not so much concerned about being liked or appreciated as they are with being competent and thoughtful. Their communications are typically well thought-out, insightful, and strategic. They often plan well into the future and offer big-picture analysis for improving systems.