Note: This essay was entirely written by Dávid Szabó, fellow member of the Main INTJ group. It has been useful to me since the day I found it, most likely because I thrive on meaning interpolated from words. I am posting it here so that fellow INTJs may pick up some insights on how to develop fully without fear or regret. (Warning: although very empowering to INTJs, some of the content is potentially offensive to other types.)
This essay is written in an affirmatory style. You can say these to yourself over and over to ingrain them in your mind as beliefs. First person statements are not necessarily statements about my personal life. They are beliefs to be taken on. Google search affirmations if you need to.
1st person = the developed INTJ
2nd person = the underdeveloped INTJ
2nd person plural = non-INTJs
no subject = universal truth
INTJ: Four Letters of Success
The lowest level of INTJ is a loner. A socially incapable immature human. I assume you are beyond that. You realized already that you need others. Negative social reference experiences of the young INTJs cause them to question the very core of themselves, as it apparently isn’t working. As a result of different pressures they try to accommodate to society, with more or less success. That phase of trying to figure out how to behave shall be called level 2. My main purpose here is to get you from level 2 to level 3. The main problem is trying.
STOP TRYING. It makes you look weak. INTJs are famous for their strength and stability, which is exactly what they lose when they start trying. I am good already. I am a highly valuable individual. That’s the INTJ-s famous core confidence. We all feel it on the inside, yet the world just does not seem to agree. So you try to make them see you are worthy, which has the opposite effect. So why does the world not agree with us? Because you are different.
You may have been told you had Asperger’s. You need to behave. You’re a nerd. A robot. A weirdo. The essence is always the same: don’t be yourself, be like them instead. That idea is faulty. Truth is you are different, like it or not. Period. Negative stereotypes, like Asperger’s, are just labels whose only purpose is to control behavior. They shine the light on your weaknesses, not your strengths.
Here is the big revelation: no hero, no great man ever used to fit in. Take pride in being a misfit! Outsider by choice, not by chance. Never do something because someone told you that you should! Never mask your own self-expression, because happiness is being appreciated for who you are. Stop trying to be something you’re not just so you are accepted. Stop worshipping popularity and acceptance. Start worshipping individuality and excellence, and suddenly you become a god.
But if we really are so good, why are people avoiding us? They are afraid of our power. We make them look stupid and incompetent just by comparison. You have no regard for their feelings and you make them feel bad. Nobody wants to be around someone who makes them feel bad. I do not ever compete with people, I accept my role as superior! I am the one giving approval, not the one seeking it. I’m warm, nice, and kind, but completely unimpressed. People are cute little puppies that are able to communicate at our level. I give them a pat on the head. That’s what they want. I acknowledge them for their good qualities. In prehistoric societies INTJ-s were priests, shamans, mages and warlocks. Spiritual leaders. That is my role.
I stay out of conflicts and let the boys fight it out. I am secure in my role. If somebody acts up or test you, you might initially fall into their frame. In this type of situation remember that they are doing it wrong and don’t be afraid to verbalize it. The way to relate to us is not to play tough or hard to get. Never be afraid of staying silent. it can say more than a thousand words. If a situation is not in your favour, walk away. No excuse needed.
This is not to say that you should stay alone. Other people are a valuable gift. The Human is a social creature, who lives in a society that is founded on mutual benefit and trust. Our instincts are social chemicals and our brain is a social organ. Isolation leads to depression. Happiness is attained through our relationships. Be open-minded and accepting of other people – they might surprise you. Once you realize you need others, you might go the other way and try to be accepted. The whole purpose of the above thinking is to make you stop trying to get their attention. You get it by not trying to get it. We do it the introvert way.
We are Introverts. People may have called you awkward. In truth the only thing that’s awkward is when someone tries to be something they are not. Stop trying to reach out of yourself. It is not the introvert’s job to start or carry an interaction and to make people like them. I let others discover me. I am a gift. An introvert can be likened to a banana; has to be peeled, but very sweet on the inside.
Become accepting of what the world gives you. Some people want you. Just believe it! When people show interest in you or try to make contact you may shy away. The right way to handle it, however is to be warm and welcoming, because those people see the value in you. Talk to them about your theories or whatever weird interest you have. Express yourself and not somebody else. Stop seeking genitalia and soon you’ll have more thrown in your face than you can handle.
We are iNtuitive types. A creator of new trends, an original thinker, a rebel. Outsider by choice, not by chance. I care less about an exciting lifestyle and more about impacting the world. Money is not important. It doesn’t bring happiness. We are not materialistic or shallow. The nice thing about money is not to have to think about it. Intuitives don’t do as well in school, because of their unappreciated originality and their dislike for tradition. Maybe they told you you’re lazy. Nope. You just like to do your own thing. Never let these labels diminish your self-esteem.
In relationships sensories might chase each other, as partners are their main source of validation and pleasure. Do yourself a favour and stay out of those games. INtuitive relationships are more about succeeding together. Although gentlemen should not forget that women are still women, intuitive or not. They want a man who is the challenge and the prize. But their intuitive side wants to form an alliance with that man. So how to be both? Be a man with a higher purpose.
IN types are intellectuals. An intellectual is someone who takes pleasure in learning for its own sake. We enjoy solitary pursuits. I am a lone wolf. I’m fine alone. No other person is necessary for my happiness, although they might enhance it. Honor your need for alone time. I am not afraid to leave a venue or a partner alone. Have a sacred space where you can retreat to.
70% of people are extroverts and 75% of people are sensories. The values, behavioral codes and stereotypes of society are suited to ES types and the make the rare IN type appear weird. We are focused on the depths (N) of ourselves (I), which is not understandable to people chasing constant stimulation by others. In fact weird only means something so unusual, they don’t know what to do with it. For this reason parents might have mistreated you or tried to change you. Forgive them! Nobody needs perfect parents. Let it go and have peace inside. Don’t let feelings hold you back.
NT types have aptitude combined with interest in an area or more. They are highly rational and very well-spoken. Pick a job that requires skill and allows for innovation. Science, engineering, politics, creative writing, philosophy.
IT types are calm. We naturally have a cool temper. Never lose it! If you get angry, you lose. All your stability and mystery is gone, your logical thoughts are under emotional control. You cannot let that happen. Be calm beyond reason. Even if you get spat on, you are not fazed. Be calm, but not emotionless.
Some of us say they have no feelings. You might even pride yourself on it. That’s wrong. One of my most attractive features is that I actually have a heart of gold. What’s better than a strong man is a strong man who can love. This heart, however, is not for sale. It is hidden deep beneath a powerful chest and strong bones and only a select few get to see it. If there is no heart in the chest, that is only a facade and it is crushed by a person of mental strength. The heart and the chest; both are essential.
Yet some IT-s might be caught up in the very thing they are so disgusted of; showing too much emotion. They give away their precious heart of gold to someone and they become nice guys/girls. At any moment the IT can take that heart away and others wonder what happened. Nobody owes anybody anything. My heart is mine and only mine. You should feel complimented if you got to see it. Let us be honest – being too nice is dishonest. You don’t really feel so strongly about that other person. You just want sex.
INT-s are Mysterious. A flirty man looks average. A flirty woman looks easy. Be the one who’s different. I don’t answer every question that I get and I often communicate by asking questions. There are a lot of known unknowns about me. Always be working! There is nothing more mysterious. What could he be working on? Hold your alcohol to bring out the best in you. Alcohol is a truth serum. It kills all the mystery and the dignity. Smoking might look mysterious, but don’t take it up. Health is far superior.
We are Judging types, structurists, leaders. This type has great ability to draw definite boundaries. I am reliable and I can keep rules in my life. J types often benefit from routines and rituals. A J type has no problem saying “I don’t drink”. That is a boundary. P types are the ones that follow J types. They modulate their behavior to us. I am the one to judge what I like in them and what I don’t. They are the ones to adapt themselves. I am the selector.
NJ types are builders. They build up the long-term structure of their lives piece by piece. We fit in the people, ideas and circumstances we want. Every day in every way it’s getting better and better. I never go out of my life. I take whatever I want and make it a part of my daily existence.
TJ types are strategists with a plan for everything. You solve you problems by thinking. Do not believe the “just do it” and “just live” philosophies. Plan ahead, then manifest your plan into this world. Pick a lifestyle that suits you, not society. Adhere strongly to your principles!
IJ-s are controlled, but non-spontaneous. For us planning is not just an ability, but often a necessity. The IJ carries plans out perfectly, but once without them, we might feel naked. Plan your life long-term and your short-term interactions. While it may seem pretentious to an extrovert, introverts work from long-term memory biologically and Judging types are masters of being consistent. For me planning is natural and never forced. Having canned lines may be appropriate. Whenever something unexpected comes up, steer it back to the plan. Surprises are usually negative for us. Remember, however, that life has a tendency to overwrite plans. So have routines instead of plans. That is, “how do I react if something comes up”.
Life is a stage. Actors are just doing their job when they’re playing (J). It has been planned before and rehearsed in their alone time (I). This is not to be fake. I write my own scripts. This is to get through otherwise tough situations.
NTJ-s are leaders. They have natural assertiveness. The ENTJ is the type of leader who is good with the masses. The INTJ is the one that controls the ENTJ. Make friends with key people and be their trusted companion. NTJs also take responsibility for everything and tend to blame themselves for all the wrong things that happened.
ITJs need to eat healthy! They probably are not the most physically active person in the world. However, you are not as impulse-driven as others, you can easily take control over your eating habits. The benefits are real.
Groom yourself and dress in exquisite clothing! People often judge the book by its cover, so you need a great cover. I use clothes that are associated with illusionists. A dark shirt, a fine vest, a hat, a long coat. These are inviting and indicative of mystery. The outside is often assumed to be representative of the inside. For the same reason body language is also important. Some ITJs may neglect their body. Stand up tall, head back, lead from the hips and look at people like you see through them. That is the magical INTJ death stare that ENFPs are so fond of.
ENFP-s are in awe of our knowledgeability and clever sarcasm. So are many others. However, we have a grave weakness. Playfulness is what the INTJ lacks, therefore needs. The lack of this quality is the main reason why one may suffer in one’s love life. Look for a playful partner to brighten up your days and try to be a little less serious yourself. Try not to take everything literally. Everything that happens to us feels so real and so impactful, but ultimately our experience is generated by us, so play with it. Seriousness is a great asset, just know when to put it aside. My cold outside will really drive everyone away if it isn’t sprinkled with playfulness. That’s because all people want is to play with me. First children’s games and then adults’ games.
Developed INTJs are confident. Underdeveloped ones are arrogant. Arrogance is covering your downside with your huge upside, pretending to be perfect and often refusing to take advice. This stems from insecurities. If you are really secure why would you cover that downside so eagerly? Confidence is the full acceptance of one’s faults. It has nothing to do with the upside. Put your best foot forward, but don’t try to cover up the scars, they are visible anyway. Playfulness can help with this. A little self-deprecating humor can make those weaknesses seem insignificant.
Stop worrying about how you come across to others. You are wired not to care. I am not good at knowing what others think of me. Biology tells me I shouldn’t care. Self-monitoring is not only the source of all anxiety, but you are naturally bad at it. A healthy disregard for the rules is attractive. Trying to adhere, but failing is repulsive. And again, it’s fundamentally dishonest.
On the subject of dishonesty, you might have heard something like this: “You’re a shit liar.” In their worldview honest people get used and liars are the winners. There is something in this view, as manipulation is indeed a form of power. Truth, however, is the privilege of the strong. Once you attain sufficient power you will not need to lie, as you will have nothing to gain from it. Deceit is not something to aspire to. It’s something to move away from.
Have a journal. Your life is mostly lived on the inside, not the outside. Have a record of it. It ought not to be a journal of actions done on a specific day, rather just a flow of random thoughts. After years of writing the journal you’ll be glad that you started. It is an exact reflection of your thinking and it makes progress visible.
Make your intellectual hobby your work, so you can do something you love. I have intellectual friends. I have meaningful conversations with them. I grow and study as long as I live. It is a useful and pleasurable activity. I stay away from useless facts, trivia, TV shows, video games, excessive social media use, pulp fiction and other forms of entertainment that waste my time. What are you going to do with them? Impress your wife? The reason is that INTJs tend to get obsessed, which can can make us unstoppable. But if your obsession is gaming, it can seriously destroy your life, unless you’re a professional. If so, you had better be obsessed. Free time gamers are mislead intellectuals who try to escape to a virtual reality from their miserable life. Make your life wonderful, and you will have no desire to live in virtual reality.
An INTJ is here to change the world. Others just try to stimulate their feelings and get sex. That is so small. If you are a thinker you would like to leave an impact on the world, because your circle of concerns extends beyond your selfish existence. My pursuit of a higher goal is part of what makes me attractive.
You may feel that you are surrounded by idiots and that may well be the case. But being smarter does not make anybody fundamentally better. To people you are only as valuable as you serve others. Being smart means you have more to give. So give them a lot and you will be appreciated for it.