My Myer-Briggs personality type

I was watching hockey with some friends the other day when the subject of the Myer-Briggs personality test came up.  It’s a pretty famous questionnaire which attempts to categorize individuals based on how they perceive the world and make decisions.  It also makes interesting connections between careers and personality types.  I hadn’t thought about my personality type in a long time and when I revisited the material, I was again surprised at how strongly the majority of points still resonate with me.


Photo Credit: HyuUchiha ByakuSha via Flickr

My type is “INTJ” – also known as the Mastermind, Scientist or Strategist type.  The letters represent “Introverted iNtuitive Thinking Judging”.  It’s estimated that 1.5% of males and 0.5% of females are INTJs.  It’s a pretty rare type, especially for females.  I’ll let you read about it and take the test yourself if you’re interested, but here’s a couple points that really clicked for me.

“INTJs spend a lot of time inside their own minds, and may have little interest in other people’s thoughts or feelings.”  This is rather true for me.  It’s good because I’m not really influenced by other people – so any societal disapproval from things like being frugal or doing things “differently” don’t really bother me.  And this is important – in a consumerist society, even something like bringing your own lunch to work can mark you as being “odd”. But at the same time, I have a really hard time being empathetic with people.  I understand that they are feeling those emotions but I often don’t feel anything myself.

“…many also find it useful to learn to simulate some degree of surface conformism in order to mask their inherent unconventionality.”  Most definitely!  I believe that everyone could benefit from a small degree of “surface conformism”.  For example, in the past when people asked me “How are you?” I would tell them ( Because that’s what they asked!) and they would get confused.   But most people actually mean it as a greeting – they’re not actually asking how I am.  So now, when I am asked how I am, I simply reply, “Great!  How are you?”  From a personal finance perspective, how many of us run into big spenders who constantly complain about bills, money and the like? Quite a few, I would guess. I often find it easier to agree with complaints about bills and money rather than saying, “Well actually, if YOU had a budget…” The complainer is then pleased to have a sympathetic ear. Sad but true, a little superficiality can sometimes make everyone happier.

INTJs are ambitious, self-confident, deliberate, long-range thinkers.  Yes!  I do indeed have a master plan.  You can view a vanilla version of it at the top of this page.  My actual plan is somewhat more ambitious than what I have posted on this blog.  As an example – I had a goal of making more than 50k a year before the age of 30 back when I was 21 or so.  Now, that’s not a lot of money in a lot of fields, but in science, it was.  When I realised that my science career was not going to get me to my goal quickly enough (among other reasons) I changed careers – successfully!  And interestingly, ideal careers for INTJs include scientist and software developer.  I have now done both!  (Hopefully I won’t end up doing more…)

I could go on, but the point is not to learn about me.  The point is to learn about yourself.  We all have strengths and weaknesses – the important part is what you do about them. By understanding the way you perceive the world and make decisions, you grow as a person and overcome your natural limitations.

Posted in: Philosophy

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