Sunday, April 11, 2010
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test came up in conversation at work last week, many people had taken the test in college or during an exercise at work, I had not.  Last night I started off with taking a couple of the free tests, and got consistent results which I found to be very interesting, so I moved up to a more formal (pay, but not hundreds of dollars or anything) test.  A report of the results was emailed to me this morning.  I am an INTJ (Introverted iNtuitive Thinking Judging ), also known as a Mastermind.
Just saying I'm a Mastermind makes me grin, because of course it makes me think I am, or have the potential to be, an evil supervillain or something.  Reading the report and looking into INTJ, it seems pretty spot on to me.  Some points:

  • INTJs apply (often ruthlessly) the criterion "Does it work?" to everything from their own research efforts to the prevailing social norms. This in turn produces an unusual independence of mind, freeing the INTJ from the constraints of authority, convention, or sentiment for its own sak
  • When it comes to their own areas of expertise -- and INTJs can have several -- they will be able to tell you almost immediately whether or not they can help you, and if so, how. INTJs know what they know, and perhaps still more importantly, they know what they don't know. 
  • INTJs live in the world of ideas and strategic planning. They value intelligence, knowledge, and competence, and typically have high standards in these regards, which they continuously strive to fulfill. To a somewhat lesser extent, they have similar expectations of others. 
  • many INTJs do not readily grasp the social rituals; for instance, they tend to have little patience and less understanding of such things as small talk and flirtation (which most types consider half the fun of a relationship). To complicate matters, INTJs are usually extremely private people, and can often be naturally impassive as well, which makes them easy to misread and misunderstand. Perhaps the most fundamental problem, however, is that INTJs really want people to make sense.
  •  INTJs spend a lot of time inside their own minds, and may have little interest in the other people's thoughts or feelings. 
  • Other people may have a difficult time understanding an INTJ. They may see them as aloof and reserved. Indeed, the INTJ is not overly demonstrative of their affections, and is likely to not give as much praise or positive support as others may need or desire. That doesn't mean that he or she doesn't truly have affection or regard for others, they simply do not typically feel the need to express it.  
  • Masterminds are rare, comprising no more than, say, one percent of the population, and they are rarely encountered outside their office, factory, school, or laboratory. Although they are highly capable leaders, Masterminds are not at all eager to take command, preferring to stay in the background until others demonstrate their inability to lead. 
  • Masterminds do not feel bound by established rules and procedures, and traditional authority does not impress them, nor do slogans or catchwords. Only ideas that make sense to them are adopted; those that don't, aren't, no matter who thought of them.   
If you know me, all of the above applies, whether good or bad.

Interestingly enough, on the list of fictional INTJ's:  Hannibal Lecter (Silence of the Lambs) and Professor Moriarty (Sherlock Holmes' nemesis), though so are Mr. Darcy (Pride and Prejudice), Gandalf the Grey (J. R. R. Tolkein's Middle Earth books), and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (Hamlet).