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On Being INTj
19 September 2010

by I/O

Most times, I can figure out what's happening or has happened; and if need be, I usually have or will come up with a way to deal with it. I spend a lot of time inside my head analyzing information, or formulating strategies to achieve something; I try to perfect plans, concepts or understanding, or to prove or disprove various courses of action. I seem to have a natural ability to turn my understanding of a situation into an executable plan, but I need time and space to fully understand what I'm up against. I'm not at my best on the spur-of-the-moment or under close scrutiny, which may be reasons why I avoid competition or conflict. I also never want to be judged as incompetent or not contributing, so I can be rather uptight in social situations where this is a very real possibility.

I'm not one to ask for help; I need independence and space above all else, and distance seems to be the best way for me to remain objective. I can isolate my mind even in the company of others - go blank as many might perceive it. When I'm thinking, I'm often oblivious to things happening around me; thus, I can miss key information, and appear unenthusiastic or uninterested. In this detached state, I'm very impassive and focused on a triggered memory or thought, sometimes forgetting about activities, people or things to which I should be paying close attention. Because I need to define my own approach, I treat the opinions of others tentatively, which can perturb many individuals. However, I also treat my own knowledge and abilities somewhat sceptically. Although I'm largely indifferent to what others say about my ideas or me, I can be extremely hard on myself when I realize that I've done something stupid or inconsiderate.

The most recent information is more relevant to me than my experience or what I know from the past; I easily integrate new information or start from zero. I give others a chance to lead, say or do as they please unless they prove themselves incompetent. I do admire diversity and uniqueness, but not as much as quality, efficiency and accomplishment. I take personal responsibility for executing plans. I'm very tolerant and flexible in most situations, unless someone is deviating from an agreed-to plan, in which case I become intransigent and abrupt. I defend plans by showing the stupidity of inaction or alternate courses of action; I can be ruthless with anyone or anything that's confounding progress.

To undertake something, I must first be convinced that it's necessary and that I can actually do it. I like doing activities that have multiple purpose; for example, I bicycle to work because I want to be healthy but don't want to waste time exercising or in traffic. I'm reluctant to start something when I don't have enough energy, information or know-how. However, once started, I'm timely and self-assured because I put enormous amounts of planning effort into minimizing the risk of failure. I rarely jump to conclusions although I can be dismissive at first. I'm a good strategist because I usually have a practical vision of the way ahead and I tend to plan for every conceivable contingency, sometimes to the point of obsessiveness. However, I do see the reality of situations, and my need for actual output forces me to stop planning and start implementation. When underway, I'm able to quickly change my plans ad hoc if I see things aren't working well.

My psyche is led by rationalization in absolute terms, which means that I like to produce quantifiable output: make go or no-go decisions, express yes or no judgements, and make everything definable or specifiable. I don't do well in grey areas, with insufficient data or where expectations are unrealistic, which can make me rather anxious. I like directing the destiny of realizable projects without having to supervise or control people - allowing them independence to deal with the detail. If they're incompetent, I'd prefer to discount them and do it myself rather than confront them.

I think decisions should be based on real factors, not on subjectivity or feelings. I can easily express my insights, but not my feelings to which I'm oblivious most of the time. Although I've provided for the well-being of others, I'm rarely in-tune with their feelings or able to exude emotional warmth or empathy. Although diplomatic, I'm not naturally demonstrative about my regard and affection for others. I usually feel uncomfortable when I receive praise or attention. I prefer a low profile at the periphery where the risk of detection is minimized. I'm not a shy person nor a coward and I certainly don't lack any confidence, but I won't go out of my way to meet or reach out to people, or to initiate something unless I think that it's absolutely necessary.

My rationalization is fed by relative input; I easily sense the 'big picture' - aura, process, structure, relationship and consequence. I'm so aware of consequence that I tend to be pessimistic looking first at what is or could go wrong. I see everything in terms of how it can or cannot be orchestrated or connected, or integrated into a pattern. I cut out all that I think may be irrelevant to the issue or that may cloud the composite picture, so I sometimes overlook even obvious detail. For this reason, many may think that I have a bad memory when in reality, I have selective input. Hence, any planning that I do is focused at a systems level because I'm not well equipped for minutia - I prefer to orchestrate leaving the details of implementation to competent others. But, because I'm such a perfectionist who expects quality, especially from myself, I will attend to much detail in order to perfect my work.

In everyday matters, I'm a minimalist who does not like clutter or possessing things that I don't really need; most things I undertake must have purpose and be done efficiently, and most things I own must be well made. I'm intensely interested in achieving a result, and will put forth tremendous amounts of time and energy into perfecting a resolve. However, when under stress, I need idle and away time or diversions; it's how I defragment and improve clarity. For myself, I do not place much value on traditional goals such as money and power but I do need a stimulating environment and an occasional kick in the ass to get me moving because, deep down, I want to be productive and relevant.
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