“INTJ: Do parties and crowds fill you with energy, or send you scurrying for peace and quiet?”
The basic question contained in this latest ‘365 Days of Writing Prompts’ – do I like peace and quiet? – was so simple to answer (we live in a small hamlet that we refer to as Tranquility Base: that’s all you need to know really, although there’s a bit more here) that I almost moved on without giving it further thought.
However, I was intrigued by the heading: ‘INTJ’. I had no idea what that meant. I assumed it was one of those Twitter-generation acronyms, like ROFL or – my personal favourite – WTF, but for the life of me I couldn’t work out what it might mean.
So naturally I looked online (other search engines are available), where I discovered that INTJ is one of the sixteen recognised personality types according to something called the Myers Briggs Type Indicator – which itself appears to be based on Jungian psychological theory, if you’re interested. Which you probably aren’t.
INTJ stands for ‘introversion, intuition, thinking, judgement’. As such, it is characterised by:
- A tendency to be quiet and reserved. Check.
- A tendency to be more abstract than concrete. Ummm..
- When making decisions, a tendency to give more weight to logic than social considerations. Double check, gold star.
- Deriving a sense of control through predictability. Oh, probably.
I also discovered that it is one of the rarer personality types, accounting for less than 2% of the total population.
Well, I’ve always thought it would be quite nice to have a personality, and if it was one that was comparatively unusual then so much the better – rather like Tony Hancock with his blood group (unsurprisingly, mine is O+). So I found a free online personality test based on this Myers Briggs thingy and took it.
I am not an INTJ.
What I am, though, or so it seems, is an ISTJ. Spot the difference. Yes, I am more concrete than abstract, so I tend to focus attention on details rather than the big picture, preferring immediate realities to future possibilities. This at least explains my ‘carpe diem’ inclinations, I suppose.
Rather disappointingly, though, it is a much more common type than INTJ – about 10% of the total population, which puts it in the top three. Considering there are only sixteen types in all, that makes me a part of a group of above average size. Hey ho.
Seeking consolation for this reality check, I discovered that there are a number of websites – well of course there are – that list famous people, both real and fictional, in each of the sixteen categories, and it is there I found some solace.
Not being an INTJ, I’m missing out on being like Marx, Hegel and Sartre. Although on the upside, it means I’m not in the same category as Mark Zuckerberg, Anders Breivik, the Unabomber or (shudder) Arnold Schwarzenegger.
It’s certainly not all good being an ISTJ, however: Admiral Doenitz, (ex) Pope Benedict and Richard Nixon are not people whose company I would actively seek out.
But I’m reconciled to my fate (or to my trait, if you like) if I’m in such good company as the Emperor Augustus, Queen Elizabeth II and Sean Connery.
Want to know the real clincher though?
One of these aforementioned websites also lists the personality traits of famous film characters. INTJ doesn’t have much that appeals here: Blofeld from James Bond, Michael Corleone from The Godfather, Hannibal Lecter.
But ISTJ? Now we’re talking. Okay, Eeyore maybe not so much, but Bruce Wayne. And, I kid you not, Darth Vader.
Someone who produces a doom-laden yet catchy motif every time he comes onto the scene? Now, that’s cool.