When I was in undergrad, I took my first Myers Briggs test. It was paradigm-shifting. I finally understood significant aspects of my personality. Some don’t find this test particularly helpful. If it works for you, great; if not, that’s okay too. All I know is that it worked for me. If anyone wants to take it, you can do it here. Anyway, I discovered that I was the type called INTJ. We are very rare and often misunderstood. Even rarer are INTJ creatives and performers. That’s because INTJ’s typically don’t like to be in front of others.
I know what some of you are asking. What on earth is an INTJ? INTJ’s come from a personality test that deals with several aspects of a persons personality. Before I dive into them, it must first be said that each of the personality elements are more of a spectrum than a definite thing. This means that a person will have some of the aspects of a personality type, but not all of them. Humans are complex. One INTJ might be 60% introverted and 40% extroverted, while another might be 90% introverted and 10% extroverted. Labels and categories are generalizations, and should be treated as such.
First, the test determines if you are primarily an [I]ntrovert or an [E]xtrovert. An introvert is someone who loses energy by being around others and gains it by being alone. An extrovert gains energy by being around others and loses it when alone. As an INTJ, I often find it exhausting to be around other people. For instance, I have a set amount of time I can spend at a party until I turn into a pumpkin.
The second category is i[N]tuitive or [S]ensing. Intuitive people tend to make their decisions based on internal decisions like logic and connecting the dots rather than merely “external facts.” They look for patterns behind data and use logic to figure out a better path. INTJ’s use intuition to make decisions. It is not unheard of for an INTJ to always be thinking multiple steps ahead. They often live inside their own head, and sometimes struggle to get out of it.
The third category is [T]hinking or [F]eeling. Thinkers trust logic and facts more than feelings when making decisions. For the thinker, feelings often get in the way of making good decisions. An INTJ then, does not trust feelings when it comes to decision making. Some of you might be asking at this point, “Aren’t creatives always going with their feelings?” I’ll approach this subject in a later post.
The last category is [J]udging or [P]erceiving. Those in the judging category are driven to make decisions and plans based on what they’ve understood. Perceivers believe that formulating the idea is the important thing, not implementing it. INTJ’s are the opposite. We have to put our plans into action.
Although I have read a lot of internet articles about INTJ’s, I have not seen many that talk about INTJ creatives. INTJ Musicians, in particular, are seldom mentioned other than in listings of possible celebrity INTJ’s. In coming posts, I will be unpacking how being this personality type has affected me as a professional musician. We approach the creative process and performing differently than other types. It is my hope that this might help you deal with that INTJ Creative in your life. If you don’t know how to handle us, we can be a handful.
Picture Source: By Jake Beech (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons