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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Another INTJ vs. ISTJ thread (help me clarify my type)

I've tested INTJ 3 times in my life (though never took an official MBTI test, I'll do that eventually), but my N is the weakest of the four. Here's a helpful graphic:


qScsr2g.png

My Jungian cognitive functions are as follow - again, not from an "Official" source:

Ni - Si - Te - Se - Ti - Ne - Fi - Fe

The thing is, I don't identify with what I've read about ISTJs very much at all - in fact I think I identify more with INTPs. For example, I've read INTJs can't see the trees for the woods whereas ISTJs can't see the woods for the trees. If this is a simplification of the differences, I would have to say I am much more centered on the "woods" than the trees - indeed, if I'm into a project and I realize the focus is off or something isn't working out, I'm quick to assert my will to adjust things. Furthermore, I do have a tendency to "understand" things more than "memorize" them - and when doing something productive, I only really care about the details as long as they are relevant. I'm comfortable with ambiguity because I realize it's necessary - but if I had to choose between ambiguity and well-defined things, I'd go with the latter. One more thing: I like the feeling of "completing" tasks and getting things off my plate whenever possible to clear my mind. If I complete something from my todo list, I will delete it or throw it away. If a project or relationship just isn't working, I will realize this and try to end it (though it may be painful).

Perhaps my confusion is a result of the fact that my approach towards problems is very logical. I will ask myself "Is it wise to approach this from a ambiguous perspective or a concrete perspective? How do I need to approach this so I will be able to get the most out of it? When does gathering information start to experience decreasing marginal usefulness, indicating I should just take action?" I know the MBTI is about preferences, but my preferences change based on which approach is the "best" for a situation... and I believe any logical individual would do this, no?

Thank you for your help in my process of self discovery. If there are any other hypotheticals that might help differentiate between an ISTJ and an INTJ, let me know and I'll answer them.



e: I realize there is a sticky of a questionnaire - I'll complete this shortly and post below.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
0. Is there anything that may affect the way you answer the questions? For example, a stressful time, mental illness, medications, special life circumstances? Other useful information includes sex, age, and current state of mind.

Perhaps. For the past year and a half I've been focusing on personal development, so often time I have trouble confusing the person I "want to be" with the person I am. For example, the person I want to be might be totally unaffected by people's perceptions of me, but the person I currently am might still feel uneasy about being unaccepted. I've found that some parts of my personality have shifted over this period of time towards my ideals.

I'm 18 years old, male, "gifted" as defined by the school system, going to a state school to major in Mathematics and Computer science. I also have a great deal of self-confidence, though I don't like to be arrogant.

1. Click on this link: Flickr: Explore! Look at the random photo for about 30 seconds. Copy and paste it here, and write about your impression of it.

Heaven's Forts | Flickr - Photo Sharing! This strikes me with awe about the world and nature. I can get a true feel for plate tectonics in this - the rocks below seem as if they were chipped away from the mountains themselves. The center mountain's points and stature reminds me of The Lord of the Rings in some way, or perhaps a game like Skyrim. I also think how fun these might be to ski down, but not in real life of course.

Camposanto monumentale (inside) | Flickr - Photo Sharing! This reminds me of school field trips. I think it's nice that the sun is shining on these statues and they are not housed inside some sterile building. I find it interesting humans (like the tourists) would construct such buildings and works of art, and be able to look at them centuries later and still appreciate things. I also like the way the riffles in the dresses/togas/whatever are so smooth yet made of stone.

2. You are with a group of people in a car, heading to a different town to see your favourite band/artist/musician. Suddenly, the car breaks down for an unknown reason in the middle of nowhere. What are your initial thoughts? What are your outward reactions?

I completely scrap the plan that was made for this day and start forming a new one, trying to figure out if it's worth trying to fix the car ourselves (somehow), call for help and a ride (most likely choice if I love the band), or just call for a tow. My first action would be to check out the car's engine and try to get a good feeling for what's wrong, then reevaluate my plan, and see which choice would be the best. I'd probably also ask these friends for input, especially if they work with cars.

3. You somehow make it to the concert. The driver wants to go to the afterparty that was announced (and assure you they won't drink so they can drive back later). How do you feel about this party? What do you do?

Do I trust this person? If I do, I still feel uneasy but I might let it slide, but if I don't, I will figure out a quick back-up plan in case they are drunk. Depending about how concerned I am about getting home, after I form these plans I might stop worrying about things and enjoy the after party.. assuming it's a good one, of course.

4. On the drive back, your friends are talking. A friend makes a claim that clashes with your current beliefs. What is your inward reaction? What do you outwardly say?

If it's something important to me or I feel I can challenge him without starting an ugly argument, I'll offer my opinion and try to get him thinking and talking with me. I wouldn't feel the need to voice my beliefs, especially if it would cause pointless conflict and strife. I might briefly question my own though - this happens often, and most of the time I assure myself that my own beliefs are indeed correct.

5. What would you do if you actually saw/experienced something that clashes with your previous beliefs, experiences, and habits?

As I said above, I usually take it into mind, think about it for a second, and decide if it's worth changing my beliefs over. For things like religion, I won't totally reevaluate my beliefs over one comment - it would take an accumulation of good comments and arguments to sway me. I'm open to changing my beliefs when it makes sense, and consequently most of my beliefs are pretty firm because I've chosen the "best" ones, in my opinion.

6. What are some of your most important values? How did you come about determining them? How can they change?

One thing I value highly is growing as an individual and challenging myself. I hate complacency and I feel guilty if I don't do anything meaningful for a long time. I mentioned this a bit towards the top, I think. Also, my values about right and wrong aren't very concrete - they are still in development. I can go on my gut, but I know my "gut" is influenced by what I've been told sometime, so it might not always be wise to trust. For example, I used to not like gay people, but after making a gay friend and hearing legitimate arguments, I am socially liberal now.

My values change as they make sense to adopt - I take both inner feelings and outside evidence in consideration when determining them.

7. a) What about your personality most distinguishes you from everyone else? b) If you could change one thing about you personality, what would it be? Why?

I am very ruthless about things when I know what should be done or what I want. If I deem something or someone pointless, I'll just scrap it or avoid that person. If I realize I suck at writing, I'll go to the writing center without shame and build a relationship with the English teachers to get help. If I know a decision is right but it's tough or uncomfortable, I'll just do it. I really don't like confrontation, but if it's necessary then I'll accept it.

I wish I could express myself and my feelings better - I often am at a loss for words in these fields. Otherwise, if I want to change something and it's possible to change, I'll just work to change it.

8. How do you treat hunches or gut feelings? In what situations are they most often triggered?

I go on my hunches when it makes sense - which is most of the time. But I won't go on a hunch if I know more useful information can be gathered. For example, I was recently developing a system to learn French better. If I went on a hunch I would have used a certain system and it would have worked pretty good, but I decided to research things more and have found a much better system that I'm using now. I guess I should say, I prefer acting on hunches only when I know there's no reason to delay a decision any further.

They are most often triggered in times when I'm doing things that need time-management or efficiency. Often in school and group projects. Much less often about morals, feelings, and things I'm unsure of - I prefer to think those out.

9. a) What activities energize you most? b) What activities drain you most? Why?

I am energized the most by doing things that interest me and making progress on things. For example, I recently completed a program using Google Scripts and the Calander and gmail APIs, and I was very satisfied and energized. I'm also energized when talking to my foreign French friends and sharing a fun experience with them individually.

I'm drained by doing things "by the book" when they are so pointless and inefficient (e.g. most homework). I am also drained by big social parties and being constrained by a schedule or timetable I haven't set for myself. Finally, what drains me most is probably when I have a plan of action but I find other people not going along or complaining about things. This is especially true in group projects. If someone isn't paying attention or just offering problems and no solutions, I find it draining to work with them.

10. What do you repress about your outward behavior or internal thought process when around others? Why?

I often repress my outward behavior when I realize it'll do nothing good in a situation, even if I fully express myself. For example, in college orientation our group was talking about rape, and everyone was taking a very liberal stance towards things. I am in the middle about this issue and I felt that other legitimate arguments were getting ignored, but I kept quiet because I know this would just make people angry at me and I wouldn't feel any better afterwards.

 

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Well, I'm not sure if you're an ISTJ or an INTJ, as you seem pretty well-rounded. My money is on INTJ, but just to make sure, I've got a few questions.

1. What ability in a person makes you feel jealous? As an ENFP, I feel incredibly jealous of people who can actually sit down, and focus on something for more than twenty minutes. I go stir-crazy, and my mind just starts going into a gear of its own.

2. What frustrates you the most about the human race? Go into detail, for this should be the most-defining.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
1. This is a difficult question to answer because the things I feel jealous of are normally skills I have not yet acquired (but am able to) or things I will obviously suck at (expressing myself; conveying my emotions better; being able to energize people). I think one thing I am jealous of it the ability to relax or control one's mind. Mine's continually stirring and I have trouble ignoring sensory input. For example, I had to go to this event last summer to talk about club leadership and cultural understanding... it was 5 hours and basically just said "don't be racist, be nice to shy members". I wish I could retreat into mind and not get so frustrated at things like this. Another example is I find it hard to concentrate or read with music/movies on. If these things are all IxTJ things (and therefore not helpful), let me know a situation each might feel jealous in and I'll try to pick the one I identify with most.



2. My answer may not be great because I let go (or perhaps suppress, I don't know) my frustrations about the human race most of the time. I realize I can't change humanity on a large scale so I just become apathetic and find different things to care about. But I'll entertain some inner frustrations and try to expand upon them.

I think I'm frustrated by how much people lack understanding about themselves and their actions. When I see people make the same mistakes over and over again, I get frustrated a lot. Why can they not just realize the problems and fix them (rhetorical)? I think a great deal of problems can be solved if people are to just analyze their feelings, situation, the past, the successes of people in similar situations, etc. When someone gets a degree in the humanities and then complains about not being able to find a job, I facepalm. It's not to predict things like this.

Another frustration I have is people's unwillingness to adjust their views of reality, especially when it's practical to do so (or it just makes sense). I dislike when people are close minded or have these defenses in place that they trigger when conversations get too weird or deep. For example, when I was an adolescent my Mom would punish me for certain things that I thought should be okay to do, and I'd question her reasoning, which I believed was faulty. She would go into a "I'm the parent I'm right no questions" mode where she could not be talked to like a rational person - this frustrates me a lot. I find this to happen with people around the world, especially when it comes to prejudice. Having prejudice just doesn't make logical sense and it only causes pain. If people would focus on being more open and understanding, many of our problems would be solved and people would be able to use their differences positively instead of negatively.

Perhaps what frustrates me the most if how people don't take control of their own lives and let others make decisions for them. I can't imagine living 50 years on this planet without having consciously decided what I would want to do in the world and trying to accomplish that. Often times I think people are treated like sheep and most seem to be okay with it. I believe most people have thoughts that make them want to take control of their lives and reject the status quo, but I'm guessing these thoughts are not strong enough or they have made too many obligations or formed too many beliefs around the way things are to consider a break from conventional reality.

Seriously though, some kids spend the first 21 years of their life on autopilot, doing that others say they should do, taking the path of least existence, etc. It's frustrating for me to see people like this - and ultimately I feel sad for them and an urge to inspire them (though this is seldom successful due to my 3rd paragraph).

Pose any other questions that you might like.
 

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I'm getting a distinct INTJ vibe from this. Note that INTJs aren't unemotional, far from it. They're just known to have the combination of poor social skills and a lack of emotional maturity, which gives off that "unemotional flavor." You strike me as being a well-developed INTJ.

Now, the problem with most literature about INTJs is its going to go on about cultivating your "not being an asshole" side of your personality. Well... You've already got that down. You seemed to be frustrated about not being able to inspire people, and people making the wrong choices in life, yet being too stupid to actually understand what they're doing. I have something that might help.

Have you ever heard of Christopher Hitchens? You and him, believe it or not, are actually pretty alike, albeit with one major difference. You seem to understand that just running at people, and pointing out (correctly, mind you) why people are wrong isn't going to work. I'm not going to bore you with all the empathy crap, as I'm sure you're smart enough to figure that others are people too. Instead of telling people their idea is incorrect, explain to them how your idea is more correct. Let them see your reasoning as helping them develop theirs, as opposed to imposing your own. People like to develop, especially if it is free advice.

Think of a well-delivered argument. It never insults the listeners, not even with implication. A confident person says, "I'm good as is," and doesn't rely on others. A well-developed point is the same. It doesn't need to prove itself. It just is a good point.

I could blather on, but I think you get the point. I hope this helps!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the help and the thought you've given into this, Fiery79. Indeed one of the things I'm struggling with is the innate concepts within each Personality Type, and the subsequent character flaws that naturally arise from these. Until just recently, I thought that I would either have to accept or reject both 1) The extreme distaste of small talk, and 2) The urge to be completely insensitive to people I don't like. Now I realize that the former is something innate to myself and INTJs while the later is a conscious choice and something that can be improved upon. I'm very interested in how one defines being "well-developed" -- does this mean that one switch between their 4 primary cognitive functions relatively well? Or perhaps something else? Please give as much information as you can.
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I am aware of Christopher Hitchens (and I know he is adored by a few of my friends), and I find it interesting to be compared to him. I'm not sure if I agree with his approach but I admire his passion and the practicality of some of his strategies - he doesn't get too annoyingly scientific. I also stumbled across this chart just now, and confirmed that I am definitely not an INTP. Still, like you said, his approach may seem cool for his proponents, but obviously it doesn't work and just makes religious people hate him. I mean seriously, "God is Not Great" is not something a religious person will want to seriously read, but then again I'm not quite sure what a better solution is. The advice you give is logically sound and I'm happy it's something I can try to develop to quench a thirst I have to inspire and help people.

I'm curious, in what way would an ISTJ think and act differently from an INTJ? Perhaps it might be useful to put it in terms of how Christopher Hitchens would act differently if he was an ISTJ.

I've retested for Jung's cognative functions and got Ni>Te>Fi=Ti>Ne>Si>Fe>>Se (also, apparently I am an LII). I'm a bit confused now because supposedly INTJs need to rely on Se but I've tested twice with a stronger Si (and the second time with an incredibly weak Se). What unique problem does this present me with?
 

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Okay, ISTJ vs INTJ.

ISTJs use Si, instead of Ni. These functions have more in common than Ni and Ne, and will explain why your Si is higher than your Se, despite Si not being a function an INTJ is even proficient with.

Ni relates all ideas to a core concept, and uses them to generate formulas. This sounds vague, but it really is simple. Anxiety and unrequited love are the same, in the fact that the pain only continues if you propagate it through your thoughts. The answer is to let go of your thoughts.

Si uses past observations and memories as a means of solving problems. Using the same example, your friend told you that to stop emotional pain, you have to stop propagating it. Keeping this information stored, you use it too stop both anxiety and unrequited love.

The difference is that one sees solutions as something that solves a problem, with differing examples, and the other sees it like a worldview. Si is focused on "what I've observed in the past", while Ni is focused on "what is the problem like". One uses concrete data (Si) and the other uses abstract data (Ni).

They both, however, are based on your internal perception, and may appear similar.

Now, what does this practically mean? First, watch this on YouTube. ENTJ vs ESTJ, by DaveSuperPowers. (Don't have enough posts to include a link. Sorry about that.)

Now, turn it from extrovert to introvert. ISTJs are much more nit-picky, have a strong memory, and aren't going to be interested in abstract discussion. An ISTJ is more-likely to read the Bible, and site examples of how God was an ass over and over, and focus on logical inaccuracies, as opposed to Christopher Hitchens, who was good at saying concisely why the argument as a whole sucked without providing examples, but focusing on the essence. Essentially, an INTJ will have good control over the message and big picture, an ISTJ will be better with the small stuff.

On type development, let me start with a simple point. Your type is yours. Don't try to emulate any others (except one. I'll get to that). Develop your functions, and you'll find success.

Now, as an INTJ, the main functions you're looking at are Fi and Se. These functions are important due to their ability to keep you in check. Fi unconsciously ensures that you aren't being a complete asshole, and Se makes sure you're at least somewhat connected to reality. Both of these, due to being your lower functions, as quieter, and silently guide your actions. Se especially is a bastard.

Fi, or introverted feeling, is built upon personal observation and reflection to find out what is ethical. Fi can envision feelings, experiences, and takes in its own experiences to create an ethical worldview. Strong Fi users generally would say the word "authenticity" is important. Feelings should be real, if expressed. Fi users often find annoyance at faked feelings and general emotional bullshit. Fi users often have the problem of being too aggressive or self-absorbed in their emotional processing, self-righteousness being a common theme.

Se, or extroverted sensing, is a way of perceiving the world that involves almost no processing. Unlike Si, which is stored and used from the interior, Se is based around perceiving the outside world as it is. Dom-Ni users often enjoy walks, or ways to calm their mind. They find the most relaxing activities often are mentally defusing, giving them a slight break from continual processing. When Se is invoked, however, Ni will often shut down, causing a thought to simply disappear it seems.

The way to develop your functions is to notice them. Understand why you're doing something. INxJs often have a problem with binging, as it finally shuts their mind down. Alcohol is commonly abused, as is sweets and fatty foods. Sensual pleasures become almost undeniable, to the sufferer's dismay. They attempt to reject it, but they just feel addicted then. INTJs have the unique problem of their ethical processes being undeveloped, and often will compensate by being aggressive or by shutting off. Realizing that what you're doing isn't exactly healthy is the best way to fix it. If you're committed to growth, the hard part is noticing why you're doing something. Just run a thought check, and ask why you're doing what you're doing, why you're feeling what you're feeling. If it helps, write it down. It makes it easier for me.

So, notice what you're doing, step-one. Step-two, is find your dual, and almost emulate them. Take their essence. For you, that's the ESFP. Any xSFP will work though. There's quite a few on YouTube. These people have what the functions you want well developed. You obviously aren't going to just be them, but you can use that essence, and compare their functions to how yours are. They may not be of the same strength, but they should be in the same direction.

One last note: don't fall into the trap of using your lower functions and expecting them to get more powerful. You're top functions are your best. Use those, and simply make sure you're bottom two are assisting in the correct direction. Trying to say "I'll pay more attention to my environment!" to build Se will end in disastrous failure. That's personal experience talking there.
 
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