How much do you know yourself, and what does that mean?


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I learnt last year that my MBTI type is “INTJ”. Not one for labels, I didn’t really think much about it then. But out of curiosity, I recently Googled what INTJ meant, and I was surprised at how accurate it described me. It also got me thinking if people can really be type-casted into 16 different profiles, and if we are really more aligned than we want to accept. I am not here to discuss MBTI and type casting, but I would like to take a leaf out of the report I read from Google, and share my reflection about knowing myself, and what that means. I reference my type report from 16personalities.com. You can read the INTJ type here http://www.16personalities.com/intj-personality

1. INTJs form only 2% of the population

This was the first massive hit for me; not that I am a rare species but more so that this was a strategically capable type (so true, since I am running a strategic thinking forum!). While this somehow affirms my hypothesis that strategic thinking is a large part nature, it also opens up the question, “Just how much nurture do I need to be strategic?” “Can I be strategic if I was not predisposed to it?” More needs to be done to answer those questions.

2. INTJs can live by glaring contradictions

This is something that I could not explain to many people who see things in black and white. I can hold two simultaneously contradictory thoughts in my head and work with them much to the chagrin of people around me. This is frustrating to many people because it seems to them that I am a chameleon, when in fact, I am not. I can take the best (or worst) of both worlds, and make them happen! I now realize that many people can’t do that; and I suppose I need to separate the contradictions for them to remain on track with me.

3. INTJs radiate self-confidence

It says that INTJs employ insightful observations, original ideas, and formidable logic to push change through sheer will power and force of personality. This is me to a fault, and that is scary. What is worse is that it says anyone who doesn’t have the talent to keep up with INTJs’ processes is likely to lose the person’s (INTJ’s) respect. Again, scary! I realize that not many people can keep up with me, and that I have to be more patient with them, otherwise I risk frustrating or ostracizing them.

4. INTJs act without emotion

INTJs have a distaste for acting with emotion, preferring to go through life as though it were a giant chess board, constant shifting with consideration and intelligence, always assessing plans and strategies to maintain control. Yikes! Guilty as charged again! But I don’t really know what to do with this. I am task oriented, and I simply get things done, without emotion. That is okay if you don’t have a team, but when you are leading people, that can be a problem. So this is work in progress for me.

Why am I sharing these with you?

As a strategic thinker, we need to look at things from all angles and self-development is no different. I share this not to justify my weaknesses, or to crow about my strengths. I do so because I want you to see if you too can do the same. To look at yourself from different perspectives and angles and see how you can be a better version of yourself. After all, none of us is perfect, and each of us can bring a little bit more to the table to be better. And here’s what I have learnt in this process:

A. I need to be open to feedback

Some of the things I read about the INTJ seemed like criticisms. I needed to be open and see how they related to me, looking for instances where these were true and what I can do about it. If I was not open, the lessons would be lost; and the effort wasted.

B. Change what I can, accept what I can’t

Everyone needs to improve, but I also cannot be someone I am not. As a result, I have to pace my changes so that I can make a positive impact while still being true to myself. And if I cannot do anything about it, like the emotional part, then I have to accept it, and help others accept it too.

C. I am not a label

Ultimately, this is just a personality type and while they can label people to act in one way or another, I am not the label. Hence, I don’t need to accept everything they say, and I can be someone else than the label says. But it is scary because it is so accurate about me that I am glad that only 2% of the people are like this; any more, and the world would be in chaos!

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