INTJs are born strategic planners. They push this ability to such an extent that Keirsey calls them Masterminds. If something needs planning and all its consequences understood, they are the people to ask.

Quiet and powerful logic

Masterminds are very independent and spend a lot of their time thinking on their own. Behind their quiet exterior, lies indeed an extraordinary power of concentration. They find this process energizing and focus a lot of it on how things can be improved, especially systems. By system, one means business processes, computer systems, company procedures…

Strategic vision

It is not just that Masterminds wonder how things can be improved. They also have lots of ideas on how it can be done and have an uncanny ability to see the long range implications of an endeavour. In fact, their imagination is so fertile that some of them often have a secret love of fantasy stories…

Masterminds: the strategic planners

This combination of a very logical intellect and a capacity to anticipate consequences makes INTJs very good planners. Masterminds are often very organised and if what they are doing doesn’t work, they often have at least one contingency plan ready to help them implement their vision. This can make them a valuable asset to any organisation when it comes to preparing for the future.

The flip side of the coin

Our strengths and weaknesses are two sides of the same coin and very much depend on circumstances. What is a strength in a certain situation becomes a weakness in another one. Masterminds need to be aware that some of their strong points can sometimes disserve them:
- Masterminds have such high standards that they may expect too much from themselves and others.
- Masterminds are sometimes so determined and focussed on the outcome that they seek that they can be unintentionally hurtful to others or not open enough to their input
- Being so engrossed in their thinking process means that sometimes they miss relevant information about the situation at hands
- Thinking on their own means that they sometimes don’t invite others to share their opinions. They should remember that others may hold valuable insight about what they are trying to achieve.


Type psychologists have always tried to predict which personality would get on better with which one. I would however be very cautious here, especially for romantic relationships. When it comes to such personal matters, you should be careful about who you entrust your heart to.

David Keirsey says for example in Please Understand Me II that Masterminds would be “most compatible” with ENFP Champions. The idea is that the Champion provides his or her spontaneity and outgoing nature to the relationship whilst the Mastermind focuses on order and exactitude, thereby effectively grounding the relationship.

But again, remember that type only cannot be used to determine if a relationship will be successful.

Studies and career

For young people interested in choosing a career or working adults interested in changing theirs, I strongly recommend that you acquire a great book by Paul Tieger and Barbara Baron: Do What You Are This book explores, for each of the 16 types, the kind of profession that should allow you to make the best use of your strengths and suit your personality better. Here is for example a very short list of professions that the authors advise for INTJs:

- Economist
- Personal Financial Adviser
- Network systems and data communication analyst
- Computer software engineer
- Archivist
- Psychologist
- Surgeon
- Judge
- Graphic designer

A word of caution: there is no guarantee that a particular career path will suit you even if it is recommended for your type. Indeed, your type is not enough to predict your success. You also need to take into account your own abilities, personal interests, dedication to your goal, professional environment, state of the economy... So no guarantee but a good place to start looking!

Self esteem

Liking who you are is of prime importance, and yes, knowing your type can even help with this! Here is another great book that people should get: Portraits of Self Esteem by Bonnie J. Golden. She explains that self esteem is a combination of self-worth and competence in the life areas of intelligence, relationships, physical self, emotional self and work. In a nutshell, the more competent you are in all these areas, the more likely you are to feel good about yourself even if something bad happens in one of them. About INTJs, she mentions the fact that they feel particularly good about themselves when:

- They get a job that they feel match their potential and expertise
- They graduate from high school with honours
- They do something good somebody notices it
- They are praised for something they have created

Return from INTJ to Myers Briggs Personality Types

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