I’m going to start this off by saying that I’m not really into the whole MBTI thing. I’ve taken the test a couple of times and it wasn’t overly conclusive. However, it seems like pretty much everyone else I know is into it, so I thought I would write a post containing suggestions for other young people of my type, INTP, about recognizing your skills and turning your apparently inborn weaknesses into strengths. I’ll admit I haven’t researched this kind of thing extensively ~ or even much at all, really ~ but I have watched a few videos, so I’m putting what I’ve heard from them and what I know about myself to compile a few tips.
First, we’ll start with what’s good about INTPs. From what I’ve heard, there isn’t much, so that’s unfortunate. But we’ll get back to that later.
Obviously, the foremost thing you’ll hear about INTPs is that we’re smart. In fact, INTPs have the highest average IQ of any of the types. If you’re like me, you’ve been called smart all your life, so it’s not exactly surprising. You also probably know how your mind works ~ you’ve seen its depths, its imagination, its power, and its darkness. Sometimes you’re even frightened of it. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, and they always say to face your fears, right? Being INTP gives you a fascination with puzzles and other complex things, so delving into your own brain should be enthralling. You probably adore your intelligence as much as I do (although it can be difficult to avoid killing all the stupid people), and seeing as you’ll be using it your whole life, you should press its limits ~ if it has any.
You’ll also hear ~ and you probably know ~ of your brain’s ability to imagine. Daydreaming and creating mental scenarios and ideas is one of the main things INTPs are known for. More than once you’ve probably found yourself so lost in your own mind that when you “awaken,” returning to the real world is actually disappointing. It’s this kind of intense thought that can propel you to accomplish outstanding things that those of other types wouldn’t have thought of in their entire lives. Thinking is what we do, and it’s the strongest power we’ve got in our arsenal, so you should never back down from a good, long thinking session. You’ll also find that it improves your mood and your ability to withstand people if you’ve had an hour to yourself to think.
Because of our ability to fall so deeply into our own brains, it’s extremely easy for us to focus on something that we find interesting. A lot of times I have been so intent on something that I’ve missed meals or stayed up late into the night working on it. And I absolutely HATE to be bothered when I’m busy with something. I think this focus gives us a much stronger work ethic than most people think we have, which is infinitely valuable for everyday life. Plus, the average adult’s attention span is thirteen seconds ~ which, honestly, is just sad ~ so flex your focusing skills by having plenty of interesting things to dive into.
Because of our love of puzzles and complexity, INTPs are constantly analyzing. We’re good at putting all the facts together, looking at them from all the different angles, and reaching a logical conclusion. We’re also pretty darn good at keeping our feelings separate from the data so it doesn’t become compromised. Doing mind puzzles and games that will work your brain probably help strengthen your analyzing skills, and they’re awfully fun to boot.
I don’t know if this is really a common skill for INTPs, but it’s one of my best. By “organization,” I’m not saying your room will be clean all the time or your desk space will be clearly marked, but you will know where your things are and your masses of information will be laid out in a way that makes perfect sense to you, even if other people can’t figure it out. (Which isn’t altogether a bad thing ~ it’s like a secret code!) You’ve probably heard somewhere that keeping things organized is important, and I suppose it is, though the things you’re organizing probably aren’t the same kinds of things they were referring to when they said that. It doesn’t matter, though. As long as it’s clear and logical to you, it doesn’t matter if other people get it.
When I read and watched videos about the INTP type, I was a little put down to discover that the “bad things” about us far outnumbered the “good things.” It basically said that we’re smart and we can figure things out, but we’re lazy, inclined to violence, we shun human companionship, but that’s just as well because we’re socially incompetent anyway. And I’m not going to mention anything about socializing in this post. I think all of us realize that it’s not a strength, but honestly I have no tips about it because I still haven’t figured it out. I probably never will, and part of me has come to terms with that fact. But all these weaknesses aren’t necessarily a bad thing, because it means we’ve got plenty of challenges to work on, and I don’t know about you, but I revel in a good challenge.
INTPs are considered the laziest of all the types. I watched a video once that explained why, but I was a bit distracted at the time so I didn’t catch all the details. I think the gist of it was that we’re so focused on improving ourselves mentally that doing physical things like working out just seems a bit…not pointless, exactly, but…less important. Our minds are more important to us than our bodies. But I’ve found that it’s actually fairly easy to rewire your brain to become less inclined to laziness. It doesn’t hurt to get up every once in a while (in most cases) to help someone with something. And if it’s mental laziness that you’re dealing with ~ like not wanting to put your all into an essay because it’s not on a topic you’re particularly interested in ~ that’s going to be a little harder to convince yourself, but you might find out that there’s something in that subject that isn’t so terribly boring after all. And anyway, it’ll train you to always do your best, which is pretty helpful in the long run.
Procrastination is like a sub-category of laziness. And dang, is it hard to beat. You can’t do much except convince yourself that doing it now is of much greater benefit than waiting until later. Making lists of things you know you have to do and then always doing it in order helps you get more done quicker. (Although I have heard that INTPs tend to make lists and then lose them, this has never been a problem for me. I don’t just LOSE things like that.)
I don’t know if it’s true of all INTPs, but I didn’t start really growing and developing until about age 18. That’s really late to start coming into yourself and wanting to improve yourself. I hope this isn’t true of all INTPs, and that you know yourself enough to have realized your weaknesses young ~ and maybe that’s what led you to this post. I hope these few tips can help you get ahead much earlier in life than I did. I don’t think there’s anything much you can do to speed things up if you ARE a late bloomer like me, though ~ people proceed at different speeds, and you just kinda have to wait for your moment. But one thing you can do is always challenge yourself. Step out of your comfort zone and go against your natural responses every once in a while (as long as it’s safe. Don’t be stupid like other people).
This also might not be a problem for all INTPs, but I am far too easily attached to possessions. I always know where my things are, and in the past I’ve had a lot of trouble letting things go, but I’ve gotten a lot better. This is actually not very hard to beat. You can always buy another item. Keep that in mind, and after a while you’ll feel far less worried about your possessions.
Now we get to the section where I tell you a few things you should do to improve. Here’s where you get to challenge yourself, y’all. This is the fun part!
Because of our inclination to be lazy and procrastinate, self-motivation is one of the hardest ~ if not THE hardest ~ challenges you’ll have to face. That’s why I put it first, because it’s important. (That’s a lie ~ I put it first because I thought of it first when I was putting together the outline for this post. Sorry about that. But it’s also really important.) I haven’t mastered self-motivation, and I’ve probably had to work on it more than anything besides socializing (*shudders*). It’s REALLY hard to get yourself to do something you don’t particularly want to do. But it’ll keep you busy.
INTPs have to build their own confidence ~ we don’t typically get it from anyone else’s praise like a lot of other people do. We second-guess ourselves a lot, and so our confidence level is constantly changing, dropping and raising and then plummeting again. The next couple things I mention will give you a few specific things that will help your confidence improve.
Trust Your Own Judgment
Shockingly, just because you don’t have ALL the facts doesn’t mean your conclusion in any given circumstance will be wrong. All of the facts, as well as your past experiences and vast collection of carefully-thought-out mental scenarios, come together almost by themselves in your brilliant brain, and that’s an awfully lot of information and logic. Any other person would probably see all that and consider it plenty for making a rational decision. And you also have to remember that your conclusion will almost always be devoid of the influence of emotion, which, as we all know, always causes a lack of judgment. So really, your judgment is heightened compared to other types, especially those in the Feeling spectrum.
INTP children are often misunderstood, and in one case, a mother brought her INTP son in to see a therapist and asked him to fix him because she considered him broken! But just because we think differently than everyone else doesn’t mean we need fixing. Don’t listen too much to what others think you should be focused on. Our minds are bizarre, but that doesn’t make them wrong! Learn what you want to know and explore what you want to explore, whether others “approve” of them or not. You’ll be way happier focusing on yourself and your interests, you’ll grow faster, and those things WILL be beneficial, even if it’s hard to see how.
Be open to other people’s ideas. I know they’re idiots. I know they haven’t looked at all the facts and analyzed all the information and thought it all through like you have. But people think differently, and that’s not bad. In fact, it’s good. Just basically what I’m trying to tell you is this: Don’t kill people when they tell you how to do something. Take their thoughts into consideration too. Add that in to your mental flowchart, and give it as much weight as your own opinion has. There aren’t many ways we INTPs can connect with other people, and it’s actually pretty interesting discovering how everyone thinks differently. Value and respect their opinions, and they’ll be a bit closer to valuing and respecting you too.
And yeah, that’s pretty much all I’ve learned about socializing.
Anyway, those are a few tips for the developing INTP. Hopefully it’s helped you “find yourself” or whatever, and given you ideas to make yourself better. Good luck with that self-motivation thing, though. Seriously.