Robert Tamayo



I've been an INTP every time I've taken the Myers Briggs test. For years, I've thought that an INTP was simply an INTJ that doesn't follow through on their projects. I also believe that an INTP can become an INTJ by striving to work harder and complete the various projects he starts. Here's a quick rundown:


According to the site Truity:
The INTP type describes a person who is energized by time alone (Introverted), who focuses on ideas and concepts rather than facts and details (iNtuitive), who makes decisions based on logic and reason (Thinking) and who prefers to be spontaneous and flexible rather than planned and organized (Perceiving).
INTPs present a cool exterior but are privately passionate about reason, analysis, and innovation. They seek to create complex systems of understanding to unify the principles they've observed in their environments. Their minds are complicated and active, and they will go to great mental lengths trying to devise ingenious solutions to interesting problems. The INTP is typically non-traditional, and more likely to reason out their own individual way of doing things than to follow the crowd. The INTP is suspicious of assumptions and conventions, and eager to break apart ideas that others take for granted. INTPs are merciless when analyzing concepts and beliefs, and hold little sacred. They are often baffled by other people who remain loyal to ideology that doesn't make logical sense.
INTP Strengths:
  • Creative problem-solving
  • Lots of interests spanning a wide variety of topics
  • Active imagination, a dreamer
  • Starts new projects all the time

INTP Weaknesses:
  • Aloof and absent-minded
  • Can be condescending or rude
  • Cold
  • Abandons old projects for new projects

Comparison to the INTJ

According to Truity:
Often intellectual, INTJs enjoy logical reasoning and complex problem-solving. They approach life by analyzing the theory behind what they see, and are typically focused inward, on their own thoughtful study of the world around them. INTJs are drawn to logical systems and are much less comfortable with the unpredictable nature of other people and their emotions. They are typically independent and selective about their relationships, preferring to associate with people who they find intellectually stimulating.
...INTJs are energized by time alone (Introverted), focus on ideas and concepts rather than facts and details (iNtuitive), make decisions based on logic and reason (Thinking) and prefer to be planned and organized rather than spontaneous and flexible (Judging).
INTJ Strengths:
  • Strategists
  • Innovators
  • Determined
  • Learners

INTJ Weaknesses:
  • See themselves as superior to others
  • Cold
  • Perfectionists, demanding
  • Suffers in personal life due to work

Is an INTP just an INTJ who can't get things done?

In my analysis of these two very similar personality types, I noticed that the defining distinction is the INTJ's ability to follow through on their ideas.

The two personality types are very similar in almost every other respect. Their supposed differences are actually not differences in personality, but in execution. Let's look at some examples.

Claim: The INTP is more flexible. The INTJ is less open to new ideas than an INTP.
My response: The INTP only seems more flexible and open because he doesn't filter out new ideas in order to finish the current one. The INTJ seems to have a slightly less imaginative mind due to his understanding of the need to finish a project before taking on a new one. An INTP might like a major planning part of their brain or something (remember, I'm talking about myself). I'm sure an INTJ will say they didn't start making children's books on a whim because the strategy was to move into video games and meet artists and writers, who will then write the children's books or something should they become profitable. I'm not being very imaginative in my example, but I'm sure the point is made. To see the gravity of my claim, understand the term "Strategist" is used to describe INTJ's, while the term "Imaginative" is used to describe INTP's.

Claim: INTPs can be condescending or rude. INTJs are demanding perfectionists.
My response: While both "condescending" and "perfectionist" carry a negative connotation here, notice that the term "condescending" weighs a little heavier on the scale. It's the difference between "bossy" and "demanding". The INTJ's behavior is identical to the INTJ's here, but the perceived personality is viewed more negatively in the INTP. The INTP is seeking perfection, but he does not carry it with him. He simply appears to be putting others down.  The INTJ, on the other hand, demands perfection from himself and others. The INTJ knows how to get things done, and to get them done perfectly; the INTP simply condescends inferior work. Again, the INTP is not actually condescending; his lack of excellence simply makes others think he is behaving rudely. In this case, the INTJ's reputation is allowing the same behavior to be seen for what it really is: a demand for perfection.

Can an INTP become an INTJ?

As I stated in the beginning of this post, I do believe that an INTP can become an INTJ. Maybe an introvert can't become an extrovert. Maybe a feeler can't become a thinker. But I do believe that a scatter-brained person can bring order to his life and get more things done.

The key differences tend to be in the categories of organization and goal-setting. The INTP is not as organized as an INTJ. The INTJ is so well organized that their plans ascend to Strategies. I believe that I'm a very disorganized person. I don't often finish what I start, in terms of side projects. But once I saw the difference between INTJ and INTP, I realized that I simply lacked determination. In the years since I first made this observation, I've set out to finish more of what I start. I started to say "no" to new projects, if they would distract from my current one. I'm not a strategist, yet, but I'm getting more strategic in my plans.

Today I took another Myers-Briggs test. I'm still an INTP. But the P-vs-J metric is now 53% Perceptive, 47% Judging. That's a huge step in the right direction. My determination is increasing, and I'm becoming more effective by the day.

I'm not trying to become an INTJ. I'm only trying to become more effective. I see the INTJ as an "effective" type of personality, and I'm trying to emulate some of that behavior.

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