Personality Types: What’s INTP Got to Do With It?

Apparently a bunch of top personal finance bloggers over at Yakezie had a blog carnival of sorts discussing their Jungian personality types.

Since I’m a Myers Briggs addict, I figured it was as good a time as any to retake the test and see what my results would be. I tend to swing back and forth between INTP and INFP depending on my bipolar phase… hypomanic and I’m INTP, depressed and I’m INFP.

So, today I tested INTP.
I think that’s accurate, at least for now.

Introverted: 67%
Intuitive: 38%
Thinking: 12%
Perceiving: 56%

INTPs are known as “The Architects”

Bolded are the pieces of the description that really speak to me… and also, in a large part, explain much of my frustration in the various career paths I’ve pursued thus far…

Architects need not be thought of as only interested in drawing blueprints for buildings or roads or bridges. They are the master designers of all kinds of theoretical systems, including school curricula, corporate strategies, and new technologies. For Architects, the world exists primarily to be analyzed, understood, explained – and re-designed.

External reality in itself is unimportant, little more than raw material to be organized into structural models. What is important for Architects is that they grasp fundamental principles and natural laws, and that their designs are elegant, that is, efficient and coherent.

Architects are rare – maybe one percent of the population – and show the greatest precision in thought and speech of all the types (this specifically is not accurate for me.)

They tend to see distinctions and inconsistencies instantaneously, and can detect contradictions no matter when or where they were made.

It is difficult for an Architect to listen to nonsense, even in a casual conversation, without pointing out the speaker’s error. And in any serious discussion or debate Architects are devastating, their skill in framing arguments giving them an enormous advantage. (Perhaps this would be true if I ever learned to trust myself enough to be in an argument without giving in.)

Architects regard all discussions as a search for understanding, and believe their function is to eliminate inconsistencies, which can make communication with them an uncomfortable experience for many.

Ruthless pragmatists about ideas, and insatiably curious, Architects are driven to find the most efficient means to their ends, and they will learn in any manner and degree they can. They will listen to amateurs if their ideas are useful, and will ignore the experts if theirs are not.

Authority derived from office, credential, or celebrity does not impress them. Architects are interested only in what make sense, and thus only statements that are consistent and coherent carry any weight with them.

Architects often seem difficult to know. They are inclined to be shy except with close friends, and their reserve is difficult to penetrate. Able to concentrate better than any other type, they prefer to work quietly at their computers or drafting tables, and often alone.

Architects also become obsessed with analysis, and this can seem to shut others out. Once caught up in a thought process, Architects close off and persevere until they comprehend the issue in all its complexity.

Architects prize intelligence, and with their grand desire to grasp the structure of the universe, they can seem arrogant and may show impatience with others who have less ability, or who are less driven.

… well, perhaps this describes the true me, if the layer of neuroticism, anxiety and mood swings were removed so I could focus on what I love — truth, simplicity, beauty, elegant design — which often isn’t based on what exists, but what should be.

I’m not sure I’m the architect, but if that IS what I am, then I need to start accepting that and finding the parts of my life where I can be an architect drafting my own plans, instead of the plans of the master draftsman to someone else’s design. I think I get most upset when I feel stuck in the draftsman role instead of architecting my own products.

CAREERS FOR INTPs (I don’t see “marketer” in here. Hmm.)


  • Love theory and abstract ideas
  • Truth Seekers – they want to understand things by analyzing underlying principles and structures
  • Value knowledge and competence above all else
  • Have very high standards for performance, which they apply to themselves
  • Independent and original, possibly eccentric
  • Work best alone, and value autonomy
  • Have no desire to lead or follow
  • Dislike mundane detail
  • Not particularly interested in the practical application of their work
  • Creative and insightful
  • Future-oriented
  • Usually brilliant and ingenius
  • Trust their own insights and opinions above others
  • Live primarily inside their own minds, and may appear to be detached and uninvolved with other people

INTPs have a special gift with generating and analyzing theories and possibilities to prove or disprove them. They have a great deal of insight and are creative thinkers, which allows them to quickly grasp complex abstract thoughts. They also have exceptional logical and rational reasoning skills, which allows them to thoroughly analyze theories to discover the Truth about them. Since the INTP is driven to seek clarity in the world, we have a happy match of desire and ability in this personality type. INTPs will be happiest in careers which allow them a great deal of autonomy in which they can work primarily alone on developing and analyzing complex theories and abstractions, with the goal of their work being the discovery of a truth, rather than the discovery of a practical application.

The following list of professions is built on our impressions of careers which would be especially suitable for an INTP. It is meant to be a starting place, rather than an exhaustive list. There are no guarantees that any or all of the careers listed here would be appropriate for you, or that your best career match is among those listed.

Possible Career Paths for the INTP:

  • Scientists – especially Physics, Chemistry
  • Photographers
  • Strategic Planners
  • Mathematicians
  • University Professors
  • Computer Programmers, Systems Analysts, Computer Animation and Computer Specialists
  • Technical Writers
  • Engineers
  • Lawyers / Attorneys
  • Judges
  • Forensic Research
  • Forestry and Park Rangers


A major concern for INTPs is the haunting sense of impending failure. They spend considerable time second-guessing themselves. The open-endedness (from Perceiving) conjoined with the need for competence (NT) is expressed in a sense that one’s conclusion may well be met by an equally plausible alternative solution, and that, after all, one may very well have overlooked some critical bit of data. An INTP arguing a point may very well be trying to convince himself as much as his opposition. In this way INTPs are markedly different from INTJs, who are much more confident in their competence and willing to act on their convictions.

Damn it, why can’t I be an INTJ? I am so tired of second guessing myself.

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4 thoughts on “Personality Types: What’s INTP Got to Do With It?”

  1. I find it so interesting (and inspiring!) that you have found so much success in the marketing field. Our personality types are somewhat similar and it sounds like we struggle with many of the same things (er, I mean in terms of career frustrations, and personal weaknesses etc).

    I have to admit i often do toy with the idea of possibly trying to move into PR/marketing (the hours! the pay!) but ultimately I just don't know if I'm cut out for it. I think fundamentally I'm geared toward editorial, not achieving business objectives.

    1. There are definitely aspects of marketing that I like. If I take a step back, I see that I really have the power to define the success of a product (regardless of how good that product is) because I'm responsible for architecting the story that sells the product.

      This works well when I 100% believe in the product I'm tasked with marketing. But if there's some discrepancy between the product and what I feel comfortable selling, I get completely stuck.

      I wasn't a great journalist either because I wasn't critical enough — not because I wasn't critical – but because I never felt like I had enough data to fairly judge. So my reporting came off like PR fluff, and I though I'd be good at PR or marketing. Then I found that I'm stuck somewhere in the middle, and the problem is the same on both ends… my quest to have ALL the data before making a decision… or doing anything… but then not doing anything. My brain processes visual information and "interaction" information well, but as far as coming up with stories and actual creativity — honestly — I'm not good at that. I'm an editor, an architect of what exists to design it into something better, but I'm not an artist.

  2. Well, based on your blogs to date…I definitely think that product design/management might be a good fit for you. I have a little experience of dealing with a good one, and his key strengths was being able to take in the needs and constraints of various parties, weigh them and try to create a solution to best satisfy them all.

  3. Interesting… I flip between INTJ and ISTJ depending on my "mood", to the point that no matter which one I am, sometimes it's only 1% in that direction!

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