23 July 2012

Fr. INTJ, or not all astrologers see stars

In what seems like a life-time ago, I took a personality test.  Yes, I have a personality.  And it has been tested.  In fact, it's been tested quite often.  One of my grad school roommates was a psych doctoral student, and he used me as practice for his Measures and Diagnosis seminar.  I've also been through two psych evals during the application process for religious life.

Anyway, this personality test--the Myers-Briggs--indicated that my personality is best described by the initials INTJ.  That stands for something or another that I'm authoritatively told is an unusual type.  

Never paid it much attention until someone recently asked me if I had ever taken the Myers-Briggs.  She wanted to know my type.  I told her.  She giggled (yes, giggled!) and said that she could've won a bet b/c she would've guessed that I am an INTJ.

Needless to say, I had to find out what was so giggle-worthy about INTJ's.  So, to Google I went!

And found among the detritus of the intertubes lots of info on INTJ's.  Apparently, we are a rare breed of arrogant jerks who spend most of our time wandering around inside our heads entertaining ourselves and mostly ignoring social norms.  

My take on all this info is that it's much like a Zodiac sign, though spruced up with psycho-babble and the "astrologers" have Ph.D.'s.  Though I have to say that most of what I found applies to me: loves ideas, books, the Big Picture, averse to displays of emotion, aloof, introverted, low tolerance for B.S., etc.  The negative stuff is pretty true too: blunt, argumentative, hyper-critical, sarcastic, bordering on cynical, etc.  The one thing that doesn't fit me at all:  INTJ's are supposed to be obsessively orderly.  Not me, bubba.

This post really made me laugh b/c so much of it is true for me!  Of course, being a priest, I've learned to temper a lot of the more publicly negative aspects of my personality.  Thank you, Jesus. If I was called into the student master's office it was almost always b/c I had spouted off at table in some ridiculously pompous fashion and one of the sensitive friars took me seriously.  Yes, it was his fault for not having a sense of humor.  (See.  That's how a real INTJ works!).  :-)

BTW, I'm a Gemini in the western Zodiac and a Dragon in the Chinese Zodiac, which means I'm a schizophrenic big mouth who breathes fire.  HA!

BTW2, yes, I'm procrastinating b/c there's packing/unpacking to be done.  Blech.
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26 comments:

  1. Oooh, I'm an INTJ too! As you know, it is objectively the best type. I'm obsessively orderly and everything. :) I really loved reading about the INTJ personality type, as it helped me express in words what I'd always felt about myself. It even made me more tolerant of other people, because I understood more clearly that when other folks are irrational, they're not doing it on purpose-- that's just the personality they were born with.

    Well, Father, no wonder I like your blog.

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    1. Looking back on my seminary days I can see why--though the lens of the M-B stuff--why some of my less "rational" colleagues/brothers thought I was often crass, blunt, etc. Being a religious priest has helped me get a better grip on my more abrasive negatives. . .of course, I had to learn all this on my own, through experience, b/c I wouldn't listen to anyone tell me this stuff! :-)

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  2. Sharon11:44 PM

    INTJ. Fr Powell
    INTJ – 1-4% of the population
    Have original minds and great drive for implementing their ideas and achieving their goals. Quickly see patterns in external events and develop long-range explanatory perspectives. When committed, organize a job and carry it through. Sceptical and independent, have high standards of competence and performance – for themselves and others.

    I am an ISTJ. 11-14% of the population.

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    1. Sharon, I must be a diffferently-abled INTJ, then. :-) I'm a procrastinator, though if it's a truly important job, I'll get it done and on-time. Only 1-4%?? Wow. You'd think we'd have a club or something.

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    2. ISTJ, too... "Trustee" (whatever that means...)

      I remember that everybody and their brother on the blogosphere were posting these tests around 2004/05 from a site called Similar Minds...

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    3. Have you heard of KCI Kolbe Conative Index.... totally explains procrastination. I have a very high level of "quick start" I work best under pressure, fabulous in emergencies, think and adapt on the fly like a genius, but am a procrastinator. I need to have something at stake to stay motivated...a person following me around with a fly swatter and swatting me occasionally to keep me on task would be ideal, hehe :)

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    4. Funny enough, all this led me to have some more fun with these tests, and I found Wikipedia to be much more informative than that Similar Minds site... And I found out that the Kinsley test seems more reliable than the Myers-Briggs. Which turns Fr. INTJ into "Fr. Mastermind Rational".

      I for one much prefer being an "Inspector Guardian" than a "Trustee"... :)

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    5. Shannon! We were separated at birth! Give me a drop-dead deadline or it will never get done. Give me a crisis and I'll fix it. Give me a roomful of hostile teenagers with questions about the Church's teachings of sex and I'll wrangle them. I actually advertised on this blog for someone to sit behind me with a stick while I wrote my thesis in Rome. had lots of takers.

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    6. Matheus, thanks for the link! I'm too squirrely to be a Mastermind. . .maybe an Evil Mastermind if evil is understood as messy/chaotic.

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  3. I'm INTJ and so is my son. When he was filling in the questionnaire he turned to me and said "I understand what empathy is, I just don't see the point of it". He's twelve. My seminary dean said I had a "cerebral propensity and a shallow joviality".

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    1. LOL! Being empathetic--as you know--is important unless you don't want to be a sociopath. It's possible, I think, to be empathetic w/o being an emotional wreck all the time. "Being pastoral" is often thought of as pure empathy. . .that's just wrong. Who can function that way?

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  4. There has been recent research suggesting that our subjective assessments of our personalities are flawed because we have a conscious persona and another persona controlled by our "adaptive unconscious" which controls most of our actual behavior. One study suggested strangers are better at describing our personality and predicting our behavior than we are. I have taken the mbti multiple times and sometimes I am intj and sometimes infp. I am also an astrologer... To me it is a way to tap into that unconscious part as it provokes one to see themselves from a variety of angles (both geometric and mythological) . I guess I am wearing my intj hat today, lol!

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    1. An INTJ astrologer??? Wow. Now, I've heard it all!

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  5. As an INTP, I must protest. The MB is not at all like astrology. All astrology needs to know is your birth time and place and voila, there you are. MB is based on testing, asking you about yourself. It may be limited to your self-knowledge, but the character type is based on data, not fate. Maybe if you think of it as a descendant of the four medieval humors you might like it more!

    I have found it useful in couples counseling. It can turn what mates think is some kind of inimical flaw in their partner into a propensity for interpretation and action no more threatening than being left-handed.

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  6. I swing back and forth between INTJ and INTP, both of which are unusual as I understand.

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  7. I am an INTJ as is most of my family, including my dad, all my siblings, their children and my children. I think we are responsible for the .4%. My daughter has used this to explain to others how she thinks, learns and acts. It has worked really well for her when starting a new job or when doing group work when she was getting her degree. she agrees it isn't perfect and a little like astrology but has found it a helpful reference tool, they can search the internet like you did and see she isn't anti-social. She also has used this interviews to explain the advantages she brings to a job. I have learned to follow her lead. When I was in college and learned this, it helped explain why I didn't for the most part get other girls when I was in high school, and being at an all girls high school this was hard.

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    1. It has certainly been useful to me in sorting a variety of apparently unrelated personality traits. For example, how can an introvert be a preacher? How can a rational person be a poet? In religious life, being an INTJ type is difficult b/c a majority of us are very much ruled by emotion. I get sick of being told that how we feel should be 90% of the decision-making process. That horrible decisions are constantly being made with disastrous results seems not to deter this way of thinking at all.

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    2. But one of the useful things I found about these theories is exactly that their definition of introvert/extrovert differs quite radically from the common stereotype ("extroverts like people; introverts don't") and doesn't necessarily has to do with social skills (from Wikipedia):

      "People who prefer extraversion draw energy from action: they tend to act, then reflect, then act further. If they are inactive, their motivation tends to decline. To rebuild their energy, extraverts need breaks from time spent in reflection. Conversely, those who prefer introversion expend energy through action: they prefer to reflect, then act, then reflect again. To rebuild their energy, introverts need quiet time alone, away from activity."

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  8. They say we are masterminds. :)
    I too agree that it is the best type :P

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  9. I don't know how you remember that nonsense. I don't remember my Myers-Briggs, except that I came out two opposites meaning I drive myself crazy (everyone else, too). I never remember what Chinese year I was born, except that it was some disgusting animal. My zodiac sign never fit; I seem to be on the cusp, or waning, or whatever. I even did the enneagram but it was too complicated; I forgot what I had figured out the previous class, so spent the workshop lost in space.
    So when people talk about personality types, my eyes glaze over.

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    1. Faith, I remember it b/c back in 1985 I applied to be a dorm RA. We took the M-B as a way of getting a grip on our leadership skills. Of the 300 people there, I was the only INTJ. The admin people made a big deal about it and I was appt'ed as the chair of the housing dept.'s judicial cmte. In seminary, everyone wanted to use the Ennegram and I refused. They said, "He must be an INTJ." Sigh.

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  10. I oscillate between INTJ and INTP depending on the day, but more often than not I fall on the J side of things. It makes me an anomaly in "youth ministry" work.

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  11. All us introverts gathering together! I chuckle at this thread - my mother went back to college when I was a teenager and had to take a tests and measurements class for her education degree, so I was subjected to every IQ and personality and whateverothertest was out there at the time. Since we're all sharing :-), I'm either INTJ or ISTJ: I split pretty evenly between the S/N - no wonder I'm always confused!! But always 100% "I", and strongly T & J. Yea!! I fit in somewhere.

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    1. So Shelly gets the "best of both worlds" between this humble Inspector and Fr. Mastermind...

      Yay, indeed...Hurray for us introverts... :)

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  12. Beneficial information about astrology. Thanks for sharing this interesting website which provid very valuable knowledge of astrologers predictions very honestly.

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