In a world filled with unique individuals, when it comes to personality there are only four different temperaments and 16 types of people. Understanding these personality types and mastering your own can be the keys to achieving your goals.
Your temperament is the Rational. Rationals (NTs) are rare, making up no more than 5 to 10 percent of the population. But because of their drive to unlock the secrets of nature and to develop new technologies, they have done much to shape the world. Your particular personality type, the Mastermind (INTJ), is even scarcer. Individuals of your type make up little more than 2-3% of the total population.
There are four types of Rationals (NTs): Field Marshals, Masterminds, Inventors, and Architects. These four personality types share several core characteristics. Firstly, Rationals are pragmatic people who tend to excel in problem-solving and analytical thinking. MORE >>
Not only are Masterminds like you rare, but someone once joked that individuals of your type are scarcely encountered outside of professional settings. They must have been referring to Masterminds' skills as expert thinkers and strategists. Indeed, you can bring a great deal of value to an office, factory, school, or laboratory. MORE >>
Because you can be curious and imaginative, you're usually happy when work allows you the opportunity to explore the universe of ideas. You're not usually one to seek out leadership positions in an organization and often prefer independent work to teamwork. MORE >>
Your Scale Scores
In love, you're likely to seek an intelligent, responsible partner who can bring out your lighter side. An orderly life is important to you, but that doesn't mean that you can't also be unconventional. MORE >>
Find out which well-known individuals are INTJs just like you. MORE >>
The letter names of the sixteen personality types (INTJ, for example) are based on four letter pairings that represent David Keirsey's dimensions of personality. Each pair of letters defines a different aspect of personality. Together they create a detailed picture of a unique type of individual. MORE >>
About Your Rational Temperament
Rationals are ingenious, independent people who can be both strong-willed and skeptical. Typically focused on the world of ideas, Rationals spend much of their time and energy understanding how things work. Known for being strategic leaders and skilled thinkers, Rationals are generally even-tempered, goal-oriented individuals who yearn for achievement and accomplishment. People of this temperament can make both reasonable mates and effective parents. Indeed they can be the kinds of mentors that can help their children gain confidence and independence. Valuing logic and pragmatism above almost all else, Rationals can sometimes seem cold and distant to others. It's not that they don't care about the people around them. It's simply that they're more oriented toward ingenuity and results, than toward interpersonal exploration.
Being a Mastermind (INTJ)
All Rationals are solid planners, but Masterminds are head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to complex operations planning. Your type seems to have an innate ability to grasp a project's necessary progression and understand how each step leads to the next. You can also be first-rate when it comes to anticipating potential difficulties and preparing alternatives. By trying to imagine every contingency, you'll almost never set off on a project without a more than one plan in mind. If Plan A fails, you'll move directly along to Plan B.
Although your combination of big picture thinking and detail-oriented skills can make you a highly capable leader, you may not always be eager to take command. Most times you'll prefer to stay in the background until it's been demonstrated that you're the only person who's equal to the task. Once you do agree to take charge, your kind is thoroughly pragmatic. Masterminds understand that efficiency is indispensable in a well-run organization. In fact, if you encounter inefficiency, you can be quick to realign operations and reassign personnel. Whether at work or in your personal life, you're not the type to feel bound by established rules or traditional procedures. Nor are you easily impressed by flashy trends or new buzzwords. The only ideas that you'll adopt in your own life or accept from others are those that truly make sense to you. Sometimes this decisiveness can come off as being a bit harsh, but often you're willing to risk that for the sake of efficiency.
In your career, your hard work and dedication to achieving goals are likely to be rewarded. Masterminds in professional settings often rise to positions of responsibility. Once in such a position, you'll likely continue your goal-oriented ways, sparing neither your own time and effort nor that of your colleagues and employees. As a result, coworkers will likely come to know you as one who is highly effective, but who can also be a taskmaster at times. However, this doesn't mean that you're an ogre. Part of being effective means understanding that people work best when they feel good about what they're doing. In most situations, you'll verbalize the positive and avoid the negative; you're more interested in moving things forward than dwelling on mistakes of the past.
Problem solving can be highly stimulating to Masterminds. So if there's a puzzle or tangled system that needs sorting out, you'll probably be eager to take it on. Decisions often come easily to you. In fact, at times you may hardly be able to rest until you have things settled and decided. However, even your quicker decisions are often based on some kind of research. You're part of a highly theoretical group, one which often insists on looking at all available data before embracing an idea or plan. You may find yourself suspicious of any statement that is either based on shoddy research or not checked against reality. In addition to these traits, it's interesting to note that Masterminds tend to be much more certain and self-confident than other Rationals. Although you may not think about it often, you likely have a well-developed strong will of your own that you put to use regularly.
Work and Career
In your ideal work environment, your superiors would create a structure, provide you with resources, set some general expectations, and let you loose. Like other "creatives" (scientists, computer engineers and even writers and designers), you're apt to do your best work in situations where you can work autonomously and deliver finished products, rather having to constantly check in or collaborate with others.
Like other Rationals, you are wired to acquire competence and intelligence. As a result, you tend to thrive in intellectually stimulating, innovative work environments where you can be recognized for your expertise.
At Work with the Four Temperaments
At Work with Artisans: Artisans (SPs) are wired to seize freedom and spontaneity. They hunger for the liberty to act on their impulses, to play, and to create. They make up about 35% of the population.
In business, Artisans are crisis managers and troubleshooters. They can be expert at solving problems and doing what is necessary, whether they are expressly permitted to or not. They are practical, resourceful, flexible, and risk-taking individuals. Coworkers are apt to enjoy their creativity and verbal wit, but may perceive Artisans as indecisive or even as troublemakers.
At Work with Guardians: Guardians (SJs) are wired to seek belonging to a group or community. They often stabilize relationships and institutions through their responsible, conventional behavior. They make up about 40-45% of the population.
At work, Guardians tend to be administrators and managers. They can be expert at doing what needs to be done, and in the manner is must be done. They are dependable, accountable, realistic, and service-oriented. Coworkers likely appreciate their desire to belong and contribute, but may perceive Guardians as being either slave drivers or sticks-in-the-mud.
At Work with Rationals: Rationals (NTs) are wired to acquire competence and intelligence. Ordinarily, they strive to learn, know, predict, and control the resources and ideas in their environment. They make up less than 10% of the population.
In the workplace, Rationals are often the researchers and strategists. They can be expert at conceptualizing and seeing the big picture, as well as architecting and implementing the necessary systems. They are logical, precise independent individuals who usually are responsive to new ideas. Coworkers often appreciate their ingenuity and competence, but may perceive Rationals as being impersonal and not good with follow-through.
At Work with Idealists: Idealists (NFs) are wired to pursue personal growth, authenticity, and integrity. They can yearn both to develop fully as individuals and to facilitate growth in others. Idealists make up little more than 15% of the population.
In work environments, Idealists are usually positive, helpful, and people-oriented. They can be expert at dealing with the human resource concerns of an organization, whether these issues are part of their job description or not. Idealists are warm, idealistic, caring individuals. Coworkers are apt to appreciate their authenticity and loyalty to the human side of the business, but may perceive Idealists as not being effective enough or even of being flaky.
Tips to Help You Find the Right Workplace
Rationals tend to be about as satisfied in their work as their intuitive counterparts the Idealists. About 75% are satisfied in their present jobs. However in contrast to the Idealists, Rationals seem to base a great deal of their satisfaction on being provided both challenging work and flexible hours. In addition, their satisfaction was driven by like company-sponsored beer on Fridays, pets allowed in the workplace, and stock options. Rationals tend to have a wide set of interests. So although they appreciate, and even demand, a challenge at work, most Rationals also need time to play at their own outside interests.
Did you know that Sir Isaac Newton and author/philosopher Ayn Rand were both INTJs too? It's not so surprising when you think about it. A brilliant scientist and mathematician, Newton not only devised calculus but invented dynamics as well. He also showed himself to be a Mastermind because he was not one to suffer fools gladly. For her part as a Mastermind, Ayn Rand was one of the strongest advocates for reason in modern times. Her renowned literary work, "The Fountainhead," is based on rational precepts and her own theory of Objectivism.
In Keirsey's Temperament Sorter, there are 4 question scales used to detect one's behavioral preferences. The scales are E-I, S-N, T-F, and P-J. No single letter should be taken as naming a "type" of person. For example, you should not label yourself or others as "Expressives" or "E's". Each letter merely suggests stronger or weaker tendencies in a person's overall makeup, and the letters are not factors independent of each other. The pairs of letters indicate the following opposite qualities:
Expressive people tend to talk and do first, more than listen and react to others. People who are strongly Expressive are typically more comfortable socializing with groups than being alone. They often report that they are energized by contact with other people. These individuals usually have a large circle of friends and are happy to approach others, even strangers, to talk. For people who are strongly Expressive, social banter is usually an easy and pleasant thing. Interaction is something that makes them feel alive. As a result, too much quiet and seclusion can actually exhaust such persons; they tend to report feelings of loneliness or power drain when not in contact with others.
On the other hand, Attentive people tend to listen and react first, rather than talk and do. People who tend toward Attentiveness often seem more comfortable alone than in a crowd. They tend to draw energy from private, solitary activities, including reading, listening to music, and working by themselves on their latest project or favorite hobby. Attentive people usually have a few, long-time friends, and can remain in contact with larger groups only so long before their energies are depleted. If their job, family, or social responsibilities require them to be outgoing or take center stage, they can soon become exhausted and need down time in quiet places to rest and recharge their batteries.
Remember, however, that no one is simply an "Expressive" type or an "Attentive" type. These terms are merely end points on the E-I preference scale, with most everyone falling somewhere in between. Most individuals embody a mixture of these two social styles. Also, different tasks or roles at work or in the family can bring out more Expressive or Attentive behavior in a person. This dimension of personality, more than the other three scales is fluid and situational.
The Observant/Introspective (S-N) preference scale on the Keirsey Temperament Sorter differentiates between two distinct kinds of human focus. People with high Observant scores tend to pay more attention to what is going on outside themselves in the world of concrete things, whereas people with high Introspective preference scores pay more attention to what is going on inside themselves in the abstract world of ideas. The S-N scale measures the most fundamental of the four dimensions of personality.
Observant people make up the majority of the population -- upwards of 65%. These people seem more at home in the material world, where they spend their time looking after the business of everyday living: food and clothing, transportation and shelter, job and family, recreation and social life. With their eye on physical realities, they tend to see all the particulars of what is right in front of them. They typically focus on what is happening in the here-and-now, or what has happened in the past, rather than speculating about future possibilities. These are practical, down-to-earth people who want facts, trust facts, and remember facts. They believe in common sense and usually trust that experience is the best teacher.
In contrast, people who are strongly introspective seem more at home in the abstract, conceptual world of ideas. Introspective people deal in inferences, theories, musings, speculations, and symbols -- things that can only be seen with the mind's eye. In fact, because they are so often focused on their internal world, these individuals can sometimes miss a great deal of what is going on around them. For highly introspective people, reality is not a solid, present thing, but is more a mental image or a stage of development toward some future ideal. The possible almost always looms large for Introspective people: whatever "is" can be better. They can be fascinated by hypotheses and potentials. They are also often absorbed by their vivid and complex imaginations.
No one can introspect and observe at the same time. However, this delineation does not mean that being Introspective or Observant is an "either-or" proposition. Since neither type can occupy both worlds at once, each person will usually show a clear preference for one. Introspective individuals certainly turn outward at times and pay attention to the world at large; they are just far more inclined to become preoccupied with their own ideas. So too, Observant people do sometimes look inward to ponder and to dream. However, for the most part, real world observation tends to dominate their flights of imagination.
The Tough-Minded/Friendly (T-F) preference scale indicates how people govern themselves and make decisions. Everyone can be both tough-minded and friendly. However those who score high on Tough-Mindedness tend to use their head more when making choices, while those scoring high on Friendliness tend to follow their hearts.
People falling on the Tough-Minded end of the scale tend to be more comfortable basing their actions on impersonal, objective factors. Tough-Minded people can be critical and exacting, both with themselves and others. They are often convinced only by hard data and sound reasoning. Individuals who scored highly Tough-Minded tend to be frank and straightforward. They are the kind of people who are usually willing to speak their minds and stick to their opinions, even if it causes conflict with others. They are known for being tough-minded in their decisions, preferring to keep emotions and desires out of the process as much as possible. Tough-Minded types do have powerful feelings, but a strong show of emotion can embarrasses them. As a result, they'll usually keep their feelings in check rather than appearing to lose self-control, even at the risk of seeming hard-nosed or cold.
In contrast, people on the Friendly end of the scale are typically more comfortable basing their actions on personal, emotional factors. When considering their course, this type will consult their feelings first and will almost always show concern for others. For the most part, these individuals are sympathetic and sentimental. As a result, many times they can be swayed by powerful desire or a touching appeal. Friendly people tend to be softhearted when making decisions. They do not like to hurt anyone's feelings. It is not that Friendly individuals necessarily have more or deeper emotions than those on the Tough-Minded end of the scale; they simply let their feelings show more easily. This tendency makes them seem warmer and friendlier, which in turn can give them an easier time getting along with others.
The Probing/Scheduled (P-J) preference scale indicates how people handle decision-making. Those who score high on Scheduling tend to make up their minds quickly and commit to schedules, while those scoring high on Probing prefer to keep their options open and their timetables flexible.
People strong in Scheduling waste no time forming opinions or drawing conclusions. They often report feeling a sense of urgency until a decision is made, and can rest only after everything is settled. Closure and finality are important to these individuals, as is orderly procedure. As a result, they can be quick to make schedules, agendas, or timetables for themselves and others to follow. People strong in Scheduling will establish deadlines and take them seriously, expecting others will do the same. They're usually comfortable with routines and can be willing to do all sorts of maintenance and cleaning up after a task, feeling that these are necessary steps for a job's completion. They usually feel unhappy or unsettled when their personal space is a mess. Straightening things up is often near the top of their list.
For their part, people given to Probing keep their eyes open to what is around them, gathering information and looking for opportunities and alternatives that might be available. They usually feel no hurry to nail things down or settle on a finished product. Instead, they tend to prefer to keep their options open. These individuals are often playful and spontaneous in action. Schedules can make them feel hurried and over-controlled; they tend to look upon deadlines as mere reminders to get on with the job. Also, people high in Probing prefer their work to be enjoyable and meaningful. If a task of routine maintenance or clean up falls to them, they may balk at doing it, or may leave it to someone else. Easy-going, even somewhat impulsive, these people are usually quite tolerant of mess. Their personal spaces are often cluttered with an assortment of things they've picked up, used, then dropped and forgotten about.
What is temperament?
There are two sides to personality: One is temperament and the other is character. Temperament is a set of inclinations we are born with, while character is a set of habits we acquire as we grow and mature. Character is disposition, developed over a lifetime; temperament is predisposition, hardwired in from birth. Thus, those of the Artisan temperament are predisposed to impulsive action, those of the Guardian temperament to responsible service, those of the Idealist temperament to personal development, and those of the Rational temperament to objective analysis. Each type of person, unless blocked or deflected by an unfavorable environment, will develop the habits of character appropriate to his or her temperament.
Put another way, our brain is a sort of computer that has temperament for its hardware and character for its software. Our hardware is the physical base of our personality, placing on each of us an unmistakable temperament signature, some facets of which can be observed from a very early age. Our software on the other hand, is made up of our individual experience and social environment -- the forces around us that, with time and occasion, give shape to our individual character.
Thus temperament is the inborn form of human nature and character is the emergent form that develops through the interaction of temperament and environment. Personality, your unique personal style, is a combination of the two.
Fundamentally, the Temperament Sorter helps you to do two things: Understand your own temperament, and gain insight to other peoples'. Possessing this valuable knowledge of human nature can have a variety of far-reaching effects on your life.
In the work world, being savvy about your temperament can lead you to a clearer understanding of your natural role and functions within an organization. It can also help you better capitalize on your personal strengths to build your success. By comprehending your coworkers' temperaments and how each temperament relates, you can begin to master your interactions with supervisors and staff. In addition, being able to interpret others' innate styles can help you to meet their implicit expectations, as well as increasing your own leadership abilities.
In your personal life, being knowledgeable about temperament can help you build strong, lasting ties with others. This is true because it aids you in anticipating your loved ones' needs and respecting their different ways of dealing with life. When you are responsive to others, you will naturally be looked upon as dependable, responsible, helpful, and empathetic. These are all wonderful qualities to bring to your personal relationships. In addition, coming to terms with your own temperament and innate tendencies can bring new levels of wisdom and self-knowledge to all of your interactions, as well as identifying how your particular temperament impacts and influences others.
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