Although the Myers-Briggs assessment has fallen out of favor for the Big 5, I’ve derived a lot of personal insight from knowing I’m an INTJ. In recent days I’ve found myself revisiting the nuances of my type in order to understand how I cope with stress.
I think my listening and problem-solving skills, combined with cool and detached judiciousness, allow me to be an effective communicator. I find it difficult to sympathize with people, but that doesn’t mean I don’t understand why they feel the way they do; I aim to see their unspoken motivations. I believe these habits manifest in my creative writing, where my character drama is often driven by an inability to simply say what’s on one’s mind. Most conflict boils down to self-preservation, and the miscommunication and disagreements that arise from it. I’m not a Buddhist but Siddhartha was onto something.
My days are consumed with communication at home, at work, and then in my creative pursuits. Paradoxically, INTJ can excel in social settings but not without expending massive amounts of energy. I get so tired after speaking for lengthy intervals. I tell my coworkers that I’m the laziest person at the job, but much of that lethargy is rooted in emotional fatigue. It’s no wonder I wish for a world where my only task is to study, write, and think–which sounds a lot like my undergrad years.
Life is full of stress, and it arguably derives meaning from it. Heaven cannot be reached without overcoming sin. Nirvana cannot be achieved without conquering desire. Evolution does not occur without variation. The INTJ, by this logic, only finds happiness if forced to confront the world on its own terms. I could not become a good communicator if my life wasn’t consumed by conflict. All that I write would be vapid and shallow if not for my experiences with violence and sorrow. INTJ tend to lack a certain emotional maturity because we ignore our feelings in favor of a worldview masking itself as “realism” and “objectivity.” But if I pretend stress, and the feelings it produces, are but immeasurable errors in the weave of pure logic, then I deprive myself of a holistic understanding of the world and of myself.
Would I need to understand myself better in a world where stress didn’t exist? I don’t think so. And I would save myself a lot of energy if I didn’t have to communicate at all. I write, then, to study the things that cause me to expend energy, and to learn how to process them with greater efficiency. I wonder if that’s all creative writing is meant to do.