My personality type falls into the Introverted Intuitives group. I’m an INTJ. It’s a way of thinking that I’ve had all my life, and influences how I see the world. My mind rather easily pieces together patterns and impressions which help me to predict what will happen in the future. The future is sometimes just the next 10 seconds and other times decades down the road.
When I share my thoughts with others it can often seem outlandish or even mystical. If you are not an introverted intuitive then it can be hard to understand how those connections are being made. I get a lot of skeptical looks. Especially from my wife.
Here is a great description from psychologyjunkie:
Introverted Intuitives (INFJs, INTJs, ENFJs, ENTJs) form long-term conclusions and strategies for how things will most likely play out. They think visually, using many abstract symbols to make sense of their perceptions. Their future insights are often uncannily accurate. Their ideas often come to them “out of the blue” and are usually internalized, unlike Ne which is stimulated by the outer world and is more externalized. Introverted Intuition has less breadth than Extraverted Intuition, but more depth.
Out of the blue is a good way to describe it. Most of the time I have a vague idea of why the conclusion is reached, but it’s not always in a way I can put into words. Other times I’m really not sure where the idea came from. Much like waking with a song stuck in your head. Where did that come from? Who knows. I really don’t think too much about where it came from and just appreciate the new idea.
However I am regularly grilled by introverted sensors over how the idea came to be. They require a solid historical example of how something could’ve happened, and they have a keen memory to debate every point which I can’t fully articulate. I know this because my wife does this to me so often I have stopped engaging her with big ideas unless I can fully explain it.
Generally, I walk around in a world of probability. I even talk this way to myself when making decisions. In every action there is a probability of any number of reactions. My intuition often guides me to see those next steps, and even the next several steps, ranking them by likely probability. Often there are many forks to consider and then reconsider at lower levels.
I love going through the process, and frankly I can’t turn it off. I can only choose if I share. With any project I end up with plans, backup plans, and backup backup plans. Most of which never occur, but cover all the top probable outcomes. There are times when I appear to adapt quite quickly to complex changing situations, but usually those adaptations were preplanned in my mind.
Take driving for example. As I’m driving down the road I am constantly analyzing other drivers to predict their next move. Not just the drivers around me, but those 5 cars ahead of me, too. Honestly I can’t tell you all the data that goes into these decisions. But there are times when I know that a driver will be soon trying to merge this way or that. A driver will be heading in a particular direction or maybe driving faster or slower than average. I will then adjust myself accordingly. I do the same mental excercise when my wife is driving, but she argues with me about it constantly! Even though I’m right most of the time. She reacts to what she sees in the moment, and I react to what I predict will be the next moment.
Again it’s a probability. I’m not always right, but it’s rare that I’m massively wrong. Usually it’s just a level of detail I get wrong.
Another way to think of it is with the game of pool. If most people can see a straight shot or even a simple bank shot, I can often see a double bank shot to sink three balls. It’s just part of introverted intuition, and I’m sure many other INTJs know what I’m talking about.
The hardest part can be describing how you reached those conclusions to people who doubt you. My wife is my biggest doubter. I’m always finding these connections between things and explaining them to her. Things about why people act a certain way, and the little things that could make a big difference. She argues with me about every one of them. Often I’m using this skill to help her, but it doesn’t matter.
The thing is, I’m very good at it, and have used it successfully to help people many times. I love helping people. My wife will often say that she doesn’t know anyone who looks at the world and sees things the way I do. But when I try to use that skill to help her she rejects it.
The main reason she rejects it is because she does not understand it. My wife is a very literal person, and she must see things directly. She does not see the double bank shot. Therefore it cannot exist. Regardless of how I try to explain it, and to be honest I’m not always great at explaining it. That doesn’t make what I’m saying incorrect through.
My wife also has a very naive view of human behavior. Essentially everyone is like her, and has the same drivers she has. She can’t really fathom all the ways different people react to things. I am constantly explaining to her other explanations of why people might be acting the way they are. It frustrates her to no end.
With my friends, and with Meredith especially, they love this skill and we can often talk for hours about theories and different probable future events. There is no animosity over what I propose as a solution nor a need for detailed analysis on how I got there. They accept that I am smart, and know what I’m talking about. Then we can talk about the results rather than the process.
Meredith was such a breath of fresh air in that regard. She was struggling with many varied things over the years, and she loved talking it out with me and hearing what crazy ideas I had about it. Though she knew they would be unique she also knew they would be pretty accurate – usually.