Ever done a Myers-Briggs personality test? (There is a free one here.)
It came as something of a surprise to me that I came out not only as an introvert, but as an INTJ (or ‘the scientist’, or ‘the strategist’, which is very rare in women). But, it also meant that finally so many things fell into place!
Now I understand why social situations exhaust me, even if I’ve been looking forward to a party or event or seeing a group of friends. I need a lot of alone-time to re-charge. And that’s why I feel so drained today. I had a fun but also a loud and busy weekend.
More than the introversion, some of the other aspects of my personality type were definitely traits about myself I had tried in the past to change or ‘overcome’. (I won’t go into the whole list — if you’re not the same personality type it would probably be boring to read.) Now, rather than feeling guilty, which is never productive, I can acknowledge I’m who I am, I’m wired this way, and try to be aware that certain aspects of my personality are difficult for other types to relate to. It’s helped me be more patient and to have more empathy.
I’m always going to be an INTJ, and for the longest time, I didn’t know that. I thought there was something wrong with me that could be fixed. I thought my low boredom threshold was a lack of self-discipline. (E.g. Even though when I’m doing something I love I can work tirelessly for long, long stretches, I’ve never had the same job more than a few years.)
The interesting thing is that during my reading around personality types, and how that relates to writing, I found a piece of research that has made me feel for the first time, being an INTJ is not a curse.
While only around 2 – 4% of the (US) general population are INTJ (for women, it’s less than 1%), in the writing population around 15% are INTJ! And even more amazing than that, the two rarest personality types (INFJ and INTJ), account for approximately only 5% of the general population, but around 40% of the writing population!
(I should add, the research is not extensive, was carried out online and therefore there are probably some biases.)
It’s taken me a lot of years, but it seems like I’ve finally got it right. I’m home in the quiet today, doing a few jobs around the house, talking myself down to a state of internal calm, getting things around me back into order. When I feel like my mind and external space aren’t so messy, I’ll sit down with my laptop and get back to the fictional world I’m writing about.
For some people, it might seem like a crazy way to spend my days, but for me it’s heavenly.
If, by chance, it turns out you’re a fellow INTJ, I have a Pinterest Board dedicated to infographics and quotes on INTJ’s and writing (it’s been a great resource also for honing in on my writing strengths and weaknesses). There are similar resources for all the other personality types on Pinterest and all over the internet. Have fun!