Imagination within the Lines: The Dilemma of Intuitive, Judging Personality Types

Kyle 1 week ago 6 comments

One of the things we do here is help every personality type achieve personal growth. But that can mean different things. For some, it might be an aha moment where they discover something about themselves, and for others, it might mean consciously changing. But self-awareness and growth can be elusive, because the way we are seems normal to us.

Take us Judging personality types, for example (I’m an INTJ), who typically prioritize things like order, structure, boundaries, and certainty more than Prospecting personalities do. Every trait has potential downsides, and the Judging trait can sometimes be associated with rigid thinking and resistance to change. In pursuit of personal growth, it’s valuable to investigate what might limit us – but how we express one trait has a lot to do with our other traits.

That includes the Intuitive trait, which is often associated with fanciful imagination, abstract thinking, and visionary creativity. Kind of seems at odds with that Judging trait in some ways, eh? But Architect (INTJ), Advocate (INFJ), Commander (ENTJ), and Protagonist (ENFJ) personality types have both of these traits. Maybe that’s a good thing. I think it can help us find balance and grow as individuals.

What, you want stats? Okay, I’ll give one example of a growth opportunity. Intuitive personality types – Analysts and Diplomats – are often vaunted for their innovation, creativity, and problem-solving. Looking closer, 66% of Intuitive types with the Prospecting trait agreed that they thrive on day-to-day uncertainty, versus 37% of Intuitive types with the Judging trait. Lack of adaptability could hold us back, my fellow _N_Js. Could we evolve a bit?

Let’s think about how we might keep our minds free-flowing and our abilities advancing.

Potential Blockage: Being Course-Locked

When it comes to composing a plan, Intuitive, Judging types can be very creative. The courses of action they devise and their style of thinking itself can be quite novel and imaginative. But compared to some, these personalities have a harder time changing once they set their minds on a plan. The course they take may be inspired, yet they can still get stuck on it, even when it’s not working well or when unforeseen factors render it less effective – or unwise.

A troubling additional factor is that such behavior can be fed by either confidence or insecurity, which often relates to Identity – whether we are Assertive or Turbulent. On one hand, we _N_Js might be so sure of ourselves that we resist change, ignoring obstacles until we crash. On the other hand, we might be so afraid to rock the boat that we won’t steer it somewhere new.

Personal Growth Idea: Preset Reevaluation Waypoints

Frequent change can seem stressful or inefficient to Intuitive, Judging personality types, so you’ll benefit from periods of focused action that follow a preconceived plan. Achieving things you’ve set out to do, as you’ve envisioned doing them, can be very energizing, helping you make progress and feel good. Allow yourself to put your head down and follow the plan – for judicious periods. But you’ll likely achieve greater success by also planning to pause along the way and adjust what you’re doing.

Use such moments to look at things anew, to soberly ask yourself (and other wise, trusted people) how things are going, and most of all, to reevaluate and update your plan. You may have to push yourself to make needed course corrections, but consider this: unforeseen problems are less likely to ambush you if you seek them out. Instead of seeing your plan as a sacred creation to be defended, you can actively improve it.

Practical tip: When planning anything, decide when and where the evaluation and modification waypoints will be, or what will trigger them. They can be linked to a time, place, or occurrence. Including such midcourse adaptation as part of any plan can eventually teach you to adapt to sudden changes with less stress or frustration.

Potential Blockage: Imagination Cementing Belief

The imaginative style of thinking that we associate with the Intuitive trait has a problematic aspect – it has no inherent, objective regulation. Intuitive personalities can believe whatever they want to. Add the desire for certainty that’s associated with the Judging trait, and questionable narratives and beliefs may take hold, often deepening personal biases. Opinions can seem like facts, possibilities can seem like certainties, and hopes and fears can exert too much influence on choices.

And we _N_Js can be stubborn about what we believe. The power of imagination can be used to justify and defend a mistaken position or perception just as easily as it can be used to seek enlightening truth. Everyone wants to believe that they’re right, but it’s impossible to be right all the time.

Personal Growth Idea: Test Your Certainty

With your Intuitive personality trait, you’re more than capable of playing devil’s advocate against your own conclusions by asking, “What if I’m wrong? Isn’t it worth investigating this other thing, in case it’s really awesome?” Having passionate beliefs can be good, but the more certain and unchanging they are, the more you should question them. Why?

Because the world itself changes, and you’re constantly being exposed to new information and opportunities. Using your imagination to defend your views is okay (you’re entitled to an opinion), but don’t let it be all that you do. Investigate possibilities and examine new ideas in a positive light – or at least, in an objective way. Reality persists despite what you believe, so make sure your beliefs serve you well in the real world, not just in your own mind.

Practical tip: Insist on proving how your beliefs benefit you in life – you get to define “benefit,” so be fair and honest with yourself. Whether it’s an investment strategy or how you feel about someone, examine whether a belief truly makes your life better, happier, healthier, etc. Can you prove it? (And as in the previous section, feel free to ask others who have your best interests in mind what they think.)


I have Intuitive, Prospecting friends and family who always seem to be reimagining life, happy to live in a semifluid state. That’s not for me. My mind often says, “That doesn’t need to be changed right now, so let’s preserve it.” And yet, I also know what it’s like to be gripped by imagination or even outright fancy. Then, my Judging personality trait pushes me to attempt to reshape reality to fit my vision – even if it’s unrealistic.

So yeah, I know what it’s like to resist change, and that’s okay, because sometimes it’s wise to hold fast – not all change is good. And I also know what it’s like to be a dreamer, to want to ignore limitations and chase something improbable. Or to just get lost in my own ideas.

To me, it seems as if the Judging trait sort of regulates when and how the Intuitive trait plays out, and that can be helpful. Intuitive imagination creates a vision, and the Judging trait lends it durability and definition. The Judging trait can boost willpower to make one’s vision more likely to come true. But if that vision is mistaken or unhelpful, this personality trait can sometimes be a hurdle that we _N_Js must leap over to get back into a free-thinking mode that lets us make progress.

If you’re an _N_J, how do your Intuitive and Judging traits interact, and how has it affected your life? Let us know in the comments below!

Further Reading

  • Our Premium Profiles offer a detailed road map for personal growth, as well as deeper insights into how your personality type affects many areas of life, from your career to romance.
  • Hey Intuitive personality types, are you looking for inspiration? Check out our articles on finding your life purpose, whether you’re an Analyst or a Diplomat.
  • Want to learn more about your personality type? Try a keyword search among our articles.

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