INTP Personality (“The Logician”)

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.

Albert Einstein

The INTP personality type is fairly rare, making up only three percent of the population, which is definitely a good thing for them, as there’s nothing they’d be more unhappy about than being "common". INTPs pride themselves on their inventiveness and creativity, their unique perspective and vigorous intellect. Usually known as the philosopher, the architect, or the dreamy professor, INTPs have been responsible for many scientific discoveries throughout history.

The Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living

INTPs are known for their brilliant theories and unrelenting logic – in fact, they are considered the most logically precise of all the personality types.

They love patterns, and spotting discrepancies between statements could almost be described as a hobby, making it a bad idea to lie to an INTP. This makes it ironic that INTPs’ word should always be taken with a grain of salt – it’s not that they are dishonest, but people with the INTP personality type tend to share thoughts that are not fully developed, using others as a sounding board for ideas and theories in a debate against themselves rather than as actual conversation partners.

This may make them appear unreliable, but in reality no one is more enthusiastic and capable of spotting a problem, drilling through the endless factors and details that encompass the issue and developing a unique and viable solution than INTPs – just don’t expect punctual progress reports. People who share the INTP personality type aren’t interested in practical, day-to-day activities and maintenance, but when they find an environment where their creative genius and potential can be expressed, there is no limit to the time and energy INTPs will expend in developing an insightful and unbiased solution.

INTP personality

Wisdom Begins in Wonder

They may appear to drift about in an unending daydream, but INTPs’ thought process is unceasing, and their minds buzz with ideas from the moment they wake up. This constant thinking can have the effect of making them look pensive and detached, as they are often conducting full-fledged debates in their own heads, but really INTPs are quite relaxed and friendly when they are with people they know, or who share their interests. However, this can be replaced by overwhelming shyness when INTP personalities are among unfamiliar faces, and friendly banter can quickly become combative if they believe their logical conclusions or theories are being criticized.

When INTPs are particularly excited, the conversation can border on incoherence as they try to explain the daisy-chain of logical conclusions that led to the formation of their latest idea. Oftentimes, INTPs will opt to simply move on from a topic before it’s ever understood what they were trying to say, rather than try to lay things out in plain terms.

The reverse can also be true when people explain their thought processes to INTPs in terms of subjectivity and feeling. Imagine an immensely complicated clockwork, taking in every fact and idea possible, processing them with a heavy dose of creative reasoning and returning the most logically sound results available – this is how the INTP mind works, and this type has little tolerance for an emotional monkey-wrench jamming their machines.

Let Those Who Would Move the World First Move Themselves

Further, with Thinking (T) as one of their governing traits, INTPs are unlikely to understand emotional complaints at all, and their friends won’t find a bedrock of emotional support in them. People with the INTP personality type would much rather make a series of logical suggestions for how to resolve the underlying issue, a perspective that is not always welcomed by their Feeling (F) companions. This will likely extend to most social conventions and goals as well, like planning dinners and getting married, as INTPs are far more concerned with originality and efficient results.

The one thing that really holds INTPs back is their restless and pervasive fear of failure. INTP personalities are so prone to reassessing their own thoughts and theories, worrying that they’ve missed some critical piece of the puzzle, that they can stagnate, lost in an intangible world where their thoughts are never truly applied. Overcoming this self-doubt stands as the greatest challenge INTPs are likely to face, but the intellectual gifts – big and small – bestowed on the world when they do makes it worth the fight.

Logicians You May Know

5 years ago
I wonder if anyone else is an artist and an INTP and finds the combination difficult. The "fear of failure" thing is true and can lead to a goal of perfectionism -- the nemesis of creativity. I'm trying to get over myself, though.
4 years ago
Same here, I am an INTP musician and it does not work well together! lol
4 years ago
Yes, I am a guitarist- But I have reconciled myself to the knowledge that there is know such thing as perfection and as good as you are is as good as it gets- you are never done learning, thus you can never be perfect, so just live with things the way that they are. I have trained my INTP self, (I am surprisingly not a perfectionist naturally, I do something, look it over, and decide that it's good enough for who it's for" [me] and move on.) I am also a writer. I have problems writing things that have to do with pain and emotion, which is bad, but I write mysteries, and since I love to work out creative, new ways to solve seemingly simple mysteries, this is also good!
4 years ago
I think I have an Idea that may help you "get over yourself" while also helping you use the goal of perfectionism to motavate you on your next project. I am just starting out as an INTP artist, looking to major in 3-D animation. Its not so much that I fear other people won't like my work, because most people don't ever thing more in debth on artwork than looks good/bad, but I fear wether or not I will like my work. I've had this problem of perfectionism when it comes to my art for a while, and although I would love my most recently finished art peice when it was done and everything was as near-perfect as possible, over time, say a month, I would start to see more flaws, have more criticism for it and eventually hate my past work. You need to remember that you are your biggest critique and likely noone else will ever look more deeply into your own artwork with an extream bias than you. What I do to avoid this is remind myself how much I loved it upon completion by immediately critiquing it, with a small paragraph. When I look back I see how I felt, and although I do not feel this any longer, I say that this was the best possible peice of art I could do at that time, and since then I have learned more, and critiqued more, not for worse but for the better because now I can go on to one-up an art peice of mine I once thought, at the time of completion, was perfect.
J. Doe
4 years ago
You're not alone. Once I see something wrong with my artwork, I have to stop and start over with a completely new or fresh idea.
4 years ago
I am; it's just perspective. It's not as hard to get through the fear of failure if you flip it around and completely have no expectations about its success- make music, (in my case) or art or whatever for yourself, and if it is successful, it's a bonus. If it's very personal but not terribly well-known, that's still a a victory in its own way, provided, again, that one can shift their expectations about their purpose in the act of creation from a means to be known, make money or something similar to self-expression, experimentation and originality. There is a part of me that would very much like to leave behind my music not for posterity but for my family and friends, people for whom it would be more meaningful to listen to than if they didn't know me.
4 years ago
Needing perfection and trying to teach oneself how to play piano do NOT go together. Just as being a writer who publishes over the internet and needing the wording to be just perfect make writing a decent story impossible. I agree; perfectionism is the arch nemesis of creativity, but it can't be helped. Good luck getting over it!
Miss Cat
4 years ago
I am most definitely an INTP artist, and always have been. I like to broaden my preferences, exposures, awareness of different forms of art and artistic entertainment, and use it to my advantage in every scenario available. My greatest problem is furthermore my inability to chose one particular interest, because, being a clear INTP perfectionist of the art, I have a tendency to want to perfect my skills in all areas, and I can never tell whether it's holding me back or growing me as an individual all the more. By this point I have accomplished two Associate Degrees accompanied by one Certificate of Completion. Clearly from that statement alone, I cannot deny the fact that an expanded growth of knowledge and skill are my greatest cravings in life, and success is what I want most out of my abilities and life talents. At the same time, after many countless hours of self-analysation, I feel like success might also be my greatest fear, as an individual, probably inspired most by my overwhelming fear of failure and just not being good enough. Here I stand, yet I continue. Very slowly, so as to try and make sure the decisions I make final will be worth it for my future and personal growth. By this point now, I have grown an exceptional love and skill for Drawing, Painting, the production of Mixed Media, Singing, Writing, Photography, Graphic Design, Web Design, and Visual Storytelling. Out of the fine arts, my favorite medium is ink, not necessarily the easiest medium to master for illustration. I have always found a challenge in choosing some of the most difficult skills to conquer, and I don't always succeed, but undoubtedly, it's a puzzle that satisfies my INTP need for growth. By this point now, I have outgrown, but still undeniably love Music, Dance, Theater, Musical Theater. Even now, years upon years after even being in a choir, I work my voice and do what I can to expand my range from the highest of Soprano to as low as my Alto range can muster. Then, after stating all that I have, I still can't deny the overwhelming interest that overtakes me in eventually trying and hopefully succeeding at an attempt at Animation. I am so eager, yet I almost feel like I've wasted so much time learning other trades, I can't tell whether I'm grateful or irritated with myself for not focussing on one single and defined subject throughout the entirety of my upper-education... Once again, testing my abilities to grow. It's a blessing and a curse. Focussing on the fact that you yourself made an effort to point out the arts, another conflict I find, being a clear INTP, is an even greater means of conflict with interest. Because of my love of the arts plus the love of social sciences and our natural means and needs for social analysis, I have wanted for quite a long time now to complete my double-education in both Digital Media Arts and Psychology, a subject that I have had an overwhelming passion for just as long as I've been exposed to a pencil and paper. I was averagely unaware of the particularly defined subject of "Psychology" itself until about mid-High School, but this is when I simply fell into absolute love with the subject, recognizing it as something I had already always had within me, and still, to this day, after taking many classes on the subject and succeeding exceptionally without even much effort at all, I will never manage to get enough. Little makes me happier than studying Psychology while doing art, and I feel they work together beautifully when the time is right. Well, to my unfortunate disarray of interest, I don't have enough money to finish a full education in both, already have an Associates in each, so minoring would be useless, and often times Universities separate the two areas into two separate schools of interest entirely, so I'm basically stuck, then. Art or Psychology? The need to chose truly hurts... Freedom from social expectation and defined thought as a full-time Art Enthusiast with my INTP need for eccentricity and expressionistic subjective creativity, or the delight of analytical understanding and expansion through psychological and philosophical analysis with my INTP need for solving a greater puzzle of logic and perspective? Which would be the more successful and self-reawrding career? I only wish I could do both... It simply kills me having to decide, and I assure you, I feel your pain... Oh, how I assure you that I feel your pain....
4 years ago
I am, though to be honest, I think the perfectionist thing has helped more than hinder. It's been my main driving force. Sure, my artwork is pretty mediocre as it stands, but that's why I continue. Mediocrity be damned! I'll eventually make this perfect if I keep learning new things! Also, I suggest any artist who is INTP to draw through analytical design rather than just through what you see. It's far easier to understand and put things together if you learn fundamental blocks which can be pieced together in your head to create things.
Nikolaj Lykke Nielsen
4 years ago
I'm INTP, play music, draw and write. And yes, I take a very long time to finish things. A teacher in primary school told me that Muslims make deliberate mistakes when e.g. building a house "because only Allah is perfect." True or not, that perspective has helped me keep my perfectionism in check alot of times. Also, imperfection fits into the larger pattern of Life, and that is a delight in itself, I feel. I guess I try to embrace the flaws, making them obvious, and then focusing my perfectionism on the really important parts of the work. It's a way of working around perfectionism without abandoning it. But yeah, it's a constant back-and-forth between the ideal and actually finishing things :)
5 years ago
Carly - I'm an INTP and I can be very sociable too; people seem to enjoy my company and attempts at wit. However, while I can be quite amusing at parties, I find it tiring, and I never reveal anything about -me. They don't need to know who I really am, and so I give the public a lot of misinformation even playing the excentric for my own amusement. Still, I find it tiring. As an example of this, I found myself thinking about giving up my favorite coffee shop the other day because too many people there know me and talk to me. When I want to relax, I want my coffee and my book, and my peace.
4 years ago
May I say, I agree wholeheartedly with your statement! As I'm still in school, I find it - people - aggravating. The only thing that DOESN'T annoy me, to be frank, is the library, with all it's plentiful books! ... Honestly? You'd think my fellow teenagers had never cracked open a book in they're life, and they say, and allow my rather cliché statement, but they say the most mundane and illogical of statements(I.E., "Aw, look at my butt sparkle!") And I've a friend who brags, has the true audacity to brag, that she has only read three books from class assignments! Honestly, if that's not bad enough, I'm stuck in a room where I have these dictionary-sized books, and everyone stares! And - huh, I suppose 'and' is my new favorite word - , my vocabulary is far more inhabited then the average adults! Honestly. I blame superior intelligence. But all-in-all, I recommend Art, or maybe the Violin(As I aim to begin this summer!), Music, Dance, Books, or even just doodling! Of course, this is mainly for someone who can't process pall of her or his thoughts at once, but learn from my mistake, don't get addicted to it!
3 years ago
First of all, I'd like to note that saying things like that is not a sign of lacking intelligence by default. As illogical or nonsensical it may be (and your fellow teenagers surely know it is nonsensical too), nonsense is often something people use to waste time, or, to be exact, they do it out of attempts at humour. There is no logic in such sentences to begin with, they are so devoid of reason it may strike some as funny, and I'll be frank, I like indulging in such sillyness too when I am with a friend or when I need to cheer up. If said teenagers do it on a regular basis, without ever pursuing intelligent discussions, you might be right with claiming to be far more intelligent, but acting that way does not imply lack of intelligence at the spot. Humor, aside from satire, has never been truly intelligent in its statements, but that is beside the point of it to begin with. Next, the statement of superior intelligence did strike me as weird. Not because I'm doubting its veracity, something I'd only do if I knew you irl, but much rather because of the way you said it, which implies that you are quite confident in yourself. INTPs are more likely to doubt themselves too, so reading this made me think that in that regard you are quite different. Usually when I write something like this, I also include a note which mentions how I am aware of my own pretentiousness. This awareness stems from doubting my very own statements, causing my brain to repeatedly check the exact wording of everything I say or write. I agree with the remark about books. It is a shame that most people my age (I am a teenager too just as a side-note) avoid reading or watching anything. Gaming is a popular medium, but it seems that the majority sticks to games like cod instead of playing the most insightful of what the medium has to offer. I wonder about the vocabulary part, it's not like average adults don't know particularly fancy words, but rather that they don't like using them themselves. Most conversations don't require particularly advanced vocabulary, so most adults don't have the need to actually speak the way a philosopher or lawyer etc. would. Art, music and dance, eh? I must admit, I'm not particularly interested in these matters. I am more a person who likes to read classics, and inform himself on philosophy, physics and mathematics. I have a weak spot for rock/metal music, but otherwise I'm not the most musical person around One last thing, which doesn't have to do with the reply above. Perhaps it is just my imagination, but when it is about introverted personality types, especially so the INTP and INTJ branches, I sometimes get an elitary vibe. Sure, we and our INTJ brethren are often considered to be the most logical personality types, but I still am uncomfortable when arrogance or anything the like surfaces. I'd never discriminate others for relying more on their feelings, or for being extroverted, and I sincerely hope no one else here does either. I think that is all I had to say for now
3 years ago
Spot on buddy. When hangout with my buddies or colleagues i feel kinda isolated. Maybe im not mainstream enough. I like a conversation abt ideas, philosophy, anything tat involves thinking deeply. Most ppl wont watch the movies i watch. There are some who would watch it if i say its an horrible movie. Sometimes blank stare too. A beer by beach beach alone does wonders. Whr most ppl would look at the sands and the waves, i would look at the stars and figure out constellations. Its a sad life. Its soo difficult to find likeminded ppl. Its great to see you guys and thanks.
5 years ago
i came to realise i was an intp, from reading about enfp's.. I found myself to be quite similar to an enfp, but my anxiety and continual questioning of whether or not I am intelligent, has reduced me to a state or continual state of thinking analysing and logically putting this together: either I'm intelligent enough to call myself stupid, or not stupid enough to call myself intelligent. and also, isn't intelligence a part of problem-solving? therefore I am stupid because I can't problem solve - or find any solutions to problems, but realise I think and have abstraction and inisght into things... - which I guess is also intelligence.. so do the two differ? and yes, relationships are very powerful things for me!
4 years ago
That line, "either I’m intelligent enough to call myself stupid, or not stupid enough to call myself intelligent." has officially become my motto for life! I too am an INTP (But hey, so is Sherlock Holmes). Anyway, thanks for those great lines.
4 years ago
"either I’m intelligent enough to call myself stupid, or not stupid enough to call myself intelligent" ARE YOU INSIDE MY MIND?
3 years ago
My situation is fairly similar. My thought process usually leads to this: I do believe that I'm smarter than the average joe (I have to mention one thing though, which is that sentences like this can be viewed as quite pretentious, considering no one can know whether I'm just pretending that I'm smart), but I don't think I'm smart enough. Due to lack of self-confidence I cannot truly assess my intelligence, and as such I'm prone to thinking that I'm less smart than a true genius. Such is probably true, and it would be preposterous to think otherwise without first showing results, but it bothers me nontheless. Also, stupid people (let me mention one more thing. I don't dismiss people for being stupid. Even if someone is stupid, s/he can still have a great personality, as such I dislike to think of them as 'inferior' or nonsense like that) seem to be okay with being stupid. People who realize they are stupid are arguably not inherently stupid, but realizing that is not enough to warrant the term intelligent. As such, my result usually ends up with thinking 'I'm not dumb enough to not care about how intelligent I am, yet I am probably neither intelligent enough to rival those I admire'. Naturally, this probably is just an attempt to deny the impossibility of me being that smart, something I do to not entirely crush the rest of what I have in self-confidence. Lastly, I feel weird typing all of this. All of it feels so highly pretentious I can't help but roll my eyes at it. I suppose that's to be attributed to my lacking self-confidence as well...
3 years ago
I think that's just practicality speaking. No one can be as intelligent as his or her idealized image of intelligence, because perfection is a limit (in the mathematical sense) and thus unattainable. Therefore, while an INTP person may never be intelligent enough to challenge his or her personal version of, say, Isaac Newton, he or she could be intelligent enough to challenge the real Isaac Newton. While it does have to do with self-confidence, this viewpoint seems to stem specifically from the constant self-examination and rightful doubt of egotism most INTP people have. I think it's somewhat like looking through a lens and not knowing if that lens is flawed or not, and thus being unable to completely trust the image. Technically, flaws are subjective, but I'm speaking within the confines of typical human thought. I'd feel pretentious, but I think the people likely to be reading this will understand my mindset enough to not assume I'm a total egotist. Egotism is repulsive. Now I feel a tad pretentious, too.
3 years ago
Brilliance is often misunderstood.
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