There’s one thing I have noticed that is very prevalent in regards to being an INTJs (as well as in myself), that is…we, INTJs, freaking love planning (at least the majority of us anyways).
From planning about what to wear weeks in advance, writing down a list of what to do or what to bring to somewhere weeks in advance, researching about a place and its’ surrounding area that we are going to in the coming weeks etc (abroad, interview etc) to listing out a detailed exercise regime, what we are going to be eating tomorrow/ this week and what goals we need to accomplish for tomorrow, this week, this month and this year.
Planning things are pretty much second nature to us, it’s what we do best; why? because it’s interesting and fun, it also allows us to be focused. Life itself is pretty much chaotic, add in our inner sense of chaos and mind reels and you’ll end up with an individual who wants to plan things out; we INTJs especially will be very meticulous about planning most things extensively in order to make sense of everything and to keep track of ‘everything’ – we want and need to know what to do and what the next steps are in order to construct a future of some sort etc.
The above should help you understand why INTJs dislike having their pre-pre-pre-set plans being blown out of the water the very last minute. Having said that, as the INTJ matures though, compromising their plans due to some random spontaneous outside force that is not within their control becomes easier to tolerate – in a way, INTJs can undoubtedly just become more adaptable to sudden changes and sometimes even enjoy going with the flow (this is especially true for me even when I have planned out pre-pre-pre-set plans. These days, I just go with the flow and enjoy the moment when something doesn’t go according to plan. It really helps to acknowledge that nothing is 100% or even 80% controllable. Life itself is unpredictable).
“…hey there, just go with the flow”
Now you’d think, with all these pre-made plans… how could we possibly even plan to fail? What do we exactly fail in? Well, I’ll be specifically talking about the plethora of ideas that we have in our heads – if you read my ‘projects‘ blog, you’ll have an idea of what I’m talking about.
Without further ado, with all this planning, you’d think that we’d be well on our way to accomplishing our big ideas and dreams, ironically, it’s not as simple as you think it is. Besides outside influences that could stop us in our tracks, there are a more accurate reason as to why we ‘fail’.
The thing is, we LOVE planning, but…when it comes to executing these plans/ steps/ goals, we get bored. Yep, the actual executing of these steps are actually…really off putting; what was interesting and fun now seems like tasks after tasks after tasks.
So what happens next? Well, we get low-key frustrated, knowing that there is this huge amount of self-inflicted pressure on ourselves to DO IT.
When goals and plans are not reached within a desired time frame, we end up rescheduling the whole projects timeline. Here, what we find ourselves doing is that we end up in a continuous loop the following:
- kind-off completing the stages
- finally misses a deadline
- more stress
- something else happens
- missing the completion date (again)
- stress/ pressure/ worried
- reschedule and repeat.
This loop ends up silently taking a toll on us because each stages makes us more conscious of ourselves not fulfilling our visions and ideas – therefore, what ends up happening is that we feel frustrated when we are not actively working on these goals. One important thing to understand is that these plans, goals and ideas are what gives us directions in life.
So what is happening again? Why it is so boring and mundane to carry out a plan that we have researched and constructed with glee and passion? Why and how are we getting distracted? All the steps are simplified and “easy” enough to be followed by anyone, so…what the heck are we doing?
In truth? Lets’ delve deeper.
We’ll execute these plans…in a autonomous and mindless way..yeah, that’s the boredom that I was talking about earlier hitting us hard. We drag ourselves to complete these plans because we are mindful of having spent way too much time on ‘perfecting’ them. What happens then is that we sometimes end up half-a$$ing everything – don’t get me wrong, we’re hyped up for the first few days, ticking off the lists as we go, then, after the adrenaline runs out and the harder stuff comes in (or a problem arises whereby we hit a wall), our mind and interest fizzles out (not permanently though, just for the time being).
Also, since we are future thinkers, we will acknowledge that gratifications will come to us in the long-term…when we get past all these tasks and steps/ plans – so you can bet that some of our plans/ steps are extensively continuous. With our future-orientated mentality, our goals are developed in a way that ‘logically’ anticipates how the future is (or might) turn out. For example, we’ll have one (or a few more) systems of doing something, however, if a more efficient system was to come along, we’ll apply that new system instead – so in general, our routes to reaching goals are not set in stone, yet, they are something that will stay rooted in our minds to make come true.
“Ideas are LOCKS, actions are KEYS”
Another thing with being an INTJ is that, we are either all in or not. Sure, I indicated earlier that we’ll mindlessly half-ass our goals purely out of it being the right thing to do when we spent a ridiculously huge amount of time on constructing it; however, with bigger projects, it really is a case of either going in all guns blazing or not starting at all. One reason for this is because we really don’t want to stop halfway and given that some projects may require extensive time and energy; half-baking the journey isn’t exactly ideal – hence we end up delaying it. Whereas people in general are pretty fine with just half-completing a task, INTJs on the contrary are different regarding bigger and more important ideas.
I would think that this also has something to do with the ‘perfectionist‘ trait in us because we want everything to go right and to be right, therefore if we suspect that the resulting project won’t turn out close enough to our vision in this moment in time, then we’ll delay the process. Which is a really ironic paradox because nothing is perfect (we know that) as we’ll end up finding problems ourselves when executing each tasks, no matter how big or minuscule the problem is. In the end, we end up exploring alternative approaches whereby new ideas, research and concepts may appear; sometimes, a new concept may not even relate to the project we are working on right now, but instead, it relates to another project, whereby we get interested and hyped up about that other project…over-analyzing at its’ finest.
When we do go in all guns blazing, we’ll find ourselves in another weird cycle whereby we come across a more efficient way of completing a task during the beginning or middle of our project; this in return will then more often than not, make us rejiggle our tasks or even terminate it (for the time being) until we have enough clarity as to what to do, after that, we’ll begin to update our schedules…son of a gun.
You’d ask why we don’t just push onward and carry on instead of aborting, well, surprise surprise, the perfectionism in us strikes back. Simply put, when we become aware that we are half-a$$ing the whole project all the way to the finish line…we’ll know that we won’t be content/ satisfied/ proud of the end product. Therefore really, burning the whole thing down and rebuilding it from scratch goes down much better in our minds, that, or not starting at all is just as good.
Since I’m talking about us already starting, starting a project all over ‘seems better’ mainly because we now have a much clearer plan than the first one and that the mistakes/ things that we learned along the way can be executed better – yes, we’ll incorporate what we’ve learned starting from the beginning.
Once we start over, let alone do we end up procrastinating, we now also end up with a wealth of ideas and visions that are left unfinished or has gone back to square – 10 (it’s like we haven’t even started it, when we have at least attempted it).
The frustrating thing is that we KNOW that our end products will be awesome. Pushing away the ‘project’ aspect side of things, not only do we have unfinished projects, we’ll be the ones that are ‘average’ at just about anything that we find interesting regarding hobbies. What happens is that, we’ll learn something, get the hang of it and then become bored, only to find something else that is more challenging – although we can become proficient at a lot hobbies, our drive just fades out. Sure, there’s other variables that can potentially stop us from achieving more, such as money, location etc, despite this, if we just talk about our INTJ-ness <—- (I think that is a word), boredom gets’ the best of us. Actually, I’m not entirely sure ‘boredom’ is the right word, hopefully you understand what I’m trying to portray :)
Slightly off topic, ironically, although we can be leaders when we need/ want to be, you can see why we can be reluctant to willingly establish this sort of title to our name, let alone willingly volunteer to take charge unless the circumstances REALLY calls for it – at best, similar to most super villains in movies, we use our brain to strategically get people to do things for us. This is where our chess-like thinking comes in…as well as why we are mistaken as ‘evil’ or ‘cold hearted’…
Anyways, we seem to become stuck in this daydream of ideas, since our plans generally, well…fail.
Of course though, some INTJs may find that they don’t relate to this blog 80%. It’s understandable, as people develop in so many aspects of their own lives, cognitive functions can also be developed or strengthened.
There is a key cognitive function that can generally propel anyone forward into making an idea a reality; this cognitive function is called ‘prospecting’. As said, ‘prospecting’ is a cognitive function that is a key component in being responsible for making things HAPPEN. For INTJs, however, it is a slow process though in order to develop ‘prospecting’ as this cognitive function doesn’t tend to develop as quickly on our own, especially when we don’t diagnose that we have this weakness in our mind. Having said this, like many things, everyone develops at different rates depending on their background, who they hang around with etc.
Nonetheless, for INTJs with a weaker ‘prospecting’ function, they tend to benefit from socializing as well as studying people in order to begin to realise their weakness as well as developing themselves and acknowledging what they are actually capable of making come true; even if it still means that they get bored easily and end up multitasking several stuff simultaneously.
Prospecting alone may carry you through, however, the following developed cognitive functions, ‘extroverted’ and ‘sensing‘ are both also great for helping you improvise tasks and goals as you tackle them without losing focus. So INTJs, the more developed these two cognitive functions are, the more you’ll find that your list becomes more open to interpretation and less detailed. You’ll also find that your pre-pre-pre-steps just end up being milestones (or milestones for every 4 months whereby a new goal is created each time etc) – which in a way, further allows you to free-style your way through tasks without losing your core function that is to still complete a task to your high standards.
Besides developing prospecting and the latter, another variable that can either make us sink or swim depends on the tasks; labor intensive tasks that actually mentally or physically exerts us in a good way provides us with some form of engagement to stay focused (hence having a few projects on the go) whereas monotonous tasks leaves us, well, bored – this goes for most people anyways (I’d think), not just INTJs.
I mentioned in this blog how INTJs don’t tend to divulge their ideas, nor do we trust others to carry out our visions, so well, there you go, the above should help you understand us further as to the reason behind our hesitation and ‘lone-wolf’ mentality.
I have a few tips on this whole planning shenanigans…having being someone who too struggles with executing plans. Enough is enough though; so here goes!
- List out/ write out your ideas and give meaning to them – why do you want to achieve this vision? (your reasonings are what gives you fuel to persevere for when you are trudging along).
- Categorize your ideas to see how many you got and then priorities them – which one do you REALLY want to accomplish? Which one is the most doable/ feasible right now? (It really helps to have each categories sectioned off as to not get overwhelmed, therefore grab a notebook with dividers etc).
- Then list out the basics of the steps that are relevant to your categories – start with listing steps that you know you have to take (then feel free to research, but don’t take too long as you’ll end up with too much data). Yups, this is the planning stage, so I know you’ll have fun with it – make it look colorful and color code your stuffs etc.
- Once you have written out these steps, tweak them and simplify them in order to reap immediate results once executed.
- Dedicate a set a timeline, it helps to make up your mind to accomplish a task everyday for one week, then two weeks then 30 days straight (personally, I go straight for the 30 days).
- Look at your steps and start executing the “simplest” or more interesting ones.
- Don’t loose it near the end – especially if you are now relying on people finding you (yes, I’ve been there and my patience and interest flew out of the window once I didn’t see a level of per-determined result that I wanted). So, don’t loose it! You’re practically at the finish fine – poke your frikking toe out and cross that line!
- Remind yourself why you had this idea, what drove you to take action.
- Keep getting inspired by people who are experts in what you want to do and let them influence you into wanting more and to become better.
Once you are on your way, with every step, it is important to enjoy the journey for when you are working on your projects or not, hard I know as we are pretty much future and goal orientated. Give yourself permission to relax – not doing anything doesn’t have to be linked with a negative connotation that you are being unproductive or feel like you are wasting time. Also, do not erase your tasks once you have completed one as it is very gratifying to see your progress – if you have check-boxes next to your tasks, just check them off or you can just highlight a completed task – look at all those colors, look how far you have come.
Final thoughts, when we lose our perseverance, we find ourselves in a weird loop/ daze that we can’t break out of even if we try – our days will consist of staring at time and seeing the day go from morning to night – it’s a stressful and annoying cycle when we are so aware consciously of what we aren’t doing. Whereas these ideas in our heads just wants to be achieved as fast as possible, there’s a small unrelenting feeling of being behind schedule when we ‘should’ be getting better faster. What is the most apparent in our mentality is that we know that we are capable of anything but the realistic expectations of reality leaves us struggling.
The main thing to understand about our strategy is that ultimately, we are never 100% done with planning, this is because during our execution of these plans, we end up learning new things along the way, with these new knowledge, we use it as feedback to readjust relevant steps, plans and goals. So in reality, you can never 100% be done with planning.
On another interesting note, like most people, making plans provides us with an emotional escape route – it’s a way of distracting ourselves for when a problem in our reality shows up. Our productive focus on our plans is a way to ‘wish’ a problem away – here, we can either be fully invested or just listlessly complete a task. Nonetheless, we can succeed when we focus and become tunnel-visioned.
Ultimately, in general, when we gain too much information that paralyzes us into not doing anything…it’s pretty much a sign that we ‘failed’ already, because we didn’t even try.
Therefore, I hope my tips helped you in getting something done. Good luck.
Geomeun Goyangi =^-^=
P.S I just completed one of my tasks too. Writing this blog *yays*
***Disclaimer: 87% of these quotes are from myself. Also, please note that these blogs should NOT influence you to generalize that all INTJs, as a niche group, are all the same – because we are not; a lot of other factors shapes and individualizes a person.***