INTJ Development

To understand the INTJ’s development, we have to understand the hierarchy of mental functions for the INTJ. The hierarchy of mental functions for the INTJ is about which mental function (Sensing, Intuiting, Thinking or Feeling) the INTJ is most comfortable with using and which they are least comfortable in using.

Without going too much into Type dynamics, let’s look at the INTJ’s hierarchy of mental functions:

The INTJ is most comfortable with the Dominant Function Introverted Intuition and least comfortable with the Inferior Function Extraverted Sensing.

Childhood to Puberty

DEVELOPMENT OF INTROVERTED INTUITION

As a child, the INTJ will develop the Introverted Intuition function. They will be most fascinated by stories that stretch their imagination and will often ask their parents to repeat fairy tales or myths to them.

They may also prefer to stay at home to read and learn instead of heading out to socialize with other children. They may also show intelligence beyond their age in understanding the world.

If they have not properly developed this function in their youth, they may not develop sufficient insight to make good decisions, thereby becoming stubborn or narrow-minded.

Puberty to Age 30

DEVELOPMENT OF EXTRAVERTED THINKING

During puberty, the INTJ will start developing the auxiliary function, Extraverted Thinking. They will develop the ability to make judgment calls and decisions according to external, objective criteria that are easily observable to all.

They become straightforward, frank and objective teenagers who are generally not concerned about popularity or peer pressure.

If they have not been allowed to develop this function, they may not know how to use their creative insights to achieve their goals or make their decisions.

Areas of Development

Assuming an environment is supportive to their development, most INTJs would have developed Extraverted Thinking and Introverted Intuition by the time they’re above 20 years or so.

Their areas of improvement will most likely come from the underdeveloped sides of Extraverted Sensing and Introverted Thinking.

Here are some suggestions for improvement:

  • Break your big ideas down to specific tangible steps
  • Learn to give negative feedback constructively
  • Share your insights early and in specific language so that others can understand
  • Learn to be more comfortable with uncertainty
  • Socialize and network with people more

Age 30 to Midlife

DEVELOPMENT OF INTROVERTED FEELING

If these behaviours have not been developed by the age of 30, the INTJ will feel the tension to continue growing and start developing the Tertiary Function Introverted Feeling.

The INTJ may start to show compassion and sensitivity toward those around them; they may even surprise their loved ones with their new-found expressions of love and emotion.

The INTJ can further develop the Introverted Feeling function through these simple exercises:

  • Think about a good quality of another person; find an appropriate time to praise and appreciate that person.
  • If you have a conflict with another person, think about what is important to that person in that particular situation and ask yourself if you can suspend your need to be right in order to preserve the relationship.
  • In a group meeting, observe the verbal and non-verbal cues of others and try to gauge the thoughts and feelings of people by observing their body language.

From Midlife

DEVELOPMENT OF INTROVERTED FEELING

From midlife onward, the INTJ’s focus turns toward the inferior function, Extraverted Sensing.

Their underdeveloped Extraverted Sensing comes out in a childish and undeveloped way when they are under stress, causing them to over-indulge in material pleasure or put their focus on unimportant details.

But in midlife, there is an unconscious shift and desire to develop that inferior function in order to achieve wholeness and continual growth. It is an uncomfortable but necessary transition.

Here are some simple exercises to consciously develop the Extraverted Sensing function:

  • Pick up a new skill or sport which requires full total present focus and attention.
  • Eat a food leisurely, fully appreciating its texture, its flavour, its smell as you consume it.
  • Purchase something you like (not too expensive!) without thinking about what you need it for or where will you place it. Let yourself enjoy having it before keeping it or giving it away.