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How does one find their place in the world?

I am a classic INTP; I have been told that I am bright and creative but I also have the characteristic lack of decisiveness and organization that comes with being INTP. I read deeply and analyze everything but cannot complete a task to save my life. As I grow older I am increasingly driven mad by this... I have over 130 college credit hours and no degree. I work in an industry that is entirely unsuited for me and yet I stay put due to fear of unemployment.

Are there any other INTP's out there that can help me sort out the mess in my head? I want to make a difference in the world... but I am afraid the hard sciences are a bit too detail orientated for me. Personality guides suggest I have strong intrapersonal intelligence and yet the practical side of me fears to spend money getting a degree that will not yield a job immediately after college.

Somehow I fear I will be asking these questions well into my 70's... (I am 37).


  • Gail G3

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    Apr 12 2014: I never heard of an INTP before, but now see myself as one.

    I wasn't always the way I am now. I had an awakening at age 34, that took many more years to develop into a complete and rational worldview (fact-based). Until then, I just observed and looked for patterns that I found only when I started self-education (having discovered how much of my formal schooling was lies, unverified assumptions, and learning how to allow others to think for me.

    As to how to make your way in the world: As long a you are ruled by fear more than curiosity, you will suffer. You are far more powerful and safe than you think you are. Give up paying for credit hours. Learn on your own. Your education will be far more honest. Your life experience will be far more rewarding.

    PS: I have great difficulty completing tasks that are unworthy of me. I am inspired by tasks that call for the greatest from me. These are challenging but they don't bore me to death.

    I agree with Heather. You have to be self-employed or unemployed to cope with what can be the best trait that any human could have
    • Apr 14 2014: Not only schools but most of the things taught to us are just lies.

      May I know to which number do you belong ?
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    Apr 12 2014: I'm INTP too. It's best if you can become self employed because it is a rare employer who values our traits.

    Developing several ways to earn money is better than one career for our type. We value freedom to think and we love to explore new subjects - so don't tie yourself up in a long term contract and expect to be happy and successful.

    Dump your feeling of fear by reducing your living costs as low as possible (this is also good for the environment).

    If you wish to be employed, concentrate on gaining short term project / task based contracts that you can undertake well and move on from with a good reference.

    Offer your skills to "trouble shot" businesses - to go in and see where a business could improve - you can see the bigger picture that a boss may not be able to see. You also have intuition, imagination and integrity, so you should be able to come up with some original and cost saving ideas.

    But - do what you say you'll do, and do it well and happily.

    Good luck
    • Apr 14 2014: Its great pleasure to see another INTP .

      "We value freedom to think and we love to explore new subjects". .... We INTP's are very curious creatures to whom very few people understand.

      May I know to which number do you belong ?
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    Apr 20 2014: You are in good company, Mr. Allen!

    "According to Keirsey, Albert Einstein may have been an INTP.

    INTPs organize their understanding of any topic by articulating principles, and they are especially drawn to theoretical constructs. Having articulated these principles for themselves, they can demonstrate remarkable skill in explaining complex ideas to others in very simple terms, especially in writing. On the other hand, their ability to grasp complexity may also lead them to provide overly detailed explanations of simple ideas, and listeners may judge that the INTP makes things more difficult than they need to be. To the INTPs' mind, they are presenting all the relevant information or trying to crystallize the concept as clearly as possible.

    Given their independent nature, INTPs may prefer working alone to leading or following in a group. During interactions with others, if INTPs are focused on gathering information, they may seem oblivious, aloof, or even rebellious—when in fact they are concentrating on listening and understanding. However, INTPs' intuition often gives them a quick wit, especially with language. They may defuse tension through comical observations and references. They can be charming, even in their quiet reserve, and are sometimes surprised by the high esteem in which their friends and colleagues hold them."

    Mr. Allen, perhaps it's not only being an INTP that is affecting your situation. There maybe some other aspects of your life and the way you make decisions and choices that mainly determine where you are right now.

    "Nothing is impossible; there are ways that lead to everything, and if we had sufficient will we should always have sufficient means. It is often merely for an excuse that we say things are impossible." Francois De La Rochefoucauld
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    Apr 17 2014: Wikipedia says that intp is quiet, thoughtful, and analytical. Is it really good to be that way? No matter what great idea you come up with, isn't it only going to mean something if you communicate it, meaning not be entirely quiet?
    • Apr 17 2014: Ahh, but you miss the crux of the equation... one does not choose their personality. I communicate quite effectively amongst a group of friends or family members. I have even found an affinity for public speaking when I am viewed as being the expert on a particular subject matter. I have always found myself to acquire a fascinating reputation: That of the human encyclopedia. My problem lies more in the decision making sphere... I like far too many things and cannot harness the willpower to pursue any of them for any real length of time. As I get older this becomes less and less endearing and more and more terrifying.
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        Apr 17 2014: paul, you say you cannot complete a task to save your life, yet apparently you are successfully employed (whether the industry is right for you or not)? To be successfully employed you have to complete not just a few, but many tasks, do you not?
  • Apr 12 2014: What is your Date of Birth ? Which number do you belong to ?
  • Apr 12 2014: INTP means (Introvert,Intuitive,Thinking and Percieving). I am also INTP. I also have difficulty in completing tasks.As long the task seems challenging the thrill and excitement of working on it is good. But , once I figure out that the task can be solved the thrill and excitement is lost. I also have very high Intuition. Sometimes it happens so that I create connection invisibly with others. And I am also 39.

    Here are the list of some famous INTP's

    Albert Einstein, scientist
    Charles Darwin, naturalist
    William James, psychologist and philosopher
    Dwight D. Eisenhower, U.S. President
    C. G. Jung, psychiatrist
    Socrates, philosopher
    Sir Isaac Newton, mathematician, physicist and astronomer
    J.K. Rowling, author
    Abraham Lincoln, U.S. President

    Some famous fictional characters that exhibit INTP characteristics include:

    Sherlock Holmes
    Brian Griffin, Family Guy
    Data, Star Trek: The Next Generation
    Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter