Each personality type has unique strengths and abilities. Each has a particular brand of intelligence that they use to get through life. Some types have a gift for memory, others understand abstract concepts, and others are gifted with emotional intelligence. What type of cleverness does your personality type have? Let’s find out!
Let’s Start with ISTJs, ISFJs, ESTJs & ESFJs (Keep Scrolling for Other Types!)
We’ll start by talking about the types who value introverted sensing (or “Si” for short). Anyone who uses introverted sensing will have an “SJ” in their personality type code. SJ types have a unique way of seeing the world. They don’t just see what’s right in front of them. They see the associations, memories, and past impressions related to what’s right in front of them. There’s almost a magical awareness of not only what an object is, but where it’s been, what it meant to them, and it’s temporary nature.
“Introverted sensation apprehends the background of the physical world rather than its surface. The decisive thing is not the reality of the object, but the reality of the subjective factor….Such a consciousness would see the becoming and passing away of things simultaneously with their momentary existence in the present, and not only that, it would also see what was before their becoming and what will be after their passing hence.”
– Carl Jung
SJ types notice what objects, nature, and the world around them remind them of. A book isn’t just a book, it’s a collection of memories. It’s sitting on a mother’s lap by candlelight as a child, it’s the smell of a library you used to visit. It’s a memory of reading that same book to your children. It’s an awareness that you may someday read this book to your grandchildren.
What makes introverted sensing types uniquely clever?
Because introverted sensors carry with them such vivid impressions of things, they tend to have an astute memory for details. In fact, Personality Hacker gives Introverted Sensing the nickname “Memory”. Building Blocks of Personality Type states that Introverted Sensing users, “Re-experience the past sequentially, in vivid sensory detail.”
But what are all these memories and sense-impressions good for? I’m glad you asked! SJ types are excellent at recalling working information, facts, data, and lessons learned from previous mistakes. They can find effective solutions to problems by accessing their rich storehouse of memories and detailed impressions. They are unlikely to repeat the same mistakes over and over because they’ll instantly recognize when they’re stuck in a pattern that backfired before.
As one example, an ISJ type might look at the sky and instantly know what kind of weather the day will bring. They may not have read a book about it. They may not have a degree in meteorology. But they’ll have accumulated past impressions of how the weather unfolds based on the appearance of the sky and they’ll use that knowledge in the current moment.
Wait…Does This Mean SJ Types Have Photographic Memories?
No. It can feel like that to them sometimes, but it’s not usually the case. ISFJs and ISTJs remember things that are significant to them, things that have impressed upon them some kind of meaning or interest. If an ISTJ is an auto mechanic, for example, they will probably recall the facts and details about cars quickly. But they may not remember the phone number of an acquaintance from high school.
If an ISFJ values a relationship, they might remember birth dates, phone numbers, favorite snacks, and all kinds of personal details about a person, but they may not recall the instructions for how to change a tire. That said, if they have to change a tire at some point in their lives they are unlikely to forget how to do it because ISJs remember their hands-on experiences very well!
ISTJs and ESTJs have a gift for organizing their outer world and creating workable systems and plans. This stems from their Extraverted Thinking process. STJ types are good at structuring and organizing data to find workable plans. They are hard-working, objective, and logical. They believe that every situation or problem can be put into a logical order and solved using a sequential format. They have a strong sense of time and are good at knowing how much time is needed to complete a task. As such, they are skilled at planning, logistics, and goal-completion. They trust empirical thinking, measurable facts, and are good at recalling these facts to make wise decisions.
ISFJs and ESFJs have a gift for peacemaking and creating harmony in their environment. They are in tune with the emotions of other people and are good at organizing a community towards a common goal. They believe in taking care of others, and often put other people’s needs before their own. They are also good at making people feel involved, accepted, and understood. They recognize shared values and are skilled at using tact and humor to make people feel at ease and totally comfortable in their presence. They believe in honoring other people and supporting them and seem to have a sixth sense for the practical needs of the people around them. They may notice, for example, that someone is thirsty before a word has even been said!
Next, let’s talk about INFJs, INTJs, ENFJs, and ENTJs
Anyone who has an “NJ” in their personality type code uses a mental process called Introverted Intuition, or “Ni” for short. Ni-users have a gift for seeing underlying meanings, patterns, symbols, and future implications and outcomes. They tend to jump back and forth in time, seeing how events in the present will likely play out in the future.
“Introverted intuition, through its perception of these inner processes, can supply certain data which may be of the utmost importance for understanding what is going on in the world. It can even foresee new possibilities in more or less clear outline, as well as events which later actually do happen.”
– Carl Jung, Psychological Types
NJ personality types become so adept at synthesizing data to predict future outcomes that the process becomes unconscious to them. The process of, “if I/they do this, then that will happen in the future” is so natural to them they don’t even realize they’re doing it. Reading between the lines, recognizing symbolic significance, seeing the complexity of things, and grasping the meaning behind events and situations is natural to them. The more developed the NJ type is, the more accurate their insights are.
What Makes NJ Types Uniquely Clever?
NJ types have a gift for strategy that isn’t often talked about except in association with NT types. However, both NT and NF types use intuition to gauge the likely effects of actions. INFJs and ENFJs use intuition in a diplomatic way; strategizing ways to bring about peace, move people towards a common goal, or use themselves as catalysts for change. NT types are skilled at strategically creating plans, systems, and solutions to technical problems. Nikola Tesla is a great example of an INTJ who combined intuition with thinking to alter the future of electricity.
Introverted intuitives cleverly grasp meanings and unsaid truths in conversations. They can be quick to pick up on hidden agendas or motives because they are less interested in what’s apparent, and more interested in what’s hidden.
“What else is going on here? What am I not seeing?” this is the question that is ALWAYS on the mind of the NJ personality type.
INFJs and ENFJs also use a mental process called Extraverted Feeling. This gives them a unique ability to read the emotions of other people, to understand how people are motivated, and to pick up on unspoken needs and desires. They have a nearly empathic way of connecting to how other people feel. Their ability to read the desires and emotions of others can make them influential leaders and inspiring teachers. In fact, both of these types are over-represented in religious occupations, counseling, and the arts. They want to make a difference for others and move people towards progress, understanding, and harmony.
INTJs and ENTJs also use a mental process called Extraverted Thinking. This gives them a unique ability to create workable, efficient plans. They are logical, objective, and good at organizing their outer world to run smoothly. They can take problems apart and systematically work on them, creating step-by-step solutions. They are good at organizing their time for optimal efficiency and are skilled at organizing data in an easy-to-follow format. They will put their own personal feelings aside so that they can get objectives accomplished and are generally very hard-working and single-minded.
Now, let’s talk about ESFPs, ESTPs, ISFPs and ISTPs
Any personality type who has an “SP” in their type code uses a mental process called Extraverted Sensing, or “Se” for short. These types are the ultimate realists. They don’t distract themselves with fantasies or nostalgia. They live in the current moment more than any other types and are objectively aware of what’s right in front of them.
“No other human type can equal the extraverted sensation type in realism. His sense for objective facts is extraordinarily developed….such people will be esteemed as very rational.”
– Carl Jung, Psychological Types
Extraverted sensors are highly in tune with their environment. They pick up on details and actions faster than other types do which is why action heroes in movies are nearly always SP personality types. They think quickly in a crisis, know how to respond and adapt to changes, and have a knack for being “movers and shakers” when it comes to concrete tasks.
What Makes SP Types Uniquely Clever?
SP types are extremely practical. Their ability to stay tuned into what’s happening in the moment means they can find solutions and resources more quickly than most other types. MacGyver, Wolverine, Han Solo, Black Widow. All these “superheroes” make great examples of SP types because they exude the extraverted sensor’s ability to think fast, respond quickly, and adapt while everyone else is panicking.
SP types also learn quickly from experiences. They are the ultimate kinesthetic learners. What they learn from doing they rarely forget. In fact, according to Building Blocks of Personality Type, they have a knack for learning new languages, including the subtle details of intonations and gestures. This book also states that they “have a willingness to help, to play the role of a good Samaritan.” This could explain why many SP types are drawn to emergency medical fields and firefighting.
The extraverted sensors ability to stay tuned into the environment and react quickly can also mean that they excel in athletic fields or careers that force them to respond and adapt to surprise, incoming tasks or crisis’.
ESFPs and ISFPs combine their use of extraverted sensing with introverted feeling. Because of this, they are deeply in tune with what feels right or wrong to them. They are constantly weighing the situational worth or importance of everything and finding out what is of value. Whenever they are given choices they consider what will coincide with their value system and their personal ethics. They can get strong “gut feelings” that something is good or bad and are skilled at detecting when people are inauthentic or phony. Their feeling process combined with their practical nature makes them skilled at hands-on, service-oriented careers. ISFPs are highly over-represented in nursing and veterinary work, for example. Many SFPs also use their abilities in the creative arena and excel in the arts and performance.
ESTPs and ISTPs combine their use of extraverted sensing with introverted thinking. Because of this, they are good at detecting logical principles and inconsistencies. They are constantly analyzing things to determine what data is true or false. They don’t measure accuracy by “empirical” standards but by testing ideas, theories, and facts independently. They are skilled at problem-solving, analyzing scenarios to find efficient solutions, and using clarity and technical precision to evaluate ideas. STPs are good at staying objective in decisions and not over-reacting or panicking.
Now let’s talk about the ENFP, ENTP, INFP and INTP Personality Types
Any personality type with an “NP” in their type-code will use a mental process called Extraverted Intuition, or “Ne” for short. Ne is all about seeing interconnections, abstract relationships, possibilities, and future potential. NP types are gifted with brainstorming and finding associations between seemingly disparate events.
“Intuition tries to apprehend the widest range of possibilities, since only through envisioning possibilities is intuition fully satisfied. It seeks to discover what possibilities the objective situation holds in store…When it is the dominant function, every ordinary situation in life seems like a locked room which intuition has to open. It is constantly seeking fresh outlets and new possibilities in external life. In a very short time every existing situation becomes a prison for the intuitive, a chain that has to be broken.”
– Carl Jung, Psychological Types
NP types are big-picture thinkers who detach from current events to determine various options, brainstorm possibilities and imagine future alternatives. They don’t see things as they are, they see things as they could be. They are talented at evaluating potential, networking, and understanding things from a global perspective.
What Makes NP Types Uniquely Clever?
Extraverted intuitives are skilled at “connecting the dots” and seeing how random occurrences and events are related. They gather information in clusters and mentally create webs of connections that tie all the information together into a unique possibility or relationship. They can detect emerging possibilities faster than most other types and are good at finding solutions to complex intellectual problems. They are gifted at brainstorming, diagnosing, evaluating, and seeing things from an outside-the-box perspective. They can fill in the blanks in conversation by seeing connections between all the given data and information.
Extraverted intuitives can also be gifted in the art of peacemaking, or, oddly enough, arguing. These two things seem contrary to each other, but in reality, they both rely on imagination, which NPs have in abundance. NP types can see so many angles to any given situation that they can argue something endlessly by switching angles and points of view. This same ability to see things from many different angles means that they can be skilled peacemakers. They can explain something from one person’s angle, and then find a connection or relationship between the other person’s angle or desire that unifies both parties.
ENFPs and INFPs combine extraverted intuition with introverted feeling. Because of this, they are gifted at empathizing, tuning into their own values, and sticking to what they believe in. Healthy NFPs have a lot of moral integrity as well as a deep understanding of the human condition. They believe in being authentic, open-minded, and individualistic. They get “gut feelings” that something is good or bad and follow their moral compass throughout life. They are usually good at evaluating how a belief applies to them and seeing if they can use their values in an innovative or creative way to make the world a better place for people. They are often gifted in the arts and counseling because of these strengths.
ENTPs and INTPs combine extraverted intuition with introverted thinking. This gives them the ability to sort out data logically and categorize it in the most precise way. They are gifted at seeing inaccuracies and flaws in logic and analyzing challenging problems or technical puzzles. They like to figure out how systems work and they’re good at checking for logical inconsistencies and errors. As they go through life they create an inner blueprint for how the world works and how everything is connected and fits together. They are good at staying objective and taking their time to find the most accurate data. They are usually inventive and use their knowledge of systems and innovative thinking to create new theories and technologies.
Related: ENTP Personality Profile
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