Ever since I was a child, I've been good at school. I had high reading scores, taught other kids science; I even skipped a grade in math. Growing up, my dream jobs included veterinarian (then again, which kid hasn't wanted to be around animals all the time?), geologist, gemologist, and volcanologist. I thought that because my grades said I was good at science and math that meant I would be a successful scientist. And that was my plan all the way up until my junior year.
My mom ruins lots of things for me (and I'm better for it), and my career choice is not excluded. When I had to choose a major to pursue my junior year in high school, my mom pointed out that I didn't regularly pursue any of those subjects outside of academia. At first, I argued that it was because Michigan didn't have any volcanoes nearby. I never had the chance to involve myself in that science. But then she told me all the things I did do - choir, musicals, writing, and reading - and I was unhinged. She was right. I didn't even know myself.
A year later, I thought I had everything figured out. I was an English major. I might have been ignorant of this fact before, but now I saw clearly how much of an English major I was. I loved books. I loved words. I loved writing. I was solid; nothing could change my mind. Until my family therapist gave us homework.
It was simple. He wanted us to each fill out an online quiz to find out our Myers-Briggs Personality. I don't know how many of you are familiar with the psychology of personalities, but in the Myers-Briggs world, your personality is defined by four letters. Each letter represents a way in which the world impacts one and how one perceives the world and has two directions for a person to lean towards. Below, I have written the categories and letters possible:
Origin of Energy - Introvert (I) or Extrovert (E)After taking the quiz, my family was supposed to go to a separate website and read about the proclivities of our personality types. On this website, each personality was given a title. I am an INTJ. My sister and mother went before me, and as we read aloud each personality type, it became clearer to me how crazy correct this website was. I was beginning to get nervous about the INTJ, and it wasn't because of anything bad it might say. I already knew of plenty of things I disliked about myself. Rather, I was worried about things it might say that I didn't know about myself, things that were true but unknown until now. So it was only with a bit of irony that, when I clicked on the INTJ button, the title that popped up was "Scientist."
Information Processing - Sensing (S) or iNtuition (N)
Making Decisions - Thinking (T) or Feeling (F)
Structure - Perceiving (P) or Judging (J)
Somewhere in the back of my mind, a bell dinged. Personality - 1. Career choice - 0.
Out of nowhere, my career choice was ambushed. Not only did my childhood hate the idea of writing (I hated reading until 6th grade), but so did my personality! Apparently, I just was not cut out for this. My personality is pragmatic, analytical, and, if I don't become a scientist, I will ruin my "gift to society." I'm even better off being a military leader than writing beautiful stories.
I was very confused. Over the past months, an English major only seemed more and more perfect to me. I love art, whether it is music, pictures, or stories. I loved the strength and weakness and proximity that stories made me feel to the world and those around me. Stories enveloped my life. I had never realized it before, but almost all of my favorite things included stories - movies, musicals, manga/anime, and books. But no. My personality just didn't fit.
I refused to turn the other cheek. My heart had been attacked. So I retaliated. With Google.
Famous INTJ writers (as analyzed by psychologists):
You might think this list looks sad and small, but then I looked at all the other personality types, including the ones known to bust out writers, the list of writers are all about the same size. Noted, the lists aren't exhaustive, but you get an idea. Talents are spread all over each personality.
Since then, I have been determined to apply my personality's proclivities to writing. INTJ's are full of ideas; we are driven to express those ideas; we are insightful, and, for better or for worse, we have a nasty habit of wanting to control the world:
Just for fun, a list of authors and their diagnosed personalities:
Lord Alfred Tennyson (The Lady of Shalott)
Louisa May Alcott
Sir Walter Raleigh
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Fun Psychology Links:
Myers-Briggs Personality Test
Personality Type Portraits
Andrea J. Wenger: Write with Personality