In this video, I’ll talk a little bit about INTJs and maturity. I can tell you that maturity is an attitude, not an age. Maturing is a process that can take time. I know that I’m not as mature as I’d like to be today, but I can tell you that I’m more mature now than I was 10 years ago.
So, let’s talk about maturity for the INTJ.
How do INTJs Mature and Develop?
First, according to the MBTI/Jungian theory, we all have something called cognitive functions. The way these functions are “stacked” or “ordered” greatly influence the way we perceive information and respond to our environment.
There is a dominant (primary), auxiliary (secondary), tertiary (third), and an inferior function (fourth). For the INTJ, our dominant function is introverted intuition (Ni). Our auxiliary function is extroverted thinking (Te). Our tertiary function is introverted feeling (Fi), and our fourth inferior function is extroverted sensing (Se).
I’ll talk more about cognitive functions in a future video and article. However, it’s interesting to consider maturity and development from the MBTI and personality theory perspective. Here’s what the Myers & Briggs Foundation wrote on their website concerning development of your functions:
“[Carl] Jung believed that all the functions are largely unconscious and undeveloped in infants. As we grow and develop, the different functions develop. The timing of this development has been the subject of considerable study. It is generally believed that the dominant generally develops up to age 7, the auxiliary up to age 20, the tertiary in the 30s and 40s and the inferior or fourth function at midlife or later.”
So, according to the theory, these functions slowly develop as you age. Therefore, you’ll likely notice that your personality broadens. Developing your extroverted thinking (Te) will help you to kick your plans into gear, and it will assist your dominant function of introverted intuition, which seeks patterns and plans for the future.
Signs of Immaturity for INTJs
- Acting arrogant or like a know-it-all
- Being extremely critical or vicious, or correcting people on things that don’t even matter
- Being unable to understand or deal with emotions or feelings, or being very stubborn
- Lacking of empathy or sympathy for others
- Struggling with self-destructive behaviors
- Struggling to translate goals or plans into action (signs of underdeveloped Te)
- Having no direction or not understanding yourself
- Acting self-centered or narcissistic
- Spending too much time on leisure activities (video games)
How to Mature or Grow as an INTJ
Okay, let’s assume you feel that you are immature. How can you begin to mature? I wouldn’t wait around and hope that some cognitive function magically develops. Instead, I’d take a much more practical approach. Here’s what I would recommend.
- First, identify your problems. That’s always the first step to solving any problem–identify it. INTJs are good at making lists, so get out a pen and paper, and have at it. Write down some of the ways that you feel you’re immature. You may even want to consult a trusted friend, spouse, sibling, etc. and ask them where they feel you are most immature. Write it down.
- Next, create a strategy to improve those areas. If you’re arrogant, stop blurting out your opinion all the time. Read the book How to Win Friends and Influence People. If you are self-centered, then take time to ask other’s about their opinions or feelings. If you troll and engage in endless debates, start putting that time into something useful. Stop criticizing people, even when you know they are wrong.
- Another way to mature is to take a close look at your friends (if you have them—some INTJs don’t have friends). Are your friends mature? Are they going to make you better? You need to have some positive role models who are more successful, intelligent, and mature than you are. “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm” (Proverbs 13:20). The people you surround yourself with will influence you positively or negatively, regardless of whether you notice it or not.
- Allow the big events in your life to mature you. Getting married matured me. Starting a business matured me. Buying my own house matured me. Having a son matured me. Hardships and big events in life will mature you if you let them.
- Put immature stuff behind you. There will come a time in your life when you’re going to have to let go of some of the behaviors and things you used to do, because you simply won’t have the time. Holding on to those things will hinder your growth. One of the things I put away was video games. Don’t get me wrong–I don’t think that playing video games for leisure is wrong (even as an adult). However, if you’re playing video games all the time, it’s going to hinder your growth. I love this verse from the Apostle Paul (a possible INTJ who wrote most of the New Testament): “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things” (1 Corinthians 13:11).