As much as INTJs are seen as controlling, they ultimately desire freedom, independence, and autonomy.

One can argue that the dictatorial and communist regimes worldwide find that controlling their citizens becomes problematic when the citizenry has been introduced to opportunities for freedom and individualism.

However, the level of responsibility and self-governance that come with freedom can be debilitating for many people.

Freedom comes with a price. And many people are unwilling to pay the price.

For INTJs, paying the price is not only understood but it is also required.

Self-respecting INTJs don’t want freebies and frown on shortcuts.

Such notions can’t be discussed casually. The quest for freedom and independence has to be as if one’s life depended on it.

For INTJs, the necessity for autonomy equals the need for water and oxygen.

And when independence is deeply ingrained, the need for control is the standard.

After all, if life is a series of continuous decisions, then it is vital to be a first-class decision-maker.

INTJs fear failure.

Many INTJs have measured, task-oriented goals that they live by. Inefficiency and wasted time and energy are oppositional to goal orientation.

So why are many INTJs so controlling?

Early in life, many INTJs witnessed parents or loved ones live lives of dreams deferred and dreams denied.

They saw the avoidance of bill collectors and the impact of financial stress. Countless stories about bad choices led to emotional and psychological trauma.

All along, these INTJs were cautioned about the importance of education and effective decision-making.

The message wasn’t spoken cavalierly; it was drilled into them.

So much so that it created a fear of failing. INTJs became fearful of not succeeding at high levels.

They were most terrified of the potential for regrets.

That was the key message from all the pain INTJs witnessed from people around them.

If you don’t become successful, you will be filled with regrets.

And staying in control would disallow failure and regret.

Hypersensitive introverts exaggerate reality, so INTJs put such messages on steroids and never looked back.

You could not convince them that letting go and becoming spontaneous was a practical road to success.

INTJs are strategic and practical planners.

Many people are shortsighted. They want to get as much as they can without the necessity of providing equal value.

You can see discounted thinking in the mediocrity of everyday people.

Contrarily, I have always been highly self-disciplined as an INTJ. As the oldest of three children, I was seen as the “Golden Child” in my propensity to follow the rules and achieve optimal results academically.

I, too, had a fear of regrets.

In the community I grew up in, academics was frowned upon. Frowning upon might be a bit harsh, but athletics and charisma were more cherished attributes.

I stayed the course and stuck to my plan to see my academic aspirations materialize.

Along the way, I discovered that the more I planned, strategized, and executed ideas, the more I achieved and the happier I became.

The happier I became, the more happiness I wanted to experience.

Yes, happiness can be its own drug.

Ultimately, I became more controlling. There was never a time when I was out of control.

Once I was kidding around with a friend, and she said I never lose control.

I said, “What do you mean? I am joking around now.”

She said you are still in control even when you’re joking around.

An aunt referred to my personality as extreme.

Previously, I interpreted these evaluations as negative feedback.

After all, I wanted to be as laid-back and fun-loving as the next person.

And then, I discovered that control is the best personality trait one can possess for long-term success.

Most people never experience high levels of happiness because they are out of control.

No, they aren’t raucous or lead wild lives. But they fall in love with the wrong people, allow friends to take advantage of them, and work under substandard conditions.

There would be little judgment about these choices if they didn’t complain.

And complain they do.

Control isn’t about taking over the lives of others; it’s about taking total responsibility for your own.

Filmmaker Woody Allen is credited with saying, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.”

I never accepted Allen’s proclamation. His statement always felt pessimistic and unproductive.

Why would a supreme being give humans the ability to create tangible things from their imagination yet laugh at the planning process?

Yes, plans can change. But not having a plan at all sounds ridiculous.

And while commentators will argue the numerous connotations of Allen’s statement, ultimately, it provides comfort and coverage for mediocrity.

INTJs embrace the trade-offs in life.

It is easy for non-INTJs to suggest that life doesn’t have to be so black and white.

That there is room for gray areas.

And that sounds alluring for those who live on the fence.

It would be best if they merely said, “I don’t understand what drives INTJs, but it is at least logical.”

You don’t have to agree with one’s logic, but admit it’s reasonable.

If people lack the sensitivity, hardwiring, and environmental influences that drive INTJs, how could they understand why control becomes an excellent tool for success?

Could INTJs use outside counseling to counter childhood pain?

Of course, they can.

The jagged edges that plague most people are ever-present.

However, the goal is to smooth the sharpness to create a productive and prosperous life.

INTJs experience this exhilaration by having control over theirs.

They are willing and open to accepting the challenges and responsibilities of self-governance. And they are intelligent and insightful enough to gain the necessary tools and resources when gaps appear.

Just think how enriched the world would be if more people exercised greater self-control.

The world would be transformed.

—Angel Hernandez


Woody Allen Quotes (n.d.). Goodreads. Retrieved from:

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“Woody Allen” by rasdourian is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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