Developing Effectiveness For INTJs and ISTJs


Do you often get stuck in ruts or have a hard time making decisions? Perhaps you get into analysis paralysis more often than you intend, or maybe you go through everyday motions without feeling like you’re moving forward? This is how you can get stuck in an unhealthy relationship for years, or work in a job for a decade before finally realizing you hated it all the time.

When a decision-making process is in the auxiliary, or what we like to call the Co-pilot position (Car Model), it takes conscious effort to engage it. Therefore, making a move can take forever and sometimes opportunities get missed because it does not come to us as naturally as our primary function, or Driver position. In this article, I want to talk about each of the decision-making (judging, not perceiving) processes and how they look when in the Co-pilot- or growth- position. These functions are Authenticity, Harmony, Accuracy and Effectiveness. Since I’m an INTJ, it’s only natural that I start this series with my own Co-pilot, Effectiveness.

The technical name for “Effectiveness ” is Extraverted Thinking, and it values sustainable systems, milestones and measurable information. In other words, it’s the ‘get shit done’ process. It gets things checked off the to-do list and makes sure you are meeting your goals. Since it’s in the Co-pilot position for both INTJs and ISTJs, it is a source of growth for us.

A Pitfall:

It seems easy to just leave it at that, right? Go do stuff! The thing is, there’s another process intertwined with it that can bring help or harm. This process is “Introverted Feeling,” or what we’ve nicknamed personalityhacker.com_authenticity_effectivenessAuthenticity.” This process is all about what feels right for us, what’s ethical, and what feelings are showing up. Every Effectiveness Co-pilot is always coupled with Authenticity in the 10 Year Old position. This means that we can sometimes get stuck in our feelings. The worst part is that, sometimes, that stuckness can pull us away from our Effectiveness process. It’s a constant push and pull, like the sea, and getting into our Co-pilot helps us bring in the tide. While Authenticity can feel nice and soothing at times, less nourishing water is available to us and there’s a risk of drought.

Develop Your Co-Pilot:

So how exactly can we get into our Effectiveness process? I often hear others ask this question and people come up with very simple, straightforward answers. “Buy a daily planner! My ISTJ friend relies on it!” Or “My INTJ husband uses a color-coding system!”

Do you think this is all there is to the Effectiveness process?

I say the root of the problem is not being addressed. We need to ask WHY it’s difficult to get into our growth state. The answer lies in our tertiary, Authenticity.

What we need to do is not just go for socially-approved, arbitrary means of planning or what others think Effectiveness is. We need to do what feels right for us. Feed the 10 Year Old so they stop complaining, and then you can go do your business.

This means that you need to create the right system for you. What milestones do you think in naturally? Do you actually care if you start something by 9:30am? Are there particular events you prioritize? What things are most meaningful to you? What are the things you wish to do before you end up on your deathbed? What is the right path in the long run?

These are the questions you’ll need to answer before you can form your own authentically personal system. When it’s totally right for you, it will be sustainable.

And hey, maybe a daily planner DOES work for you. Maybe it doesn’t. That doesn’t make you any less INTJ or ISTJ. It means that you know what works for you and that’s a good thing.

I suggest doing some research. Try different organization techniques. Consult the people around you and see if they have ideas you hadn’t considered. Take in the options and design your own process by piecing methods together or by personalityhacker.com_effectiveness_article_Chelseamaking your own from scratch.

If you tap into your Effectiveness process well, you’ll be able to maintain a stable source of energy and you’ll meet the meaningful goals that pertain to your life’s purpose.

When you really know what method works the best for you, you’ll be unstoppable.

Tangible actions:

  • Read 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. This book is all about building sustainable systems in your life to meet your long-term goals no matter what your circumstances.
  • Freewrite on a blank piece of paper. When you organize it, think about how you normally break apart information. Is it by steps? By ideas? By dates? By roles? This is probably the way you need to sort your goals as well.
  • Start big and end small. Don’t think of what you’re going to do tomorrow or how you’ll organize your closet. Take those big dreams you have and see how you can break them down into manageable tasks that can be placed on a to-do list. Example: I want to write at least one novel in my life, so I will write 30 minutes everyday on Every Saturday, I’ll take an hour to learn about a particular writing technique to focus on for the following week of writing. Once I hit 50,000 words, then I’ll go into an editing phase for 30 minutes per day.
  • Try on different systems for size. See how they fit. Do the daily planner thing and see if it’s right for you. Use blank paper. A graphic organizer. A digital app like Endnote. A whiteboard. Get into short-term relationships (or even casual one-night-stands) with these methods to sense their flavor. And if they mesh well with your own savory hue, then add it to your collection. If it’s a maybe, then perhaps it needs more of your own personal spice. Tweak it to your needs. Use only the necessary bits and pieces for specific occasions.
  • Delegate a part of a project you’re currently working on to one of your friends. If you have a blog, invite your friend to write an article and set the parameters around it. This helps you set up a system that others can understand and creates milestones for both you and your team. It can be as small as explaining to your friend what kind of picture you’d like them to take. For example, I basically take a picture of them, show it to them, and say “That’s how I want you to do it. See this angle? And how the light hits?” Or it could be more in-depth like asking someone close to you to research something for you if you haven’t got the time to do it in that moment.

Decisions, Decisions…

Sometimes as tertiary Authenticity users, we can confuse what feels right with what feels good. It’s better to focus on what will be most effective in the long-term so we can make our best decisions.

As an INTJ, I tend to use pro/con lists most often. For example, my most recent relationship ended because I asked myself this: What are the benefits of staying in this particular situation? What positive or negative things would happen if I left? I made a list of each factor and used the 80-20 metric. It ended up looking a bit like this:


  • We communicate well together
  • He helps inspire me to be more proactive
  • He cares a lot about me and respects me (because feminist men are awesome!)


  • I have become a bit dependent on him.
  • I feel too anxious and insecure in this relationship.
  • I need more healing to do before getting into a long-term relationship because I don’t have enough to offer at the moment.
  • My needs don’t match up with what he’s willing to give.
  • This is long-distance and while I’m willing to commit to that, there is no mutual, concrete end-goal to look forward to.
  • Our five-year trajectories into the future don’t match up.
  • There’s no guarantee that we will be able to be physically together.
  • Our communication recently has become too synthetic and in-genuine.

I decided that since about 80% of what I came up with indicated that leaving was best, then so be it. I planned for the breakup, anticipated what emotional turmoil might pop up and took measures to combat these things.

And did you notice that my Authenticity process snuck in a few words?
“I feel too anxious and insecure in this relationship.” Imagine if I didn’t bother making this list! What if the pros actually outweighed the cons and I totally made a drastic decision based on my insecurity! If I broke up with this guy in that way, I would have never known what could be and would spend the rest of my life second-guessing.

But because I was able to lay all of the elements on the table, I made an objective decision and will remember the reason why we broke up for the rest of my life. I sent him an email detailing these things and it was a calm endeavor. We still talk occasionally and there are no hard feelings because I was able to communicate my reasoning for wanting to part ways. We were able to talk it through and make a mutual decision about it.

If 80% of my list had more pros, I would’ve planned for the problem-solving. Maybe we would need therapy or a fresh perspective on things. Maybe I needed to do some changing and it was me who needed to open up and be more available to my partner. Don’t let your feelings get in the way. They can be a good source of guidance to lead you to possible options and solutions, but do not give them permission to make the decisions.

For ISTJs, I suggest being open to new experiences and then analyzing it in retrospect. Maybe there’s a new coworker and you’re concerned that they won’t do a good job. Test it out in real time. Work with them and delegate a few small tasks to see how they handle them. Make sure you keep an open line of communication during this process! Don’t let your feelings control your reactions. Speak up and problem solve. If your co-worker was late or forgot an important file, ask why. Don’t just assume the worst of them because that’s giving your Authenticity process permission to make decisions for you. Get that outside feedback so you can have a clear view of what’s going on. After maybe two weeks, think about what happened as objectively as possible. What kinds of challenges did this coworker face? Were they actually personalityhacker.com_effectiveness_Chelsea_articleincompetent as an employee, or are they just getting used to the new job? Were they doing their best to get the tasks done? Did their accomplishments outweigh their mistakes? Just as I mentioned for INTJs, let your Authenticity process guide you to possible conclusions, but do not let it make the final judgement.

Use any method in your arsenal that you think might work. Try a graphic organizer, consult your friends, write yourself an essay about the situation and try to view things as objectively as possible. What are the facts? Uncover them, list them, weigh them, and then decide.

Final notes:

As you’re deciding on which effective method is best for you, make sure you’re not avoiding certain things just because it feels hard or uncomfortable. It might take you a few tries to really find that sweet spot. Whatever method you choose, it must be flexible. Don’t let the plans run you, and don’t let the emotions call the shots. Effectiveness is all about long-term sustainability. So making sure the activities on your checklist are right for you and the decisions you make thoroughly thought through is an essential part of the process.


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Showing 37 comments
  • Christine

    I am an ISTJ and am just a few weeks into getting to know what that means. Totally identify with creating a Pros and Cons list for making any decision – from what car to buy, when to change jobs or relationships, even when to sell a home. Also understand the Pros/Cons process keeps me focused on factual vs. emotional factors in a situation…which keeps Authenticity in the back seat where it belongs and Effectiveness in the co-pilot position. Thank you Chelsea for this article which is still a source of illumination years after it was originally published.

  • R

    Dear all,

    Try this on for size. The reason we INTJs are so compelled to reflect or comment so extensively and to ask for more information and more articles and to look at this from yet another angle is because that’s what “feels right” (authentic) for many of us. (…or should I say “feels good”?) This is our comfort zone. We are, after all, Ni dominant. We are also 10 year-old Fis. We have an emotional need to know more. We love the intellectual engagement. And we’ve become skilled at it.

    To question the effectiveness of further reflection is a threat—a buzzkill. It doesn’t feel good. But somewhere in our soul, we know it’s right (or it will “feel right”) to move on at some point. [How many of you are now compelled to ask “When? When is that point? how will we know? …note that the reason you are asking is because my comments don’t yet feel right. They are not complete. Something is missing.]

    Let me suggest to you that what is missing is results—you want results—and results don’t come without action. It doesn’t feel right because you don’t have results. But you won’t get results if you don’t take a step that at least has some reasonable expectation of yielding a result (Te). The next step you want to take is to think and debate and consider (Ni), but the next step you need to take in order to get the results that will make this feel right is productive action (Te).

    And the problem isn’t that these two types of next steps compete with each other (or at least they don’t have to). Action will give you more information to consider (feed Ni), which will feel great. You can reflect while in motion. You can learn as you do. It may be the best way for you to enjoy your Te (i.e., make Te feel right and feel good). The problem is you perceive these as trade-offs or dichotomies when they are not. The problem is you are willfully neglecting to gather the additional information that comes with taking action because you think It won’t feel good, even though you know it is right and you hopefully now believe you can do it in a way that will feel right (for you).

    • R

      …just imagine how you will feel, not if you simply “got something productive done”, but if you “got something productive done as part of your own, personal, grand experiment in figuring out yourself, the world around you, and whatever it is you are called to do (Ni)”

      Let’s all get somemproductive done for sake of that. Let’s feed the Ni process with action.

    • JM

      Dear R,
      Your comment is extremely helpful to me. I have struggled to take action my whole life, and I have been confused as to WHY ON EARTH I do this — why I seem to calmly observe really exciting opportunities approach, linger, then fade into the distance, all the while not taking action. Thanks for taking the time to share your insights. I especially like the idea that INTJs perceive action and further reflection as dichotomies when they are not, that reflecting on the additional information we gather when we act will feel great, and that results are what will eventually make it all feel right.

      • R

        JM: So how is it going?
        Funny in a way, that all this time after writing that comment, I found myself back on this page. Appreciated reading your reply. Hope all well.

    • Emma

      This is so helpful thank you!

      • R

        Emma: so glad to hear it!

        Note to self: Funny (odd? Interesting?) that yet again, years after first reading this article and commenting on it, and without having looked at it much in the interim, here I am reading it again. and again, the article is interesring, useful and motivating. I’d love to further accelerate and sustain that. Doing that will require reflection, but also action. Rereading my post, I again see how useful and helpful it would be for it to feel good and right to take action in addition to it feeling good/right to learn and intuit/think more. My post seems an idea/effort to merge the two: to make action a way to feed my love of thinking with more information (I.e., results and reactions from the outside world) and render the action of deciding/doing less of a buzz kill by making it part of the much-loved Ni process. In short it’s a personality hack—but more than a hack, it’s me as INTJ doing what many of us likely do well: reframing the problem (inaction/looping) to solve it.

        1) If for INTJS, looping is driven by feelings (immature Fi) …

        2) …and if ineffective looping is driven by either (a) feelings that the action is not authentically me, (b) feelings of joy from engaging in Ni that we don’t want to “abandon” by taking action, or (c) fear b/c action carries some other type of threat or exposure

        3) …then imagine how we can create a POSITIVE (e.g., effective) loop by (a) understanding, acknowledging and accepting our authentic selves as INTJs, (b) embrace the joy and skill we have with Ni, (c) reframe “taking action” as FEEDING Ni by providing the one type of information we cannot otherwise get without action: results and reactions. How incredibly effective might we then become not only at taking action—but even more so by upping our Ni game. Our Ni itself would be more effective, and our Fi should LOVE that b/c how much more authentically INTJ can that possibly be? This would be a “positive and powerful” loop…

        Now, notice the word “would” in that last sentence. I am “ideating” and loving it (as an INTJ). This is all very fun, but also hypothetical. I find myself wanting to think about it more, because it feels incomplete and because I love thinking. But the reason it is incomplete (or one reason) is because I need results and reactions to really “know” if this is any good or at all helpful, and I cannot get those results/reactions without acting. I need to ACT in service of my Ni process as spilled into this post above.

        Will I do it? Can I love the act of doing it? will I try to put this in place? What would it take? I can feel the Te wheels starting to turn… How can I sustain it? (As I ask that last question, I realize it is such an INTJ thing to ask). I want to give it a go, and I think it would be fun and more sustainable to do this with a small group, maybe in a curated forum where I can still be somewhat anonymous (I am still also a private person, still have my soft inner self to protect, as I’m sure other looping INTJs do…) just thinking out loud, but also feeling it’s time to act and have fun with this…

        One more though: if this same INTJ loop mechanism we just described can (potentially) be so positive and effective, how does get knocked sideways and negative/ineffective?

        Perhaps it’s that (false?) dichotomy between thinking and doing. Perhaps it’s all that feedback from non-INTJs that we are thinking to much or not deciding. Perhaps subconsciously what we take from that is not only some sort of general sense of being criticized, but also we subconsciously hear that thinking is “in the way” of acting and that acting means “stopping” the thing we love to do, which is thinking and intuiting. I now am starting to truly believe this dichotomy is false. I can bring actions into my larger Ni process. This false dichotomy may simply be born of others’ seeming lack of understanding of what we are doing when we are doing Ni, interpreting it as “in the way” of what from their perspective is a need to act in a different way, and telling us we are thinking to much and need to stop so we can act. We then internalize the dichotomy, when the reality is we are ALREADY taking action and feeding it into Ni (ALL Ni must start with at least some amount of experience), and the opportunity is to expand and integrate action and reflection further, not to turn one off or threaten it for sake of the “other”.

        I now so want to figure out how to DO this, and in part to figure it out by actually trying and doing it… which itself seems to already indicate that it has some legs as the basis for a more awesome and integrated Ni-Te-Fi -feeding loop. Firing on all cylinders, so to speak (car model? How does Se fit? PH car model would say it’s best for the occasional playful experience, perhaps for taking a break every now and then… pun not intended but sort of fun…)

  • jeremiah

    Something that just occurred to me.
    Replace the word “Authenticity” with “Conscience”.
    This may not be accurate but it might work as a fresh perspective.
    I’m musing over why my 10 year old self has the strange ability to both Restrict my actions and Drive them.
    My Intuition/Feeling death spiral resulting in paralysis and a kind of “Waking Nightmare” has sometimes worked in the exact opposite manner Driving me to Act in pursuit of what I see as
    I’m not here to get all “gooey”.
    This may also account for why studying various philosophical systems has been informative?freeing?purposeful? for me.
    Positive and negative feedback are both welcome.
    Doubt can be as helpful as affirmation.


    Nice article Clesea. I am also INTJ.

    I used to think myself as INFJ since various assessment reported me as INFJ instead of INTJ. When I used to read the description of INFJ profiles I noted some of the stuff is not relevant to myself, particularly, Fe and Ti in the cognitive stack of INFJ. But the PH assessment reported me INTJ and when I read description I totally understood that this is most relevant to me.

    One of the possible reasons that I was reported as INFJ, as per my limited knowledge of MBTI, was that I was in the Ni+Fi loop and the other assessment test were reporting me as INFJ. After introspection about my past life I can easily find many incidents where I was in the grip of Ni+Fi loop and behaved foolishly which was not understandable. The intensity of emotions hijacked my Effectiveness and Perspectives Functions and I was making decisions by Authenticity Function disregarding whether the end results will be contributing to my long term goals or not. I was doing was “feels good” instead of what “feels right”. On several occasions I made stupid decisions which were regrettable by myself and others.

    My Authenticity Function was so much out of control that my friends pointed out that I need to take care of it. I went through emotional intelligence assessment and coaching to understand why I am doing what I am doing to bring my life under control. It helped me understand that my life was on “auto-pilot” and being run by Authenticity Function. Later, I went through Enneagram personality assessment and I consistently came out as Type 1 which was quiet consistent with my personality INTJ 1. Some of the authors described that usually INTJs fall in Enneagram 5w4 because of their functional stack of Perspectives + Effectiveness but some INTJs fall in Enneagram 1 because their Authenticity (Fi) Function is very dominant. That was great revelation for myself to understand why I was making stupid decisions in my life and why my life was out of control.

    I have taken few concrete actions to bring my Effectiveness Function back into its natural place. I read David Allen’s book Getting Things Done and following the GTD methodology in my work life and also I read Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris to generally bring my life into right directions. Few things worked for me and few did not. I am still work in process.

  • Clara

    I think Anna got it bang on when she wrote…
    “That there’s significantly more value in addressing the problem from the source because I find, in my own experience, that INTJ’s don’t stop doing things because they don’t know how. They stop because emotionally, something’s come up and they simply don’t know how to handle it.”

    I often think being more effective makes me a happier individual. Except I get depressed often. I’ve heard in the past that INTJ’s are emotionally immature and that’s very true for myself. Because of this, when it comes to planning I make my mental health my priority. If I am not okay emotionally I am not effective. Does anyone have any suggestions (links or articles) that could help this young INTJ to handle her emotions so she can move on with being more a more effective individual?

    Also, how can I address the problem from the source if I’m not exactly sure what’s bothering me?

  • infp

    INFP looking for 3 year old “effective” exercises to do in times of stress and this article was really useful

  • Dianna Rowlands

    I agree with Anna. I ask that you ,Antiona and Joel do a post on our fi. There a lot of post on the ni,ti loop. There needs to be one on the ni, fi loop.. Loved the post on enneagram and check it out. 5w4 I check out when I’m going to my stress points. 7 stress point is my se. 2 stress point is my 10 year old. And I can tell you I do not like myself very much in this state of being. My 5 enneagram point does real well when I go to 8 getting out of my head and engage physical application and body awareness. My 4 fi goes to 1 bring back to awareness of self discipline and organization of my physical environment. We are sent here to become entergade and whole. Thanks for your article. Reading between the lines Fi needs to be addressed in all Intj and Istj.

  • Sarah

    Thank you Chelsea I really value this. Any ideas about knowing what path to take career wise if there are no distinct pulls in any direction? I am a teacher whose about to finish a contract and although I’ve been doing it for years, I really spend my time in a state of high anxiety, sleep little and have no life because of the post’s demands. It isn’t about boundaries as management expect work to be done so there is no work/life balance. Also no excuse but I am in my 40s and feel too old to start something new and in essence feel trapped. Any pointers would be appreciated.

  • Mark

    Hi Chelsea
    I was initially shocked to read that you ended a relationship based on a list of pros and cons.
    Whenever I have broken up with someone, it’s usually been because “I’m just not feeling it” or some other emotional reason (by the way I’m an INFP), and I assumed that when someone broke up with me, the motivation was similar.
    So quite possibly some of the times I have been dumped, the reason may not have been emotional, but practical. Ha! It seems less personal that way. I’m quite amused and reassured by this.
    It’s really interesting to learn how different people’s minds work!

  • Laura H

    Hi Chelsea
    this was a very helpful article in a multitude of ways!
    firstly, I have been struggling to determine whether I was an INTJ or not because I knew I had a tendency to let the things that felt best decide(and then become extremely unsure about that decision once it was made), but this truly helped me understand the tertiary function and how it comes into play, on a day to day basis, and that underdeveloped co-pilots gives the 10-year-old, unintentionally, a much larger place to roam .
    secondly, I am taking some gap years before I go to uni, and I am at a place in my life where I am very dissatisfied with my job (mainly because of the mundane, unchallenging, and predictable pattern that it revolves around) but at the same time spending lots of thought and energy worrying about my future because I have so many goals I have yet to make tangiable. but I think with this new understanding of myself and these tools to make things more apparent and “reachable”.
    thirdly, I’ve truly understood my past behaviors and why they still haunt me and how to avoid (or at least lower the probability) of finding myself in the same position again.
    lastly, I think I’ve allowed myself to understand that procrastinating and “acting out of character” in regard to the INTJ type, is simply my two less developed functions being allowed to sit in the front seats.
    so for all this thank you
    (and please feel free to bring input or corrections, if there is anything I’ve misunderstood)

    • Chelsea Irish

      Hi Laura!

      I’m so pleased to hear that this helped you. Those backseat functions sure can sabotage us, can’t they?

      Hopefully you find a more fulfilling job to brighten up those gap years.


  • Poppy

    I searched for this post intending to ask how other INTJs go about figuring out HOW to delegate stuff – and now I get it: I need to build that organization system FIRST, because my big hurdle in delegation is that all of the tasks and the goal are in my head, and I’m just resisting slowing down enough to get them out of my head in a way someone else can understand.

    Thanks – you and the other commenters answered my question before I even asked it!

    • Chelsea Irish

      Must’ve been serendipity at work. Thanks for the kind comment!

  • Mia

    Thanks so much for a great article! I’m an enfj myself, but this article helps me understand my intj brother and istj friend. It’s a beautifully written article, keep up the great work! 🙂

    • Chelsea Irish

      No problem, Mia. Thanks for the kind words. I also published an article for developing the Perspectives (Ni) process if you’re interested!

      Peace and love,

  • Tim W

    INTJ Reporting In.

    Bullet Journaling is a remarkable customizable day-planner-journal combination. The idea is to share and collaborate page templates and design what works for you. I’d recommend it to anyone who’s looking for a system to organize themselves.

    For those that have needs for artistic outlets, there’s a lot you can do to incorporate that (not my thing, but it works great for the partner).

    • Chelsea Irish

      That sounds like a great system! I’ll test out that concept and see if I can apply it to my life in some way. I appreciate that suggestion, Tim. Thanks!

  • Kylie

    Hey Chelsea,

    I really enjoyed your article. One, it’s timely in my life, as I am trying to learn how to let my natural flow of cognitive functions happen and learning how Te fits into the secondary slot is a bit jarring at times. Learning how and when to wield it is crucial, I’m finding. Two, the point you make about giving Fi/Authenticity room but not decision making power is really interesting, especially in the case of interpersonal relationships. I’ve been able to wave my hand in the general direction of a meaning when I’ve thought that in my past break-ups (that were all instigated by the other party, usually surprisingly) I haven’t gotten the information that I need for true closure. Your example cemented the topic more for me, of which I am grateful. Authenticity isn’t the greatest decision maker, especially for an INTJ such as myself, but when I had no other data to go off of, I had little other choice.

    My main point is, no wonder I’ve felt a lack of closure and have kept prodding for information, even when relationships have been over. I recently had the thought that perhaps it was because I didn’t have the participation/information I needed to be able to close the chapter, and your writing articulated it well and provided confirmation to what I have been surmising. Glad to have another woman INTJ on PH. I can’t wait to read more of your work!


    • Chelsea Irish

      Thank you for the kind comment, Kylie! I’m so happy this brought some closure for you. Uncertainty drives me crazy, so I can’t imagine having “what if”s after the end of a relationship. *gasp!* Haha.


  • Malik

    This was definitely an interesting article, and I am interested in trying some of these out! But one question does come to mind when reading this. It’s about the pro/con list. What if it turns out to be more like a 50/50 or 60/40? What decision should you choose in those situations?

    • Chelsea Irish

      Great question! Usually that’s when I start asking others for advice whether they’re people close to me or strangers on internet forums/Facebook groups.

      Otherwise, I would try to frame things into questions and type them up into a search. I’d read other blogs or articles to see what solutions or long-term benefits could come out of the question. If there are more concrete actions available for a particular choice, then I would most likely do that option.

      Finally, I make sure my final action of choice is in line with my most important values. Does that help? If not, I’ll try to think of a situation in my life where I didn’t have such a clear 80/20 distinction and can relay that experience to you.


      • Malik

        I think it does help actually. Particularly the part where you mentioned that choices that can be changed with more concrete actions would be a better route. Thanks for the advice!

  • Clark A

    Nice work, I like this driver, co-pilot, 10yr old, 3yr old framework & the descriptions for each. Really helped me with both my work and interpersonal relationships.

    Got me out of a rut and back in action. (INTJ)

    • Chelsea Irish

      Thanks, Clark!

      I agree. Personally, the car model has helped me acknowledge the relationship between each function (driver, co-pilot, etc) and how they support each other. I’m not super social yet, so we’ll see how things play out in interpersonal relationships. Hopefully I’ll have the same result as you!


  • Anna

    Chelsea, I enjoyed your article. I agree with your proposition that the ability to step into effectiveness is either supported or constrained by authenticity. I’m an INTJ and that’s the primary challenge I face in devising a way to support my 10 year old so that my co-driver can actually step to the front.

    With that, I did find an issue with what you’ve proposed in finding a system. Surely that doesn’t address the key issue? If the key problem is that the 10 year old can override, then surely it doesn’t matter what sort of planning system you have (whether you designed it or not)?

    I would suggest a different approach in that instead of focusing on firstly building a planning system for getting tasks done, instead focusing on building a system that supports and feeds your 10 year old. That that should be the first thing that needs attention.

    That there’s significantly more value in addressing the problem from the source because I find, in my own experience, that INTJ’s don’t stop doing things because they don’t know how. They stop because emotionally, something’s come up and they simply don’t know how to handle it.

    • Chelsea Irish

      Hi Anna! Thanks for the comment.

      Typically I use the emotions I feel as a guidance to point out things that are important to do. In other words, feed it by acknowledging the emotion and finding the root cause if it helps.

      I guess that’s vague. Let me put it this way:
      I think what you’re trying to say is that our tertiary function, in our case Authenticity, is the foundation to our habits. If we as INTJs are held back because emotions keep up from doing things, how can we plan effectively? Am I right with that interpretation of your comment?

      If so, my answer would be this: emotions are our alert systems. I think they may feel more like infiltrators to us at times but they’re trying to point something out. That something is our passions and motivations. From what I understand, this is true for every human being on the planet. The challenge with IxTJs is to flip the relationship we have with our emotions. It’s that 10 year old that points out when we’ve forgotten her/his soccer match and most likely won’t say so in an eloquent way. We can choose to view that 10 year old as a “bad child” looking to take up all of our time and energy, or we can choose to view her/him as valuable and simply needing to be acknowledge so that we don’t forget what’s important ever again. If we just ignored the 10-year old, then s/he would continue to nag us about it, protest, revolt, etc which would of course waste time and delay effectiveness.

      I hope that metaphor makes sense. To sum it up, sometimes our Authenticity process looks like just another immature child. But there are moments when that process reminds us of what’s most important in our lives. That way, we build a system around that value so we can reach the goals that matter.

      Please let me know if I answered your comment appropriately! If not, don’t hesitate to reframe your question and I shall try again! =P


      • Anna

        Hi Chelsea,

        I’m going to rephrase my question while I can see where your reply is going, but that’s not what I asked. I’m talking about conceptual frameworks that are emotional in nature. As in the mental constructs that determine why and how we respond emotionally to a situation. As Authenticity is about doing what we feel is right, a limitation arises immediately if our ability to understand, name and frame our emotions (and the emotions of other people) is immature. Which further implies that a betterment of the emotional constructs that relates to outlying the analysis, determination and response to an emotion (both within and of another person) is a significantly stronger path towards engaging effectiveness.

        I completely disagree with the idea that Authenticity is simply this helpless child that you pat on the head and tell them to go and play outside. While your comment about emotions being an alert system is something I completely agree with, I think you are disregarding the strength and visibility that can be gained from taking the child a little more seriously and training it appropriately.

        Put differently, it’s about increasing the emotional intelligence capacity of a person so that they are able to discern why they feel in a particular way and have the right tools to respond. I think ANY advice to tell someone to disregard their emotions is foolish and dangerous. It’s not simply about saying “hey, I see you.” but more about “hey, is everything ok? Tell me about what you are feeling, let’s understand why and do something about it.”

        While INTJ’s present as rational creatures, I believe that’s a complete misnomer. No decision is simply and solely rational. Every decision is emotionally derived. The logic comes later. Even in people that are typed as rational. If you aren’t sure what I mean, any book on behavioural economics will outline this further.

        Finally, I believe that the path to being ridiculously effective and marrying perspectives in that process, is fundamentally linked to the status and maturity of Authenticity. That without developing a mature and varied emotional toolset, an INTJ will eventually and simply run out of steam or end up feeling empty/despondent and here’s the worst part….

        They won’t know why.

        Because that takes self awareness and self knowledge.

        So, what I’m trying to get at, is that I still don’t agree with your premise. I think it focuses on the wrong problem.

        • Chelsea Irish

          Hi Anna!

          Thanks for continuing the conversation.

          It’s interesting that my wording came off as “please completely disregard your emotions”. I focused more on the Effectiveness process simply because this article is about the Effectiveness process. You’re absolutely right that there is so much more to the Authenticity process and I’m happy you realize this. That’s certainly a sign of emotional intelligence on your part, so congrats on the hard work!

          If I went more in depth on the Authenticity process, this article would have been longer than it already was. I wanted to keep it as concise as possible without hindering the sole message. I have some articles planned (some already drafted) that will be out in the coming weeks that focus solely on our Authenticity process and how to change our relationship with them. It’s advice for TJs to appreciate the importance of emotions. I hope you’ll look forward to it.

          Thanks again for your input!


          • Anna

            Hi Chelsea,

            Thank you for responding. I read through your reply a number of times and again, there’s something that doesn’t add up. You expressed that you were focusing on how to engage Effectiveness, but here’s the thing…. you did that by specifically talking how to deal with Authenticity (section under the header Decisions… Decisions).

            Do you see how that could be confusing for someone thinking they are just dealing with Effectiveness when that’s been thrown into the mix?

            Antonio mentioned on one of the podcasts (I cant remember which one, I’ll have to dig for it) that the secret to developing the Co-Driver is centered in dealing with the 10 Year Old.

            As in it’s the interaction, the dynamic which is where the secret sauce lies.

            So, if there’s a focus on making the one better, it renders the point of discussing them individually a bit of a moot point. I mean no offense with this, but that distinction is very important.

            Again, nothing wrong with talking about each separately, but discussing performance and personal growth tactics needs to include a discussion on the dynamic between each part. As they do not act in isolation of each other.

            Example: The listing of pro’s and con’s doesn’t work for everyone.

            There are INTJ’s out there that require a rational path through emotion to make peace with a decision enough to be able to move forwards. That they require the detail to frame the situation, using Perspectives, to see the other side, while buffering against being a sitting duck by having strong boundaries and values within Authenticity to protect them against malicious actions of other people and allow them to act quickly and so be leveraging Effectiveness.

            I’m specifically referring to INTJ’s as the N pushes for an internal understanding before action is possible. I recognise that ISTJ’s may not work that way.

          • Chelsea Irish

            (The reply button is missing from your most recent post on June 26th so this response is awkwardly out of order.)


            I’m not sure why there’s such a misunderstanding here.

            “it’s the interaction, the dynamic which is where the secret sauce lies.

            So, if there’s a focus on making the one better, it renders the point of discussing them individually a bit of a moot point. I mean no offense with this, but that distinction is very important.”

            That’s why I acknowledge the importance of Authenticity in this article.

            “Example: The listing of pro’s and con’s doesn’t work for everyone. ”

            I never said that it works for everyone. I only gave a personal example of a system I use.

            “There are INTJ’s out there that require a rational path through emotion to make peace with a decision enough to be able to move forwards.”

            And I mention using authenticity as a guide to making those decisions. That’s exactly why I mention authenticity in this article. The path is through emotion. The end goal, the decision, is made with Effectiveness.

            This conversation has become very detail-oriented which is exhausting for me. I’m not sure why the connection between Authenticity and Effectiveness isn’t clear. If I went into Authenticity more than I thought was needed, this would be a book rather than an article.

            Speaking of books, it sounds like you’re really interested in going incredibly deep with the relationship between the cognitive functions. That’s great! For that, I suggest a full length book. Perhaps Lenore Thomson’s “Personality Type: An Owner’s Manual”. There are also in-depth courses here on Personality Hacker that you can take. I haven’t been able to take all of the courses because I don’t have the money, but if you do then feel free! There is a course called “Your Personality: The Owner’s Manual” which I would suspect will get into the Effectiveness/Authenticity dynamic that you wish to pursue more.

            Here’s a link to the course:

            Otherwise, there’s nothing more I can do to help you understand my reasoning for mentioning Authenticity here. I’ve done all I can. Thanks so much for enjoying the article and I wish you good luck in acquiring more resources in learning about the dynamic between Effectiveness and Authenticity.


    • Ima

      I just realize I’m an INTJ and my whole world view collapse. I guess I’m late. I really want to be an INTP.

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