Are INTP Lazy? The Myth of INTP Procrastination


The stereotype that often follows the INTP personality type is that they are very lazy. It’s as if being an INTP is synonymous with procrastination. As an INTP, I’ve frequently found myself puzzled by this perception of laziness associated with our type. The truth is much more nuanced than meets the eye. Let’s explore how true the myth about INTPs being lazy really is.

INTPs tend to procrastinate because their curious minds are constantly seeking new ideas, information and possibilities. They want to know every detail and possible outcomes before reaching a decision. An accurate decision after careful assessment of the situation with each possible outcome measured.

INTP – The Lazy Perfectionist

INTP wants to make a perfect decision and complete the task with accuracy. If they experience even the slightest hesitation that things would not be perfect (Ne exploring possible scenarios), their Ti enters an overthinking mode, waiting for Ne to arrive at the best possible outcome. The final decision is reached only when Ti and Ne are in agreement. Until then, the Si comfort zone triggers a series of procrastination. So, in a way, INTPs are lazy perfectionists.

This brings us to the next reason why people think INTPs are lazy. It’s because INTPs hate mundane and uninteresting repetitive tasks. For the INTP, conserving decision-making energy throughout the day is very important. In fact, it’s quite clever. By minimizing routine decisions, they preserve energy to brainstorm and focus on more interesting matters.

For example, choosing what to wear, what to eat or where to sit. These things are very important to some people. But to an INTP defaulting to same clothes, food and places, saves them mental energy. It allows them to delve into mentally stimulating pursuits. Their quest for knowledge and understanding is anything but lazy. They wouldn’t want to sacrifice their peace of mind for social approval.

INTP and Socializing

Their perceived laziness is simply a manifestation of their preference for intellectual engagement. In a social setting, they avoid people who are just there for small talk, superficial conversations, and virtue signaling. Being fake is kryptonite for INTPs. Again, they are not being lazy by avoiding social gatherings, but they would rather spend time with a select few loved ones than be in a crowd with nothing meaningful to talk about. This selective participation often comes across as laziness.

Take, for example, revenge or retribution. INTPs are too lazy to carry out a revenge plan. Instead of wasting energy, they become apathetic. The opposite of love is not hatred; it is indifference. This apathy is sometimes very important for mental peace.

The Missing Art of Self-Promotion

Ne is always on the lookout for the best possible ideas and to connect the patterns. It’s often associated with daydreaming and is seen as laziness. For an INTP, Ne enables Ti to exactly understand goals, the best possible ways to achieve them, potential hurdles, and how to overcome them. They develop Plan A and then if it fails Plan B, Plan C, and Plan D. It all goes on in the INTP head (Internal thinking Ti). If no one knows about it, it looks like the INTP is sitting idle, doing nothing.

The thought process has to be communicated, and it’s very difficult to explain internal thought processes, the same way it is difficult for an E/INFP and E/ISFP person to explain their internal feelings (Fi). But then if INTP won’t mention all this mental work, they come off as lazy. It’s natural for them to think about it and not say it.

Boasting is not something INTPs are fond of. Even when they achieve something great, they don’t go about shouting their achievements into a megaphone to everyone on every platform. INTPs seem lazy because they don’t openly showcase their accomplishments. And today’s world is the world of show off. Whether it’s a new job, a new car, or even a Nobel Prize, they tend to share such news with only a select few. For INTPs to succeed in the corporate world, they really need to learn the art of self-promotion.

INTP Misfit in Corporate Culture

INTPs want their efforts to contribute where they truly matter. So, to a closed group or a group thinker who embraces the hustle culture, where being seen doing is more important than doing it properly, it seems like the INTP isn’t doing anything. This discrepancy arises because their version of hard work projected onto the INTP differs significantly from what the INTP perceives as perfect work that actually matters.

For example, staying overtime without doing anything meaningful, manually typing numbers instead of auto-generating sequences, or scheduling multiple meetings that could easily be an email. For an INTP, it’s crucial to create one functioning product rather than be part of a group of 10 people pretending to produce 10 non-functional ones. They would prefer to solve one complex problem effectively rather than be involved in a group tackling 10 simpler issues without depth or resolution.

If there’s a shortcut available, an INTP would take it. If a task can be completed in 2 hours, they see spending 8 hours on it as incompetence, not a sign of hard work.

INTPs prioritize efficiency and accuracy. They might not engage in a task conventionally, but their ability to streamline processes or find novel approaches showcases their ingenuity and efficiency.

INTP Are Autodidacts

If a boss, teacher or an authority figure tells INTP to listen, follow instructions and just do as asked. INTP would be annoyed and lose all motivation. INTP want to know why they are doing what they are doing. Why it matters and what they can do to make it better? They want to ask questions and learn by themselves. INTP are autodidact personified.

They want to figure things out and think for themselves. If they don’t see the purpose behind a task and are bored by generic, repetitive work, they may simply refuse to do it or procrastinate until the last moment. This approach might be viewed by authority figures as rebellious or reluctance to do the work, perceiving the INTP as lazy, but that’s not the case.

INTPs aren’t motivated by what others typically care about, such as money, accolades, awards, or symbols of social status. Unlike those who have been taught from childhood and hardwired to think that if you can’t gain money and social approval from the way you spend your time, then it’s a waste.

People do things because they are taught to do so since childhood or told by an authority figure. But not INTPs, they seek understanding, asking why, how, what, and when. It’s essential that the task makes logical sense to them, rather than just doing it because everyone else does. This perspective might lead others to believe that INTPs lack ambition. It doesn’t occur to them that INTPs don’t necessarily share the same conventional goals and values as the majority. Their focus do not always align with traditional ideas of productivity.

So, are INTPs lazy?

A bored INTP is a lazy INTP. They are simply disinterested in the task at hand, considering it low in priority and unable to comprehend its logical significance. Instead, they are engrossed in their own thoughts, pondering different problems.

The reality is that laziness isn’t inherent to any personality type. Instead, it’s a complex interplay of factors including motivation, interest, and environment. INTPs might exhibit tendencies that could be mistaken for laziness, but it’s important to look beyond the surface.

When caught in a Ti-Si loop, overthinking can paralyze an INTP. Their desire for the perfect solution (even for emotional problems) can lead to analysis paralysis. Constantly looking back at memories (Si) and thinking (Ti) about what they could have done or could do differently. It seems like they’re inactive and misunderstood as lazy when, in reality, their mind is hard at work trying to make things right.

Why Do INTP Procrastinate?

INTP procrastination stems from their approach to tasks with a desire for a comprehensive understanding. INTPs possess a cognitive style that prioritizes understanding problems thoroughly before diving into action. This analysis can sometimes delay the initiation of a task until they feel they’ve grasped the concepts thoroughly.

To prompt an INTP into action, assign a task that captures their interests. A task in which they can brainstorm ideas and out of the box approaches to solve a problem or make things better. If it’s a routine task, explain its significance and the benefits it offers. Let them sink their teeth into a project that demands thorough research and piques their curiosity.

INTPs strongly dislike being micromanaged. When someone hovers over their shoulder while they’re working, it genuinely disrupts their thought process. Instead, give them a challenging task where they can explore various strategies and outcomes. They become deeply engrossed, driven by an insatiable curiosity to uncover the best solution.

They’re the type to lose track of time, willingly staying up all night, fully engaged in their quest for answers because they’re internally driven. INTPs set their own goals and manage their work on their own terms. This self-motivation helps them excel in their creative problem-solving skills.

INTPs learn and seek knowledge purely for the sake of learning itself. For them, it doesn’t end with receiving an award, degree, or promotion. When an INTP is passionate about something, they can spend hours, days, or even weeks immersed in a task or project they find intellectually stimulating and satisfying. It’s their thirst for knowledge, truth, and problem-solving that drives them. ‘The man who loves walking will walk further than the man who loves the destination’. Similarly an INTP would be a thousand times more productive and go above and beyond mere task completion if they are truly passionate about it.

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