Amazing Grace: William Pitt [INTJ]
Introverted Intuition (Ni): discarding excess information to focus on a single goal, planning for the future
Extroverted Thinking (Te): taking swift, judgmental action, to change events in the world around them
Introverted Feeling (Fi): the need to remain true to one’s personal beliefs, no desire to negotiate
Extroverted Sensing (Se): living in the moment, enjoying dangerous experiences
William Pitt sets out to become the youngest Prime Minister in history, and makes it happen (Ni-Te). His forward-focus is both an asset to his friend Wilberforce and to his political career, as he is forever preparing for the next war or upheaval in the House of Commons (Ni). He develops a lifelong intention to assist Wilberforce in abolishing the slave trade (Ni), but prefers to work behind the scenes so as not to damage his career (Te). He is a man of action, driven to practical, real-life application and solutions (Te).
His reasons for supporting abolition are personal and rarely shared with anyone else; despite their common goal, Pitt has very different ideas than Wilberforce and has no problems stating them (Fi). He is quick to seize opportunities when he sees them and enjoys testing the limits of his strength now and again, but finds it difficult to live in the moment (inferior Se).
From what I remember of Amazing Grace, this is a fair assessment of Pitt’s character in the film. But I’m more interested in the real Pitt, so I hopped over to Wikipedia to read up about MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator), Masterminds and the INTJ personality type.
This is from the article on Masterminds, who correlate primarily with the INTJ type, and make up about 1% of the population. Anyone who has studied Pitt will find much of this description strangely familiar:
Masterminds are introspective, logical, rational, pragmatic, clear-headed, directive, and attentive. As strategists, they are better than any other type at brainstorming approaches to situations. Masterminds are capable but not eager leaders, stepping forward only when it becomes obvious to them that they are the best for the job. [Yeah, maybe not that bit.] Strong-willed and very self-assured, they may make this decision quickly, as they tend to make all decisions. But though they are decisive, they are open to new evidence and new ideas, flexible in their planning to accommodate changing situations. They tend to excel at judging the usefulness of ideas and will apply whatever seems most efficient to them in accomplishing their clearly envisioned goals. To Masterminds, what matters is getting it done—but also learning the principles of how to get it done efficiently and well, that is, at a professional level of quality. However, they may not give much thought to the social cost of getting there, “focusing so tightly on their own pursuits [that] they can ignore the points of view and wishes of others.”
Masterminds are highly pragmatic, and they will put forth a great deal of time and effort to implement effective ideas. They are driven to solve complex problems and to create organized, decided, and executed solutions. Masterminds tend to make positive statements instead of negative ones, focusing on how to make the organization more efficient in the future rather than dwelling on past mistakes.
Masterminds are also highly theoretical, and one of the more open-minded of the 16 role variants. Before Masterminds adopt a theoretical notion, they insist on researching all the available data and checking the idea against reality. Masterminds are suspicious of theories based on poor research and will discard ideas that cannot be effectively implemented.
As leaders, Masterminds are skilled in contingency planning and entailment organizing, which are directive activities that tell the planner what activities to do and in what order to do them. Once in a position of power, Masterminds are known for their efficiency and willingness to adopt useful ideas.
INTJ is one of MBTI’s 16 personality types, characterised as follows:
I – Introversion preferred to extraversion: INTJs tend to be quiet and reserved. They generally prefer interacting with a few close friends rather than a wide circle of acquaintances, and they expend energy in social situations (whereas extraverts gain energy).
T – Thinking preferred to feeling: INTJs tend to value objective criteria above personal preference or sentiment. When making decisions they generally give more weight to logic than to social considerations.
J – Judgment preferred to perception: INTJs tend to plan their activities and make decisions early. They derive a sense of control through predictability, which to perceptive types may seem limiting.
So far so fairly Pitt-like. I’m not so sure about ‘N’, though:
N – Intuition preferred to sensing: INTJs tend to be more abstract than concrete. They focus their attention on the big picture rather than the details and on future possibilities rather than immediate realities.
Well OK, you don’t last very long as Prime Minister if you don’t get the big picture. But Pitt’s real strength was his supreme ability to drill down - to comprehend and assimilate the complex details of a problem, and then use that acquired knowledge to solve it. So I think in this respect he had at least as much ‘S’ as ‘N’ in his make up:
S – Sensing preferred to intuition: ISTJs tend to be more concrete than abstract. They focus their attention on the details rather than the big picture, and on immediate realities rather than future possibilities.
So - which character type does your fave historical person belong to?