Well, they are many and varied for the INTP.
I do want to make it clear, however, that not all INTPs naturally become mathematicians, physicists or programmers. That’s the archetype INTP.
As I said, I’ve always had a handicap when it came to numbers, escpecially mental arithmetic, and struggled all through elementary school in this particular area. High school became easier because it was less about the basics and more about complicated algebra which I fairly quickly winged: All you had to do was putting things into a formula as assigned and use your badass calculator to do all the hard work. No biggie. I never got what I was doing and I still thank God for not putting me through an oral exam in the subject, but I simply made it through by using (what I now realise) my ingenius, deductive skills of an INTP mind (and some luck). I realised that if you just figured out the system you could make it far. E.g. if you figured out how to look and act like a dedicated, hard-working student, despite not caring much for the particular class, you’d still get fairly good grades and become well-liked by the teachers. Of course, this wasn’t always the case at the oral exams when I was too lazy to prepare or got a subject I actually couldn’t ‘charm’ myself out of, now alone in the spotlight. Believe me, I’ve winged myself through most of it and only ever liked the written exams.
No, my particular field of interest has always been within the humanities; culture, art, film, music, visual, aesthetic and social sciences etc.. Everything that shouldn’t make any sense for the highly logical mind of the INTP and still doesn’t – however, it does for me. Or rather it makes sense that it does and doesn’t makes sense. Does that make sense? … 😉
I enjoy discovering and examining the seen and unseen patterns of human behaviour; our ways of living, consuming, creating and thinking. Mostly from a philosophical-analytical POV. I’m a sucker for irony and paradoxes. They say INTPs don’t like details but focus on the big picture, which is true to some extent, but I’d rather phrase it like this: We only like the details that few other or no one else notice; we like to point them out and point to how they fit into the bigger picture. Reversely, when everyone is consumed with the details, we point out the bigger picture. Am I right?
That is also the essence of my life really: Always looking for the thing no one else notices. Going against the stream, so to speak. That can be a virtue as much as a vice. My mother calls me strong-willed, but only reluctantly so, because I know she means I’m stubborn and always has been (I was as a kid!), and I’m also frightfully demonstrative which is highly impractical in sooo many situations in life.
Sure, when people say ‘Listen to your instinct’ it sounds very romantic and idealistic and, often, they are actually right, but not always. Especially not when your instinct tends to behave like a spoilt, stubborn, seven-year-old child…