Originally excerpted from Jack Falt
NTs are constantly trying to figure out why things function the way they do. Knowledge means power to them. If they know how something works, they can change and improve it as they see fit. They are constantly sharpening their intellect, and thus they are their own main competitor. They may be satisfied with what they have done today, but tomorrow they will have to do even better. They want logical answers to everything. Unlike NFs, they do not access their feelings as easily as their thoughts. They much prefer to deal with the world in a logical, rather than an emotional way.
They tend to use more abstract words that deal with theory, concepts, and ideas. They are generally more interested in the big picture than in the everyday details, although they are good at taking care of details when they are required to produce the desired outcome.
Their special skill is devising. This is the ability to look at a project and see all the facts & variables and choose the right solutions in order to produce the most ideal practical outcome.
Perhaps the best animal metaphor representing NTs is the owl. The owl sits high up in a tree so it can observe what is going on below it. It can sit quietly and then swoop down at the right moment. Because the owl is quiet for the most part, it has the reputation of being wise. Wisdom comes from knowledge and experience. NTs are continually acquiring knowledge and using it to attempt to produce better results each time.
NTs love to master anything that comes their way. When they have done so, they then may lose interest and move on to another challenge. They may take on a project until they have mastered it, because they need to feel competent. Furthermore, their definition of competence far exceeds that of any other temperament. What was competence for them today becomes mediocrity tomorrow.
In school, they look up only to the competent teacher. They quickly write off teachers whom they deem incompetent. They can often grasp a concept quickly and soon get bored with lessons that go at a slower pace for the less gifted. Of course, NTs have the full range of intelligence, from the mentally handicapped to those who are gifted, as do the other temperaments. Being purely conceptual learners, NTs process information differently than other types, and as a result can struggle to comprehend simple instructions others take for granted and become very frustrated if they cannot understand the underlying concept.
During their teen years NTs are often involved in intellectual activities. Socially, their friends can tend to be a bit on the eccentric side. NTs are the temperament with the fewest numbers in the population, with males being three times more numerous than females. Being a NT can sometimes be difficult for young women because of the stereotype that females should be more feeling and emotional. It is helpful for a young NT woman to have an older NT woman to be a model for her.
NTs need to be constantly planning to improve conditions. Even a vacation is a time to work out mental puzzles. Relaxing for NTs has to be done in an efficient manner. They can be very resolved. When something attracts their interest, they tend to follow it up to its full conclusion. They may multi-task with each task being worked on if only at the intellectual level. They are not ones to start things without giving maximum effort, although they may
skim over a number of topics to see what interests them.
Adult NTs live more studious lives. If their work falls into the intellectual category, it can be the main focus of their lives. If their work is more mundane, they will often have outside mental pursuits to satisfy their needs. Justice issues are often a concern for NTs. They can become very passionate when they see others being treated unfairly. Other temperaments respond to the situation itself: poverty, lack of water, etc. NTs are more likely to compare how one group has all the resources while others have little or nothing and try to bring about changes to the overall system.
As lovers and spouses, NTs can be arrogant and critical, though they don't often see themselves that way. They see their comments as being helpful. Most partners don't really appreciate the error of their ways being pointed out to them, even if the remark was right on the mark. NTs don't need the same amount of emotional connectedness
that other temperaments do and may appear to be cold or aloof. However, once NTs realizes what their partners need, they can use their skills to be very attentive lovers. It is just that it tends to be a more intellectual procedure rather than a spontaneous, emotional, heartfelt gesture. It doesn’t mean that NTs are any less capable of love. It is just that they express it in their own way. They have to learn to appreciate the differences in other temperaments.