The Beaver – ISTJ

Low-maintenance and industrious, Beavers are the quiet backbone of most, if not all, institutions. Similar to their SJ siblings, the supervising Stags, Beavers prioritize duty above all things, whether it is in their role as a parent, a boss, an employee, student body treasurer, or any position with even a modicum of responsibility. However, unlike the Stags, who take it upon themselves to command the group towards a common objective, Beavers assume the role of inspector general, guardian to all of the rules and regulations that society is built upon.

The Impartial Critic

AYAAN - FEB28 - Author Ayaan Hirsi Ali talks about her autobiography. tb (Photo by Tony Bock/Toronto Star via Getty Images) By: Tony Bock Collection: Toronto Star

I confront the European elite’s self-image as tolerant while under their noses women are living like slaves.

– Ayaan Hirsi Ali

When it comes to practical details, no type is more accurate than the fastidious and serious Beavers. Differing from the strategic Spiders, whose mastery of details usually pertains to the abstract ideas that fuel their long-term plans, Beavers prefer to focus on the concrete particulars of the present. No manner of minutiae is too trivial for their inspection. For a Beaver, it’s those precise specifics, the ones that other types—particularly Intuitives—frequently disregard, that are the most vital to keeping things intact. Whereas an NT Chimpanzee will examine every interesting aspect of a machine to troubleshoot a problem, a Beaver will be the one who discovers, in seconds, that the machine is merely unplugged. This method might not seem exciting, but Beavers really don’t care. They just want the machine—and society—to work. This no-nonsense approach, along with their humble skepticism—Beavers strongly distrust grand ideas for the future, often believing them to be careless acts of hubris—is also the major reason that Beavers make great judges and umpires. Their tendency to stick to the facts of the case, contest, competition, or game, without adding any extra, unnecessary context, even their own personal convictions, ensures that the results will be as fair as humanly possible. As critics, Beavers are insightful and unbiased, pointing out specific objections to specific details while not pulling any punches when critiquing those with whom they share a personal or social connection: members of the same family, ethnic group, occupation, gender, etc. Because of this, other types will sometimes perceive Beavers as being rigid and uncaring, especially when compared to their more “compassionate” siblings, the Elephants and Bears. However, this is far from the truth, as the Beavers’ adherence to the rules is actually just a reflection of their concern for the welfare of society as a whole.

The Workhorse

Andy Dufresne

In 1966, Andy Dufresne escaped from Shawshank prison. All they found of him was a muddy set of prison clothes, a bar of soap, and an old rock hammer, damn near worn down to the nub. I remember thinking it would take a man six hundred years to tunnel through the wall with it. Old Andy did it in less than twenty.

– Ellis Redding on Andy Dufresne (“The Shawshank Redemption”)

Industriousness is an easy thing to define, yet a hard thing to quantify. The career-minded Killer Whales and Spiders are relentless students, just as the Sharks and Butterflies will practice endlessly to perfect their respective crafts. And we cannot forget about the Stags, Elephants, and Bears, all of whom possess the SJ traits of consistency and diligence. Nonetheless, it is the Beavers that claim the title of “Hardest-working Type”. Whether they’re fixing things around the house, taking part in menial and endlessly tedious tasks, or inspecting the structural designs of a freeway project, Beavers are unparalleled in their determination to see that the task is finished. Their willpower is second to none; to shirk any responsibility, no matter how daunting or unglamorous, is an absolute failure. They feel that their duty is to be productive at all times, regardless of whether they’re doing the “dirty work”. Don’t be surprised to see a Beaver at a party disposing of trash and cleaning up after others. Bears might do the same, though they’re motivated more by loyalty to their companions than to any obligation to serve. Beavers are usually the first to offer help, and the last to ask for it—they hate being a hassle to anyone, and the idea of not being able to carry their own weight is embarrassing to them. Since most of their work is done outside of the spotlight, Beavers can often be taken for granted. Fortunately for us, recognition is not a necessity for Beavers—though acknowledging their hard work only seems right, and is a perfect way to see that it continues—as they see the completion of a project as its own reward.

The Worrywart

Angela Merkel

The Freedom Bell in Berlin is, like the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, a symbol which reminds us that freedom does not come about of itself. It must be struggled for and then defended anew every day of our lives.

– Angela Merkel

Beavers have a naturally defensive mindset, always making sure that they’re ready at all times for whatever life has to throw at them. Because of this, they are the most likely type to worry about a possible outcome that has little to no chance of happening. Unfortunately, once this very unlikely outcome does not occur, Beavers will attribute their “good fortune” to the fact that they worried about it, therefore, establishing a confirmation bias that starts the cycle all over again. In many contexts, this instinctive caution serves Beavers well, as they make terrific accountants and civil engineers. However, a Beaver’s hesitance to take risks can be irritatingly close-minded and stifling to progress in any field, and at worst, will lead to the continuation of a status quo that might be detrimental to society in the long—and short—term.

The Patient Builder

Warren Buffett

I call investing the greatest business in the world … because you never have to swing… All day you wait for the pitch you like; then when the fielders are asleep, you step up and hit it.

– Warren Buffett

Mature Beavers learn to channel their carefulness and risk aversion into a disciplined patience. They never rush. They never take unnecessary risks. But as opposed to the Bears, whose protective qualities might make them skittish when it comes to investing money or developing projects, Beavers can become extremely proficient at taking calculated risks. There is no doubt that they will put in the time and effort to read all of the instructions, take all of the necessary precautions, and research all of the relevant details. Engineering is commonly mistaken as the field of NTs. While this may be true in computer science and architecture, where design is key, structural engineering is another thing entirely. Precision, cost analysis, and risk assessment—traits that translate to the financial world as well—are all necessary skills if one plans on building massive, everyday structures like bridges, tunnels and sewer systems. Like much of what ISTJs do, these logistical afterthoughts get outshined by flashier, technical achievements, which is a terrible shame. The next time you marvel at the Golden Gate Bridge or visit the Taj Mahal, just remember that someone had to build that freeway onramp, that stretch of California highway, or that airplane runway, and that person was probably a Beaver.