Portrait of an ENTP – Extraverted iNtuitive Thinking Perceiving
(Extraverted Intuition with Introverted Thinking)
ENTP’s generally have the following traits:
- Enjoy generating ideas and theories
- Creative and ingenious
- Bright and capable
- Flexible and Diverse
- Excellent communication skills
- Enjoy debating issues with other people
- Excellent people skills
- Natural leaders, but do not like to control people
- Resist being controlled by people
- Lively and energetic; able to motivate others
- Highly value knowledge and competence
- Logical, rational thinkers
- Able to grasp difficult concepts and theories
- Enjoy solving difficult problems
- Dislike confining schedules and environments
- Dislike routine, detailed tasks
ENTP’s are fortunate in that they have a wide range of capabilities. They are generally good at anything which has captured their interest. ENTP’s are likely to be successful in many different careers. Since they have a lot of options open to them, ENTP’s will do well to choose professions which allow them a lot of personal freedom where they can use their creativity to generate new ideas and solve problems. They will not be completely happy in positions which are regimented or confining.
Jungian functional preference ordering for ENTP:
Dominant: Extraverted Intuition
Auxiliary: Introverted Thinking
Tertiary: Extraverted Feeling
Inferior: Introverted Sensing
As an ENTP, your primary mode of living is focused externally, where you take things in primarily via your intuition. Your secondary mode is internal, where you deal with things rationally and logically.
With Extraverted Intuition dominating their personality, the ENTP’s primary interest in life is understanding the world that they live in. They are constantly absorbing ideas and images about the situations they are presented in their lives. Using their intuition to process this information, they are usually extremely quick and accurate in their ability to size up a situation. With the exception of their ENFP cousin, the ENTP has a deeper understanding of their environment than any of the other types.
This ability to intuitively understand people and situations puts the ENTP at a distinct advantage in their lives. They generally understand things quickly and with great depth. Accordingly, they are quite flexible and adapt well to a wide range of tasks. They are good at most anything that interests them. As they grow and further develop their intuitive abilities and insights, they become very aware of possibilities, and this makes them quite resourceful when solving problems.
ENTP’s are idea people. Their perceptive abilities cause them to see possibilities everywhere. They get excited and enthusiastic about their ideas, and are able to spread their enthusiasm to others. In this way,
they get the support that they need to fulfill their visions.
ENTP’s are less interested in developing plans of actions or making decisions than they are in generating possibilities and ideas. Following through on the implementation of an idea is usually a chore to the ENTP. For some ENTP’s, this results in the habit of never finishing what they start. The ENTP who has not developed their Thinking process will have problems with jumping enthusiastically from idea to idea, without following through on their plans. The ENTP needs to take care to think through their ideas fully in order to take advantage of them.
The ENTP’s auxiliary process of Introverted Thinking drives their decision making process. Although the ENTP is more interested in absorbing information than in making decisions, they are quite rational and logical in reaching conclusions. When they apply Thinking to their Intuitive perceptions, the outcome can be very powerful indeed. A well-developed ENTP is extremely visionary, inventive, and enterprising.
ENTP’s are fluent conversationalists, mentally quick, and enjoy verbal sparring with others. They love to debate issues, and may even switch sides sometimes just for the love of the debate. When they express their underlying principles, however, they may feel awkward and speak abruptly and intensely.
The ENTP personality type is sometimes referred to the “Lawyer” type. The ENTP “lawyer” quickly and accurately understands a situation, and objectively and logically acts upon the situation. Their Thinking side makes their actions and decisions based on an objective list of rules or laws. If the ENTP was defending someone who had actually committed a crime, they are likely to take advantage of quirks in the law that will get their client off the hook. If they were to actually win the case, they would see their actions as completely fair and proper to the situation, because their actions were lawful. The guilt or innocence of their client would not be as relevant. If this type of reasoning goes incompletely unchecked by the ENTP, it could result in a character that is perceived by others as unethical or even dishonest. The ENTP, who does not naturally consider the more personal or human element in decision making, should take care to notice the subjective, personal side of situations. This is a potential problem are for ENTP’s. Although their logical abilities lend strength and purpose to the ENTP, they may also isolate them from their feelings and from other people.
The least developed area for the ENTP is the Sensing-Feeling arena. If the Sensing areas are neglected, the ENTP may tend to not take care of details in their life. If their Feeling part is neglected, the ENTP may not value other people’s input enough, or may become overly harsh and aggressive. Under stress, the ENTP may lose their ability to generate possibilities, and become obsessed with minor details. These details may seem to be extremely important to the ENTP, but in reality are usually not important to the big picture.
In general, ENTP’s are upbeat visionaries. They highly value knowledge, and spend much of their lives seeking a higher understanding. They live in the world of possibilities, and become excited about concepts, challenges and difficulties. When presented with a problem, they’re good at improvising and quickly come up with a creative solution. Creative, clever, curious, and theoretical, ENTP’s have a broad range of possibilities in their lives.
- Enthusiastic, upbeat, and popular
- Can be very charming
- Excellent communication skills
- Extremely interested in self-improvement and growth in their relationships
- Laid-back and flexible, usually easy to get along with
- Big idea-people, always working on a grand scheme or idea
- Usually good at making money, although not so good at managing it
- Take their commitments and relationships very seriously
- Able to move on with their lives after leaving a relationship
- Always excited by anything new, they may change partners frequently
- Tendency to not follow through on their plans and ideas
- Their love of debate may cause them to provoke arguments
- Big risk-takers and big spenders, not usually good at managing money
- Although they take their commitments seriously, they tend to abandon their relationships which no longer offer opportunity for growth
ENTP personalities are motivated by possibilities. They love the outside chances; the new or unusual combinations lurking within the ordinary everyday world of things and ideas. For them, something is always on the up, something is always tantalizing their desire to re-orchestrate life into new patterns and shapes; new ways of fulfilling what can be as strong as a never ending desire to beat the odds and win at every game in town, or as mild as a quirky personal need for constant variety and change. With their thinking tied to the myriad possibilities they see in the world, they act swiftly and decisively upon those angles, choices and combinations scarcely noticed by other types, but through which they can build whole new frameworks or completely redefine an existing external situation in such a way that it appears new, revitalized and once again full of promise. Sameness, stasis, conservatism – even daily routine – can be loathsome to fervent ENTP’s, whose drive is always to be into something new, different and full of fresh possibilities, and who, given the opportunity, will always be the first to show others a new path to success in a venture, or to find a way of doing something that no-one has done before.
ENTP people measure their success by their “aha” moments, by the sense of satisfaction which comes as they spread their newly written maps before them and contemplate the new adventure, design, investigation or conquest which has now become their road ahead. What has gone before, previous achievements, ways of living – even people met along the way – are often now forgotten or considered passé, mere steps along a path which has now brought a new frontier to be exploited for its gifts. Whether it is the search for knowledge, money, power, fame or pleasure, the ENTP will be found at the frontline, gazing into the distance and discovering new avenues toward, bigger, better or more satisfying outcomes.
ENTP’s are the great problem solvers, discoverers and re-inventors of the world. Their insights into the world around them, their ability to see new ways of putting things together and making them work can bring them great success in virtually any industry or human pursuit that interests them. For this reason the ENTP is happiest in situations where they can use their intuitive powers freely and have the space in which to think upon the aspects and angles which come to them. Without fulfilling work and the freedom to use their mind most productively, ENTP’s can quickly tire of a limiting situation. For this reason an open road toward success is an extremely important factor in the ENTP’s life. Some, given a little opportunity, will clear one for themselves, but of all the types, it is the ENTP who has most need to be aware of the life and career situations they might commit to without sufficient thought for the future.
As an ENTP, you have gifts that are specific to your personality type that aren’t natural strengths for other types. By recognizing your special gifts and encouraging their growth and development, you will more readily see your place in the world, and be more content with your role.
Nearly all ENTP’s will recognize the following characteristics in themselves.
They should embrace and nourish these strengths:
- The ability to hold many points of view in mind and see their differing merits.
- Seeing ways to do things others have not thought of.
- Able to give quick and diverse answers to any question of interest.
- Seeing the other side of a situation and making it known.
- Being able to juggle many differing jobs or processes at the one time.
- Easily capable of holding your own in any argument or discussion.
- The ability to quickly find the best or most useful side of others.
- Seeing the many connections between events and things which are not immediately obvious to others.
- The ability to solve puzzles and problems that have no obvious way to resolution.
- The ability to define schematically a new structure or design and know it will work.
- Knowing and giving to others the very thing they need when they are not sure themselves.
- A talent for innovative creation in writing, music or the visual arts.
- The gift of knowing which new ideas or changes will enhance rather than detract from their relationships with others
With any gift of strength, there is an associated weakness. Without “bad”, there would be no “good”. Without “difficult”, there would be no “easy”. We value our strengths, but we often curse and ignore our weaknesses. To grow as a person and get what we want out of life, we must not only capitalize upon our strengths, but also face our weaknesses and deal with them. That means taking a hard look at our personality type’s potential problem areas. Most of the weaker characteristics that are found in ENTP’s are due to their dominant function of Extraverted Intuition overtaking the personality to the point that the other functions exist merely to serve its purposes.
In such cases, an ENTP may show some or all of the following weaknesses in varying degrees:
- The inability to maintain a comfortable situation or relationship once its possibilities have been realized or exhausted.
- A tendency to consider careful or meticulous thinkers as unworthy plodders or time wasters.
- Blindness to the needs and feelings of others not directly involved in the ENTP’s current area of interest.
- A lack of sensitivity to the feelings and ways of those who might need reassurance, security or commitment.
- The inability to deal carefully and calmly with the finer details of a situation or work in progress.
- Becoming overly annoyed by minor setbacks or small things that have to be set right before the goal can be realized.
- A tendency to be arrogant or boastful, or to demean those who cannot see the same answers.
- Can often find themselves in bad situations by too quickly taking a big step forward or by being “too smart for their own good”.
Nearly all of the problematic characteristics described above can be attributed in various degrees to the common ENTP problem of being so fascinated with their Extroverted Intuitions that they fail to develop a careful thinking process sufficient to balance it. Leaps of perception, new ideas and strange but fascinating juxtapositions are wonderful for the potential freshness and possible success they might bring. But if not carefully appraised and chosen wisely they can also take us far from the right path in life, take us from our friends, spoil our relationships and even bring personal or financial disaster. Without a well developed thinking function, the ENTP is always in danger of leaping over social, financial and personal constraints for the sake of following a new vision. This might be as simple as arousing the wrath of ones partner by suddenly deciding to by an expensive gadget or change something around the house without being concerned for their input or feelings, or as complex as allowing an ill considered entrepreneurial idea lead them into financial and social disaster, simply because the one sided vision of Extroverted Intuition does not recognize or count the amount of small but important details which need to be right before such ideas can be realized.
Without a solid thinking function, the ENTP can easily discount or fail to notice the essential ethics of social and interpersonal relationship, often considering themselves “above” or untouched by such limiting values and often discounting the possibility that their actions might be or hurtful or seen as unethical by others. It is not that the one sided ENTP is deliberately hurtful, but simply ignorant of the effects which can flow from their often compulsive need for change or need to show how clever or individual they are. In the ENTP, the lack of a well developed Feeling Function means that they must learn to “understand” feeling in both themselves and others and come to terms with its affects. This understanding can only come from thinking carefully about the ways feeling affects not only themselves, but others, and the importance others place on this function. The ENTP has a feeling function more or less global in character and one which does not judge fine differences. This inability to discriminate feelings can allow the ENTP to say and do much that leaves others in the cold, so an effort to think about the feeling process can be essential. Without the understanding this brings, the ENTP can separate themselves from the ground of their life, from the constancy of their friends and family and, without even realizing it, they can easily find themselves in untenable positions where, without support, they wonder why they are suddenly alone and lost.
Another significant problem arises where the ENTP has grown within or is locked by circumstances to an environment which limits their freedom or their ability to utilize their specific abilities. This forces the ENTP to narrow down their intuitive process to the point where it retains at least some freedom to operate within their life. Under such conditions however, the intuition is free only to range over a small and limited field of vision, a field which usually consists only of the very things the ENTP is normally unconcerned about: the small details of life and its familiar objects. Without the ability to take stock and apply careful thought to the ways they might expand their horizons, the ENTP in such situations can become morose, niggardly and obsessed with the most minor or intangible details – to the point where such minutiae fill their life and each day becomes a frustrating process of eliminating again and again the little problems which ever seem to stand in the way of the “big” picture – a picture which, as those around them know only too well, will never be realized.
To grow as an individual, the ENTP needs to focus on carefully analyzing the information they receive via their Extraverted Intuition. They need to allow themselves sufficient time and space to relax with the ideas and possibilities they can see. It is all too easy for the ENTP to assume that what they see is what they need. Careful thinking can allow the ENTP to figure out the best possible ways to proceed out of all the possibilities that come to them. At the same time, even if they are not able to share them, ENTP’s need at least to understand the joys and satisfactions that others derive within those situations the ENTP would not normally choose in life. Awareness of the ways and needs of others can be the key to understanding the most life affirming way ahead for the ENTP, for there is always a danger that they might choose paths without regard to the feelings and needs of others close to them. The ENTP learns from analyzing his experience, so the best way for the ENTP to grow as a person is to develop his thinking capacity. Thus, that while the desire to run out and do something “new” is an ENTP pattern of need, this need must be integrated into a whole way of life in which the rest of our human needs and those of others who rely upon our presence are also satisfied. Your task, as a person interested in personal growth, is to understand yourself in a truly objective fashion, and how you can best give to the world, rather than just exploit the possibilities it bring to you.
The ENTP should always pay close attention to why they are acting upon new information. Are they acting out of a carefully considered motive to realize something truly worthwhile for themselves and others? Are they really seeking to improve life, or concerned with just making the next play, proving the point, showing others the moves or climbing the mountain just because it is there to climb, regardless of the consequences?
The problems ENTP’s might have fitting into the world are not usually directly related to friends or relationships. Rather, the ENTP has trouble maintaining a stable and consistent lifestyle. While this can affect love relationships, the ENTP usually has such an endearing and capable “way” about them that
others tend to follow their lead, even in the most trying of situations. The problems the ENTP generates in life are those associated with their constant need for individuality, excellence and new experiences which test their talents. While this can place great demand upon relationships, tensions are usually only apparent where the ENTP has made a love match with a person whose security needs are greater than their ability to allow their ENTP partner the freedom they need. The self aware ENTP must therefore not only be careful in considering their career choices, but also in choosing a life situation with a partner.
Of all the types, the ENTP is most uncomfortable with compromise and ought not to place themselves in situations which demand it. Most importantly the ENTP must become aware, through careful analysis of experience, just what kind of changes for the good or bad have been the direct result of their need for constant refreshment of life. Only through this awareness will the ENTP be able to focus on those perceptions which promise a better and more fruitful life.
Most ENTP’s will experience career/life frustration and some relationship difficulties through their lives. The ENTP with well-developed Introverted Thinking will find these times easier to deal with. Accordingly, we offer some general suggestions for dealing with these difficulties, as well as some advice that will help the ENTP develop their Introverted Thinking.
Take time to really listen to the thoughts of others and try to see how they understand the world. Think about the ways in which your view of the world and your needs can mesh with theirs. Don’t expect others to simply follow you or expect that they should see what you can see as a worthy goal. A good exercise is to imagine yourself as a blind or severely disabled person.
Try to get the feel of what it would be like to have to organize your life from such a different perspective. Would your goals still be valid? Would they need re-thinking? Consider the possibility that while your way of thinking leads you to see other types as having limited vision or ability, the truth is that they are no more limited than yourself, but simply have a differing focus in life and differing needs. Realize and accept that for you a satisfying relationship will require you to attend to the small details of life and show an awareness of your partner’s feelings.
You might find this difficult, but it will pay the biggest dividends in return for your effort. Expanding your appreciation of the differences between people will expand your understanding of human expectations. Try to figure out the personality type of people that you know and encounter in your life. Take care to listen to what people express within different social and work situations. Notice the different ways they go about their dealings with others or solving their problems. Do not try to compare or judge their ways against your own, simply try to recognize the many ways it is possible to be at peace in the world. When having a conversation with a friend or relative, spend at least half of the time talking about them.
Concentrate on really understanding where the person is coming from with their concerns. Ask questions. Think of the people who are closest to you. Remember that they have their own passions, satisfactions and needs. Try to visualize what that person is doing, and narrow down to how they are feeling at this moment; to one thing they might be thinking about. Don’t pass judgment, just consider and reflect on why they might think or feel in just such a way.
- Feed Your Strengths! Realize your gift of seeing past the obvious brings you a great capacity to reward yourself and others through your cleverness. Make sure you engage in activities and which can expose this potential at its most valuable level.
- Face Your Weaknesses! We all have weaknesses. Recognizing your weaknesses for what they are (without beating yourself up) will give you the power to change your life for the better.
- Talk Through Your Perceptions. Discussing what you see with others will them understand where you are coming from, and offer you the chance to discover the ways in which their input can balance your ideas.
- Relax and Enjoy the View. Take the time to consider what you have, the gifts life has already brought to you. Try and discover the value and importance of those constant day to day things which support and nourish you.
- Be Aware of Others Understand that everyone has their own lives and their own perspectives. Everyone has something to offer. Try to identify people’s personality type.
- Recognize Norms and Structures Are Necessary. Remember that without the support and constancy of others, no-one can follow their dreams. The path you walk was laid by others, each of its stepping stones created to fulfill a different part of the human need for constancy and security. Without this support structure, you cannot go far.
- Get Out of Your Comfort Zone Understand that the only way to grow is to get outside of your comfort zone. If you’re feeling uncomfortable in situation because it seems to be going nowhere, that’s good! That’s an opportunity for growth.
- Identify and Express Your Feelings You may have a hard time understanding your feelings. It’s important that you try to figure this out. Don’t let people down. If you determine that you value a person, tell them so every time you think of it. This is the best way to make them feel secure in your affections, and so to promote a long-lasting relationship.
- Be Accountable for Yourself Remember that no one has more control over your life than you have. Don’t be a victim.
- Assume the Best, But Be Wary. Your positive attitude nearly always creates positive situations. Just remember: to make them lasting and worthwhile you must build them on solid, carefully planned foundations.