By Tiffani Warren
ENTPs at their best are creative individuals who question the nature of reality and commonly-held assumptions. They thrive in environments where they have the chance to come up with and use their own ideas, and often see a multitude of opportunities and possibilities in situations that others miss. They feel uncomfortable or stifled in situations where there is only “one right way” to do everything and they are expected to follow orders unquestioningly. Their primary interest is in finding new ways to do things, and exploring new avenues for rational understanding and analysis.
ENTPs approach the world from a perspective of logical analysis, trying to seek out the truth and new possibilities by constructing an internally consistent system of principles, causes, and effects. They will not accept the fact that a particular statement is ‘true’ or ‘obvious’ just because others tell them that it is so, but rather, they envision all of the possible ways to interpret a situation or data point and attempt to narrow them down based on their own understanding and what they know to be true. In this way, they develop an internal framework of analysis and verification that is separate from that of their peer group or society at large, based on personal observations and beliefs and not simply what is fed to them. It is important, however, for ENTPs to reflect on the values and morals of the society they belong to, as the impersonal conclusions they reach are not always the most important consideration. ENTPs who allow themselves to consider what approach will most benefit themselves and others without adhering too strongly to cold, logical analysis will discover, with pleasure, that doing so allows them to access deeper truths about the world and opens doors to new avenues of exploration that they might not initially have perceived.
A young or immature ENTP will not easily learn from the past and may find themselves making the same mistake repeatedly, believing only that anything is possible and that “this time might be different”, but feeling threatened by negative memories or external reminders of how similar circumstances turned out before. They may find themselves resistant to reasonable limitations, and refusing to accept that the past is often an accurate prediction of the future. However, as the ENTP grows and matures, they will begin to find a balance between the desire to explore all possibilities and the lessons they’ve learned from past experience. They will avoid repeating obvious mistakes and actions that they know will lead to negative consequences, and the theories and ideas that they gravitate toward will be better calculated and chosen more mindfully. They will also be more willing to repeat choices that they know lead to positive consequences, even when those choices are not the most exciting available. That said, they will always be more curious and open-minded than most other types, finding themselves questioning accepted wisdom and exploring new paths even when the outcome is uncertain.
Mature ENTPs are often quite adept at analyzing information gleaned from others’ research or official sources and using it to accomplish particular goals, but they often do not find much pleasure or gratification in engaging with this ability. Because they are so focused on noticing all of the possibilities and perspectives available to them, they resist the task of determining which possibility is most likely and which perspective is most correct. However, when they are sufficiently motivated, they are very skilled at doing so, particularly from a detached, advisory mindset – for example, giving advice to a friend. Those who allow themselves to practice this skill will find it to be very useful when they are faced with an important choice or a sticky situation. ENTPs do not enjoy pondering complex moral or ethical systems or trying to forge a personal identity around their own emotional world. They are prone to overlooking the ethical implications of opinions or decisions as long as they make logical sense and aren’t immediately harmful to anyone. They may be hypersensitive or, conversely, dismissive, toward criticism in these realms. Mature ENTPs, however, will appreciate gentle correction and discussion by types who are more attuned to these concerns. ENTPs also find it very difficult to focus on and stay aware of the concrete nature of present reality, and cannot help but daydream and imagine new ideas and possibilities springing from the details that enter their mind. Although they may be capable of noticing and responding to immediate material concerns for short periods of time, particularly when motivated to address their own perceived weaknesses, they will inevitably soon return to exploring the world of ideas for new avenues of mental exploration. To summarize, ENTPs are creative and open-minded individuals who investigate the nature of the world around them by exploring as many new ideas and possibilities as they can and by constructing an internally-consistent logical framework to describe what they find. When they balance these capabilities and desires with an awareness of the effect they have on others as well as the lessons learned from their past experiences, they can achieve extraordinary new insights and inspire others to “look behind the curtain” and see what they can find.