ENTP Personal Growth

written by contributing author Robert G. Heyward

What does Success mean to an ENTP?

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 ENTPs, 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 passe, 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.

ENTPs 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, ENTPs can quickly tire of a limiting situation. For this reason an open road toward success is an extremely important factor in the ENTPs 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.

Allowing Your ENTP Strengths to Flourish

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 ENTPs 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.
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    ENTPs who have developed their Introverted Thinking to the extent that they regularly and carefully interpret the information their Extraverted Intuition brings to them will enjoy these special gifts:
     
  • 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
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    Potential Problem Areas

    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 ENTPS 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.
  • Tendency to become 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".
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    Explanation of Problems

    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.

    Solutions

    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 "suss 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, ENTPs 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?

    Living Happily in our World as an ENTP

    The problems ENTPs 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 ENTPs 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.

    Specific suggestions:

    Ten Rules to Live By to Achieve ENTP Success

    1.     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.

    2.     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.

    3.     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.

    4.     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.

    5.     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.

    6.     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.

    7.     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.

    8.     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.

    9.     Be Accountable for Yourself Remember that no one has more control over your life than you have. Don't be a victim.

    10. 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.

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