Myers-Briggs ENTP (Visionary / Innovator)

I’m Myers-Briggs personality type ENTP (Visionary / Innovator)

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Extraverted iNtuitive Thinking Perceiving
by Marina Margaret Heiss

Profile: ENTP
Revision: 3.1
Date of Revision: 28 Feb 2011

“Clever” is the word that perhaps describes ENTPs best. The professor who juggles half a dozen ideas for research papers and grant proposals in his mind while giving a highly entertaining lecture on an abstruse subject is a classic example of the type. So is the stand-up comedian whose lampoons are both funny and incisively accurate.

ENTPs are usually verbally as well as cerebrally quick, and generally love to argue–both for its own sake, and to show off their debating skills. ENTPs tend to have a perverse sense of humor as well, and enjoy playing devil’s advocate. This sometimes confuses, even angers, those who don’t understand or accept the concept of argument as a sport.

ENTPs are as innovative and ingenious at problem-solving as they are at verbal gymnastics; on occasion, however, they manage to outsmart themselves. ENTPs can be prone to “sharp practice” – especially cutting corners without regard to the rules if it’s expedient – or, their juggling acts may simply be so over-ambitious they collapse.

Both at work and at home, ENTPs are very fond of “toys” — physical or intellectual, the more sophisticated the better. Once these have been “solved” or become too familiar, however, they’ll be replaced with new ones.

ENTPs are basically optimists, but in spite of this (perhaps because of it?), they can become petulant about small setbacks and inconveniences. (Major setbacks they regard as challenges, and tackle with determination.) ENTPs have little patience with those they consider wrongheaded or unintelligent, and show little restraint in demonstrating this. In general, however, they are genial, even charming, when not being harassed by life.

In terms of their relationships with others, ENTPs are capable of bonding very closely and suddenly with their loved ones. Some appear deceptively offhand with their nearest and dearest; others are so demonstrative that they succeed in shocking co-workers who’ve only seen their professional side. ENTPs are also quick to spot a kindred spirit, and good at acquiring friends of similar temperament and interests.

ENTPs may sometimes give the impression of being largely oblivious to the rest of humanity except as an audience: good, bad, or potential. In general this is unfair – but it can be difficult to get an ENTP’s attention when they’re not immediately aware of you, especially for an Introvert.

The best approach in communicating with an ENTP is to be straightforward. No games – they’ll win. No “pulling rank” – they’ll just want to put you in your place. No apologies – you’ll undermine yourself. Try “I need/want to talk to you.”

Some Famous ENTPs:

Alexander the Great
Confederate General J. E. B. Stuart
Sir Walter Raleigh


Mercutio, from Romeo and Juliet
Horace Rumpole, from John Mortimer’s Rumpole of the Bailey series
Dorothy L. Sayers’s detective Lord Peter Wimsey

A Functional Analysis — by Joe Butt

Extraverted iNtuition

ENTPs are nothing if not unique. Brave new associations flow freely from the unconscious into the world of the living. Making, discovering and developing connections between and among two or more of anything is virtually automatic. The product of intuition is merely an icon of process; ENTPs are in the business of change, improvement, experimentation.

The attraction Extraverted iNtuition has toward the real and physical amounts to a cosmic non sequitur: theory is drawn to practice. Such encounters are clearly puzzling. Both parties–the intuitor and the realist–are aware of a xenic quality in their meeting, with reactions ranging from recoil to reverie.

Introverted Thinking

Thinking is iNtuition’s ready assistant, an embodiment of the sort of logic found in laws, boards and circuits. Thinking’s job is to lend focus and direction to iNtuition’s critical mass. The temporary habitations of changeling iNtuition are constructed of Boolean materials from Thinking’s storehouse. Ultimately, Thinking is no match for iNtuition’s prodigiousness. Systems lie in various states of disarray, fragmentary traces of Thinking’s feverish attempts to shadow and undergird the leaps of the dominant function. One can only suppose that Thinking must continue to work during REM sleep pulling together iNtuition’s brainchildren into integral wholes.

Extraverted Feeling

To the extent that Feeling is developed, ENTPs extravert Feeling judgment. As a result, it is not uncommon to find affability and bonhomie in members of this species. Tertiary functions are potentially utilitarian. Their limitations appear in their relative underdevelopment, diminished endurance, and vulnerability. ENTPs may harness Feeling’s good will in areas such as sales, service, drama, humor and art. ENTP loyalty often runs high and can be hooked by those the ENTP counts as friends.

Introverted Sensing

Like a tail on the kite of iNtuition, Introverted Sensing counterweighs these beings drawn to nonconformity and anarchy. These shadowy sensory forms, so familiar to SJ types, serve as lodestones which many ENTPs employ Herculean measures to escape. “Question authority! (then do exactly what it tells you)” sums up the dilemma in which ENTPs may find themselves by attempting to best the tarbaby Sensing. Occasionally acknowledging awareness of norms and abnormality could, in theory, be potentially freeing.

Additionally, I’ve noticed that ENTPs have the need to have areas of expertise/excellence/uniqueness in which one is second to none. I’ve never beaten an ENTP at his/her own game–not in the final analysis. (e.g., just tonight, my neighbor who is recuperating from an illness received a call from an ENTP friend offering his special recipe for tea. The instructions required only the finest ingredients, a particular brand of orange juice, tea made with a ball–none of those horrid teabags–…, which will of course make the best tea of which he himself drinks 50 gallons each winter!)

A Few More Famous ENTPs

U.S. Presidents:
John Adams, 2nd US president.
[Adams appears to have been competing with
Thomas Jefferson to see who would live the
longest. (“Jefferson surv…”)]
James A. Garfield (who could reportedly write Latin
with one hand and Greek with the other, simultaneously)
Rutherford B. Hayes
Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt

Thomas Edison
Lewis Carrol, author (Alice in Wonderland)
Julia Child
Suzanne Pleshette
George Carlin
Valerie Harper
John Candy
John Sununu
Dr. Bill Bass, forensic anthropologist
Weird Al Yankovick
Marilyn Vos Savant
Alfred Hitchcock
Tom Hanks
David Spade
Céline Dion
Matthew Perry, Chandler (“Friends”)
Rachel Ray
Rodney Dangerfield

Fictional Characters:

“Q” (Star Trek–The Next Generation)
Shirley Feeney (Laverne and Shirley)
Bugs Bunny
Wile E. Coyote
Garfield the cat

Copyright © 2012 by Joe Butt and Marina Margaret Heiss


ENTPs are highly inventive types whose enthusiasms lead them into a variety of activities, vocational and avocational. Their inventiveness is attributable to their rich Intuition (N), which gives them a world of endless possibilities, which, when combined with their objective decision-making facility (T) and directed outwardly (E), converts everything to ideas and schemes.

Like most Extraverted-Perceivers, they are more excited about pursuing a new idea than about following through on an existing one, which can be a cause for frustration and anxiety–both for themselves and those around them. To the ENTP, all the world is a chessboard whose places must be moved in such a way–by the ENTP–that all the players will get the best and most out of life. Constantly bombarding themselves and others with ideas, ENTPs burst with an excitement that, at best, leads to tackling one exciting challenge after another, and, at worst, to an endless series of delayed or unfulfilled dreams.

The ENTP is a “big picture” person who finds it challenging to see how many ways there are for fitting the various pieces of the whole together. In fact, it is their ability to see the big picture that enables them to generate so many creative alternatives for just about any system–whether that “system” is a family, a vacation, a record collection, or a major corporation. They know that any system, no matter how successful, can always be made better or more effective. Such perceptions can at times make them seem almost psychic about future developments in a variety of disciplines. Clearly, these qualities make them well suited for a variety of entrepreneurial adventures.

ENTPs are high rollers and risk-takers with their own resources and others’. Like other Extraverted-Perceivers, when they win, they win big, and when they lose, they lose their shirts. As a result, life for an ENTP (and for those around them) can be a roller-coaster event with great highs, thrills, scares, occasional stops–and lots of unexpected jerks and turns.
All Thinking-type women swim upstream in society, and this can be especially problematic for ENTP women. When the ENTP’s objectivity presents itself in an enthusiastic, witty, competitive, argumentative woman, she is not likely to endear herself to most men. The ENTP female frequently has a struggle with the traditional female “scripts” that call for a given behavior at a given time. It is the nature of all ENTPs to test the limits of any system or person, especially traditional ones.
Most Intuitive-Thinkers learn by discussing and challenging, and this is especially true for ENTPs. They get pleasure and intellectual stimulation from arguing both sides of a subject, or from doing something unusual or unexpected just to get a reaction. ENTP women can be fun to be around, but their competitive, testing nature can be intimidating and tiring, particularly to those of a different type.
In relationships with an ENTP, one can expect to be challenged–usually by whatever comes along that is new, different, or on the cutting edge. Just coping with an ENTP can be stimulating, a fact attested to by ENTPs themselves (“I find myself very interesting–but tiring”).
The ENTP sees the parenting relationship as one more opportunity for the growth and development of everyone involved. The ENTP’s house may be crowded with the latest books, gadgets, fads, or all of the above. Children will be introduced to all of these things, which are used to challenge them–something far more important than neatness, schedule, and order.
The ENTP’s parenting model is “Stretch thyself,” and successful parenting involves whatever helps the child to achieve this goal. Most ENTP parents generate more ideas and possibilities per day than their children will ever be able to complete. This in itself can be tiring and, to a child of a different type, very frustrating.It was probably an NT parent, most particularly an ENTP parent, who first said, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” Helping the child to realize and expand the self is the ENTP’s most basic principle of child-rearing. This quest may be made at the expense of hugs, kisses, and expressions of affection, although for the ENTP parent the process itself is the ultimate expression of love.
This focus on challenge, extremes, pursuit of ideas, and independent thinking characterizes all aspects of the ENTP’s living style. The result can be a variety of kinds of instability. There may be big financial swings, as well as a lot of physical disarray and disorganization. When intellectual sparring and “doing your own thing” take precedence over completing yesterday’s tasks–cleaning the house, the office, the yard, or whatever–the result can sometimes be chaos. Generally, the ENTP’s home is an open haven to all, especially to those who are interested in whatever current scheme is unfolding and those who are interested in whatever current scheme is unfolding and those who, like the ENTP, thrive on the intellectual stimulation of one-upmanship–whether they are one-upping or being one-upped.
Being allowed to dream up and pursue possibilities without any follow-through or accountability is the ultimate form of relaxation for the ENTP. It is also probably the greatest source of ENTP creativity. To give free reign to the imagination, instead of getting bogged down in the sticky details or dull routines that may be part and parcel of the idea, allows ENTPs’ creativity to flourish. They find not only stimulation and growth in the process, but relaxation too. Stress comes from being tied down by too many details.
Like their adult counterparts, ENTP children are often whirlwinds. Lots of friends, laughter, projects, and ideas fill their waking hours. Each new day is a new opportunity to design systems, challenge friends, and scheme. A single request by a parent–“to take out the garbage,” for example–can lead an ENTP child to spend hours if not days designing some sort of invention that will get the garbage from the kitchen to the backyard without human intervention. The design might demand calling friends, experimenting, or any number of other possibilities–all of which will be more exciting than actually completing the chore.
This is exactly the way an ENTP approaches learning. It is a group exchange of ideas, arguments, challenges, and projects. ENTPs would much rather learn by “getting involved” than by being lectured to. In true entrepreneurial spirit, if their involvement results in something that can be used, shared, and marketed (a new garbage-removal system), so much the better. Teaching that encourages such exchanges and opportunities is exciting to an ENTP.That which is routine, redundant, rigid, or overly detailed is boring. Assignments may be completed late (or early) and may be done sloppily. If dull or unchallenging in their original form, the ENTP may even change or reconstruct assignments in the name of “learning.” This typically ENTP behavior may be frustrating to students and teachers of different types and may result in a no-win situation–for the teacher, because he or she loses the ENTP’s respect and attention, and for the ENTP student, who may do poorly in school.
Like most other things, family rituals and events are seen as opportunities to exchange ideas. ENTPs never like to miss such opportunities. Though not always given to appropriate behaviors, the ENTP is always an active participant in all such family moments. Sometimes late, sometimes unprepared, they will still be there and will more than likely engage whoever is present so that the time spent together will be fun, maybe competitive, and certainly memorable.
Work that allows the ENTP to be challanged and stimulated will be highly attractive. Work that binds an ENTP to standard operating procedures will be ultimately frustrating and, quite possibly, stress-inducing. Computer science, financial investment counseling, college teaching, and other theoretical pursuits are highly attractive to ENTPs.
Later life might bring to ENTPs the opportunity to slow down some and not only “smell the daisies,” but bring to fruition some long-shelved projects and hobbies. Pausing for introspection, appreciating what their senses are telling them, and respecting some of the more tender and emotional moments of life, will all have special appeal at this time.
Famous likely ENTPs include Ralph Kramden of The Honeymooners (who regularly came home with some new scheme to make them rich or their lives easier), The Odd Couple’s Oscar Madison (whose chaotic lifestyle undermined his obvious talent), and W.C. Durant, founder of General Motors (whose restless inventiveness and entrepreneurial skills turned a single car-company into a conglomerate).
Summary – ENTP
Contributions to the Organization
  • View limitations as challenges to be overcome
  • Provide new ways to do things
  • Offer conceptual frame of reference to problems
  • Take initiative and spur others on
  • Enjoy complex challenges
Leadership Style
  • Plan theoretical systems to address organizational needs
  • Encourage independence in others
  • Apply logical systems thinking
  • Use compelling reasons for what they want to do
  • Act as catalysts between people and systems
Preferred Work Environment
  • Contains independent people working on models to solve complex problems
  • Flexible and challenging
  • Change-oriented
  • Includes competent people
  • Rewards risk-taking
  • Encourages autonomy
  • Unbureaucratic
Potential Pitfalls
  • May become lost in the model, forgetting about current realities
  • May be competitive and unappreciative of the input of others
  • May over-extend themselves
  • May not adept well to standard procedures
Suggestions for Development
  • May need to pay attention to the here-and-now
  • May need to acknowledge and validate input from others
  • May need to set realistic priorities and timelines
  • May need to learn how to work within the system for their projects
Order of Mental Preferences
  1. Intuition
  2. Thinking
  3. Feeling
  4. Sensing


Read more information from Wikipedia

Back to Know Thyself


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