I took a MBTI personality test which classified me as a ENTP. This test is based on Carl Jung’s theory of psychological types and the personality research of Myers-Briggs. Here’s how they describe it:
ENTPs are logical, innovative, curious and downright inventive. They see possibilities for improvement everywhere and possess the ability to understand complex concepts. ENTPs are introspective and carefree nonconformists. They often neglect the more common areas of life while pursuing new solutions. ENTPs can be good conversationalists and exciting company.
Here’s what Sandra Krebs Hirsch and Jean Kummerow says:
ENTPs are known for their quest of the novel and complex. They have faith in their ability to improvise and to overcome any challenges that they face. They are highly independent, and value adaptability and innovation. They may be several steps ahead of others in encouraging and valuing change. They hate uninspired routine and resist hierarchical and bureaucratic structures that are not functional. They need freedom for action.
ENTPs are lively children who question established truths and norms, dream and scheme, and develop unusual ways of doing traditional childhood things. The ENTP child is oriented toward doing the unique, which may mean taking risks and outwitting parental, school, and societal authority. They enjoy creating projects and following interests that are unusual and different.
ENTP children enjoy inventing new toys, dances, and languages. Because they are outgoing in their personality style, they often engage other children in their projects and assign them particular roles to play. ENTPs rarely accept things just as they are. They like to test or explore to see new meanings and relationships. When things do not go as they want, they use their ingenuity and cleverness to bring people and situations around to their point of view.
As young adults, when ENTPs choose a career for themselves, they tend to set flexible goals that allow them to incorporate new information and accommodate to new circumstances when they come along. It is hard for ENTPs not to be able to explore the road not taken. Their byword is keep your options open. Sometimes this flexibility can look like indecision to outsiders.
As adults, ENTPs take advantage of opportunities. Because of their ability to see relationships and connections between seemingly unrelated things, they are able to realize the potential in many things. When they see and opportunity that others have missed, they set action-oriented strategies that allow them the greatest flexibility to achieve the results they want. The worst job for them is working for someone who demands considerable rule following or tries too often to tell or order, rather than make suggestions to the ENTP. Throughout their careers, ENTPs want their work to be enjoyable, with interesting possibilities for applications. Additionally, having their work widely acclaimed and accepted as a unique contribution would be highly gratifying for ENTPs. They also weave in vacations whenever possible and want a flexible work schedule.
Learning and Working
ENTPs are relentless learners. When the subject matter interests them, they are able to find meaning in whatever they are studying. Knowledge is important to them, but they may not feel the need to show this to their teachers and therefore may be somewhat lackadaisical about assignments and tests.
ENTPs use their enthusiasm and energy to get others involved in their learning. They learn through give-and-take discussions and by questioning and challenging others. They are quick, verbal, and logical, preferring to use their skills in interactions with others. ENTPs look at the logical foundations in others’ thinking and build on them to develop their own conceptual systems. They want to be taught concepts rather then facts. Models are important to them. They typically absorb their teacher’s material and present it in a framework that ties all of the elements together.
They like to challenge their teachers and classmates and enjoy competitive learning tasks through which they can show their conceptual versatility. They may also enjoy independent study in which they can pursue and area of interest.
ENTPs contribute and innovative, versatile, and enterprising approach to work. They view limitations as challenges to be overcome and look for new ways to do things. They need to find a niche for themselves in order to be free to maneuver. They prefer the start-up phase of a project rather than the followthrough or maintenance phase. Once the project is designed, they prefer to turn it over to someone else. They take initiative and inspire others toward greater accomplishments and challenges.
ENTPs usually find work that involves an analytical, entrepreneurial, and creative focus. They tend to tolerate ambiguity well. They want to be in situations in which they can take intellectual risks and meet challenges. To perform in their best fashion, they prefer flexibility and versatility. While they like status and titles, they ultimately want to be judged on their innovative accomplishments. They take advantage of changing circumstances and work those circumstances into their plans. As a result, they function effectively in chaotic times.
Some occupations seem to be more appealing to ENTPs: actor, chemical engineer, computer analyst, credit investigator, journalist, marketeer, photographer, psychiatrist, public relations worker, sales agent, and other occupations that allow them to be innovative.
For the ENTP, falling in love occurs when they feel that there is a good fit with the other person. Often within the first meeting, ENTPs will know whether the relationship has any real potential. ENTPs may find it difficult to commit to anyone until the right person comes along. During this period, ENTPs explore the closeness until they can be certain that they have looked at all of the possibilities. Because of this, they are not likely to settle down early. When they do become involved in a relationship, they generally want to maintain as much independence and freedom as their loved one can tolerate. Their mates may need to have high self-esteem and to be independent themselves in order to accept the ENTP need for freedom and novelty.
For ENTPs, falling out of love, which may not always occur, results when their vision of the relationship does not square with reality. Sometimes they will select someone who offers stability and comfort and ENTPs later will become bored with the stability. When scorned, ENTPs use their powerful and broadreaching analysis to explain the reasons why the relationship was not good in the first place; additionally, they may become competitive with their former partner and work hard to win. ENTPs do not like to lose at anything they undertake.
David Keirsey describes the following way:
ENTP’s wish to exercise their ingenuity in the world of people and things. Found in about five out of every hundred people, ENTP’s extravert intuition; thus they deal imaginatively with social relationships as well as physical and mechanical relations. They are very alert to what is apt to occur next, and always sensitive to possibilities.
ENTP’s are good at analysis, especially functional analysis, and have both a tolerance for and enjoyment of the complex. Usually enthusiastic, ENTP’s are apt to express interest in everything, and thus are a source of inspiration to others, who find themselves caught up by the ENTP’s enthusiasm. This type is delighted over many things and so is easy to please, often showing the effervescence of their NF counterpart, the ENFP. The ENTP is the most reluctant of all the types to do things in a particular manner just because that is the way things always have been done. They characteristically have an eye out for a better way, always on the lookout for new projects, new activities, new procedures.
ENTP’s are confident in the value of their pursuits and display a charming capacity to ignore the standard, the traditional, and the authoritative. As a result of this open attitude, they often bring a fresh, new approach to their work and their lives. The ENTP is a keen judge of the pragmatics of both the social and the mechanical, and may become expert at directing relationships between means and ends.
Where the introverted NTP sees design as an end in itself, the extraverted NTP sees design as a means; the end is the invention that works, the prototype that is replicable. Ideas are valuable when and only when they make possible actions and objects. “It can’t be done” is a challenge to an ENTP and elicits a reaction of “I can do it.” They are not, however, the movers of mountains as are the INTJ’s. Rather, the faith of the ENTP’s is in their ability to improvise something, and they display an unusual talent for rising to the expediency of a situation. Superficially, ENTP’s resemble ESTP’s in their derringdo. But the focus of the ENTP is on the competency and the sense of power this gives, rather than on the feeling of freedom of action experienced by the ESTP.
ENTPs can be fascinating conversationalists, able as they are to follow the complex verbalizations of others. They may deliberately employ debate tactics to the disadvantage of their opponents, even when the “opponents” are close associates and valued friends. ENTP’s are the most able of all types to maintain a one-up position with others. They value adaptability and innovation and thus respond quickly and adeptly to another’s shifting position. They may even be several jumps ahead. The ENTP, talkative and motivating, is often the life of an enterprise. The ENTP can be an entrepreneur and cleverly makes do with whatever or whoever is at hand, counting on ingenuity to solve problems as they arise, rather than carefully generating a detailed blueprint in advance. A rough draft is all that an ENTP needs to feel confident and ready to proceed into action, counting on the ability to improvise as a situation develops. Because of this tendency to depend on ingenuity and improvision, they may neglect very necessary preparation at times. After repeated failures in situations where improvising has met with defeat, the ENTP may develop ways of avoiding such situations as a substitute to thorough preparation.
ENTP’s can succeed in a variety of occupations, as long as the job does not involve too much humdrum routine. At this point, they become restless. If a project in which they are engaged is no longer challenging, they tend to lose interest in that project and fail to follow through-often to the discomfort of colleagues.
Seldom are ENTP’s conformists. ENTP’s enjoy outwitting the system and use rules and regulations within the system to win the game-whatever it may be. They understand well the politics of institutions and deal with these realities very well, always aiming to understand the people within the system rather than to judge them. ENTP’s are good at innovative projects and can administer them well if dull routine is not involved. They usually are outstanding teachers, continuously devising new participative ways to make learning exciting for the students. As an employee, an ENTP may work against the system just for the joy of being one-up. For ENTP’s, to be taken-in, to be manipulated by another, is humiliating; this offends their joy in being masters of the art of one-upmanship. ENTP’s are the natural engineers of human relationships and human systems. Their good humor and optimistic outlook tend to be contagious, and people seek out their company.
As mates, ENTP’s tend to create a lively living environment. They are gregarious, laugh easily and often, and are typically in good humor. Orderliness in the routines of daily living is not apt to inspire them; they usually solve this problem by mobilizing those around them. Tom Sawyer illustrated this talent when he solved the problem of getting Aunt Polly’s fence whitewashed. Life with ENTP’s is likely to be a daring adventure; they can lead families to physical and economic dangers. ENTP’s improvise to remain unaware that they do not have the necessary knowledge of the situation to ward off such dangers.
If the mate of an ENTP is not competitive, he or she is likely to find the one-up/one-down transactions somewhat wearing. If the mate is competitive, the result might be conflict. Although usually good providers of economic necessities, ENTP’s at times engage in brinkmanship with their careers, placing them in jeopardy and behaving as if unaware of the consequences; they may thus offer unnecessary challenges to those who have power over their professional success. When challenges elicit negative responses from superiors, ENTP’s are apt to react with delight at having an opportunity to improvise a solution to the crisis and, more often than not, they succeed in doing so.
ENTP’s are likely to have all sorts of hobbies and to be experts in unexpected areas, but they are not apt to share these hobbies with their mates or children in the sense of teaching them. In fact, ENTP’s may be very inconsistent in the attention given to offspring. Usually, it is feast or famine. ENTP’s have a lively circle of friends and are interested in their ideas and activities. They are usually easy-going, seldom critical or nagging. At their worst, they can show undependable, fickle characteristics and may be rather easily discouraged.
At midlife ENTP’s can allow their tendency to experiment recklessly to get out of hand and may destroy or discard the work of half a lifetime, both in personal relationships and in careers. Energy spent in sorting out priorities and values may be a good investment at this time. Developing an increased awareness of emotional reactions and expanding the intensity and range of these through self-development work may be something ENTP’s might want to consider at midlife. An increased repertoire of introverted-type activities; for example, gardening, painting, or reading may be a source of pleasure to ENTP’s.
The inventive ENTP finds in the ISFJ a neat complementarily for his enterprise, for in the ISFJ he finds the supreme conservator. The conservator, broadly conceived, is morally bound to ensure the material and legal welfare of his or her charge. The inventor, also broadly conceived, is bent on replacing whatever tools, operation, or enterprise now exists with a better one. Out to exercise his ingenuity in bettering things, the ENTP is of necessity iconoclastic and tends to be so seen. So he can get into a bit of trouble with the elders, who usually are not all that pleased to see their tried-and-true tools, operations, and enterprises blithely set aside for the ENTP’s better mousetrap. The ISFJ, mated to this inventive rascal, takes on the task of squaring things with the establishment.
The ENTP also may be attracted to his opposite on the N side: he approaches the INFJ. But the INFJ is humorously and preposterously different from the seemingly similar ISFJ. In the INFJ lies the soul of the “author”-the meaning-giver, the mystic, the oracle. Perhaps the INFJ is a conservator of the soul, a sort of messiah. At any rate, there is something about the “author” (very broadly conceived) which the ENTP covets. Prometheus had to pay dearly for giving fire to man. The Promethian ENTP may figure that, though his INFJ mate may not rescue his body from the vultures, at least the INFJ might rescue his soul from hell.