I don’t write a lot of personal articles on this blog. Partially because I feel like anecdotal evidence is open for scrutiny so I’m hesitant to use it to “define” type. That said, I thought I’d make a switch today and write about my personal experience as the daughter of an ENTJ. Having studied type for over ten years I think I’ve come to appreciate his ENTJ characteristics and how he used them to improve my life.
10 Things I Learned From Having an ENTJ Father
#1 – Laziness Is Unacceptable
My dad works a lot. ENTJs have intense work ethics and they are incredibly productive people. He is the kind of person who believes every moment of the day should be put to good use. Wasting time was a cardinal sin in his rulebook. You’ve got one life. You should put every second into achieving your goals or doing things that are worthwhile. I may have many faults now, but laziness isn’t one of them and I can thank his influence for some of that.
#2 – You Can Achieve Anything If You Try Hard Enough
My dad always had (and still has) big ideas. He would come up with a vision or goal of a future he wanted to achieve, and he would put EVERYTHING into achieving that goal. Whether it was starting a successful real estate company or supporting orphanages around the world, there was nothing he couldn’t do if he set his mind to it. He told us again and again that we could do what we wanted if we tried hard enough.
#3 – Sometimes Big-Picture Goals Require Tough Work
This correlates with point #1 really. My dad taught me to work hard and some days it drove me crazy growing up. For about twelve years of my childhood, he bought, renovated, and sold houses that had previously been condemned. As a family we would go to these houses and renovate (and clean) them together. I remember scrubbing out cockroach-infested kitchens, cleaning out moldy refrigerators that were filled with rotten food, and stripping floors that were coated in grime. Yeah, it sounds kinda awful (and it was), but I am SO glad I had that experience now. Why? Because at 17-years-old I moved out, got my own apartment, and determined to be independent while my friends were still figuring out how to use a washing machine. He told me later that the reason he had us do the kind of work we did was so that we could have confidence and competence in our lives later on. The hard work I experienced then taught me to be independent and hard-working now.
#4 – Don’t Complain
I learned pretty quickly that complaining wouldn’t get me anywhere in life. If something ACTUALLY serious or bad was happening to me, he was an extremely attentive listener. But complaining about work, school, or anything trivial never got me anywhere. While it might sound weird, this input in my life helped me to feel like I had control over what was happening in my life. He always made me feel like there was a solution and that complaining about life wouldn’t help me to make progress.
#5 – Think Outside the Box
Like all kids, I wanted to impress my dad growing up. I learned that coming up with unusual ideas or innovative solutions majorly excited him. I remember sitting in a circle at a business meeting once (yes, I know, I was “the bosses daughter”). He’d try to brainstorm with all the employees about business ideas and plans, and he was met with nothing but long awkward silences. Poor dad. It’s not always easy being an innovator. But his influence helped me to see unusual perspectives and really appreciate my own intuition.
#6 – Logical Thinkers Don’t Lack Feelings
My dad is not the kind of guy you vent to about all your emotional problems. He’s not somebody you confide in about a breakup. That said, he cares A LOT. ENTJs may not always know exactly how to handle other people’s emotions, and they may not always seem tactful, but it doesn’t mean they have no feelings. It doesn’t mean they love you any less than the emotional, affectionate parents. They’re going to prove they care about you through action more than words.
#7 – Practice What You Preach
My dad is a Christian. I’ve met a lot of phony Christians in my life; people who say one thing and live a completely different way. My dad isn’t one of them. ENTJs don’t believe in doing things half-heartedly or just because it’s tradition. When my dad decided to be a Christian he went all out for it. He took the Bible literally when it talked about helping others and he actually tries to follow the 10 commandments. He’s a successful business man but he drives a beat-up car he bought off of eBay because materialism doesn’t sit well with his convictions. He gives almost all of his money away because of what he believes in. If an ENTJ has a value that he believes in, he (or she) is uncompromising.
#8 – Underdogs Rule
While they might be driven towards achievement, ENTJs actually care a great deal for the underdogs of the world. ENTJs aren’t usually the stereotypical popular kids, and they tend to get bored with anything mainstream. You’re a misfit? Cool! You have a weird, crazy dream? They want to hear it! ENTJs are much less interested in outward appearances than they are in vision and determination.
#9 – Think Strategically
Dinner time in my family involved long discussions about business strategies, marketing, philosophy, or theology. I remember my dad teaching me to play chess at a coffee shop during one of our outings. He loved discussing all the different innovative ways he could reach his goals. Today he still gives me great tips on how to achieve my own goals. ENTJs are major big-picture thinkers.
#10 – People Misunderstand ENTJs
My dad is someone a lot of people love to hate. Why? Because he doesn’t sugar-coat anything and he has no patience for small talk and trivialities. I remember having guests over to our house and everyone would be talking about the weather, shopping, movies, and he’d suddenly burst out with, “so what makes life MEANINGFUL to you? What are your goals?”. The awkwardness that resulted was simultaneously amusing and horrifying.
As a business owner my dad had zero patience for laziness or procrastination. When I worked for him as a teenager, I would spend day after day with employees who would constantly badmouth him. He was too direct (which made him mean), he expected too much (which made him mean), he didn’t let them play solitaire at work (which made him mean). If they actually knew what he was like they would see that he was a person of great compassion and loyalty. But a lot of people assume ENTJs are jerks just because they don’t have patience for small talk, needless details, or time wasting.
So there it is. 10 things I’ve learned to appreciate about ENTJs.
And dad, if you ever read this, thanks for all the good stuff you taught me!
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