“I have an urge to explore, to create movement, to go faster and faster, and maybe find some kind of peace at the heart of it, a state of pure being.”
– Martin Scorsese, an ENTP
ENTPs are some of the most visionary intellectuals of our time. They move through life generating ideas and possibilities, inspiring others and innovating new pathways. They are constantly looking for the potential in the world around them, and they see life as an opportunity to explore the unknown, give life to new theories, and reach new heights of knowledge and discovery. If you look through history you’ll find many renowned ENTPs; people like Leonardo da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin, and Voltaire.
“In the search for new laws, you always have the excitement of feeling that possibly nobody has yet thought of the crazy possibility you are looking at right now.”
– Richard Feynman, an ENTP
If you know an ENTP, what you will see most readily is their dominant function; Extraverted Intuition (Ne). Ne gives them their eye for possibility, their vision for the future, their fascination with the theoretical and unexplored. ENTPs combine Ne with Introverted Thinking (Ti) to explore their ideas logically, to grasp underlying principles readily, and to embrace a unique blend of curiosity and intellectual vigor.
In this article, we are mainly going to be discussing the ENTP’s dominant intuition, but in future articles we will explore their use of thinking, feeling, and sensing.
Understanding Extraverted Intuition
Extraverted Intuition is a force that drives the ENTP to see everything as a starting point for what it could be. Ne-users care very little for what something “is” and instead focus on its theoretical possibilities. They desire to be agents of change in the world, and their interests can rarely be pinned down because they can be inspired by so many varieties of things. Isabel Briggs-Myers says of Ne-users that “Their interest, enthusiasm, and energy pour suddenly into unforeseeable channels like a flash flood, sweeping everything along, overwhelming all obstacles, carving out a path which others will follow long after the force that made it has flowed on into other things.”
Ne-users like to move from idea to idea, project to project, vision to vision. They are guided by the sense of the potential, and sometimes may even feel “enslaved” by it. They see it as their purpose in life to bring new ideas into the world; however, they can often struggle with sticking to their ideas and seeing them through to completion. Jung himself said of the Ne-user, “Because he is always seeking out new possibilities, stable conditions suffocate him. He seizes on new objects or situations with great intensity, sometimes with extraordinary enthusiasm, only to abandon them cold-bloodedly, without any compunction….as soon as their range is known and no further development can be divined. So long as a new possibility is in the offing, the intuitive is bound to it with the shackles of fate.”
ENTPs who can adequately support Ne with their auxiliary Ti have a better chance of sticking to their ideas and goals and completing them. When this happens, their genius is astounding to the outside world. They can be groundbreaking inventors, philosophers, entrepreneurs, scientists, or anything else that interests them. Their efforts are nearly always towards discovering something new, creating something new, or exploring something never before seen.
“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”
“If you can dream it, you can do it.”
– Walt Disney, an ENTP
Because Ne is a perceiving function, ENTPs very much like to keep their decisions and plans open-ended. They like to know that they can make changes and alterations to things at the last minute, and they tend to procrastinate. In some ways, this can cause them difficulty, as they find themselves pulling all-nighters or cramming at the last minute to meet deadlines. However, in other ways this procrastination allows them to add creative nuances and unique, innovative alterations to their end-product. You can find out more about procrastination and creativity in the New York Times article, Why I Taught Myself to Procrastinate.
ENTPs and Brainstorming
Because Ne is extraverted in direction, ENTPs will want to put their ideas, thoughts, and possibilities out into the world. They will do this by employing their tertiary Extraverted Feeling (Fe) to connect and communicate in a way that people will want to hear. They have a natural charm and understanding of the motives and desires of others and they use this to their advantage when they want to make an idea compelling. That said, the Ne of the ENTP is much more pronounced and obvious than Fe. It becomes apparent in the way they brainstorm, jump from one idea to the next, multiplying options and seeing numerous angles to be discussed and explored. While ENTPs do this brainstorming they are usually searching for some kind of conclusive judgment with their auxiliary thinking process, but that may or may not happen.
Listeners and bystanders who hear the ENTP’s ideas and visions can be amazed by the complexities and connections that they’ve discovered in everything around them. Naturally, other intuitives will be more drawn to this type of conversation. Together, ENTPs and other intuitives can explore hours of theoretical, abstract topics, defining, re-defining, and sparking each other’s imaginations and future-focused visions. That said, the brainstorming can eventually overwhelm INJ types who use Introverted Intuition (Ni). Ni seeks to focus intensively on one idea to find a convergent end. Ni-users may seek to explore a topic in-depth only to have the ENTP switch gears suddenly because they’ve been drawn to yet another new path or possibility.
The amazing thing about ENTP brainstorming is that it allows the individual to see many different sides of a story. ENTPs keep their mind open to new and often contradictory information and are willing to give anyone a chance to explain their angle, their knowledge, their experience even if it contradicts something they stand for. ENTPs are happy to hear two sides of an argument and their debates are often friendly and driven by curiosity instead of the need to be “right” all the time. That said, ENTPs who have developed Ti sufficiently alongside Ne can dominate any argument with frighteningly quick accuracy and a keen eye for logical fallacies and loopholes.
Characteristics of ENTPs:
– They are open-minded and flexible.
– They constantly see new possibilities
– They are original and independent
– They are creative and imaginative
– They have a knack for sensing the motivations of other people
– They like to move from project to project
– They are inspired by challenges and problem-solving
– They tend to be impulsive
– They despise routine and mundane, everyday chores
– They are insightful and inspiring
– They are resourceful and enterprising.
The Neuroscience of Extraverted Intuition:
According to Dario Nardi, a UCLA professor and expert in the field of neuroscience, ENTPs use trans-contextual thinking. This is a process where the neocortex is highly active in many different regions, and each region is highly amplified and out-of-synch with the others. Each region is doing its own thing to generate a “surprise” result!
Nardi explains in his book Neuroscience of Personality: Brain Savvy Insights for All Types of People that most people, upon hearing a common word like “dog” or “cat” evoke auditory or memory regions. The ENTP, in contrast, “gets busy using all regions to tap relationships across situations, perhaps suddenly imagining a story about two brothers, one of whom is faithful and sociable (like a dog) while the other is independent and quiet (like a cat). They might wonder about dog and cat writing styles too!”
Nardi goes on to say that Ne-types are rapidly creative, coming up with metaphors and out-of-the-box conclusions that are clever and surprisingly original. They have creative “highs” that push them to discover and pursue their passions and inspirations of the moment. Their brains are highly energetic and imaginative and the ENTP experiences “creative hangovers” when they wear themselves out by constantly using intense, fast-paced mental energy.
Fun Facts About ENTPs:
All facts are taken from the MBTI® Manual – Third Edition.
– ENTPs are one of four types in college reporting the highest levels of assertiveness.
– In a national sample, ENTPs ranked highest in coping with stress by “Confronting the problem”.
– Male ENTPs ranked highest on two out of three measures of creativity; females among three highest on one out of two measures of creativity.
– The most important features of an ideal job to most ENTPs involve their use of creativity and originality.
– ENTPs show occupational trends in the fields of science, management, technology, and the arts.
Have Any Questions?
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Find out more about your personality type in our eBooks, Discovering You: Unlocking the Power of Personality Type or The INFJ – Understanding the Mystic. You can also connect with me via Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!
Liked this article? Then you should read these!
Want to know more about ENTPs? Check out these amazing books! (These are referral links)
Gifts Differing: Understanding Personality Type
MBTI Manual: A Guide to the Development and Use of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, 3rd Edition
Neuroscience of Personality: Brain Savvy Insights for All Types of People
Creative You: Using Your Personality Type to Thrive
Psychological Types (The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Vol. 6) (Bollingen Series XX)