Follow the path of the unsafe, independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the dangers of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of 'crack-pot' than the stigma of conformity. And on issues that seem important to you, stand up and be counted at any cost.
The ENTP personality type is the ultimate devil’s advocate, thriving on the process of shredding arguments and beliefs and letting the ribbons drift in the wind for all to see. Unlike their more determined Judging (J) counterparts, ENTPs don’t do this because they are trying to achieve some deeper purpose or strategic goal, but for the simple reason that it’s fun. No one loves the process of mental sparring more than ENTPs, as it gives them a chance to exercise their effortlessly quick wit, broad accumulated knowledge base, and capacity for connecting disparate ideas to prove their points.
An odd juxtaposition arises with ENTPs, as they are uncompromisingly honest, but will argue tirelessly for something they don’t actually believe in, stepping into another’s shoes to argue a truth from another perspective. ENTPs will gleefully argue against someone they actually agree with, helping them to not only develop a better sense of their debate partner’s reasoning (and therefore their own), but a better understanding of the opposing idea – since the ENTP is the one arguing it. This tactic shouldn’t be confused with the sort of mutual understanding Diplomats (NF) seek – ENTPs, like all Analyst (NT) personality types, are on a constant quest for knowledge, and what better way to gain it than to attack and defend an idea, from every angle, on both sides?
Taking a certain pleasure in fighting as the underdog, ENTPs find the process of questioning the prevailing mode of thought to be excellent mental exercise, making them irreplaceable in situations where an existing framework needs desperately to be shaken up and pushed in a clever new direction. However, they’ll be miserable digging into the day-to-day mechanics of actually implementing their suggestions – ENTPs love to brainstorm and think big, but they will avoid getting caught doing the “grunt work” at all costs, a point of contention for those left picking up the slack. ENTPs only make up about three percent of the population, which is just right, as it lets them work to create an original idea, then step back to let more numerous and fastidious personalities, such as people from the Sentinel (SJ) type group, handle the logistics of implementation and maintenance.
ENTPs’ capacity for debate can be a vexing one – while it may be appreciated when it’s called for, it can fall painfully flat when an ENTP steps on someone’s toes by say, openly questioning their boss in a meeting, or picking apart everything their significant other says. This is further complicated by ENTPs’ unyielding honesty, as this type doesn’t mince words and cares little about being seen as sensitive or compassionate, something almost certain to cause strife in their personal lives. Likeminded types are likely to get along well enough with ENTPs, but the more sensitive types, and society in general, are often conflict-averse, preferring feelings, comfort, and even white lies over unpleasant truths and hard rationality.
This will frustrate ENTPs, and they will find that their quarrelsome fun burns many bridges, oftentimes inadvertently, as they plow through other’s thresholds for having their beliefs questioned and their feelings brushed aside. Similarly, ENTPs have little tolerance for being coddled, and dislike people who beat around the bush, especially when being asked a favor. Because of all this, ENTPs will likely find themselves respected for their vision, confidence, knowledge, and even keen sense of humor, but will often struggle to utilize these attractive qualities as the basis for deeper friendships, and romantic relationships especially.
ENTPs have a longer road than most in harnessing their natural abilities – their intellectual independence and free-form vision are tremendously valuable when they’re in charge, or at least have the ear of someone who is, but getting there can take a level of persistent follow-through that ENTPs struggle with. Once they‘ve secured such a position, ENTPs need to remember that for their ideas to come to fruition, they will always depend on others to assemble the pieces – if they’ve spent more time “winning” arguments than they have building consensus, many ENTPs will find they simply don’t have the support necessary to be successful. Playing devil’s advocate so well, ENTPs may find that the most complex and rewarding intellectual challenge is to understand a more sentimental perspective, and to argue consideration and compromise alongside logic and change.