ENTP Survey: 5 Things ENTPs Wish They Had Known as Teens

personalityhacker.com_ENTP-surveyFew things are as satisfying to an ENTP as blazing new trails. They are masters at the art of re-inventing the wheel and will often refuse to do a task the same way twice.

They question standardized norms and, if given a choice, will ignore them altogether. For ENTPs, rules are made to be broken.

ENTPs make up only 3% of the world’s population, with men outnumbering women 2 to 1.

ENTPs are commonly found in careers in science, technology, management, and the arts. Yet they are among the most dissatisfied in their careers, despite being among the highest wage earners of all the types.

They are overrepresented among those demonstrating Type A behavior, in spite of the the fact that they, as a group, report low levels of stress.

ENTPs are one of only two types who are reported as frequently violating college alcohol policies.

Famous ENTPs are Jon Stewart, Benjamin Franklin and Richard Feynman.

In a recent survey of ENTPs we asked four questions:

  • What are the top 3 challenges you face as an ENTP?
  • What 3 things do you wish others knew about you as an ENTP?
  • What 3 books/movies/courses/events have most impacted your life?
  • What do you wish you could have told your 15 year old self

In this article, I would like to focus on the last of the four survey questions –What do you wish you could have told your 15 year old self

Many of the answers shared some common themes. So, I have broken them all down to 5 items ENTPs wish they had known when they were 15 years old, in order of frequency.

#1 Take Charge of Your Life

The only ENTP I know personally, spent a large portion of her life in cognitive dissonance. She did this because she was trying to force herself into a box that others had created for her. ENTPs don’t do boxes, or confinement. Freedom is the lifeblood of the ENTP.

27% of ENTPs who responded to our survey would like their younger selves to take charge of their life and stop letting others call the shots.

Direct Quotes:

  • “You are more than what you came from. You have the immense power to influence, so start understanding that now and embody that.”
  • “Life is full of paradoxes when you look without. Look within, meditate, and live in the paradoxes that exist without. You have complete control of your reality. The answer lies within.”
  • “Anything is possible if you believe it is. Your mind creates your reality based on your beliefs. Examine what you believe and be open to changing your mind. Always.”
  • “Aw, honey, you are amazing. You are not like anyone else (srsly, female Christian genius-level ENTP–ain’t many of those out there) so acknowledge your uniqueness and work hard to figure out how to leverage those unique strengths while addressing those unique weaknesses. Also, it’s okay that you get along better with men than with women, but please be careful about leading them on. You’re gonna be sorry someday for the hearts you break. ”
  • “Don’t beat yourself up, the rest of the world has you covered for that. Don’t sweat what everyone is trying to get you to do and not do. Take a deep breath and think about something you’re grateful for. Understand what every moment calls for, and become what it calls for.”

#2 Work Harder

ENTPs dominant mental process is Extraverted Intuition (“Exploration” in the Genius System). This is an optimistic cognitive function that sees possibilities everywhere. It enjoys playing with new ideas and engaging in battles of wit with other people. ENTPs can be charming, charismatic, and fun-loving.

Apparently, this approach to life can lack focus, however. 13% of ENTPs surveyed said they would tell their younger selves to work harder.

Direct Quotes:

  • “Dear 15 year old self, Doing drugs and being promiscuous will not make you feel more beautiful. You will go on to have a much better life than you can imagine, but because of the way you are acting, it will take you longer than your peers to see success. Please focus more on school and less on partying. Yours truly, your 30 year old self.”
  • “Rather than take the route of least resistance, challenge yourself to take the hardest, most obstacle filled route. Don’t fear failure.”
  • “Be more hard working. But if you don’t want to, you will figure things out. You are a survivor!”
  • “Work harder, just a little bit…. And focus! Party afterwards.”

#3 You Still Have A Lot to Learn

The auxiliary function of the ENTP personality type is Introverted Thinking (“Accuracy”). This cognitive function creates tremendous focus around subjects and can become incredibly knowledgeable about such things. In its less developed form, it can become myopic and rest into the belief that  it has gained all the knowledge there is.

There’s always something new to be learned. 12% of ENTPs would tell their 15 year old selves that they still have a lot to learn.

Direct Quotes:

  • “Oh, little ENTP, have more patience with other people. Not everyone is like you. I recommend that you put yourself in their shoes. Learn what kind of person they are and how they think in order to better understand where they are coming from in their mentality. Just because they are not wired the way you are, does not mean that they don’t have a lot to offer. You could learn a lot from people who are different from you.”
  • “You are not the smartest creature out there.”
  • “Take life a little more seriously. Get a job. Just do what you have to do to acquire discipline. Whatever it takes, because none of your ambitions will be possible without it. You are often wrong. In conflicts, most of the time both people are wrong to some extent so don’t spend all your time telling the other person how they’re wrong. It will be much more profitable to look at yourself first so you can improve yourself. And stop being so lazy!”

#4 You Are Smarter Than You Realize

As an interesting contrast to the previous statistic, 9% of ENTPs would tell their younger selves that they are smarter than they realize.

Direct Quotes:

  • “You are smart. Your skills are valuable. You aren’t a nut. You’re just different. ”
  • “Some rules do make sense. Apply yourself. You are smarter than you realize.”
  • “The Internet really is all you think it is. Act on your instincts! Go to UNC, not Duke. You’re not going to be a lawyer anyway. Be more trusting of your intuition.”

#5 Keep Your Options Open

ENTPs love the idea of unfettered freedom. They become bored when the newness of something wears off and it becomes mundane.

Therefore it is important for ENTPs to feel that their life continues to have exciting new horizons. 7% of ENTPs would like their younger selves to keep their options open.

Direct Quotes:

  • “Keep your options open. Don’t get locked into one way of thinking. You have many choices to make. God won’t be mad at you if you don’t do everything just right.”
  • “It’s okay to not be certain of  what you want to be when you grow up (doctor, lawyer, etc.) The career will naturally find you (and entrepreneurship naturally did).”
  • “Don’t force yourself into the best classes because you think that’s the best way to success. You’ll have an amazing high school experience if you take classes you’re interested in and interact with people who aren’t traditionally smart!”
  • “Don’t bow to the pressure to ‘do’ something because that’s ‘just the way the world works.’ Do what makes you excited – and when you’re done, move on! Don’t let the world’s ‘practicality’ tie you down. But be aware of the risks you take. ”

We would love to hear more about the advice ENTPs would give to their teenage selves. Please share them in the comments below.


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Showing 26 comments
  • Michael Shelly

    Knowing my profile as an ENTP during the pre-teen experiences in 4th grade would have helped me stand my ground with my teacher to explain why I had no need to memorize the multiplication table past 5 x 9. Demonstrating my novel process to add 9 to 45, generating the correct answer for the problem 6 x 9 = 54 only landed me in the principal’s office. What was interesting about my multiple visits with the principle, was his recognition of how my entrepreneurial personality that could be better positioned at the school. My role as milk-boy from 4th through 6th grade taught me a lot about business and people. I think this process to understand your personality could be a significant game changer for children, their parents, and their teachers, especially for the budding ENTP types.

  • Oscar

    As an (I think) ENTP I disagree with your advices. I worked very hard as a kid in sports and later in college to be at the TOP. I also think Ps keep their options open enough! I agree on knowing you are good enough. But I miss learning to cultivate Focus vs using the Extroverted Sensing as a kid.

  • Dee

    I’m another ENTP (yawn) but the advice here is way too general and teenagers of all personalities could be told any of these, it’s nothing to do with type.

    Let’s face it, telling an ENTP of any age things like “Keep your options open” is totally redundant and I had enough people telling me to work harder, be nice to the less smart kids, stop picking on the teacher it’s not their fault they try and bluff the subject when they don’t know it …. without needing me to say it to me as well. Besides it was all far too amusing for me to have listened anyway.What’s more I knew my bad reports were written by teachers who didn’t know who I was and much less understood my capablities. I worked outside school every night and on the weekend and holidays, did little homework and still walked out with higher quals than most.

    What would I say to myself at 15 is

    “Don’t stick two fingers up at your mates camera even if they are being really annoying because the headteacher won’t edit it and will show the film on open day for the parents and local dignitaries and prove the school has no classes in decorum and manners.”

  • Jennifer

    I would say, “Trust yourself. Take risks despite people insisting you keep your feet on the ground. Choices always have pros and cons associated. You will come through all of it. You are intelligent and strong and you can always trust that you will stand strong in support of yourself. You were right in questioning everything you were taught. This is just the beginning. You will never stop learning and growing in life. Enjoy being young and don’t hesitate to act when you feel inspired…this is your life, your ability to breathe, your heartbeat…so, GO LIVE!

  • Bigblock427

    Second post, edit in function for the first. I appreciate untidiness to some productive extent, but the stuff attached after ‘… are you?’ is bewildering. Please ignore. I do not fancy untidy messages unless serving the benefit of potential, and I did not see any edit option… so therefore…

  • Bigblock427

    Spot on, Well written, I almost choked up on some off the advices for my younger gestalt. But as I summed up each birthday in my childhood, ‘OK, now you are (i.e.) 9, think of how much more you know now than you did on your eighth’. So to use the old cliche: I wish I knew then what I do know now.

    And to Alex the Analyst; You are not me, are you?

    You’re welcome, and

  • Alex the Analyst

    1. “Do your damn homework.” Everything was so “structured” and I was so bored. I just wanted to hang out with the wrong kids because what they were doing seemed exciting – exploring the world, putting us all in danger, getting in trouble.
    2. “Your mom is not your enemy. She’s just another type and she doesn’t understand you.”
    I could say a lot more, but everything specific was basically caused by one major problem: I did not know who or what I was. If I had, I would have taken the initiative to invent my own study methods and ways to make hard work in general less boring.
    As a side note, I’m sure the same would apply to the “bad kids” that I hung out with as a teenager. Technically, we were highly compatible as people – we fed off one another’s intelligence, laughed at the same things and commiserated at our common depressors. If we’d all known who we were, together we could have solved a million of the world’s problems in a heartbeat, led other teens to freedom and self-knowledge, and been ruling a self-sufficient nation by now. But we were all lost, so yeah. Pretty sad.

  • Brian

    AMAZING ARTICLE! Like others, I will say you nailed it. I had an additional topic to bring up.
    For the past 2 years, I’ve struggled with determining my type as either ENTP (by descriptions of each function) and ENFP (by tests and what other gurus have said). Thankfully it’s very clear the ENxP fits here.
    I’m curious if you receive many of the same ENTP future selves comments similar/same as ENFP?
    Furthermore, if you have any way to help clarify, I sure would love feedback. I’ve been under quite a bit of stress the past couple years so I’m sure some Dom-Ter loops are in play making it hard to find my “true” type. I relate to both ENTP and ENFP!
    I’m trying to make some key life decisions and felt it would be good to base these decisions on accurate typing before realizing it wasn’t the “real” me.
    I’m sorry that I’ve rambled on incessantly. I’d love to get feedback but if not, thank you for a great article!

  • Javeria

    You are doing a great job.. I think u totally nailed it and all the things u write in this article are really helpful and I am a young Entp so I can understand and relate.. U write and organize the article in a great way.. Love it… Want more like it..

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for the feedback, Javeria! It really means a lot to me. As a Judger, organization means a lot to me, so I love it when someone compliments me on it. 🙂

  • Freddy

    Loved it! Especially, the parts on how we’re smarter than we think. So true, people have no clue… Fools! ; )

    • Charis Branson

      Hahaha! I bow before the superior intellect of the ENTP. 😉

  • Diana

    as Bruce said I am nodding and smiling all through the article especially because I have also reached the conclusion that were presented here as an advice
    it make much sense of many past situation and elections

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for the comment, Diana!

  • Fan E Mail

    Fascinating article:)
    Yes, I definitely wish someone would have whispered down my ear that I didn’t have to conform to high school norms and try for all I was worth to look as dumb as I could! ( Which anyway wasn’t that successful)
    Many thanks!

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for the feedback, Fan! I think all of us have stories about conforming in high school. I think our minds tell us we have to in order to survive. It’s what we do after high school that counts. 🙂

  • Gail

    Great advice – I’d also add the following:

    If you’re struggling with essays, that’s your dominant Ne fighting with your auxiliary Ti. Possibility vs logic can be a real thorn in the side when starting an essay. Your mind hasn’t gone blank, it’s exploded with too many ideas, threads, ways of phrasing. You’ll probably struggle to write something cohesive, because you think in an abstract rather than linear fashion. So take a sheet of paper and pour out everything in your head, even the stupid stuff, even the stuff where only you can see the connection. It’s easier to organise and filter when you can see it written down. If you can’t start at the beginning, start in the middle, then work backwards, forwards and sideways.

    You will probably never know what you want to be when you grow up – use that to your advantage, and let life lead the way. You’ll be asked in interviews the cliche question: “where do you see yourself in 5 years?” – don’t be afraid to tell them that you want to leave yourself open to opportunity. Fixating too hard on specific goals means that it’s harder to deviate from the original plan, even when it’s for something worthwhile. You’ll probably want to do/be many things in your lifetime. You don’t have to do all of them all at once. You’re pretty good at reinventing yourself, so use that to your advantage.

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for the comment, Gail! I think those are great suggestions!

      • D. A. Meyers

        This is great! I’m an ENTP struggling to write blogs and fiction. I like to write whatever is in my head but by the end it makes no sense. So, I’m writing from wherever inspiration strikes. It might take me longer, but I’ll have a whole lot of material available all at once, haha.

    • Anne-Sofie

      The advice would have been counterproductive for me when I was young.

      I think my advice for me would be:
      – People have all sorts of oppinions about you – because you are your out-of-norm-self. Don’t take their feedback as the truth.

      -Keep following your interests. You are doing the right thing.

      -Therapy is good – and you deserve to be there…

      – Take a chance and realize some of your own projects instead of other’s.

      – Be brave and try to be your unapologetic self. Wearing a pleasing mask/being too flexible is not doing yourself favours.

      • Anne-Sofie

        Ooops. My former comment was ment as a comment to the general article. Sorry.

  • Rebecca Mullins

    Nailed it!

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks, Rebecca! 🙂

  • Bruce Muzik

    This was fantastic. As an ENTP myself, I was nodding my head and smiling throughout. Thanks for sharing the survey results.

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for the feedback, Bruce! 🙂

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