It’s no surprise that ENTP personalities stand to offer a unique perspective on success. Our type has a reputation for being both enterprising and unconventional in our methods. The notion that we are more likely than others to explore alternative paths in life has even been backed up by science.
For example, one of Truity’s studies found that, while most other personality types had predictably gradual career-growth timelines across the board, the ENTP subjects exhibited a different pattern entirely. For the first few decades of adulthood, their yearly incomes remained fairly low and stagnant. It was only at around age 40 that their average income suddenly skyrocketed to out-earn every other personality and age bracket.
It would seem reasonable to speculate that this trend is likely a reflection of the ENTP personality type’s tendency to tinker around with different occupational arrangements until something clicks. Clearly, there is much to be learned from those ENTPs who have seen their decades of self-experimentation pay off — like the five famous people below.
“Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself. And it will leave you unfulfilled. It's only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential.”
As a Harvard-educated lawyer, former senator, and the first black president of the United States, (not to mention, the patriarch of a fittingly high-achieving family), Barack Obama is perhaps the world’s foremost expert on matters of success. After all, if anyone were to have THE secret for bringing one’s goals to fruition, wouldn’t it be him? It would seem as though a man of his immense accomplishment must have found a few shortcuts in his efforts to make his dreams come to life. However, his strategy is actually refreshingly straightforward: chase what you love and trust that the money will come later.
Obama’s wise words highlight the importance of not letting secondary factors derail us from pursuing what enlivens us, even if that means taking some risks. Though it might run contrary to society’s beliefs about success and wealth, it is clear that for ENTPs, there’s just not enough money or recognition in the world to make up for a life of boredom. Curiosity — perhaps THE defining trait of the ENTP personality — will always take precedence in the end. The sooner we accept that as our guiding force (and all the uncertainty it entails), the sooner we set ourselves up to win.
“Just speak very loudly and quickly, and state your position with utter conviction, as the French do, and you'll have a marvelous time!”
Few quotes reflect the ENTP’s relationship to the external world more accurately than this wonderful little tidbit. After all, if there are three things that come naturally to us, it’s speaking loudly, demonstrating (oftentimes baseless) conviction, and having a marvelous time. Celebrity chef Julia Child’s success largely stemmed from her ability to utilize these principles to both her and the audience’s advantage. Unlike more old-school culinary authorities, she remained good-humored, adaptable, and shamelessly open to making mistakes even at the height of her public visibility.
When, in true ENTP fashion, she carried about slinging utensils and one-liners with equal nonchalance, Child gave herself permission to be a delightfully chaotic relayer of information. As a result, she resonated with audiences on a deeper level, going on to become one of the most beloved culinary experts of all time specifically because of her unpretentious approach to French cuisine.
Her legacy is the ultimate proof that expertise doesn’t have to present itself with formality, prestige, or distance in order to command respect. Appealing to the messiest aspects of people’s humanity is often more effective than trying to maintain a perfect facade — a fact that is quite fortunate for those of us who have no choice in our eccentricity.
“Growing old is mandatory, but growing up is optional.”
Struggling to balance unstructured creativity with entrepreneurial growth is a conflict many ENTPs face at some point in our lives. In this regard, Walt Disney might be the most effective ENTP of all time. The entertainment industry titan made a career of mixing fun with business, building what would eventually become the most powerful media company in the world.
Though he excelled in conquering the old-school world of business, quotes like this one demonstrate the role that his unwavering commitment to whimsy played in his success.
It’s no wonder Disney sang the praises of a youthful mindset. After all, an enduring sense of childlike wonder is a gift many ENTPs naturally possess.
While the traditional path might be a more appropriate fit for others, our type rarely thrives when we feel pressured to conform. Like a hyperactive toddler, we tend to do best when our offbeat humor and willingness to dream big are given adequate space to shine. Disney knew that to not embrace these qualities would a waste of his own unique perspective (and likely futile anyway). It is by leaning into what kept him young that he was able to become so influential in adulthood.
“I don’t care that they stole my idea... I care that they don’t have any of their own.”
If there is one thing you can reliably expect of ENTPs, it’s that we are never short on ideas. The borderline-unmanageable firehose of inspiration that characterizes our personality is exactly what drove Nikola Tesla (likely an ENTP himself) to become one of the most prolific inventors, engineers and physicists of all time. Though Tesla struggled with exhaustion, gambling addiction, poverty, poor health, and harsh competition from rival Thomas Edison throughout his life, Tesla still consciously sought ways to correct for these obstacles and refocus on his priorities whenever possible. This sense of perspective is, in part, what ultimately allowed him to obtain over 270 patents across a wide variety of scientific disciplines.
His relentless pursuit of knowledge serves as a reminder that our best work comes when we don’t let our impulse to engage in petty provocations distract us from serving a greater passion (a Herculean task for many of us, I know). After all, it is our love of innovation for innovation’s sake that makes entrepreneurial types stand out in the first place. By relinquishing pride and instead honoring that intrinsic vision, we play to our greatest strengths.
Leonardo Da Vinci
“It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.”
Throughout history, few individuals have exemplified the versatility of ENTPs as much as Leonardo Da Vinci. As an artist, architect, and engineer, Da Vinci’s subject-spanning genius solidified his legacy as the original Renaissance Man. His boundless curiosity is a quality that is mirrored by many other ENTPs to this day. Famously averse to fitting in a box, our type often has aspirations of succeeding in many seemingly-unrelated fields. We, like Da Vinci, even have the adaptability necessary to back up these grand schemes as well.
However, it is common for ENTPs to become so lost in the possibilities of all of our ideas that we neglect to see any of them through to the end. I myself have done this more times than I care to admit.
Perhaps it is Da Vinci’s understanding of the value of taking deliberate action that allowed him to fulfill his potential in ways others only dream of. His life serves as a reminder that knowing when to stop brainstorming and seize the opportunity that’s in front of us is often what separates purposeful ENTPs from our more aimless counterparts.