Well. Not too sure how to start this without it spiralling into a endless post. Here it goes, Im a 17 year old male living in the UK and I have recently left sixth form after one year. I have good academic knowledge and receieved good grades. The real question at hand here is what career to go into? After taking the tests on various sources I turn out to be a pretty certain ENTP. Whereas this may have its uses and some areas it also comes with its negatives. I get bored extremely easily and lose motivation when my days involve a strict routine. My body and mind seem to repell anything of this sort. Im very creative and yet still very pratical aswell. I pick up such topics like woodwork and art very easily and can also excell in photography and I have a massive love for anything film and media based. Here comes the tricky part. I want something in life that is so wild and so out there that nobody can believe it. Whereas paydays might be another mans main motivation mine does not involve this, I would rather have something so different from a day to day basis even if it means the salary is slacking on the other hand. Absoloutely any help would be apreciated and would be nice to know if there are any other souls out there feeling like this?


Pepper McGowan (not verified) says...

Hello.  I am not sure how to proceed with the rest of the answer because frankly you sound a bit like myself but more pragmatic than I am or was and you are a boy, are you not, mate? I think that they have probably offered rubbish to join the Navy and see the whole world but I am not feeling that you are looking at signing up the best years of your life in calisthenics and drills,  so that's done. But you did mention photography and that you're not a workaday bloke- have you thought about doing camera work for a show that would have you going out to Borneo and Mongolia to be photographing or filming the host of some sort of national geographic channel or man vs.stupidty vs.a massive serpent in the Amazon rainforest....I am not being silly,  you'd never have to punch the clock, your schedule would be pretty variable and the whole world could be your office.  It's a job,  somebody else does it,  I mean,  so does that interest you even a little as possibility? What in your post touched my own heart I dunno. I am old enough to be your mum and my own boy would have been 21 this week so I have been feeling extra nurturing and I am sitting here on my bed reading this with half a dozen coal black kittens walking on me like I am furniture.  You're open to the non ordinary...I am a professional astrologer,  find me on the Facebook and send me a comment on my profile or something that I talked to @ya on the truity.com boards and I can get a peek at your birth chart  no charge or any of the shenanigans...It's a less orthodox way to find some of your other strengths and the liabilities to be careful with.  God bless you. 

EvanL (not verified) says...

Yep, you sound like an ENTP...and exactly how I sounded. For some background, I'm now a 36 year old successful serial entrepreneur, and between your age and mine, this is what I learned:

First, school is designed for a very specific purpose and has a very specific reward system. School was invented to create a working class who is educated, ready, and teachable (both in terms of capacity to learn as well as familiar with performance scoring, e.g. grades). School disproportionately rewards those who respect convention and routine, who respect and follow authority, and who learn through practice and repetition. Zero of these things are relevant to the ENTP. You find learning (actually comprenhension, not learning) much easier than others, therefore repetition is excruciating and pointless. People who are good at this kinds of stuff are lovely people and you will enjoy them and they will enjoy you, but you are not like them, and don't fight that. Tell your teachers directly that you are not like them, ask for special assignments if they will allow it. School is evolving, so there is a possibility. Read books (try Thinking, Fast and Slow for a deep dive) to help you explain to people how you work more clearly. Make a presentation or write a document to get a cohesive argument together about how you could thrive if they are willing to be a little bit adaptable.

You should keep in mind that you will later be rewarded in your life for your ability to solve problems without obvious solutions, your solutions will be creative and unconventional, and they will appear strange to people who are expecting more predictable results. But they will be by far the best solutions presented. So you need to focus your life on what kinds of problems you want to be able to solve. I'd strongly recommend getting into AI, robotics, software development, banking and financial solutions, and any other field that interests you that will have incredibly challenging problems to solve and is ripe for massive innovation/evolution. These are not the kinds of problems you see in school. School problems are predictable, simple and there are right/wrong answers. Problems in the world are the opposite: they are unpredictable, highly contextual, driven by logic and emotion and history, and there is no right or wrong answer, just better and worse ones. These are the ones made for you.

School will be suffering for any ENTP. It's ultimately a test of your endurance, which is an unfair and inappropriate test for us. We are mental agility, not marathoners. Presented with a simple logic problem, for example, most students will solve conventionally and move on to the next problem. Our minds will explode with possibilities, finding flaws in the logic, exceptions to the answers, contexts where the question itself will or won't make sense, and will form 25 opinions before ultimately deciding to just go with the answer the teacher is expecting, planning on arguing with them later. While student A has spent 1 unit of mental energy, the ENTP has spent 200. And just like the energy used in your muscles, the energy in your mind is depleted with use (it's proven by measuring glycol levels that mental exertion is literally identical to physical exertion in terms of energy depletion and the feeling of fatigue). You are fortunate to have a much larger mental gas tank than others, but you will fatigue much earlier than those who spend less energy solving problems along the way.

This all to say that people will accuse you of having a poor work ethic, but that is like calling an olympic sprinter dying in the first 5 miles of a marathon "less dedicated". It's idiocy. You just have to figure out how to get by in a world (education, large corporations, etc.) that disproportinatly values and judges "endurance" in a clinically ignorant manner.

Second thing I learned was it turns out I am going to live a lot longer than I originally thought. What I mean by that is that I can now look backwards at spans of time that were hard for me to understand when I was 17. I can look back at 10 years of a career, for example. That was unimaginable to me earlier in life. And what this means to me now is that it's critical for every ENTP to realize how snowballs work.

The concept of starting small is tough for us to understand. But it's how everything actually works. At 17, you should start a business right now. I don't care if you sell landscaping services or office equipment or start building a little piece of software. If you start right now, I will virtually guarantee you that you will be a millionaire and a world-class subject matter expert by the time you get out of college. You will be able to do anything you want for your entire adult life. Start with 1 or 3 or 5 customers. Grow the next year. Grow again. Grow to a new city, grow to a new country. Given 3-5 years, you could be doing landscaping in 5 countries and have 200 employees. I know it sounds crazy, but it is 100% true.

But the lesson here is the snowball. Get that first bit going. ENTPs have a lot of great ideas, but not great execution. You will also realize how dumb some of your ideas are when you must actually choose one to do, which is itself a great exercise to pur yourself through. But you MUST start. And if your idea sucks or you don't stay organized, your idea will fail and you will learn something. Now is a great time to learn. Learning is practically free at your age, minus the criticism you'll inevitably receive (maybe even from your parents, like I did). Failure for ENTPs is great. Most people don't get that.

For anyone reading, reply here and I'll try to help you out. While ENTPs can be incredible dumbasses in a few areas of our lives, most of our skills are the envy of the world. You just have to start. You have to get going and make it up as you go. You will blow yourself away. There will be so many doubters, but as long as you are either succeeding or learning, none of them matter. Every great person (inventors, philosophers, agents of change) in history was made fun of by the people who did great in school. Many if not most of them were ENTPs.

Clare (not verified) says...

Hi Evan,

Thank you so so much for taking the time to write this.

I happened across this - as you do - and it felt like you spoke directly to me. It's all about starting. I've spent too long thinking and knowing I can do more but feeling helpless as I cannot choose what 'thing' to start... There feels like there's too much to choose from. And I have that desire to be the best at what I do so starting at something and failing kind of terrifies me. 

But gosh the irony of excelling across so many subjects at school, being able to learn and develop most skills we require in life.. and then when you finally are faced with the big wide world you just wish you were given one specific thing to excel at so you can focus and succeed at that. I saw it as a strength but now wish I could have been my classmates that grew up wanting to be a teacher, doctor, accountant and that's now exactly what they are. 

Would be great to chat. Drop me a message back if you'd be free and interested.

And all the best to the other ENTPs out there!!

EvanL (not verified) says...

Would be happy to help. Believe me, in a short amount of time, you will never again wish you were one of them. ENTP is a blessing and a curse, but the blessing requires focus. 

Clare says...

Hi Evan,

Thanks so much. Would be great to talk. I've just hit 27 and very much at that stage of 'something needs to happen' and I know it's got to be all of my own doing.

Firstly though, would you have any bright ideas on how we can exchange information without publishing it for the world to see?

Otherwise I have an old email address I could probably give but that doesn't seem like the brightest idea I've had lately...



EvanL (not verified) says...

I think I found a solution: there's a decent app called burner that will give you a temporary phone #. There's a 7-day trial. I just signed up and you can text me at 6782034250 (so can anyone reading this, unless/until it gets overwhelmed). Happy to help!

Clare says...

Evan! So I tried messaging it but it didn't go through so I figured it might need a country code so I tried British, American and then just tried adding a + before. I think I messaged someone in Vanuatu!

So to save time I've just created a new email - drop me a message on cl*********@gmail.com :)

Administrator says...

Note from admin: Due to security issues, we do not allow personal emails of any kind to be distrubuted on our forums. We encourage everyone to continue their discussions via the forum. Thank you for your understanding. 

T.M. (not verified) says...

Hi EvanL,

Well, I’m hoping you can help me figure out who the hell I am. 

But first, this message from our sponsor! (That would be me.)

You speak of starting a business - can you really do that with no business training and expect it to be successful?

OK, on to the first thing I mentioned: I’m 49 and I can’t decide what to be when I grow up. Seriously; I know that I’m getting older, but in my mind I’m still 26! I’m running out of time; I don’t want to be one of those 80 year olds who has to work because they have nothing to live off of (though that may happen yet. I’ve got nothing - I’m on welfare and the only reason I’m getting by is because I’m living in my wife’s parent’s house and paying minimal rent. Considering my wife left me a few months ago, It’s a little awkward, but surprisingly not too bad. But anyway, the point is I’ve got nothing. If I had the business knowledge I know what I’d do; but I don’t. Have it, I mean. The knowledge. Business knowledge. Anyway: I just realized that I could probably self teach using resources on the internet... but I usually don’t have the patience for that. I should mention that I also have ADHD in addition to being an ENTP, so my mind is whirling in a dozen directions at once, but I get so distracted that I can’t seem to follow through on anything! Plus I’ve got a severe case of clinical depression, and lately it seems like my mind is starting to go. I don’t even remember what I was originally going to say when I started writing this message. Switching topics: there’s only two things that I’ve ever really been good at: writing and acting. I know, your thinking, “so write a movie that you can play the lead role in,” well, I ‘ve thought of that, but I can’t figure out a plot. You’d think that would be the easy part, wouldn’t you?  Well, It’s not. Not for me, anyway; I have no idea anout other writers.  So I have two talents that most likely won’t get me anywhere, and no real marketable skills. There’s things I’ve done before of course, but they’re all entry-level office skills, and I couldn’t even name one off hand. And acting... on a tv or film set is the only place I really feel alive - but the average actor makes about $6,000/year, if they’re lucky. 

OK, so this has turned into a big Dump-Your-Troubles-On-Evan session, which is not what I had intended, but still: this is who I am. Any ideas or advice? Other than psychiatric help, I mean?

Evan L (not verified) says...


Thanks for taking the time to write this! I could write a lot of advice, but I think there's a guy who could really help you. He is an ex-Harvard psychology professor (now at University of Toronto) named Jordan B. Peterson, and he has put many of his lectures on YouTube. There is a series called Maps of Meaning that I think you would find immensely helpful. And I'm not recommending this because of the depression, but because of his immense wisdom in helping people figure out what to align their lives to. I'm sure helping one area helps the other, but that certainly is not my place to weigh in on...

As far as your thoughts on starting a business, of course you can start something at any stage with any level of experience. Could you start an IT networking consultancy with zero computers experience? Probably not. But there are a zillion other things that you can, as long as it's useful to someone.

Very sorry to hear you've been through so much. Life has a way of kicking everyone in the teeth. I think you will find Jordan very useful in that regard, so please set aside some time to digest the things he has to say. Very intellectual stuff, but most ENTPs will love that.

As far as the acting part goes - that is a very marketable skill beyond shows/movies. I would imagine that writing and directing is insanely competitve and difficult to get into, but still worth doing on the side. I have a number of friends who are now professional authors who started writing and blogging on the side, because it probably would have been too risky to do solo.

It seems to me that there is so much voiceover work, training, brand ambassadorship, storytelling etc. happening now. Digital video is going insane and grabbing onto that kite to take flight in some way is probably a great strategy, if that's of interest. Brands need people who can present their products and ideas with charisma, etc. I'm not thinking of bit work, per-se, more setting up a business (or joining an agency or something) where you can specialize in one area and keep it rolling as you build your skills and portfolio. You could train under a public speaking coach (they do very well), etc. Where is your love for performance valuable? There are thousands of possibilities. I know that doesn't help on its own, but don't feel as though you're stuck in writing or starring in a screenplay when your passion is far more transferrable than that.

EvanL (not verified) says...

Sorry - few typos and rambling and I meant glycogen, not glycol. This is why you proofread. Anyhow, hope it helps.

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