Hello friends, are you an ENTP? Are you struggling with finishing things? Are you wondering why you can't seem to follow the monk-like discipline you crave so much?
This post is for you. (ps: This post may also apply to INTP, INFP, and ENFP, but it's not guaranteed. It has been primarily written for my fellow ENTP in mind.)
If you are a bit like me, and you probably are, you admire people of the ENTJ or INTJ types. The Elon Musks, the smart lads with the incredible power of execution.
They decide to do something and they just do it.
And you want that power, you want to be awesome at execution...
You have so many ideas (that you believe are amazing and revolutionary) if you concretize those ideas you will be on top of the world, don't you?
But when you start to work on them on your own, as a side-project or a business, your work ethic is gone, nowhere to be seen.
That's weird because you have an incredible work ethic everywhere else, be it at your job or in a team. You are always craving to learn more and become better. You always produce top-grade stuff and you are relentless. You are proud of this. And people agree with that statement.
You then, think you can make it out on your own, as skillful as you are, it would be a shame not to try.
But when you take the leap, you come to quickly realize, it's gonna be hard than expected.
First obstacle? Yourself.
You just can't seem to do what you know needs to be done.
You face a procrastination level more intense than anything you've never met in your life. Except maybe for that time you wanted to confess your love to your crush as a teenager.
You need to understand you are not a cold-blooded strategist that will follow a plan to completion.
You must understand this: You are an explorer! You go where your interest leads you. And when you are motivated by a will to explore your curiosity, YOU ARE UNSTOPPABLE.
The other side of the coin says, when you are disinterested in the tasks at hand, you feel bored as hell and will probably find a way to escape from doing the tasks at hand.
Your driving force is not the perspective of making shit loads of cash, neither it is the perspective of freedom, and sorry to break it to you, your driving force is not your desire to change the world for the better.
Your driving force is your curiosity. This is your motor.
With curiosity, you are a tsunami. Nothing will get in the way of the answer you seek.
Without curiosity, you are very good at finding excuses to not do what bores you out.
Why does it matter?
It matters because you will probably do the following mistake...
You will decide on a goal and following contemporary advice decide to make it S.M.A.R.T. Which basically means realistic with an arbitrary deadline.
Your strategizing mind will help you devise a sound plan of action, and your knack for creativity help you discerned a way you can even kill two birds with one stone.
You talk about it with whoever might be willing to listen and you feel on top of the world.
The first day? You are killing it. The second day? You are killing it.
The third day, you get sidetracked...
One month later? You haven't even achieved 10% of what you set out to do.
You were supposed to be able to do it in three months by focusing intensely.
Now, this seem very compromised. You feel miserable and guilty. You wonder if you are any good at anything.
This scenario keeps happening again, again, and again... Until you give up or you stumble upon the truth.
Let's give a closer look at your primary hypothesis.
So you were thinking you can do it in just three months by focusing intensely?
Well good news, you were half right.
You can do it...
...But not in three months.
Because even though you can focus intensely consistently on the subject you are curious about.
You can't stay curious about the same subject consistently.
So your curiosity will lead you to places you can't predict.
You just know one thing for sure, if you were interested in something one day, you will be interested in that thing again. You just can't predict when.
You will actually bring that project to completion effortlessly, but not in the shortest time possible.
Instead of the three months, you estimated, it will likely be six to nine months.
And that's ok, because that won't be the only thing you have done in those six to nine months.
You have an unprecedented capacity for multithreading, you just can't allocate all your threads to one project. It must be different projects. This is how you are.
If you are curious about something, you will want to drop the ball on your current project to satisfy your curiosity. And you must do it.
But every time you follow your curiosity you must find a way to get away with more than just knowledge.
Unused knowledge is ephemeral, vanishing as swiftly as it was acquired.
You must build something from the fruit of your recently acquired knowledge that will stand the test of time and bring you a small but lasting advantage.
It doesn't need to be perfect, it just needs to be there.
THE KEY THING TO TAKE AWAY FROM THIS: You must shift from a consumer to a producer.
You must start producing stuff. Start businesses, start a blog, do everything you want, but DO. (keyword do, not just read about/learn about etc....)
It's normal for you to getting informed about something you are interested in, but you need to act on it. You must build something out of it. You must share it with the world.
You must create things and release them in the world. I REPEAT. You must create things and release them in the word.
You don't have to follow a great mastermind plan, you don't have to follow a routine or fixed planning. You don't have to torture yourself to heck out every last bit of productivity there's inside you.
You just need to listen to yourself and follow your curiosity. And to do it everyday.
Your strength is the speed at which you can pivot.
You can change your mind and start working on something different than what you were doing, at full speed, and immediately.
You can survey a complicated question an bring back multiple possible answers at the speed of light.
You are impulsive and adaptable. You can do anything you want because you will always find a way... As long as you are interested.
This surges of productivity come at a cost. Your interest in a particular thing has a very short shelf-life. One to two days top. Sometimes it's less than a couple of hours.
If you don't catch the wave of curiosity, it's gone, and sometimes it's gone for several weeks or months.
So expecting yourself to work on the same project, without interruptions every day for three months in a row? ... You are being oblivious to your own nature, my friend.
You probably know that by now, the biggest predictor of entrepreneurial success is consistency.
Then how can you expect success if you can't stay on track and schedule for more than two weeks?
You need to build a different kind of consistency than a rigid routine and prison-like tight schedules.
You need to play on your strength: Explore and Exploit ASAP.
Don't explore something without bringing back a treasure from your adventure.
- You were curious about nutrition and muscle-growth gym regimen? You binge-learned every possible way to do it (instead of doing your job lol). You just acquired way too much knowledge to expect yourself to remember it a week from now. So applying it consistently? Out of your league.
The solution? Swiftly assemble a training and nutrition guide based on what you just explored, package it in a nice PDF, and then share it with the world. You can decide to monetize it or just to share it for free on a forum, it doesn't matter. It will help some people, and that's good for your karma. Second benefit, the day you will want to actually go to the gym, you can just follow your own guideline. Two birds, one stone.
- You are learning Python and discover the weird world of Decorators and Closures. This stuff is basically out of your league and at your level you will probably never use it. But you can't shake off the feeling. You start binging and learning mystical stuff. Before you go back to the real world to what will actually move you forward in the grand scheme of things, put on together in one shot a blog post that you will publish on Medium behind the paywall. Boom! Three birds, one stone: Personal Branding & Portfolio : check; a very slim source of additional passive income: check; a quick way to retrieve your long-lost knowledge about closures when you finally need it, three years from now: check.
- Well you see the idea, indulge your instinct and before the honeymoon ends, build something that will last. In this way, you will shift from an inconsistent being to a prolific and polymath builder. You will shift from consumer to producer.
So by now, if you are an ENTP, you are probably envisioning what I am talking about.
I want to add a couple of other points... Playing on your strength also means you need to mitigate your weakness.
Your strength and weaknesses are two faces of the same coin. You can't get one without the other.
During my short time on earth as an entrepreneurial ENTP, I have summarized below everything I know about mitigating our innate weaknesses.
Weakness mitigation tips #1: You can only respect HARD DEADLINES.
There's two kind of deadlines: HARD deadlines and SOFT deadlines.
HARD deadlines are deadlines you must respect. When you are under hard deadlines, you work like crazy to respect them. Those are often imposed by a promise or the external environment. Hard Deadlines are why you have so much work ethic when you work for somebody else.
SOFT deadlines are deadlines you don't have obligation to respect. Basically they are deadlines you can bullshit yourselves out of easily. Often those are arbitrary and self-imposed, for example, SMART Goals. Soft deadlines are why you have so few work ethic when you work for yourself.
The litmus test is simple, "Can I find a way to not respect that deadline?".
If you start generating a thousand ideas about how to do so, then it's a soft deadline and this deadline means nothing to you and will bring you nothing. (except guilt)
So you being too clever may start to think? "Oh, gotcha I just need to change every deadline into a HARD deadline".
NO! Don't do this. The only way to do this is to take risks and to put yourself at a disadvantage. You are basically gambling on yourself just to create the pressure necessary to do the work. This is a horrible way to live your life.
(ex of this destructive behavior: Damaging relationships just to be sure you will do something. Wasting all your money to let the pressure of feeding your family let you work like crazy, etc...)
As an ENTP what you crave is freedom, this way of proceeding (a.k.a. burn your bridges) is the polar opposite of freedom. It will make you feel miserable and burn you out, also it sucks because you are destructing what you build to build more. This is terrible. Don't do it.
Just understand that soft deadlines mean nothing to you and plan accordingly.
Don't gamble on a deadline you can bullshit yourself out of.
Soft deadlines are a distraction to you, those are noise. SMART goals stuff like that, forget those, they don't work with you.
But also, don't take on too many hard deadlines at the same time.
Those hard deadlines are like prison chains to you. And what you crave is freedom.
If you enchain yourself too much, you will burnout.
This leave the question. How an ENTP can get stuff done?
Weakness Mitigation tip #2: Boredom is like a steel wall to you. You can't get through it and have to wait for the door of curiosity to open.
So what should I do? The ENTP equivalent of taking massive actions.
You must play to your strength and mitigate your weakness.
Follow your curiosity and build something from your exploration. Build it quickly, in a couple of hours or max. You must build it before your curiosity wither.
Understand that boredom is your limit. You can only go through boredom excruciatingly. This is your hard deadline for every project, you must finish the milestone before boredom takes you and your curiosity wants to go somewhere else.
A quick note about perfection?
What you build must never be perfect. Perfection is your enemy, it makes you anxious and buries you in analysis paralysis. (= you don't do shit and feel shitty about it)
What should I do when I am bored with a project and want to do something else?
You must stop and do something else. You will get back to the project eventually if you were interested once, you will be interested twice.
Weakness Mitigation tip #3: Don't make plans more detailed than a rough outline.
A detailed and carefully crafted plan is wasted on you... You will never follow it through.
Don't spend time creating detailed stratagems to get to your goals. THIS IS A WASTE OF TIME, DO SOMETHING ELSE INSTEAD.
You are tactical and agile. The time horizon you can plan on is limited to a couple of hours. It's very short.
For the long term, you can guess how things are gonna roughly. Your intuition power is often on point.
It's even more powerful when you feed your intuition with data. How do you get your data?
Every time you want to plan your future, turn to your past instead and log what you have been doing in the last few days.
You want to empirically determine your speed of production. Take the time to keep track of what you did during the day.
You can use this basic template:
Questions to gather data about your explorations:
1. What have I been interested in the last few day?
2. How did I go about exploring that interests?
3. What did I get out of it?
4. How long did it took?
5. What have I build-out of what I discovered? How have I used it?
6. How long did it took?
7. Is there thing I can do better next time? Things I need to avoid next time?
Answer those questions every two to three days. (Optimally, every time you finish a cycle of Exploration / Exploitation)
Store those answers in a way you can easily access those later. (Don't just write on a spare napkin and throw it away).
Weakness Mitigation tip # 4: Don't try to follow a perfect routine.
In the same way, hard deadlines are a chain to you, trying to respect arbitrary daily planning will lower your available energy for the day.
Instead, have a shortlist of 5 mandatory items you must do during the day and that you can do quickly.
If you can't cross every item of that list in less than 100 minutes, the list is too long.
An example can be:
Sometimes you will meditate in the morning, sometimes before you go to bed, sometimes during the commute. Doesn't matter, you need the flexibility to do things when you are ready for those.
- Meditate 10 minutes.
- Walk the dog.
- Do the dishes.
- Quick workout at the gym.
- Write in my journal.
What matters is that you crossed every item of the list, not when you crossed those.
The rest of the day, follow your curiosity relentlessly and get something out of it.
Weakness Mitigation tip #5: Keep your Anxiety in check... It keeps your from entering a Flow state.
First of all, You must strive to get into Flow. Getting into flow every day is your bread and butter as an ENTP.
Though there's one thing that can keep you from entering a Flow state even if you are well rested, in good health, and will push you to immediate-rewards behavior.(ex:... alcohol, infinite scrolling, eating way too much sugar, gambling, buying spree, opening 200+ tabs on your web browser about a shitty subject you don't even care about)
This thing is Anxiety.
You must learn to effectively manage your anxiety level. Because when highly stressed and without a hard deadline, you are basically dysfunctional and will get nothing done.
(Please remember that high-stress level and hard pressure to get things done is a miserable way to live your life. It's okay once in a while but don't abuse it.)
So do things that help you rest and recover. Make a conscious effort to recover and balance your innate restlessness.
- Sport you genuinely enjoy
- Light encounter with your social circle
- Playing games
- Read books unrelated to your goals. (fiction, or history)
- Get a massage.
- Dance, Concert, Restaurant
- Journaling, gratitudes etc...
Weakness Mitigation tip #6: Inject a bit of order in your life.
Then, because you are so future and possibly oriented you need help to organize things that happened in your past.
- Some of us are a mess when it comes to meetings and time constraints or remembering special events like birthdays. ⇒ Get a calendar, note everything inside, check it often.
- Your life memory is foggy at best and can't remember specifics even if you try hard, it often means you are totally wrong about your achievements and efforts (often wrongly believe you never did anything right) ⇒ Spend time every day to journal about your life, log your decisions and log your achievements. Include specifics like mood, time spent on task etc... When in doubt about what you have been doing, you can read those logs to help you access data you would have forget otherwise.
- Revisiting your life is very difficult for you as you get immediately distracted. If you believe you have a trauma from your childhood (and most people have) ⇒ Consider going to a psychologist who will guide you through the fumes of your past.
- You want a boost of productivity and increase your odds of success in the short term. ⇒ Get an accountability coach that will help you add some order in your life. (Getting a coach is one of the ways to help you achieve soft deadlines you would not be able to honor otherwise), it also helps you clarify and be more surgical about your focus.
- You forget the things your family / entourage needs you to do (do the laundry, send wishes for birthday etc...)
Weakness Mitigation tip #7: Become more aware of your mind, thoughts and body.
You must strive to be aware of your mental state, to identify when you start to get bored and must finish asap or to identify when you are curious about something.
The best way to do so is to practice mindfulness meditation (yes seriously) and to do sports that demand to be aware of the mind-body connection.
This will help you be more tuned toward your sensations and thoughts. Which is key to live a more fluid and free life.
Weakness Mitigation tip #8: GET RID OF YOUR PHONE / SOCIAL MEDIA
Phones are engineered to suck your attention away from whatever your doing. Your attention is a raw resource they monetize.
As an ENTP you are curious and novelty-seeker, and you are very competent at indulging your curiosity for hours on end.
Attention vampires have access to brilliant minds that they pay a lot to spend their day engineering way to suck your attention for the sake of ad profits.
Against a phone, you are at the bottom of the food chain.
PHONES ARE YOUR NATURAL ENEMY.
Possible solutions to mitigate the damage from your phone:
- Destroy it.
- Use apps blocker like STAY-FOCUSED (android)
- Use phone blocker like FOREST. (ps: it doubles as a Pomodoro app, and is gamified which makes you less likely to bypass it, you sly fox)
- Use a way to track and realize how much time you waste on your phone, like STAY-FOCUSED. (prepare to be shocked)
- Change the color of your phone in grey-scale or invert white/black, attention vampires use flashy colors to suck you in, you can fight that by getting rid of colors.
How to do it with iPhone here, and how to do it with Android here.
- Destroy it.
- Buy a NOKIA 3310, a hand-held GPS, a vintage MP3 player, a nice watch, and a paper agenda. If you think about it, everybody has a phone so you don't really need one, as you can just ask to borrow the functionality you lack.
I repeat. GET RID OF YOUR PHONE. Thank me later.
Weakness Mitigation tip #9: You don't do well in a pond of sharks, you need a supportive and encouraging environment.
You are trusting and willing to see the best face of everyone you meet. You want to collaborate and share your knowledge.
You are good in a team and with people, especially when you can assume everybody is on the same side.
You want to trust people, and you usually demonstrate trust first. Keep doing that, it's one of your competitive edges.
But a word of caution, trusting people first doesn't mean people should be safe double-crossing you.
Of course, some foe will want to abuse your willingness to help.
If somebody abuses your trusting identity YOU MUST RETALIATE. I am serious.
You will know when somebody abuses your kindness. Your Machiavellian side will know immediately. DON'T MAKE EXCUSES FOR THE VILLAINS.
THEY CROSS YOU, YOU CROSS THEM. PERIOD.
ONCE YOU HAVE DEMONSTRATED YOU CAN BITE AS WELL AS YOU CAN SMILE and both sides are bleeding, YOU CAN THEN SHOW FORGIVENESS.
AFTER ALL, YOU DON'T LIKE CONFLICT.
This assumes that you are evolving in an environment where people willing to screw you are an anomaly, and most people are on your side.
If you realize that people wanting to screw you over are the norm, then you are in a pond of shark AND YOU MUST RUNAWAY ASAP.
Let the evil political game and the House of Cards vibe for the people who thrive in those corrosive environments.
This is not you.
You will thrive more in a group that is trusting and encouraging, united in a common cause.
The fact that you have a developed Machiavellian mind doesn't mean you must use it at 100%.
If people around you are mean, calculating, or vain. Leave, without looking back.
Weakness Mitigation tip #10: Don't bet on speed. Build an advantage for the long game instead.
Because, when you start out as an ENTP, you will never be the first to arrive somewhere... (When you will become an experienced ENTP, this will change, as your tactical velocity will be unheard of, but when you start, well... You are not the fastest.)
... You must not pick your battles based on rewards correlated with a short time to arrival... (Example, you are starting out with dropshipping, you see everybody is going for fidget spinners. Don't go for it, you will arrive after the battle.)
... Instead, You must pick your battle based on long term compounded rewards. (Example, learning skills that are difficult and valuable to master. Code, Copywriting, Writing, Consulting.)
Then once you start to have an edge that is difficult to replicate...(Example; you are a blockchain enthusiast, but you probably know things more in-depth than most of the other blockchain enthusiasts.)
... Pick a battle that will complement it and that triggers your curiosity (Example, starting a blog about blockchain + learning how to do first-class SEO).
Even though everybody was faster than you in the short run... (Example, your accountability partner Tom became a millionaire just in two years, and you were still in your parent basement)
... On the long run, you will establish a valuable strategic advantage that is hard for anybody else to replicate. (Example: Five years later, your Blockchain blog is ranked first on google and is monetized with ads, You keep getting people asking you to interview you and you started a consulting business about blockchain. You never made that much money in your life and you now have a strong network. You basically do what you want, when you want, with who you want, from anywhere you want.).
Alright I am getting bored, just one last thing before we go...
TLDR: implement the code written below in your daily life. It will do the trick, I know you will figure out the specifics on your own.
Be Patient and Restless
You must be patient in the long term.
You will get where you want.
But you won't get there in the shortest amount of time possible.
Because you will take so many detours.
So be patient.
You must be restless in the sort term.
Want to explore an option, fine, do it.
Go all the way.
Unleash your curiosity.
... But you must make a pact with yourself.
Every time you unleash your curiosity, you must build a memento and share it with the world.
A simple recipe...
1/ Explore until bored.
2/ Quickly build something valuable for others.
3/ Share it to the people who most need it.
You are an explorer and every time you go on an adventure, you bring back wonderful treasures, undiscovered before.
Promise yourself you won't keep those treasures to yourself and will share those with the world.
Once your oath is taken, go.
Follow your curiosity relentlessly.
You are free now.
What does it look like when you are not playing to your strength and mitigating your weakness?:
You are doing something, let's call it interest A. You begin to be interested in interest B.
You decide to keep doing interest A.
You slowly get bored and pick up your phone.
Five hours later, you haven't finished working on interest A.
You feel guilty and have trouble falling asleep this evening.
You wake up, lethargic, it takes you four hours before finally getting to work on interest A.
It's excruciatingly boring but you manage to finish it. You begin to be interested in interest C.
You repress it and start working on interest B.
And so on and so on....
It feels like an uphill battle.
Also, it's depressing because you know your current velocity of execution is nowhere near your actual potential...
What does it look like when you play to your strength and mitigate your weaknesses?
You are doing something, let's call it interest A. You begin to be interested in interest B.
You switch your focus on interest B.
Five hours later you know everything you could know about interest B. You are still hungry for more.
You decide to produce something about your discovery. (for the sake of example and to give you an idea of what it could be, let's say it's an article you will put on medium behind the paywall and you include a bait to your newsletter.)
Three hours later you are done with the building phase, you share it with the world and go to bed.
You feel good and sleep well.
You wake up, early in the morning, your interest for interest A is back and you feel the urge to do something about it.
You jump out of bed and start working asap, forgetting breakfast. By noon you are done with interest A.
You begin to be interested in interest C. You start working immediately on interest C.
And so on and so on.
You are prolific and restless. Your cumulative speed of production is unheard of. You are proud of you.
Could you have been done with interest A sooner if you had double down on it? No. You can't get away with boredom. This is your limit.
This is why you need to be patient. You are like a wind vane, you keep turning. So you will get there. You just won't get there by the shortest path.
This is why you need to be restless. Because you have to take the detour and answer the calling of your curiosity, you have to move as fast as possible, or you will never finish anything.
Hope it helps,
P.S.: Btw, from my slim understanding of typology, this can maybe apply also to INFP, ENFP, and INTP.
I am actually glad, I have found this post.
To be quite honest. I took the Myers-briggs test and was classified as a ENTP-T.
Everything he said above actually fits. No matter how much I try to stick to a routine, it doesn't work. My curiosity runs out pretty fast.
I have sent tons of money on courses because of my curiosity, but yet fail to follow through the same.
I first started out with Amazon FBA back in 2018. Sounded like a pretty good business model, I had the cash to spend (on credit of course) but yet did not purchase any inventory because I did not have the confidence to do so.
I then found Shopify Dropshipping as an alternative model to Amazon FBA and to my surprise I had a break-through last year selling a skincare product using Facebook Ads. But did not have the cash flow to keep with up the advertising costs.
Then I studied Social Media Marketing or servicing others helping them with their Facebook Ads, however I get the feeling of Imposter Syndrome due to not spending a ton of money with running Facebook Ads. So thus, I don't reach out to any potential prospects that may or may not need help. In all honesty, your clients might be most of dropshippers with 30% profit margins.
Right now my current profession is Information Technology, but I have hit a bump in the road to where I am not learning any new skills for the past two years. It's a work at home job that pays well.
My current problem is that I am out of idea's to explore that interest me. Therefore I feel like I am in depression state if you will?
It's almost as if we are to create businesses that require our attention that impacts others that will stand against the test of time without us being present once our interest for that business expires.
I can't seem to think of anything at this present moment.
I also explain to my friends that routine is just not in our nature. It's very hard to commit to a scheduled routine or let a lone build up discipline based on an interest once it expires.