"Everything I have not known before interests me more than everything I have seen in my life."
ENTPs as They Typically Are
ENTPs are conceptual, creative, and critical individuals who tend to restlessly question everything. They thrive in environments where they are free to pursue their own ideas and challenge commonly-held beliefs. They often see a multitude of opportunities and possibilities in situations that are new to them. Their contributions are often brilliant in fields where there is no established orthodoxy to weigh down the free play of their ideas.
ENTPs live for intellectual novelty and many feel stifled in situations where there is only one accepted way of doing something or where you have to lock things in and pursue a given plan for long periods of time. At heart, they tend to crave mental stimulation and are easily bored. They enjoy the thrill of intellectual discovery or exploration. Their primary interest lies in the intuitive exploration and rational mapping out of complex ideas. Even if their field is not natural science, many ENTPs seem to come across as the "mad scientist" archetype: Rambling, excitable, intellectual, and rational, but above all: Curious to the point of scorching themselves on the brightness of their own ideas.
To others, ENTPs can often appear scatterbrained and "all over the place," seeming unrealistic and too clever for their own good. Be that as it may, however, ENTPs are nevertheless rational at heart and tend to structure their thought according to an internally consistent system of principles that is not immediately evident to others. They tend to be quite adept at analyzing information gleaned from others' research and can often discern the underlying pattern of why the research comes out the way it does without having to drill down and really immerse themselves in the data. They operate more on the basis of intellectual hunches that very often turn out to be correct.
While this uncanny ability often strikes others as enviable and glamourous (and even causes other types to misidentify as ENTP), most ENTPs are actually somewhat dissatisfied with this ability being their principal claim to fame. All too often, such work will strike them as boring, monotonous, and unimpressive. Some may even refuse to deploy their talents towards working on those problems that are the most important to others, getting more and more esoteric in their own interests and escaping into intellectual niche fields where they feel they can really break new ground.
Whether they work on mainstream problems or their own obscure ideas, ENTPs generally follow the pattern of intuitively exploring a great deal of information at a rapid pace, so as to gain a quick outline of the field, and then rationally mapping what they have seen into clusters of concepts and ideas that are held together by impartial logical principles in the mind of the ENTP. They tend to leave their conceptual map of a field loose so that their findings are easily accessible and open to further exploration and analysis.
Some ENTPs have a hard time relating to others in a normal fashion, and for this reason they may purposefully strike a pose as tricksters, jokers, or larger-than-life "characters" who stand beyond the drudgery of normal human existence. While these iconoclastic tendencies may lend the ENTP an air of glamorous mischief, it also presents the danger of turning the ENTP into a directionless rebel if it goes on for too long.
ENTPs will often seem mischievous and young at heart irrespective of their actual age. Their connection to practical everyday reality is not the best, and even into old age, they cannot help but daydream, imagine, and harp on all the new ideas and possibilities that spring from their latest intellectual infatuation. They find it very hard to focus on details and to stay aware of the limitations of concrete reality. While they may be capable of noticing and applying themselves to practical details for short periods of time, particularly when motivated to address a perceived weakness, this concrete focus never lasts for long before the ENTP again escapes into their intellectual world of principles and conceptual free play.
Overall, ENTPs tend to be highly creative and open individuals who investigate the nature of the world around them by exploring as many new ideas as they can and extracting exciting new possibilities from them. While they may seem chaotic and scatterbrained, the internal thought patterns of the ENTP are in fact more principled and rational than most. They are perhaps the most intellectually voracious and open-minded of all the types, finding themselves questioning the accepted wisdom of every field that they pursue. While they can sometimes seem cynical about people and society, they are strikingly often optimists when it comes to drawing up the possibilities and opportunities that they see as inherent in their most recent intellectual romance.