A lot of the recent posts seem to center around a lack of motivation, difficulties in mid-life, apathy, etc. This is a generalized explanation of ENTJs, what drives us, what breaks us, and how it is fixed. If I should remember the citation I will post it, but I shouldn’t need to substantiate any of it because it should be apparent to all ENTJs upon introspection. Extroverted Logic (Te) has to do with casual, applicable truth, not bureaucratically tedious facts.
MBTI has a very poor understanding of the functional breakdown of the psyche. It focuses more on the effects and real world application rather than the theory. This is of course because it is developed in the US, which as a country is macro-typed ENTJ and therefore more steeped in Te. MBTI will state that Te is the ENTJs first function and that Ti is the INTP’s first function (INTj in socionics). What it doesn’t state is that both types have both of the functions. They are simply difficult to understand because they do not manifest the way we think they do. More on Ti later.
The blocks look like this:
Conscious: 1:Te, 2:Ni, 3:Fe, 4:Si
Subconscious: 5:Fi, 6:Se, 7:Ti, 8:Ne
The conscious functions move forward in strength, while the reverse for the subconscious. So 1 and 8, 2 and 7, 3 and 6, 4 and 5. It should be noted that the functions line up like this: Te,Ne. Ni,Ti, Fe,Se, Si,Fi. The closer to the base function another function is, the more it is suppressed for the sake of the base function.
For ENTJ introverted logic (Ti) is in our subconscious occupying the 7th block. Some MBTI sites make passing mention of the 7th block but never substantiates it properly. In Socionics this is called the Ignoring Block. This function is opposed to our primary function and therefore we suppress it in order to solve real world problems in our more comfortable manner. It is in our sub-conscious and has about the same strength as our second function Introverted Intuition (Ni). We do not actively put it to use and likely will eschew the use of it for our primary function. For example Ti has to do with structure and hierarchy. ENTJ hate bureaucracy because it slows business. However, they don’t really hate it, but ONLY when it slows efficiency. This is where ENTJs may have a problem with school. Being the obviously superior mind in the class and developing the best products during in class assignments means nothing because schools are primarily Ti and prefer that you can write a test and get a number score and that determines your value to society. I have many examples in which I designed a system that was market ready and could be sold right away, solved a real world issue and was really simple. My solution took second place to some utterly farcical project that was an exercise in technical acrobatics. The solution was much more complicated than mine and used much more advanced techniques (in computer programming a primarily Ti, Si, Ni domain) but one that was utterly pointless because no one would pay anything for it.
This includes the sixth block, also known as the mobilizing function sometimes also called the hidden agenda. For ENTJ it is Extroverted Sensing. Se has to do with spatial control, power, influence, wealth. We recognize all of these qualities to be the drive for most people who want to be leaders. While we decide that we are not after these qualities, but just want the system to be as efficient as possible and that includes executive power. However, this is one of our most influential functions. Because while it is weak and subconscious, it does not have a powerful conscious counterpart. In fact, the conscious counterpart is consciously suppressed. Ever get tired of dealing with details? Work so hard you allow your health to deteriorate, pulling all nighters at the cost of your body? Don’t you just hate it when someone mentions that you smell or are ugly or have no sense of style or taste? Anyone ever complain that you put too much sugar or salt on your food or that the coffee is too strong? All of these deal with introverted sensing (Si), it is our weakest conscious function and we suppress it. Any criticism in this area is deeply cutting and jarring to us. We may even spend days contemplating any remarks made in this area. You have probably never been complimented on making people feel comfortable, physically, unless it was something work related. As in they felt comfortable entrusting you to get the job done, except that this is a strong Te not an Si. We also don’t really know how to handle comfort, being very fidgety, restless people.
ENTJ Se shows up in another way. It is one of the best ways to motivate an ENTJ. The best way to activate an ENTJ is a kick in the pants, literally if necessary. They don’t know that they themselves would want it, but subconsciously recognize that they do and thinking this is the way they would want to be treated they in turn treat others the same way. This is what results in them getting into so much trouble. ENTJs will feel the most motivated from external forces with strong Se, which also explains why they always have successful military careers, even sub-officer positions.
At the same time our fifth function, Introverted Feeling (Fi) is trying to make us get along with everyone and be friendly. We recognize that we don’t know what makes people mad or angry and a lot of ENTJ requests on the site are about how to not upset people, or how to answer them so as to not burn bridges. Introverted Feeling (Fi) senses that something is wrong but cannot understand why. So it passes the buck to Extroverted Sensation in an attempt to resolve the issue. The problem is that ENTJ’s Se is not any stronger than their Fi. This manifests with the common ENTJ exchange of: Person A became overly difficult when I corrected them, should I just plow through the world forcing my objective because they’ll eventually see that I’m right? This plowing is the Se function attempting to solve the problem. We realize that if we had absolute power, no one would ever question us. Although we do not work for the sake of the power, we want the power for the sake of work.
ENTJ experience peculiar problems with hurting other people. ENTJ suffer the worst psychological trauma when they are the direct cause of someone else’ pain or agony. Not when they are the cause of simple physical damage, like a sporting incident, but when they unintentionally caused someone else harm in a way that contradicts their principles. e.g. Missing a stop sign and hitting someone, forgetting a really important date or letting their team down in a project. This is exasperated when it is someone close to them because of a subconscious Fi. Many times it is the ENTJ’s inability to cure a problem that causes them grief. Powerlessness represents a lack of Se. If someone close to them is suffering, even if not caused by the ENTJ, they are able to marshal all of their resources for an expedient solution. Friend needs complicated operation? Fly in the best doctor in the world. Child/Ward missed the bus for important event? Company driver. Spouse need some nature and space in their life? Secretly build them a garden sanctuary in the backyard.
However, most ENTJ are not here because they are the cause of someone else’ agony. They are here because they are the cause of their own agony. In order to understand why an ENTJ gets depressed the final piece of the puzzle must be in place. This last piece is Extroverted Intuition. In short the hidden potential of objects. For ENTJ Ne is in the most powerful subconscious block. This is a problem because it is actually more powerful than introverted intuition, it simply doesn’t manifest because it is not conscious, but nevertheless overpowers the ENTJ. It is a demonstrative function makes us very much like our ENTP cousins. It gives us the ability to see all possible versions of an event, but we never actually register it in our mind. It does however, affect our decision. Our Te automatically takes input from our Ne and decides on the best possible course of action. ENTPs are lost in a sea of new possibilities, always chasing whatever shiny objects catches their eye. Their Te tells them what is a profitable venture and worth pursuing, but they never let it get in the way of their imagination. ENTJ are the opposite. We can, like the ENTP see all possibilities, but we do not allow all other possibilities to get in the way of profit (a loose term for efficiency and effectiveness leading to objective gain, not necessarily money).
The important thing to understand about Ne is that it is always present, but we cannot control it. Neither do we want to. Ne also has to do with character judgements, and ENTP are very good psychoanalysts. ENTJ on the other hand are just as good at these character judgements, but instead of analyzing a person we can instantly see their potential and how much they’re worth as an individual based on our Te function. When we judge someone to be objectively superior to someone else, we are the only type qualified to make such statements. This may seem harsh, but is actually much worse than it seems. ENTJ have a superiority/narcissistic complex that would put all the world’s prejudices to shame. We simply know how to control it.
How it all ties together. Given the ENTJ ability to judge the potential of a person with regard to another we find ourselves in dire straits. The site admin has a perfect example of what I mean so I’ll just link it: viewtopic.php?f=5&t=471
This is the article “We Are Not Running Out Of Time”. It chronicles a very common ENTJ problem, our judging of ourselves as inferior based on other ENTJ in similar epochs of their life. The solution is also there, but once again, because it is an ENTJ article, Te dominates and thus it gives an applicable solution without much theory. Thus I will attempt to integrate my answer into it as much as possible.
The solution is to rely upon your Introverted Intuition. This is the ENTJ’s second conscious function, and when properly developed will solve most, if not all of your problems. Introverted intuition deals with associations. While Ne deals with seeing multiple pictures, Ni deals with seeing that this current frame and the other pictures are all part of a much bigger pictures. Ni also deals with seeing through the distortion in the world, interpretation of signs, recognition of the flow of time and imagination with regard to romanticism. This is the dreamer and romantic inside all of us.
The reason we feel inferior when we study how Julius Caesar (an ENTJ) wept upon reading the biography of Alexander the Great (probably also an ENTJ) and also considering Bill Gates is because Ne will put our picture beside their pictures. At which point it is very easy to judge ourselves inferior. However, introverted intuition does not ignore the association between the picture, Introverted intuition shows us that we are leagues apart concerning how we live in different eras, how that these people were living at a time ripe for a Renaissance, and how they all had much better resources available to them to help them achieve what they did. It shows us how that given what we had, we did just as well, if not better than all of these people. Imagine if you yourself were taught by Aristotle in your youth, a man who is regarded as one of the greatest scientific minds, the father of logic, founder of the school academy, studied with Plato who was influenced by Socrates. Being born to a king with the power of an army and a world ripe for the conquering. Alexander the Great is actually Alexander the Flop because given all of his education and military prowess he managed to die of some pitiful health issue. (This also makes me think hes an ENTJ, only ENTJ would neglect their bodies like that)
Because our Ne is more powerful than our Ni, and because it is also subconscious, we may not even realize that we are doing this to ourselves. In order to overcome judging yourself you must develop your ability to see the big picture, you must train your Ni to overpower your Ne. This seems like a cop out. As if the answer is that we should move back the goal post and give up, and that’s because you are. We don’t want to move the goal post back because it also affects our 6th function, Se, our desire to be powerful in our own eyes and in the eyes of people, so that they in turn will recognize that they need us, which will resolve our introverted feeling. This image of ourselves is made even worse because Ne is also about perfection. So not only do we see a better, more powerful version of ourselves, we see the PERFECT, most vainglorious and ultimately impossible version which no one can ever achieve. Of course you’ll be depressed. The answer is to recognize why you are where you are, that the reasons are as good as they get and that YOU in YOUR current state are not perfect, but you are perfectly fitted and doing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing. When you achieve success in the future, if you should look back upon your time of struggle, you will recognize just how perfect all those decisions were. You will recognize what you would have missed if you were just a little more dedicated to whatever venture you stopped following. It is entirely divine.
This is another important point about Ni. It is ALWAYS much better for us to use our Ni to resolve every day issues. Do NOT resort to physical force or volitional pressuring (Se). Let introverted intuition take over and recognize what is a genuine threat and what is a paper tiger. See the big picture. Embrace life for all of its messiness, injustice and imperfections. Most importantly we must learn to recognize that we understand people and that these people do not even understand themselves. In all Typologies there is always a saying about ENTJ, it is sometimes shrouded and usually just a footnote at the bottom of a page, but it is always there. ENTJs: time and again, against all conventional wisdom and common sense; against all current established science whether theory or law; and even against all odds always prove to have been correct.
ENTJ may not be the most understanding type, that would belong to our INTP, INTJ and ENTP cousins, but we are however, while being on par with them, have something they don’t: The ability and desire to accomplish something with that understanding.
A quote from Lenore Thomson, an MBTI theorist:
Well-developed ENTJs are nearly transcendent in their ability to see all sides of an issue. Their reason is clear-eyed and sound, and they use it generously – not only as a source of analysis and judgement, but as a means of relationship and empathy. They see a situation’s real possibilities, and they have the drive and energy to realize them.