ENTJ: Motivation, Depression, Solution


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.



I realized that I gave an answer as to why they get depressed but not immediate solution. So here’s the quick and dirty version:

You gain the most happiness from exercising your primary function Te.
You are dogged by your subconscious need to get along with people (Fi) and try to solve it by force (Se)
You are depressed because your subconscious Ne function tells you how much better someone else was at your stage in life
You are depressed further because your Te objectively judges what you are not, and because it makes you happy to exercise Te, you think this to be viable
You are also made aware of your powerlessness when you exercise your weak Se function, which fails but doesn’t stop crying about it
Usually your problems can be solved with a good nights rest, and proper nutrition but this is Si, which is your weakest function period so you neglect it

You must recognize that life is full of imperfections, inconsistencies and injustices (Ni) This is hard because Ne is a more powerful function, but cannot be consciously controlled

To solve your problems you need to get back to work (Te)
You must first recognize that your life is fine (Ni) and that you can bounce back easily
Your situation is not as bad as the huge gap you have created to your perfect image of yourself (Ne)
Get a good nights sleep, have a good breakfast, go out for a jog
If you have work, do that instead, and enjoy your work (Te)
If you ended up doing nothing all day, consider that even the most mundane tasks like watching a movie, reading periodicals, or wasting a day on internet forums are not wasted time, they all contribute to a strong foundation. (Ni)
“Play the game” Not for the sake of anything else but playing it (Te)
Honor(Fi), fame(Fe), power(Se), contentment(Si), belonging(Ni) and ultimately perfection(Ne) are all byproducts of loving your work (Te)


Very insightful MythikH. Your post was excellent.

Also, thank you very much for referencing Complex Mango’s essay. Your reference to his essay brought me to the answer I was seeking, from my fellow ENTJs. Thank yoooooooooooooooooooooooooou very much! :mrgreen: :clap:

P.S. I’ll provide a more detailed comment tomorrow or the next time I swing by this board. Time to go celebrate LOL :dance:


Just wanted to say I somehow missed these two posts when they were first put up, but have read and re-read them several times lately. Amazing stuff, mythikh! Have learned a lot from it, and hope to hear more from you! Its still marinating in my mind; I have a feeling I will have questions for you soon.


I missed them as well. Thanks for digging them up.

I’ve found similar results with the solution. As long as you keep working and stay at it, it minimizes time for brooding. Also the comparing was a big one.

It seems to break it down into acceptance. You have what you have, and there’s little to no point in looking at the “what if’s” in regards to beginnings and the past and comparing yourself with others. Getting stuck in the mind has to be one of my biggest problems.

One thing I could add is appreciation and recognizing when everything goes right. We tend to focus on what doesn’t more than anything, and tend to neglect this.

They really should add this to an ENTJ description. Very informative.


Very good read. Thank you OP. Many things now make far more sense than I previously knew.


This was a good read, definitely gave me a new outlook.

I can relate to much of it, especially the ‘running on a treadmill’ feeling – like every unproductive second makes me so much less of a person and unsuccessful in life.

Also – (wondering if it’s just me or if others feel this way too?) – when looking at my strengths I tend to compare myself with - NOT the majority of people who are “worse” than me in that field - but the very few who are experts. Which I guess is the combination of Ne and Te.

The second thing I’m wondering if I’m alone on is that I tend to overlook and take for granted the more “simple” steps in life such as sleeping on time, eating regularly, living in the present moment. It’s related to what Brad said: "One thing I could add is appreciation and recognizing when everything goes right. We tend to focus on what doesn’t more than anything, and tend to neglect this. "

And then of course the montage of feeling alienated, obsessive perfectionism, frustration when shit doesn’t work, etc. – the works. I’ve seen those topics mentioned many times here.

My third question is: Is motivation something innate to humans? Is it a process constantly running regardless of the situation – yet our thoughts (fears/anxieties) are the culprits for blocking its view?

Assuming its true, the assumption would be that if we’re able to steer free of fears/anxieties then we become NATURALLY motivated… would you agree?

Now – I’m not sure of exactly what I am according to the MBTI/Jungian sorters (maybe a lot of it has to do with me being only 18… personality in development?) but I’ve been scoring ENTJ for the past few months – but I’ll leave the typing for another thread.

My fourth and final question is – if my motivation theory is wrong … what is it that motivates an ENTJ? (assuming there’s a difference between being free of depression and lacking motivation).


Interesting. My post wasn’t entirely aimed towards that kind of living, yet it’s still very important. Many head types or NTs (generalization) have a problem with the things you just mentioned. We can easily lose sight of what’s right in front of us by focusing on what’s far ahead.

I’m not sure about your motivation hypothesis though. For me it seems like I get motivation and lose it both from internal and external factors. I can say for sure that getting rid of the overthinking, fear, and anxiety can do a ton in keeping the train moving. Ultimately you need to get it going, but then you need to keep yourself and others from stopping it.

Regardless of whether your hypothesis is correct, I think motivation is likely a very individual thing. I should really read a book on it to be honest. It would probably be interesting to learn how to best motivate others. I read a book called Influence that looked at a lot of the biggest ways to sway others, but looking at ways to inspire them would likely be a lot different.

I’d really ask yourself what motivates you though, rather than what motivates ENTJs in general. There’s a lot more power in knowing the answer to the first question.


Absolutely agreed. Each individual is… well… an individual. But I was wondering if there was some type of pattern for the motivation of ENTJs since there seems to be a pattern of what depresses them. It’ll surely differ from person to person but nevertheless fosters good advice for all of us.

Your train analogy seems a better fit than the black and white explanation I offered.

I’m actually in a psych class so I’ll read into the motivation chapters (forgot there were any!) and see if I can provide anything of value


I’d imagine the common causes of depression for ENTJs would likely be being in a rut or having stagnant growth. Feeling a lack of control could also be up there.

I’m not sure about this, but I suspect few ENTJs could be happy staying in the same place for a long time. I think there needs to be a bit more motion for them than most types.


Well, couldn’t find much – it was mostly common sense.

But there were 3 concepts which resonate w/ this topic: Freud’s psychodynamic theories, Carl Roger’s self-concept theory, and Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

I won’t go in depth on these but the most pertinent one is Carl Roger’s theory.

Basically, it comes in a few steps:

  1. Humans naturally desire love and acceptance.

  2. Individuals who were raised in an environment where love/acceptance was conditional or who experience such situations later on tend to have a fairly unrealistic view of themselves to compensate for their downfalls (they want to be loved/accepted all the time).

  3. When an individual’s “self-concept” is sharply inconsistent w/ who they are ‘in reality’ they are said to have high “incongruence”.

  4. Individuals with high incongruence tend to fall into depression much easier and tend to find themselves using a wide handful of defense-mechanisms (rationalizations, projections, reaction formations, repression, displacement, etc.) – anything to protect their sharply inconsistent view of themselves… they don’t want to accept reality and unconsciously do anything to avoid it.

In a sentence: having unrealistic views/expectations from oneself can lead them to misery.

This one is more global –


“In a sentence: having unrealistic views/expectations from oneself can lead them to misery”

This is a fascinating concept. When I was young I set high expectations for myself because I knew I could achieve them, I just hadn’t figured out how at the time. But my perseverance paid off and I got to where I wanted to go. I friend, seeing me in my frustration at the time, advised me to not set my goals too high because then I have a lot further to fall. I knew my goals for myself were realistic because I knew myself. While frustration was present within me at that time, it was that frustration which drove me to greater successes. Wallowing in misery isn’t my style. Pro-activity is.


I think being an extrovert means that you get motivations from exterior. When it comes to ENTJ, they tend to do what INTJs do. INTJs try to place thoughts in order, while ENTJ try to put the world in order. I think this is the source of motivation. Without world, without people, the ENTJ doesnt not have any motivation. Basically, no worth living at all. I think it’s a very unlucky placement to be an ENTJ, because the world does view ENTJ motivations to be futile.

And my theory has a proof. Look at forum visitors who call themselves ENTJs. They are miserable people in general. Both male and female. The stories about ENTJ might touch a high strung, but the fact is that a misplaced ENTJ is a pathetic creature. People on this forum barely have anything to talk about. They have no input. They are nothing more than mentally castrated. Mentally dead. Call it world problems. Call it cultural degeneration. I don’t think anyone calling themselves ENTJ would take offence if I call them scum. They all know who they are. And they know I’m right. I am one for Gods sake. And I realize I’m scum too. What I don’t realize is how can people not come up with any ideas of solving this misery. I know there are people who try to social engineer societies (with ENTJ in it). But are we fell that far? Are we beyond being saved? Are we too late?


Hey Wasabi, I’m not scum. You probably aren’t either.

I think we take ourselves way too seriously as entj’s. Spend more time using what you have been given. Stop focusing on the misery of what you don’t have/ can’t obtain. Stay in reality. Its like waking up every morning and crying that no matter how hard you try, you can’t grow wings and fly like a bird. Why be miserable and down about that? We have the enormous potential to take action on what gives us real meaning in life. As a group we are probably too egotistical and need to use our " powers for the greatest good…".


This post really pissed me off. There are so many things to be told about this, but after long thinking I’ve decided to not waste my breath on it. I have even tried to keep more cool headed approach, for whatever reason soft skins cannot take it. Then I decided to drop that too. I still hold to my previous assessment and I don’t think this will ever change. I begin to think think this MBTI thing is moot. If a person is a coward, no matter how many rationalization you put them through, a coward is always a coward. Thus, a coward has no name. Has no respect. And their voices are ignored. Go live in your artificial life. You people make me wish to throw up. I used to get angry on you all. But not anymore. Now, you just make me wish to throw up.