Of all the types, ENTJs are the most driven to leadership and strategic management. Although other types may make effective managers or strategists, ENTJs are masterful in the roles of CEO, Army General, or political achiever. They are utilitarian, pragmatic, and prudent, and hold themselves (and others) to a high standard.
Otto Kroeger once observed that ENTJs, “See daily life as a kind of chessboard, upon which people, things, and entities are moved, removed, altered, and engaged—constantly for the organizational good.” Likely ENTJs of the past are Winston Churchill, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Douglas MacArthur.
ENTJs make up only 2% of the general population, with men outnumbering women 3 to 1. In fact, there are fewer ENTJs among women than any other type. Making female ENTJs the rarest type there is!
ENTJs are over-represented among MBA students and small business owners, and are one of only two types who report high satisfaction with career choices.
In a recent survey of ENTJs we asked four questions:
- What are the top 3 challenges you face as an ENTJ?
- What 3 things do you wish others knew about you as an ENTJ?
- What 3 books/movies/courses/events have most impacted your life?
- What do you wish you could have told your 15 year old self ?
In this article, I would like to focus on the last of the four survey questions –What do you wish you could have told your 15 year old self ?
Many of the answers shared some common themes. So, I have broken them all down to 5 items ENTJs wish they had known when they were 15 years old, in order of frequency.
#1 Be More Ambitious
ENTJs dominant mental process is Extraverted Thinking (“Effectiveness” in the Genius System). This is about getting things done, creating functional systems, and intuitively knowing how to move people and processes toward the most effective goal.
It therefore should not surprise us that 24% of ENTJs surveyed said they wished they had been more ambitious in their youth.
- “Apply for more academic scholarships and choose a degree that makes money. Take the SAT multiple times and don’t be too proud of your accomplishments. (I studied art in college, but I could have pursued artistic areas without a degree. I have no regrets, but I would advise myself to go into immigration law or politics.)”
- “Since you have so many awesome passions, focus on the one that can make you the most money and where you can make money from people under you. When you’re rich, you can do all that other stuff on the side. And you’ll have more money and time to do what you want.”
- “Small actions and gratitudes made now will lead to big achievements and relationships later. Take each day as it comes. Trying and failing is better than fantasizing about perfection and never attempting to make it for fear of failure.”
- “Join the Navy as an officer instead of enlisted man. (I would have had my BABY by the time I got out at 25. I would have finished my MS by 30 and would be finishing my PHD. Instead, I am about 5 years behind this pace.)”
- “You are right about your mother and your father being unable to help you get ahead. Find a mentor and don’t apologize or look back. Question everyone and everything. Stop choosing the safe options. Trust and be creative. Learn how to buy stocks.”
#2 Choose Your Battles Better
If ENTJs have a weakness, it is their failure to honor the subjective feelings and emotions of those around them. This often compromises interpersonal relationships.
For this reason, perhaps it is no surprise that 15% of ENTJs would tell their younger selves to make more strategic choices when going to battle.
- “It is okay that you are nearly always right, but you should carefully choose when to stand up and say so. Don’t let your perfectionism keep you from starting and finishing things. Stay in shape!”
- “It’s okay that you don’t feel as much as other people do and it’s okay that you drop people out of your life. I would tell my 15 yr old self that the reason I drop people out of my life is because I knew they weren’t going to last long and that there was no growth.”
- “Shit happens to everyone. The grass isn’t greener on the other side. Find your passion and go for it.”
#3 Don’t Fear Rejection
To be a true leader, one must be willing to make the tough choices. To say or do the things that are unpopular. This is the difference between stagnation and upward mobility. The quality that permits an enlisted man to advance to Commanding General.
11.5% of ENTJs surveyed said they would want their adolescent selves to stop fearing rejection.
- “Just because people don’t value you as you are doesn’t mean you don’t have value. It means precisely the opposite. You are free from the bonds they make for themselves.”
- “Doing things for yourself is key. Do not fear rejection…embrace it, without it…you would not know what success is.”
#4 Take the Time to Learn from Others
A good commander spends time in the trenches. Nobody is handed mastery. It must be cultivated, earned, and perfected. The master must begin as a student in order to gain proficiency.
11% of ENTJs would tell their younger selves to take the time to learn from others.
- “Read up on Atkins and just cut the carbs – don’t fluff around with the other shit. You are beautiful. Learn to ask for help from adults – they won’t bite and they are not on a pedestal!”
- “Learn how to react to helpful criticism – don’t be so scared of it. Learn how to learn. You are cleverer than you think right now.”
- “Learn from others who are more present in the moment. Learn how to ask questions – not judge!”
#5 Be More Patient With The People Around You
ENTJs inferior cognitive function (aka Blind Spot) is Introverted Feeling. This means feelings are not a conscious part of their decision making process, usually.
Some ENTJs overcome this handicap by attempting to create industries that empower others and contribute in a sustainable way, such as Jack Welch.
8% of ENTJs wish they had been more patient with the people in their lives.
- “Practice gratitude and be kind and thoughtful of others. There is a whole lotta life happening around you.”
- “Continue to develop your intuition. It will serve you well. Not everyone perceives and processes the world as you do, so have patience with them as best you can.”
- “Stay out of trouble. Apply yourself to your schoolwork… you’re really good at it. Take better care of Mom.”
We would love to hear more about the advice ENTJs would give to their teenage selves. Please share them in the comments below.
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