ENTJ Cognition Descriptor
This is something I tried to do, a descriptor, but basically about cognition rather than behaviour. Help me out here, I wrote it in one sitting so it's only a draft. All criticism is welcomed (obviously) even if you think its fucking stupid. Tell me so, I would like to hear why.
ENTJ Type Cognition Descriptor
The ENTJ Way of Thinking:
ENTJs are “logical” people. The dominant part of their mindset – Extraverted Thinking - is to have a logical and structured approach about the outside world. Structure and parameters define how an ENTJ thinks about the things around him and how he responds to outside change and pressure. “Irrational” and “Illogical” would be common criticisms to come out of an ENTJ's mouth to criticise things in the real world, because for them, everything should have a logical order. A rectangular table with three chairs on one side and one chair on the other is an example of something that might annoy an ENTJ who observes it; their logical approach of the outside world would prefer to arrange it in a more logical order. Judging, to an ENTJ, is done on a logical basis: their mindset tends to show them that logical proof triumphs over faith, and their mindset reflects that. Utilitarian and empiricist, ENTJs like to see that something works, and that something is true, before they use it or believe it, and they are liable to challenge the objectivity of information. If Dan is telling Brian that Sarah is a prostitute, an ENTJ might be skeptical if Sarah is Dan's ex-girlfriend.
All N T types are based around logical thinking, but the ENTJ specifically demands logical that is externally, not internally valid, because to an ENTJ, if it is not external, it is not objective, and therefore the measurement is corrupted. People can rely on ENTJs to give objective criticism because ENTJs are constantly evaluating what is external to them by principles which they know to be valid. This is possibly why Extraverted Thinking is symbolised as the weighing scales of justice. To the ENTJ, their objective method of thought is a pre-requisite for fairness. The mind of an ENTJ follows a straight pattern of reasoning, and for them, clarity of thought is a necessity. The Extraverted Thinking of an ENTJ is often represented as “organisation” but this is just a concomitant of clarity of thought; applying their mindset to their external surroundings. An ENTJ mind will constantly be taking principles applied in one area and examining them to see where else they can be applied, and what distinctions can be made to said application, etc etc.
Unlike their ESTJ cousins, ENTJs sense of imagination isn't limited by a mindset strongly geared towards perceptual experiences or anchored down towards already known facts. In fact it is quite the opposite. The way the ENTJ's mindset is geared towards viewing information can be compared to the NTP. To show an NTP an object that you know sparks their imagination and ask them to think about it, they are likely to connect it to things that this object reflects: they see broader contexts in smaller examples. ENTJs think differently: to an ENTJ, the NTP approach seems to lack purpose; the mindset of an ENTJ just doesn't gear him towards finding connections, but it does provide him with an ability to do something else: ENTJs are able to look through things; they can find utility in non-utility, reason in madness, etc.
To an ENTJ, things are deep, not wide. NTPs ask why and how: The ENTJ's introverted Intuition mind asks: what? What is this trying to tell us, what is this doing here, what is the intended purpose of this, what is the nature of that, etc, because they have a mind that is constantly evaluating things. An ENTJ combines their habit to take things at face value and make a prima facie case about them with their ability to pick out meaning and purpose behind things. This is possibly why the ENTJ has a stereotype of being an analyst; their minds constantly value and judge what is around them in a logical manner but they are also able to look through things and explore inner meanings that other people just don't think to see. They might be described as “out of the box thinkers”, but the ENTJ is more likely to throw out the box and work without it. They are largely abstractual thinkers.
However, ENTJs have a very much more oriented approach to the real world than I have so far explained. They are not just creatures of logical understanding, and can possibly be seen as the “least academic” of the NT types. This is because a tertiary part of their mindset is Extraverted Sensation. That is to say that the ENTJ way of sensation – things that are physical and exist in the material world – is extraverted, i.e. is concerned with their surroundings. An ENTJ takes in what is physically present in his surroundings in the immediate. Combined with their other extraversion, Thinking, this is likely why ENTJs are stereotyped as being strategists. Yes, they will go on that camping trip with you, but they want to make sure that all the supplies are gathered and accounted for. The mind of an ENTJ is deeply in touch with his immediate surroundings and when properly developed leads to good powers of immediate observation, as opposed to the abstractual ]interpretation of the introverted Intuition. The dominance of their extraverted Sensing, compared to the other NT types, is what leads them, stereotypically, to lead more real-world lives than the more academic NTPs, whose sensing is not focused on the present and the immediate.
To an ENTJ, the ability to be in touch with reality is a positive quality. While they are able to, and enjoy viewing things abstractly, they are scarcely far away from the realities and the details of propositions. This can lead to them thinking much more skeptically than other types. Compared to perceivers especially, an ENTJ thinks about interpretation and observation, and can not help but think in a manner not unlike a logistics quartermaster. The sentence “I'm not sure that's feasible” is to an ENTJ a perfectly valid criticism that should be considered, but to other people it might sound like needless worrying, joykilling or even paranoia, depending on the mindset of the ENTJ. However, when an ENTJ really gets into the moment of the immediate reality, in a place which is natural to them – taking in and absorbing things in the physical world, they follow a much more “fun” mindset which allows them to be comfortable with following their gut reactions and allows them to be spontaneous. “Loosen up a bit” is perhaps something some ENTJs will hear commonly, but they know that when they do, and allow their minds to follow their bodies and not visa versa, they can enjoy themselves.
So far we have addressed the logical structure and the capacity for interpretation and observation that drives ENTJs. One important element of their way of thinking that we have not addressed is their feelings, because ENTJs are not just creatures of empiricism. It is not uncommon to find that on getting to know an ENTJ better, they are incredibly capable of making value judgments, about people or actions. Beneath the logical clarity of an ENTJ's mind there exists an underlying, introverted spirit that is awakened only when provoked. Like all Fi-types, ENTJs seek to harmonise their actions with their feelings, but this desire is very much smaller in the ENTJ and is a much smaller part of their way of thinking. However, it will show itself dominantly at times when extraverted Thinking has no role to play, or when an ENTJ has judged that their logical approach isn't necessary or isn't working. They will then fall back to that underlying spirit that can drive them to seek moral solutions.
While many ENTJs do lead lifestyles concerned directly with value judgments – politics for instance – many ENTJs do not, so we should not think of Fi in terms of a moral philosophy as it applies to the real world. We should think instead of ENTJs possessing a deep sense of right and wrong, just and unjust. How this is developed is different for all ENTJs, and it is obvious that one ENTJ may think one thing and another the next; these value judgments are not universal, it is the way that they are reached that is universal. They come from inside, without external validity, and are feelings – emotions – that are sometimes, for an ENTJ, impossible to control, and are released. An ENTJ on an Fi trip can be a scary thing: it is a part of their thought process that only comes out in extreme situations and is therefore of an extreme nature.
Type descriptors have an underlying problem of addressing things in terms of “X is good at A, B, and C.” We will, then, take care here to observe personality flaws that can arise in ENTJs due to their way of thinking. ENTJs can be uncompromising people, because their extraverted Thinking is so dominant in their personality that it can be hard for them to see non-logical ways of approaching problems. Their focus on logic can also make them cold, and some ENTJs need to learn that not everyone wants to live their life in an ordered and structured logical manner (no matter how superior it may be!) and they might need to develop patience in this regard. They might also need to learn that not everything has attached meaning, that there are probably less implications in the world than they seem to believe, and generally that just because they think that something can be interpreted so, it does not necessarily follow that it should be. Some ENTJs can also possess a very intimidating presence – they have opinions and views and aren't afraid to share them. To some people this can be a negative quality and some ENTJs may need to learn to tone it down a bit around people who are lacking in confidence or otherwise shy.
Some people may find ENTJs very overbearing; they are very extraverted people, and their extraverted functions are very immediate. Both concern themselves with things that are largely physically observable and so ENTJs can at times be very focused on what is and they can let their extraverted Sensation get out of control. By this I mean that this particular way of thinking pushes aside the other, more cautious parts of an ENTJ and brings its spontaneity to the fore. This can sometimes be a good thing, but it can also lead to gut sensations, and can be responsible for providing the “over competitive” nature of some ENTJs.
Lastly, ENTJs should understand that not everyone wants to be judged or have their actions evaluated. To some people this is a grave insult and can often be a point of conflict between ENTJs and other more relaxed types of personality.
Untruths about the ENTJ:
There are some fundamental untruths about the ENTJ that people who don't quite get ENTJs might think. Here I will address some.
I think the main fundamental untruth about ENTJs is that they are on the whole arrogant and overbearing. This is not the case. When an ENTJ gives forward a proposition, he expects a return: an agreement or a disagreement. Many things that ENTJs say are not statements intended to be take independently, but are instead routes to establishing a definite conclusion to a proposition. For instance, if an ENTJ says something like: “People who [speak English] are better than anyone else,” this statement does, at face value, seem arrogant. Deep down, however, to an ENTJ, it is a statement of theoretical fact. If nobody can challenge its proposition, it must be the case. And if it is true then it is not arrogant to say it.
This is why ENTJs are very hard to offend and find it difficult to understand people who are offended easily. To an ENTJ, a statement is true or it is untrue. If it is untrue, it can be refuted. If it is true, then there is rarely wrong to say it.
ENTJs are not always so cold and logical, though. That is the second fundamental untruth. As an ENTJ, I can find it hard to express my feelings for a number of personal reasons. But that does not make me an emotionless person because I don't draw smiley faces and hearts on everything or constantly hark on about how much I love X or Y. ENTJs are conscious of their feelings and are capable of being warm and helpful individuals, but often they will focus on trying to make real world changes. You can bet that if somebody has a problem, it will be the NF types who are there to comfort him, but it will be the ENTJ who is doing the work to try and make an actual difference. To an ENTJ, actions in relationships are more important than words, which are temporary and can be deceptive. This is likely due to the action-oriented thought process of an ENTJ being carried over to a real life application.
ENTJs also wonder about necessity a lot. Is this necessary? Do we need to do this? To tie this in with emotions, an ENTJ in a sober state of mind probably rarely expresses emotion towards his friends and family. He certainly will not go through what he views as “unnecessary” emotional overtures. But you can bet that if something is being attacked and an ENTJ views it as having emotional value, said ENTJ will be there to defend it.
An ENTJ will not go through over the top displays of emotion or participate in what they believe is crassness, but they will give the utmost to protect and care for things that they truly love. Love to an ENTJ means things that are specific and real and that can be valued: in other words, actions. The act of doing, not saying, because acts can be more clearly evaluated and judged and compared and so on. (It may just be the case that I believe acts are more important because they are clearer; if an ENTJ prefers words to acts, which I doubt, it will likely be because they find them to be clearer to judge and evaluate than actions). An ENTJ patriot will not be waving a flag and crying on a national holiday: they love their country but don't need to show it. If it is in actual danger, though, they will be the first to head down to the recruitment office (probably on an officer program...)
ENTJs have a deep respect for this. They dislike things that are flimsy and temperamental because their mindset is geared towards structure and order. This leads to the third fundamental untruth which has similar reasoning to the others: That is that ENTJs are too critical. This is absolutely critical to the core of all ENTJs: logical criticism is the process by which truths are determined. An ENTJ doesn't tell you you're brewing coffee wrong because he wants to be an asshole, he's doing so because if he sees something wrong, by addressing it he has excercised the greatest and most important part of his process of thought: examining logical flaws and “restoring order to disorder.” This is what makes ENTJs tick and anyone who knows an ENTJ should bear this in mind.
Overall, ENTJs are not difficult creatures to work out, but their thought processes are entirely unfamiliar to people who do not concern themselves with logic and order.