Brace yourselves. Huge message is coming.
If you are an ENTP and you are feeling lost, please give this message a shot.
I may come off a bit harsh, however I am always open to criticism.
I am an enneagram 8 ENTP, so although I identify a lot with the ENTP description, some things did not feel right from the start, so that is why I considered being an ENTJ or ESTP, but when I saw my enneagram, it finally made sense.
First of all, I do not understand all that ego stroking I see among ENTPs in the forums. I mean yes, we are good at producing ideas but at the same time REALLY shitty at following through. One realized idea, no matter the outcome, is better than a 1000 ideas that never flourished. Moreover, I feel that we tend to boast that we are jack of all trades. And I actually liked that. I liked that I was good at math/biology/chemistry/philosophy, good at formating/building PCs, knowledgeable about Stock Market, good at almost every sport that I tried. I still like it, and I still get a lot of compliments for it. But, as the saying goes, I was master of none. My unwillingness to commit to a path, or in other words my fear in commiting in the wrong path and not succeeding, was making me a master of none.
ENTPs think that they are smartasses and I think that most of us aspire to impact the world. However, the statistics have room for few of us, we can't ignore that. Out of 100 aspiring people I've met, 1-2 (maybe 5 if I stretch it?) will actually have a real impact in the world . The rest of them will either endlessly float from one job to another or end up at a typical 9-5 job, come back home to argue with their wife, sleep, repeat the miserable life (ok, exaggerating a bit now, but you get the point).
As a result, I have to work my chances on my favor if I want to do something more in life.
What I decided to do in order to tilt the scale to my favor? I constrained my life and my impulses. Pulled my shit together and created fundamental rules that would help me develop my underdeveloped sides. In that way, I've adapted myself to behave a lot like an SJ, unleashing my Ne when needed(Ne is truly magnificent, and it can help you to stand out among your peers, but at the same time it can be the Achilles tendon of an ENTP). I actually came to enjoy these life adjustments. I still have some weird thoughts running wild from time to time, but ever since I've persisted in changing, my life became better and my mental calmness improved. I used to snob Sensing types, thinking of them as idiots, but when I came to realize that the Sensing world has its own beauties, I was more open in embracing that life attitude in everyday tasks (best friend is an ISFJ, and loyal to death, so maybe he had an impact on me after all). And don't misunderstand me, I am not talking about suppressing Ne, I am talking about harnessing it to actually benefit your needs.
So, these are my life rules, I've decided to share them, because maybe they could help a fellow ENTP who feels unmotivated or "smart but too scatterbrained to succeed" as a teacher once told to my parents (then I went and scored among the first 100 out of 11000 people who were competing for a position in Medicine, in my country, "showing" the middle finger to anyone that doubted me, awesome though petty feeling, I admit). I feel like that they are a bit adjusted to an ENTP, but could apply to anyone. Ever since I followed these simple rules, I became much more content with my life and I got a real sense of moving in the right direction.
So let's start:
1) Do something productive by the first hour of waking up, especially in the days when you don't have to go to work/university/school. Small or big does not matter. Feeling tired? At least make your bed and clean your house. Feeling motivated? Learn new Japanese phrases or work out. It may seem like unimportant, but eventually this helped me do much more than one productive thing every day. I start with one small target, like reading 10 pages from a book, but the instant gratification I get from it makes me want to move on to a next one. In that aspect, I'm copying the attitude of Js, who I feel they seem to have their shit together more than Ps. (Yep, there will be chill P days, but if 8/10 times you follow that rule, everything will feel better in the end of the day, because you end the day being better than yesterday)
2) Learn to appreciate mundane tasks, because they teach you discipline. If you can't wash your clothes, or pay your bills, how the fuck are you going to run a company, or why would the world (dominant S) take your ideas seriously? Moreover, mundane tasks require little brain power, so they give you the opportunity to think your next steps in life, while doing something productive and being active at the same time.
3)In ANYTHING I choose to commit, I never stop in the middle. NEVER. I used to leave things unfinished, and this lead me nowhere besides obtaining good bullshitting skills. I feel that ENTPs stop their work too early, before the real satisfaction starts. A simple example of this rule: I decided to gain 5kg of lean muscle mass. I started studying about healthy eating, restistance training etc. At first I was enthousiastic, then the second(maybe third) week sticking to it became difficult. But giving up was not a choice. Was it worth it? Although there where times that I was feeling unmotivated, and I wished to stop, in the end it was totally fucking worth it. And actually, now working out became a habit, or as I say a healthy drug. So, yes, take your time to set a goal, but when you set it, do not look back and do not hesitate on your decision. Finally, decide if it was worth it after you reached your goal.
3) STOP TALKING GODAMMIT. Size up the situation, improve your emotional intelligence. Are people interested in what you have to say? Then talk. Over 80% of communication is non-verbal, so try to understand what people really need from you from their position, their faces, their gestures. Especially if you are around friends, because understanding their needs is fundamental for your friendship. Yep, I know that you feel like ranting about the future of robotic arms and how Elon Musk flew a car to Mars, but, sometimes you just need to shut up, or even show interest in the vroom vroom exhaust your ESTP friend just purchased for his motorbike. Moreover, social connections can sometimes help you to achieve your goals later in life, in ways you can't predict, so try to establish as many as possible.
4)Take care of your health. Imaging buying a car that you are going to use for the rest of your life. If you take care of it, change oils frequently, put the best quality gas on it then it is going to drive you around with maximum efficacy everyday, without impeding your journey. That car is your body. So start eating healthy, exercising and sleeping well(if you have difficulties in any of these aspects, start reading a lot about them, or you can ask me to send you links). I value my brain a lot, so I maintain a good health not for the sake of being healthy but to be sure that my brain is functioning as efficiently as possible everyday.
5) Choose the people around you wisely. I feel that having positive people around is of utter importance to your well being. Where do you think a flower will flourish better, at a mundane town or at a green grassland full of sunshine and fertile soil? I can talk for hours about this, but then my message will become unreadable. Oh, and you eventually become what you believe, so take the negative thoughts of other people and shove them up their asses. I'm not saying to never listen to bad criticism, but trust me, if someone really wants to help you become better, his/her criticism won't feel hostile or wrong. I know we are Thinkers, but we are perfectionists at the same time and seek validation, so I think that we have all the potential to become butthurt and bitter on the inside.
6) You should dress according to the expectations of the audience spoken to. I used to not give a fuck about my appearance, until I realized that it could come in the way of my goals. Now I know enough not to let my clothes, my appearance, my manners get in the way of what I care about. A lot of people feel they must assert their ego and do their thing their way, however, they pay a steady price for that.
7)Realize that you are a part of a living organism called society. Learn to be polite, learn to smile more, try to cheer people up, learn to unite people. Even if you see it from a materialistic way, one day it will pay of, trust me. The better you try to understand society, the better you will be able to adapt society to your goals, your needs, your desires. Or you can try to fight it and see what you can accomplish (spoiler alert: not much)
8)Last one and most important. Don't hesitate to set goals and don't hesitate to fail again and again. Even if you want many things, there is always a way to combine them to one goal. I was not sure if I wanted to pursue Business, Medicine, or Scientific research. I thought that I had to choose only one. But, guess what, there are people in the world who combine all of them, few, but they exist. So the wisest thing to do, was pursue Medicine, and then maybe try to combine this career with Business and Research (actually right now I am considering Surgery because I like a bit of action + research to feed my Ne). Did I do the right choice? I think yes but check rule nr 2.
Will I succeed even after doing all of these? I really do not know, success is a chances game after all, but what I do know is that in the end of my life, I will not be able to blame procrastination or indecisiveness for anything that went wrong. And that alone, makes me feel at ease.
Finally, as I said, I am open to any questions or criticism you have. I do not think that you will find a hole in my arguments that I haven't already noticed, so the answer will be ready.(well, I am an ENTP after all, a bit arrogance is in my blood). Oh, and not all these rules are mine, some of them I got from speeches of successful people or interesting books. However all of these are adjusted and implemented to serve my life and they seem to work. They look easy, but to put them into your subconscious and function with them in mind is hard, and I am still struggling with some of them from time to time. But as the saying goes, "Easy choices, hard life. Hard choices, easy life."
That's all folks.
Hope I was worth your time and thank you for reading all of these.
P.S. Totally subjective opinion: Medicine, although requiring a lot of memorization, needs us. Don't hesitate to follow it if you are thinking about it. They say it is too rigid and mundane, but compared to other jobs, it is way ahead in terms of diversity and potential, and thus great for an ENTP, if he/she can stand the rigorous training and enjoy the journey. Oh, and you need to kinda like and respect people, to say the least.