All the typings and observations in this post are based on definitions and information presented in the aLBoP Guided Tour 😀 So if any of it bugs you, please go read that before leaving me a grumpy comment… Or, you know what?  Let’s just skip the grumpy comments!  Have a nice day! <3

ENTP
The Swashbuckler

“Never tell me the odds!”
Han Solo, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

The ENTP Swashbuckler does what works.  Adapting their plan, disregarding the rules and following their gut.  They may seem unpredictable because they’ll start fights sometimes, run from them others; be brutally honest one moment and charmingly secretive the next.  This is because they observe first and act later (as all EP’s do) and so they themselves might not know until the moment they decide (after they’ve observed as much information as possible) what they are going to do.  Often, while they figure it out, they’ll be making clever quips and banter.  This is a way to stall for time while they decide what to do, learn more about their opponent and surroundings from the reactions they receive… and enjoy just how clever they are.  And though rules aren’t always their cup of tea, you can be sure they follow their own code, which is usually doing whatever it takes to become the larger-than-life person they *want* to be.

Young ENTP’s start out with an insatiable desire to explore and quickly develop big, flashy dreams about what they’re going to be someday (pretty sure fairy was one of my earliest career goals).  They’re similar to INTJ’s in this way (well… and all the types in different ways), but ENTP’s focus on the way they want to be as a person instead of the things they want to get done.  ENTP’s favorite thing is people-potential so they care a lot more about how awesome they’re going to be and what they choose to do is an after-thought.  But this means since the ENTP loves to explore *all* the options and whatever works, they quickly feel and are often branded “bad” by the world and the people around them.  Often to this an ENTP will reply, “Well, if I’m bad, I’ll be the *best* at being bad!!”  In practice, the ENTP has three choices, much akin to their ESTP… brethren (? cousins, aunts, uncles?).

The first choice an ENTP has is to willfully rebel against other people, turning their cynicism over others’ unreasonability into an enmity of their own, resulting in disobeying rules and belittling others in order to justify their own wounded emotions and ego rather than out of any thought-out reason for doing so.  An ENTP choosing this spiteful path quickly loses their charm, only “beloved” by those trying to justify themselves in the same emotional areas.  Also, an ENTP who feels the need to lick their own wounds in this way is really requiring affirmation from the very people they hate, and ends up feeling even less confident, validated or good, the more that they fight.  This is the kind of mush-mouthed insecurity that ENTP’s roll their eyes at in other people.  Though they might be appalled to recognize they are taking that same kind of wimpy tack, sometimes wallowing is too comforting to give up without kicking and screaming.

Alternatively, it’s quite tempting for an ENTP to just fit in, label themselves bad before anyone else can, and spend the rest of their lives paying penance for everything they like, are and enjoy.  They may or may not be good at looking normal, but it’s likely they won’t be.  Whatever an ENTP might try, there will always be that desire to be just a little more flashy, have just a little more fun with the things that they love.  ENTP’s who suppress their desire to explore the world and to understand anything and everything it has to offer, may feel like it’s the right thing to try and please everyone, but, you see (and this was a recent eye-opener to me, believe me) the ENTP cannot care *about* others, as long as they care *what others think* of them.

Be it through cultural, family or peer pressure, if an ENTP is constantly trying to prove who they are, they won’t *be* it; end of story.  An ENTP that is worried about others’ opinions, even for good intentions, will be too afraid to let down the shield that protects their hidden vulnerable feelings.  If they need validation of who they are from others, they won’t feel free to be the royal-rainbow they truly are and will constantly be resenting others for not seeing them well enough, causing them to be cynical and close people out more.

But as they own themselves, even when others don’t appreciate their larger-than-life childlike bombasticism (Is bombasticism a word?  It is now!), then they are able to truly care about what is going on with others and help them shine in their own unique way.  When they choose to explore the world with all the spontaneity and confidence they already possess and yet feel guilty of, an ENTP can become a lighthouse of color, blasting out joy and self-assurance to everyone around them, unafraid of those who refuse to see the bright light they are.  As the very ENTP Tony Stark (Iron Man), puts it in The Avengers, “You’re tiptoeing, big guy.  You’ve gotta strut.”  This is the ENTP Swashbuckler.

The league of ENTP Swashbucklers is a who’s-who of charming and well-intentioned con-artists, thieves, smugglers, troublemakers, trolls, and seriously big hams.  How can all those things go with well-intentioned?  When a Swashbuckler breaks rules right and left, why do we still find them charming?  ENTP’s are cheaters whose out-of the-box thinking is based on whatever will reach their end goal; they excel at applying and adapting the tools in their observed arsenal to whatever new and unusual situation they might come up against.  Why can the Swashbuckler work outside the rules and establishment and yet still be so obviously good-hearted when other types doing the same action might come off creepy and self-justifying?  Because, in line with their greatest strength of character judgement, the Swashbuckler is excellent at seeing, understanding, and changing their own intentions.

Even if society shuns them or makes them feel like a bad person, deep down a Swashbuckler knows their intentions are good, that they are worthwhile, even if no one else can see it.  This helps instill in them a confidence that can’t be taken away, an intrinsic sort of thing that’s needed when others look down on them for not coloring in the lines.

All EP’s get told from birth by society that actions are a moral thing; make the wrong choice and you’re a bad person.  EP’s who naturally suck at choosing what action to take based on their intentions, often make choices that don’t reflect who they are at all and though they’ll probably notice quickly that it was the wrong choice and hopefully learn from their mistake, the guilt they’re given means the lesson their likely to learn is “you didn’t do it right; that makes you bad.”

In addition, ENTP’s have to work hard to be good at physical action, especially when they think too hard about specifics, rather than *being* what they want to look like.  A plan of action may make complete sense in an ENTP’s head, but when carried out, physics and their own bodies just aren’t on their side.  (Cue memories of trying to ride down the stairs in a laundry basket because I “thought it’d be cute.”  For the record, it was… it just hurt more than I anticipated.)  Like ENTP Socrates talking about the philosopher falling in the well, when an ENTP gets thinking about something, physical awareness may go out the window.  Thankfully, the Swashbuckler learns quickly to adapt to the mistakes they’re sure to make and can almost always fix a ploy gone awry.

ENTP’s are obsessed with understanding people and the way they tick, starting with themselves.  They intuitively feel and understand just how gorgeously complex and multifaceted people are and (whether they realize it or not) spend their entire lives trying to enjoy that complexity.  This is done in various ways, the most notable of which is poking it with a stick.  And by that I mean trying to shock and awe it out of its safe little cocoon by making it feel uncomfortable so that it does stuff.  Why do ENTP’s (ETP’s in their different ways) like to say things that are shocking?  What’s one reason (of several) for ENTP’s huge enjoyment of their own sex-appeal?  Well, in addition to enjoying their own complicated selves, which they are very keen on doing, ENTP’s love to make others squirm in order to observe and enjoy them.  People are funny, have so much more going on than they’re aware of and often take themselves much more seriously than they should.  ENTP’s love to poke at those kinds of insecurities to see what comes crawling out from under the rocks.  This isn’t malicious, it’s merely an attempt to understand, enjoy and utilize people to their fullest.

The Swashbuckler doesn’t do things halfway; they either don’t do something at all, or they make an ENTP-shaped hole in the wall.  This means that individuals often either love them or hate them, and either camp is likely to find them strange.  There is a wide range of “cool” versus “awkward” with an ENTP, both of which might demonstrate in the same person depending on the audience.  (Why, yes, I fall into both categories.  I’ve gotten fairly used to having very little filter system between my brain and my mouth.  Now I know how to own it.)  Though even a beloved Swashbuckler is likely to wish more people truly *knew* them.

In a group, though an ENTP has decent vision and can lead in a pinch, they’d much rather just be in charge of their own actions.  Naturally skeptical and needing to be won over, they’re unlikely to follow someone in a plan or mission if they don’t see the merit of the pursuit or the leader hasn’t won their respect as a source.  But when someone with vision, like a healthy IJ, earns their trust, they’re happy to concede the big-picture reins so that they can be free to focus on the parts they love; loophole exploiting, verbal sparring and self-aggrandizing… for the good of everyone, of course. 😉

Though Swashbucklers that exemplify what it means to be a “lovable rogue” (seriously, most the examples on that page are ENTP’s) are more common than rule-abiding ones, an ENTP only becomes a Dark Swashbuckler when they have bad motivations and don’t care.  Villainous ENTP’s may be just as charming, adaptive, personable and witty, but just like bad actions shouldn’t define a good ENTP, good actions can’t define one with bad intent.  Dark Swashbucklers don’t care what kind of person they are in reality anymore, so long as they achieve their goals toward *looking* great on the outside.

The constant struggle with worrying that they’re bad may make a well-meaning ENTP worry that the path to Hell is paved with good intentions.  But if a Swashbuckler constantly returns to the *why* behind their actions, they can realize that the path to true heroism (and awesomeness) lies in who you are deep down and that if an EP focuses on who they really want to *be,* they’ll figure the action stuff out eventually.

As Swashbuckler Miss Frizzle says, “Take chances, make mistakes, get messy.”  It’s the only way ENTP’s can really explore the world, people and themselves.

Swashbuckler or Dark Swashbuckler, a strong ENTP is likely to go big or go home and will do whatever it takes to reach their dreams of greatness.

Examples:
Male:  Malcolm Reynolds, Firefly
Female:  Disney’s Mulan
Villain:  Dark Helmet, Space Balls

Who are the Type Heroes?  Read the intro here, and stay tuned to meet them all!

Want more information on ENTP, the Swashbuckler?  Read their Cognitive Orientation Guidebook here.