ISTP (introverted, sensing, thinking, perceiving) is one of the 16 personality types. People with ISTP personalities enjoy having time to think alone and are fiercely independent. ISTPs also love action, new experiences, hands-on activities and the freedom to work at their own pace.
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The Jung Personality Test identifies your personality preferences in four main areas:1) Extraversion vs Introversion, 2) Sensing vs Intuition, 3) Thinking vs Feeling and 4) Judging vs Perceiving. For each of these dimensions, the test identifies you as tending toward one end or the other of each dimension. As you can see, the ISTP personality tends to be Introverted, Sensing, Thinking and Perceiving.
- Introversion (I): How you direct your energy and relate to the world around you. ISTPs tend to be quiet and reserved.
- Sensing (S): How you take in information from the environment. ISTPs prefer concrete information rather than abstract or theoretical concepts.
- Thinking (T: How you make decisions. ISTPs make decisions based upon logic rather than subjective emotions.
- Perceiving (P): How you orient yourself to the outside world. ISTPs prefer not to plan things out in advance and like to keep their options open.
Some of the identifying characteristics of the ISTP personality include:
- Highly logical
- Enjoys learning by experience
- Action oriented
- Very realistic and practical
- Likes excitement and new experiences
- Self-confident and easy-going
People with an ISTP personality are results-oriented. When there is a problem, they want to quickly understand the underlying cause and implement some type of solution. ISTPs are often described as quiet, but with an easy-going attitude towards others.
ISTPs enjoy new experiences and may often engage in thrill-seeking or even risk-taking behaviors. They often engage in risky or fast-paced hobbies such as motorcycling, hang gliding, bungee jumping, surfing or ice hockey. In some cases, they may seek out adventure by choosing careers in areas such as racing, flying or firefighting.
ISTPs tend to be very logical and enjoy learning and understanding how things operate. They might take apart a mechanical device just to see how it works. While they are good at understanding abstract and theoretical information, they are not particularly interested in such things unless they can see some type of practical application.
Because they are so logical, ISTPs are good at looking at situations in an objective way and avoiding subjective or emotional factors when making decisions. People with this personality type can be difficult to get to know, often because they are focused so much on action and results rather than on emotions.
ISTPs prefer to focus on the present and take on things one day at a time. They often avoid making long-term commitments and would rather focus on the “here and now” rather than think about future plans and possibilities.
All personality types have four primary cognitive functions. For an ISTP, these functions are Introverted Thinking, Extroverted Feeling, Introverted Intuition, and Extroverted Sensing. These are the dominant, auxiliary, tertiary, and inferior functions respectively, so they are in descending order of prominence.
This particular combination of functions results in an interesting personality type, as the first two functions appear to conflict with each other rather than supporting or complementing each other as they often do in other personality types. Introverted Thinking, which is most dominant, causes ISTPs to be generally very reticent and absorbed in their own thought. Extroverted Feeling, on the other hand, results in a noticeable element of sociability in the ISTP’s personality, which can struggle against their Introverted Thinking.
These functions make ISTPs diligent and reliable workers. They excel in careers that involve creativity of many kinds, from mechanics to painting. However, an ISTP’s drive to succeed sometimes results in imbalance in their personal life as they disregard nearly everything else to succeed professionally.
ISTPs are most compatible with other Sensing types that are likely to understand their worldview. They are least compatible with Intuitive-Feeling types, so they have trouble connecting with personalities such as ENFP and INFJ. ISTPs’ relationships can take on an interesting character due to the combination of their apparent reticence with their risk-taking traits.
Women with the ISTP personality type are typically rational, attentive, and independent. These strengths can be tied to weaknesses when they grow out of proportion, and these women are often criticized for being single-minded or unfeeling.
Such weaknesses and perceptions are unique to ISTP women, as the characteristics of their personality are generally thought of as being masculine traits. ISTP women generally don’t mind pursuing a male-dominated career path, and though they are relatively rare, these women are often found in high places.
ISTP women are well-suited to professions involving engineering and science. They prefer to work with their hands while being intellectually stimulated. They follow a similar course in their hobbies, and often enjoy activities such as skydiving and waterskiing.
Famous People With ISTP Personalities
A number of famous individuals have been described as having an ISTP personality based on analysis of their lives, works and behaviors. Some of the possible famous ISTPs include:
- Tom Cruise, actor
- Keith Richards, musician
- James Dean, actor
- Clint Eastwood, actor
- Zachary Taylor, U.S. President
- Chuck Yeager, U.S. Air Force officer
- Alan Shepherd, astronaut
- Amelia Earhart, aviator
- Frida Kahlo, artist
- Tiger Woods, golfer
A few fictional characters that fit in with the description of the ISTP personality type include:
- Hans Solo, Star Wars
- Butch Coolidge, Pulp Fiction
- Blondie, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
- Wolverine, X-Men
- Jason Bourne, The Bourne Identity
- Maggie Fitzgerald, Million Dollar Baby
Best Career Choices for ISTPs
Because ISTPs are introverted, they often do well in jobs that require working alone. ISTPs tend to dislike too much structure and do well in careers where they have a lot of freedom and autonomy. Because they are very logical, they often enjoy work that involves reasoning and hands-on experience. In particular, ISTPs like doing things that have practical, real-world applications.
Some jobs that ISTPs are well-suited for include:
- Forensic science
- Computer programming
- Law enforcement
- Software engineer
- Video game designer