Jason Bourne. Wolverine. Han Solo. Black Widow. Do you notice any similarities between these characters? They’re all unstoppable, devil-may-care action heroes. They’re also all ISTPs. ISTPs make the ideal template for an action hero. These cool, collected types have the sharpest tactical abilities of any of the 16 types. They’re called “the crafters” but really they excel at anything that involves quick-thinking and hands-on tactical intelligence. If you’re in a crisis situation, you’ll want an ISTP around. When it comes to an emergency, these guys keep a cool head and get everything under control.

Do you need protection from a bad guy? Nobody can handle a weapon like an STP. Because of this, there’s a high percentage of ISTPs in the military and law enforcement. These types can be resistant to the rigid rules and structure enforced there, but they also find a place where they can use their unique skill sets and serve justice.  This isn’t to say that all ISTPs love these career fields, some will hate them. But in general, at least according to the MBTI® Manual, ISTPs are overrepresented in these careers.

How do the ISTP Functions Work?

The ISTP “coolness” factor really comes down to the way they use their cognitive functions. The ISTPs function order goes like this:

Dominant: Introverted Thinking (Ti)
Auxiliary: Extraverted Sensing (Se)
Tertiary: Introverted Intuition (Ni)
Inferior: Extraverted Feeling (Fe)

What does all this mean? Well, these introverted thinkers are not only good with their hands (Se), they tend to have a good grasp of logic (Ti) and an immense store of mental data. When they say something, they’ve thought it through internally first. This is why when in movies (and often in life) one is faced with an ISTP, you’ll hear precise, intentional one-liners that make you react in hushed awe. ISTPs can shut up the arrogant villains, and they don’t waste words doing it. They’re the anti-heroes that do what has to be done but what everyone else is too scared to do.


The ISTP’s tactical intelligence comes from their combination of introverted thinking and extraverted sensing. Their extraverted sensing side gives them an intense awareness of the world around them in the present moment. ISTPs aren’t likely to get caught with their head in the clouds; they’re going to know what’s going on around them at all times. They respond quickly with a cool head, not getting flustered or confused as many other types would. Dominant or auxiliary extraverted sensors are the best at handling crisis situations with a calm attitude. Their skill at living fully in the moment and being able to come up with spontaneous solutions is why it’s always good to have an ISTP around when there’s an emergency.

Bruce Lee, an ISTP, expressed this when he said; “[Always be] ready; not thinking, yet not dreaming; ready for whatever may come.”

The ISTP has tertiary introverted intuition. This means that, although it’s not their strong suit, they are still able to have a good idea of how things could unfold. They can strategize building plans, physical maneuvers, stunts, and fighting tactics. Combine this with inferior extraverted feeling and they can be somewhat effective at dealing with people or (if they’re the bad guy) manipulating them to reach an end goal. However, at the end of the day, the ISTP’s tactical, hands-on abilities, and quick calculations are what make them stand out.

How can I tell if I’m an ISTP?

If you’re an ISTP and lead with introverted thinking, that means you’re going to have a very objective, logical frame of mind. You’re going to love figuring out systems and engaging in games that activate your thinking (like sudoku, Rubik’s cubes, etc,.). You’ll be fascinated by taking things apart and grasping how things work. You’ll likely have very precise, concise language; you’re not one to drone on and on about a subject. Say what needs to be said and get it over with. That’s how you live.


As an ISTP you’ll have auxiliary Extraverted Sensation (Se) which gives you a keen awareness of the world around you. You can quickly respond to stimuli, and things like juggling, athletics, or going to a shooting range (maybe not all of these activities, but some) will appeal to you. Being able to use your hands-on tactical abilities is very important to you; so constructing or building with your hands, or playing paintball, baseball or anything that allows you to use your strong awareness and physical ability is going to be appealing.

If you’re an ISTP you’ll probably be fiercely independent, and will loathe being forced into a rigid structure or set of rules. ISTPs often have a “lone wolf” mentality that is obvious in action movies where they’re the hero. They like to get things done on their own and aren’t as interested in working as a team. ISTPs have an adventurous side, and usually love thrilling activities like sky diving, driving motorcycles, surfing, etc,..they have a strong need for action and excitement. Living in the moment, on impulse, is the lifestyle of choice for you if you’re an ISTP.

Not everything is about living on impulses though for ISTPs. If you’re an ISTP you’ll likely have a firm set of causes and beliefs that you are very loyal to. ISTPs strongly believe in equity and fairness and are less concerned with what the majority believes. They have their own set of personal values and priorities.

What are your thoughts?

Do you know an ISTP? Are you an ISTP? I’d love to hear your thoughts about these fascinating types.

Find out more about your personality type in our eBooks, Discovering You: Unlocking the Power of Personality Type,  The INFJ – Understanding the Mystic,  The INFP – Understanding the Dreamer, and The INTJ – Understanding the Strategist. You can also connect with me via FacebookInstagram, or Twitter!

Other Articles  You Might Enjoy:

Understanding ISTP “Laziness”

The Rare ISTP Female

The Top 25 Favorite ISTP Movies

Find out why #ISTPs make the best action heroes!

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Find out why #ISTPs make the best action heroes!

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