Find out why #ISTPs make the best action heroes!
Fictional MBTI | ISTP | MBTI

Why ISTPs Make the Best Action Heroes

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.

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
Auxiliary: Extraverted Sensing
Tertiary: Introverted Intuition
Inferior: Extraverted Feeling

What does all this mean? Well, these introverted thinkers are not only good with their hands, they tend to have a good grasp of logic 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 ISTPs tactical intelligence comes from their combination of introverted thinking and extraverted sensing. Their extraverted sensing 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 in the moment with a cool head, not getting flustered or confused like 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 still are able to have a relatively good idea of how things could unfold. They can strategize good 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 ISTPs tactical, hands-on abilities and quick thinking 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 to figure out systems and will enjoy engaging in games that activate your thinking (like sudoku, rubik’s cubes, etc,.). You’ll be fascinated with taking things apart and putting them back together, and will probably be good at figuring out math problems. Introverted thinkers 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 sensing, 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.

ISTPs are usually on the optimistic side; while they may be quiet and keep to themselves, they’re not pessimistic or mopey. They usually have a cheerful outlook on life, and are pretty laid back in general. If you’re lucky enough to have an ISTP for a friend or partner, you can enjoy their easy-going, fun-loving nature. They can be the quietest, most stoic people in the room and also the most generous and protective people you know. They are a fascinating mystery to everyone who knows them.

What are your thoughts?

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

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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Susan Storm

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Find out why #ISTPs make the best action heroes!

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  1. Youre very great Susan, you really can describe ISTP very well. Im ISTP and i think youre unfold me. I have black belt in karate, ride motorcycle while i have a car,execel at drawing sketch, plan to try bungie jumping next month and win on the paintball game mostly.
    Say hello to my fellow ISTp (your husband)

    1. Thank you! Yep, those all sound like things that ISTPs would enjoy. They are some of the most fun, adventurous people around 🙂 I will tell my husband you say hello! Have a great day!

  2. Hello! I am ISTP but I see I don’t fit into the physical thing. I don’t know if it’s due to I am woman. I am not fan of physical activities, I am not good at it, but I am person who likes to live in the present moment. I can lose in my thoughts I am not perfect on my surroundings but I am always alert when I go out. I think I am an ISTP with more abilities with craft things. Yes, that’s it. But I like so many things not only manual things. But I can tell you my adventure soul reflects on videogames, my favorite videogames usually are adventure ones and very open and with freedom. Great article!

    1. Hi Nami!! Thanks so much for commenting and sharing your perspective! I haven’t heard from very many ISTP females, so it’s a pleasure to “meet” one! It may be you’re right, that you use your physical awareness in your crafting abilities! I know for me as an INFJ, I am hopeless with sewing or crafting, it’s quite embarrassing! I will have to find some more female Istps and see if I can find out how they feel about all this and perhaps change some of the content of this post 🙂 Have a great weekend!

    2. Probably the most famous ISTP of the video game world:

      Stealth, FPS, Sandbox games, the must for this type.

      For the alert spirit when we are outside, it is for this reason that the narrow and densely populated cities are detrimental to us. I get the impression that people progress slow and clumsy like zombies. Tiring over the medium term… Generally, we need space.

  3. Hi Susan 🙂 I am an ISTP female. Your description all suits me. Although it’s a bit difficult to live having this characteristic as a woman, i like being an ISTP a lot. Thanks for the post 🙂

  4. Hi, Susan
    I am an ISTP woman married (20 yrs) to an ENFJ male. Talk about opposites attract.
    I love the outside and, before having my foot fused, was up for just about any game but football. I loved climbing trees until the branches snapped or jumping from one rock to the other while hiking while young.
    Before I married I almost joined the Marines, like my father. But hubby’s job bounces us around every 2-5 yrs, so the “rambling/itchy feet” feeling is always met.
    We have 3 sons early in our marriage and we will be young enough to still enjoy life when they head off to college.
    I LOVE mind games, I have a head full of useless knowledge, I’m the one that fixes any computer glitches and does the hardware upgrades.
    I’ve got more hobbies unfinished than I can count. Lol. Once I’ve achieved a level of compatence I move onto something new. Painting, on canvas or houses, writing, guitar, clarinet, knitting, gardening, sewing, cooking, throwing knives, sharp shooting, and driving to name a few.
    Knowing that my children and hubby still need me is the only thing that holds me back when I drive. God! I love the thrill of driving!! There’s nothing like threading a 1 ton truck through Dallas traffic to get the heart pumping!! Not to mention, you need fast reflexes to avoid accidents with women in their phones. Grrrr!! Nothing pisses me off more than people driving and talking on their phones!!

    As a woman ISTP I hate all jobs out there and am trying to still find a way to help the hubby with the bills. Bosses tend to rub me wrong and I never understood why until I found out it was due to how I’m wired. It’s finally cool to understand why I never seemed to fit anywhere these past 40 years.

    Thank you, Susan. For explaining all of the hidden shades of our characteristic types.

  5. I have enjoyed reading your website! I’m an ISTP female. When I found out my personality type, I felt like my whole life suddenly made sense. I am very feminine and embrace traditional roles, but when it comes to work, I like action and a changing environment or challenges. I was in the military and worked around aircraft and explosives. I naturally gravitate towards aviation. I always thought my work preferences were because I grew up on a farm. I now know, after reading more deeply into the ISTP personality type, that nearly all aspects fit me. I am independent, I come off to others as aloof, I’m very logical in my approach to everything. I get frustrated with people who lead with or think with their feelings. I’m married to an INFJ and understanding our types helps tremendously.

  6. I’m an INFJ married to an ISTP, and I love it. I love his laid back attitude and organized, analytical mind. Some things frustrate me (like when he’s inconsiderate of other people’s time) and some things baffle me (like how he moves on from a hobby he was fully invested in) but for the most part, we complement each other well. Life with him is an adventure!

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