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“Both in fighting and in everyday life you should be determined though calm. Meet the situation without tenseness yet not recklessly, your spirit settled yet unbiased. Even when your spirit is calm do not let your body relax, and when your body is relaxed do not let your spirit slacken. Do not let your spirit be influenced by your body, or your body be influenced by your spirit.”

Miyamoto Musashi – ISTP


are known for their quiet intensity, their fearlessness, and their ability to think quickly in a crisis. They combine a masterful use of Introverted Thinking (Ti) to form deep, logical conclusions and to stay objective in decision making. They use their sensing side to act quickly and with a detailed awareness of their physical environment.

You’ll see many ISTPs throughout history and in the arts; people like Samurai author Miyamoto Musashi, Congressman Ron Paul, actor Clint Eastwood, and actress Scarlett Johansson.

What Does ISTP Stand For?

I = Introversion. ISTPs focus inwards before outwards, analyzing what things mean to them before responding to the environment.
S = Sensation ISTPs focus on the real world and facts and evidence before focusing on concepts and abstract ideas.
T = Thinking. ISTPs analyze things logically before they focus on their values or the feelings of others.
P = Perceiving. ISTPs have a flexible, relaxed approach to life rather than having a repetitive structure or formal set of guidelines.

What Are They Like?

ISTPs tend to have a laid-back, relaxed approach to life. They need a lot of independence and crave freedom to act whenever they feel like it. Constraints, rules, and micro-management are sure to stress then out and frustrate them. Like most Sensing-Perceivers, ISTPs like to feel like they can pick up and go wherever they want and whenever they want. They also want to take action when the timing hits them as “right.” That said, ISTPs also like having their own plan and often have ideas and visions about where they want to go with life. While they may not verbalize these ideas very often, the thoughts do swim around in their mind on regularly.

When it comes to communication, ISTPs tend to be direct and casual. They don’t like pretentiousness and tend to get annoyed with people who seem to be putting on an act or using grandiose words just to make an impression. ISTPs are likely to get to the point quickly and with as few words as possible rather than beating around the bush. In fact, they hate rambling. There’s almost nothing worse for an ISTP than being stuck in a conversation with someone who’s droning on and on about minutiae. If something can be said in 15 words instead of 500, the ISTP will probably use 10. But just because ISTPs are direct and concise doesn’t mean they’re heartless. ISTPs care about others and do want to have positive interactions with people. They may not always feel certain about how to do so, but they enjoy people who can laugh with them, join them for adventures, and trade knowledge together.

ISTP Motivations and Weaknesses:

  • Driving Force: To understand how the world and everything in it works and fits together in a logical way. To have mental clarity and cohesion.
  • Backup Strength: Strong attention to detail and ability to think quickly in a crisis. They pay attention to what’s going on around them and often know how to maximize the moment or use resources to find solutions.
  • Weaknesses: May be so focused on understanding objects and systems that they lose touch with the human relationships they also crave. May struggle to pick up on emotional cues or validate others’ feelings. They may feel uncomfortable in highly emotional settings or around people who expect a lot of rapport or feedback.
  • Stressors: Lack of alone time, micro-management, chaotic emotional atmospheres, feeling controlled.

ISTP Personality Traits:

While everyone varies based on their background and Enneagram type, most average to healthy ISTPs have the following characteristics:

  • They are skilled at weighing the pros and cons and finding leverage points in a decision.
  • They yearn for accuracy and logical consistency.
  • They have a knack for figuring out how things work.
  • They quickly grasp the underlying principles of a problem or idea.
  • They are realistic and down-to-earth
  • They need a great deal of alone time.
  • They highly value autonomy and independence.
  • They dislike a lot of rules or guidelines.
  • They may inadvertently be tactless, without meaning to cause emotional harm.
  • They respond quickly in crisis situations.
  • They usually recall data quickly and accurately.

ISTP Careers:

Which career is best for an ISTP? While common careers include software developers, mechanics, pilots, and paramedics, there are many other options as well. The key is for the ISTP to have autonomy, challenge, and hands-on action. They want to see an immediate outcome to what they’re doing and have the opportunity to reach goals in their own way. As hands-on realists, they enjoy fixing things and finding tangible resources to create unexpected solutions.

ISTPs also need some variety in their careers. Being able to move around and get outdoors is a huge bonus! Sitting at a desk from 9-5 drains them and they’ll probably find themselves dreaming of greener pastures if they’re stuck in a repetitive job, caged in by cubicle walls. Competitions, prizes, and opportunities for travel also tend to get them invigorated and focused. Being able to move, respond to situations as they arise, and be flexible is ideal. Independence is also essential. They want to be able to create plans and come up with solutions without having to worry about a lot of micro-management or rules.

Career Suggestions: Race car driver, Missing persons investigator, Software developer, Computer programmer, Geologist, Paramedic, Coach, Mechanic, Flight engineer, Audiovisual specialist.

Famous ISTPs:

Miyamoto Musashi, Jack Dorsey, Ron Paul, Magnus Carlsen, Miles Davis, Frank Zappa, Stanley Kubrick, Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford, Tom Cruise, Christian Bale, Eminem, Scarlett Johansson, Kristen Stewart, Bill Murray, Bruce Lee, Daniel Craig, Anna Kendrick, Simon Cowell

Your Important ISTP Links:

The ISTP – An In-Depth Look

What ISTPs Do When They’re Really Stressed Out

5 Reasons Why You’ll Need an ISTP During a Zombie Apocalypse

12 Amazing Fictional ISTPs

10 Things ISTPs Look for in a Relationship

10 Things You Should Never Say to an ISTP

The Top 7 Gift Ideas for ISTPs

The Rare ISTP Female

Understanding ISTP Thinking

The Top 25 Favorite ISTP Movies

Understanding ISTP “Laziness”

Find out 10 signs that you are dealing with an unhealthy ISTP, and how to cope. #MBTI #Personality #ISTP

10 Signs of an Unhealthy ISTP

Have you ever met an ISTP who was constantly dismissing your views, arguing with you over every little detail, or saw every sign of emotion as a sign of weakness? Maybe you known an ISTP who is reclusive, shut off from people, and absorbed in their own world. Some people have bad interactions with a…
Read More 10 Signs of an Unhealthy ISTP

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