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.

Han Solo ISTP

You need protection from a bad guy? Nobody can handle a weapon like an ISTP. Because of this there’s a high percentage of ISTPs in the military; although they’re somewhat resistant to the rigid rules and structure enforced there. These anti-establishment rebels will often find no other place to use their unique set of strengths and abilities; and serving their country, fighting the bad guys, making a difference all appeals to their inner set of values. This isn’t to say that all ISTPs love the military, some hate it, there is just a large percentage of ISTPs in the military.

How do I know this?

My ISTP Husband
My ISTP Husband – Taking a break in Kuwait to do some handstands on concrete blocks. Sounds fun, right?

Aside from my own personal research, I’m married to an ISTP in the military. Yep, this quirky, idealistic INFJ fell in love with an ISTP. I always imagined I’d marry someone a little more offbeat and dorky…like me.  My ISTP husband is definitely not a dork. He and I are nearly opposite when it comes to our functions; while I lead with introverted intuition and extraverted feeling, he leads with introverted thinking and extraverted sensing. I live in my head, he lives in his whole body. He has the fastest reflexes I have ever seen; nothing can escape him. For fun he likes to throw knives, construct furniture, shoot guns, and play mind-bending puzzles and brain teasers. All these activities utilize his introverted thinking (puzzles, brain teasers, construction) and extraverted sensing (throwing knives, shooting guns). He can do 50 push ups at the drop of a hat, and climb trees like he was raised by apes. When he watches action movies, he gets excited because he can probably pull off most of the things those guys are doing. I’m always joking about how he’ll be the next Jason Statham.

“You mean there are other people like me??”

I know if he’s reading this he’s probably laughing to himself. “What? Me? No way. I’m not that tough.” But really, that’s just his inferior extraverted feeling kicking in and pretending to act humble. He knows he’s that tough.

How do the ISTP Functions Work?

John WIck ISTP

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) when one is faced with an ISTP, you’ll get 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.

Wolverine ISTP

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.

james bond quote

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, but hold to their own personal set of values.

ISTPs are usually on the optimistic side; while they may be quiet and keep to themselves, they’re not pessimistic or depressed. 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 and you’ll find that they are often very generous and trusting and willing to go the extra mile for those they care about.

What are your thoughts?

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

MBTI, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, and Myers-Briggs are trademarks or registered trademarks of the Myers and Briggs Foundation, Inc., in the United States and other countries.

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