“The ISTP is one of the most complex of Jungian character types moving seamlessly from quiet bystander to active participant
and leader of the revolution in one fell swoop, then back again
to invisible, apparently disinterested introvert. The self-indulgent nature of the ISTP means that they will be full-on, or full off – they don’t do shades of grey. The ISTP is at their best in times of crisis and challenge, but will have little appetite for follow-through, as they will be looking for a new complex challenge. Independent, inscrutable and self-contained the ISTP will be difficult to get to know as they will reveal only what they choose to reveal, when they choose to reveal it.

At their best ISTPs are excellent at reacting to problems or crises, needing very little preparation and able to cut to the chase with no preamble or discussion with others, spontaneously grasping the nettle often to the surprise of those who had mistakenly viewed them as peripheral players.

The ISTP doesn’t follow social mores, nor do they need to engage fully with others and this can give them a distant, aloof persona
to others who often don’t quite know where they stand. Practical, resourceful, adaptable pragmatists, ISTPs possess an excellent capacity for understanding how anything works, displaying logical, detached analysis. They have incredible (often understated), powers of observation and a great talent for logical dispassionate analysis, and getting things to work. The ISTP is self-sufficient and very independent, only really happy when undertaking some risky or interesting activity. Direct to the point of abruptness and tending at times to tread on toes, the ISTP tends to speak literally showing little concern for the impact, and they display coolness under pressure which helps get things fixed but which may not endear them to those around them, (even those for whom they’ve fixed something).”


• Quiet and reserved
• Interested in the how and why of things
• Does not waste personal energy
• Usually interested in impersonal principles

Areas of Growth

• Push to have ideas understood
• Be open to the “big picture”
• Communicate more
• Develop a sensitivity to others


“The basic attitude of ISTPs is one of optimism. Hand in hand with this attitude of Optimism goes cheerfulness, sometimes blind faith, and a great deal of trust that eventually everything will move in the right direction.” 


• Freedom to work as long and intensively as possible
• Working on concrete projects with tangible results
• Being respected for their expertise
• Autonomy and independence


• Working under strict rules and regulations
• Working with, being supervised by, or supervising incompetent people
• Anything illogical or unfair
• Too little time alone

To function at their best

“Variety, skills and techniques to master. Challenge of problems to solve and something to fix. Freedom to work independently. A sense of bringing about something new and important.” 


“Getting close to an ISTP would take time. This is not because they are shy or threat sensitive, it is more that they want to reveal details about themselves at their pace, in their way. Therefore other people may have to go through the ISTP assault course to get genuinely close. The ISTP does not like anything irrational, and emotion is irrational and so they will try to break problems down to constituent parts which may irritate those that ‘just want to be understood.’ The ISTP is a confident introvert, happy with himself or herself and do not feel the need to show emotion, or even feel emotion as everything gets analyzed and stored factually. They genuinely want to help and to solve problems, but these will be solved by dispassionate analysis, which may leave those close to them feeling processed, rather than understood.

ISTPs are equally difficult to understand in their need for personal space, which in turn has an impact on their relationships with others. They need to be able to ‘spread out’ both physically and psychologically, which generally implies encroaching to some degree on others’ space, especially if they decide that something or someone else’s is going to become their next project. (They are generally quite comfortable, however, with being treated the same way they treat others at least in this respect.)

Communication also tends to be a key issue, since they generally express themselves tersely or even non-verbally. When they do actually verbalize, ISTPs are masters of the one-liner, often showing flashes of humor in the tensest situations and this can result in their being seen as thick-skinned or tasteless.”

ISTP at work

“For the ISTP, theory is most appealing when it has a practical application and lots of action. They are usually drawn to risky, exciting or thrilling short-term activities. The ISTP is not interested in conventional or repetitive routines. They use their action- orientated approach to deal with problems and crisis situations
in right now in a calm, effective way. The ISTP places a high value on efficiency and will expend the least amount of energy to get
the job done. They also value freedom and flexibility and will often complete tasks in spite of any rules or regulations. This persistence often influences their ability to navigate superbly through restrictions in order to accomplish seemingly impossible tasks. The ISTP prefers hands-on work and would rather be doing a task than discussing it and they will produce work of genuine quality and precision. Their ability to remain focused in a crisis is incredible, indeed there is part of the ISTP that comes alive in a crisis and they need that feed of action to succeed. When approaching a problem their focus is intense and detailed but for the ISTP when it’s over, it’s over and they will withdraw waiting for the next piece of action.

They can become bored with the more routine and mundane tasks and may have to apply themselves to tie up loose ends, as they will be looking for the next big, action-oriented project. The ISTP preference for short term fixes and high impact immediate solutions may mean the neglect the wider ramifications or context for their actions, as they like to get stuck in and do, then withdraw. The ISTP tends to be full on or full off, with little granularity and so they may be found quietly saying nothing and withdrawn on the sidelines or stuck into the heart of the action, leading the charge, nothing in between.”

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