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Many first encounter the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) at school or work. These personality tests help students understand the types of occupations best suited to their personality and help work teams improve communication and understanding. While personality types originate in psychology, they have a lasting influence on organizational dynamics.
The ISTP personality type is known as “The Crafter” because their combination of creative and original thought and their love of practical and hands-on activity make them masters of crafts. Let’s examine ISTP strengths and weaknesses and learn more about this personality type.
What is the ISTP Personality Type?
Modern theories of personality are rooted in the ideas of psychologist Carl Jung. Jung theorized that the mind has dominant functions and repressed functions: the dominant functions are the functions we prefer to use in our conscious, daily life, while our repressed functions are expressed more rarely and only in some situations.
The combination of preferred functions and an attitude of introversion or extroversion forms the foundation of the 16 personality types described by the MBTI.
In other words, the MBTI does not measure the limits of our capabilities and does not measure our internal awareness; it simply measures how we usually choose to behave in the world.
With that understanding, let’s break down the characteristics of an ISTP personality.
The I in ISTP stands for introversion, which indicates where you usually prefer to place your energy and attention. Introverts gain their energy from dealing with ideas, memories, and reflections that take place inside their own minds. Their thoughts and ideas are extremely real and meaningful to them.
Sometimes introverts even like the idea of something better than the thing itself. They take time to reflect and plan before taking action and prefer to do things alone or with a small number of people they feel comfortable with.
The S in ISTP stands for sensing, which describes how you prefer to learn and process information. A sensing person pays attention to the concrete world that is physically present around them and to the information that comes through their senses of sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste.
They remember actual facts and experiences, focusing on practical details and experienced sensations instead of ideas and theories. They learn by doing and remember things best when they have experienced them first-hand.
The T in ISTP stands for thinking, which indicates how you prefer to make decisions. The thinking personality type prefers to make decisions based on universal principles and impersonal facts, so their choices are consistent and logical, despite specific situations.
In addition, they try to analyze the pros and cons rationally and objectively, consequences and implications, without letting emotions influence the outcome of a decision.
The P in ISTP stands for perceiving, which describes your external behaviors and how you prefer to appear to others. A perceiving person strives to understand and adapt to the world around them in a flexible and unstructured way.
They like to keep plans and decisions open-ended and don’t typically make lists and schedules. Instead, they are spontaneous and open to new experiences.
The ISTP personality type is deeply creative in a concrete, detail-oriented way, earning them the nickname “The Crafter.” They have flexible logic that allows them to find practical solutions to many problems and are persistent trouble-shooters.
They are independent and self-directed but not shy or withdrawn. They enjoy taking action and respond quickly in times of crisis. The Crafter is a personality that revels in life's sensory experiences and activities.
The ISTP is a reasonably rare personality type, with just 4-6% of the population, and is even rarer among women, with just 2-3% of women possessing this personality. Famous ISTP personalities include Walt Disney, Bruce Lee, Katherine Hepburn, and Leonardo da Vinci.
6 Strengths of the ISTP Personality
The ISTP strengths are as follows:
The ISTP values logic and reason and thinks things through systematically, considering outcomes and alternatives. They can view the big and small picture simultaneously and work on problems from origins to results. They think of irrational ideas and impractical dreams as a waste of time,
While an ISTP values thought and reason, they care about practical, real-world results. They can use their powers of deduction and attention to detail to take apart and repair almost anything, wonderfully combining theory and knowledge with hands-on skill and practicality.
3. Creative and Resourceful
While all this focus on practicality may make the ISTP seem un-creative, they are, in fact, deeply creative and original.
They aren’t attached to tradition and convention and are willing to follow wherever their reasoning takes them, which means they can find and execute highly creative and unusual solutions.
An ISTP has a flexible, open mind and is always interested in new experiences and information. Their practical nature adapts quickly to new situations and new information, and they are famous for their ability to improvise.
The ISTP is full of street smarts and common sense and has a high degree of confidence in their ability to understand, adapt, and succeed in new situations. They trust their thoughts and opinions and aren’t afraid to speak up when needed.
6. Easy Going
The ISTP’s practicality and flexibility make them easy-going companions and activity partners. They aren’t rigid or controlling and accept people and things as they are.
4 Weaknesses of the ISTP Personality
The most significant ISTP weaknesses are:
The ISTP is one of the most reserved and quiet of the introvert personality types. An ISTP is more comfortable working with their hands and solving practical problems than they are in having a conversation.
Although they readily speak up when they think something is wrong and ask questions to satisfy their curiosity, they are notoriously difficult to get to know and connect with. They keep their feelings to themselves and strongly resist small talk and idle chatter.
Like other introverted thinking personality types, the ISTP isn’t very in touch with their own emotions, so they aren’t aware or sensitive to the feelings of others.
As a result, their honest and logical communication style can be blunt, and their unwillingness to make small talk or be diplomatic often comes across as rude or abrasive.
The curious, flexible mind of the ISTP is always looking for something new. They are easily bored and get impatient with slow or repetitive things.
While they will work through a problem or situation with meticulous attention to detail, dwelling on even the most minor thing, they are ready to move on to the next once they have solved the problem.
For some ISTPs, the desire for new experiences can escalate to risky behavior and boundary-pushing to create conflict. For example, a bored and restless ISTP, who doesn’t care about the feelings of others, can act out just to make something happen.
Or they may allow their confidence and spontaneity to carry them into potentially dangerous situations.
As you can see, the ISTP lives up to the stereotype. This personality would be perfectly happy locked in a garage or studio by themselves all day long, making things from wood or metal or tinkering and repairing cars, machines, or electronics.
However, their remarkable ability to merge theoretical and practical understanding makes them an incredible asset in making and fixing things. Moreover, their confident street smarts make them your best friend in a crisis.
ISTPs are typically unhappy in careers and workplaces that require a lot of extroversion and conversation, particularly if that conversation needs to be formal, polite, or diplomatic. Some of the best career choices for this personality type include:
While it’s become a rare occupation, an ISTP would be an excellent lighthouse keeper.
The most significant personal growth area for an ISTP is to try to learn how to better care for and relate to others.
While they don’t particularly value this skill, it would help them form stronger relationships and reduce the frequency with which they hurt, offend, or anger other people. Working on their emotional maturity would benefit the ISTP and those around them.
Final Thoughts on the ISTP Personality
While they are rare, you can probably find a Crafter in a nearby studio, shop, or garage, making things, fixing things, and solving problems with their agile, disciplined mind. To learn more about this personality type and the other 16 personalities in the MBTI, check out our beginner’s guide here.
If you don’t yet know your personality type or want to do personality type tests with friends and loved ones, check out our list of the best online personality tests.
Knowing your personality type and the types of those you frequently interact with can help improve your understanding and communication, so it’s valuable information.
Finally, if you want to identify YOUR personality type, then take one of these 11 personality tests to better understand what makes you tick.