Podcast – Episode 0103 – ISTP Personality Type Advice

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In this episode Joel and Antonia dive deep into the needs and desires of the ISTP personality type.

In this podcast on the ISTP personality type you’ll find:

ISTP – Accuracy/Sensation in the Genius system

Lots of responses to our type surveys. Each type varies wildly from person to person.

There are trends around interests and values but each person is an individual.

Our levels of development vary wildly as well.

Car Model

Leading with Ti – Accuracy – flow state.

The driver process is Introverted Thinking (Ti), which we have nicknamed “Accuracy.”
Accuracy is ISTPs flow state.

Accuracy is concerned with what makes sense to the internal world. They are detached from the messiness of relationships and emotions. It asks, What makes sense logically?

ISTPs understand logic.

Accuracy is a decision-making style, so they have very specific ideas on how the world should be. For people who use Ti, all “should” statements come from logic and subjective analytical sense.

This concept of Accuracy is not married to pattern recognition like it would be for an NTP.  And it’s not a secondary, or conscious, process as for ESTPs. It is the driver for ISTPs and it is married to Extraverted Sensing (Se) = Sensation.

The co-pilot is Extraverted Sensing (Se), which we have nicknamed “Sensation.”

Se is in the moment. Concrete. Information gathering process that is based upon what is verifiable. What are my senses picking up? What can I personally engage with?

So if you couple logic with concrete sensation, you get somebody who is particularly skilled with things that are data heavy and real – i.e. machines.

ISTPs frequently get the nickname mechanic because they just have this intrinsic sixth sense ability to understand how machinery works.

Machines can be mechanical, or organic. But they are physical.

ISTPs talk about having a natural knack for understanding how cars work, or how the human body works, or how airplanes work.

They have a desire to be competent and perform. They are looking for leverage points, or small actions that will have big results.

When ISTPs are really interested in something it is to understand something in order to improve its performance. Not just mechanics, but people who soup up engines.

Often found in high end athletic competitions. High number of ISTPs among Olympic athletes, surgeons, pilots, and race car drivers. Not just about mastering the understanding of the different  kinds of machinery, but it’s about being uber competent at it. The best!

Ti is good at focusing. Pinpointed, focused precision. Going toward it. Finding the leverage points to get to that uber competence.

ISTP – Peak Performance

ESTPs and ISTPs are a little different with this. Se is super in touch with own body. Mind mapping their brains to encapsulate their bodies is heightened with Se users. Lots of elegance in  understanding how the body works.

ESTPs are more naturally gifted physical performers than ISTPs.

ESTPs perfection comes over time since Ti is copilot. Since ISTPs lead with Ti, they already think in terms of performance points and tweaks that have huge gain coupled with physical elegance (Se).

ISTPs are not as elegant as ESTPs but they are more focused. Greater commitment to the nuanced differences. ISTPs are most likely the gold winners because of this focus.

Not all ISTPs are peak performers, of course, but they can be.

Some of the best rock drummers are likely ISTPs.

Less developed qualities or challenges

Driver is Ti. copilot is Se.

ISTPs 10-year-old process is Introverted Intuition (Ni), which we have nicknamed “Perspectives.”

Ni is about being in touch with how the mind forms patterns. Watching your own thoughts and understanding how these sixth senses come to you. Future paced. Gets into other’s minds. Can look like ESP.

As 10 year old it is conscious but unsophisticated. ISTPs who overly rely upon this process can get a little paranoid. Fear of the future. Paranoia of other people’s intentions. “Nobody likes me.” Hypervigilance. Always ready for someone to attack.

ISFPs worry about the dangers of the world. More abstract.

ISTPs want to be ready for any physical altercation – both genders.

Conspiracy oriented. Not checking in with Se which is focused on reliable and verifiable. Ni is a projection of reality. A possibility of what reality could be. If an ISTP spends too much time in Ni instead of Se, they are not in their best self. They are not focused on a goal. They are hiding and withdrawing from reality. they assume people are out to get them.

If an ISTP is working on perfecting a craft and not relying on outer world feedback, their tweaks will be off because they are relying upon  the self instead of reality.

If you want to engage with the outer world as a peak performer you have to be engaging with the world and measuring it. If you get too much into ‘what if’ scenarios, you don’t make any progress.

Don’t let yourself withdraw from the world. One reason an ISTP might withdraw is because when they get out into the world they bump up against the world’s feedback which reflects back their 3 year process.

The 3-year-old process is Extraverted Feeling (Fe), which we have nicknamed “Harmony.”

Fe is all about relationships and social status and caring about other’s needs.

This is going to sound like useless drama to an ISTP. They are blind to social contracts. They put their foot in their mouth and they don’t understand why.

They speak truth and don’t understand why truth is not socially acceptable.

Ti is about recognizing data and info separate from human feelings.

They may think everybody else is an idiot.

They don’t get emotional interplays.

Some ISTPs project that they’re not like everybody else. Lots of tattoos. Dye hair outrageously. Piercings. ISTPs couldn’t care less if you’re shocked. They want you to know they are not going to play by your rules.

Clipped conversation. Swearing. Avoiding small talk.

Se gives plenty of opportunities for Fe, so an ISTP may avoid Se copilot to avoid outer world feedback.

A good example of how Ni can combine with Se is illustrated by a quote from Wayne Gretzky, “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.”

Ni needs to be in service to Se. Never the reverse.

Growth path for ISTPs is utilizing Cognitive Functions in a specific way:

  1. Rely upon driver.
  2. Exercise copilot and become as skilled as possible.
  3. Then bring in 10 yr old as a support.

ISTPs who really develop their skills become well respected, which is a healthy use of Fe. If an ISTP doesn’t feel respected they will get pulled into the drama of Fe and stop seeing things in accurate terms. They will stop seeing logic and get drawn into the games people play, even though they will never become very good at it.

ISTPs can do just about anything. As they show up as better versions of themselves they gain the admiration of others.

How do you know when you are being pulled into Fe dram? Check in with negativity thermostat. If you are being hypercritical in every situation, you are reacting negatively. They have stopped seeing the world in terms of possibilities and instead see it in terms of potential disasters.

Ask, where am I showing up negative? Where am I showing up positive? Make the necessary adjustments to approach the world in a more positive light.

What is your commitment to truth and honesty? Are you committed to sticking to truth? The more committed a Ti user is to telling truth the better off they are. When they get drawn into Fe drama they get super manipulative in order to create connection or get what they want. They will lie and be manipulative to get what they want.

Value around being honest is a good way of gauging how developed an ISTP is.

Se also helps get them out of Ni which may be convincing them they have to lie.

Se gives ISTP an opportunity to engage in neutral zone. They can go out and engage with the world and gain distance from the social game while they are perfecting their craft. A place to rest while building competence.

ISTP men usually appear very masculine. Very competent. John Wayne.

Women ISTPs lead with Ti, opposite of most other women. So ISTP women have struggles around other women. they get really athletic or sporty to compensate. ISTP women are very desirable. There is beauty in what you are because you aren’t like other women. You’re not traditionally feminine, but that doesn’t mean you are less feminine.  

In this episode Joel and Antonia dive deep into the needs and desires of the ISTP personality type. #podcast #ISTP #MBTI

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Showing 17 comments
  • Trish

    I certainly feel like life dealt me a ‘double-whammy’…I’m female and have always been gay.
    I’m most definitely (and have always tested as) an ISTP-A. This podcast is excellent – and THANK YOU so much for the comments at the end about ISTP women.
    I was first MBTI tested when I was under 13 years of age. Think it was because I was a bit stubborn and not working to my apparently high IQ.
    The work I’ve done (predominantly justice sector with males as colleagues) meant that I’ve had a few MBTI type tests over the years – and always been successful at getting particular work roles requiring analysis and ‘dispassionate interviewing’ of individuals.
    I am very well liked at work. I’m calm, friendly and have a mischievous streak (which I engage at work to stop me getting too bored), but….
    I find it incredibly hard/impossible to connect with women. I’m convinced they have a totally different instruction book/manual to me !…Sooooo frustrating. I don’t look ‘the same’; think the same; act the same….It’s been a lifetime of saying ‘hello’ through a double glazed sheet of glass…you can see people/women…you know they’re talking, but it’s muffled/makes no sense at all.
    I’m ok alone (very used to it), but it’s definitely a bit lonely.

  • Melissa Tartaglia

    Can laws and procedures be a kind of machine? The statutes being the individual parts, and the procedures being the chassis? They are definitely systems that work interdependently. Are systems working together be machines?

  • Jits

    I’m a typical ISTP. As a kid. Football. Motocross, BB gun fights. Ect… started at 17 basic training, infantry school, airborne school, college for 1/12 years, Navy basic, parachute Riggers school, navy seals school, failed due to injury after 10 months. It’s a 6 month program. Walkabout for 8 months. Paramedic, back to reserve special forces unit, unit deactivated so went active duty Us Army Ranger Regiment 2/75. Bachelors degree, Officer candidate school, Recon Platton leader, became Federal Agent, major case agent, Task force agent, I started the task force, National SWAT Team, major league door kicker, Sniper, Firearms instructor, Special Operations Combatives Instructor (SOCP), undercover agent, Jiu jitsu, Thai boxing, judo, MMA. Was injured in line of duty and forced into retirement after 22 years as a federal agent due to a mild brain injury and repetitive concussion syndrome. practice Christianity and Zen. Fell into a rut and lost all sense of self ego and all desire. Analysis of my situation and realized I had attained what zen practicioners strive a life time for and came out of my shell when I took up surfing, paddle boarding Rivers and white water, paddle board surfing the ocean and as of yesterday day skydiving. Married a ENFP and due to my Zen mentality, I must be a zen master self made, because my ENFP WIFE is my life. Even though she is crazy as a Fox, and sexy as one also, We are best friends and spend all our retired time together. She compliments me and keeps me inline when I only see the the present which is all the time. Your thoughts? I am thinking of doing a podcast. Please email me and give me your thoughts.

  • Laurie

    Thanks for this podcast and you guys nailed it. I am an ISTP as a woman and I can pretty much identify with all of this. Very, very helpful. People who tend to put value according to emotion baffle me. I guess their perspectives are as valid as mine but they really baffle me. Unfortunately that means I, as a woman, find most other women baffling. I found the comment about ISTP women sometimes being a bit androgynous enjoyable because I have often felt myself to be that way. I am as straight as they come but I do like wearing my Navy flight jacket even if it is a bit masculine.

    I have some mechanical abilities but I don’t consider myself to be a gear head. I do like figuring out how things work from a technical perspective. I am a classically trained cellist and I can find hours going by without realizing it working on difficult passages or in perfecting specific sounds or effects I want to achieve. I am also a bit confused by people who aren’t as focused. But I am really more interested in perfecting technique. I don’t get particularly nervous before performance because I really don’t give a darn what other people think. I experience satisfaction when I nail it but I am really taken aback when people have emotional responses to my playing. My first thought is “Gee it was so bad it made these people cry!” It usually isn’t the case but instead people having an emotional response to my playing. Flattering in a weird way.

    There are some things that I absolutely stink at. I am not good with brain storming. I am not good at thinking out loud and when I do it, it seem contrived. If I do say something without extensive thought it will probably offend somebody. Then I need to go diving or play the cello. I will troubleshoot the heck out of something quite happily. I will analyze something to death quite happily. But asking me to spontaneously yap will yield cruddy results.

    • Kitty

      Hey, interesting… I’m also a girl istp who’s literally going to school to be a music major right now (although I play the flute)

  • Bailey

    Thank you!

    I really enjoyed listening. The “Car Model” is a great way in understanding the different drives. I can pick out times where I know those younger processes come out. It is nice to have a better understanding, definition really of it. I am able to recognize when It’s happening and try to make sure to take a step back and gather my senses/only focus on what I can control.

    I have been working on specifically trying to develop greater understanding and perspective of other personalities that seem to me more specifically difficult for me. I have noticed that I have a difficult time communicating with “J’s”. I would love to hear something about that or if anyone else has those kind of issues.

    I have also been working on developing a personal relationship with my Mother who is an ESFJ. (UGH). I love her, but we clash EXTENSIVELY. Recently, however, I have been able to take her, non scientifically based or accurate statements and put that aside (facts are very important to me obviously and would be a huge road block in our communication) to truly hear, understand and communicate with her. It’s still a process, but knowing that very few personalities actually think so logically I figured I needed to develop this part of me. It’s slow going, but rewarding when we can finish a “conflict” (one that I never thought was one to begin with) in a peaceful manner. The emotions of an ESFJ are exhausting, but I have found no matter the personality, if all things are lead in honesty, love and willingness to learn and compromise, we will be just fine.

    Any opportunity to grow or learn more about myself is always a pleasure.

    Thank you again!

    ISTP Woman 🙂

  • Tara

    I convinced my ISTP boyfriend to listen to this podcast with me tonight and at around the time Antonia is saying something about how it might be scary for ISTPs to engage their copilot Se because of the inherent Fe that comes with it, he made me pause the cast and said: “No no no, it’s not that I’m scared of the 3-year old Fe, it’s that I kicked the 3-year old out of the car because I wanted to go faster. It’s inefficient. It’s a weight to horsepower ratio thing; it’s all about the math. I’ll never have the fastest race car with it slowing me down like that!”
    As an INTP I couldn’t stop laughing and promised him I’d post this comment for you guys.

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks Tara! Great analogy!

  • Corey

    Shew! Wow! I’ve read a lot of personality websites and really gleaned a lot of information about leveraging my strengths in life. I’m an ISTP. This podcast however is the first time that I really “heard” or took in the information about my weaknesses. Maybe because I’m currently stressing about school and I’m very much “withdrawing from the world” as you said.

    I’m going to school for computer science which draws heavily on my introverted thinking, but there is zero extroverted sensing other than getting better at typing, which doesn’t count. After too much in class time, homework, etc, I start to go crazy! I suddenly hate everything, think about dropping out, changing careers, talking about how school is a scam, start thinking my friends don’t like me, haha, I totally drop into those 10 and 3 year old processes. What a relief to know what is happening to me. Now I can try and manage this side of myself better.

    The only thing that really keeps me grounded is rock climbing (funny, grounded/ rock climbing you know what I mean). If I’m unable to go rock climbing, I develop this nervous energy that builds into negativity after too long. Now I know that this is a lack of engaging in extroverted sensing, so I can find other activities that fulfill this.

    I have read about some personality types that struggle to find careers that match well with their personality types, and I would say the ISTP is also one. Notice how you guys only talk about athletes when discussing the ISTP. I would say ISTPs would make great pilots, EMTs, surgeons . . . there aren’t a ton of jobs that require developed introverted thinking and extroverted sensing.

    This podcast really helped me,
    Thank you!

  • Denise

    I was chuckling and nodding my head a lot while listening to this. My husband is an ISTP and I’m an INFJ. We’ve been married for almost 27 years and I can certainly see where our driver/co-pilots have crashed into each other many times over the years and also where we’ve been able to model what healthy adult level functions are for each others 10 and 3 year old.

    The comment you made about small actions that have big results is completely accurate. My husband is amazing at this. The result is that no matter how dysfunctional something is in our home, he comes up with these changes, that make a huge difference. But now that you said it that way, I can see it in all sorts of other places in our/his life as well.

    It’s definitely gotten him noticed in every job he’s ever had (although a few times it ends up being more in the “we can’t say that” camp which never bodes well for that job). And while I wouldn’t have thought of his truck being “suped” up, because I think of that more on the lines of changes to the engine or decorative things, he does have an excellent bed liner on it. He puts on very specific parts when something needs to be replaced. And uses specific gas and oil, because he feels it extends the life of the engine and increases performance. I just never saw it that way before.

    I now understand better what he means when he tells me that I have excellent communication skills when I feel that he’s so much more concrete and often easier to understand than I am since I’m trying to explain this vision that often feels ethereal and hard to put into words. He’s actually referring more to my harmony function and how I can sense what others are feeling and respond appropriately to it.

    I’ve also seen him withdraw from the world and get conspiracy oriented and paranoid. He goes into this loop which I always thought was thinking and worrying, but now I see it’s that he’s spinning in his Ni function. Now I have a better idea how I can help him get out of it without making it worse, which has happened in the past.

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for your insight, Denise. I really like the way you describe your ideas as “ethereal and hard to put into words.” As an INFJ myself, that is basically the story of my life. I know there is a word that will perfectly communicate what I am trying to say, but it keeps flitting beyond the edge of my awareness. So annoying.

      • Gabrielle

        You girls were writing this about a year ago, but I just stumbled upon it now. I’m an INFJ with an ISTP husband and have wondered where are the other INFJ women with ISTP husbands and how are they doing it?! LOL. I’ve been married for 15 years and it has been a struggle! Especially the S and N difference. He thinks I’m just plain weird. Recently he’s actually been willing to listen to some podcasts on these differences and be open to the fact that there are others like me. He’s also being a lot more patient when we try to have discussions and exercising reflective listening, which is amazing. To be honest though, I’ve never felt like he is my soul mate or best friend because we are just so different. I have a couple close girlfriends that fill that need. Do either of you have any advice, or do you believe that it’s possible to connect with him on a soul level with our drastic differences?

        • Elena

          I’m glad I found this little comment section! I thought I was the only INFJ in the world married to an ISTP! We’ve only been married 5 years – Glad we’re not the only ones out there!!

          My husband is literally textbook ISTP. We took a couple hour road trip a year or so ago and somehow I got him to listen to this podcast and both of us chuckled throughout the entire thing because it was SO true!! He is VERY much into perfecting and fine tuning what he can get his hands on and thinks about it nonstop. He is a pipe fitter by trade and is OBSESSED with working on machines and all the intracacies of the job. ALL of his hobbies and interests are like that though, ie: guns, motorcycles, cars. He wants to be the best at what he does – so his must take the time to learn, practice and 100% understand what he’s doing . He applies this to pretty much everything he’s doing in life though.

          INFJ me on the other hand doesn’t understand anything that he’s interested in or spends his time trying to learn. Listening to this podcast and more about our personality types has completely changed our marriage.

          Like you guys, my emotions seemed very “out there” and almost “crazy” to my husband. He can be very far removed and completely unaware of a social situation where afterwards I’ll bring something up and he thinks I’m going crazy talking about what I picked up from the interaction. Before MBTI this obviously would hurt me and it was very hard to articulate to him (because he’s so logical and takes “human emotion” out of the equation). After personality hacker I’ve started to give WAY more grace and understanding to how he’s “wired” and he’s done the same for me (he’s been listening/reading about INFJ’s). It seems like ISTP people though sometimes have a shorter “fuse” for patience, but he’s understanding that just because he’s really good at his job and what he does – doesn’t necessarily mean he’s good at interacting with people and emotions (which is something I may be more aware of then him). We have been working on redoing our house together and this is GREAT for our types. I tend to be really visionary and see the big picture and he’s really great at the small details. He’s also really good with a saw – so I’ve asked him to do a bunch of projects (ie: making tables, painting) and I’ve just kinda let him take over the makeover process. Not only does he LOVE working with tools and making me the BEST table everyone’s ever seen – but I dont have to do much work (since it can be incredibly overwhelming to me) and I get a beautiful table/house Lol

          I have always felt like he was my soul mate though – not in the sense that we’re “exactly” like each other type of soul mate – but he is literally all the missing pieces to my puzzle. He sees the things I’m missing in life and he anchors me down when my head may be in the clouds for too long. As far as “soul level” I think he can totally understand my soul – but most of those intense conversations go to my really good INFJ friends. Since I’ve learned that his mind isn’t wired this way – it would always be disappointing to expect intense intuitive conversation with him.

          I feel like this response is crazy long, but I just got really excited when I read other INFJ’s have ISTP husbands so I just had to say something! Hopefully this response gives insight to someone else!

  • Julie

    I have a fb friend who I’ve suspected is an ISTP, and this podcast nails it. Interestingly, when he is not posting pictures of hot mamas on motorcycles or the inside of his engines, he posts a whole lot of memes about narcissists, how to know if you’re in a relationship with one, and how to get out of one. Now, I don’t know his personal story very well, but apparently he’s been in a lot of unhappy relationships that all follow a similar pattern (or at least as far as I can tell), and he often sounds like a victim (and maybe he is, I just don’t know enough). I wasn’t sure if that fit in with the ISTP profile or if it was just his thing. After hearing your take on the 3-yr-old process about getting caught up in the drama, I now understand it perfectly well.

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for your comment, Julie! I’m glad we were able to bring you some clarity. 😉

  • Sarah

    Great podcast! I’ve been waiting for this one for a long time. My dad is an ISTP and I love him to death, I just don’t understand him as well as I’d like. This podcast really helped!

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for the feedback, Sarah! I ‘m glad the podcast could bring you some insight into your dad.

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