A Few Caveats
Please bear in mind that none of this has to be a stereotype that rules your life. You're a unique individual with a unique background, and this description is simply a generalization based on statistics and averages. It is not your destiny, your fate, or anything like that. Don't take what you read here as limitations, but as an invitation to grow outside your core strengths. And especially don't use this description as an excuse. You're better than that! :) Besides, why box yourself in? Type is a starting point, not an ending place. Enjoy it and then grow from it.
ESTPs are estimated at:
- 6.52% of the American population (sample size 9,320; Myers & McCaulley, 1985)
- 5.8% of the UK population* (sample size 1,634; Kendall & McHenry, 1998)
- 8.54% of the Australian population (sample size 3,373; Macdaid, McCaulley, & Kainz, 1986)
- 4.5% of the New Zealand population (sample size 993; Bathurst, 1995)
- 7.3% of the Singapore population (sample size 1,733; Lim, 1994)
*Be chary about comparing the UK estimate with the others. There's a long explanation.
A caveat. Isabel Myers (INFP) married a man named Chief, an ISTJ and a good man. They were happy together, but according to Isabel's own type theory they weren't predicted to be perfect for each other. Later on, Myers said that if she had known about type theory, she probably wouldn't have married Chief. Hm! There is a lesson to be learned here: type is not everything, nor should it be the decisive factor in choosing your lifemate. Take it from the founder of type herself.
Then too, the connections between type, attraction, love and marriage haven't been well studied yet. (The question is more complicated than you'd think.) You can read about this question and the various attempts to answer it here.
- Kroeger has suggested that ESTPs can break off relationships with the least stress of all types.
- A small study found that ESTPs are slighly more likely than average to pair with INFJ Counselors.
- Keirsey did not recommend that ESTPs pair with INFPs or INTPs; he thought that INFPs were too serious and INTPs had qualities that simply could not be appreciated by ESTPs. Rather, he suggested that ISFJ Protectors would be a good match.
- Sensors are generally more satisfied with their marriages than Intuitives. When compared to other Sensors, it can be seen that ESTPs have average satisfaction with their marriage/intimate relationships.
David Keirsey had a special fondness for your type, and there are free sample ESTP Corporate Temperament Report and ESTP Career Temperament Report and an ESTP's Guide to Interacting With Your Boss PDFs on the Keirsey website describing your leadership style, work environment preferences, skills, strengths, weaknesses and lots more. (I guarantee it is better than any content you will find here.) This would normally cost $$$, so go and take advantage of it you wonderful opportunists! ;)
Important work environment characteristics for ESTPs included "Variety of tasks," "Independence and achievement," and "Clear structure." (Liked by over 80% of the surveyed ESTPs.)
According to Hammer (1993), occupational trends for ESTPs include "Marketing," "Skilled trades," "Business," "Law enforcement," and "Applied technology."
In terms of areas of work, ESTPs had the greatest confidence of all types in their ability to do "hands on" tasks like maintanence, outdoor work, construction, basically anything involving a skilled trade. They liked these activities, and they also liked and had confidence in their ability to manage enterprises, make sales, and influence others (Myers, McCaulley, Quenk & Hammer, 1998).
The most important organizational value for ESTPs was "Visible autonomy." They rated the values "Achievement within system" and "Financial analysis" (scientific/economic/fiscal curiousity) lower than average. It would appear that ESTPs disliked being under rules and authority more than most types, and are not inclined towards treading the conventional management paths offered within corporations.
A survey of type and job satisfaction found that ESTPs were "Less satisfied with company." They were also one of the two types (ESTP, INFP) which was most dissatisfied with the work aspect "Opportunities for learning." Additionally, ESTPs were the type least satisfied with their job's "Opportunities to contribute to society." ESTPs were the type most satisfied with "Amount of stress." A curious contradiction is that another study found that dissatisfiers for ESTPs include "Promotions," "Societal contributions," and "Stress." Apparently ESTPs still complain about stress, even if they don't experience much of it!
David Keirsey had a special fondness for your type, and there is a free sample ESTP Learning Styles Report on the Keirsey website describing your learning style, classroom behavior, tricks to succeed, and how deal with teachers who aren't your type. (I guarantee it is better than any content you will find here.) This would normally cost $14.95, so go and get it while it's hot!
The MBTI manual notes that "Perceiving types liked tactile learning and loud noise and approaches to learning that are random and holistic." HAHA, like that's ever going to happen. Grades 0-12 are run by Judgers, who like "learning settings with clear structure, motivation, drill, teaching games, and independent study." Then in college, things are run by the Intuitives, who have their own set of preferences.
ESTPs (like all Artisans) tend to prefer immediate, concrete gains over long term promises. For this reason they have a hard time swallowing the idea that school will make their lives better at some point in the remote future. Hence why the Artisans tend to start dropping out around high school, and why they tend to get low grades.
In fact, ESTPs tend to score in the low end of aptitude tests, and they were almost last for grades. This probably has more to do with lack of motivation than lack of talent. For instance, a study of students participating in the Academic Decathalon, a national scholastic competition, found that ST and SP types were overrepresented (though still very much in the minority). The competitive atmosphere of the contest apparently brought out the best in these participants. If it were possible to win tests rather than to just pass them, ESTPs would probably receive much better grades.
Sadly, many ESTPs will leave school proudly wearing the label "dumb." (They're too confident and cheerful to be really ashamed, but I still feel for 'em.)
In terms of college retention, one study found that ESTPs were one of the most likely types to persist. However, they were also referred for substance abuse traning more often than other types.
ADHD Misdiagnosis Risk
Since school feels so boring--and pointless--to ESTPs--they escape by chatting with classmates, goofing off, getting up and walking around, and wriggling in their seats. Keirsey, who was a school psychologist as well as a type practitioner and a fighter pilot, believed that ESTPs tended to be misdiagnosed with ADHD in school. The MBTI manual also notes that normal ESP behaviors which can be explained by type are misdiagnosed by parents as symptoms of ADHD.
Keirsey didn't deny that some ESTP behaviors were problematic and made even the ESTP unhappy, but he didn't believe that nagging, scolding, or Ritalin (particularly not Ritalin) was the solution. He noted about the use of Ritalin, "But there's a problem: even though the child has been drugged into submission he is still friendless, unhappy, has stopped growing, and is not learning. So neither he nor his parents are content. But if narcotherapy is discontinued he will resume his disruptive behavior." Keirsey had a different answer--he used psychology.
You can read Keisey's essays on what he considered the hoax of ADHD--and descriptions of his solutions to the problems--at the bottom of his articles page.
ESTPs have some of the lowest stress of all types. In fact, only the ENTPs had less stress. A study of type and categories of stress (i.e. children, finances, work, etc.) found that different types were stressed out about different things. For six categories of stress ("Finances," "Children," "Intimate relationship," "Caring for aging parents," Balancing home and work," and "Other") ESTPs were among the bottom four types, indicating that they were some of the least stressed out types of all. In addition, they did not appear in the high stress group for any category of stress.
They also studied how the different types coped with stress. ESTPs were notable for not using any of the twelve suggested coping mechanisms--apparently because they didn't need them. The coping strategies that ESTPs were notable for not-using included "Talk to someone close," "Talk to professional," "Get upset or angry but don't show it," "Sleep," "Watch television," and "Develop physical symptoms." (In fact, ESTP were the least likely of all types to come down with physical symptoms.)
ESTPs were also the type ranked as having the highest "positive affectivity," which is the technical way of saying that they were reeeaaally happy, worry free, engaged, inspired, and full of enthusiasm.
A study found that ESTPs had only one leisure pastime for which they were overrepresented: playing sports. They liked sports the most of all types.
ESTP dress tends to be casual and comfortable. However, this goal may be at odds with the goal of looking "hot" or "cute," which matters to Artisans more than to other temperaments, and to the ESTPs in particular. ESTPs are also one of the four types that most values "Prestige" and as such may dress with a certain flash. (Note--no type attached a high value to prestige. The ES types, however, were on the high end of low.)
I won't be covering type dynamics or cognitive functions here. Type junkies may be wondering why not, since Se, Ti, Fe, and Ni are widely considered to be characteristic of ESTPs. But there is doubt over whether the cognitive functions exist. You can read about it here.
Although many of the observations that have been explained by cognitive function theory are valid, many simply are not. I believe that cognitive function theory causes more confusion than it clears up--particularly in the all-important area of figuring out one's type. I just don't see much point in pouring more time and effort into a bucket so full of holes, and have opted to leave out this part of type theory.
Does your type have what it takes to survive the end of the world, or will you be eaten by monsters? Read on and find your fate...or don't, and die in unimaginable agony. The choice is up to you.
- Harriet Tubman - A gun-toting ex-slave woman who led parties of rescued slaves into the North to freedom.
- D'Artagnan - Hero of the book "The Three Musketeers."
- Milady - Villainess of the book "The Three Musketeers."
- Odysseus - Hero of the Greek epic "The Odyssey"
- James Bond - A British secret agent.
- Michael Westen - An American secret agent from the show "Burn Notice."
- Napoleon Solo - An international secret agent from the show "The Man From U.N.C.L.E."
- The Tramp - A street dog from Walt Disney's "Lady and the Tramp."
- ESTP forum at Personality Cafe - Hang out with ESTPs on a forum devoted to the type.
- Nurture by Nature: Understand Your Child's Personality Type - And Become a Better Parent - Dig up more info on parenthood and type here.
- The Art of SpeedReading People - Learn how to type people you meet within minutes.
- Mother Styles - Type and parenting.
- 16 Ways to Love Your Lover - Type, romance, and making things work after the marriage.
- See the Citations page.