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ESTP Personality Traits, Cognitive Functions, Strengths and Weaknesses

Even though ESTPs make up only 4% of the general population, this personality type stands out among all the other 15 MBTI types, given their exceptional combination of personality traits. Also referred to as The Daredevil, ESTP personalities are fearless, action-seeking, goal-oriented, ambitious problem solvers. They are jovial, communicative, and extroverted beings who enjoy the limelight. These are some of the dominant ESTP personality traits that these enthusiastic personalities are recognized by.

If you want to find out whether you have ESTP characteristics, feel free to take our personality test.

This article will explain the meaning of ESTP preferences and offer a detailed analysis of ESTP cognitive functions to paint a complete portrait of the ESTP personality type. This will help you get a better understanding of this daring MBTI personality if you have an ESTP in your life. In case you fall into this MBTI category, this reading may help you make the best of your strengths, or become more aware of your weaknesses so that you can work on them.

Whatever the case may be, you will find out about ESTP personality traits that largely affect their perception of the world, their decision-making process, core values, and interpersonal relationships. So embark on this adventurous journey to discover the dominant traits of an ESTP type, and enjoy the ride!

ESTP Meaning

Katherine Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers have devised this personality type categorization by combining four pairs of dominant Preferences. These preferences describe a person’s attitude towards their environment, the way they perceive the world, make decisions and the way they approach different tasks. These dominant preferences are contrasted in the following way:

  • Extroverted vs Introverted — This determines how a person directs their energy — either to the outer or the inner world.
  • Sensing vs Intuitive — This shows how a person processes information — either pragmatically or by using their imagination.
  • Thinking vs Feeling — This explains how a person makes decisions — either by logical thinking or subjective emotions.
  • Judging vs Perceiving — This shows a person’s approach towards life — whether they prefer living in well-organized, structured systems, or tend to be flexible.

What does ESTP mean? What does ESTP stand for? These are the most frequent questions asked by those who want to find out more about this MBTI type. To be precise, ESTP means Extroversion (E), Sensing (S), Thinking (T), and Perceiving (P). As we move forward, there will be detailed explanations for each of these preferences to provide a better understanding.

Extroverted (E)

People with Extroverted (E) preferences turn to the outer world, often seeking attention and opportunities to make contact with others. They are communicative and energetic, and easily motivate others to follow their lead. The ESTP personality type is an action-oriented, thrill-seeker who enjoys being the center of attention. They enjoy flirting and engaging others in light conversations, which makes them the most wanted company at parties. However, they tend to get bored easily, especially when someone can’t grasp their humor. If this happens, they move swiftly to another group, seeking new listeners and potential admirers. Someone who is not familiar with the ESTP personality tends to believe the stereotype that ESTPs can not commit to a lasting relationship. However, this is only partially true. Even though they may seem to keep their relationships superficial, they turn into faithful and loving partners once they find the right person.

Sensing (S)

The Sensing (S) preference refers to the manner in which a personality absorbs information about the world. Sensing types use their senses to collect information and process them to come up with practical answers and solutions. They are realistic, down-to-earth people focused on the present. They use facts and data to get the bigger picture of some imminent issue and devise the most efficient solution to the problem. This is especially true for ESTPs, who prefer to move quickly towards set goals, overcoming different obstacles without hesitation.

Furthermore, ESTPs have an exceptional trait that sets them apart from other MBTI personalities. They are keen observers capable of anticipating a person’s behavior and reactions by reading their body language or facial expressions. This enables them to adjust their actions accordingly. Sensing personalities also enjoy the beauty they absorb from the environment. They have a keen eye for detail, therefore, this MBTI type has high aesthetic standards that they successfully translate into a unique personal style.

Thinking (T)

Thinking (T) preference defines the way someone makes decisions. People with this preference believe in logic and tend to think rationally about different situations or circumstances. They do not engage themselves in endless intellectual debates about elusive concepts, like the intuitive types. However, as people who live in the present, they will gladly participate in purposeful discussions that will result in visible, practical solutions.

Being Thinking types, ESTPs struggle to understand the emotions of others, as well as expressing their own. Even though they can discern the smallest changes in a person’s behavior, it’s not easy for them to relate with someone on an emotional level. For these practical and level-headed personalities, emotions may be an unwanted burden that stands in the way of achieving their goals. For this reason, their brutally honest communication style may come across as inconsiderate and rude, and even overwhelming and hurtful for the Feeling types.

Perceiving (P)

Personalities with Perceiving (P) preference are free-spirited and flexible. They cherish the freedom to do things the way they think is best, and adapt to changed circumstances quickly. Their assertiveness and adaptability make ESTPs amazing leaders who can tackle difficulties efficiently. However, the lack of organizational skills and their struggle with fixed schedules may be an insurmountable obstacle for the action-oriented ESTPs. Whether they perceive strict plans as something that slows them down, or as a part of some boring routine, ESTPs will have a hard time coping with them. The worst-case scenario would be moving on to some other activity, abandoning the ongoing project.

Furthermore, these dynamic personalities may clash with the authorities, since they don’t particularly enjoy being told what to do. This attitude may get ESTPs in serious trouble, so they may need to work on calming their temper and getting comfortable with set plans.

Here is a short list of prominent ESTP personality traits according to their preferences:

  • They are unstoppable sources of energy
  • They are action and goal-oriented
  • They are bold risk-takers
  • ESTPs are assertive, ambitious, and communicative
  • They will motivate and inspire others
  • ESTPs are great charmers
  • They work relentlessly until they reach their goal
  • They are practical and grounded in reality
  • They are focused on here and now
  • They use logic, facts, and data in their decision-making process
  • They are flexible and adapt easily
  • They may struggle with staying focused
  • They have a hard time accepting authority
  • They may seem rude when communicating

ESTP Functions

Besides preferences, Cognitive Functions play an important role in defining someone’s perception of the world and the way they interact with everything around them. Each of the 16 MBTI personalities has a specific set of functions that sets them apart from the others. The ESTP function stack looks like this:

  • Dominant function- Extroverted Sensing (Se)
  • Auxiliary function- Introverted Thinking (Ti)
  • Tertiary function- Extroverted Feeling (Fe)
  • Inferior function- Introverted Intuition (Ni)

Extroverted Sensing (Se)

The Extroverted Sensing (Se) function determines how a person understands the world around them, meaning that Se types absorb impressions and draw experiences from their senses. Therefore, having Se as their dominant function results in the ESTP’s constant search for new thrills, and sensations. They are also grounded in reality, savoring the present moment and all the beauty around them. It’s almost as if Se personality types like to translate the stability of the outer world into their turbulent inner world.

ESTPs love to be engaged physically in some activity or the other because this allows them to put their physical abilities to the test, often pushing them beyond the limits. Simultaneously, they will work relentlessly until they reach set goals, motivating others along the way.

Personalities with this dominant function are interested in the here and now, rather than some intangible future prospect. This means that they will enjoy everything they can experience via their senses, or that brings visible results. Therefore, they may find satisfaction in creative hobbies where they can use their hands to make something tangible and beautiful. This tendency to live in the moment does not mean they are superficial, and cannot grasp in-depth concepts or circumstances that affect the present state of things. They simply like to use reliable facts and move swiftly to their goals. Any discussion about intangible concepts may seem like an unnecessary delay that keeps them from desired results.

Introverted Thinking (Ti)

People with Introverted Thinking (Ti) as their auxiliary function tend to make judgments based on logic and reason, rather than intuition. Since this function is introverted they tend to become inwardly focused and intense, but this change in their behavior may pass unnoticed by others.

Besides logical decisions based on facts and gathered data, Ti will bring the much-needed structure to an ESTP’s inner world. This structure provides ESTP personalities with a sense of inner order and control. With the help of the Ti function, ESTPs may collect their thoughts swiftly, and develop the self-discipline necessary for reaching their goals.

The Ti cognitive function is often referred to as “fluid intelligence,” meaning it is more contextual and intuitive and stems from the right side of the brain. When ESTPs combine this fluid intelligence with their exceptional gift to “read” people’s body language, they become excellent problem solvers.

Extroverted Feeling (Fe)

The Extroverted Feeling or ‘Entrepreneur’ cognitive function defines how a personality type addresses their core values and how they treat others among other things. ESTPs have Fe as their tertiary function and hence, have amazing communication skills and can be quite charming even unintentionally. However, they tend to disregard the feelings and values of others, unless they are close to them.

The Fe types usually know how they feel deep inside, but will need certain validation from others to gain a clearer picture of their emotions. But this Fe function does not define emotions. Rather, it clarifies someone’s attitude towards their values. Fe types, namely ESTPs, don’t like to question their goals or analyze how they feel. Instead, they prefer to go with the flow and deal with different emotions as they come along.

When it comes to political correctness and social expectations, ESTPs will often refuse to follow set rules, considering them petty or unnecessary. This personality type highly values honesty and truth, and being the straightforward communicators they are, they will most likely state unpleasant truths without heeding other people’s feelings. Having trouble understanding and expressing emotions, ESTPs may feel uncomfortable near people who get emotional easily. For this reason, they will seek the company of those who don’t get offended too quickly. Simultaneously, they will express love and affection through actions rather than words. So people who date an ESTP personality can expect to be showered with gifts and other signs of affection.

Introverted Intuition (Ni)

Introverted Intuition (Ni) is an inferior function in the ESTP cognitive function stack. This means that this personality type prefers to live in the moment rather than ruminate about the unpredictable future. When they dive into their inner world, they do it in a vaguely intuitive way, considering various concepts from different angles, until they come up with one concrete idea.

The fact that they are interested in the “here and now,” does not mean that ESTPs do not think about the future. They can make plans for the future, but they may see this as an unnecessary distraction from achieving present goals. Their intuition is subconscious, so they may not notice when they are contemplating future events. Furthermore, when they are focused on tackling present issues, they are taking steps that will affect the future state of things. In this way, they may be vaguely aware of what the future may bring.

ESTP Strengths and Weaknesses

Now that we have explained the dominant preferences and cognitive functions that the ESTP personality type possesses, let’s see how these reflect on their strengths and weaknesses.

ESTP Strengths

  • Action-oriented with a ‘can-do’ attitude

ESTPs, also referred to online as Entrepreneurs, always seek new thrills and activities they can engage their immense energy in. They are fearless risk-takers who view difficulties as possible opportunities. Thus, they will not shy away from a challenge. Instead, thanks to their Sensing (S) preference, they will invest all their time and energy to find feasible and practical solutions. For this reason, they will be invaluable members of any team.

However, ESTPs are also known for their strong leadership skills and may get easily irritated if someone does not follow their instructions, slowing down the entire process that leads to desired results. This is why they may need to work on controlling their temper in certain situations. As excellent problem solvers, these personalities will work tirelessly until they reach set goals. Once they get desirable results, they will swiftly move on to the next big thing.

  • Assertive and ambitious

These Daredevil strengths go hand-in-hand with the previous one, turning ESTPs into true go-getters. Due to their extroverted nature, ESTPs, who always know what they want, will do everything in their power to fulfill their dreams. They often use their charm and straightforward communication style to express their needs and achieve their goals.

ESTPs are prone to taking risks if this will get them where they want to be. One of the bold risk-takers who became a pop icon, thanks to her controversial career choices, Madonna is the perfect example of a highly ambitious ESTP. You can read about this extraordinary woman and other famous ESTPs in this article.

  • Charming and communicative

ESTPs enjoy being in the spotlight. They will draw the attention of others with their charm and sense of humor, soon becoming the life of the party. However, they don’t intend on making deeper relationships with people, keeping the conversation light and entertaining. ESTPs enjoy flirting, and many may misread this flirtation for affection. However, when they truly like somebody, ESTPs will tend to tone down this extroverted side and show their feelings through actions rather than words.

Besides being jovial and charming, ESTPs can be outstanding motivators when things get rough. They tend to lead by example, and their immense energy invested in overcoming obstacles will motivate others to follow their lead.

ESTP Weaknesses

  • Judgmental

The capability to discern the slightest changes in someone’s mood or attitude by focusing on their movements or facial expressions is one of ESTP’s exceptional traits. However, this ability may not always have positive effects. Namely, ESTP may use this exceptional skill to form their opinion about someone prematurely. This may easily turn them into judgmental personalities who will miss the opportunity to meet someone interesting due to the wrong first impression.

If they manage to fight this weakness, they may become more open, and tolerant towards people that do not fit their “high standards,” and let them show their true colors.

  • Impatient 

We have already mentioned the Daredevil weakness that may make others perceive them as inconsiderate brutes. The fact is ESTPs may have temper issues. When things do not revolve the way they want, or someone is slowing down the work process, they will become impatient and are likely to show their dark side. In these situations, ESTPs will become extremely vocal in expressing their opinions and demands, disregarding the feelings of others. Some people may find this behavior highly offensive when the entire situation may easily slip into a heated conflict. Even though ESTPs can not fully comprehend the importance of feelings due to their Thinking (T) preference, they need to learn how to control their temper in challenging situations and become more tactful communicators.

  • Disorganized

ESTPs as Perceiving (P) types appreciate the freedom to do things of their own accord. This means that they struggle with authorities that try to fit them into a specific mold. Furthermore, they may not follow strict plans, because they prefer the flexibility to structure. They will work best in fast-paced environments, where they can employ their problem-solving skills to get to the goal faster. Thus, routine and repetitive jobs will not fulfill them, and they may abandon current projects and move on in search of new challenges. ESTP personalities have the potential to become great leaders, but first, they have to learn to adjust to fixed plans and improve their organizational skills.

Male vs Female ESTP

Even though both ESTP males and females share the same preferences and cognitive functions, these may manifest differently in their personalities. For this reason, we will list some distinctive female ESTP characteristics, making sure that we escape the ESTP stereotypes that may come along. They both are driven and assertive types, but here are some traits typical to ESTP women and ESTP men respectively.

ESTP Women

  • They remember everything
  • They are deeply caring and nurturing for their loved ones
  • They may be contradictory at times
  • They have a strong sense of personal style

ESTP Men

  • They are great at flirting
  • They are affectionate
  • They tend to bury their feelings
  • They prefer actions over words

We hope that we brought this intriguing MBTI personality type closer to you in this article. ESTPs, may not always be portrayed in a positive light because people tend to make superficial judgments about them. But we have tried to scratch the surface and reveal numerous positive personality traits that go with the ESTP personality.