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The ESTP Personality Type

ESTPs are energetic thrillseekers who are at their best when putting out fires, whether literal or metaphorical. They bring a sense of dynamic energy to their interactions with others and the world around them. They assess situations quickly and move adeptly to respond to immediate problems with practical solutions.

Active and playful, ESTPs are often the life of the party and have a good sense of humor. They use their keen powers of observation to assess their audience and adapt quickly to keep interactions exciting. Although they typically appear very social, they are rarely sensitive; the ESTP prefers to keep things fast-paced and silly rather than emotional or serious.

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What does ESTP stand for?

ESTP is an acronym used to describe one of the sixteen personality types created by Katharine Briggs and Isabel Myers. It stands for Extraverted, Sensing, Thinking, Perceiving. ESTP indicates a person who is energized by time spent with others (Extraverted), who focuses on facts and details rather than ideas and concepts (Sensing), who makes decisions based on logic and reason (Thinking) and who prefers to be spontaneous and flexible rather than planned and organized (Perceiving). ESTPs are sometimes referred to as Dynamo personalities because of their high-energy, active approach to life.

ESTP Values and Motivations

ESTPs are often natural athletes; they easily navigate their physical environment and are typically highly coordinated. They like to use this physical aptitude in the pursuit of excitement and adventure, and they often enjoy putting their skills to the test in risky or even dangerous activities.

The ESTP's focus is action in the moment. They are engaged with their environments and solve practical problems quickly. ESTPs are excellent in emergencies, when they can apply their logical reasoning to situations where immediate action is necessary. Long-term goals are less interesting to the ESTP, who prefers to see tangible results in the moment.

How Others See the ESTP

The first thing you notice about the ESTP is likely to be their energy. They’re often chatting, joking, and flirting with friends and strangers alike. They enjoy engaging playfully with others and amusing everyone around them with their irreverent sense of humor. They tend to keep people on their toes, never quite knowing what the ESTP will poke fun at next. ESTPs are unabashedly gregarious with people, but their interest in individuals may not last long; they are more likely to work a room, having a laugh with everyone, than they are to engage in depth with any one person.

ESTPs are comfortable in their physical environment and always looking for some action or activity. They tend to be the most naturally coordinated of all the types and are often found playing sports or engaging in various physical activities, especially ones with an element of danger. They are the stereotypical “adrenaline junkies” and may be found skydiving, motorcycle racing, or enjoying other extreme sports.

For more information: The Art of SpeedReading People

How rare is the ESTP personality type?

ESTPs make up:

  • 4% of the general population
  • 6% of men
  • 3% of women

Famous ESTPs

Famous ESTPs include Donald Trump, George W. Bush, Winston Churchill, Mae West, Eddie Murphy, Miley Cyrus, Bruce Willis, Madonna, and Evel Knievel.

ESTP Quotes

"They tend to prefer action to conversation. The more directly a matter can be translated into action, the clearer and more effective they become."

- Isabel Briggs Myers, Gifts Differing

"None are as socially sophisticated as they, none as suave and polished—and none such master manipulators of the people around them."

- David Keirsey, Please Understand Me II

"With a basic built-in restlessness, these are they hyperactive 'doers,' who like to keep their hands in a variety of pots, churning as much as they can to keep everyone on their toes and to keep life exciting."

- Otto Kroeger, Type Talk at Work

Facts about ESTPs

Interesting facts about the ESTP:

  • On personality trait measures, score as Dominant, Flexible, Demanding, and Sociable
  • More frequent among patients suffering from chronic pain
  • One of four types reporting highest levels of assertiveness in college
  • One of two types with lowest college GPA
  • Among most likely of all types to stay in college
  • Values at work include autonomy, variety, independence, and structure
  • Overrepresented among MBA students
  • Commonly found in careers in marketing, skilled trades, business, and law enforcement

Source: MBTI Manual

ESTP Hobbies and Interests

Popular hobbies for an ESTP include all sorts of sports and athletic pursuits, especially team sports and risky or adventurous activities like race car driving, boxing, or flying.

About the Author

Molly Owens is the CEO of Truity and holds a master's degree in counseling psychology. She founded Truity in 2012, with the goal of making quality personality tests more affordable and accessible. She has led the development of assessments based on Myers and Briggs' personality types, Holland Codes, the Big Five, DISC, and the Enneagram. She is an ENTP, a tireless brainstormer, and a wildly messy chef. Find Molly on Twitter at @mollmown.

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