This section ISTJ Development is about the unique developmental path of the ISTJ personality from birth to midlife. While an individual’s personality development is unique, personality type provides a good general framework for you.
To understand the ISTJ’s development, we have to understand the hierarchy of mental functions for the ISTJ. The hierarchy of mental functions for the ISTJ is about which mental function (Sensing, Intuiting, Thinking or Feeling) the ISTJ is most comfortable with using and which they are least comfortable in using.
Without going too much into Type dynamics, let’s look at the ISTJ’s hierarchy of mental functions:
The ISTJ is most comfortable with using the Dominant Function, Introverted Sensing and least comfortable with using the Inferior Function, Extraverted Intuition.
As a child, ISTJs will develop Introverted Sensing. They will show their preference for the world of activity and games rather than the world of fairy tales and stories.
They will be interested in the real world, preferring to see and touch something rather than hear about it from a storybook.
They will also usually be in tune with what is going on around them in the classroom and at home, responding to detail in colour, shape, size and showing awareness when interacting with people.
If they have not properly developed this function, they may make judgments or take action too quickly without first considering the facts.
At puberty, the ISTJ will start developing the auxiliary function, Extraverted Thinking.
They will develop the ability to make judgment calls and decisions according to external, objective criteria that are easily observable to all. They become straightforward, frank and objective teenagers who are not concerned at all about popularity or peer pressure.
They may also start to develop intellectual curiosity, desiring to break things down in order to understand how they work.
If they have not been allowed to develop this function, they may not know how to use their experiences and stored data to engage the world effectively.
Assuming the environment is supportive to their development of the Dominant and Auxiliary functions, most ISTJs would have developed Extraverted Thinking and Introverted Sensing by 20 years old or so.
Their areas of improvement will likely come from the underdeveloped sides of Extraverted Intuition and Introverted Feeling. Below are some suggestions for improvement for the ISTJ:
If these behaviours are not developed by the age of 30, the ISTJ will feel the tension to continue growing, firstly to start developing the tertiary function Introverted Feeling.
The ISTJ may start to show compassion and sensitivity toward those around them; they may even surprise their loved ones with their new-found expressions of love and emotion.
The ISTJ can further develop the Introverted Feeling function through these simple exercises:
From midlife onward, the ISTJ’s focus turns toward the inferior function, Extraverted Intuition. Their underdeveloped Extraverted Intuition function comes out in a childish and undeveloped way when they are under stress, causing them to over-worry or catastrophize.
But in midlife, there is an unconscious shift and desire to develop that inferior function in order to achieve wholeness and continual growth. It is an uncomfortable but necessary transition.
Here are some simple exercises to consciously develop the Extraverted Intuition function:
The developmental paths of individuals are unique to themselves depending on the culture and social norms they were brought up in.
Some cultures value certain personality traits more than others, and ultimately several factors affect personality development. No two people need to develop the same way, and hence only some of the above may apply to you.
This page only serves as a general guide for anyone using it as a reference. If you like to learn more about your personal, unique developmental path, please contact me.
Unsure about your career path? Want to find the right job fit? Tired of a dead-end job?
Get free, immediate access to all 16 career reports based on your personality type - in an attractive, ebook format.