ISFP Development
The Unique Growth Path of the ISFP

This section ISFP Development is about the unique developmental path of the ISFP 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 ISFP’s development, we have to understand the hierarchy of mental functions for the ISFP. The hierarchy of mental functions for the ISFP is about which mental function (Sensing, Intuiting, Thinking or Feeling) the ISFP 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 ISFP’s hierarchy of mental functions:

The ISFP will develop the Dominant Function Introverted Feeling first and then Inferior Function Extraverted Thinking last.

From Childhood to Puberty:
Development of Introverted Feeling

As a child, ISFPs will develop Introverted Feeling. They will be sensitive to the emotional climate of the home and will be affected greatly if there are conflicts or quarrels.

They may perform acts of services at home and in the classroom to seek approval and encouragement from their teachers, peers or parents. They are also more expressive with their emotions and will laugh or cry more easily than their Thinking counterparts.

If this function has not been nurtured or developed, they may be caught up in present realities so much so that they do not know how to make an effective decision.

From Puberty to about Age 30:
Development of Extraverted Sensing

During puberty, the ISFP will start developing the auxiliary function, Extraverted Sensing. They become extremely observant of their surroundings, noticing small details in colour, shape, smell, taste and more.

They will also prefer doing activities and playing games as compared to reading and listening in the classroom, which they will most likely be restless in. They may do very well in subjects that require the use of their hands and may struggle subjects dealing with abstract theory.

If their development of this function is not supported, they may not know how to gather data from the external world to make a well-informed decision.

Areas for ISFP Development

Assuming the environment is supportive to their, most ISFPs would have developed Extraverted Sensing and Introverted Feeling by 20 years or so.  

Their areas of improvement will most likely come from the underdeveloped sides of Extraverted Thinking and Introverted Intuition. Below are some suggestions for improvement:

  • Be patient with policies and procedures
  • Think about long-term implications of everyday actions
  • Prepare sufficiently for meetings and big projects
  • Give and receive negative feedback constructively
  • Stay objective and logical in emotional situations

From Age 30 to Midlife:
Development of Introverted Intuition

If these behaviours are not trained by the age of 30, the ISFP will feel the tension to continue growing, firstly to start developing the Tertiary Function, Introverted Intuition. They may begin to be more comfortable with abstract language and the use of concepts and abstract ideas in their work and everyday living. They may also start considering long-term goals in their pursuits.   

Here are some simple exercises to consciously develop the Introverted Intuition function:

  • Read a self-help book and consider different ways you can improve your life.

  • Read into world affairs across countries and consider global patterns and trends that may link all of these together.

  • Write a poem about something from nature without using physical attributes to describe it. (i.e. don’t talk about its colour or shape or size)

From Midlife onward:
Development of Extraverted Thinking

From midlife onward, the ISFP’s focus turns toward the inferior function, Extraverted Thinking. Their underdeveloped Extraverted Thinking comes out in a childish and undeveloped way when they are under stress and they may question their own competence or become extremely critical or sarcastic toward others.

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 Thinking function:

  • When conducting a meeting, stay task-oriented. Run through the agenda in a logical way and stick to the task at hand. Identify things to be done and allocate clear-defined tasks to individuals with deadlines.

  • Use cost-benefit analysis to make decisions. Consider pros and cons of each using a list. What are the consequences of each decision?

  • Take an objective approach to managing conflict. Explain the logical basis of your point of view and ask the other party to do the same. Do this without bringing in emotions or values.


The developmental paths of individuals are unique to themselves depending on the environment, culture and social norms surrounding them. Some cultures value certain personality traits more than others, and ultimately all these 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 freeimmediate access to all 16 career reports based on your personality type - in an attractive, ebook format.
Learn more)

More about the ISFPs



Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.