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To understand the ESFP’s development, we have to understand the hierarchy of mental functions for the ESFP. The hierarchy of mental functions for the ESFP is about which mental function (Sensing, Intuiting, Thinking or Feeling) the ESFP 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 ESFP’s hierarchy of mental functions:
ESFPs will be most comfortable with the Dominant Function Extraverted Sensing and least comfortable with the Inferior Function Introverted Intuition.
DEVELOPMENT OF EXTRAVERTED SENSING
As a child, the ESFP will develop the Extraverted Sensing function. They are 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 to fairy tales. Even when listening to stories, they prefer those that are rich in detail and deal with facts and actual events.
If they have not properly developed this function in their youth, they make grow up to know only to succumb to instant gratification of their senses, and it usually manifests itself in relationships with others.
DEVELOPMENT OF INTROVERTED FEELING
During puberty, the ESFP will start developing the auxiliary function, Introverted Feeling. They will show this development by becoming extremely sensitive, kind and encouraging to the needs of those around them.
Their care and concern for those around them coupled with their extroverted nature usually make them very popular people. They may also start developing a core set of values that they will stand for vigorously.
If they have not been allowed to develop this function, they may succumb to peer pressure very easily, not considering what is important to them or their values but rather get caught up in the interactions with others.
Assuming an environment is supportive of their development; most ESFPs would have developed Extraverted Sensing and Introverted Feeling by 20 years old or so.
Their areas of improvement will most likely come from the underdeveloped sides of Extraverted Thinking and Introverted Intuition.
Here are some suggestions for improvement:
DEVELOPMENT OF EXTRAVERTED THINKING
If these behaviours are not developed by the age of 30, the ESFP will feel the need and tension to continue growing, firstly to start developing the tertiary function Extraverted Thinking.
The ESFP may start to use objective and logical thinking to approach situations that they used to take a personal stand on. They may also start to learn the value of being straightforward and frank in their language when the time is necessary.
The ESFP can further develop the Extraverted Thinking function through these simple exercises:
DEVELOPMENT OF INTROVERTED INTUITION
From midlife onward, the ESFP’s focus turns toward the inferior function, Introverted Intuition. The underdeveloped Introverted Intuition comes out in a childish way when ESFPs are under stress, leading them to worry or conjure up the worst case scenarios in their head.
But in midlife, there is an unconscious shift and desire to develop that inferior function to achieve wholeness and continual growth. It is an uncomfortable but necessary transition.
Here are some simple exercises to consciously develop the Introverted Intuition function: