Roles: Explorers

Shared personality traits: Observant (S) and Prospecting (P)

On the Fly

Explorers – Virtuosos (ISTP), Adventurers (ISFP), Entrepreneurs (ESTP), and Entertainers (ESFP) – tend to be self-reliant and quick-thinking. These personality types don’t mind handling uncertain situations on the fly – in fact, they live for those types of situations. Explorers’ flexibility helps them to adapt to the moment, even if they don’t feel particularly prepared.

These types tend not to be obsessed with precise detail – unless they’re really in the zone, in which case they can muster a level of precision and focus that would make a seasoned engineer blush with envy. Usually, they prefer workability and usefulness to perfection. Explorer personalities enjoy learning different tools and techniques, from rotary saws to sheet music to emergency response strategies.

72% of Explorers say they find impulsiveness thrilling – more than any other Role.

Living for Change

Explorers can change their minds with minimal regret or second-guessing. People in this Role dislike monotony, and they may stray from their obligations in order to try new things. If these personality types sometimes leave business unfinished, let clutter build up, or misplace important things – it’s because they’ve moved on to something fresh.

These types enjoy being free of obligations, where they can indulge themselves or their interests on their own time. They love delving into something interesting, but their interest tends to wane as soon as something becomes “mandatory.” An Explorer personality might design and build their own dream house, but end up procrastinating on simple repairs after a few years.

75% of Explorers say it’s hard for them to focus on one thing for a long time – more than any other Role.

Social Ingenuity

This free-form attitude can make Explorer personalities socially dynamic as well. Their spontaneity draws them to appealing strangers and interesting experiences. When things get in the way of a good time, they apply their ingenuity to get around it. Explorers want to see what happens next!

Explorers enjoy being on the leading edge of things – whether that means having the latest technology, trying out fashion trends, or checking out the newest restaurant in town. Many Explorer personalities enjoy sharing these findings with others, and they take pride in introducing their friends and loved ones to the latest and greatest things. The result is that time spent with Explorers is almost never boring or repetitive – and Explorers wouldn’t have it any other way.

Only 34% of Explorers say it’s difficult for them to try new things.

Explorers in Love

Explorer personality types have a reputation for constantly being on the move – and some people might wonder whether this restlessness applies to their romantic relationships as well. According to our research, however, relatively few Explorers (32%) say they’re easily bored by romantic relationships that are stable and predictable. In fact, Analysts and Diplomats are significantly more likely to agree with this statement.

So, what are Explorers like in romantic relationships? First, Explorers are slightly less likely than other Roles to say that falling in love scares them. These personality types thrive in unpredictable situations, and what is falling in love if not unpredictable? The early phases of a relationship are energizing for these types – full of new experiences and fresh discoveries.

40% of Explorers say their ideal relationship would be based on fun and enjoyment of life – more than any other Role.

It’s true that Explorer personalities are somewhat more likely than other Roles to avoid commitment. Still, the majority of Explorers – 63% – say they usually seek commitment in their relationships. And overall, Explorers are slightly more likely than average to say that intimate relationships have increased their maturity more than anything else. So, while Explorers might have a reputation for being commitment-phobes, it’s clear that these personality types see the deeper value of long-term relationships – and, more often than not, this is exactly what they’re looking for.

Doing the Work

Explorers are highly spontaneous, connecting with their environment in a way that’s almost childlike in its wonder and sheer fun. But when they need to work on something that’s frustrating or unexciting – well, that can prove something of a challenge.

This may show up in how Explorer personality types approach their academic and professional lives. Explorers are slightly less likely than other Roles to say that they developed productive work habits in school. They’re also less likely to say that it was easy for them to do well in school. Many school environments are relatively prescriptive, filled with required courses and standardized curricula. As a result, Explorer personalities often find themselves forced to sit through classes that just don’t excite them – which, for these types, can be unmotivating. Unfortunately, this can persist in their professional lives as well – after all, most jobs require at least some degree of routine, unglamorous work.

76% of Explorers would prefer to work as part of a team rather than alone – more than any other Role.

This isn’t to say that Explorers are slouches – far from it. When they’re working on something they’re passionate about, these personality types can move heaven and earth. And, over time, they often find ways to deal with the necessary evils – in other words, the unexciting tasks – that make work and life run more smoothly.

Perhaps it’s most accurate to say that Explorers look for ways to balance work with leisure. They’re the Role least likely to say they make themselves finish all of their tasks before they allow themselves to relax. While some personality types might brand this behavior as laziness, this isn’t necessarily the case. Explorers’ ability to balance work with fun can help them avoid burnout. Ultimately, this can help them to enjoy more fulfillment – and yes, a surprising degree of productivity – in their lives.

The Power of Risk

51% of Explorers say they take risks simply for the fun of it – far more than any other personality Role. This might sound reckless, and indeed it can be. But, done responsibly, risk-taking can be one of the best ways to learn new things, solve tricky problems, and grow as people. As Explorers know, we can only make so much progress in life if we stay in our comfort zones.

As long as they temper this trait with a degree of self-control, comfort with risk can be one of Explorers’ greatest strengths. It can motivate them to open up in their relationships and empower them to seek out new academic and professional opportunities.

These personality types don’t resign themselves to the “lives of quiet desperation” that Henry David Thoreau famously wrote of in Walden. Instead, Explorers can use their own brand of bravery to free themselves from conventionality and create lives that work for them.

Learn About the Other Roles