We’ve been discussing the MBTI. We talked about the history and overview of the instrument and then the important considerations of the Extrovert-Introvert scale, which describes how we get our energy. We talked about the Sensing-Intuitive scale, which describes how we perceive the world. Last week, we discussed the Thinking-Feeling scale, which describes the values that we use to judge the world. Now let’s talk about the Judging-Perceiving scale, which is the final defining dichotomy of the MBTI. The J-P scale describes how we deal with the outside world.
Perceiving Types (P’s) like to keep their options open. Appointment times are windows of opportunity. Flexibility and spontaneity are the watchwords of the Perceiving types. They like to start projects and explore options but aren’t fired up about making a final decision. They like to go with the flow and change plans as the situation changes. Time is a fluid concept, and deadlines are elastic.
Unless P’s are careful, they can find themselves trapped under piles of unfinished projects. One can only research and explore options for so long before they have to move forward and make a decision. P’s don’t like to finish because then they’ve lost all their options. The hallmark of a P is continuing to think about other ways a thing could be done after they have submitted their final answer.
P’s have a tendency to procrastinate. Procrastination is a form of last-minute motivation that doesn’t always allow P’s time to put their best foot forward. However, it’s just a preference, not a label for all eternity. P’s can adopt behavior outside their preference and use it when it is appropriate. Society expects a lot of Judging Type behavior – especially at work.
J’s like order and are punctual. Predictability and order are the Judging type’s code. They like to finish projects. J’s like lists and like to check things off of their lists. If a J does something that is not on their list, they will write it on the list so they can then check it off. J’s get a sense of relief when a project is complete, and once it is complete they don’t think about it anymore.
J’s sock drawers are often organized in some way. J’s plan ahead so that they don’t have to experience the stress of accomplishing something at the last minute.
P’s and J’s can drive each other crazy. P’s feel tension as their options become more limited and they have to make a decision. J’s feel tension until the decision is made. So, in effect, the two types fight against each other. The Judging types want the decision over and done with. The Perceiving types don’t want to decide because then they are out of options.
Actually, the two styles can complement each other in the same way that S-N and T-F do. When the two types work together, they make better and/or quicker decisions than they would make on their own. P’s ensure that all options are explored, and J’s ensure that a decision is made in a reasonable amount of time. Of course, there is a certain amount of tension, but we all just have to keep reminding ourselves of the value of two perspectives.
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