Appreciating Differences - Jack Falt - Ottawa area, Ontario, Canada

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Appreciating Differences

# 5 - Judging and Perceiving

Organized or Adaptable

This column, written by Jack Falt, is the fifth article on personality types and a regular feature of Energy Medicine. It was first published June 1999, Volume 1, Issue 5. See the subsequent articles on this site that describe the meaning of the four dimensions of behaviour that personality type measures.

In this series of articles we have been looking at the four dimensions of behaviour that are measured by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®). The first dimension was Extraversion-Introversion (E-I) or where we get our energy -- from the outer world or our inner world. Next, were the Perceiving functions, Sensing-iNtuition (S-N), how we gather information -- through our five senses or our sixth sense, seeing patterns and possibilities. In the last issue of Energy Medicine we looked at the Judging functions, Thinking-Feeling (T-F), how we make decisions -- objectively or subjectively.

The final dimension of Judging-Perceiving (J-P) looks at how we live our outer life. Even if we are Introverts, we have to live in the outer world. It can be either in an organized way where we use mainly our Judging function (Thinking or Feeling), or in an adaptable way where we use our Perceiving function (Sensing or Intuition). Amongst the general population, Judgers and Perceivers are about equal in number.

Judgers are very organized. They like to "plan their work and work their plan." A Judger likely has a day planner or if she doesn't have one, she carries one around in her head. Work is carried out in an orderly fashion. Even holidays need to follow a plan.

There is a place for everything and everything should be in its place. Judgers like things to be in order. The Judging housekeeper likes everything put away. Don't just drop your coat at the door; pick it up and put it in the closet.

Perceivers like to go with the flow. If they have a "to do" list, it will likely be just a scrap of paper. They are always looking for new information. They put off making decisions because there might just be that last little bit of information that would help them make a better decision. Perceivers follow an "event" schedule. They are waiting for everything to come together, and then at the right moment, they are energized to make their move. Unfortunately, sometimes things never come together and they lack the energy to achieve what was expected of them.

Perceivers tend to be much messier, and woe betide you if you try to straighten up their mess. Even if it looks chaotic, they know exactly where everything is.

As you can imagine, Judgers and Perceivers can have a lot of conflicts. A number of years ago, my wife and I went with friends on a trip to England. Although they have lived here in Canada for many years, they were both born in Britain and were keen to show us the sights. My wife and I are both Judgers, but as it was all new to us, we let our friends plan the activities. One evening we discussed the following day's plans for over an hour. The next morning the husband, a Perceiver, who was the driver, took off in an entirely different direction than the one we had decided on the night before. The wife, a Judger, let out a roar, wanting to know why we were not going the way we had planned. The husband replied that he had thought of going a way that would be more interesting for us. Even though it was more interesting way, it put the wife off for a few hours.

At the extreme, the Judging person sees the Perceiver as being disorganized, having no plan and generally not a very worthwhile person. The Perceiving person sees the Judger as too rigid, wasting time making up a lot of silly rules, and generally being a killjoy. Judgers like to work before they play. Perceivers like to make work become play.

In school the Judger tends to get his homework and assignments done on time. The Perceiver waits until the last minute and then pulls an all-nighter to complete her essay. Even though very young children generally tend to be messy, there will be that child who will boss the others about and get them organized. Lucy from the comic strip "Peanuts" is a good example of a Judger.

Perceivers love surprises. Judgers hate them. Judgers don't mind a surprise if they can just plan for it.

Perceivers keep Judgers from making a decision too soon. Judgers like to make a decision and get it over with. They want closure. They feel unsettled until they have come to a conclusion. This can mean that they can make a decision before they examine all the facts. They are the ones who say, "Ready! Fire! Aim!" To a Judger, a "bad" plan is better than no plan. Perceivers like to keep their options open. They live in hope that some better idea might be found. They prefer to postpone making a decision. This stance can often force the Judgers to hold off and reconsider, particularly when they need the Perceiver's vote to carry a motion at a board meeting. "Act in haste, repent at leisure," would be how the Perceivers would describe the Judgers.

Perceivers need Judgers to keep their lives from becoming totally chaotic. Perceivers can be orderly, but it is only because they have to live in a Judging world. It is not their preference. Sometimes, they even appreciate a Judger keeping after them to complete a task.

The strength of Perceiving is the urge to keep on looking for new information and new opportunities. The Perceiver does not have a fixed plan and when something new comes up, they easily change directions. They can be quite innovative and can seize the moment.

The strength of Judging is in having a well thought out plan and sticking to it. It is more of a bulldozer approach, but it gets the job done. They don't get sidetracked by other issues. They just keep moving!

At their extremes, Judgers who don't use their Perceiving skills become prejudiced. They have made up their mind and are unwilling to look at new evidence. Perceivers who don't use their Judging skills become procrastinators. We need to use both skills to keep ourselves in balance, even though one will be a stronger preference than the other.

In the working world, most bosses are Judgers. Since half of employees are Perceivers, there can be a lot of conflict as the Judging boss tries to whip the Perceivers into shape. However, when Perceivers do become bosses, they are just as effective in getting work done. They just approach the job in a different way. Their Judging employees may find working for the Perceiving bosses frustrating in that there is no well-defined plan to follow.

In a relationship, the Judging partner needs to make allowances for the Perceiving partner and work out some compromises; otherwise, the relationship will be one of constant strife. The woman who tries on several outfits is in her Perceiving mode, as is the man who leaves his clothes strewn around.

A typical Judging-Perceiving conflict might occur when planning a vacation. The Judging spouse wants to know where and when they are going. The Perceiving spouse is waiting to be inspired for the perfect get-away. "I'll know it when I see it." Perceivers would prefer to just pack up the car and take off, enjoying the adventure of whatever they find.

As Judging parents we need to look beyond the messy room and be able to see the admirable qualities our Perceiving children have. By the same token, Judging children can become very frustrated by Perceiving parents who always seem to put everything off until tomorrow.

Whether you think you are a Judger or a Perceiver, you need to appreciate your strengths and also be aware of when you need to bring in your other preference.

See previous article: #1 - An Introduction

See previous article: #2 - Extraversion and Introversion

See previous article: #3 - Sensing and Intuition

See previous article: #4 - Thinking and Feeling

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