Personality: Judging & Perceiving (Blog 4 of 5)

In this fourth blog of determining Personality (using the MBTI standard) we discuss the next portion of personality, Judging and Perceiving. This round will determine the fourth and final letter of your 4-letter personality type.

To briefly recap, the MBTI measures across four categories (two possible personality factors per category) resulting in a four letter combination, or personality type, per person. There is a total of 16 personality types. The 16 personality types will be reviewed in the 5th Personality blog.

Category Four: Judging vs Perceiving*
(J) for Judging and (P) for Perceiving

*This last category for personality is very interesting as (J) and (P) are all about an individual’s preferred environment. Environment is not limited to an idea like “home” but rather how we prefer our day-to-day structure, within and without the home, work environment, task and leisure orientation, and even time awareness. (J) and (P) are quite substantial to the personality matrix.*

The name alone gives J’s a poor first impression. The name is a misnomer and does NOT allude to a “judgemental personality.” The name could do with a relabeling. Judging people like order, organization and tend to think sequentially. J’s like to have a plan in order and agreed upon. If there is room for doubt, a (J) will take time to address doubts and issues before moving forward in the decision-making process. This is part of a J’s planning process, to see potential hazards and pitfalls before taking an action.

– J’s prefer a predictable environment. The more predictable, the better the J’s experience. Efficiency in home or work can only be achieved in an optimal environment. How that environment is deemed “optimal” is strictly up to each (J) but once that level of efficiency is established, it is enacted nearly every time. (e.g. leaving your car keys in the bowl by the entryway each and every time you come home so you never lose your keys or have to dig for them)

– Because J’s set up predictable environments (home and work), J’s are known for making decisions easily. When your day is planned and you are a relatively organized person, making decisions easily as you are the one most familiar with your own systematization. You can easily see where the pieces can fit, and what can be maneuvered.

– J’s like to have things settled. Done and dusted as they say. Lingering decisions and plans will make a (J) uneasy. This is usually the case when more than one person is involved in the decision making process. If there is a lack of agreement, a (J) will want to figure out the problem in order to move on.

– Because of a J’s natural inclination towards a structured environment, a (J) will often be perceived as serious, conventional, punctual, prompt, a little up tight about the plan and its execution.

– Interestingly, J’s prefer to FINISH projects, not start them. The idea is that a solid project is easier to wind down seeing a predictable ending in sight whereas starting a project requires more upfront creativity and flexibility.

– Unsurprisingly, J’s have a work first, play later attitude.

– J’s see the need for rules, standards, and schedules. J’s would even say they take comfort in them.

– Because a (J) naturally prefers an organized environment, they are productive as a result. What can threaten productivity are last minute stresses. J’s like a solid schedule, an unexpected event or added inclusion can throw a (J) off their game as they are forced to stop and adjust.

– In the workplace, J’s are productive, punctual, and on-point with their work.

Another odd name but Perceiving is a little more accurately named than Judging. Perceiving is called as such for this personality type’s tendency to perceive via the senses (as we all do) but a (P) is much impressed by what they are experiencing. A (P) desires to experience the world and that means having an open environment, not a scheduled one. Make room for experiences. How can you make room for anything by scheduling your life by the hour? A (P) does not pretend to know what will happen a year from now, never mind tomorrow.

– If a (P) wants to experience as much of the world, and of theirs lives as possible, that means being flexible, open-minded, casual, and spontaneous. This is how P’s are often perceived by others. In this way, on the surface, a (P) may look like an (E) who also shares some of these values but they are not mutually exclusive. An (I) has as much potential to be a (P) as an (E) does.

– P’s are known to postpone decisions as they desire to leave their options open until the very last minute. (e.g. A (J) friend will decide to go to a movie and purchase tickets for the day, the time, down to the row and seat in the theater, the (P) friend will get the invite with all the necessary information. The (P) does not confirm. In fact, the (J) friend may not even know of the (P) friend is coming until 3 minutes after the movie starts. The (P) friend might just show up.)

– Because of a P’s unstructured nature, they come across as being playful and unconventional.

– Because of a P’s open-ended nature, they are much less aware of time. It is considered normal that a (P) runs late. These are the folks that are least likely to own a watch although they would most benefit from one. Time, for a (P), is flexible.

– Unlike J’s, P’s prefer to start projects where the most creativity and newness of an idea is needed. Finishing a project, for a (P), is tedious and predictable.

– P’s prefer to play first and work when they feel like it. For this reason, P’s prefer last minute interruptions and disruptions. The spontaneity is energizing.

– P’s are known to question the need for rules, and question traditions, or anything that’s established. Perhaps there is a newer and better way to tackle a problem, perhaps something problematic has been approached incorrectly all this time and no one bothered to question it. P’s are good at seeing things differently.

– In the workplace, P’s are flexible, adaptable, curious, and despise conformity. P’s will find their own way to do things.

I was surprised during my years as a counselor how often this category came up in conversation as being the most “split” for my students. But then again, my clients were, in fact, students. There is no other time in life than in college where you walk a precarious line between constant obligations and mayhem. A tightly regimented day followed by the call for spontaneity, because hey, you’re still young. I’m not so old that I can’t recall the weird, demanding, fun, hyperactivity that was my undergrad and graduate years.

Today, I am a moderate (J) but while I was a student, I was a high-level (J). Age, personal feelings, and circumstance can alter the strengths of your MBTI factors. When I left the insanity that is a college campus, the workplace was easy by comparison. A 40-hour a week schedule? Easy-freakin-peasy. And so my need for a crystal-clear, perfectly structured, work-a-day schedule became much more lax. I was able to incorporate more flexibility and not be immediately stressed out by unscheduled arrivals or occurrences.

When I gained professional (P) colleagues, I realized my new “relaxed” state was no where near comparable but then again, I didn’t want it to be either. My default state, as a (J), is knowing what I am doing in a given day as opposed to just going with the flow. And that’s just fine. A (P) wouldn’t be a (P) if they were in possession of a fully loaded, color-coordinated calendars. Hours and hours of their lives already accounted for.

Knowing I am a (J), you should be not at all surprised to find such a calendar in my desk, on my computer, on my bulletin board, on my wall…

You should now have your 4-letter MBTI code. For example, mine is ISTJ. For those letters you are unsure about, where you feel you might land somewhere in-between, mark those letters too. If you are confident you are an (E), (N), (T) but are unsure about (J) and (P), then note for yourself ENTJ-P and you can look up the 4-letter code for both in the fifth and final Personality blog.

See ya’ll soon.
Austin, Texas