You have a preferred world (outer or inner) and you have a preferred way of responding to it. The two ways of responding to the world (in the language of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator – based on Carl Jung’s Psychological Types) are perceiving and judging.

Briefly: Perceiving is watching what happens and Judging is deciding your response. (Except that perceiving involves all your senses: not just watching but listening, touching, smelling and tasting and also having a sense of where you are in space.)

Those who are Perceivers (those who find it easier to perceive than judge) don’t stress about decisions. They find it easy to go with the flow.
Those who are Judgers (those who find it easier to judge than perceive) find it easy to just decide.

    • If you have been in a meeting and felt, “I don’t care what we decide, I just want us to decide!” you are a judger.
    • If you have been in a meeting and felt, “What’s the stress about making a decision, things will work out anyway”, you are probably a perceiver.
    • If, walking into a party, you have a look around and start engaging with what is going on you are probably a perceiver.
    • If, walking into a party, you have a look around and decide what to do next (who to talk to, get a drink, go to the food table, dance to the music) you are probably a judger.

All of us need to find out what is happening in the world and respond to it. However we have a preference for one or the other. Knowing which you prefer means you can modify what you do or how you do things to suit what is best for you.

 

The difference between perceivers and judgers is a very common source of conflict between people.

  • Shopping means buying what’s on the list and you’re done.
  • Shopping is a process of seeing what is on the shelf and getting what you need.
  • Getting from A to B in an efficient and timely manner is what matters.
  • Getting from A to B in an enjoyable way is what matters (being few minutes late or early is no big deal).

 

You find this split in the self development blogosphere too.

  • Any dead fish can go with the flow. There speaks a judger.
  • Don’t worry – nothing is in your control. There speaks a perceiver.
  • Satisfaction comes from achieving your goal. There speaks a judger.
  • If you don’t enjoy the journey, what is the point of achieving a goal? All you’ve done is make yourself miserable most of the time. There speaks a perceiver.

 

What Does This Mean For You?

1. It gives you one thing to look for when you are having conflict with someone or a group.

  • If you are a perceiver, you can find a way to flow with others decisions.
  • If you are a judger, decide what you can do in the meantime if the decision is deferred.
  • If you are a perceiver ask the other person (or group) if they are frustrated by the process – and just want an outcome.
  • If you are a judger ask the other person (or group) if they are feeling pushed and rushed by having to make a decision.

2. Decide who is best suited to a task.

  • A judger (depending on what they decide) may be the best to stick to a budget.
  • A perceiver may be best suited to checking out a new activity or area of interest.

3. Collaborate with someone who has the opposite preference to you.

 

Knowing your preference and the preference of those around you can lead to a much easier and more satisfying life.

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