J or P?

logo-myers-briggs-typeHave you ever taken the Myers-Briggs personality test?  I had never heard of it until both the Presbyterian Church and the USAF require that I take it.  At first, it sounded bizzare to me that you could categorize people with one of sixteen basic personalities.  But the more I thought about the results, the more I became a fan.

One area that I score differently from most of my family, friends, and colleauges is on the last variable which scores as P or J.  “Ps” are people who like things free flow, enjoy creativity, and do not live by a schedule.  “Js” are people who like structure, plans, and lists.  Not surprisingly, the Presbyterian Church with its “Book of Order” and the USAF with its multitude of regulations are filled with J’s.  I am also married to a “J”.  Yet, I am a “P”.

Lesley has a good friend who is a dancer and who recently took the Myers-Briggs test on Facebook.  She also came up as a “P” which Lesley found interesting.  To dance, you have to perform exact steps in an exact time.  That seemed very rules oriented to her.  Yet she thrives and shows creativity in that world.  Although I am about as far as a dancer as one can be, I believe she found her friend and her husband are similar.

I remember while visiting Central America they would explain that in that culture they are not so time oriented.  If a worship service is scheduled for 11:00 a.m., it just means that’s about when it starts.  But if everyone gets there at 10:45 it would start then.  But if something comes up it starts at 11:15.  I laughed and said I would love that but that would drive most everyone I know and love crazy.  That’s certainly how I approach my vacations.  I want to do X but I’ll do it when I get around to it.

Yet, I don’t choose to work in such a culture or environment because I appreciate the way the “J’s” of this world get things done.  Lesley being a “J” helps structure things at home.  Neither the Presbyterian Church or the USAF would look anything like it does today if “P’s” designed them – but I love serving in those environments.  The organizational skills of J’s let’s us make great use of the work that has been done before us.

But I know my success professionally and personally comes from my creative side.  It is how I sense what to preach, teach, and how to counsel.  It is how I have helped any number of places I have worked solve old problems in new ways.  I always say, “I like to color within the lines.  You don’t have to worry about me going outside of the lines.  But let me determine how I color.”

Have you taken the Myers-Briggs test?  How do you come out on the “J” and “P” scale?  How does your personality help you do to the things God has called you to do?  Are you the organizer?  If so, who is the creative person in your midst?  Are you creative?  Who is it that helps keep you on track?  How are the ways God has made you helpful to your family, friends, and co-workers?  Do you ever fall into the trap of being intollerant because you want others to be just like you?

Some food for thought.

All the best and In Christ,

Tom

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3 thoughts on “J or P?

  1. This is funny to me, because J and P are the two that I vary between. Sometimes, depending on my frame of mind, I’m a P. Usually though, I am a J. I like how you kind of show that creativity is possible still within the lines. It’s important to remember that.

  2. Hi.
    A lot of P’s are attracted to the military because it gives them that structure they naturally lack.

    Check out this ENFP:
    http://washingtonindependent.com/777/moving-up-the-ranks

    And a lot of J-types are attracted to P types because we give them
    that easy going feeling that they lack in their lives.

    But Ps aren’t lazy and unorganized (as you can see from 4 Star General
    Ann Dunwoody above) and Js aren’t all clean freaks that want to organize
    24/7. Type is a PREFERENCE and Ps can be organized while Js can be unorganized.
    P’s just happen to prefer to keep their options open with decision making more often than Js who like closure and quick decisions.

    More about Perceiving vs. Judging:
    http://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/mbti-basics/judging-or-perceiving.asp

    All the best!
    ENFP HAVEN – a type discussion group for ENFPs and Friends
    http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/enfp_haven/

    1. Thanks ENFP Haven. Great article. There is only one thing I’d want to slightly differ on. When you wrote that Ps are attracted to the military – while this is surely true for both the general in the article and myself, I don’t think it is the norm. As noted in the article, only 1% of the soldiers are her personality type.

      I love the fact that you’ve createdan ENFP haven. Maybe I can be an honorary member of the group since I sometimes score that (1/3 of the tests I’ve taken) and other times INFP (2/3rds of the time).

      All the best,

      Tom

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