Several years ago as part of my MBA, I undertook the Myers-Briggs personality questionnaire, normally a very reliable tool, whose results are more consistent over time than many other personality measures. The trouble was that when I completed it, my personality was in complete turmoil resulting from a change of job, change of house, and death of my father.
I wasn’t convinced by the results (one of the things that is consistent about me is that I like to (over) analyse everything.) I took the test again. And then again. Three results in the space of a month, with a different outcome each time!
The test measures against four criteria, each of which can be seen as a continuum, so for example Introvert/Extrovert. I am firmly in the introvert category, being well towards that end of the scale, whereas others who are seen as introvert may be just passed the halfway point. The description refers to the way in which I think (introverts mull things over to themselves, extroverts through interacting with others) rather than whether I’m a wallflower or diva.
I don’t recall the scores now, but I’m guessing that many of my results were balanced somewhere in the middle, and therefore more likely to tip either side of the divide during a retest.
The last of the four categories rates whether I prefer judging or perceiving in terms of how I make decisions and react to information from the outside world. My score put me as judging which is certainly true of my need for a structured and decided existence, and yet from a creativity perspective, one of the precepts that I espouse is living with looseness; keeping plans and decisions to a minimum to facilitate flexibility and responsiveness to change.
The judging score relates purely to my outward life, how I present myself to the world, and discounts what I may be feeling internally, so this perhaps explains some of my confusion.
Anyway, to the point! One of the ways in which the judging element is manifest is in a need to be punctual. I hate being late, to the point where I will often arrive ridiculously early for things such as flights, medical appointments, training courses and so on. This has been advantageous on many occasions when it has given me time to recover from potential disasters, but more often than not it just results in waiting around.
My friend J has a different take. Whenever we have met, she has been on time once (inevitably the time when I hit heavy traffic) but more often than not I arrive early and she arrives late giving me a window in which to get stressed and annoyed if I’m really a judge, or respond flexibly to the circumstances if a perceiver.
Yesterday was a case in point. I arrived about 10 minutes early, Jane was running late, and added to the delay by driving past the turn off to the bar we were meeting at. Navigation could be a whole other blog!
My reaction? Get out the camera, look around, find the opportunity to grab some images and think about a blog entry before Jane arrives to be greeted by the paparazzi. Judge… or Perceiver?