Lifestyle Is Designated in Our 4-Letter Type as “J” or “P”
The letters “J” and “P” are perhaps the most puzzling to many of us when we discover the four letters of our type. Each of us has one or the other of these letters in our type. Many years ago, they represented words that led to much confusion, so I will not discuss the past meanings here. Let’s use the letters, but let’s give them their proper interpretation so we can get off to a clear start in understanding what they represent: lifestyle.
The letters refer to our preferred lifestyle:
- We designate people who prefer a more structured lifestyle, who have lists and like to get things off their “lists,” and who like to come to closure on decisions as preferring a “J” lifestyle.
- For those who prefer a really “laid back” mode, who prefer to live “in-the-moment” rather than planning for the future or thinking about the past, and who put off making a decision until they absolutely have to, we use a “P” to designate their lifestyle.
The Lifestyle of the “J”
Dominant in the J is the feeling of urgency. Let’s get it done now. There is a fear of not getting things done and having the unfinished tasks back up and produce anxiety. This urgency is fed by the need to achieve, a sense of pride in work accomplished, the treasured sense of relief when progress is made, and the strong desire to be on time and not be further stressed by being late.
The “Js” can easily overdo these drives, creating tension, high blood pressure, and other issues, all of which raise the level of emotional strain. Emotions are easily seen in this lifestyle. Too much emotional pressure can drive the J prematurely to anger. It is often the anger of a threatened lifestyle.
The emotions of the “J” lifestyle seem to surge in the direction of achievement and getting all the tasks of life done. Peace is found in the completion of all needed details. However, this also means they can only realize peace in a structured life where it takes its place alongside all the other urgent demands.
The “P” Lifestyle
Those with the preference for the “P” lifestyle will be seen as really easy-going. They tend to be very playful and in no hurry to get ready for school or work — and in fact, are often late to meetings and events. They squeeze every last drop of excitement out of the present and do not want the past or concern for the future to interfere with the fun they are having at the moment. This moment is where they live! Don’t spoil it!
It’s an “easy” lifestyle. They are often playful, pleasant, and generous — especially the SPs. But when it comes to timely actions, planning for the future, saving money, or making decisions, you will have to take into account who they are. However, when you need someone to make tactical decisions, there are none better than the SPs (note the “P” that is part of their core temperament). So appreciate the “in-the-moment” character for the strength that it is.
When the “J” and the “P” Collide
People who have a “P” in their profile will tell those with a “J” in theirs that they are going to succumb to a heart attack early in life. And the “Js” will tell the “Ps” that they will never get anywhere because they cannot plan or prepare and follow through. While there are reasons to see some truth in each statement, neither is wholly true.
At the office, the “J” who does not have an understanding of temperament strengths is likely to be critical of the “P” as someone who lacks initiative and follow-through, is lazy, unable to make a decision, or is always late to meetings. The “P” at the office who does not understand temperament strengths is likely to criticize the “J” as too serious, pushy, or impatient.
In a home, the two often collide with disastrous results. One look at the image in this post is descriptive of one example.
The Solution to Opposing Lifestyle Conflicts
Answers to this conflict don’t seem easy, but they DO exist. The key is to learn the purpose of each lifestyle and what they contribute to our society, or your team, or your relationship. Appreciation for each of these “strengths” — and yes, both lifestyles are strengths — will go a long way to resolving the issues.
There is a time and a place for each, and when a person is using his or her strength in the appropriate setting, it benefits everyone. The key is to understand what each strength is designed for and build on that plan or blueprint. In-the-moment, tactical decisions have their place. A slower pace of action is desirable in some circumstances. Planning and preparation are necessary and needed in our society. They are the stuff that moves us forward. Each strength contributes positively when used appropriately and when appreciated for its purpose.
In intimate relationships, lifestyle is often something that attracted the two individuals. When they understand that and appreciate it again, committed individuals learn ways to overcome the frustration that opposing lifestyles produce.
What’s Your Lifestyle Preference?
You can take a further look at each of these two lifestyles in Lifestyle Is Part of Every Type. Are you a “P”? and Decision-Making Doesn’t Wait for the “J” Lifestyle.