To plan or not to plan.

planning action cartoon
This is a guest post by Stephan Wiedner.

Two flights, two kids, 16 hours of air travel and a 3-hour drive to our final beach-side destination. We tuck the kids in, flop down on our own bed, and whisper in exhaustion “we made it!”

The next morning I roll over with the sound of waves gently hitting the shore and smile at my wife. “Good morning,” she exclaims, “so, what’s the plan?”

What’s the plan??? We’re on holidays. The last thing I need is a plan.

Despite our many similarities, there is one way in which my wife and I are dramatically different: she is a planner and I am a go-with-the-flow kind of a guy.

Now, what the heck does this story have to do with earning more money in your job or career?

If you want to maximize your lifetime earnings (i.e. make more money) – whether you are looking for a job or wanting to move up in the career world – you need to know which one you are because planners make more money than go-with-the-flow types.

The MBTI Version of Planners & Go-With-The-Flow Types

If you’ve spent any time researching the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator (MBTI), you’ll know that there are four personality dimensions:

  1. Introversion vs Extroversion (I vs E)
  2. Sensing vs iNtuition (S vs N)
  3. Thinking vs Feeling (T vs F)
  4. Judging vs Perceiving (J vs P)

Diplomatic MBTI professionals are quick to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of each personality type (i.e. saying things like “Introverts are no better than extroverts. They are different.”) But what they don’t tell you is that the last dimension (J vs P) matters more than the others when it comes to earning money.

If you want to make money, it’s better to be a Judger than a Perceiver. published the chart below which displays the average household income of all 16 MBTI personality types. The most obvious observation from the chart is that ENTJs make the most money, by quite a margin. But it doesn't easily reveal the most shocking insight.

average household income 1

Using my limited graphic design hacking skills, I sliced and diced the original graph to group the Js and Ps together. After doing this, I immediately observed that the 6 highest income earners (ESFJs, ESTJs, ISTJs, ENFJs, ENTJs, and INTJs) are Js. The highest P income earners are ESTPs coming in at an unimpressive 7th place.

average household income 2

Further slicing and dicing the original graph, I grouped each of the 8 Js with their closest P companion. The Js out earn the Ps 7 times out of 8.

average household income 3

No other MBTI dimension can account for such income earning disparity.

What is the Difference Between Judgers and Perceivers?

Judgers tend to be organized and proceed in a linear manner. Perceivers tend to be more spontaneous and when they make todo lists, they don’t necessarily execute on them in a linear fashion.

For example, when you go on holidays, do you have your daily agenda carefully planned out (Judger) or do you like to wait until you get there and remain open to the spontaneous possibilities (Perceiver)?

When you have a goal, do you quickly make a todo list and execute on the plan (Judger)? Or do you prefer to take one step at a time, assessing your progress along the way (Perceiver)?

Hopefully by now, you already know if you lean toward being a J or a P.

If you want to have a more in-depth description of the difference between a Judger and a Perceiver, MBTI Consultant Hile Rutledge describes the different goal setting and decision making styles of Judgers and Perceivers in the following YouTube video.

As a Perceiver, How Can You Make More Money?

If you are a Judger, congratulations! You need to take that part of you and leverage it, especially when it comes to developing your income potential.

Think of it like this. If you were a sailboat, your ability to plan and organize the outside world is your sail. Make it as big as possible so it propels your boat forward, depositing money straight into the bank.

On the other hand, if you are a Perceiver and making money is important to you, then you will need to find other ways to propel your sailboat forward because your Judger sail might only be the size of a pillow case.

Here are 3 suggestions to help Perceivers make more money in their career:

1. Surround yourself with Judgers

Are you a team leader, manager, or business owner? Don’t just surround yourself with like minded Perceivers. Instead, make sure that at least some of the people that work for you are Judgers and can execute on the plan while you assess the progress along the way.

2. Work on your skills as a Judger

In her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Carol Dweck points out that the most successful people recognize that their skills and abilities are malleable. So too, is your ability to be more of a Judger even if your naturally inclination is to be a Perceiver.

For your next project, try making a list of action steps and following through in a linear manner. For the next month, use a day planner and write down your objectives every day. It might not come easy but the more you flex that muscle, the stronger it will get.

3. Hire a kick-ass accountability coach

If the burden of maintaining a plan overwhelms you, then offload that part of your success to a life or business coach that can hold you accountable. This will relieve you to do what you do best and earn a good income while you’re at it.

Any other ideas, observations, or suggestions for Judgers or Perceivers?

Please leave a comment below.

About the Author

stephan wiednerStephan Wiedner creates kick-ass accountability systems for solo entrepreneurs who want to forge a unique path in this world. He is also the founder of, the professional life coach directory. Connect with Stephan on Twitter or Google+.

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