Meta programs

Judging Perceiving – Controlling our World

The Judging Perceiving scale relates to how we adapt to life. It is about the kind and level of control we seek to gain. It is not about judgment as criticism.


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A preference for judging is about making the most of our circumstances and resources. Its focus is on taking action to make things better or different. When judging, we make life adapt to us.

It is about ordering, structuring and controlling events. It creates a strong need for order, closure, the setting and maintaining of boundaries and clear categories. This is not always a good thing and can result in a drive to make a premature decision. This orientation can also be quite stressful and detrimental to personal relationships. These preferences are strongly connected to how we see time.

Relationship to Time

A judging preference relates to a meta program NLP calls “thru time” and its ordered, sequential structure. It helps them stay focused on the outcome. One of the easiest ways to make a switch to a perceiver pattern therefore is to change the time line from thru time to in time.


A preference for perceiving on the other hand seeks to understand life on its own terms, to adapt to our current circumstances. Its focus is on witnessing and observing, joining and integrating. This is a much gentler, kinder and more ecological approach to life, but also more passive.

It is about keeping options open, spontaneity, freedom and acceptance, and resists limits, order and structure. It feels constrained by rules. This can result in patterns of learned helplessness, and difficulty with deciding, evaluating and taking a stand. Keeping options open can result in missed opportunities for action.

Relationship to Time

Perceiving is associated most frequently with what NLP calls in time and therefore more associated with flexibility, spontaneity and creativity. One of the easiest ways to switch a perceiver pattern is therefore to change from an in time to thru time.

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