Thursday, 12 April 2018

Knowing Myself is the Key to Knowing Others (Part Five)

Personality Models (Part I): The Four Temperament System

My first introduction to personality models is “The Four Temperament System.” Temperament refers to a person's nature, primarily as it permanently affects their behavior. In other words, it is the way a person is wired or configured at his or her core. This wiring is typically a result of both heredity and environmental factors, conditioning. Heredity is primarily smoothened or roughened out by the environment. 

My introduction to "The Four Temperaments" was through Tim and Beverly LaHaye's works, and in more recent times, Florence Littauer and Rose Sweet. This was developed by the Greek physician Hippocrates (460 – 370 BC) as part of an ancient medical concept – humorist. It associates body fluids (humors) with a person’s personality disposition – moods, emotions, and behaviors. 

The four primary temperaments and their traits are depicted below.

Temperament
Humor
Energy
Season
Phase
Traits
Sanguine
Blood
Outgoing
Summer
Adolescence
Enthusiastic; Active; Social; Curious; Creative; Optimistic; Spontaneous; Impulsive; Assertive; Goal-Oriented
Choleric
Yellow Bile
Outgoing
Spring
Youth
Independent; Decisive; Goal-oriented; Born Leaders; Fighters; Neglectful; 
Melancholic
Black Bile
Reserved
Fall
Middle Age
Analytical; Detail-oriented; Deep Thinker; Feeler
Phlegmatic
Phlegm
Reserved
Winter
Old Age
Relaxed; Peaceful; Quiet; Easy-going; Intuitive; Imaginative; Empathetic; Warm; Trusting; Considerate
"Without self knowledge, without understanding the working and functions of his machine, man cannot be free, he cannot govern himself and he will always remain a slave." (G.I. Gurdjieff)
It is important to note here, no one temperament trumps the other(s). Nor is one preferred over the other(s). They each have their own advantages (strengths) and disadvantages (weaknesses). The strengths come from each being just what they are, tools in our hands to gain mastery. The flaws come when we allow these to use us rather than we use them. 

The essence here is not to provide us with excuses but to challenge each other to the zenith of life and living. When we gain mastery and harness our temperament, we set ourselves up to live at the height of life. When we are negligent, careless and allow ourselves to be driven by these, we set ourselves up to operate no better than mere animals and miss our purpose.
"The immature man wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mature man wants to live humanely for one." (Wilhelm Stekel)
More like the ancient humorist implies, we each have the four (4) temperaments resident in us. What determines our temperament is the relative amount of each. The highest amount determines our primary, followed by the second highest, which becomes our secondary. The relative amount of the primary gives rise to varying intensities of its characteristics. 

Hence, we have classic (or high), moderate, and mild (or weak) examples of each. The effect of the secondary on the primary gives rise to additional twelve (12) distinctive temperament types as follows,

Temperament
Traits
Sanguine/Choleric
Negotiator / Marketer: Most Extraverted blend; People-person; Goal-oriented
Sanguine/Melancholic
Performer: Charismatic; Pleasant; Highly emotional
Sanguine/Phlegmatic
Relater: Extremely Happy and Carefree; Likable, Friendly, and Controlled
Choleric/Sanguine
Executive / Motivator: Second Most Extraverted combination; Practical; Active and Purposeful; Goal-oriented; Fearless
Choleric/Melancholic
Strategist: Most Task-oriented blend; Industrious, Capable and detailed; Very Competitive and Forceful; Vengeful; Interpersonal Relationship challenges
Choleric/Phlegmatic
Director: Organized; Good Planner; Individualistic; “Big picture” oriented; Tendency to Harbor Bitterness; Hard on self 
Melancholic/Sanguine
Diplomat: Excellent Teacher; Emotional; Fearful
Melancholic/Choleric
Trainer: Gentle; Loyal; Perfectionist; Driver; Difficult to please
Melancholic/Phlegmatic
Analyst: Great Scholars; Rigid; Stubborn; Shy; Reclusive
Melancholic/Phlegmatic/Choleric
Idealist: Systematic, Precise Thinker; Private
Phlegmatic/Sanguine
Harmonizer: Congenial; Happy; People-oriented; Laid-back; Superficial
Phlegmatic/Choleric
Inspector: Active Listener; Practical; Helpful; Patient; Dogged
Phlegmatic/Melancholic
Helper: Gracious; Gentle; Quiet; Thoughtful; Dependable; Value Harmonious Relationships
"Figure out who you are. Then do it on purpose." (Dolly Parton)
There might be a rare circumstance where all four humors are equally available in a person, just as there might be one in which three are predominant. That gives rise to additional five (5) distinctive temperaments. An example of these is as depicted below,

Temperament
Traits
Melancholic/Phlegmatic/Choleric
Idealist: Systematic, Precise Thinker; Private



There are several test tools available for determining one’s temperament. A few are provided below.

"Habit #5: Seek first to understand, then to be understood." (Stephen Covey)
“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” (Pierre Teilhard de Chardin) None of us has been here before. None of us came here knowing how to. We all can do with learning, growing, and becoming adept at the art of living, the human experience. 
"If a man is not faithful to his own individuality, he cannot be loyal to anything." (Claude McKay)
It is amazing how so predictable the human experience is. It is governed by laws and principles – truths that can be known and used to gain mastery. It is not a matter of how we feel. It is always a matter of how we weigh or reflect against the truth – life’s scale and mirror.

© 2018 Akin Akinbodunse.

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