Saturday, 28 April 2018

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

Personality Models (Part 2): The Four Elements
Fifty years prior to Hippocrates, Empedocles (444 BC),  an ancient Greek philosopher from Akragas (a city in Sicily), postulated all matter is made of four (4) primary elements: Fire, Earth, Air, and Water. This was a pervasive belief in ancient Greece, with Aristotle (325 BC) adding a fifth element: aether (also called, quintessence) to explain heavenly bodies. This formed the cornerstone of Philosophy, Science and Medicine, and aligns with the four (4) states of matter in modern science: solid (earth), liquid (water), gas (air), and plasma (fire). Empedocles believed these elements determine personality types by the way they interact and gain structure through the operation of Love and Strife. Below is a summary of the elements and their personality traits.
Fire (The Wizard, Comedian, Activator)
Traits
Forceful; Energetic; Adventurous; Ambitious; Achiever; Risk-Takers; Brave; Confident; Charismatic; Enthusiastic; Passionate; Motivated; Inspirational; Intuitive; Optimistic; Social; Dislikes Routine 
Weaknesses
Arrogant; Exaggerate; Short-tempered; Proud; Aggressive; Critical; Crave for Power and Control
Typical Profession
Soldier, Salesperson, Rescue Worker, Performing Artist, Entertainer, Motivational Speaker
Examples
Jim Carrey; Ellen Degeneres
Synopsis
Fire represents energy, a tool for transformation, connection to personal power, and inner strength. The Fire person commits fully to whatever his/her passion is

Water (The Philosopher, Unifier)
Traits
Emotional; Compassionate; Caring; Generous; Romantic; Candid; Creative; Objective; Great Listener; Articulate; Introspective; Transparent; Flexible; Self-contained; Self-sufficient; Private; Mysterious; Clever
Weaknesses
Fearful; Lack of Self-Restraint; Affinity for Physical Pleasures; Addiction; Depression; Sensitive
Typical Profession
Artist; Musician; Counsellor; Religious Figure; Mortician; Caretaker; Poet; Health Worker
Examples
Nicholas Cage
Synopsis
Water represents emotional release, intuition, and inner reflection. The water people feel first and foremost. They represent the emotional side of human life. They dive deep into the depths of life. The word “hurry” is not in their vocabulary. They take in everything around them, and can get lost in life and overwhelmed by the details
Personality begins where comparison ends (Karl Lagerfeld)
Earth (The Peacemaker, Stabilizer)
Traits
Grounded; Predictable; Dependable; Structured; Methodical; Orderly; Deliberate; Practical; Compliant; Patient; Attentive; Considerate; Supportive; Sympathetic; Agreeable; Tolerant; Sociable; Nester; Nurturer; Love Commitments  
Weaknesses
Crave comfort and lack of effort; Uncomfortable with Change and Risk
Typical Profession
Farmer; Gardener; Engineer; Artisan; Homemaker; Nanny; Banker; Manufacturer
Examples
Pope Francis
Synopsis
Earth represents grounding, the foundation of life, substance, connecting life path, and family roots. The Earth person cares about what is real, physical, and experiential. They learn by doing. They love to touch - a hug or a pat on the back is their favorite mode of communication 


Air (The Clarifier, Thinker)
Traits
Visionary; Creative; Communicator; Innovative and Outspoken; Logical; Charming
Weaknesses
Tend toward meaningless chatter, Gossip, Flattery and Deceit. May have a hard time sticking to routine and order
Typical Profession
Writer; Philosopher; Economists; Politicians; Scholar; Teacher; Communicator; Theorist; strategist
Synopsis
Air represents intellect, mental intention, and connection to universal life force. The Air person thinks before he feels, and sometimes thinks instead of feeling. They represent the mental side of human nature, and tend to be disdainful of those who don’t operate by reason, because they can elaborate on the reasons behind everything they think or do or believe
The only people we can think of as normal are those we don't yet know very well. (Alain de Botton)
A slight variation of "The Four Elements" is "The Five Elements" theory from Chinese Taoist cosmology: Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, and Wood. It excludes the Air element, but includes two new elements - Wood and Metal. Below are the characteristics of the Wood and Metal personality types.
Wood (The Doer, Pioneer, Warrior)
Traits
Bold; Fearless; Driven; Strong; Confident; Ambitious; Assertive; Direct; Decisive; Competitive; Stable; Perfectionist; Logical; Reasonable; Independent, and Unapologetic
Weaknesses
Anger
Examples
Simon Cowell
Synopsis
They enjoy debates and arguments and are not easily swayed by other’s opinions. Once they make up their minds, there is little that can convince them that someone else’s opinion is right. They are Type A people who seek out challenges and do well under pressure

Metal (The Alchemist)
Traits
Rational; Organized; Methodical; Self-Controlled; Disciplined; Meticulous; Routine; Reserved; Discerning; Scrupulous; Honorable; Brave; Urge to Win; Authoritative; Resolute; Firm 
Weaknesses
Possessive; Acquisitive; Domineering
Examples
Angelina Jollie; Victoria Beckham
Synopsis
The Metal person is a master at meeting life where it is at and rising above it. Metal people like definition, structure and discipline; they seek to live according to reason and principle. They tend to be pleasant but cool. Their lives are designed to keep their feelings in
If you don't acknowledge differences, it's as bad as stereotyping or reducing someone. (Aasif Mandvi)
You need not ask any more where the popular idiom, "being in one's element," came from, nor what it really means. Again, we need to sound a note of warning here. These are simply tendencies. They do not necessarily have a life of their own. The life they have is that which we give to them through our response-ableness or the lack thereof. The weaknesses flow from a person being negligent, and hence is reacting to events and circumstances. The strengths comes when we proactively engage life in/from our element, driving it towards a predetermined, desired end.

Just as with The Four Temperaments System, there are combination personality types here also, with primary and secondary elements. Below is a quick comparison of the two personality models.

Element
Temperament
Energy
Season
Phase
Air
Sanguine
Outgoing
Summer
Adolescence
Fire
Choleric
Outgoing
Spring
Youth
Earth
Melancholic
Reserved
Fall
Middle Age
Water
Phlegmatic
Reserved
Winter
Old Age
Wood
Choleric
Outgoing
Spring
Youth
Metal


Autumn

Below are links to a few Personality Tests for the 4 and 5 Elements models.

One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood. (Lucius Annaeus Seneca)

Other References:
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