*Sigh* The Phlegmatic in me isn’t motivated to do another post….
I said in an earlier post that if later if I were bored, I would do a post about the 5 love languages, the 5 languages of apology, and Personality Plus. Well, it’s later, and I’m bored.
All of the concepts together are too vast and complicated to put in one post, so I’ll just pick one concept and try to uncover the tip of the iceberg. Since I mentioned Phlegmatic in the title, I’ll stick with Personality Plus. Of course, reading the book by Florence Littauer will give you a more rounded perspective. I’m just giving a brief explanation.
Basically what Personality Plus tries to teach is that there are 4 different personality types in human beings. The Popular Sanguine, The Perfect Melancholy, The Powerful Choleric, and the Peaceful Phlegmatic. Usually, people exhibit a combination of 2 of these, one being stronger than the other.
Popular Sanguine is talking, Perfect Melancholy is thinking, Powerful Choleric is doing, and Peaceful Phlegmatic is watching.
Here’s a brief exerpt from Personality Plus that will help explain what a each of them are.
“Popular Sanguine is off swinging on a star, bringing moonbeams home in a jar. Popular Sanguine loves the fairy tales of life and wants to live happily ever after. The typical Popular Sanguines are emotional and demonstrative, they make work into fun, and they all love to be with people. Popular Sanguines see excitement in each experience and repeat the flavor of each occasion in color descriptions. Popular Sanguines are outgoing and optimistic…. Popular Sanguines always expect the best.”
There are of course, weaknesses to the Sanguine temperment. When it says ‘repeat the flavor of each occasion in colorful descriptions’ that also means that when Sanguines tell a story, they’re prone to exaggerate, almost to the point of lying, in order to make the story more lively and entertaining. Their bubbly personality and charisma draws people in, but they have to be careful they don’t go too far. They aren’t very reliable in making and keeping appointments. Sanguines are very talkative; you can easily pinpoint a Sanguine in a group by locating the one who’s talking the loudest and telling the most entertaining stories.
Then there’s the Perfect Melancholy:
“Even as a baby the Perfect Melancholy appears to be thinking deeply. He is quiet, undemanding, and likes to be alone. He follows schedules right from the beginning and will respond best to a parent who is well organized. Noise and confusion will bother him, and he will not adapt well to being dragged around to different places and having his routine upset.
“As adults Perfect Melancholies are the thinkers. They are people who are serious of purpose, dedicated to order and organization, and appreciative of beauty and intellect. They don’t dash off in search of excitement but analyze the best plan for their lives….
“Where Popular Sanguine is an extrovert, Perfect Melancholy is an introvert. Where Popular Sanguine loves to talk and throw everything out in the open, Perfect Melancholy is deep, quiet, and thoughtful. Where Popular Sanguine views life through rose-colored glasses, Perfect Melancholy is born with a pessimistic nature, and foresees problems before they happen and counts the cost before building. Perfect Melancholies always want to get to the heart of the matter. Perfect Melancholy doesn’t take things at face value, but digs into the inner truths.”
Some of the weaknesses of the Perfect Melancholy is that they’re very sensitive and very emotional. They are usually the doom-and-gloom pessimists of the world that nobody necessarily likes to hang out with. Their feelings are easily hurt and they seem insecure, having a low self-image. It’s unfortunate because Perfect Melancholies have the greatest potential for success, but tend to be their worst enemies.
Then you have the Powerful Choleric.
“Powerful Choleric is the dynamic person who dreams the impossible dream and aims to reach the unreachable star. He feels, like Robert Browning, ‘A man’s reach must exceed his grasp or what’s a heaven for?’ Powerful Choleric is always aiming, reaching, succeeding. While Popular Sanguine is talking and Perfect Melancholy is thinking, Powerful Choleric is achieving. He is the easiest temperament to understand and get along with, as long as you live by his golden rule: ‘Do it my way NOW!
“Powerful Cholerics are similar to Popular Sanguines in that they are both outgoing and optimistic. Powerful Choleric can communicate openly with people, and he knows everything will turn out all right-as long as he’s in charge. He gets more done than other temperaments, and he lets you know clearly where he stands. Because Powerful Choleric is goal oriented and has innate leadership qualities, he usually rises to the top in whatever career he chooses. The majority of our political leaders are primarily Powerful Choleric.
“Powerful Cholerics not only like to achieve goals, but they thrive on opposition. If Popular Sanguines set out to accomplish a task, and someone says it can’t be done, they thank the person profusely- and quit. Perfect Melancholies regret the time they’ve spent in planning and analyzing. But tell Powerful Cholerics it’s impossible, and it just whets their appetite”
The weaknesses of the Powerful Choleric are painfully obvious; they’re bossy, have little need for friends, are compulsive workers, look down on everyone as ‘idiots’, and are always right. They feel guilty if they relax, and must realize they’re heart attack candidates if they don’t take a break. They like to argue and cause trouble, they tend to manipulate people, they don’t see any weaknesses in themselves, and don’t know how to apologize well. In his mind, saying ‘I’m sorry’ is a sign of weakness, when it’s actually a sign of humility when you apologize sincerely.
And last, but not least, the Peaceful Phlegmatic.
“Peaceful Phlegmatic is the easiest of all temperaments to get along with. From the beginning, little Peaceful Phlegmatic babies are blessings to their parents. they will be delightful to have around; they will be happy wherever they’re placed, and they will tolerate a flexible schedule. They like friends, but are happy to be alone. Nothing seems to bother them, and they love to watch people pass by…
“Peaceful Phlegmatic is the closest there is to being an balanced person: one who does not function in the extremes or exceses of life, but walks solidly down the middle road, avoiding conflict and decision on either side. The Peaceful Phlegmatic person does not offend, does not call attention to himself, and quietly does what is expected of him without looking for credit. While Powerful Choleric is the ‘born leader’, Peaceful Phlegmatic is the ‘learned leader’ and with proper motivation can rise to the top because of his outstanding ability to get along with everyone. While Powerful Choleric wants to run everything, Peaceful Phlegmatic tends to hold back until asked and is never pushy…Peaceful Phlegmatic never wants to cause trouble and will quietly accept the status quo rather than ask for a change.
“One of the most admirable traits of Peaceful Phlegmatic is his ability to stay calm in the eye of a storm. Where Popular Sanguine screams, Powerfu Choleric lashes out, and Perfect Melancholy sinks down, Peaceful Phlegmatic rides cool. He backs up and waits a minute, and then moves quietely in the right direction. Emotion doesn’t overwhelm him; anger doesn’t enter his heart. ‘It’s just not worth getting upset over’ he muses. ”
Because Peaceful Phlegmatic’s strenghts are low-key, it’s weaknesses are also low key. The Peaceful Phlegmatic’s greatest strength is his lack of obvious weaknesses. But they do have weaknesses; they’re not easily excited, they resist change, they seem lazy and procrastinate, they have a quiet will of iron, and are indecisive.
This is of course a poor representation of what you can learn when you read the book, so again, I heartily recommend you buy a copy and read it. It’s a tool that teaches you how to better understand people by understanding yourself.
Here’s a link for an free online Personality Plus Test: http://lynn_meade.tripod.com/id139.htm
Now, do NOT take these concepts and use them as an excuse to get away with anything you want. “Oh I’m a Choleric. It’s who I am to blah blah blah. It’s acceptable to do that, so you shouldn’t criticize me.” Or “I’m a Phlegmatic. It’s my nature to not be motivated. So don’t expect anything other than my nature.” NOOOOO!! When you do that, you’re missing the point!! The point of the book is to teach you how to better relate to people and shows you the weaknesses YOU struggle with. Once you know your weaknesses, you have a responsibility to correct them. This is encompassed in “working out your salvation in fear and trembling”. You’ll never be able to overcome your weaknesses on your own, which is why we must rely on God to perfect us in His timing.
Also do NOT let this knowledge give you the big head. A friend of mine’s mother is the one who originally introduced me to these concepts, and I’ve noticed that in her particularly, she uses this knowledge to psycho-analyze everyone. It’s like when she figures out that you’re a so and so, she can predict every decision you make and knows why you do everything you do. I don’t think that’s fair. Nobody is going to act EXACTLY the way it’s spelled out in Personality Plus. We are all different and unique, and a book cannot tell you who you are. Only God can do that. Now, she might not be meaning to do that at all, in which case I apologize, but that’s the way I feel about psycho-analyzing people. 😉
Anyway, I hope this was somehow enlightening to either your weaknesses or of strenghts of people around you. 🙂