Introduction to Temperament

The Golden Rule of Behavior:
Everyone is trying to get their needs met.

I was contacted by a very kind lady not long ago that had just finished obtaining a degree in Psychology. She had talked to a friend of mine about our approach around Emotional Biology using Temperament. On our first phone call, being that Temperament Theory is one of about nine approaches to explaining and working with behavior in psychology, I asked her what she knew of Temperament. She said she heard the term briefly, but could not recall anything more that was taught on it.

While being trained by educational institutions putting their stamp of approval on how to navigate the mental and emotional gauntlet of the human heart and mind, she realized as she neared the end that there wasn't much talk of anything substantially solid in terms of guidance. It bothered her that many would come for help, but there really wasn't any clear direction.

After an hour of chatting, not only did I say there were very clear traits and features guided by our Emotional Biology, but that in 10 minutes I could find exactly what hers are. In other words, I told her I could prove it - something not often heard in the field of psychology considering approaches are still theories.

Side note: One school psychologist said it would take 2 years to obtain with her approach what I could find in 10 minutes.

In another article, I mentioned that Temperaments were first compiled by a doctor, Hippocrates, which he labeled Four Humors.

Here's a brief description (remember this was put together almost 3,000 years ago):

  • Yellow bile is related to the choleric disposition and the qualities of hot and dry. It is associated with fire, summer, the gallbladder and childhood.

  • Black bile is related to the melancholic disposition and the qualities of cold and dry. It is associated with earth, winter, the spleen and old age.

  • Blood is connected to the sanguine disposition and the qualities of hot and moist. It is linked to air, spring, the heart and adolescence.

  • Phlegm is related to the phlegmatic disposition and the qualities of cold and moist. It is connected to water, the brain and maturity.

"Although these practices and the concept of the four humors may sound strange and unscientific today, these ideas represented the first step away from the predominantly supernatural view of sickness and a step toward a new idea that illness is related to the environment and what is going on inside the body." ~LiveScience (link below)

(Thank you LiveScience for the descriptions!)

We've come a long way since 460 BC.

There is a rapidly growing realization in the world that at the root of disease is dis-ease, indicated by something foundational, a catalyst of motivation.

It is Temperament that holds the key to why you do what you do.

The reason for its usefulness goes beyond Intelligence - but rather is supported by your Emotional awareness. Often intelligence demands facts and figures, data, logical information one can peruse at will (hence this article). Emotional study demands data from and about a different plane. The magic is bringing the two together - measuring the invisible and making it visible, relatable, applicable; pregnant with real data, facts, and figures.

One could argue that certain data has been available for years - Myers-Briggs (MBTI) and the Personality Profile Survey (PPS), also known as DiSC, offer popular insight into this invisible space of motivation. Utilized by many well-known companies, to say the results are "hit-and-miss" is an understatement. When was the last time you spoke with a company manager or leader who lauded the every day practicality and application of their Personality tools?

Both of these assessments (and others) are Personality assessments. They reveal the "objective" side, or, observable side of a person's Personality. Yet, personality is the most surface part of our invisible side.

Personality does not show us the real person, but rather the chosen mask an individual decides to portray, changeable at any time, for any reason, in any environment.

Additionally, Personality training is focuses on environmental variables upon evaluation. This is why there are multiple DiSC assessments, because what I show at work may be different than at home, than at church, than in front of my parents or children, etc. In fact, one could assess a new personality preference for every environment. No wonder it is problematic to nail down any sustainable process for true change using this information.

And most importantly, utilizing Personality, you will never know the real person behind the mask.

Utilizing an approach acknowledging Temperament, we can not only become aware of (and measure) a person's demonstrative side (observable behavior), but also their desired side (inner needs and desires).

This would allow people to have instant access to their invisible driving forces of behavior by looking at (possibly for the first time) the fundamental layer of your being. The best part of it is that it proves itself.

Your inner being is the radar for what is and what is not. When you are being coached to listen to your true self, trust your inner knowing, see the data in front of you, and putting concrete words to often confusing feelings, self confidence soars.

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