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Temperament: Understanding Why You Act the Way You Do

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Understanding your temperament or identifying your temperament and knowing why you act the way you do can be enormously helpful in your daily life; on the job, at home, and in your relationships. Mainly because your temperament influences everything you do, from your sleeping habits, to your eating habits and even how you relate with people. Once you know your temperament you gain an immediate insight into your natural strengths and weaknesses or struggles, your hot buttons, and your emotional tendencies. With this knowledge you get to improve your relationship with others, as you get to avoid emotionally debilitating situations. It also helps you get ahead in your career by avoiding work-related misstep by analysing your strengths and weaknesses or struggles and harnessing your strength towards achieving your goals. Most importantly, it helps you to understand yourself as you can better recognise what is good for you and you can avoid making poor life decisions.

What is Temperament?

Temperament is the combination of traits we inherited from our parents that subconsciously affects man’s behaviour. No one knows where it resides. Simply put, temperament can be best described or explained as your natural born trait. That thing in you that makes you introverted and shy and makes someone else extroverted or outgoing, what makes someone to go out and love parties and makes you stay home to watch Netflix and chill. Similarly, it is what makes you to be an art and music enthusiasts while it makes others sports or industry-minded. In short, your temperament determines how you act and why you act the way you do.

Understanding Why You Act the Way You Do

To understand why you act the way you do, you need to know your temperament. It is therefore safe to say that your temperament is the only influence upon your behaviour; which is why you act the way you do. Once you have a knowledge of this, it becomes easy for you to diagnose your own basic temperament and even others around you as well. Mainly because you would be better equipped to ascertain what vocational opportunities or career that is best suited for you and what natural weaknesses or struggles you must work on to keep you from short-circuiting your potential and creativity.

In light of this, there are four major types of temperament, namely;

  1. The Perfect Sanguine (Super-extrovert)
  2. The Powerful Choleric (Extrovert)
  3. The Perfect Melancholy (Introvert) and,
  4. The Peaceful Phlegmatic (Introvert)

Bear in mind that there are no bad temperament, as each temperament has its own strengths and weaknesses or struggles that forms a distinct part of our makeup throughout life. As you go through the temperament type one after the other, you would identify several of your friends in one or another of these temperament, and if you look carefully, you might even discover one that reminds you of yourself.

It’s possible for you to have more than one temperament but you would have one that is your primary temperament, while others are just to compliment you.

The Perfect Sanguine

Sanguines are the most extraverted of all the temperaments and they are the most versatile. They can be anything they want to be. They are active, such that they live in the present moment and enjoy it to the fullest. They are inquisitive or curious, such that they love asking questions and taking adventure plus they are risk takers. They love a spur-of-the-moment adventure, it could be travelling to a new city, meeting new people, or discovering a new idea. Anything a sanguine does, he does it with a trace of fun in it. They don’t do anything boring and cannot bear a boring environment.

Sanguines are also very friendly, barely hold grudges and energised by being with people, they love people. They are fun-loving because they are always up for something new, exciting and optimistic. They place a high value on kindness, and are generous. They are also very attentive to other people and also love attention. A sanguine tends to lift the spirits of everyone present in a room with them by their exuberant conversation. They are a fascinating storyteller and their warm, emotional nature almost helps you relive the experience as they tell it. When they talk they like to exaggerate a lot and tend to give too much information. They are the kind of people that are touchy when they have conversations with you. They are very loud in their dressing and love bright colours.

In terms of career path, Sanguines excel mostly in marketing, sales, entrepreneurship, communications, and social media. Although they are very versatile hence they can excel in almost anything.

Just like every temperament, the sanguine have their strengths and weaknesses/struggles. Below are some of their strengths and weaknesses/struggles.

Some of the Sanguine Strengths include the following.

  1. They love people and they make friends easily.
  2. Affectionate, eager to please and forgiving.
  3. They are not judgmental, usually accepting of people.
  4. Imaginative and creative, and are often the one who enthusiastically promotes new ideas on the job.
  5. Does not hold grudges, always quick to forgive and forget
  6. Have a great sense of humour.
  7. Enjoy social activities.
  8. Enthusiastic about everything and very optimistic.

Some of their Weaknesses/ struggles are as follows.

  1. Very egotistical, love attention and likes to show off.
  2. Very disorganized and usually don’t plan things ahead.
  3. Weakness of will and lack of discipline, which makes it easy for them to look deceitful, dishonest and undependable. For instance they can be undisciplined especially with food and money.
  4. Gets bored easily.
  5. Tend to forget obligations not because they want to because they are very forgetful.
  6. They exaggerate a lot.
  7. Very unstable, for instance, as quickly as they discover a new hobby or pursuit, they can also lose interest. They change their moods often (from laughter to tears in a matter of seconds).
  8. They can be easily distracted, struggle with follow-through, and are sometimes accused of being superficial.
  9. No one can you love more and forget you faster than a sanguine.
  10. They can talk people into their way of thinking which earn them the reputation of the world greatest con artist.
  11. Commonly have a great appeal for the opposite sex and usually face a lot of sexual temptations more than the other types of temperament.

The Powerful Choleric

Like the sanguine, the choleric is also an extrovert but not as intense as the sanguine. The choleric are the most productive out of all the four temperaments. They are the goal getters that does not engage in aimless activity. They mostly don’t care about people’s feelings or emotions, which makes it very difficult for people to get along with them. They want to be the best in everything and have the best of everything. They are extremely ambitious. Everything in life is a competition to them, that their slogan is ‘if you can get it, so can I.’ Cholerics thrive on challenges and they are result driven individuals, they like to lead and their eyes are trained to see a solution when there is a problem.

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They are the best kind of people to put in marketing, as they love targets and they are very goal oriented. They are very decisive and powerful that they hardly ask for people’s opinion before making a decision because they believe that they are always right. If a choleric person asks for your opinion before making a decision, they are only asking to be polite. As they already know what they want to do.

A choleric is confident and good in quick decision making, they like to take risk and are self-reliant. They have strong passions, an impulse to dominate others thereby becoming their superior and making them subservient. They reflects little appreciation for music and the fine arts unless their secondary temperament traits are those of the melancholy.

Below reflects the strengths and weaknesses/struggles of a choleric.

Some of these are the strengths of a choleric.

  1. They don’t give up, their mantra is literally, ‘we die there.’
  2. Fearless and courageous.
  3. Problem solver.
  4. They understand team dynamics, they delegate easily.
  5. They don’t get tired.
  6. They always set and achieve goals.
  7. Very energetic and highly productive.
  8. Often times they become very successful in their profession, working diligently in spite of obstacles.
  9. Self-sufficient and very independent.

Their Weaknesses/ Struggles are as follows.

  1. Very domineering, it’s either their way or no way.
  2. Very opinionated, they believe that they are always right and they like to consider their faults worthy of praise.
  3. Very stubborn and likes to think they have an opinion on everything.
  4. Very unsympathetic: Their emotional nature is the least developed part of their temperament as they do not sympathise easily with others nor do they naturally show or express compassion.
  5. Often embarrassed or disgusted by the tears of others and they are usually insensitive to other people’s needs. Does not understand sleep. They sleep very badly.
  6. Very competitive and can be impatient.
  7. Very arrogant and very aggressive. Often times they can result into violence when provoked especially when they don’t learn to control their anger.
  8. Upon humiliation the choleric feels hurt, resulting in anger, deceit, and judgements towards others.
  9. They are likely to have many enemies.

The Perfect Melancholy

The melancholy are introvert by nature but since their feelings predominate, they are given to a variety of moods; mostly known as mood swings. Sometimes it would lift them to heights of ecstasy that cause them to act more extroverted. However, at other times they could be gloomy and depressed, and during these periods they become withdrawn and can be quite antagonistic. They are one of the most gifted and most creative out of all the four temperament. They are the ones that gives us the music, write books, fashion and style. In short they have flair for music and fine art. They are artistic by nature. The melancholy are very critical people, perfectionist and they have an eye for solving problem. However, they are not risk takers like the sanguine. They are planners and so they like organising things in a certain way. A melancholy is driven by laws and principles and they are idealist. They are the set of people that always obey rules and regulations set in place by any form of authority.

Melancholy are very private people and they are not quick to allow people in mainly because they are naturally suspicious of people, hence they take a long time before warming up to you. Unlike the sanguine they don’t make friends easily but when they do they are usually faithful. They are very compassionate people, mostly on the inside for they don’t show it on their face as they find it difficult to express their true feelings. Although they have a strong desire to be loved by others. Similarly, they are also very sensitive, they tend to look at peoples face when talking and they are always the first to notice things.

The following are the strengths of a melancholy.

  1. Very analytical.
  2. They work well alone because they believe someone cannot do the job the exact way they want.
  3. Very organised.
  4. Deep thinkers.
  5. They like artistic beauty.
  6. Very dependable, they hardly let people down because of their perfectionist and conscientious tendencies.
  7. In a mood of emotional ecstasy or inspiration, they may produce some great work of art or genius.
  8. They are excellent counsellors to friends, encouragers, give great affirmation when necessary.
  9. They are trustworthy and genuine.
  10. Always willing to make extreme sacrifices for the sake of others

Their Weaknesses/ Struggles includes the following.

  1. Afraid of taking risks and avoid taking risk.
  2. Afraid of making wrong decisions.
  3. Afraid of been seen as incompetent and that is why they plan things ahead a lot of times.
  4. They like a structured life.
  5. They are perfectionist which keeps them from doing anything unless it is perfect.
  6. Very hard to please.
  7. They tend to be loners and like to throw a lot of pity party.
  8. Can be very hard on themselves.
  9. Usually hot tempered which comes out in violence sometimes and they can be very unreasonable in their anger.
  10. Very bad at delegation because they believe nobody can do the work better than them.
  11. Very self-critical, pessimistic and negative.
  12. They hate injustice.
  13. They find it hard to forgive, hence can be very revengeful.
  14. They usually experience mood swings and their face looks stern almost all the time.
  15. Intolerant and impatient with those who do not see things their way.

The Peaceful phlegmatic

The phlegmatics are the most lovable and likeable out of all the temperament because they are very calm and laid back plus they allow you to have your way. They never get upset. They are accommodating and easy going people. Very agreeable as they do not like quarrel and fight. They like peace. Phlegmatics are very good on the outside but they have really terrible weaknesses on the inside. They usually don’t say no or say yes but they go ahead to do whatever they like or wants to do. Hence they are stubborn but because of their quiet nature it can be hard to tell. They like comfort and so they need a lot of external push or motivation to get them to do something and they might still not do it at the end of the day. Phlegmatic are good listeners and very diplomatic. They appreciate fine arts and the beautiful things of life just like the melancholy.

Below are some of the Strengths of a phlegmatic.

  1. They are steady and reliable.
  2. Handle pressure well.
  3. Very loyal.
  4. They can adapt to change easily although they don’t like change.
  5. They have very few enemies.
  6. They like to make people feel comfortable.
  7. Very efficient and organised.
  8. Objective.
  9. Not easily offended.
  10. Practical and humorous.

Their Weaknesses/ Struggles includes the following.

  1. They hate change.
  2. They avoid conflict at all cost.
  3. Very indecisive.
  4. Very stubborn but because they are peaceful people it takes time to detect.
  5. They lack a sense of urgency hence they are lazy and neglect duties.
  6. Very hard to get them to do anything and they are masters in procrastination.
  7. Very fearful and self-preserving.
  8. They lie out of fear.
  9. They love leisure, and are often unmotivated to work.

As stated earlier it is possible that you have one or two temperament but one would be your primary temperament while the others act as your secondary temperament.


Marissa (author) from Nigeria on August 09, 2020:

Thank you Tayo and Umesh. I'm glad you both found it informative. Thanks for reading!

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on August 09, 2020:

Very informative and well presented.

Tayo on August 06, 2020:

Nice one, (As stated earlier it is possible that you have one or two temperament but one would be your primary temperament while the others act as your secondary temperament). Thanks for adding this.

Marissa (author) from Nigeria on August 04, 2020:

Thank you Topps for your kind comment. Thank you for reading.

Topps on August 04, 2020:

Thanks for the explicit description of why we act the way we do.

Marissa (author) from Nigeria on August 04, 2020:

Thank you kin-kin!

Kin-kin on August 04, 2020:

Lol wow. Hmmmmm nice work dear

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