No two people are exactly alike. Even identical twins can have very different personalities, and different definitions of happiness and success. Each of us has a unique temperament; a set of personality traits that reflect our attitudes, values and talents. Temperament is the interaction of communication and action – what we say and what we do. Tapping into these traits, and the traits of others, can help to improve personal relationships, find a dream job, and accomplish life goals. Whether striving for financial success or looking for a soul mate, recognizing unique qualities, shortcomings and strengths is a valuable tool. This self awareness inspires personal growth and improves relationships with others.
Through extensive research of human behavior, we identified mankind’s four basic temperaments as the Artisan, the Guardian, the Rational, and the Idealist. Which one fits your personality? Are you a loyal, cautious Guardian, on whom everyone relies to keep things running smoothly? A free-spirited Artisan, living in the moment and believing anything is possible? Or a warm-hearted Idealist, who prizes meaningful relationships and seeks self awareness? You may even be that rarest of temperaments, a Rational. Making up as little as 5 percent of the population, a Rational personality thrives on analyzing how systems work, then striving to make them work better. Influential thinkers such as Albert Einstein, Marie Curie and Walt Disney may be rare, but they are fearless innovators.
Communication style is determined by temperament, influencing both professional and personal relationships. A Concrete Communicator is most comfortable discussing tangible reality; family, home, facts and figures. An Abstract Communicator is always asking, “Why?” or “What if?” If this describes your personality traits, you are more concerned with theories, philosophies and possibilities. In short, Concrete people talk about reality, Abstract people talk about ideas.
Temperament also dictates actions; how we overcome challenges and accomplish goals. Again, there are two distinct types of actions. The efficient Utilitarian personality doesn’t get bogged down by rules and paperwork; he makes a pragmatic beeline for those actions that get results. The Cooperative personality is more concerned with right and just behavior; an action’s effectiveness is secondary.
These two behaviors can overlap, certainly, but as they lead their lives, Utilitarian people instinctively do what works; Cooperative people do what’s right. Recognizing the difference is key to self awareness.
As Concrete Cooperators, Guardians speak of duties and responsibilities. They obey laws and follow the rules. Concrete Cooperators prize experience; they know what worked in the past, and see no reason to fix that which is not broken.
As Abstract Cooperators, Idealists speak mostly of possibilities, always trying to reach their goals without compromising a personal code of ethics.
As Concrete Utilitarians, Artisans speak of things that are in front of them, doing whatever works, even if it means bending the rules.
As Abstract Utilitarians, Rationals are problem solvers who might ignore arbitrary rules and conventions in order to achieve a goal.
This is the first in a series of articles to help accomplish goals and gain self awareness through understanding of personal temperament. Next time: Guardian personalities