When one thinks about personality tests these days, the most talked about is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), which is almost a benchmark that most of the corporate world uses to assess future employees. There are also various pop-quizzes available online or on Facebook that seem to tell what colour are you or what celebrity you are. The essence of all these quizzes and tests are something that is innate in humans, which is the curiosity to know about oneself. And this is not a recent phenomenon as in this post I will talk about one of the oldest personality tests that we came up with. It’s called the Temperament test.
What is Temperament?
Before I trace the origins of this test, you must have heard the word Temperament and may even have some vague understanding of it. The loosest meaning one associates it with is with one’s mood. But there’s more to it that meets the eye. Temperament, apart from being our attitude towards life, is an essential part of the overall personality that describes the initial state from which personality develops and links individual differences in overall behaviour. The study of temperament, Rothbart has argued, is old as Hindu Upanishads and as recent as studies on molecular genetics (Rothbart, 2006).
Greek Origins – Temperament Test
The origins of this test lie way back in the Graeco-Roman era. The Greek physician Hippocrates came up with the concept of four temperaments – Sanguine, Phlegmatic, Choleric, and Melancholic (which I will discuss in detail in a bit), which was a part of his overall work on humorism. The theory relies on the balance of our bodily fluids and any dominance of one resulting in the overall health of the person. The four bodily fluids that Hippocrates talked about are – Blood, Phlegm, Yellow Bile, and Black Bile.
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Galen, a physician, further using these bodily humors and named the personality types according to their respective dominance.
- Sanguine – Blood
- Phlegmatic – Phlegm
- Choleric – Yellow Bile
- Melancholic – Black Bile
From this conceptualisation came the oldest personality test, the Four temperaments test. It has had an influence on later formulations of tests like Carl Jung’s inspired MBT. Now, let’s discuss each personality type in detail.
Sanguine – The Adventurer
As the bodily fluid dominant in this type is blood, signifying a desire for adventure, the people belonging to this type are usually adventurous, fun loving and always craving for people’s attention. Sanguine personalities are optimists, buoyant, carefree, and cannot tolerate getting bored. They constantly crave things to do and cannot sit idle.
This attribute means that a person with a sanguine personality can be a great artist. They are also great entertainers as they are the life of a conversation and of the party. The ideal activities for this type of person are travelling, going to social events, and also unplanned plans. They also love working with others so best career for them would be which where close connectivity with people is the norm. More concrete examples of jobs would be marketing, fashion and interior designing, and even sports
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Phlegmatic – The Social Butterfly
People with this temperament type are very social. They are a people person and love maintaining interpersonal harmony with them. They are also loyal and tend to maintain relationships – be it friends or family – for most of their lives.
Phlegmatic people would go to great lengths to avoid getting involved in a conflict. They also like to help other and indulge in charity work. They may usually like doing volunteer work during their free time. Examples of jobs for phlegmatic personalities include nursing, counselling, social work, and teaching.
Choleric – The Aspirant
Choleric people are goal oriented and love being organised. They are extremely pragmatic and straightforward when it comes to real life situations. Due to their high levels of pragmatism, they sometimes are not the best companions.
They love a challenge and are highly disciplined. They are able to think logically and do not let emotions influence their decisions. They love having meaningful conversations with like-minded people. Ideal work environments for them would be engineering, data analyst, programming, and also entrepreneurship.
Melancholic – The Thinker
Lastly, people belonging to the Melancholic personality type are reserved but very knowledgeable. They love working alone as they perform the best when they are by themselves. They are, as the name suggests, very thoughtful and considerate when it comes to problems of the people.
They are also very creative and self-reliant, as they hardly require anybody’s help in their work. The downside that may happen to these attributes is that one can get obsessive over little things which may have a negative influence on others. Ideal jobs for people like these are accounting, research analyst, writer, artist etc.
In Conclusion – Harry Potter and the Four Temperaments
Before I finish off, a quick example from the world of popular culture and how the four temperaments can still be considered relevant when it comes to personality types. In the book, and later in the films, students at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry during initial orientation, as it were, are sorted via a magical hat. The magical hat divides the students into four houses. Each house can be considered the four temperaments here.
The Gryffindor house represents the people who are courageous and ambitious, signifying the Sanguine type. Students who are studious and love details represent the Ravenclaw house. Whereas house Slytherin represents students who are cunning and shrewd can be considered to represent the Choleric personality. And Hufflepuff house represents students who are loyal and trustworthy, which are similar characteristics of the Phlegmatic personality. So, think about it, which wizard house you belong to? The answer may surprise you!
Till then cheers and be awesome!
Rothbart, Mary K., ” Temperament, Development, and Personality“. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 2007: Vol. 16, pg. 207
Have you ever asked yourself, what is an education? Many people will answer that education is a. going to school; b. getting good marks, and c. eventually getting a degree that would end up getting you a job.
That is usually the understanding one has of it, no matter where you live in the world. Parents and peers alike tell you, and at times coerce you, to follow this educational setup in the society. But what if I tell you that this understanding of education is a narrow one, confined to the walls of a classroom.
I will tell you the story of education that is beyond and outside these walls. An education where marks are not the only markers of progress but overall personality development is.
An education where degrees are not important but experiencing the varying dynamics of life is. An education where there is no notion of failing as each moment is a learning experience which helps you be a better person.
Failing Behind Closed Doors
I remember during my years throughout school, I used to dread the idea of failing an exam. It’s a dread that we all have, even though we don’t know why failing is seen as such a huge deal. And then I ended up failing my 12th exam.
Little did I know that failing that exam would change the way I look at life and how I came to know about an alternative understanding of education. I stopped going to school after that as I took a break from walled education. I started to explore myself and also started to explore life in the outside world.
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Education 2.0 – Beyond the Classroom
The years I spent outside the classroom, are the actual years that I really learned about myself, about people and about life. I traveled, read books, and also started expressing myself, be it through articles or conversations.
I met and talked to different people in my journey and saw myself getting transformed from a shy-boy, who used to get tongue-tied when talking to people, to a confident man who loves initiating conversations. My curiosity to constantly explore the world led me to new paths.
All these experiences made me more emotionally stable and also open-minded to different ideas and perspectives. These experiences also made me more confident about handling problems that life could throw at me.
A Symbiotic Relationship
I became more assertive about my ideas and my curiosity grew and it eventually led me back to the classroom. But this time not only I was prepared for it, but I also knew what I wanted to study about in life. I did not let other people dictate my choices anymore.
I started reading History in detail to learn about India and how it has reached so far. I also read English literature to know about the subjective experiences of people and their lives. And I also started studying Political Science, a subject I would do my higher studies in, which made me realize about the rules of the society and how they govern the overall functioning of the society.
My experiences outside the classroom actually enabled me to do well inside the classroom. I began linking my experiences, from outside the classroom, with concepts and facts that I started to learn inside it. This made me realize the sheer importance of synergy between the two modes of learning. This symbiotic relationship between the two, I feel, is very important for the overall development of an individual and his/her personality.
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The problem I feel with the mainstream definition of education lies with importance to marks, and they were the markers of someone’s intelligence. But these marks do not define or even help a person’s personality development or even intelligence.
In fact, many have started questioning the very famous IQ test as a reliable marker of a person’s intelligence. Many have now started advocating for overall personality tests that would help people understand their strengths and weaknesses so that they can have a better understanding about themselves, which will enable them to walk a more suitable path in life.
And in order to develop an overall personality, one has to first understand that there exists a realm of education outside the walls of a classroom, which is as equal as the one inside the classroom. They not only complement each other but excelling in both would lead to a more complete, well You! So, what are you waiting for?
Start educating yourself by going outside, meeting new people, traveling, and exploring in order to realize the full extent of your potential. And remember, there is no such thing as the failure but rather everything is an experience you learn from.
Now, I have talked a lot about personal development and some of the dimensions of it in this article but I can hear your asking, how do I know what traits I have? Am I an assertive person? Am I an open-minded person? Or Am I pragmatic or a romantic? Well not to worry, as Brainpundits has all the answers to your curiosity about yourself as it offers you various personality tests that you can take to fully explore yourself.
So Happy exploring yourself and be awesome!
We strive for success in our life, no matter where we are. From education to a fancy-dress competition, maybe a debate, or our career we settle in. No matter what age, or position we all strive for success. Who runs a race for coming second? (Well, maybe if it is fixed) No one otherwise ever plans on coming second. Though it is nearly impossible to get the First position every time. But we work hard for it, we fail again and work harder. Like Ants!! At least that’s what we have always been told to do, ever since we are young. Success and failures and again the success, a vicious circle.
Success and the Successor: Mentor And Role Model
Oscar Wilde once quoted, “What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise”. On this journey to our self-improved life, we encounter various struggles. These struggles shape us in the perfect mold. But as it rightly said, you cannot do all by yourself.
There comes an importance of having a role model or a mentor in your life. I am sure you must have heard it a lot of times from your parents, elder siblings, teachers and who not. To succeed, have a role model. I don’t deny it either.
A mentor and role model, not only guide you but helps you to discover the need to succeed in your life. Throughout our life, we need someone to support us, or maybe just to share our feelings. As a child, we have our parents, then as we move ahead we enlarge that personal space and include our best friends, partner, family etc.
Similarly, as we move ahead in our career, we need someone to be there. This mentor or role model helps us identify where we are, where we are supposed to go and what be our first aid kit in times of failure.
Illustration by Nagma Khan
We tend to admire our role model and imitate their success. We would like to imitate their success. They may be great achievers in their professional life or could be people depicting an exemplary character in personal life.
It is seen that role models have a fantasy like an achievement. It might be impossible for us to replicate their success in our life. Usually, these are people whom you observe and then consider what you could do differently idolizing them, that would enhance your life.
Most often, the role models we have in our life are famous celebrities, sportspersons, famous political leaders, successful entrepreneurs or businessman and many more according to your likes and preferences whom you idolize.
Illustration by Nagma Khan
On the other hand, a mentor is a trusted adviser. They exist in the reality than just in a fantasy world. They help you in guiding towards the future goals of your life and mold your personal and professional lives. They provide you with a positive direction in your life.
This cannot be done in a day, they have to be around for a long time, as building character is a long-term task.
It is thus important to choose a mentor who has more experience than you and who is around you more often. An elder family member like a parent or sibling is, therefore, the best choice at a young age.
Choosing a neighbor is also a good option. But, as you grow up and choose a profession, only someone from that field can help you best, therefore a senior colleague or a supervisor willing to mentor you is the most desirable course.
We get inspiration from Role Models but Mentors inspire us and truly impact our lives. They come and go as we move ahead in our lives with our varied personal and professional goals.
Considering my own example, I have had many role models and mentors. During my early childhood, I admired Kalpana Chawla and looked up to her achievements, then at another stage of my life, it was Yuvraj Singh.
Currently, I consider Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam as my role model. Whereas, if I talk about my mentors, I consider my teacher, my parents and siblings to be in that role. They have been there throughout my life.
They have guided, inspired, and motivated me to lead me to where I am today. Now, the question arises that how should one choose a mentor in life? I am pretty sure that you will agree that none would apply to it if posted this job on naukri.com, or in any newspaper. But, trust me it is not that difficult to choose a mentor in your life.
There are a few simple things you ought to remember while choosing a mentor. Before going through these steps, remember a cautionary statement. It is certainly not necessary that they have to be from your field of study or interest only.
- Do you need them to be present around you often? If yes, look around. Find out who inspires you. Who do you think is most likely your idol?
- After choosing, remember as much as they are willing to share their experiences, knowledge, skills, and expertise. You should also be equally willing to gain from it as much as you can. Remember you are not being fed here. You are just being taught how to cook.
- The last but not the least, make it a point that having a mentor does not give you a guarantee for a successful career/life. They just give you enough strength to carry on even if you fail.
Well, I hope this will help you to find the best role model/mentor as you may need and desire in your life. Good Luck!! Hopefully in times to come as you lead ahead in your life you make a great role model and mentor for those around you.
Success and the Successor: Mentor and Role Model. Do you think this matter? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.