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Knowing the Various Temperaments

Most people know what temperament they possess but they do not know how to deal with it, what it means and how it affects career choices they make. ‘Humorism’, is an ancient medical concept that deals with bodily fluid present in human beings. This medical concept was used to cure certain ailments in classical times and even now, in the practice of traditional medicine. The amount of this body fluid differs from person to person. The prevailing amount of one fluid in a person determines the psychological type and in essence the temperament of the person. In lay man’s parlance, temperament refers to the normal manner in which a person thinks, behaves or reacts to situations., an internet source defines it as such:

An individual’s characteristic level of emotional excitability or intensity and is typically recognized within the first few weeks after birth. It is often assumed to be an early indication of personality, though personality combines temperament with experiences to shape life-long traits. ON 7/11/16

From the definition provided above, temperaments do not appear or begin to show when a person grows, as is the perception. It is evident from birth and should be identified in order to manage them or know how to deal with them. The school should be able to equip teachers with the relevant knowledge on these temperaments.

The four main types of temperaments or personality types are:

  1. Sanguine: These people are usually lively, optimistic, buoyant and carefree. They have high risk of tolerance and are adventurous and are poor at tolerating boredom. They will therefore seek variety and entertainment through any means and this tends to affect their relationships especially the romantic ones. They are generally happy people who do things to satisfy their ‘pleasure-seeking behaviours’ .Sanguines also struggle with weight issues and obesity because they have wide cravings they satisfy. On the whole they are entertainers and due to this they naturally do well at jobs like marketing, travel, fashion, cooking and sports. Their abilities are tied to the outdoors.
  2. Phlegmatic: These people seek interpersonal harmony and close relationships. Their love for peace and harmony makes them loyal friends, spouses and loving parents. They tend to preserve relationships with old friends, distant family members, and neighbours. People with this temperament avoid conflicts and will mediate when there are conflicts between other people. Careers proposed by psychologists for Phlegmatics are nursing, teaching, psychology, counselling, child care or development and social services. Charity or jobs that have to do with helping others comes to them naturally. In sum, Phlegmatics are usually ‘a people’s person’.
  3. Choleric: People who are focused or goal-oriented, savvy, analytical, logical, extremely practical, straightforward have the choleric personality type. They are not good at making friends or keeping them because they are not sociable and not good companions because of their quiet nature. They are not good at the outdoors. Career choices Cholerics make will be along the lines of management, technology, statistics, engineering, programming, physics, biology, chemistry and business.
  4. Melancholic: People with this personality type are known to be lovers of tradition. They will want everything to be done traditionally. E.g. stick to roles prescribed for women and men traditionally. They do not love adventure, novelty or nature at all but love their family and friends. They have been described as the opposite of Sanguines. In dealing with relationships, they will hardly settle with a person from another country or settle out of their country. Melancholic people will not leave their community and will contribute their quota to cause positive changes in it. Due to their extremely orderly and accurate nature, they make good managers and excel at careers such as accounting, social work and administrative duties.

Modern psychology, according to Psychologia does not place a lot of emphasis on these concepts but does not deny that these personality types exist. This notwithstanding, the use of these terms exist scientifically and in everyday usage.

Having said this, it is relevant for the school, parents and teachers to identify the personality type students possess so they are offered guidance. For example, a parent who is able to identify that his child is a sanguine and loves the arts will not force that child into accounting against will. In later articles dealing with children with the various personality types as they grow will be discussed.

August 13, 2020

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