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Power of personality

Power of personality

Posted: Wednesday, June 13, 2012 8:00 pm
By: By Lisa Smartt

Sometimes people say, “He has a lot of personality.” We know what they mean. He’s outgoing, extroverted, friendly. But truthfully, it’s not an accurate way to use the term “personality.” Every person has a lot of personality. We all have a lot of personal traits that make us unique and designed by God for a purpose.
As your granny would say, “It takes all kinds to make the world go around.” If everyone were just like me, this world would be chaos. Utter chaos. Studying personality types always makes me thankful.
If you’ve read Florence Littauer’s book, “Personality Plus,” you know that she uses the terms originally used by Hippocrates to describe four personalities: Choleric, Sanguine, Melancholy and Phlegmatic.
A Choleric is a born leader. He likes being in charge. He doesn’t like wasting time or dilly dallying over details. He’s determined, hard-working, extroverted and strong-willed. Cholerics often make great military leaders or team leaders. They don’t have a hard time making decisions. They’re confident. That’s the good part. If Cholerics aren’t careful, they can be bossy, harsh or judgmental. That’s the bad part.
I’m a Sanguine. Through and through. Sanguines believe life is about fun and joy and socializing. Sanguines are also extroverts. We know how to be friendly and meet new people. We tend to be very emotional and warm and loving. That’s the good part. If Sanguines aren’t careful, we can be lazy and not very task-oriented. That’s the bad part.
Melancholies are introverts. They’re thinkers. They think in black and white and do well analyzing factual information. Perfectionists. Sometimes they’re even genius-prone. That’s the good part. But if melancholy folks aren’t careful, they can be paralyzed by their desire to do everything the “right” way. They forget the importance of feelings. That’s the bad part.
Phlegmatics are also introverts. They are calm, cool and collected. They don’t make waves. In fact, peace and quiet is one of their great goals in life. They’re easy to get along with and rarely lose their cool. That’s the good part. But if Phlegmatics aren’t careful, they won’t assert themselves even when someone needs to make a stand. That’s the bad part.
I know. These are just generalizations. I get that. But it helps me appreciate the unique and wonderful qualities of those around me. It helps me see how desperately we need each other.
Our older son is definitely a Melancholy. He thinks in black and white. He analyzes factual data like a computer. He doesn’t like experiencing emotions.  When I get overly-emotional, he brings me back to earth by saying something like, “Really, Mom. Look at the facts of this situation and make a plan.” I need that perspective.
Our younger son is like me. He likes inviting people over for dinner. He likes being with friends. When he faces challenges in life, his love for people keeps him grounded. I like that too.
I’m blessed with a husband who is calm and collected. He laughs at my stories and consistently stays cool under pressure. He never jumps up and down with excitement about anything. But that’s fine. I do plenty of jumping for the both of us.
It’s tempting to want everyone to think like I think. But what a tragedy that would be! Granny was right. It takes all kinds to make the world go around.
For more information about Lisa Smartt, visit her website,

Published in The Messenger 6.13.12


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