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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Being a Phlegmatic-Melancholic (PhMl)

This post begins my in-depth analysis of my personality using both the frequent personality test I have taken, and my own experience and introspection. The first paradigm I will use is the "Keirsey-Temperament Test". This is an ancient way of looking at personality based of the "Four Greek Temperaments" as is a function that primarily measures Behavior. The results I will be analyzing for my personality type are from this website ( which I have found to be the most concise, while still present quality and substantial information.

"Phlegmatic melancholics live for predictable results."

Heck yeah! PhMl's are a behavioral psychologists dream. We thrive on consistency and if something works once to our benefit, we will do it again and again to achieve the same results. I find this at work in my daily life by my daily routine--I get up, get ready, go to work, come home, eat supper, relax, read, go to bed. If that is altered in someway, I exhibit a certain level of anxiety--no matter how excited I am for the change.

"They focus on key processes, proven relationships, and reliable procedures" "They have a methodical, thorough, and dependable approach to what they do"

The key process statement is the crux of this section--PhMl's have a distinct canny at seeing the essential and most necessary part of any process. Because we are predominantly practical, we have the ability to strip away all the unnecessary crap and find the most practical and obvious solution to a problem. Our means of execution are mostly methodical (and sometimes slow), consisting of step-by-step processes that we are positive will work do to past experience, extensive research, or credible authority.

They don't mind change, but they like to be sure that the change is attainable and that the change will result in a desired improvement before they commit to anything.

Though sometimes resistant to it, we do not mind change--for we are practical and realize that change is often necessary. However, we do not like committing to something we are not sure will work (that's our melancholic need for perfection), and if we don't believe the change is necessary, likely to succeed, or not worth the work, we will not advocate for it.

Other Important things to note:
"They prefer being in charge of process controls".

This is one aspect that highlights the complexity and contradiction of the PhMl. We don't usually like to be in leadership positions (more on that later), but we do like to be in control. We typically think that, because we see the essence and necessity of most things, we know best how to go about it. We also sometimes have the mentality of "if you want something done right, do it yourself".

They pay attention to every detail.
This is pretty self-explanatory. We may not let you know we know... or may not realize ourselves, but we typically (if we are not cognitively strained at the moment) see everything, and store it for later in our mind.

* They dislike opposition, hostility, and adversity. This is probably one of the two main reasons we dislike leadership--we are inherent peacemakers and will typically fight tooth and nail to avoid conflicts. We often don't say everything that we think or want(especially to strangers and acquaintances) in fear that we might offend, anger, or inconvenience the other person. This can also prove a challenge in marriage and parenting, as we don't always tell our spouse what we want/need, and sometimes are the parent that is a little more lax on discipline in order to "spare their child's feelings".

They crave stability and clarity.
We've already covered the stability part. The clarity is important too. When given a task, the PhMl needs to have exact, detailed, and complete instructions in order to do the task. Because we fear failure and need to please those we serve, any ambivalence about what we are to do can cripple us from doing a job.

They are always tactful and measured.
A PhMl is nothing if not polite and tactful. This comes from our desire to please. However, because of our practicality and "essentiality" we also have a knack for being blunt when we need to. It's a fine line to tread. We seldom speak unless we have something to say, and we typically plan our actions and words before they are executed.

* They become reserved and indifferent when under pressure, both because they want to avoid hostility and because they want to avoid mistakes.
The second most important PhMl principle (only to that of consistency and predictability) is that we absolutely fear and abhor failure and mistakes. This is also the second reason we dislike leadership. If we fear that we cannot do something perfectly, we will procrastinate or not do. NEVER nag a phlegmatic, they will only sink deeper into indifference, and you will never get what you want.

For more information on personality profiles, check out my hub

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