important to recognize that Temperament
is not just about observable behaviors, but rather about behavioral
patterns that are evidence of underlying motivators -- core
psychological needs that when not met drive us to get them met (and
not always in a positive way), core values that drive the choices we
make and the positions we take on things, and related talents that help
us get those needs met. These underlying motivators must be inferred
from the observed behavior patterns over time and in a variety of
pattern of one's Temperament is there to begin with, like a DNA code
in its infancy, and it emerges via interaction with the
"field" or the environment. Thus we all have a core self for
which the template is there from birth, and then we have a developed
self that results from the interaction of the context or the
situations we find ourselves in and the inner push from the core to
grow and develop in certain ways to fulfill the pattern. The pattern
will be there always, even though it may sometimes look like other
patterns on the surface.
refers to the theme of the personality, the configuration. It
gets at the very essence of what makes us who we are.
Temperament identifies the basic psychological needs and core values
that drive our behavior and our choices. Related to these basic
needs are favorite talents, communication styles, approaches to, and
perspectives on life.
take a look at brief descriptions of all four of the Temperament
Improviser Temperament (aka "Artisan," "Orange,"
The Improvisers' core needs are to have the freedom to act without
hindrance and to see a marked result from action. Improvisers highly
value aesthetics, whether in nature or art. Their energies are focused
on skillful performance, variety, and stimulation. Improvisers tend to be
gifted at employing the available means to accomplish an end. Their
creativity is revealed by the variety of solutions they come up with.
They are talented at using tools, whether the tool be language,
theories, a paintbrush, or a computer. The Improvisers' motto might
be Carpe Diem! (seize the day).
Stabilizer Temperament (aka "Guardian," "Gold,"
The Stabilizers' core needs are for group membership and responsibility.
Stabilizers need to know they are doing the responsible thing. They
value stability, security, and a sense of community. They trust
hierarchy and authority and may be surprised when others go against
these social structures. Stabilizers know how things have always been
done, and so they anticipate where things can go wrong. They have a
knack for attending to rules, procedures, and protocol. The
Stabilizers' motto might be Semper Fidelis (always faithful).
Theorist Temperament (aka "Rational," "Green,"
The Theorists' core needs are for mastery of concepts, knowledge, and
competence. Theorists want to understand the operating principles of
the universe and to learn or even develop theories for everything.
They value expertise, logical consistency, concepts and ideas, and
seek progress. They abstractly analyze a situation and consider
previously un-thought-of possibilities. Research, analysis, searching
for patterns, and developing hypotheses are quite likely to be their
natural modus operandi. The Theorists' motto might be Cogito,
Ergo Sum (I think, therefore I am).
Catalyst Temperament (aka "Idealist," "Blue,"
"NF"; includes INFJs)
The Catalysts' core needs are for the meaning and significance that
come from having a sense of purpose and working toward some greater
good. Catalysts need to have a sense of unique identity. They value
unity, self-actualization, and authenticity. Catalysts prefer
cooperative interactions with a focus on ethics and morality.
Catalysts tend to be gifted at unifying diverse peoples and helping
individuals realize their potential. They build bridges between people
through empathy and clarification of deeper issues. The
Catalysts' motto might be Sui Generis (unique,
particular, in a class of its own).
from Understanding Yourself and Others®: An Introduction to the 4 Temperaments-3.0
Publications, 2006). Used with permission.
careful when exploring the notion of Temperament to release thinking "we're all alike underneath."
That's an ineffective approach with this model. If you believe all four of
these patterns describe you to some extent, that's okay -- but don't take
anything for granted. Explore these descriptions from a mindset of what you can't live
without instead of "adding" elements on top of the way you
In other words, Theorists are not people who crave a unique identity and meaning
and significance in their lives who coincidentally are trying to accumulate
knowledge besides. And vice-versa for Catalysts! To
discover your best-fit Temperament, you must decide which
values you can't live without. Let's face it -- many people accumulate
knowledge and seek meaning in their lives, and INFJs crave both. The key is to determine what
you must have in order to live. As Dr. Berens says, "Theorists would be
psychologically dead if they could not pursue knowledge, and Catalysts would be
psychologically dead if they could not pursue meaning." So don't consider
how you would like to be in a perfect world -- instead, consider what would destroy you if you couldn't
pursue it anymore (or you pursue it so automatically you don't even
think about it!).
the drive for "meaning" is not as apparent as the drive for
"knowledge," so don't confront this question glibly.
Looking at my websites, you might suppose I'm a Theorist, even though
it's the search for meaning that really drives me. But that's
harder to prove, since I don't have a "meaning" card in my
wallet alongside my library card.
a metaphor by way of example: do you suppose Olympics swimmers
are better at swimming or walking? My hunch is they're better at
walking, but they don't spend much time thinking about walking since
they are unconsciously competent at it. In a similar way, we may
satisfy our core needs so unconsciously that we're unaware of them,
and may fool ourselves into thinking we want to satisfy a different
helpful principle is to recognize that Theorists are
interested in uncovering the operating principles of the universe,
while Catalysts are interested in relationships.
So the question to ask yourself is which of these interests do you
devote more time and energy to?
you have by now determined with some certainty that you're a Catalyst.
If not, there's little
point in reading further... and maybe you should take some time
to ponder until you can answer this question without reserve.
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