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The Tin Man

But Oz never did give nothing to the tin man that he didn't, didn't already have. 
Dewey Bunnell


In The Wizard of Oz, which is so well known thanks to the Judy Garland (et al) movie, each of the four main characters is said to correlate to one of the four Temperaments.   

The Scarecrow is said to represent the Theorist, since he wants the Wizard to give him a brain.  Even though the Scarecrow is presented as the "smartest" of all the characters in the story -- usually the one to solve the puzzles facing them -- knowledge is the area where he feels most deficient.  It's a paradox!

A similar paradox holds true for the other characters and Temperaments.  The area where they shine is simultaneously the area in which they feel most defective.  From this weakness, we can deduce the most important value for each of the Temperaments.  Dorothy, who is coincidentally the most "real," is supposed to represent the Stabilizer Temperament, with her longing for home (belonging) and duty.  The Cowardly Lion represents the Improviser, who needs to appear brave -- and the Tin Man craves a heart!  (What Catalyst is not concerned about what is in his heart?)

Something not to be overlooked about the Tin Man is how he is made of impenetrable metal, not flesh.  This is a powerful symbol, meant to draw your attention to something important about this character.  When Catalysts get emotionally injured, they tend to erect psychological "barriers" to avoid suffering further damage.  It's a completely understandable reaction.  The paradox is that the same barriers which protect them from getting wounded will also act as barriers that inadvertently preclude them from feeling loved.

It can be a dangerous trap for a Catalyst to become a shielded "tin man."  The "protection" thwarts them from getting their own greatest needs met, and thus they can become the bitterest and angriest of people -- with their potential for love, empathy, and understanding completely wasted.  Their aptitude for love can become dwarfed by their capability for cynicism, bitterness, and even hate.  

It takes great courage to stay vulnerable and open to the possibility of being hurt when you've been injured in the past.  It's even illogical to do so!  Nevertheless, the obvious remedy of growing "tin skin" will only result in the Catalyst "dying" inside psychologically.

It's hard to keep the barriers down, especially when it feels more powerful to live out of your opposite.  Unfortunately, when you get stuck in that seemingly "safe" place, you can't really develop or grow.

So be vigilant, and examine yourself often for signs of "tin skin."  If you meet a fellow Tin Man, give 'm a hug.


Recommended reading:  Leadership and Self Deception:
Getting Out of the Box

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