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The 4 Temperaments: Strengths, Weaknesses & The Ultimate Temperament

The ultimate temperament
There is a psychoanalytical and proto-psychological theory known as the four temperament theory. This theory described that there are four human temperaments, that is the nature of a person as it affects their behaviours. These include the following:
  • Choleric
  • Sanguine
  • Phlegmatic
  • Melancholic
These temperaments have been studied intensively and have been noticed in human beings as almost exact patterns. They have their strengths and weaknesses, their good sides and bad sides. 
However, after much years of personal experimentation and search for an ideal state of things, I have proposed a new temperament referred to as the fifth temperament. Yes, in my portfolio, you may not find that I have attained the status of Sigmund Freud, a man generally considered the father of psycho-analogy theories. However, I have for long, recorded some thoughts about human behaviours, especially after realizing that a proper understanding of people's behaviours is the only direct way to understand them.

The Four Standard Temperaments

As we go through these four already established temperaments together, it is important that you do not forget about the fifth temperament that I promised you.
  1. The choleric
  2. The sanguines
  3. The phlegmatics
  4. The melancholics, and then,
  5. The "ultimate temperament"

The Cholerics

The name was derived from 'bile' or 'yellowish colour'. Individuals with this temperament are known to be extroverted and arrogant. Below are some of their major features.
  • They are dominant
  • They are extroverted
  • They are proud

Cholerics Are Dominant

Cholerics always seek dominance, they are authoritative and are very daring. They would make authoritative statements like "look, this is how you do it" or would say "get me a drink" instead of "can I have a drink?".
They use imperative words with a tone of command, saying words as command and orders rather than a polite manner, with a "please".

They are tough and are domineering. They are respected leaders but they love to challenge people to prove themselves as a way of helping them. They are firm and forceful in their approach to problems, that way, they get the work done when they put their mind to it.

If faced with opposition, cholerics are more likely to react confrontationally to defend themselves.
Most bullies are cholerics as they would often desire to be revered. A few cholerics are bullies and some may stand up to defend someone who is bullying others without letting them go away with it.

Cholerics love competitions but they hate to lose. They will do anything to be dominant and may say a lie to save a face.
Their daring nature makes them natural leaders although they may not enjoy leadership positions every time. They are just likely to take charge rather than sit and fold their hands in unpleasant situations.
They may take pleasure in the pain of others as a way of reassuring themselves of their superior position.

They Are Extroverted

Cholerics are highly extroverted to the point that they will meddle in the affairs of others and 'speak their mind', if they feel it is necessary, rather than minding their own business.

They seek to be prominent and would take it out openly on anyone that stands in their way to achieving this.
They are honest about their opinions and would bluntly express them rather than "sugar-coating them".
They speak their mind but often do not mind their speech.

They Are Proud

Proud, not in the sense that you imagine it but they generally believe that they are always right, and have immense stubbornness about admitting their flaws unless admitting these flaws would make them look better than others.
They seek respect from others and will hold grudges against those they consider rivals.
They can go the extra mile or would agree to 'take a bullet' for those close to them except they get on their bad side.

Cholerics strive for independence because to them, dependence means not being in the superior position they desire. They have high esteem and to them, dependence is a form of weakness.

The Sanguine

Derived from the colour of blood, the sanguines are social, expressive, and loving. Here are some of the major attributes of the sanguines:
  • They are social
  • They are expressive
  • They are attention-seeking

They are Social

The sanguine is free-spirited, chatty, openly emotional, and may be regarded as socially extroverted.
They are really social and find social interactions really easy and interesting. They are often not picky and would interact with anyone that comes their way.
The more people they are surrounded with, the happier they get. This may be partly because they seek the attention of people and feel good about the fact that they are not lonely.
They prefer to do more of the talking than listening and they are not particularly trustworthy as they will spill a secret very easily.

They make friends easily and will happily talk to strangers. But sometimes friendship may end at the level of just knowing faces and exchanging names.

Sanguines Are Expressive

They are talkative, and speak in a friendly, energetic, playful kind of way; they're often charismatic. When interactions begin, you can feel like you've known them all your life.
They are often very emotional and they easily express their emotions by the appropriate words like 'I hate you' or the likes.
They are quick to forgive and forget and simply live in the present. They expect others to overlook things the same way they would.

They have high self-esteem and are often show-offy. They may brag about themselves without minding if someone else may feel bad about it.

They are naturally physical with others, openly expressing their affection through hugs and stroking and grabbing shoulders and other ways like that.
They could not be said to be neat and tidy. Poor planning, disorganization or messiness is the price they have to pay for living just in the moment.


They love attention and would always want the spotlights to be on them. They would go out of the way to get or sustain compliments on them.
In their world, attention is all that matters. They would find ways to do things that make them remarkable to gain attention. If nobody is paying attention to them, they will barge into a conversation or say something that attracts attention to them.

The Phlegmatic

Derived from phlegm, they are described as calm, often indecisive, and submissive. These are some qualities seen in the phlegmatic temperament;
  • Submissiveness and introverted
  • Calm and less intrusive

Submissiveness and Introverted

Phlegmatics are cool-headed and submissive. They are eager to please others and give in than to assert themselves.
They wish for peace and would do anything to avoid conflict even at the expense of their comfort.
They don't believe they know best or desire to be the "winner", not as though they don't want to win but they will easily diffuse the glory to everyone just to make peace.

They have difficulty saying "NO" especially when it means having to make someone feel bad. They are empathic and understands the feelings of others because they try to put themselves into other people's shoes rather than thinking selfishly all the time.

They will submit to the choices of others and take their decisions, hence their indecisiveness. This comes from their inability to see themselves in a "leader" role. They are natural followers and work best when they are told what to do.

They Are Calm And Less Intrusive

Phlegmatics are introverted and enjoy time alone. However, they are not picky and do not judge others easily because they are not so concerned with 'perfectionism'.
They enjoy company with friends and are very loyal to these friends and would stick with them in all circumstances.

They are almost immune to anger and would try as much as possible to defuse it. They would only snap after very long periods of extreme tolerance to persistent abuse.
They lead a calm and steady life and can be relatively confident in familiar situations but may panic in new unfamiliar situations. They enjoy predictable, quiet, ritualistic lifestyles rather than trendy, evolving lifestyles.

They are quiet about their lives and achievements and do not share their own inner thoughts readily as they fear judgments, or considers talking about themselves particularly bothersome to others.

They are great listeners and would offer supportive feedback rather than criticisms. They will absorb the conversations of friends, chipping in only a few "necessary" words.
They are not worried about boredom and in fact, enjoy being alone. And they don't consider it a duty for others to entertain them and make them happy or motivate them. They do not express physical passion for doing things as their passions are mainly internal.

The Melancholic

  • The name refers to black bile and melancholics are generally emotionally sensitive and perfectionistic introverts;
  • They are perfectionistic
  • Introverted
  • Extremely sensitive

They Are Perfectionistic

They are characteristically defined as perfectionistic because they are idealists who wish for things to be done a certain way and would get distressed if they are not done that was.
They hold themselves and others to high standards with high expectations that should be met. Hence, they may be grossly unsatisfied or become critical of others if they do not meet their standards.

They wish to understand the details of every concept because to be ignorant is considered an imperfection. They do not accept things just the way they are and would ask specific questions to seek a clearer understanding.

They are stubborn to behavioural changes because they try hard not to deviate from their carefully considered views and standards of perfection. In other words, they do not go with the flow.
They are very pessimistic, assuming the worst standards and would, therefore, think and plan carefully before they act. They do not resort to rash, impulsive behaviours.
They tend to argue simply because they cannot let things go wrong. They argue with reason, evidence, and logic with careful explanations or pleading. They only argue to set wrong things right rather than assert dominance.

They Are Introverts

Melancholics are the most introverted of all the temperaments and are most at ease when they are alone.
They may often agree that they perform best when they are on their own because they consider the presence of another person a burden to them. This is because they may not want to give in to every action from them.

They are very wary of making friends and would take them a long time to make one. But once they consider someone a friend, they are most likely to stick with them through all odds. They prefer having a few close friends than many acquaintances.

They may be seen as selfish as they prefer not to share their thoughts, time, or belongings with others. They are very possessive of the things they own because they worry that others will not look after them with the same level of care.

They Are Extremely Sensitive

Melancholics are very emotional and are deeply moved by beauty, failure, and distress. They are easily hurt and their moods are delicate as the glass, easily shattered by people's behaviours.
They hold grudges for a very long time because they believe that people who have hurt them will not change easily to meet their standards.
They respond to things they dislike with feelings of misery and tears rather than rage or show of anger.

They are not aggressive and wish to flee from things that cause them distress rather than attempting to confront them. If they want to get back at someone, they are more likely to make them feel guilty than to directly attack them with abusive words.

The Strengths

These values below are the strengths of the four temperaments above;
  1. Careful planning (Melancholic)
  2. Search for reason and logic (Melancholic)
  3. Faithfulness in friendship (Melancholic and Phlegmatic)
  4. Non-judgmental (Phlegmatic)
  5. Great listening ability (Phlegmatic)
  6. Ability to distribute glory and efficiently dissipate defeat (Phlegmatic)
  7. Friendliness (Sanguine)
  8. Easy to forgive (Sanguine)
  9. Strive for independence (Choleric)
  10. Determination (Choleric)
  11. Honesty (Choleric)
  12. Tough and confident (Choleric)

The Weaknesses

Here are a few specific weak points in the various temperaments above;
  1. Haughty pride (Choleric and Sanguine)
  2. Unhealthy competitions (Choleric)
  3. Easily offended (Melancholic)
  4. Self-guilt ( Melancholic)
  5. Self-condemnation at the slightest mistake (Melancholic)
  6. Lack of tolerance (Melancholic and Choleric)
  7. Pessimism (Melancholic)
  8. Obsession for attention (Sanguine)
  9. Forgetfulness or lack of intimate relationship (Sanguine)
  10. Poor organization (Sanguine)
  11. Indecisiveness (Phlegmatic)
  12. Lack of self-confidence (Phlegmatic)
In the ultimate temperament, we have humans who have worked enough to minimize the weaknesses and maximize the strengths of the other four temperaments. And this temperament is borne out of the desire to attain a more perfect and ideal state, for your personal good and the peace of other people around you.

The "Ultimate Temperament" - The Perfect Blend

The weaknesses in temperaments warrant a deliberate and conscious effort to improve on ourselves irrespective of which temperament is dominant in us. Many people are already settled with their behaviours. But inasmuch as you should accept who you are at the moment, you must also desire to improve on yourself to become a better you.
In the "ultimate temperament", the strengths of all four temperaments are coveted as much as possible, and the weaknesses are shed off as much as possible. Thus, achieving a blend of all the positive attitudes as much as possible.

A fifth temperament known as Supine has already been proposed in the five temperaments theory. However, this ultimate temperament is more than just the fifth temperament in the four temperament theory. In short, this ultimate temperament could still feature in the fifth temperament theory as the sixth temperament. In any case, be it ten temperament theory, the ultimate temperament would retain its status as the perfect blend of all known temperaments.
You want a simple descriptive way to better understand this concept? Suppress the weaknesses, express the strengths, and do so as much as possible. Your life actually becomes better both for you and for those people in the world around you.

But practically, it is not a matter of subtracting and adding, or suppressing and expressing respectively. In terms of our human desire to have inner peace and joy, the sanguines find inner peace when they are cheerful and lively so much that they would behave in ways that sustain their cheerfulness. 
Whereas, the phlegmatics are happier when others are happy. They do not impose on others to sustain their cheerfulness. That's for the source of inner peace, but what would you arrive at when you combine these two strengths? You achieve a balance where you do not need other people to be happy. You are happy with yourself even when people around you are constantly fighting your joy, and also, you want other people to be happy too. What a great state!
In my post on developing a super-magnetic personality, you will see that the strengths in some of the personalities are great points of magnetic attraction, that bring other people closer to you.

Prosper Yole

I am a lifestyle blogger, I write useful articles on successful life tips and hacks. Posts bearing Prosper Yole as author are either written by the blog author himself or by our various other contributors. Thank you for reading through. I look forward to having you more often. Please subscribe to my blog and follow me on Twitter @ProsperYoleOfficial

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