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Personality Types: A Quick Overview and Some Thoughts

I just have to say, I love using the app Werdsmith on my iPad. It is perfect for writing blog posts, journal entries, or other documents that don’t need to be fancied up. The page that you write on is entirely blank. No advertisements, no toolbar, nothing other than a little button in the top right-hand corner from which you can access all formatting, sharing, goal-setting, helps, as well as word count and time to read. It is definitely the best writing app I have ever used. Plus, it’s free! So basically, if you write on an iPad, go download Werdsmith from the App Store. It is awesome.

Werdsmith aside, I have been thinking a lot recently about personality types. Okay, so I think about personality types a lot pretty much all the time, but I recently got a new book on personalities (for free!), so it has been on my mind extra-much. This book was especially for women looking to improve their marriage by understanding their personality type and their husband’s personality type. As usual, I was able to pick out my personality type right away, and entirely unable to nail down my husband. Out of the four major personality types, he is a lot of three of them, and a little of the fourth (the fourth being my personality type, ironically enough).

For those of you who are not super well-versed on personality types, I will give you a quick run-down, but please, don’t just read my descriptions and decide that you know about each type. I strongly suggest taking Tony Robbin’s DISC test, and reading up on personality types. Unfortunately, I do not have a book to recommend to you, as most of my information has come through conversation with other personality geeks and various seminars/talks.

There are four basic personality types–D, I, S, and C. Also known as choleric, sanguine, phlegmatic, and melancholy, respectively. (Or, according to “Personalities in Love,” that book I mentioned reading, Powerful, Popular, Peaceful, and Perfect.)

D’s (choleric, powerful) tend to be motivated by the ability to make decisions and be in charge. They are doers, driven, determined, and frequently come up with new ideas. They can tend to come across as bossy or controlling, but they do get things done. They are extroverted and task-oriented.

I’s (sanguine, popular) are motivated by people and fun. They tend to be very outgoing, the life of the party. They love to talk and be the center of attention. They may dress in loud colors or interesting fashions. They tend to stand out. They can tend to talk a bit too much, but they certainly are fun to be around. They are extroverted and people-oriented.

S’s (phlegmatic, peaceful) are motivated by peace. They like things to be calm and people to be happy. They tend to be very loyal and helpful. They are also often quite creative and artistic. They can tend to be prone to inaction, but when they do things, it is generally for the good of others. They are introverted and people-oriented.

C’s (melancholy, perfect) are motivated by order. They are planners, organized, read-the-instructions-before-assembling type people. They often find pleasure in getting things in order and can get overwhelmed when faced with tons of clutter. Keeping their word is very important to them, so they also tend to be quite loyal. They can tend to be prone to depression, and place more value on getting things done than on relationships. They are introverted and task-oriented. [This is me!]

As I pondered the different personality types, a conversation with a friend came to mind. I had mentioned that I had started waking up at 6:00 in order to read my Bible, exercise, make breakfast and coffee for my husband, and get ready for the day before my husband left for work. She responded with something like, “I feel like a slacker, I don’t usually wake up until my husband leaves for work.” What I have recently realized is that the reason I wake up early and have my morning routine is not because I am more disciplined than others or because I care enough about my husband to wake up before him and make him coffee. Rather, I wake up early and go through my morning routine because it brings order. I am internally motivated to do things that bring order to my life, and waking up early brings order to my life. Therefore, even when I don’t want to wake up early, I still have the internal motivation to wake up early in order to bring order to my morning, and therefore the rest of my day.

I think that many of the comparisons that we make with others are entirely unfair, not just because they are in a different place than we are in life, but because we are all internally motivated by different things. The person who still has a spotless house even though they recently had a baby; the person who continues to bring people meals when they are sick, even though their life is hectic; the person who dresses in all of the latest fashions even though they have three little kids; the person who has awesome ideas, each of these we may admire, or be jealous of, because of what they are able to do despite obstacles. What we don’t see, however, is that they have an internal motivation to do those things.

I don’t clean my house because I know it’s important. I clean because it gives me pleasure to have a clean house–more so than the average person. Even the act of cleaning–or putting my house in order–gives me pleasure. Now, I’m certainly not saying that D’s, I’s, and S’s shouldn’t clean, just that they may not have as much internal motivation to do it. So they need to either find a way that cleaning accomplishes their desire to make decisions, have fun, and be peaceful, or simply realize that in exhausting seasons, such as right after having a baby, their house is just not going to be clean, and be okay with that.

I on the other hand, need to realize that sometimes I need to take a break from putting things in order so that I can connect with people and form relationships.

What are your thoughts? Do you know what personality type you are? What are you internally motivated to do?

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