Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Choleric Temperament: Strengths and Weaknesses

Cholerics are characterized by the element of Fire, the season of Summer, early adulthood, the color fiery red, Mars, and the characteristics of "Hot" and "Dry." The animal used to symbolize the Choleric is the lion.

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In our distant ancestors, the choleric members of the pack would be the alphas, the leaders. They would command their subordinates, and assert their dominance using force. If challenged, they would respond by getting angry, larger, in order to intimidate and to prove that they were the strongest, the most fit to lead.
In current society, they often tend towards leadership roles, such as managers, politicians, captains, team leaders, and so on, though not necessarily. In fantasy, they might be the proud warriors, the esteemed Kings.


Cholerics people strive to be leaders and directors. They always seek to be in control of situations, to be on top, to be the best. This doesn't necessarily mean that they are all driven to reach the top of the corporate ladder on global scale, or that they all want to have leadership roles, but the tendency for being on top of everything is prevailing in day-to-day interactions with other people.

They use imperative, commanding language, wording things as orders rather than requests. They are firm and forceful in their approach to problems. They believe in “tough love” and try to “help” others by challenging them to prove themselves, as they themselves would.

Most bullies are choleric, but few cholerics are bullies. Many will in fact stand up to those who bully others, rather than letting them get away with things. Their confidence and demanding natures make them natural leaders, though this doesn't mean that they would necessarily enjoy leadership positions; they're just more likely to take charge if necessary rather than fumbling around worrying.

They will “challenge” others aggressively in order to show their respect for the person's strength. They believe that it is important to “prove oneself”. They are driven by a desire to prove themselves greater than whoever they're arguing with, to assert that they are right, rather than to reach some kind of truth or compromise. They can lie in order to maintain the dominant position. The argument is about them more so than the issue; a battle of egos rather than a quest for truth. They love competition... but hate to lose.
They are defiant of authority, challenging them as if to knock them off the top spot and assert their own dominance as the alpha of this pack, the leader of this tribe.

They can be very condescending to those that they look down upon. They may take pleasure in the pain, misfortune, or humiliation of people they are not on good terms with. This is because it brings them pleasure to feel superior to others. They feel that they can define and understand and advise others, but laugh at the thought that others could do the same to them. This is because analyzing and defining another puts you in the superior position, while being defined would put them in the inferior position, which they resist.

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Cholerics are extroverted in the sense that they will meddle in others' affairs and “speak their mind” if they feel it is necessary, rather than minding their own business. They generally respond well to new situations, and seek thrills. They must prove that they are strong. They speak their mind, but often don't mind their speech.

Their pride and drive for dominance, as well as their open expression of emotion, naturally leads to outright aggression when challenged. They will raise their voices and get angry to show that they are the biggest and strongest, and to assert superiority. They are pragmatic, doing what needs to be done bluntly rather than worrying about fantasy scenarios.

They will plough through obstacles that bar their path and they are single-minded in moving towards their goals.

Main advantages

In brief, people of choleric temperament possess multiple strengths:
* Born leader
* Dynamic and active
* Compulsive need for change
* Must correct wrongs
* Strong-willed and decisive
* Unemotional
* Not easily discouraged
* Independent and self sufficient
* Exudes confidence

Choleric people are people of enthusiasm; they are not satisfied with the ordinary and crave for great success in all life affairs: large fortunes, a vast business, an elegant home, a distinguished reputation or a predominant position. The natural virtue of the choleric is ambition; his desire to excel and succeed despises the little and vulgar, and aspires to the noble and heroic.

In his aspiration for great things the choleric is supported by:
1. A keen intellect. The choleric person is not always, but usually endowed with considerable intelligence.
2. A strong will. The choleric person is not frightened by difficulties, but in case of obstacles shows his energy so much the more and perseveres also under great difficulties until he has reached his goal.
3. Strong passions. The choleric is very passionate. Whenever the choleric is bent upon carrying out his plans or finds opposition, he is filled with passionate excitement.
4. An often times subconscious impulse to dominate others and make them subservient. The choleric is made to rule. He feels happy when he is in a position to command, to draw others to him, and to organize large groups.

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Main disadvantages

As usual, strengths are coming hand-in-hand with particular weaknesses for choleric person:
* Can be bossy and impatient.
* Quick tempered, can’t relax and can be too impetuous.
* Enjoy controversy and arguments and won’t give up when losing.
* Can come on too strong, are inflexible and uncomplimentary.
* Unemotional and are generally unsympathetic.
* Can dominate situations, are too busy for your family and will often give answers too quickly.
* Impatient with perceived poor performance and have little tolerance for mistakes.
* Does not analyze details or get bogged down by trivia, often making rash decisions.
* Can be perceived as rude and tactless and can often manipulate people.
* Can be demanding of others and believes that the end justifies the means.
* Work may become the driving force in their life and demand loyalty in the ranks.
* Make decisions on other people’s behalf.
* Can be perceived to know everything.

Pride, anger, and lack of compassion which is considered as the main traits of choleric personality may show itself in the multiple instances:
1. The choleric is full of himself. He has a great opinion of his good qualities and his successful work and considers himself as something extraordinary and as one called upon to perform great feats. He considers even his very defects as being justified, nay, as something great and worthy of praise; for instance, his pride, his obstinacy, his anger.
2. The choleric is very stubborn and opinionated. He thinks he is always right, wants to have the last word, tolerates no contradiction, and is never willing to give in.
3. The choleric has a great deal of self-confidence. He relies too much upon his own knowledge and ability. He refuses the help of others and prefers to work alone, partly because he does not like to ask for help, partly because he believes that he is himself more capable than others and is sure to succeed without the help of others.
4. The choleric usually despises his fellow man. To his mind others are ignorant, weak, unskilled, slow, at least when compared with himself. He shows his contempt of his neighbor by despising, mocking, making belittling remarks about others and by his proud behavior toward those around him, especially toward his subjects.
5. The choleric is domineering and inordinately ambitious. He wants to hold the first place, to be admired by others, to subject others to himself. He belittles, combats, even persecutes by unfair means those who dare to oppose his ambition.
6. The choleric feels deeply hurt when he is humiliated or put to shame.
7. The choleric is vehemently excited by contradiction, resistance, and personal offenses. This excitement manifests itself in harsh words which may seem very decent and polite as far as phrasing is concerned, but hurt to the core by the tone in which they are spoken. Nobody can hurt his fellow man with a few words more bitterly than a choleric person. Things are made even worse by the fact that the choleric in his angry impetuosity makes false and exaggerated reproaches, and may go so far in his passion, as to misconstrue the intentions and to pervert the words of those who irritated him, thus, blaming with the sharpest of expressions, faults which in reality were not committed at all. By such injustice, which the choleric inflicts in his anger upon his neighbor he can offend and alienate even his best friends. The choleric may even indulge in furious outbursts of anger. His anger easily degenerates into hatred. Grievous offenses he cannot forget. In his anger and pride he permits himself to be drawn to actions which he knows will be very detrimental to himself and to others; for instance, ruin of his health, his work, his fortune, loss of his position, and complete rupture with intimate friends. By reason of his pride and anger he may totally ignore and cast aside the very plans for the realization of which he has worked for years.
8. Lack of sympathy. The choleric is a man of reason. He has two heads but no heart. This lack of human sentiment and sympathy is, in a way, of great advantage to him. He does not find it hard to be deprived of sensible consolations in prayer and to remain a long time in spiritual aridity. Effeminate, sentimental dispositions are repugnant to him; he hates the caresses and sentimentality which arise between intimate friends. False sympathy cannot influence him to neglect his duties or abandon his principles. On the other hand, this lack of sympathy has its great disadvantages. The choleric can be extremely hard, heartless, and even cruel in regard to the sufferings of others. He can cold-bloodedly trample upon the welfare of others, if he cannot otherwise reach his goal.

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Choleric traits through the lifecycle

1. Babies
Positives: determined look, adventuresome, energetic, outgoing, precocious.
Negatives: strong-willed, demanding, loud and shrill, throws things, not sleepy.

2. Children
Positives: born leader, daring and eager, productive worker, sees the goal, moves quickly, self-sufficient, competitive, assertive, trustworthy.
Negatives: controls parents, manipulative, temper tantrums, constantly moving, insists on own way, tests control, argumentative, stubborn, defiant.

3. Teens
Positives: aggressive, competent, organizes quickly, assumes leadership, problem solver, self-confident, stimulates others, excels in emergencies, great potential, responsible.
Negatives: too bossy, controls friends, knows everything, looks down on dummies, unpopular at times, decides for all, insulting, judgmental, unrepentant, blames others.

4. Adults
Emotional Needs: loyalty from the troops, sense of control, appreciation, credit for good works.
Causes of Depression: life is out of control; problems with money, job, mate, children or health.
Stress Relief: work harder, exercise more, stay away from unyielding situations.
Energy Level: highest energy, needs little reset, thrives on people to control.

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Sources and Additional Information:
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