The study of personalities is not new, and certainly not unique to me. In fact, the history of personalities studies goes back over 2000 years.
What is the history of the concepts I teach?
The study of personalities is not new, and certainly not unique to me. History shows us that around 400 BC a Greek thinker named Hippocrates came up with the theory that what makes people so different is the make-up their body chemistry.
Almost 600 years later a Greek physician named Galen built upon Hippocrates’ theories. Galen developed the idea of what he called the four temperaments. He then selected terms for those personality types basing them on the supposed imbalance of body fluids: Sanguine, Melancholy, Choleric, and Phlegmatic. In spite of the flaws in these ancient theories, both Hippocrates and Galen had a LOT right.
Many, many people continued to build on these ancient studies of personalities, including the late Florence and Fred Littauer. Together they developed the Wired the Way assessment and started training others on The Personalities. I was fortunate to be able to train with Florence and learn from her, their daughter Marita, and many others.
I have been teaching, training, speaking and writing about personalities for over a decade. Even though I trained under Florence and Marita and earned my certification through their programs, you will rarely hear me call the personality types by their original Greek-based names. I choose to call them by colors.
There are three main reasons I use Yellow, Blue, Red, and Green for the four personality types instead of Sanguine, Melancholy, Choleric, and Phlegmatic.
- First, they are easier to learn and pronounce. I have yet to present to an audience with someone who did not already know their colors.
- Secondly, the colors are easy to remember because of simple associations. Yellows are bright, sunny, and loud. Blues are deep like the ocean. Reds are fiery, and Greens are like peaceful green meadows. (See how quickly you can picture which personality I am referring to when I simply name a color?)
- Thirdly, playing off of the idea of different colors helps us remember that not everyone is the same “shade.” Stop and look around the room wherever you are right now. How many things do you see that are blue? The blue sky out a window is different than the blue of a pair of jeans. Yet, your brain recognizes them both as blue. This analogy works well with personalities as it naturally accounts from degrees of differences between individuals of the “same” personality type.
The Personalities have a rich history spanning decades and even centuries. My primary goals are to help you understand them and then APPLY this knowledge to improve communication and build stronger relationships.
For a closer look at the history of my training, I encourage you to read more here. To learn more about the Wired that Way personality assessment and how to get the most out of an assessment, read this article.