Which Personality is the Most Difficult to Identify?

The Wired That Way Personality Profile has been in use for more than 50 years with millions of people finding it to be an invaluable tool to help them identify their Personality type. It is widely acclaimed for its ease, effectiveness, and economics. Its accuracy, however, depends on the answers supplied by the person taking the profile. When the user follows the directions in completing the profile and, therefore, selects the word choices based on who he or she is naturally and uses the word definitions provided in the both the paper and electronic versions of the profile, it is remarkably accurate. Conversely, if one just jumps into taking it selecting descriptors based on who the user wishes to be, or has learned to be, accuracy will be skewed. Likewise, skipping the word definitions can result in faulty conclusions.

Regarding learned behavior, consider this. I am about 50/50% Popular Sanguine/Powerful Choleric. I have often had people comment on how organized I am. At one point in my life, I even had my herbs and spices alphabetized (now I have them sorted categorically). Does this mean that when taking the Personality Profile I should select “Analytical” or “Planner”? While each of those words do have some applicability, they are surely not my primary, natural traits—especially when viewed in the context of the four-word choices and the definitions. The very first four-word grouping on the Personality Profile is as follows:

Adventurous. Will take on new and daring enterprises with a determination to master them.

Adaptable. Easily fits in and is comfortable in any situation.

Animated. Full of life; Lively use of hand, arm, and face gestures.

Analytical. Likes to examine the parts for their logical and proper relationships.

The first and third option are most like me. So, while I am organized, that does not describe who I am naturally. I have learned to be organized in areas where being so makes me more effective in what I wish to accomplish. I like to cook. So, having my spices organized provides me with more joy because I do not have to hunt through 100 bottles to find the cumin.

Word grouping number 7 includes the selection “planner.”

Planner. Prefers to work out a detailed arrangement beforehand for the accomplishment of a project or goal and prefers involvement with the planning stages and the finished product rather than the carrying out of the task.

Patient. Unmoved by delay, remains calm and tolerant.

Positive. Knows it will turn out right if he or she is in charge.

Promoter. Urges or compels others to go along, join, or invest through the charm of his or own personality.

Here, choice 3 and 4 are the closest to my natural Personality. You can see how using the word definitions provides a clear view of the word in this context. This is an important aspect of correct assessment.

If you have heard me speak on The Personalities, you know that I sum up my visible identification of the four basic personality types by saying that the Popular Sanguine, the Powerful Choleric, and the Perfect Melancholy all live life in the extremes. I then offer a list of adjectives for each.  Whereas the Peaceful Phlegmatic isn’t extremely anything—they are content, easy going, and adaptable. As intelligent human beings, this allows them to fit into a variety of roles. Most Peaceful Phlegmatic adults have held numerous jobs and roles—many of which have required training. These positions have shaped them. He or she may now be in a management position, but that doesn’t make him or her a Powerful Choleric—who is the natural born leader. The management role is a learned position. He or she can be very good at it. But because it is not natural, at the end of the day, the Peaceful Phlegmatic is exhausted at having to perform outside the comfort zone.

Without understating the importance of the first two instructions listed above—making selections based on natural personality, and using the word definitions—the Peaceful Phlegmatic’ s profile results often come out differently from the perception of those who live and/or work with him or her. In fact, the section of the Wired That Way Profile on Understanding the Scores, offers this insight for those whose scores indicate being fairly even across all four Personality Types: “You may be a Peaceful Phlegmatic who simply has trouble making choices.”

So, to the man who sent me the following question, I hope this helps.

“My wife has a pretty big dose of Peaceful Phlegmatic in her. Over the last 15 years she’s probably taken 10 tests. First of all, she never gets the same result twice. It changes every time. Every time. The last time she tested she got pure Popular Sanguine which isn’t even close. Strangely enough we have a couple we are friends with. The wife tested her husband. The husband is a no-test-needed Peaceful Phlegmatic. He also got predominantly Popular Sanguine. Do Peaceful Phlegmatics tend to get weird answers?”

Additionally, through messages with him, I learned that she was taking the Personality Profile featured in my mother’s book Personality Plus. It was originally published in 1983 and the word definitions were not yet developed. They were a later addition based on user need. Unfortunately, for my book Wired That Way, when published, the definitions were omitted. I didn’t discover this until years after the book was published when I was trying to direct a reader to them. The word definitions are part of both the paper and online version of the Personality Profile as is additional support information such as a team building chart and the section on understanding the scores.

For the reasons listed here. The Peaceful Phlegmatic is the least obvious to identify—which is why in a spoken presentation I list them last. I say: “Not because they are the least important, as there is no least important, but they are the least obvious to identify. So, if they are not the fun loving, outgoing Popular Sanguine; are not the in-charge, leader Powerful Choleric; are not the detail-conscious, organized Perfect Melancholy, they are probably the competent and well-balanced Peaceful Phlegmatic.”

Marita Littauer Tedder has spent the majority of her adult life working with women—helping them improve relationships, achieve their speaking and writing dreams, and being the best version of themselves they can possibly be. The author of 20 books, the Living Our Best Life Project is her newest effort—through which she hopes to challenge women to be fulfilled where they are.