Around 400 BC, a Greek physician by the name of Hippocrates figured out that human beings, as a general rule, can be divided into four different sections: Choleric, Sanguine, Phlegmatic, and Melancholy. He named these the four humors, and they were based on our personality traits. Something that I read that I found very interesting is that Hippocrates's philosophy was that our personality traits were based on our level of bodily fluids. Florence Littauer, the author of a series of books based on the Personality Plus system, renamed the four humors using alliteration: Powerful, Popular, Peaceful, and Perfect. But my favorite way to think about the system is the way Dr. Gary Smalley came up with, using animals as the different humors: the lion, the otter, the golden retriever, and the beaver. Below is an overview of these personality types.*
The Powerful Choleric Lion
People who fall into this category are generally extroverts who likes to take charge. They are strong leaders, no doubt about it. They're good at delegating tasks and making sure everything gets done. They're known to set challenging goals, believe in fairness, and have little to no patience for small details. (They're "big picture" people.) Lions will always stand up for what they believe in, regardless of what other people think. They are the least sympathetic/empathetic out of the four personality types, but they often accomplish more than any of the others.
- Strong leader
- Cold/Emotionally distant
- Overly competitive
The Popular Sanguine Otter
You pretty much have to be an extrovert to fall into this category. Otters are the life of the party. They love to tell funny stories, will never back down from a dare, and tend to have extremely loud voices. Basically, they love to be the center of attention. They're very friendly and love other people. Shy is not in their vocabulary. In fact, they can sometimes be so cheerful and friendly that they might seem fake or come on to strong. They tend to speak before they think. They live in the moment, and go with the flow. Otters are normally the most likable out of the four personality types.
- Goes with the flow
- Good at making friends
- Talks to much
- Desperate for approval from others
- Doesn't form deep relationships
- Easily offended
The Peaceful Phlegmatic Golden Retriever
Golden Retrievers are introverts who enjoy peace and quiet. They're enjoyable to be around, but tends to disappear into their own little world. They're laid back and don't get excited about much. They don't often get in trouble with authority, or anyone else for that matter, because they will do anything to avoid confrontation. They're very witty, and have a dry sense of humor. They don't get very involved in activities, but when they have to be they are very diligent workers. They are kind and loving to anyone and everyone and can fit into any situation. If a Golden Retriever loves you, they will be the most loyal friend/lover you ever had.
- Easy going
- Form deep relationships
- Over sensitive
- Holds other accountable
- Not good with change
The Perfect Melancholy Beaver
If you are a Beaver, then you are most likely extremely introverted. Beavers are typically what adults (especially teachers and parents) would call the perfect person. They need everything to be done perfectly and are obsessed with small details. They would rather have a long, quiet conversation with one intelligent person than a short, meaningless conversation with a bunch of loud idiots. They constantly analyze themselves and others. They don't have many friends (mostly because they absolutely hate group gatherings), but they have a few close friends who they are extremely faithful to. They're big on self-sacrifice and feels very intense emotions, but are good at hiding them. They are perfectionists. They're prone to depression because they compare themselves to other people.
- A thinker/philosopher
- Unrealistic expectations of self
- Compares themselves to others
- Prone to depression
- Easily hurt
- Difficulty being flexible
- Difficulty expressing emotions
If you are interested in finding out which personality type you are, you can take the test at http://thaoski.com/2013/04/02/5-minute-personality-test-lion-beaver-otter-golden-retriever/
*Please note that you may not have all the traits in a certain category. The one you classify as is the one you have the most traits in common with.