Surrounded by idiots

Or the Different Personality Types

It is likely that we often think that nobody understands us or that we do not understand other people. And we simply summarize it with the phrase “I am surrounded by idiots”, with a strong charge of anger and frustration.

However, when analyzing it from the point of view of psychology, we will see that this statement is not always true. What happens is that we are surrounded by people with personalities different from ours (Different Personality Types).

Sometimes it is difficult for us to understand and make ourselves understood, which is why I found this podcast by Salvador Mingo very interesting. His analysis is based on Thomas Erikson’s book “The Man Who Was Surrounded by Idiots (How to Understand Those We Cannot Understand)”.

The 4 big personality types

Hippocrates (Greek physician – 5th century BC) already recognized that there were 4 main types of personality, which he summarized using colors:

  • Red – ANGRY: person characterized by ambition, dominance, decision, competitiveness and a fiery temper. They have no problem speaking their minds, and often rebel against the traditional way of doing things. They tend to lead, be the ones who make the decisions and do not have much patience.
  • Yellow – OPTIMISTIC: when others are desperate, yellows will continue to see the possibilities and find ways to move on and have fun. Known for their gift for chatter, being so positive they are often seen as entertaining and charming.
  • Green – PHLEGMATIC: calm, balanced, tolerant, easy-going and friendly nature. Unlike the yellow ones, they are good listeners, although they hate leading and standing out in any way, they like to go unnoticed. They are ideal for team work.
  • Blue – MELANCHOLIC: some define them as pessimists, although it is more likely that they define themselves as realists. They also tend to be very detail-oriented, paying so much attention to fine detail that it sometimes slows down their work. They tend to keep their thoughts to themselves unless asked to speak openly. For these people silence is a virtue, but you can be sure that when they speak their words will be well thought out.
 

NOTE: In the article “The 4 temperaments of the human being” (in Spanish) we see that Hippocrates‘ contribution focused on the humors. These are the substances that circulate through our body: black bile, yellow bile, blood and phlegm. In other words, it was a biological approach rather than a psychological one (although transversal). It would be Galen, in the second century BC. who would delve further into the theory of personalities. Or, as he called it, of the 4 temperaments, which he related to the 4 elements: fire, earth, water and air.

Although we tend to one of these personality types, people harbor variations and contradictions, so it is likely that at some point we will show features that are not characteristic of “our color”. However, while it is more common for yellow to behave like red and vice versa, it is not as common for yellow to behave like green and blue (although it can happen, it is just not a trend). The same would happen with greens and blues, but in reverse: a green will tend more to a blue (and vice versa) than to yellow and red. 

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