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Personality Dimensions® - Temperament
By Jack Falt

Inquiring Green Organized Gold Resourceful Orange Authentic Blue

About a couple of thousand years ago Hippocrates saw that people behaved in roughly four basic patterns that are known as temperaments. In more modern times David Keirsey began investigating temperaments again. He called the four temperaments: Rational (NT) [Analysing Green], Guardian (SJ) [Organized Gold], Artisan (SP) [Resourceful Orange], and Idealist (NF) [Authentic Blue].  (The letters represent the preferences based on the work of Jung and Myers: S-Sensing, N—iNtuiting, T-Thinking, F-Feeling, J-Judging and P-Perceiving.) Several programs have been developed to help people determine their temperaments. A recent addition (2003) to these programs is Personality Dimension® a program that was comissioned and developed for Career/LifeSkills Resources Inc.

When reading descriptions of the temperaments, it is important to realize that these are very general descriptions. Not everyone will fit the descriptions all the time. In fact we have elements of all four temperaments within us that we can and do use. However, one temperament tends to be dominant just as we tend to have one hand that is dominant. It doesn’t mean that is the only hand we use. It just means that all things being equal our dominant hand is likely the one we will use first. So it is with temperaments. Our dominant temperament is the one we mainly use, but there are times when we use the other three as well. In a given day we are likely to be able to identify times when we have used all four temperaments. In fact part of our uniqueness comes from how the four temperaments combine in our personalities.
Our temperament determines our behaviour, and our behaviour is the instrument for getting us what we have to have. It is a hunger that must be fed daily. Inquiring Greens hunger for knowledge, for with knowledge comes power over their world. Organized Golds hunger for status, knowing where they belong in the grand scheme of life. Resourceful Oranges hunger for the freedom to obey their inner impulses. Authentic Blues hunger for meaning and understanding of what life is all about.

When determining your temperament you are given descriptions of the four temperaments and you choose the one you feel is most like you. Another way to determine your temperament is to go through these temperament descriptions using a highlighter and mark all the sentences that describe your behaviour generally. Personality Dimensions® is a basic workshop you can take that will help you find your dominant colour. You will also find that at certain times in your life you seem to be in a specific temperament phase. Sometimes your curiosity gets the better of you and you go into an Inquiring Green phase. You can spend enormous amounts of time researching a topic and finding out all you can about it. At other times you may want to settle down and take care of business and be in your Organized Gold phase. You may find you just want to take off and let go of your responsibilities and be a Resourceful Orange for a while. There will be times when the potential of people seems so important. You want to help them be all that they can be and this triggers you into your Authentic Blue phase.

Another aspect of personality is Introversion- Extraversion. These are Carl Jung's concepts. However, instead of the popular meaning of these words, Jung meant the words to identify where people get their energy from. Introverts get their energy from within themselves. After a day in the outside world, they come home drained and need to recharge with a quiet time by themselves. They tend to be more focused on what they are doing or thinking. They look at a subject in more depth. They can be more quiet but not necessarily so. If you get them talking about their pet subject, you may have difficulty shutting them up. They are more likely to have only a few people that they call their close friends. Extraverts get their energy from the outer world. Having to sit quietly by themselves is what drains their energy. Then they need to get back out into the world and mix with people. They have wider areas of interests. They can probably name a hundred people who are their nearest and deepest friends. So when reading the descriptions of the temperaments, remember that being introverted or extraverted will modify the way people express their temperaments.

Temperament is separate from intellectual ability. Each temperament will have the full range of intelligences from the developmentally handicapped to the genius. Overall, no one temperament is more intelligent than any other.

We are much too complex to fit neatly into four pigeon holes. But having some general concepts help us understand ourselves and others better. It is useful to know what your dominant temperament is. You can better understand your strengths and biases. For example, knowing that you like everything to be very orderly, can help you be a little more tolerant of those who are messy. You may realize that their temperament is not too concerned about always having things arranged neatly all the time. Now you have a choice. Instead of seeing them as having a major character flaw that needs some serious modification, you can either be more charitable towards them and accept them as they are, or you can remind them that you would prefer if they picked up after themselves. Sometimes they may be quite agreeable to do just that if it makes you happy. The important thing is to appreciate the differences in each other.

Graphics and logo used by permission of Career/LifeSkills Resources Inc. You have permission to copy this handout as long as you acknowledge the author. You can pull it into a word processing program and reformat it if you prefer.

To help you determine your temperament go to the Temperament Colour Rating Quiz.

Jack Falt is a trained facilitator in the use of Personality Dimensions®, True Colors®, MBTI® and Self-Discovery Process®. He leads an ongoing Appreciating Differences group that studies personality types including the Enneagram and Emotional Intelligence in the Ottawa area. You may reach him at (613) 256-3276 or by e-mail at (To use the e-mail address, replace the # with an @ symbol. This will help reduce the amount of spam mail received.) He has further information on his web site at

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