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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Book review- Why you act the way you do


YEAR: 1993

As humans, we seldom understand that everyone has been created with different personalities, thus we hear individuals say things like “I can’t tolerate her”, “she acts strange and weird”, ‘I can’t just understand him’, ‘he is so unpredictable ’, ‘I can’t work with him, he’s without emotions’ and so on. Tim Lahaye in his book 'Why you act the way you do' helps to dispel some of these fears and uncertainties we have while dealing with people by helping us understand the personality type of every individual.

According to Tim, we are influenced to a large extent by our personality types. Although as a spiritual person, the weaknesses we exhibit as a result of our personality tends to become less obvious, but we cannot deny that this personality doesn’t exist. He mentions the fact that there are four different personality types in every individual and these personalities possess weaknesses which should be appreciated. These personality types include: The Sanguine, Choleric, Melancholy and Phlegmatic.

He explains the fact that the “sanguine” are happy people, they love to live life to its fullest, they are usually very friendly and as a result, people feel comfortable around them. ‘Cholerics’ are a serious set of individuals, they are usually the workaholics, they are focused and determined regardless of unpleasant events that occur while trying to pursue a particular project. In otherwords, they are the ones who really see blessings in every disappointment. The ‘melancholics’ are a very analytical set, they have very high IQ’s and are artistic. Individuals who are phlegmatics are usually quiet, easy going and don’t like to offend people.

However, Tim emphasizes the fact that it is somewhat impossible to have an individual exhibit only one personality type, hence the need to classify them into primary and secondary personality types.
He mentions the importance of aligning one’s self to the Holy spirit so as to better appreciate the strengths inherent in one’s personality, while also gradually erasing some of the weaknesses that has deterred one from functioning maximally as God has always designed us to.

From the weaknesses the author identifies in every personality trait, he explains (with biblical evidence) that the presence of the Holy spirit would go a long way in ensuring that we behave better and enjoy God’s will for our lives. According to him, true repentance and constant study of scriptures would help us in achieving this.

Asides the positive traits that has been mentioned above, Tim makes to identify the weaknesses of each of the types: Sanguines because of their care free nature, are disorganized, proud, and as a result are prone to anger, and their tongue is one good way of escape; Cholerics are usually the ‘workaholics’ in their vocation, they are termed ‘emotionless’, and prone to anger just as the sanguines. Asides the fact that they have the highest IQs (especially within their families), melancholics are well known for criticisms and self condemnation, they fear and worry more than any other personality type. It is for this class of people that Tim says would need to have a lot of faith. The phlegmatics on the other hand, are usually complacent, they are slow and would rather not initiate anything. For the fear of hurting others, they would rather go along with what they say, they tend to worry a lot as well.

Regardless of the weaknesses associated with these personality types, Tim provides practical steps that could be taken to curb them.

One interesting thing about this book, is the fact that the author did not propose any idea in isolation of some facts. Most of his ideas are backed with some biblical evidence. Some others are based on his experience as a counselor and a pastor, thus giving some credence to his work.

This book is a must read for everyone as the author explains our different temperament in different aspects like vocation, family, marriage and sex. It is a total guide on how we can identify the problems that exist in these areas and with our knowledge of different personality types, manage it effectively.

1 comment:

  1. You just made me hungry of the book. I use to have it but can't lay my hands on it right and the fact that I never played much value on it as at then. Pls do you have the book in soft copy? That's all I wanted to ask pls.