Insights from My Temperament Journey

Nathan Bryce shares his journey of discovering his unique temperament, exploring the importance of understanding personality to enhance relationships, communication, and self-awareness. Learn how balancing different temperaments can lead to personal growth and improved interactions in various aspects of life.

Transforming Understanding Through Temperament

Ever wondered why you gravitate towards certain activities or people? Let me tell you about my personal journey of discovering my temperament type and how it transformed my understanding of myself and others.

My name is Nathan Bryce, and I am the author of all the content on this website. Over the years, I have written dozens of books, developed numerous assessments, conducted hundreds of workshops, and created online training programs. Additionally, I have produced hundreds of articles, videos, learning activities, and lectures, all centered around the fascinating world of human personality. My passion lies in helping people understand themselves and others better through the lens of temperament, and I am dedicated to sharing my insights and knowledge with you through these various platforms.

But you also need to know this about me: I am an odd duck. Statistics indicate that less than half of one percent of people share my dominant personality traits. This uniqueness stems partly from my nature and partly from how I was nurtured. As the youngest of eight children, my parents instilled in us the values of self-sufficiency, self-motivation, and self-entertainment. With a five-year gap between me and my next oldest sibling, I often modeled my behavior after my older brothers and sisters. Naturally, I learned to do things that were more typical for their age, rather than mine. By the time I started elementary school, I was, to put it kindly, precocious and different from most of my peers.

My oddities were apparent early on. When I was nine, I formed an encyclopedia club with my friend. Each week, we would read the World Book encyclopedia at our homes (the beta version of Wikipedia) and then report to each other on the coolest facts we found. I loved learning and school so much that I was almost always the teacher’s pet, cleaning classrooms after school, rearranging desks, helping grade papers, running the ditto machine, and peer-mentoring classmates who were struggling with their studies. While other kids played outside, I spent most of my recesses inside, with or without the teacher’s permission. I was a true philomath: a lover of learning and studying, someone who finds joy in acquiring knowledge across various fields.

In 1980, when I was in the eighth grade, I even managed to get out of most of my classes when the principal gave me a set of keys to all of the classrooms. My job was to set up 16mm movies and the latest invention, a video cassette recorder, for teachers who didn’t know how to use the equipment. I would come to school at 7:00 am and record PBS programs like 3-2-1 Contact, or come back in the evening to record Cosmos with Carl Sagan, which teachers would later use in their classes. My technical skills and eagerness to help the educational process become more efficient and media-enriched put me in a unique position; it also made some of my peers jealous.

High school amplified my sense of being different. I tuned out of most classes, preferring to learn on my own rather than follow the curriculum. In each class, rather than listening to a lecture, I would do the homework for the previous class, which meant I never really brought home any work. I spent lots of my time after school in the school’s television studio, back in the day when we only had black and white TV cameras. I also spent my spare time in our “state-of-the-art” computer science lab, which used a minicomputer and teletypes (ASR-33) that stored our programs on little reels of inch-wide yellow paper punch tape (a step up from punch cards). One day, I figured out how to hack into the password storage area, but instead of getting into trouble, my teacher made me his assistant and had me teach others what he didn’t know. I occasionally found myself correcting teachers from my front-row perch, which led to a general animosity between the teachers and myself, and a general disillusionment with the traditional educational system. It didn’t help that I was also the only one who could troubleshoot the audio system of our new auditorium, which took me out of some of my classes to get the thing running again. I believed I was better off learning independently, voraciously reading anything I could get my hands on—a habit I still maintain, reading five or six books a week from a variety of genres. On a good week, I’ll even write my own.

In college, still feeling out of place but now at peace with it, I finally decided on a major: psychology. The reason was clear: people perpetually perplexed me. They were the most difficult puzzle to solve, and I hate having puzzles that I can’t solve. Initially, like most psych students, I wondered if something was wrong with me. And, truth be told, there is something wrong with every psych student, and every other person in the world for that matter. No one is mentally healthy 100% of the time; in fact, almost everyone experiences a personal state of crisis every week. Despite that, I took comfort in discovering that I wasn’t alone in my quest to understand human behavior. I wanted to understand why people do the crazy things they do. Like many psychology students trying to make sense of their own quirks, I stumbled upon personality theory, a branch of psychology called “personalitology.” Outside of class, I explored hundreds of different theories, many too complex or too simple to be useful. I learned that almost every culture and civilization had tried to crack the code of human behavior and developed their own way of grouping people into different categories based on a shared set of similarities and differences. I even learned to read (but not speak) a little German so I could understand some of the writings of Erich Adickes, Erich Fromm, and Ernst Kretschmer, three of the most interesting personality theorists of their day.

In 1988, I encountered the notion of archetypes as defined by Carl Jung and further developed by David Keirsey. At the time, there were dozens of companies who tried to monetize these theories by turning them into personality typing systems that used metaphors like animals, shapes, body fluids, elements, compass directions, seasons, and gardens to represent each archetype, also known as temperaments. The company I worked for at the time used a color-based metaphor, which seemed superior because it was a metaphor that was unattached to preconceived notions and actually had good cross-cultural meaning.

For example, regardless of your culture, the color Blue represents those who are emotionally deep, akin to a soothing mountain lake or the expansive, serene blue skies that evoke peace and tranquility. Gold signifies stability and reliability, like a sack of gold coins or the golden hues of a sunrise that herald a new day with promise and consistency. Green embodies intellect and innovation, reminiscent of lush green forests teeming with life and the growth of new ideas. Orange captures the zest for life and spontaneity, like the energetic burst of a sunset or the invigorating thrill of adventure.

What I especially liked about the use of the colors metaphor is that it allowed different colors to be blended together, rather than pigeonholing something into one temperament and one temperament only. I was one of those people who were perfectly balanced between three temperaments and had the flexibility to choose the one that was expedient for the circumstances. Most personality theories (MBTI, DiSC, Big Five, etc.) wouldn’t accommodate such a blend, but it only made sense to my mind that everyone’s personality could be formed by a combination of one or more of these temperaments, with each temperament contributing a different percentage to the person’s personality, which we call your personality spectrum. But I couldn’t find a psychometric assessment that would accurately and systematically measure this spectrum across a variety of life circumstances.

Up to that time in the world, and generally still true to this day, personality tests were grossly misused and misinterpreted. Most people used them as a simple “get to know you” party game, rather than a robust model that could transform the way you perceive the world. “Hi, I’m a Blue, who are you?” It was like people giving you your astrological sign when you first meet them. It seemed weird, immature, and definitely not scientific. Furthermore, the assessments consisted of little more than “pick your favorite picture” or “choose the set of words that best represents you.” But even if they accurately assessed your blend of temperaments, what good is it unless you also learn what each of those colors represents?

Understanding personality takes a great deal of time to master. A two-hour introduction isn’t sufficient to solve significant problems. Nor is a two-day session. It takes a serious investment of time. But with that investment, you can learn how individuals think, feel, act, make decisions, communicate, lead, teach, learn, play, handle stress, resolve conflicts, manage time, set goals, motivate themselves and others, respond to change, build relationships, express emotions, deal with challenges, work in teams, prefer to be rewarded, give and receive feedback, solve problems, approach creativity, manage risks, prioritize tasks, handle criticism, engage in self-care, adapt to different environments, perceive and use humor, develop and maintain habits, support others, pursue personal growth, value traditions, interact in social settings, respond to authority, manage resources, celebrate achievements, approach planning and organization, deal with uncertainty, engage in leisure activities, pursue hobbies, balance work and life, seek and use information, handle negotiations, manage finances, and show affection to their loved ones.

And that’s just the beginning of the insights that you can learn once you seriously study and commit to memory everything you need to know about each personality temperament, and then use this understanding to change the way you behave. That way, no matter who you’re interacting with, you can make some subtle adjustments to your interactions to appeal to their deep-seated and innate preferences. When you do this, so many people problems evaporate into thin air.

One day, while walking around my neighborhood in Phoenix, Arizona, an idea struck me: Why not assess personality across ten different life categories and allow people to distribute points among these categories to reflect their unique blend of temperaments, similar to the Q-sort methodology used by statisticians which combined both qualitative judgment with quantitative analysis. This approach of assessment would enable a more nuanced understanding, recognizing that someone’s personality doesn’t always fit into just four or 16 types, but is composed of a near-infinite number of variations. But to do that I had to define those categories in depth, making sure the differences between the temperaments were significant and meaningful. So I wrote a book on the subject, and then used the definitions to create the world’s first patented personality system, obviously building on the shoulders of giants like Aristotle, Plato, Jung, Adickes, Kretschmer, Fromm, Keirsey, and hundreds of other personalitologists.

Since then, I have dedicated myself to simplifying and clarifying complex psychological and personality theories, making them actionable and useful in solving real-life problems. My goal has always been to create a system that is simple yet profound and life-changing. And it has been. Millions of people have completed my personality tests, read my books, or participated in my workshops.

Understanding personality is more than just discovering your type. It’s about using this understanding to enhance your communication and interactions with everyone, even those who are as quirky as I was. It’s not a quick 15-minute assessment; it’s a paradigm-shifting perspective that changes everything you know about the world. It allows you to boost your emotional intelligence and maturity, enabling you to treat people the way they want to be treated. Every day I learn something new about temperament that improves some aspect of my life and the lives of those around me. Within the last 18 months, I’ve written 20 books that focus on different aspects of personality and different life settings, such as the values of each temperament, the virtues (and vices) of each temperament, how to parent different colors, how to sell to each temperament, how to develop emotional intelligence and maturity, how to use this information in the world of law, and how to use it in the world of healthcare. These aren’t minor books—the average length is 300 pages, and they go into specific details, with practical exercises to practice the information taught in its pages. I’ve got at least 15 new books that I plan on writing next. In fact, if you have a topic that you want me to write on, just leave a comment below.

Discovering my temperament type was like finding the missing piece of a puzzle. It allowed me to understand why I always felt different and how I could use that uniqueness to my advantage. It also taught me to appreciate the diversity in others. Instead of feeling frustrated by people’s quirks, I learned to see them as different colors in a beautiful spectrum. This perspective shift transformed my relationships, making me more empathetic and understanding.

As I continued my journey, I realized that personality theory wasn’t just a tool for self-discovery but a powerful framework for improving all aspects of life. In the workplace, understanding my colleagues’ temperaments helped me navigate team dynamics and foster a more collaborative environment. At home, it improved my communication with family members, allowing us to understand and support each other better. In social settings, it helped me connect with people on a deeper level, as I could tailor my interactions to resonate with their temperaments.

The flexibility of the color-based metaphor made it easy to apply these insights across various contexts. Whether I was teaching a class, coaching a client, leading a team, delivering a speech, or simply having a casual conversation, I could adjust my approach to align with the other person’s temperament. This adaptability made my interactions more effective and meaningful. The more I practiced, the more intuitive it became. I started to notice patterns and could quickly identify someone’s temperament, allowing me to respond in a way that met their needs and preferences.

One of the most profound lessons I learned was the importance of balance. Embracing the strengths of each temperament helped me become a more well-rounded individual. For example, incorporating the stability and organization of Gold into my logical and analytical Green temperament made me more reliable and grounded. Similarly, blending the spontaneity of Orange with the empathy of Blue enhanced my ability to connect with others while maintaining objectivity.

The journey didn’t stop with personal growth. As I shared my insights through books and workshops, I saw the impact it had on others. People from all walks of life found value in understanding temperaments. They reported improved relationships, better team performance, and greater personal satisfaction. Seeing these transformations reinforced my belief in the power of personality theory.

Looking ahead, I am excited to continue exploring the nuances of temperament. There is always more to learn, and each discovery opens new possibilities. Whether it’s developing new assessment tools, writing more books, or creating interactive workshops, my goal remains the same: to help people understand themselves and each other better. By doing so, we can build a world where everyone feels valued and understood.

So, whether you’re just starting your journey of self-discovery or looking to deepen your understanding of personality, remember that the path is both enlightening and transformative. Embrace your unique temperament, learn to appreciate the diversity in others, and use these insights to enhance every aspect of your life. The more you understand, the better equipped you will be to navigate the complexities of human relationships and create meaningful connections.

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