Desperately Seeking PerfectionWritten by John Boe
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The Thinker’s self-discipline and sense of order may cause them to be routine and possibly ritualistic in their activities. This can result in compulsive behavior such as eating disorders or “cleaning fetishes.” If taken to extreme, these tendencies become obsessive-compulsive behaviors. Tony Randall, a Thinker, exemplifies this compulsiveness and exaggerates his own temperament by portraying perfectionistic Felix in TV sitcom, The Odd Couple. Thinkers are both health and appearance conscious and routinely exercise to extreme. Because they strive for perfection, Thinkers are also susceptible to both anorexia and bulimia. Karen Carpenter and Princess Diana both battled this challenge. Thinkers can be difficult and demanding to please and rarely meet their own high standards. They are often their own worst critics. They will often berate themselves with guilt and blame for their perceived shortcomings. This critical outlook frequently manifests as negative self-talk. While self-criticism is necessary for personal growth, taken to extreme, it becomes unhealthy and can lead to depression. Abe Lincoln, a Thinker, was plagued throughout his lifetime with bouts of depression. He was fond of saying, “man is about as happy as he makes his mind up to be.”
Thinkers will have a slightly darker cast and a more serious demeanor than other three primary temperament styles. This darker cast is due to what Hippocrates labeled “melancholy influence” in this style. This is “dark” referred to in phrase, “tall dark and handsome.” Thinkers have identifiable wrinkles on their forehead and between their eyebrows. Ask a Thinker a question or give them a problem to solve and watch these furrow lines appear. The majority of Thinkers have long eyelashes and many have protruding ears like Abraham Lincoln, Prince Charles and Ross Perot. It has been my observation that everyone with a cleft chin is a Thinker, although not every Thinker will have a cleft chin. The most perfectionistic of six Thinker primary profiles is Thinker/Watcher/Worker/Talker profile, AKA Perfectionist. This profile, Perfectionist, is easy to spot because of distinctively thin shape to their head and chest. A good example of this Perfectionist profile is David Hyde Pierce who plays Dr. Niles Crane on popular sitcom, Frasier. Other well known Perfectionists are: Jennifer Aniston, Johnny Carson, Kevin Costner, Celine Dion, Abe Lincoln and Tony Randall.
The most common body language tendency for Thinker is to place their hand around their mouth, cheek or chin. This is a comfortable and natural posture when they are thinking or analyzing. Perhaps this is why Rodin created his sculpture masterpiece, “The Thinker,” with chin resting on fist. When an individual talks while their hand is covering their mouth, or talks through their fingers, it sends signal that they do not believe in what they are saying. When a Thinker is in process of making a decision, they will stroke their chin. Another important gesture for Thinker is critical judgment. Placing a thumb under chin with index finger resting along cheek forms this negative gesture. Thinkers have a tendency to rub or scratch their nose frequently. Body language experts tell us that when a person does not like subject being discussed, tiny nerve endings in nose cause it to itch. There are several ways people scratch their nose. Women will often scratch their nose with their little finger so they don’t smudge their makeup. Many Thinkers use their thumb and index finger in a pinching gesture. Perhaps most frequently used nose scratching gesture is what I call violin method. This is when a person takes their index finger and rubs it vigorously back and forth under their nose as if they were playing a violin. When one peers over top of their eyeglasses it denotes “judgment and scrutiny.” Judge Judy exemplifies this negative gesture as she glares over her half glasses in an attempt to intimidate others in her courtroom. The most dismissive body language gesture used by Thinker is “rolling their eyes” in a condescending manner.
Organized - Loyal - Diplomatic - Thoughtful - Honest - Detailed
Moody - Pessimistic - Critical - Cheap - Sensitive - Private
1. Appears thoughtful and serious. 2. Gives accurate and exact information. 3. Follows instructions exactly. 4. Preplans important conversations. 5. Likes to follow rules. Runs things by book. 6. Speaks slowly and carefully. 7. Becomes angry over errors or poor quality.
How Thinkers Can Improve:
1. Loosen up a bit; don’t be so formal and structured. 2. Don’t analyze things to death. 3. Don’t correct others publicly. 4. Don’t stress and worry so much. 5. Try not to be so private and secretive. 6. Do things out of sequence when possible. 7. Avoid trying for perfection.
The following well known people all have Thinker as their primary temperament style: Alan Alda, Julie Andrews, Fred Astaire, Lucille Ball, Kevin Beacon, Usama Bin Laden, Jack Benny, Holle Berry, David Bowie, Matthew Broderick, Tom Brokaw, Pierce Brosnan, Ted Bundy, Carol Burnett, George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush, Nicholas Cage, Karen Carpenter, Jim Carrey, Prince Charles, David Copperfield, Courtney Cox, Tom Cruise, Billy Crystal, Jamie Lee Curtis, Princess Diana, Michael Douglas, Clint Eastwood, Henry Fonda, Jane Fonda, Peter Fonda, Harrison Ford, Jody Foster, Michael J. Fox, Jeff Foxworthy, Mel Gibson, Louis Gossett Jr., Cary Grant, Wayne Gretsky, Arsenio Hall, Tom Hanks, George Harrison, Florence Henderson, Audrey Hepburn, Ron Howard, Howard Hughes, Helen Hunt, Michael Jackson, Michael Jordon, John F. Kennedy, John F. Kennedy Jr., Matt Lauer, Bruce Lee, Jack Lemmon, David Letterman, Charles Lindberg, Susan Lucci, Reba McEntire, Steve McQueen, Demi Moore, Eddie Murphy, Leonard Nimoy, Sean Penn, Ross Perot, Luke Perry, Regis Philbin, David Hyde Pierce, Lionel Richie, Joan Rivers, Julia Roberts, Meg Ryan, Jerry Seinfeld, Judge Judy Sheindlin, Will Smith, Steven Spielberg, Howard Stern, Jimmy Stewart, Martha Stewart, John Stossel, Denzel Washington, and Tiger Woods.
John Boe, based in Monterey, CA, is recognized as one of the nation’s top sales trainers and motivational speakers. He helps companies recruit, train and motivate quality people. John is a leading authority on body language and temperament styles. To view his online Video Demo or to have John Boe speak at your next event, visit www.johnboe.com or call (831) 375-3668.
TransitionWritten by Dr. Dorree Lynn
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Along with most people I know, I have always had a life of transition, some sought and embraced, some thrust upon me kicking and screaming. And, with my particular flaws and skills, I have played my cards as they have been dealt. Once again, I have a new deck. The cards of course are familiar, for my character has not changed. I move with my current transition slowly, saying “good-bye” to what once was comfort zone of my profession, children and grandchildren and now, bump along a rocky landscape of writing columns and books,(the current book is Getting Sane Without Going Crazy) speaking to organizations and using media and web to reach, and hopefully, to help, more people.
It is a passage of choice related to my age, to challenges long sought, to childhood reams that were unfulfilled, to knowledge gained. Still, when I analyze my own dynamics, I realize that there are ways that I don't know more about all complex reasons for my own choices than those I am privileged to treat. Or, meanings made, life landscapes I design, keep changing from different views.
Recently, a member of a group that I was leading reassuringly tried to comfort a fellow group member who was suffering panic attacks and nightmares as she transitioned out of a long term but unsatisfying marriage to a life that at least temporarily was without a mate. Lovingly, he told her that she didn't have to move in direction that was causing her such pain. She looked at him a long time and gently said, “No, you are wrong, I can't explain all reasons why, why, but I must do this. You have to understand, much as I am in upheaval, it is my next step.” I listened quietly and I and others in that room understood.
Life is too hard to do alone,
Dorree Lynn, PH.D.
Dr. Dorree Lynn is co-founder of the Institute for the Advanced Study of Psychotherapy and a practicing clinician in New York and Washington, DC. Dr. Lynn served on the executive board of the American Academy of Psychotherapists and she is on the editorial board of their publication, Voices. She is also a regular columnist for the Washington, DC newspaper, The Georgetowner. Dr. Lynn is a noted speaker and well known on the lecture circuit.