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The Choleric

The choleric is your original “type A” personality. This temperament is characterized by quick, intense reactions to both external and internal stimuli. Reactions are sustained over time, so the choleric temperament is not only decisive, but also tenacious and driven to follow-through. The choleric is typically extraverted–which means that his energy is focused externally, actively, and socially. This temperament is characterized by determination, energy, forcefulness, confidence, intensity, and vitality.

If you are a choleric, you are a dynamic, self-motivated leader who can set your sights on a target and relentlessly pursue it until success is achieved. You are a strong-willed individual who makes decisions quickly and decisively, and who readily and easily grasps difficult concepts and strategies. Learning comes quickly to you, and you like to take action immediately. You think logically and pragmatically, and are sometimes accused of “rolling over” people once you have set a plan in motion. You do not readily reveal deep emotions—except anger. Cholerics are often accused of being stubborn, domineering, and dictatorial. You demand loyalty from your friends, and thrive when you are in control. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a choleric president: “There is nothing I love as much as a good fight,” he famously said.

It has often been said that cholerics are either great saints. . . or great sinners. St. Paul was probably a choleric. He was a brilliant and zealous Pharisee—driven, at first, to persecute the early Christian community, but then, after his conversion, he became the greatest defender of the faith. If you are a choleric, humility comes with difficulty. You have a predilection for doing your own will, and thinking that you always know what is right and best. But, once you commit yourself to a life of virtue and growth in holiness, your determination will be turned toward service of Christ and the Church. A good spiritual director will help you identify God’s will for you, and attentiveness to your prayer life, especially meditative prayer, will help your naturally quite active temperament become more contemplative.