A Great Model to Understand Ourselves and Others Better

by Corinna Freitag
A Great Model to Understand Ourselves and Others Better

Already Hippocrates, a Greek physician, who lived around 400 BC, had developed a model that helped to understand ourselves and others better. He classified humans in 4 different temperaments – the choleric, sanguine, apathetic and melancholic person. The former two are extrovert, whereas the latter two are introvert. Hippocrates related different qualities to all of the different types as intuitive, choleric and aggressive to the choleric, inspirational, nervous and hectic to the sanguine, imaginative, afraid and indecisive to the apathetic, and intellectual, melancholic and worn out to the melancholic person.

The Swiss psychiatrist C. G. Jung developed the model of the psychological types, which was first published in 1921. He identified 3 sets of preferences:

  • 2 main attitude types: Introversion ↔ Extraversion
  • 2 judging or rational functions of consciousness: Thinking ↔ Feeling
  • 2 perceiving or non-rational functions of consciousness: Sensation ↔ Intuition

Jung combined these in 8 psychological types: extraverted sensation / introverted sensation; extraverted intuition / introverted intuition; extraverted thinking / introverted thinking; and extraverted feeling / introverted feeling.

The Insights Discovery model is built on the Jungian typology and classifies 4 main color energies: red, blue, yellow and green. Individuals with a preference for

Fiery Red energy
  • Have a strong determination that influences those they interact with
  • Approach others in a direct and straightforward manner
  • Are single-minded and determined in their focus on results
  • Are active and move in a positive and firm direction
  • Seek an outcome that is specific and tangible
Cold Blue energy
  • Think things through before committing to action
  • Desire to know and understand the world around them
  • Like information to be accurate and complete before proceeding
  • Maintain a detached and objective standpoint
  • Value independence and intellect
Sunshine Yellow energy
  • Radiate enthusiasm and encourage participation
  • Enjoy and seek the company of others
  • Have a desire to be involved
  • Approach others in a persuasive, engaging and inviting manner
  • Like to be noticed and appreciated for their contributions
Earth Green energy
  • Prefer democratic approaches that respect the individual
  • Ensure all individual perspectives are heard and considered in making choices or decisions
  • Seek harmony and depth in relationships
  • View the world through what they value and what is important to them
  • Defend what they value with quiet determination and persistence

In 2015 when I lived in Shanghai I did my first Insights Discovery Personal Profile thanks to the company for which I work. My blue and green energy are very high and almost at the same level, whereas my red and yellow energy are very low. The first years I was not very happy about this result as I wanted to have less of the green and far more of the red energy, especially as I struggled with going into conflicts. Luckily and thanks to my manager this perception changed beginning of 2021. With our team we did another Discovery Personal Profile. My outcome was almost the same as in 2015. What was different this time? First of all, the feedback of my manager was very important to me. She told me that I am a very important member of the team because of my green energy. In addition, I further reflected on my Insights results and started to speak about it with colleagues. I spoke with colleagues with similar energies as mine but also with colleagues with totally different energies compared to mine. A colleague who has also a lot of the earth green energy told me, that she experienced that she can speak up very well for other people. But she finds it difficult to speak up for herself. I recognized the same for me. And I wondered, why I am not able to speak up for myself. Based on the energies it is logical, as the green energy helps to stand up for others. So, I started to use my green energy for myself. And it worked. So far, I shied away from conflicts. And now I look forward to conflicts to have possibilities to practice. From further colleagues with higher green energy I learned, that they are able to apply the red energy, when needed, even that they feel more comfortable in their green energy. And very interestingly, another colleague who has a lot of the fiery red energy told me, that he envies me, because of my green energy, which he is lacking. Until that moment for some reason I thought that people who are high in the red energy think of people with green energy very poorly. He explained to me that he experienced a lot of situations, in which he trod on other’s toes due to his high red and low green energy. This made it very difficult for him to work together with others and to collaborate with them. He had to learn how to change his behavior in order not to affront other people. He learned it. But it does not come naturally to him. It is an effort for him.

Insights did not only help me to understand myself better and to improve my behavior, it also helped me to understand others better. For example, years ago I had a manager, who got very angry whenever I gave her constructive feedback. Due to my high green energy I went on giving her feedback, even though her response was not very nice. But from time to time she told me how much she appreciates my feedback and I should not stop doing it. I did not understand this. Why did she tell me, that she appreciates my feedback, when every time I give her feedback she gets very angry? Thanks to my colleague with the high red energy I was able to understand this years later. He said that the first moment he gets feedback, he also receives it not very well. But he starts to think about it and it sinks in. And after some time, he is able to accept it or maybe even to embrace it. With this explanation it made click. He had described exactly the behavior of my former manager. For future encounters with persons with high red energy I know now that it is worth to give them constructive feedback or tell them my opinion, even if their immediate reaction might not be very nice.

Some people told me that they do not like Insights as it leads to stereotyped thinking. If the concept is abused and people use it for clichés and as an apology for their bad behaviors and weaknesses, it is true. But this is true for a lot of things, especially in the technical and digital area. If they are used in the wrong way, they can cause harm. Insights is a powerful tool if you use it for self-refection and you are willing to change. And if you use it to understand others better. It helped me to get more clarity about my strength and weaknesses, to understand why I behave how I behave and to understand why some things in my life went well and some not so well. In addition, I am able to understand other people better. And the most important is, that it helped me to change myself for the better. For example, now I go into conflicts. I do not love conflicts and probably will never love them. But I do not avoid them anymore. I take them. To me this is a great improvement.

Photo by Alex

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