Personality Type - Rational - The Complex World of Problem Solving Personalities

Rationals are the problem solving temperament - the more complex the problem, the better. People with this personality are compelled to analyze complex systems, be they organic, mechanical or social. A Rational must understand how systems work, in order to make them work better.

Primarily concerned with abstract concepts and fundamental principles, he will try to find solutions with real world applications. Focused and strong willed, he will be pragmatic, efficient and tireless in pursuit of his goal; this absorbed concentration can sometimes be seen as cold and distant. Think of that pop culture icon of Logic, Mr. Spock. Self contained, focused and ingenious - he was probably not voted Vulcan class clown.

Rationals value intelligence, and will listen to
anyone who has something useful to contribute, while showing little regard for arbitrary procedures and authority. Rigorously logical, they pride themselves on solving problems with efficiency and ingenuity - wasting time and resources is unacceptable to a Rational temperament. These independent thinkers are natural skeptics - they are even skeptical concerning their own ideas - yet, they believe that any obstacle can be overcome with sheer willpower. Are you a Rational?
"Error of opinion maybe tolerated where reason is left free to combat it." Thomas Jefferson (Architect Rational)

Architect Rationals need not be thought of as only interested in drawing blueprints for buildings; but rather as master designers of many theoretical systems, including school curricula, corporate strategies, and new technologies. For Architects, the world exists primarily to be analyzed, understood, explained - and re-designed. They do not concern themselves with external reality, focusing on fundamental principles and natural laws to create efficient, coherent designs. An Architect is precise in thought and speech; it is difficult for him to listen to nonsense, even in casual conversation, without pointing out the speaker's error. Interested only in logic, statements must be consistent and coherent to carry any weight with him. Architects often seem difficult to know; with their grand desire to grasp the universe's structure, they can seem arrogant and may show impatience with those who have less ability, or who are less driven. Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein were Architect Rationals.

Fieldmarshals are bound to lead; they can be observed taking command of groups from an early age. Strong willed, with a natural urge to give structure and direction, they harness people and direct them to achieve distant goals. When in charge of an organization, be it military, business, education, or government, Fieldmarshals can visualize where the organization is going, and communicate that vision to their team. Organizational and coordinating skills are highly developed, making them good at systematizing, ordering priorities, and marshaling evidence. They enjoy positions of responsibility and make exemplary administrators in virtually any field. They prefer decisions based on impersonal data, want to work from well thought-out plans, like to use engineered operations - and expect others to follow suit. Fieldmarshals root out and reject ineffectiveness and inefficiency, and show impatience with repetition of error. Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Senator Hillary Clinton are Fieldmarshal Rationals.

Inventors begin building gadgets and mechanisms as young children, and never really stop. Comprising only two percent of our population, these innovative entrepreneurs have great impact on our everyday lives, always aiming to 'build a better mousetrap'. The keenly pragmatic Inventor brings a fresh, new approach to work and play, often rejecting the status quo in favor of more effective problem solving. Intensely curious, he continuously probes for possibilities, especially when trying to solve complex problems. Inventors are easy going, seldom critical and often have a lively circle of friends. Engaging conversationalists, they may employ debate skills to verbally disarm their opponent. Inventors display an extraordinary talent for rising to the demands of even the most impossible situations. 'It can't be done' is a challenge that elicits a reaction of 'I can do it.' Thomas Edison and Benjamin Franklin were Inventor Rationals.

All Rationals are good at planning operations, but Masterminds are head and shoulders above all the rest in contingency planning. Complex operations, particularly those involving new technologies require many steps or stages, one following another in necessary progression. Masterminds are naturally able to grasp how each one leads to the next, preparing alternatives for difficulties that are likely to arise. Although they make highly capable leaders, Masterminds are not at all eager to take command, preferring to stay in the background until others demonstrate their inability to lead. Once they take charge, however, pragmatic Masterminds will plan and maintain a well-run organization, always aiming for maximum efficiency. Career wise, Masterminds usually rise to positions of responsibility, for they work long and hard in dedicated pursuit of their goals. Though strong willed and decisive, Masterminds insist on researching all available data before they embrace an idea. Generals / Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and Ulysses S. Grant were Mastermind Rationals.

Overall, Rationals are very scarce, comprising as little as 5 to 10 percent of our population. But because of a drive to unlock the secrets of nature, and develop new technologies, they have done much to shape our world. For more information on the distinct personality traits of the Four Temperaments, please visit and take the FREE Personality Test. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: David M. Keirsey, PhD is an Educational Psychologist specializing in human behavior; his lifelong work focuses on four distinct patterns of behavior woven throughout history. The subject of two international bestsellers, The Keirsey Temperament Theory has been used to train educators, psychologists, a number of Fortune 500 companies and even the U.S. military.

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