The human brain is changeable. It can become anything, at any time, given the right stimulus.
The rules we are going to cover are not set in stone. The goal of hypnotic profiling is all about developing an intuition about other people, rather than following strict guidelines word for word.
Never make a mistake of thinking that the person is that way and will always be that way, regardless of the context. All profiles are context dependent. Different predispositions become more prevalent in one context to the other. For example, the same person will behave in a certain way when surrounded by business colleagues and differently when surrounded by family members.
So, the first question you should be asking yourself when profiling a person is “what context are you in?” In other words, using the hypnotic profiling system allows you to find the kind of profile that person has right there in that moment.
So, before dwelling into the secrets of hypnotic profiling I want you to fully understand 2 things:
The context will change the profile
Profiles are rough guides only
Looking at things through contrast and creating polar opposites is what makes human perception. We cannot understand what “front of the room” means unless we know what “back of the room” is. This polar principle is the way we perceive the world around us.
The same principle applies to people. By splitting certain ideas and behaviours into polar opposites we can decide “are they this pole or that pole”. By being aware of these extremes you will be able to create a simple and elegant way of teasing out information from people and find out what kind of person they are within minutes.
People can either think abstractly or concretely. Or simply put, they like the big picture or they like the details.
An abstract thinker will be prone to nominalizations (concepts that only exist inside the mind) like love, happiness, virtue etc.
On the other hand, people who are more concretely oriented will talk about the things they can see, touch, hear or taste. They will talk about a particular car, rather than cars in general.
They will talk about the 2 neighbour kids who painted their exterior wall, rather than lament over the fact that children today have become hooligans. When talking, they will give lots and lots of details about time, people, things they did etc.
You can actually spot this very quickly by the way people talk. Pay attention to how your friends or family members talk and see if you can notice these patterns emerging.
To a certain extent, everyone will be able to speak in both categories. But you want to discover which one of them is dominant.
The next set of poles would be the “left or right brain” thinkers. But before we dwell into this issue let us first clear out the common misunderstanding around it.
The general rule is that the right brain thinkers are more intuitive and holistic, whereas left brain thinkers are more rational, logical, sequential and pragmatic.
In reality, people are using BOTH hemispheres at the same time. It is very rare for one hemisphere to shut down completely, and it usually happens when a person experiences a medical condition of some sort (a stroke for ex).
For example, when solving a mathematical problem, more of the left brain tends to fire up, whereas when engaged in any artistic activity (music, painting etc.) more of your right brain tends to fire up. We always use both hemispheres, it’s just a question of which part has a more dominant impact at any given time.
As much as the left brain is frowned upon by the hypnosis community because of it analyses and criticisms, left brain thinking is immensely useful and pragmatical. It’s the place where we store a part of what makes us human beings – the ability to think rationally and logically, solve problems, use words and tools etc.
On the other hand, the right brain is where the spiritual side of human beings and the deeper meaning behind things are stored. The right brain thinks beyond words and without words. It connects us to the universe and helps us sense the life around us. While the left hemisphere breaks things down, the right hemisphere builds things up and finds the connections between things while seeing the patterns of the universe unfolding.
Now, don’t go out on a limb and start thinking that creativity is only the right brain activity. Creativity can come in many different shapes and guises. For example, creativity can be logically deconstructing an item and rebuild it sequentially in a different way using a set of parameters that dictates how things should be constructed.
So, a scientist for example (whom you could regard as a left brain thinker) can take a car engine, break it down and create an engine for a bike. This is something that requires left brain thinking because many logical steps are involved in it. So, it would be wrong to say that someone cannot be creative just because he uses his left brain more than the right.
Now, by combing the aforementioned poles together we get 4 possible combinations:
a concrete thinker that uses the left brain
a concrete thinker that uses the right brain
an abstract thinker that uses the left brain
an abstract thinker that uses the right brain
The interesting thing is that certain behaviours tend to conglomerate around this categorization, so we can predict many character traits just based on this.
A concrete thinker that uses the left brain is a methodical, meticulous person who pays attention to details and memorises them quite well. They like order, rather than the disorder. They appreciate things they can see, hear or taste, rather than ideas or metaphors.
A concrete thinker that uses the right brain is still very much in the world of senses, but because he uses the right brain, he will be more intuitive, enjoying the moment, rather than planning ahead. Most artists are concrete right brain thinkers.
An abstract thinker that uses the left brain is a highly intellectual person with radical ideas that sound so complicated that many people don’t get it. Most scientists are abstract left brain thinkers. They feel one with nature but at the same time try to find ways to make that nature work for us, so to speak.
An abstract thinker that uses the right brain will have a knack for philosophy. Sensory perceptions are of no interest to him. However, the meaning of life, for example, is.
An important thing to realise here is that the context and state can change the character. Everyone is capable of assuming any of the above types. For example, meditation is a classic left brain thinker's approach to spirituality.
Your habituated state and the mental machinery you use on your daily basis will tend to predispose you to one of the characters. However, if you change your state you will change your character. In other words, you can easily switch your profile if you know how to change your mental state; you can also do this with other people as well.
Many scientists have tried to include a genetic component into the equation but failed miserably. Unfortunately, I am not competent enough to claim whether or not there is a genetic constituent that predisposes you to one type over the other. But, many types of research have been done on this subject and all of them were fundamentally flawed.
A classic example is the follow-up study whereby the same individuals were profiled twice during the period of 20 years. According to the research, all the individuals that participated in the study had the same personality type 20 years later, so there must be some genetics involved right?
This doesn’t make much sense to me. If you look at the experiment this way, you will see why it failed.
All the individuals that participated in the experiment had the same PROFESSION 20 years later. So, if you, 20 years later, find that bankers are still bankers and bakers are still bakers, does this mean that banking or banking is a genetically inherited trait? Are you born a banker? Are you born a baker?
The more time people spend working in a particular profession, the better they get at it and the harder it is to change it because starting anything else from scratch entails risk and more effort. The same is true of personality types.
People adopt a certain personality type at an early age. And the more they use it, the more familiar they become with it and the more they can benefit from it. And as time goes by, the disuse of other types of personalities makes them stick even more to the one they are used to because of all the risks and consequences profile change can bring about.
The Four Elements
what some people have done in the past is associate the above personality models with the 4 elements: earth, fire, air and water.
Let us now describe the 4 personality types in greater detail so you can predict what that person can feel, say or do, knowing that you are not limited to one or the other. Even if there is such a thing as a genetic predisposition you can still switch your profile and do other things in your life if you know how to switch your mental state.
The earth personality (a concrete thinker that uses the left brain) is pragmatic, meticulous, logical and detail-oriented in everything he does. They are very good planners as they know how to look into the future and prepare for it at present.
They are especially great at economics, logistics and administration because such professions are sensory-rich and require sequential thinking and organising facts and information in a logical way.
Because of their logical and sensory-oriented nature, earth characters like things to be ordered and organised. They are conservatives and traditionalists who look back into the past for information. They are sturdy, dependable and hardworking. They can’t be rushed into anything because they are very careful and cautious in everything they do.
They like to obey rules and conform to social norms with the desire to act ethically. For example, an earth character would stop at the red light in the middle of a desert with no cars in the visible radius. On the other hand, an abstract thinker would see no point in this and would just drive through.
They are prone to scepticism, pessimism, melancholy and depression. This is related to the dominance of the logical, left brain. They can’t experience epiphany, rapture and the holistic feeling of being connected with humanity, nature and the universe.
Bear in mind that I am not suggesting that ALL earth type characters will exhibit ALL of the above behaviours in ALL situations. Not all earth characters will be pessimistic, overly serious, depressed etc. These are the extremes that this type of personality will incline to more often than other personalities. For example, an earth character is more likely to develop a case of depression than a fire character when his mental state is out of balance.
How to recognise earth-type personality
Earth characters tend to talk in specific terms about the things they see, hear or touch in the real world. Because they pay more attention to sensory details, they are also prone to associational thinking.
They memorise facts, dates, events, people etc. with ease. All this stuff put together means that such characters are great conversationalists, especially when it comes to small talk. They will always have events to talk about and will move from one subject to another easily.
This tendency towards concrete, logical, associational progressive thinking makes them build rapport easily and dominate conversations. Depending on how they apply their rich memory and associational thinking in the actual conversation, they can either be boring or fascinating to listen to.
The fire personality (a concrete thinker that uses the right brain) looks for pleasure and beauty in things. They are hedonists and artists enjoying life to the fullest and appreciating every moment for what it is. They appreciate beauty in a very sensory concrete sense. Though they are right brain thinkers, they are still practical and pragmatical. Their senses are directed to beauty and enjoyment, rather than details and facts.
They are often successful entrepreneurs who can easily exploit gaps in the market thanks to their creative, right brain, thinking.
They don’t like to be limited by procedures and rules. For example, if a fire-type individual were given the assignment to be done in an exact sequence, he would complete it correctly, but probably in a different way, so he could express his creative freedom. They are noisy and restless, constantly changing and evolving.
A fire-type kid sitting at the back of the classroom, usually labelled ADHD, would be noisy and restless because he doesn’t like this mundane, boring process of step-by-step learning. Instead, he should be given a chance to participate and be actively engaged in the process of learning, allowing him to express his creative side.
They are constantly looking for change, variety and excitement. It is part of their right-brain nature and orientation towards concreteness.
They can be reckless and impulsive because they are living for the moment and not planning for the future. They would often start a project with tremendous optimism never to finish it.
They are cunning, confident, captivating and charismatic to people because of their right-brain and sensory-rich nature. They are easy-going, tolerant and in-the-moment.
While the earth type personality is prone to associational thinking, a fire type is prone to emotional thinking, as a result of the concrete and right-brain nature. The blend of emotions, creativeness and intuition (right brain) and details, senses and awareness (left brain) comes out during a speech.
How to recognise fire-type personality
They talk about things happening right now. You can rarely hear them comment about the future or the past. They can be very observant because of their concrete nature.
They tend to stay clear of principles, concepts and high-level nominalizations (love, virtue, courage etc.), but they can understand and use metaphors and similies.
They can still exhibit the qualities of an abstract thinker, but their focus is not on the abstract nature of things, but rather on the in-the-moment experience of them.
Their strong sense of aesthetics combined with concrete observant nature and attention to details can create a rich and captivating language and really take people through a whole rollercoaster of emotions.
The air type personality (an abstract thinker that uses the left brain) has a personality that gravitates towards precision, analysis, logic, science and technology. The specific characteristic that marks out the air type is efficiency. They complete projects not so much in the right way, but rather in the most efficient way.
They search for distinctions in things and people. A less socially apt air-type individual could be a nitpicker, someone who constantly finds faults in people’s language, behaviour and ideas.
Their primary domain is logic and experimentation. They love a dry and dark sense of humour and word puns (if you’ve watched Frasier you know what kind of humour I’m talking about).
The one thing that really marks out the air character is insatiable curiosity and the need of finding explanation and solutions to problems. For example, if you were to show a magic trick to such a personality, he would go out of his way to find out how it’s done. They like to break things down and see how they work.
On the negative side, they can appear passive, divorced from life, insensitive and distant at times. Air-type personalities can feel just as strongly as earth-type characters, but they have a difficulty expressing these emotions. There are all sorts of activities going on inside their brains, rather than outside (voice, mannerism, behaviour, gesticulations).
While an earth-type personality could be a technician, for example, an air-type character would be an engineer who understands the underlying principles, constantly experimenting to make them work better in reality.
They are very witty and playful with words. Their air nature allows them to understand, memorise and play with definitions – a walking dictionary is a term some use for this type of personality.
They are independent and they don’t need people to approve of them and their ideas. For them, the idea is more important than the people involved in it.
One of the problems an air-type person might have in a social context is the small talk. They get easily bored during a superficial conversation. They tend to talk only when they have something to talk about. As opposed to earth and fire personalities, they don’t like social interaction for its own sake and will speak only when they have something worth saying.
Their deductive nature of thinking is insightful and can lead to great conclusions. However, in a social context, it can be received with a disdain of being lectured to.
The water personality (abstract thinker that uses the right brain) has a strong sense of independence and autonomy. The combination of abstract nature and right brain can create a very interesting creative streak in such a personality. They can integrate totally different things; for example, bring people from different (high and low) societies together and make them get along or combine knowledge from different planes of existence and create something new.
This kind of thinking has created tremendous leaps in our society. For example, it took a water-type personality to create neuroscience. Before its creation, we had psychologists (doing paper and pencil tests) and biologists (cutting things up with their dissection tools). For the first time we took psychological ideas and searched for biological roots behind them (for ex. what will happen to the personality if we change the blood chemistry?) Neuroscience is a whole new field created by integrating 2 different branches of knowledge.
On the negative side, such a personality gets easily annoyed by trivialities. They always look for a deeper meaning behind things and superficial interactions are of no interest to them. They have very high expectations that few people can live up to.
They look for the best and can see the best in people and they get annoyed when that person is not exhibiting their best.
Their abstract nature makes them emotionally hypersensitive because one little thing can mean so much more to them.
For example, someone comes in and forgets to say hello. To a fire person, this is no big deal, it’s just an event. A water-type person would look for a deeper meaning and reason for this (“why didn’t he say hello? Maybe he is angry with me…maybe he thinks I am not worth that much. I am gonna get angry about this because he has devalued me”).
They are very humane, polite, sympathetic, trusting, modest, accepting and adaptable. They are also prone to idealism. They are optimistic and they tend to see the best in other people.
They are often extremely sentimental because of their empathy and their ability to abstract empathy. Their right brain nature makes them feel connected to people with their abstract nature augmenting that feeling even more.
The key traits that separate a water personality from all others are imagination, intuitiveness and insightfulness. An air person can SEEM insightful. When presenting an insight, he would be expressing a whole stream of thought and associations that led him to the conclusion – a very rigorous and robust one. In the same situation, a water person would be insightful without much knowing why.
Whereas an air-type personality is more deductive in thinking, a water personality is more INDUCTIVE. Deductive thinkers take a general situation and bring it down to a specific example (if you hit people they cry; so if you hit this person, in this moment, he will cry as well).
Inductive thinkers turn things upside down. They take a specific event and generalise out of it (I see someone crying, chances are he’s been hit).
In terms of how they think, water personalities are “cross trainers”. They will look for information outside of the place where they need to be using it. For example, a water-type hypnotherapist might look at artists or school teachers and adopt some of their concepts and ways of thinking in order to become a better hypnotherapist. Concepts, ideas and large-scale nominalizations are the domain of water personalities.
Again, let me repeat that the human brain is changeable. A person can become anything, at any time, given the right stimulus. When you see someone stuck within their personality type, you can use language to move them from a sensory-rich, logical-oriented and progressive thinking to high levels of concepts, ideas and abstractions where they could find room for creativity change. Language has the power to force people to change their mental state and personality type.
People are complicated and in many cases, they will exhibit traits of multiple personality types. But the more you practice profiling people the better you will become at finding consistent patterns and using that knowledge to influence them in a better way.