Phlegmatic Temperament. The phlegmatic is rarely aroused emotionally and, if so, only weakly. The impressions received usually last for only a short time and leave no trace.
The good characteristics of phlegmatic persons are that they work slowly but assiduously; they are not easily irritated by insults, misfortunes, or sickness; they usually remain tranquil, discreet, and sober; they have a great deal of common sense and mental balance. They do not possess the inflammable passions of the sanguine temperament, the deep passions of the melancholic temperament, or the ardent passions of the choleric temperament. In their speech they are orderly, clear, positive, and measured, rather than florid and picturesque. They are more suited to scientific work which involves long and patient research and minute investigation than to original productions. They have good hearts, but they seem to be cold. They would sacrifice to the point of heroism if it were necessary, but they lack enthusiasm and spontaneity because they are reserved and somewhat indolent by nature. They are prudent, sensible, reflective, and work with a measured pace. They attain their goals without fanfare or violence because they usually avoid difficulties rather than attacking them. Physically phlegmatics are usually of robust build, slow in movements, and possessing an amiable face.
The defective qualities of the phlegmatic temperament are their slowness and calmness, which cause these persons to lose many good opportunities because they delay so long in putting works into operation. They are not interested in events that take place around them, but they tend to live by and for themselves, almost to the point of egoism. They are not suitable for government and administration. They are not usually drawn to corporal penances and mortification, and there is no fear that they will kill themselves by penance and self-abnegation. In extreme cases they become so lethargic and insensible that they become completely deaf to the invitation or command that would raise them out of their stupor.
Phlegmatics can avoid the bad effects of their temperament if they are inculcated with deep convictions and if they demand of themselves methodical and constant efforts toward greater perfection. They will advance slowly, to be sure, but they will advance far. Above all, they must not be allowed to become indolent and apathetic but should be directed to some lofty ideal. They, too, need to gain control of themselves, not as the cholerics, who must restrain and moderate themselves, but to arouse themselves and put their dormant powers to good use.