Michael on the Seven Attitudes

Personality Traits



Michael on the Overleaves, Part Three

Michael channeled by Shepherd Hoodwin
May 10, 2010, BlogTalkRadio chat
Transcribed by Maggie Heinze

The seven attitudes are the ways personalities frame their experiences, placing them in a context. You must frame your experiences one way or another; otherwise they are random and have no meaning. The way you frame your experiences has a lot to do with how you experience them.

Each person has innumerable underlying beliefs that influence how he frames particular events. This is why no two people agree on everything. In addition, some people are generally inclined to see things in a more positive light or try to make the best of them, while others have a more negative way of framing them.

New experiences tend to be framed in terms of what you have already experienced, or what you think you have experienced, which can make it difficult to have truly new experiences. It is a big challenge to step outside limiting ways of framing your experiences. When people are not very spiritually conscious or self-aware, there's usually not even a lot of desire to step outside their foregone conclusions.

Frequently, the soul's intentions for what it wishes to accomplish and learn in a particular lifetime are thwarted because the person gets stuck in repeating loops. That is one reason for choosing different attitudes from lifetime to lifetime--so that there will be different fundamental ways of framing experiences. Some fit like a glove for a particular soul, and some are more foreign, even uncomfortable. The latter, especially, can force new experiences.

There are infinite slants one can have on anything that happens. For instance, bystanders often give contradictory versions of what happened in a car accident. Surely, there is an objective set of facts, yet many people are not able to see them clearly because of their false framing. No human being frames every experience with complete accuracy.

However, regarding the overleaf (personality trait) of attitude, one is not inherently more accurate than another, just different; there is not a hierarchy of attitudes. It is one of the seven possible ways a personality can be constructed to frame life in the most fundamental sense.

Each overleaf is on one of four axes: inspiration (inner), expression (bridging inner and outer), action (outer), and assimilative (neutral). The first three axes have pairs of ordinal/cardinal (concrete/abstract) traits. We will illustrate as we go along.

Furthermore, each overleaf has a positive and negative manifestation, or "pole." Negative poles distort perceptions. With any attitude, you might frame a particular experience accurately, inaccurately, or most likely, somewhere in the middle. Seven people, each possessing one of the attitudes, could witness a particular event and report it accurately, but giving it a slant based on the intrinsic way they tend to see things. A benefit of knowing about the overleaves is understanding that each person is wired a little differently, including having a different fundamental way of framing experiences. It can help you accept that the world does not look the same way to everyone. The view may be accurate or distorted, but having a different emphasis is not itself accurate or distorted.

To get the lay of the land, let's briefly go through each of the attitudes, comparing and contrasting, before we go into more detail:

"Stoic" is the ordinal inspiration attitude. Stoics stay within (the inspiration axis is the inner world, and the ordinal side is contracted). Stoics look at the world through a lens that says, "It doesn't matter so much what's out there; what matters is that I stay in a state of serenity and not let things bother me." This is the most ordinal way of looking at the world. It is a way of framing life based on what you experience internally.

The other inspiration axis attitude is "spiritualist." In one sense, it is opposite because it is cardinal, yet these two share an inspirational quality, which is characterized by warmth. Spiritualists look at the world in an expansive way that feels that anything is possible, emphasizing the inner potential of self and others, what one could become, more than current reality.

We previously discussed the centers:


The emotional center is on inspiration axis; the intellectual center is on the expression axis. Expression brings the content of the inner world into the outer. For expression to occur, the more formless emotional experience has to be "packaged" intellectually, just as you can't mail an object without first putting it into some sort of container. Self-expression involves a combination of content and structure, whether in words or clay.

The ordinal expression-axis attitude is called "skeptic." Skeptics look at the world in a thoughtful way, and because it is ordinal (detail-oriented, contractive), they scrutinize (hone in on) what they see to try to make sense of it intellectually. They have a little doubt about what they see, which spurs them to dissect it.

"Idealists" look at the world in a cardinal, expansively intellectual way, applying great ideas to what they see, measuring reality against them.

"Cynic" is the ordinal action-axis attitude. Action is about the outer world, pure form (just as inspiration is pure content). Cynics, being ordinal, burn through appearances to try to hone in on what is real. The main difference between cynics and skeptics is that cynics test physical evidence and skeptics investigate intellectually.

"Realist," being cardinal on the action axis, is a big-picture way of looking at things. Realists try to collect all the relevant evidence and make sense of how it all fits together.

The neutral attitude, which is on the assimilation axis, is called "pragmatist." Having a neutral way of framing things means that you tend to default to what seems most useful; it is a utilitarian view of life.

Q. Do skeptic or cynic tend to hold a soul back on occasion?

A. Any overleaf in its negative pole can hold someone back. However, skeptic and cynic tend to be the most quarrelsome of the attitudes. Whether this holds the soul back or not depends: if the person holding the quarrelsome attitude becomes stuck and therefore in the negative pole, these attitudes are probably more limiting than the others. There is usually some involvement on the part of the chief obstacle that makes a person unable to move out of non-growthful mindsets.

On the other hand, if a person with one of these attitudes brings up reasonable objections and completes an entire process of self-validation--in other words, she gains a true picture of the facts--it can be valuable for moving forward.

A basic truth of the Michael teachings is that every trait is important and has its place in the whole. There are no good or bad overleaves, only negative and positive manifestations of each. Knowing your attitude gives you an idea of what you as a soul want to see in this lifetime, where your focus is.

In our talk about the modes (https://www.michaelteachings.com/michael-on-modes.html), we were saying that the ordinal ones tend to help you to get clearer on where you have been, and the cardinal ones tend to advance you into new experiences. That is true here as well. Getting clear on where you have been is an essential part of growth. It improves your foundation before you move on to new territory.

A stoic wants to know her inner world, her feelings, better. A skeptic wants to know his own thoughts better; he does not take them for granted as an idealist might, but carefully examines and clarifies them. A cynic wants to validate what's real, what holds water. No one wants to carry water in a leaky bucket; cynics find leaks.

If you are a spiritualist, you want to be a visionary and explore what is possible. If you are an idealist, you want to bring new ideas to the world that could make things better. If you are a realist, you want to help people gain a clearer view of what all the facts are.

If you are a pragmatist, you want to improve the utility of life, make things work better.

You may do all these things to some degree, but your chosen overleaf is your specialty.

There are seven roles, or types of souls: you are either a server, priest, artisan, sage, warrior, king, or scholar. Your soul type stays the same in all your lifetimes, whereas your overleaves can change from lifetime to lifetime.

Overleaves that are in line with your essence role (on the same side of the same axis) are called your "natural" overleaves. They are not defaults, but they are usually comfortable, easy choices. If you are a server, you have a natural comfort with the server-position attitude, which is stoic. Priests like to be spiritualists, artisans like to be skeptics, sages like to be idealists, warriors like to be cynics, kings like to be realists, and scholars like to be pragmatists. However, when you choose an overleaf that is in line with your role, it can exaggerate your pitfalls. That is a good reason not to go with it.

Besides their natural overleaves, individual souls may have other favorites: for example, those that highlight their casting (numerical position within the whole), essence twin (twin soul) influence, or simply their history--areas of experience they have grown to like. Therefore, your favorite attitude may not be the same as the one that resonates with your role, but if it's not, what resonates with your role probably comes in second for you.

Some overleaves are not done frequently because they're difficult, although they can have great value for the soul in small doses. Cynic and skeptic are the rarest attitudes, although some souls choose them more often than others do. Every soul will choose each of the overleaves in at least one lifetime.

All the overleaves are chosen after the soul has clarified what it wants the lifetime to be about. Often, the starting point to planning a lifetime is whatever is at the top of your to-do list. Frequently, that is outstanding karma. Planning a lifetime in which you handle some old karma not only relieves you of the burden of that debt, but can also help you grow in ways that might prevent you from making the same mistakes again. Karma is a big driver of growth. It is not the only way a soul can grow on the physical plane, but it is fairly foolproof, because eventually, if you experience the results of your actions often and directly enough, you get it. So karma is not a "bad thing," although it is what we refer to as "growing through pain" rather than "growing through joy."

In any case, before you incarnate, you probably have some reason you want to incarnate. It may be to repay a karmic debt, or it may be some issues you wish to explore, or it could just be a delight in having new experiences on the physical plane. A good analogy is being in college and choosing your courses for the next semester. You may take required courses to get them out of the way, which is like repaying karma, or you may take a lot of miscellaneous courses just for fun, or it could be a combination.

Once you know what you want to accomplish, you gravitate toward certain overleaves that will help you gain those experiences. Planning your upcoming lifetime implies selecting overleaves. When you, as a soul, are between lifetimes and are planning your next one, it is not that you sit down with a list of the seven attitudes and decide, on a conscious level, "I think I'll be an idealist in the next lifetime." You probably don't have that way of framing it. However, these energies are inherent in personality. Now that we've pointed them out to you, you can probably see them manifesting in others. When a soul is creating a new personality, these are the paints on the palette; they are unavoidable. It is like a novelist writing characters: every character has one of these seven attitudes. The novelist may not have chosen from a list of the seven, but a well-realized character in a novel will demonstrate one of these seven attitudes.

You can slide, or temporarily move, between overleaves, to either the opposite, or from the neutral overleaf--in this case, pragmatist--to any of the others. People who often slide are harder to spot because there is more than one attitude manifesting. Sliding is a way to get yourself out of the negative pole of your native overleaf. Those on a path of self-awareness may have already figured that out intuitively.

Most people do a little bit of sliding. Since skeptic and cynic can be particularly problematic, those with these attitudes may want to deliberately slide occasionally to idealist and realist, respectively, to avoid becoming overly negative. Realists also slide to cynic once in a while for a reality check. Idealists slide to skeptic sometimes in order to refine their ideas. And so forth.

Let's discuss the positive and negative poles of the attitudes, starting with stoic.

The stoic attitude is great for people who are in difficult, perhaps service-oriented positions where it is hard to please people. Let's say you have the thankless task of waiting on people at the DMV. Your ability to weather their discontent for having to wait so long and still be courteous is an asset in that work. Stoics cultivate serenity by not being so concerned about the outer world. There is a buffer around them. The positive pole is "tranquility"; the negative pole is "resignation."

In the negative pole, stoics don't speak up about something that they do care about. Instead of being truly serene, they are disturbed but then deny it; they sigh and says, "Oh well, what can you do?" when perhaps there is something they could do. Even though they may want to live, say, seventy-five percent of their life unconcerned about the outer world, being human, there is always going to be some concern about the outer world. You cannot be one hundred percent buffered. Therefore, when they actually do care, let's say about a choice being made, it behooves them to speak up, preferably in a way that maintains their serenity but also makes their voice heard. Part of this is not saying yes when they are feeling no.

The attitude opposite stoic is spiritualist; spiritualists are visionary. So stoics who are resigned might look at the outer world in a visionary way, and say, "What would I like to see here? What would be possible?" It might be something as mundane as, "We could go to a different restaurant."

The positive pole of spiritualist, "verification," means verifying that that possibility could work, such as that their restaurant idea could work for everyone. Since this is the inspiration axis, there is a concern about the well-being of all. Therefore, both stoics and spiritualists want others to feel good about what is done. This correlates with the roles of server and priest, who tend to take care of others.

Spiritualist is well-suited for those who have careers in the religious and spiritual worlds, including healers. It is also found among writers who envision new worlds in science fiction, for example. The spirituality of the spiritualist is not just the stereotypical kind, but the whole realm of potential.

Spiritualist has a negative pole of "faith," as in blind faith. In the negative pole, the spiritualist is oblivious to reality, carried away with inspiration, not verifying what would work. You might see this in a person who lives in a fairytale vision of himself becoming a movie star or a billionaire, theoretically possible but maybe, in a particular situation, not likely. It is fine to strive for your dreams, but it's useful to verify that, first of all, that's what you really want--that it is your true spiritual path--and then to develop a plan for how you're going to get there. You might break it down into some attainable short-term goals, such as taking an acting or business class, thereby learning more about whether you have the talent for it and if it's what you truly want.

If you are stuck in blind faith, you might slide to stoic. In this example, you might find tranquility about your situation in life and realize that if you don't become a movie star or billionaire, it will be all right; you can still be happy.

Scientists and journalists often have the skeptic attitude, and it is ideal for them. Skeptic has a positive pole of "investigation." It is a good idea not to assume that what is presented is what it clams to be; often, it is not. Therefore, having skeptic as your basic framework for seeing the world is not at all a bad thing. In the positive pole, skeptics fact-check. If they have a good intellect and a well-developed ability to reason and discern fact from falsehood, a lot of understanding can come from the process. The negative pole is "suspicion." In suspicion, the skeptic never completes the process of fact checking, but stays stuck in unending doubt; he is not willing to accept the facts as they are because other facts or seeming facts are preferred.

There are those who promote themselves as being professional skeptics, but usually they are not open-mindedly investigating; they have their minds made up in advance in a rather conservative if not reactionary way, and seek to impose their decisions about what facts are on whatever they come across. This is not the same thing as the skeptic attitude, but it can illustrate the negative pole. Closed-mindedness is a negative pole experience, in general, and open-mindedness is a positive pole attribute--it allows more of essence in, because essence (the soul) is generally open-minded. The soul seeks new experiences, and does not want its path to be shut down or pushed to the side into a narrow corridor.

Idealist has a positive pole of "coalescence" and a negative pole of "abstraction." Like spiritualists, idealists are visionaries; idealists see the world in terms of what it "should" be, whereas spiritualists see the world in terms of what it "could" be. The spiritualist attitude is more open-ended about how things will all wind up looking, but simply wants to move forward feeling that anything is possible. With the idealist, it's not so much anything, but a specific thing or set of things. The idealist easily sees new ways of doing things.

Many people are allergic to the word "should," associating it with control freaks who are telling them what to do. In this context, however, seeing the world as it "should" be is not necessarily an imposition of limitation; in its positive side, it provides an insightful alternative.

Let's say you run for political office. If you are a spiritualist and you inspire people with just the idea that anything is possible, that's great, but eventually, people are going to want to know what you have in mind. The expression axis is more about the mind (intellect), so the idealist puts forth an idea: "We could do this, and look how much better things would be if we did." Idealists see how the world could be made better, and therefore, idealists change the world.

Both spiritualists and idealists, in their positive poles, have a warm cheeriness about them; you can see the correlation between them and the roles that share a position on the same axis. Spiritualist attitude is like the priest role applied to attitude, warm and inspirational. Idealists are cheerful and optimistic, full of ideas, like the role of sage. The classic idealist in literature is Don Quixote. He was considered to be a madman, but he kept following his ideals, and maybe they weren't so crazy after all; they just weren't what people were accustomed to. No matter how often he was knocked down, he got back up because his ideal gave him optimism.

"Abstraction," the negative pole of idealist, is impractical, pie in the sky, a little like the faith of the spiritualist. The idealist in abstraction has an abstract concept of how things could be changed, but is not enough in touch with the real world to know what would actually happen. In the positive pole, "coalescence," the idealist pulls everything together; things coalesce around this new idea and change actually occurs.

Idealists are often at the forefront of new thought movements. In the positive pole, idealists may propose something that looks impractical but, in fact, is actually doable; it's just that others have not had the vision to step out of the box and see it. Idealists may aim too high, but still manage to incite some progress because of their insistence that things could change. There was a movement in the nineteenth century and also in the 1960s toward utopian communities; these were often spearheaded by idealists who didn't see any reason why society couldn't be ordered in a better way. On the ground, they often did not work as planned, yet many of the people who participated in the experiments advanced as a result. Society was changed, at least incrementally, if not radically. Sometimes you have to actually build the thing and try it out before you move from abstraction to coalescence, and see what people will actually do. However, if you don't try at all, you never move forward. The willingness to experiment and take chances is the hallmark of the positive-pole idealist.

Q: In order to put their ideas into action, is an action-axis trait required in the idealist?

A. It is required on the part of someone involved, but not necessarily the person who is the visionary. You often find idealists paired up with someone who likes the ideal but who also has a strength in practical matters.

Idealists are often attracted in relationships to realists or pragmatists, because they complement. Let's say an idealist is married to a realist; the idealist says, "This is what we should do," and the realist reminds him of what the real facts are, what they're actually dealing with, perhaps helping the idealist forge a vision that is more workable. Or, married to a pragmatist, the idealist might be the one who pushes them forward, and the pragmatist might be the one who makes it work, solving problems. Idealist and skeptic can also be a good pairing if the skeptic is not overly closed-minded. Since the idealist probably sometimes slides to skeptic and vice versa, there can be sympathy toward one another. They are both intellectual, and the idealist can appreciate the concerns of the skeptic, using them to make the ideal more workable.

Any combination of attitudes works fine when people are mostly in their positive poles. In the negative poles, there can be particular friction in certain combinations, such as spiritualist and cynic. We mentioned the quarrelsome nature of skeptics and cynics, but they generally do pretty well with those who share their axis--for example, cynic and realist is a good combination (cynic and pragmatist is also fine). However a skeptic who is heavily in of suspicion or a cynic strongly in denigration can be hard for just about anyone to deal with.

Cynic is the warrior attitude. The positive pole is "contradiction." Some might find it hard to conceptualize contradiction ever being positive, but in the positive pole of cynic, it isn't arbitrary. By contradiction, we don't mean that the cynic says that the sky isn't blue or that two plus two do not make four; that would be unreasonable and, therefore, the negative pole. Positive poles are based on love and are constructive.

Contradiction tests the soundness of things; it pushes against, kicks the tires. The cynic tends to assume something is a bad idea until he has a chance to work it over. The cynic tends to say no first. You may think of that as negative, but it isn't necessarily, because once something has passed the test, it's fine; it's "in." In the negative pole, "denigration," nothing ever passes the test. The negative pole of cynic is probably the harshest of all the overleaves, although some cynics do their negative pole with relative subtlety. How any overleaf manifests depends, in part, on everything else on the chart. Although cynic is itself harsh, it could be paired with a soft goal, such as acceptance or flow, and that would look different from a cynic with, say, a goal of discrimination.

A warrior cynic is a cynic to the extreme, because these two traits reinforce each other. Warriors have a strong instinctive drive and are very focused. If that focus is brought to the art of contradiction, this will generally come on very strongly.

It is hard for someone with a cynic attitude to think positively. However, this does not bother cynics as much as it would bother others. The negative pole can be quite bleak, but cynics are built to understand the world as a difficult place. They don't expect much, and therefore are not easily disappointed, whereas idealists and spiritualists, because they shoot so high, can be disappointed frequently. They may try not to look at it, but things don't often turn out as well as they hope. Cynics may see the world going to hell in a handbasket, but, in the positive pole, they can still have a good time along the way.

Cynic is not an easy attitude for either the person holding it or the people around her, but it may not be as bad as it looks for the person. The world is framed differently, and so there's a different "normal." Idealists probably won't be very happy until they have created some of their ideals in their life; cynics do not have this kind of requirement. So here we see different ways of framing life that can each be valid.

In the positive pole of cynic, cynics see the negativity in the world but don't judge it; they simply wants to label it accurately. In the negative pole, everything looks lousy, even when it is not, and this is the single biggest curse of this attitude--the inability to see and appreciate what is positive.

Being on the action axis, the cynic and realist are both about what is and what isn't, black and white. The cynic emphasizes what isn't--black--and the realist emphasizes what is--white. They both tend to be more black and white in their perceptions than the other attitudes. The action axis, in general, values simplicity and can be cut-and-dried.

Realists see facts perceptively in the positive pole, "perception." The negative pole is "supposition"; they see what they suppose to be the facts but which are not.

In the negative poles of the three cardinal attitudes--spiritualist, idealist and realist--there is fantasy. Realists always think that what they're seeing is realistic, but it only is in the positive pole. In the negative, they suppose things because of unrecognized biases, or jump to conclusions based on some of the facts; they haven't completed the process of surveying enough of them to get a clear picture. It is very easy to jump to conclusions based on insufficient facts. It is useful for everyone, but particularly realists, to recognize when they do not yet have enough facts to draw a conclusion. If there is supposition, they might wish to slide to cynic's positive pole of contradiction and test what they are seeing for soundness.

If cynics are denigrating, being negative about everything, they can take a page from realists and survey the whole picture, take in all the facts in fair proportion to one another, and come back to having a clearer picture of what is and what isn't.

There are many people who possess the overleaf of cynic who do it with grace, and you would not think of them as being cynical people. You might think of the cynic attitude as an acid that cuts through tarnish and rust; you want to use it sparingly. Let's say you are restoring an old car: you want to take off the tarnish without destroying the metal itself, so you would be careful not to overuse it. Again, it's a challenging overleaf, but one every soul will undertake in at least one lifetime.

The assimilation-axis attitude, pragmatist, has a positive pole of "practicality" and a negative pole of "dogmatism." Pragmatist is an overleaf that shows up pretty readily even though it is neutral. It is no-nonsense, like realist and cynic. Pragmatists feel unconcerned; they're not trying to live to a higher ideal; they're not trying to be visionary; they're not even concerned about what is and what isn't--they have a utilitarian feel about them. If you know a couple people who have been validated as being pragmatists, you can probably spot that quality.

Having this attitude does not mean that they are well organized or always spends money wisely; in other words, they are not necessarily practical in the way that you might define practical. It is simply that their way of framing things is not to frame them but just to try things and find what works.

In the negative pole, pragmatists find a few things that work and then stick with them ad nauseum; they don't try new things that might also work. They make rules about it: "This is practical; this is the way we have always done it, and this is the way we shall always do it, because it works." It might take an idealist to shake things up, introducing something that would work better.

Basically, pragmatists don't care. In the positive pole, they fluidly change gears, being open to what fits the situation; they are without bias. In the negative pole, they are stuck. This is the neutrality of the assimilation axis. Like the other neutral traits, pragmatists tend to get along with the other attitudes.

Pragmatists can slide to any of the other attitudes, and you often see them shapeshifting a bit. Let's say a pragmatist is in a relationship with a skeptic. He may slide to idealist to balance out the skeptic in some situations, maybe not often but once in a while, unless he is in the negative pole of dogmatism, which can look like the chief obstacle of stubbornness ("I'm not going to change!"), in which case he locks horns with the skeptic.


If you know your attitude, ask to feel its most positive manifestation. Observe when it has felt the best to you. Now ask to feel the most negative manifestation of it that you have known. Alert your consciousness to be aware of how your attitude is manifesting in your life, positively, negatively, or in between. See if you can steer away from the negative and more toward the positive. You may wish to slide to the opposite attitude to facilitate that.


Related Articles:

Michael on Goals
Michael on Attitudes
Michael on Modes
Michael on Centers
Michael on Chief Features
Michael on Soul Age
Michael on Soul Age, Part 2

About Shepherd Hoodwin

Shepherd has been channeling since 1986. He also does intuitive readings, mediumship, past-life regression, healing, counseling, and channeling coaching, where he teaches others to channel. He has conducted workshops on the Michael teachings throughout the United States. His other books include Enlightenment for Nitwits, Loving from Your Soul: Creating Powerful Relationships, Meditations for Self-Discovery, Opening to Healing, Growing Through Joy, Being in the World, and more to come.

Visit his website at ShepherdHoodwin.com


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Soul Ages

Our goal sets the theme for a lifetime, acting as a primary motivator that guides our course of direction in life.


The Old Soul

Learn about the Overleaves, personality traits that shape our individual experience during each lifetime.