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Human Qualities Associated With the Five Elements of Nature

The ancient Chinese believed that the five natural elements govern personality and much of a person’s life and health. Although the personality contains parts of all five elements, one or two usually predominate. Chinese medicine uses personality types and tendencies to diagnose disease and to create treatment plans to restore balance to the body, according to the Chinese Medicine Advisor.


Human Qualities Associated



The fire personality is a natural-born leader. She is a self-starter, decisive, intelligent, warm, confident, adventurous and innovative. She enjoys excitement, intimacy, sensation and passion. She thinks intuitively and has great empathy for others.

She stands out in any crowd and draws people to her. Her negative side is dominant and forceful and may appear insensitive and lacking in compassion. She uses her brain to gain attention and out-think others. She can be highly emotional, dramatic and impulsive. She could be plagued with anxiety, agitation, frenzy, bizarre perceptions, nervous exhaustion and insomnia.



The earth personality is grounded, rational, methodical, disciplined and logical. He exhibits good deductive reasoning and strives to be objective, accommodating, organized and responsible. He tends toward financially prudent and conservative decisions and prefers to trust what is reliable and familiar.

He is goal-oriented and productive, but prefers to stay out of the limelight. He wants to be all things to all people and prefers the balance harmony and togetherness can create. He insists upon loyalty, security and predictability from the people around him. He can become stuck in a rut because he fears the unknown and distrusts imagination and intuition. He worries obsessively and can be plagued with self-doubt. He comes across as meddling and overprotective with unrealistic expectations.



The wood personality seeks a challenge and pushes life to the limits. She enjoys and thrives under pressure. She admires novelty and pursues a variety of interests and lifestyle choices. She loves action, speed, movement, adventure and games of skill.

She always wants to be first and the best. She often starts and doesn’t finish things because her sense of novelty is always seeking the next thing. She can appear passive, inconsistent, inefficient, dependent, intolerant and impatient. She exhibits volatile emotions and extremist tendencies.



The water personality can be charming, persuasive, persistent and articulate. He remains flexible and diplomatic and prefers to investigate things himself with a penetrating and critical eye. He thinks intuitively and uses that gift to become a natural healer.

He capitalizes on his resources and intelligence. He is clever, introspective and self-sufficient. He prefers to remain hidden, enigmatic and anonymous, rather than seeking the limelight. He can be unpredictable, moody and dependent or emotionally inaccessible, undemonstrative, isolated and lonely. He could appear tactless, unforgiving and suspicious, in an effort to hide his vulnerability from others.



The metal personality is ambitious, hard-driving, confident, self-reliant and a determined leader. She is strong and energetic and prefers structure and discipline. She respects virtue, discretion and authority and seeks to live according to reason and principle. She holds herself and others to the highest standards.

At her most negative self, she is unreasonable, inflexible, impulsive, aggressive and thirsty for power. She could appear indifferent to the needs and wants of others, autocratic and strict.


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