My daughter arrived in Phoenix early one morning on the redeye flight from Honolulu. She slept on the plane from the moment of take off until they announced preparations for landing. I marvel at her ability to sleep at the hint of any vehicular motion. She says it’s because of her “Kapha” (Earth) energy.

When I asked what that was, she said it is an Ayurvedic medicine concept. It seems every person has a predominant physiological style in which their bodies function. Your biological thermostat is set to react to emotional and physical stressors, in one of three styles. Kapha people are grounded, sedentary, and big-boned; however, she is predominantly a “Pitta” (Fire) and “Vata” (Air) person. People with these qualities are hot-blooded, fiery, easy to arouse, spontaneous, unpredictable, and move around like the wind.

It used to be that if you knew what your zodiac sign was, that explained everything. But in today’s globally sophisticated world, that is no longer sufficient. You have to know your physiological markers and your psychological styles as well.

I was at a dinner table where I heard people introducing themselves as, “I’m an ISTJ,” or an “ENTF.” This psychological shorthand is a Myers-Briggs formula that denotes an introverted, reflective, task-oriented person, or an extroverted, dynamic, risk-taking one. These formulaic classifications supposedly capture a person’s essence. Such assessments always trouble me, because they are simply clues to stimulate discussion. I cringe when I hear people explain away their frustrations at work or in relationships by this global shorthand. Businesses are now using this code to make hiring and promotion decisions.

We cannot objectify personality to the point where we are told someone’s “score” and then think we know what he is all about. These global constructs are intended to provide the words for a vocabulary, they do not write the music. Don’t make final judgments about people based on shorthand — take time to listen to their melodies.