The Peacock – ESFP

There is no animal type that shines brighter in the spotlight than the fun-loving, gregarious Peacock. All Hunters love to be excited, but there are two that stand out for their capacity when it comes to fully appreciating the world’s sensory pleasures; and no one would ever confuse the flamboyant Peacocks with the gentle Butterflies. Peacocks demand to be seen and heard, and with their audacious performing talents, they rarely have a problem achieving either.

The Performer

Marilyn Monroe

I’m a failure as a woman. My men expect so much of me, because of the image they’ve made of me — and that I’ve made of myself — as a sex symbol. They expect bells to ring and whistles to whistle, but my anatomy is the same as any other woman’s and I can’t live up to it.

– Marilyn Monroe

At face value, the attention-starved Peacock’s performative talent can seem a tad superficial, especially when compared to the sometimes transcendent, artistic powers of the equally sensitive Butterfly. However, Peacocks are no slouches in the creativity department, and unlike the Butterflies, who are allowed to retreat to their creative cocoons to compose art on their own schedule, Peacocks are usually expected to—by virtue of their exhibitionist nature—create art on the spot. Even when it appears like Peacocks are just hamming it up for the audience, it goes beyond that. They don’t want attention; they want immortality. They want to be remembered. They want each glorious moment of their life, of which there are many, to be catalogued, examined, and then over-examined. And to do this, they need to be larger than life, a symbol, an icon, an image for an ordinary person to aspire to. They have a feel for the dramatic that is second to none, and this ability is expressed in the way they dance, sing, or go about their everyday business—it’s not unusual to encounter a Peacock dancing or whistling while they work.

The boldest of the Hunters, Peacocks throw themselves completely into whatever they do. Their courage surpasses even that of the aggressive Foxes and Sharks, both of whom are quite familiar with taking calculated risks, but generally do so in situations where the outcome is determined objectively. Peacocks, on the other hand, are usually required to subject themselves to the mercy of a fickle and subjective audience. Maybe this courage is what makes Peacocks so irresistible. Contrary to Butterflies, who are free to hide behind their art, there’s no such luxury for Peacocks because they are the art. And to constantly open themselves up to scrutiny and rejection time and time again is not only a boldness that transcends the mere desire for attention, but also a requirement for immortality.

The Life of the Party

Jack Black

Hey guys, there isn’t gonna be a Plan B. You called me in to bring the thunder and that’s what I’m gonna do.

– Jack Black

Peacocks love to have fun and spread that good cheer to their loved ones, their coworkers, or random strangers they just met on the subway. Warm and full of life, their energy can be infectious in social situations. The same over-the-top expressions that make them such entertaining performers also make Peacocks one of the more engaging types to interact with. Their idea of comedy is filled with slapstick, well-practiced impressions, dirty jokes, and bodily humor. It’s not uncommon to hear them let out a huge belly laugh or giggle uncontrollably; when a Peacock feels a certain way, you’ll know it, as will everyone within a hundred-foot radius. Be it a party, club, bar, or church picnic, the Peacock is usually the center of attention.

Unfortunately, their fun-loving demeanor can sometimes take on a “look at me” vibe that alienates friends and irritates people who might’ve just been laughing at the Peacock’s jokes moments earlier. What was once hilarity turns into loudness. That pearly white smile? Narcissism. At the end of the day, however, these foibles are usually laughed off as harmless and, when considering the Peacock’s big heart, irresistibly endearing.

The Acrobat

Shawn Johnson

Everything is about your movements and precision and timing, which is what gymnastics is about.

– Shawn Johnson

Of all the types, Peacocks are the most in touch with their physical bodies. Differing from Sharks, who with workmanlike precision practice their superior hand-eye coordination to perfection, Peacocks revel in their gross motor skills, dancing, skating, running, and just plain moving through the physical space of our concrete world with an effervescence that defines beauty in motion. This is not to say that they’re unwilling to practice. Quite the contrary, with their grace and clearly visible joy, Peacocks have a way of making practice appear so fun that everybody wants to participate.

Sharing the pleasure of physical touch is important to Peacocks. They’re the most touchy-feely of all the types, and a constant initiator of both bear hugs and trips to see HR. If Butterflies are the maestros of figurative balance, then Peacocks are the maestros of actual balance, the connection between their mind and body so finely tuned they’re capable of executing all manner of flips, twirls, jumps, and pratfalls. Whether it’s in dance, physical comedy, or competitive sports such as gymnastics, diving, or figure skating, Peacocks always move with such poise and fluidity that it makes other types appear almost clumsy—the intuitive types, by comparison, look physically inept.

The Hedonist

Cookie Monster

Today, me will live in the moment unless it’s unpleasant, in which case, me will eat a cookie.

– Cookie Monster, Sesame Street

There is a tragic irony in striving for immortality in a moment; regardless of however many times a Peacock basks in glory, the moment never lasts as long as they want it to, and there will always be other people, i.e., other Peacocks, seeking the spotlight. To compensate for any lost attention, Peacocks resort to various forms of consumption. Unfortunately, they soon realize that the satisfaction gained from these coping mechanisms is as fleeting as the spotlight, which inevitably leads to a vicious cycle of over-consumption as they lustily feed their habit.

Vices like over-eating, alcoholism, drug abuse, gambling, and sex addiction, can turn the Adonis and Aphrodite-like figures of the Peacocks into shadows of their former selves: the former high school quarterback who’s now overweight, jobless, and reminiscing about the good ol’ days, or the diva, past her prime, who must wear more and more make up to conceal an aging process sped up by cocaine and years of self-neglect. Fortunately, mature Peacocks learn to harness their need for attention in a way that doesn’t lead them to self-destruct in a blaze of hedonistic glory, and in the process, they teach the rest of us how to enjoy life.