Column: Colour me more self-aware

I’m blue.

I don’t mean I’m feeling sad. I’m referring to my personality dimension.

On March 17, I attended a personality dimensions workshop at Centennial College’s East York campus. Although it was St. Patrick’s Day, my green level registered as the lowest of all four personality colours. Orange took second, with gold following closely behind.

But what exactly do these colours represent?

According to the booklet provided by workshop leader Dave Neary, people with blue personalities generally have strong people skills. They value honesty and strive to be authentic. All of the above ring true for me. I think everyone has a story to tell. I love hearing it and can easily empathize — another common blue trait. I’m also desperately truthful and anti-mainstream. (Yes, I’ve heard people argue that’s mainstream in itself, but that’s one colossal can of worms I refuse to open.)

As for weaknesses, blues struggle with time management, have a hard time turning people away, and are sensitive to criticism. I’m a procrastinator and due to my compliance, I often put too much on my plate. I also hate — ahem, loathe — when someone points out my mistakes (so back off with the hate-mail or I’m apt to cave).

When the workshop began, Neary explained that personality dimensions should serve only as a tool. They don’t explain all human behaviour; they’re simply used to understand one’s actions and improve communication.

He also emphasized that everyone has aspects of each colour, but one will always prevail.

“We’re all plaid,” as he put it.

Neary then distributed a series of quizzes with statements grouped into categories. We ranked their importance from one to four, to establish our dominant colour. For example: Whether you rely on intuition or information to make decisions, or depend more on senses or tradition. Often, I found myself thinking, “Well, it depends on the situation.”

Although numerous traits and characteristics define each colour, they carry an individual theme, represented by a symbol. Green displays a question mark. Not because of confusion, but because green people seek to satisfy their curiosity, and think logically and strategically. An exclamation point for the orange folk indicates an adventurous, creative approach to life. Gold’s check-mark signifies organization and careful planning, with attention to detail. Blue’s caring hands represent their concern for the well-being of others.

Everything started to make more sense. I play a mean and strategic Scrabble game, like a green person would. I consider myself a creative person who loves to explore life beyond the beaten track, like orange people. My bedroom isn’t exactly organized like a gold’s would be, but given that I’m a journalism student, I focus on detail and always meet deadlines.

Going into the workshop, I was hopeful that by the end of it all, I would come to some significant realization. Optimism. Another blue trait.

Following the seminar, I realized Neary’s point: We are all plaid. We have elements of each colour in us. He also pointed out that our colour levels will fluctuate according to career, relationships, and life-stage. But I couldn’t help but wonder: If we’re constantly changing, what’s the point of even doing this test? On one hand, it makes you feel good, as though someone understands you. In the bigger picture, however, it’s fleeting. Maintaining my said optimism, from this experience, I will try to follow Neary’s initial advice, and use it to understand myself and others better and communicate more strongly.

And in the process, hopefully, I’ll learn to take criticism better too.