Many years ago, I participated in a personality assessment exercise using the diagnostic tool, “The Pace Palette.” The premise of “The Pace Palette” is that there are four basic personalities and it categorizes them by color. It is based on Hippocrates’ four basic temperament patterns.
Keeping it very simple, yellow is the color assigned to the Responsibility personality. These are people who value rules, tradition, and authority. They are loyal, dependable, punctual, and trustworthy, and they believe that everyone else should be too.
The color red is used to designate the Adventure personality. They like to be free to do things their own way and like to explore new frontiers. Reds tend to have adventurous hobbies and impulsive behavior. If it isn’t fun, forget it.
Green represents the Curiosity personality. People with this personality believe that searching, learning, and understanding are fun. They like to analyze, probe, study, invent and investigate.
Blue is the color used for the Harmony personality. Relationships are very important. Blues see the possibilities in themselves and others. Life is a search for meaning. Much enjoyment is derived from flowers, music, and romantic movies.
One note, nobody is all one color. We usually have one dominate temperament, followed by a mixture of the others to varying degrees.
I haven’t done “The Pace Palette” justice, as it goes much deeper and broader than what I’ve explained, but I think you get the picture. Going through the exercise was the first time I began to be aware that people’s actions are based on their inner nature. In other words, what we do is based on who we are.
On a pleasant afternoon, you might take a walk with three other people, all having a different dominant temperament. You are all on the same walk, but the reasons that you go on the walk could be very different.
A yellow personality might enjoy the walk because it’s on their schedule and it happens at the same time every day bringing structure to their life.
A green personality relishes the walk because it gives them opportunity to explore and learn what’s on the path, and their knowledge is increased.
The red personality might be happy to be on the walk because they were asked to go at the spur of the moment and it seemed like an adventure to them.
You are the blue personality and you go on the walk because you get much joy out of the beauty of nature and it gives you a chance to build the relationships that you have with the other three.
It makes sense then, that who we are is the foundation for what we do. For the most part, we are born with our personality temperament. We are probably not going to change it much during our lifetime. It is a good idea though to be aware of our personality temperament as it helps us to understand our motivations.
Another aspect of “who we are”, has to do with capacity. We cannot do what we are not capable of doing. From a physical standpoint, this is an easy concept to grasp. If we want to run a marathon, it will take much preparation. We will have to build up to the distance that we want to run. Our bodies will have to be strengthened and conditioned. Work will have to be done to increase our endurance. Our food choices will probably change as might our sleep habits. Basically, we are changing who we are. Once we have become the person that we need to be to run a marathon, we can run the marathon.
When we change who we are, we change what we can do. It’s always the ”who we are” that has to change first.
Physical growth and personal growth, while having similarities, also differ significantly. Physical growth happens automatically for the most part. As long as we take in proper nourishment and get sufficient sleep and exercise, our bodies grow. We don’t give it much thought and are pretty much just along for the ride.
That could be why so many people never experience much personal growth in their lives. They assume it happens automatically. Nothing could be further from the truth. It takes a great deal of intention and deliberation to experience personal growth.
The principle of “who we are is the foundation for what we do” applies to both physical growth and personal growth. I believe that many people struggle in their lives because they are not aware of their need for personal growth.
Just as with physical growth, personal growth begins with us in a state of weakness. We are not born with mature thinking or attitudes. Our adolescent behavior reflects attitudes and beliefs that are at the lowest levels of consciousness and the easiest to grasp.
As babies we are selfish, thinking only of our needs. We are immature, have a scarcity mentality and lots of negativity. Selflessness, adding value to others, maturity, an abundance mentality, and positive attitudes, only develop through personal growth. It will take much exercise of our will to attain to stronger belief positions.
Personal growth changes who we are. We exercise our will by choosing to think differently and behaving in ways that reflect a higher consciousness and personal accountability. As with physical growth, our capacity to accomplish more increases when we become more.
Many people pursue success. Success is not something that we pursue, it’s something we become. Success is not the end result of things we have done, it’s a reflection of who we are.
On our personal growth journey, it’s always good to keep in mind the words of Rein Niebuhr, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”
I wish you well on your personal growth journey and let’s all see how far we can grow.