Four Paths for Life
What you are is God's gift to you;
what you become is your gift to God.
There are four clearly defined paths you can choose to walk in life. Your choices include (from most worthwhile to most detrimental): 1) charactered, 2) healthy, 3) unhealthy, 4) pathological.
Here's how they are broken down:
Charactered positive traits of colors from outside innate core personality
Healthy positive traits of color from inside innate core personality
Unhealthy negative traits of color from inside innate core personality
Pathological negative traits of colors from outside innate core personality
THE CHARACTERED PATH
Only quality individuals choose the charactered path. The other three paths will offer a more limited version of life. Charactered people accurately identify and develop the strengths of their core personalities. Furthermore, they stretch to embrace the strengths of other personalities in order to compensate for their innate limitations. Embracing the gifts (strengths) of other colors, charactered people evolve. The more gifts they adopt, the more charactered they become, and the higher they soar in flight.
THE HEALTHY PATH
Healthy individuals are like a caterpillar in its cocoon, almost ready to take flight. Healthy individuals primarily engage life through their strengths. They provide wonderful role models for quality living as seen through the eyes of their particular personality. However, they remain primarily confined to expressing themselves through the strengths of their core color, limiting themselves only to those gifts championed by their particular personality. Expecting them to express the gifts in terms of other colors is often disappointing.
THE UNHEALTHY PATH
Unhealthy individuals begrudgingly remain caterpillars. Strapped by their innate "baggage," they spend their lives confined to and defined by their personality's limitations. Unlike pathological people, however, they remain true to the limitations within their core personality, expressing themselves consistently with their weaknesses. They usually become manipulative in order to justify and rationalize their limited (and often pathetic) lives.
THE PATHOLOGICAL PATH
Pathological individuals are severely handicapped human beings. In the context of this book, they would most likely even deny their existence as caterpillars. "Don't label me!" they demand. "I'm all the colors, depending on the circumstances. I'm a rainbow!" Pathological people are completely out of touch with who they were innately born to be, and haven't a clue as to what they are capable of becoming.
They express themselves throughout life in the limitations of all colors except their own. They are inconsistent and untrustworthy. While some are extremely intelligent, their lack of congruence creates a lack of clarity in their thought and behavior in all colors except their own. If you could see into the heart of these individuals, you would find serious confusion, powerlessness, and insecurity. They are often incapable of using their natural strengths and yet, ironically, refuse to live within their core personality limitations either.
CHOOSE YOUR PATH
Everybody must choose his/her destiny. The level of health you aspire to will ultimately determine the quality of your life. While there are great latitudes within each level, from charactered to pathological, each level has certain requirements: less healthy individuals typically place greater emphasis on themselves, and most often at the expense of others.
For example, all individuals who walk the charactered path learn and embrace gifts other personalities bring at birth. The more charactered people become, the less concerned they are with themselves. Their focus blends self-love with concern for the quality of others' lives. The people who walk the healthy path discover their core motives and bless others with the strengths from their Color. Unhealthy people share a common bond by choosing to see life primarily through their innate dysfunctional limitations. Less healthy individuals typically place greater emphasis on themselves, and most often at the expense of others. Individuals seeking the pathological path commonly present themselves as angry, self-obsessed, and spiritually dysfunctional.
Why Choose the Charactered Path?
Character is defined as "learned" gifts. The optimum motive for becoming charactered is service. Becoming trustworthy to serve requires us to be accountable for our innate strengths, limitations, and motives. To earn trust requires humility, courage, grace, and mastering the six steps of character.
The optimum motive of service drives us to stretch beyond our raw beginnings. While personalities are limited, character is not. Seeking to bless the lives of others challenges us to stretch in order to develop gifts where our innate personalities are limited. Character will not always equate with financial prosperity, but it will always enhance the quality of our lives.
Becoming charactered is an evolutionary process that will not appear the same to each color. Since character is "learned," what is character to a Red may look different to a Blue, White, or Yellow. Each color comes with inherent gifts that, when embraced by the other colors, become character. However, these same gifts remain defined as personality to the individual who brings them from birth.
The following case histories may help you identify your current path and level of functioning. I hope Color Your Future will help you choose the charactered path.
Which Path Have You Chosen to Walk?
Two roads diverged in a wood and I,
I took the road less traveled...
THE CHARACTERED PATH
Charactered people will always be best remembered for the unnatural gifts they stretch to develop and freely share with others throughout life.
Lecturing on The Color Code, I was intrigued one night when a gentleman, highly regarded for his expertise in early American history, approached me following my lecture and corrected a perception of mine. I had stated that Patrick Henry, one of America's Founding Fathers, had a Blue personality. He cited numerous references validating his position that Patrick Henry was clearly a Red personality rather than a Blue. Thanking him for his insights, I left rather puzzled.
Highly respected as a businessman with a brilliant political future, many felt certain that Patrick Henry was destined to be the president of the United States, when tragically, his wife became despondent and mentally ill. While Americans remain rather unforgiving of this illness, Patrick Henry's peers were brutal, believing that mental illness was a disease linked with religious impropriety, and often condemning mentally ill patients to a life void of human decency. Their society generally believed that diminished mental capacity indicated satanic possession and shunned the victim, often placing them behind bars to die in total isolation on slabs of cold cement.
To a Red Patrick Henry, mental illness did not make sense. He didn't understand or believe in it, but he recognized that his wife, by some bizarre twist of fate, was suffering tremendous pressure from the society they had once successfully embraced together.
Politically astute, Patrick Henry carefully deliberated over his dilemma. Should he dispose of his beloved wife and pursue the prestigious career he rightly deserved, or should he forsake his opportunities to care for the woman he loved? His character intact, his decision made, Patrick Henry returned home and closed the curtains at their home, and consequently the curtains on his promising career. He cared for his wife for months with compassion and genuine loyalty until the day she died with him at her side.
So compassionate and self-sacrificing (innate Blue gifts) were his acts of love that seeing him as a Red puzzled me. But suddenly I understood. I remembered a police officer who had attended one of my earliest seminars, and we could not determine his core color. Was he a Red or a Blue? His heart said Red. His actions said Blue. As we journeyed back through his life, we discovered the answer. His wife had fallen ill, and for many years, he nursed her and stood faithfully by her. Adopting these Blue gifts necessarily caused him to eventually think and behave like a Blue. While maintaining his core Red identity, he successfully stretched to embrace the rewarding gifts of the Blues. Triumphantly, he gave his greatest contribution in life through a different color than he innately possessed at birth.
Patrick Henry stretched beyond his innate personality to offer the "learned" Blue gifts in order to serve. In doing so, he chose the characrered path. In stretching, charactered people do not abandon their innate core motive or gifts. They simply use them to enhance their ability to enhance the lives of others. We must never take our innate gifts for granted. Yet, on the charactered path, we will be remembered best for the gifts we develop and freely give. Perhaps the reason lies in the charactered person's humble acceptance of the higher law, the optimum motive, and the courage to extend himself on behalf of his fellow human beings.
THE HEALTHY PATH
Anne -- The European Contessa
Anne was a cherub: young, rotund, and very much alive. She found enjoyment in everything she experienced -- as long as it didn't last very long. Anne came to me for clarity in understanding impulsive decisions she was making in her life and subsequent conflicts with her mother. She lived at home with her Red mother who could see no rhyme or reason for Anne's life, and who hoped somehow Anne could be convinced to take on her mother's responsible attitude toward daily survival.
Anne had no time for mere survival. She wanted to embrace life and "see it all." She longed to travel and meet new people. She longed to understand what made other cultures different from her own. She dreamed of being in the very places she had only read about. A healthy Yellow, Anne lived for the moment and found people easy to meet and enjoy.
We worked for some time on structure and boundaries. She learned to accept that her mother didn't have to understand her way of thinking or accept it. She discovered the importance of priorities and making responsible decisions based on what she values as well as on universal truths. Anne was growing up, but she maintained her innocent zest for living.
Within three months we had Anne back in school with renewed focus and higher expectations. She soon discovered that she could spend a semester abroad, fulfilling educational requirements at the same time as her own need for an exciting life. Within the year Anne had spent a semester in Europe and sailed halfway a round the world.
She embraced life with spirited anticipation. People welcomed her as they would a breath of fresh air. Meanwhile, her mother continued to dispel any notion of her success. Distraught that her daughter refused to accept the normal educational process, she could never accept Anne's unconventional approach. In her love for life and self, Anne learned to forgive her mother's lack of acceptance and simply sent her postcards from the numerous places she traveled.
True to her Yellow core, Anne experienced more excitement in one year than many people do in a lifetime. She risked much; she laughed often; she nonchalantly accepted her right to experience life differently than her mother. However, Anne never stretched to embrace the gifts of the other colors. Her life was lived exclusively in the domain of the Yellow core personality. She was healthy, considering how her focus was clearly on the Yellow strengths. Nonetheless, she saw life only through Yellow eyes. Her myopic orientation kept her limited to knowing only the "healthy" path.
THE UNHEALTHY PATH
Recently I presented a seminar to business executives. One individual with a White personality bluntly rejected the concepts of The Color Code, seeing no beneficial application in his personal or professional life. Several participants offered him specific examples of how his White personality affected them in both positive and negative ways. I suggested thought and behavioral patterns he would most likely experience in conflict or stress situations due to his White personality. Silently, he stubbornly withdrew from any dialogue, resisting any further feedback or interaction with the group.
When the seminar concluded, we returned to our individual rooms prior to dinner. Returning thirty minutes later, the White executive and his wife (whom I had never met) entered the elevator I was on, already engaged in a conversation.
"I mean really," she complained, "how could anyone label the whole population into just four categories? And why would anyone want to be limited to just one personality anyway?!"
Her husband's eyes nervously darted between the lighted numbers on the elevator and the floor. Embarrassed at being caught, he suggested that they get off the elevator and take the stairs to the lobby.
Notably baffled, his wife said, "Are you crazy?!" (Guess her color!) "We're on the ninth floor. I'm not walking down nine flights of stairs. And besides," turning to look at me as if I were merely an innocent bystander, "there is plenty of room in this elevator."
This unhealthy White man preferred to justify his position behind my back rather than face me directly during the conference. This potentially candid and revealing encounter between his wife and me proved far too intense and problematic. They exited at the next floor with an outraged wife demanding that he remove his hand from her elbow and stop shoving her out the door. Rather than face me after being exposed for his unhealthy White antics, he avoided the conflict.
I sadly watched this man exit the elevator rather than face his limitations -- limitations that will continue to haunt him and affect those with whom he interacts. How many lives could he have affirmed, how many people could he have assisted on their personal journey in life, had he been willing to see himself and accept the simple truths I came to share?
THE PATHOLOGICAL PATH
The Alcoholic and the Whiner
Jim was handsome, hard-working, and rich. He was also an alcoholic. Rene was beautiful, bored, vindictive, and a whiner. The one thing they had in common was their marriage license. The other was that they deserved each other. Yet, ironically, neither felt they deserved what they got.
Rene needed to commit somewhere and be accountable to someone other than herself and her husband. She needed a life. I recommended finding a job or getting involved with a charity. But she had no idea how to work and her favorite charity was herself, so she just looked busy and complained that Jim never came home. (Not an entirely dumb man, I might add.)
When Jim did come home, she complained about never going out. When they went out, she complained about never being home as a family. When they were together as a family, she complained about him being drunk too often.
However, the key to Jim's dysfunctional lifestyle was linked to his past. During one of our sessions, I discovered that he had attended West Point, but failed to make the cut. He arrived home early vowing never again to prove an embarrassment to his parents. He reluctantly accepted a dead-end position with the family corporation to appease them. He learned to hate his job, and eventually his wife, but refused to leave either one. Divorce was another embarrassment for the family he refused to even consider. Instead, he destroyed himself through alcohol and endless extramarital affairs. With age, his life became long on intrigue and short on substance.
Jim was a Blue man acting his life out in the limitations of a Red, and refusing to admit that the absence of purpose in his career and lack of intimacy at home was poisoning him. Rene was a White, acting with Blue limitations, and seeking solace in whining to friends and therapists -- whomever would listen to the stories of her empty, tormented existence. Jim and Rene remained in mutual bondage to each other, complaining about how "unfair" life was and how "undeserving" they were to be stuck with each other.
They became victims of their own lies to themselves. They could not acknowledge their true core personalities, or take responsibility for living their lives within the limitations of other colors.
WRITE YOUR OWN EPITAPH
Whatever path you choose will have consequences. The higher the path, the greater the pain and the more satisfying the reward. You must decide what will be written on your tombstone. No one can walk your path. Only you can create it one step at a time. Color Your Future is for those caterpillars who have chosen to become what they were always meant to be -- butterflies in flight.
The three essential tasks you must complete in order to transcend your caterpillar mentality are:
1. Accept your core personality and give your gifts freely.
2. Embrace the gifts offered by the other colors.
3. Master each of the six character building steps.
Membership in the charactered path can be extended only to those persistent individuals who seek this challenge with a humble heart, courageous commitment, and acceptance of grace. Their membership promises them fulfillment in flight.
Copyright © 1991, 1999 by Taylor Hartman
Using the Character Code to Enhance Your Life
Color Your Future
Using the Character Code to Enhance Your Life
In The Color Code, Taylor Hartman defined the characteristics of the four basic personality types and assigned a color to each. In this exciting sequel, he builds on his groundbreaking research, showing you how to use your color profile as a guide to cultivating a full and balanced character.
The essence of character is the ability to enhance not only our own lives, but the lives of others as well. Here, Dr. Hartman gives you the tools you need to unlock your true potential, including engaging case histories, clearly articulated principles, and step-by-step exercises for:
- Recognizing your innate -- and developed -- strengths
- Identifying your core motivations
- Communicating more effectively
- Focusing your commitments
- Discovering the importance of character "stretching"
Presented with refreshing style and candid professionalism, this revolutionary guide provides tremendous counsel for identifying and embracing an enhanced life.