Understanding Our “True Colours”

Have you ever wondered about human behavior? Have you ever noticed that some people are very punctual arriving on time or even early, while some don’t? Have you ever noticed that some people speak their mind even before they know what is on it, while others are more reserved and think before they speak? As humans, we have an innate tendency to try and understand and regulate human behviour. Parents, teachers, relatives and friends have all tried to educate and train us, yet some natural behaviours keep emerging. Being able to recognize our True Colours enables all of us to realize that other people are not “wrong” for having different preferences or doing what comes naturally, they are simply different.  

  I first learned about True Colours seven years ago and it was a big “ah ha” moment for me personally. I realized that in my relationships with others, people weren’t intentionally trying to annoy me with their contrary ways. I now see myself and others around me as the natural working out of these four basic human elements and it all makes sense. Finally, here was a simple tool that I could use in virtually every aspect of my life, from personal to workplace relationships to my community and beyond. The True Colours concept, a metaphor for understanding the four personality styles, was developed by Don Lowry in 1978 as a way to introduce people to the incredibly powerful insights of temperament typing. He carefully chose the colours that resembled the characteristics they would be representing such as “good as gold” and “true blue friend”, as well as studying the calming properties of green and the stimulating effects of orange.  I became so passionate about wanting to share this knowledge, in 2003 I became a True Colours certified trainer and have since had many opportunities in my workshops to watch the colours unfold while participants experience their own “ah ha” moments.

truecolourspersonalities  True Colours recognizes that all people are a unique blend of characteristics. There are four categories in True Colours, namely, Gold, Blue, Orange and Green, and these four colours blend in a variety of ways to form endless combinations. The four colours and the temperaments they represent should be seen as a set of lenses for looking at the world. This is a very old set of lenses that have survived for thousands of years in more than one culture. True Colours is designed to describe, not label. When we speak of a “Gold”, we refer to a person who has many of the character traits associated with the Gold temperament. Gold’s core value is responsibility. Some of the greatest contributions that Golds make to the world are to organize it and make sure things are right. Some of the qualities associated with the gold colour style are planning ahead, being prepared and detail-oriented, having a strong sense of duty, valuing family traditions, being well organized. A “Blue’s” core values are relationships and self-expression. Blues have generous natures and a love of people and feel most alive and fulfilled when they are expressing their true sense of purpose. Some of the qualities associated with the Blue temperament are caring for others, being positive and optimistic, imaginative, loving and romantic, people-oriented, cooperative and having a strong sense of spirituality. An “Orange’s” core value is freedom. Orange’s combination of talent and personality allow them to stand above the crowd. Some of the qualities associated with the Orange temperament are being energetic, playful, entertaining, spontaneous, skillful, adventurous, self-confident and master negotiators and multi-taskers. A “Green’s” core value is competency. They are good at what they do and take pride in doing it perfectly. Some of the qualities associated with the Green temperament are being analytical, good problem solvers, curious, calm, cool and collected, innovative, self-directed and having high standards.

  True Colours is a tool to support our relationships by recognizing our gifts and acknowledging that others are distinctive. It gives us a language to express who we are and understand each other. When you know what your core values and needs are, and feel good about them, you can perform at your highest potential in every area of your life. When you share a mutual understanding of others’ core values and needs, you have the basis to communicate and motivate with mutual respect. In relationships, opposites often attract. Wouldn’t it be great to better understand your partner and accept and love them for who they really are? By learning the strengths, joys and stresses of others and identifying why they think, talk, behave, act and work so differently from you, you will do more of what works and less of what doesn’t in all your relationships.


Karen Knorr is an educator and facilitator who resides in Errington with her husband and two boys.