If you are like most, your pie chart looks similar this one, which means you have a primary color (one driving core motive) but you also have a secondary color (another motive that influences they way you think and/or behave). Just as no two snowflakes are alike, no two Reds, Blues, Whites, or Yellows are alike either. We all have our differences, our nuances, our quirks. Just because the Color Code assessment indicates a person is a Core White personality, doesn’t mean that person necessarily possesses all of the White strengths or limitations. In most cases, an individual will naturally possess both strengths and limitations from one or more of the other colors outside of his or her driving core motive as well.
Since a secondary color directly affects the way a person thinks and behaves, it carries with it both positive and negative implications.
Advantages of Having a Secondary Color
There are three significant ways that a secondary color can enhance one’s life.
1. Create Balance. Having a secondary color can be very positive in that it can help balance you. The strengths from a secondary color can be very complementary to the core color. Take a bold, driven, and confident Red personality, for example, and add a Blue secondary color that brings out a side of compassion and genuine care for others. The characteristics from the Blue secondary color can really temper the tendencies of the Red to be selfish and insensitive of others. Mother Theresa fits the mold of the current example. People are often surprised to hear that she was Red, in fact, and not Blue, because she exhibited so many of the admirable Blue characteristics. What they don’t recall so readily was that Mother Theresa was extremely driven, efficient, and visionary—a Red complemented by compassion from her Blue secondary color. As you can see, someone like this is hard to beat.
2. Develop Other Positive Secondary Color Characteristics Easily. Another advantage to having a secondary color is the ease with which you can develop positive characteristics within that color—this is the “charactering” process. For instance, if an individual already has many secondary White strengths, it is far easier to understand how to develop additional White strengths. The charactering process flows more smoothly because a base of familiarity already exists.
3. Understand Other Driving Core Motives More Easily. A third way a secondary color can enhance someone’s life is in his/her relationships. It is much easier for someone to understand a Red if he/she has a secondary Red. In many ways, they think and process similarly. One of the most common causes of conflict is the inability to see life from the perspective of others. Put a flippant Yellow student in a classroom, with a serious and rigid Blue teacher, and you’ve got a sure recipe for disaster. How can they understand and appreciate each other? At best they will learn to cope and tolerate one another rather than develop any sort of positive and constructive student-teacher relationship. Having a secondary color might help the Yellow student know when it’s appropriate to be serious and show respect to the teacher. The teacher would undoubtedly benefit from some secondary Yellow to understand how to breathe new life into her lectures and roll with the playful teasing rather than get upset and turn resentful.
Disadvantages of Having a Secondary Color
Having a strong secondary color can also bring with it some drawbacks. Here are three ways a secondary color can negatively affect behavior.
1. Creates Personality Incongruence. This first struggle is probably the most significant. A secondary color can make an individual incongruent, and thereby less effective. This generally occurs when the characteristics of the secondary color are predominately negative limitations.
For example, let’s look at a White man who is generally pleasant, inventive, and kind. Then consider how he would be perceived if all of a sudden he began to display the very negative Red secondary characteristics of being bossy, argumentative, and insensitive to others. This man would make very little sense to those around him. He would seem to be a Jekyll and Hyde. This phenomenon is personality incongruence, and is very damaging to an individual’s ability to create positive relationships.
2. Mistrust of Incongruity by Others. The problem with incongruence is that others will find it hard to trust you. Even without knowing the Color Code, people get an intuitive read on what others are naturally like. It is easy to perceive when someone is not acting true to him or herself. We find the person to be phony and certainly unworthy of complete trust.
People are more inclined to forgive others for the limitations they display from within their own core color than those that come from a secondary or other non-core color.
For example, if a Yellow is irresponsible, others will tend to write it off as “that’s just the way he or she is.” However, if that same Yellow exhibited the Blue limitation of being judgmental, people would not excuse the behavior so readily. Further, it would actually seem much worse than if a Blue were to display judgmental attitudes and behaviors.
Having a secondary color is a positive condition if the strengths of one’s secondary color are developed and the limitations are minimized. It is true that the strengths of a secondary color are generally easier to develop because we are already somewhat familiar with them. On the contrary, trying to develop strengths from a color other than our core or secondary color is usually more difficult. We don’t have the luxury of natural familiarity with how those characteristics function and we may find we accidentally take on a limitation as well.