When I ask you what your favorite color is, you’d better have an answer.
I don’t care what your color is. I just want you to have one.
Here, I’ll start. My favorite color is blue.
More specifically, when I was younger it was cerulean blue. Now my favorite color has shifted to include a few more, which is better summed up in a graphic:
(I’m not very good at naming colors, okay? Periwinkle, sage green, dark gray, and…whatever the hell that last one is.)
Why am I telling you this? Do you really care what someone else’s favorite color is? Does it really matter? No, not in itself. What matters is that the person you ask has an answer.
When I ask someone this question, and they have an answer, it means they’ve taken the time to define an experience in their lives and form an understanding of their opinion about it. Something has affected them and they’ve taken note of it. They’ve developed a preference and can express that preference to others. They are aware of themselves.
This may be a matter of personal taste, but I think when you ask people this question and they don’t have an answer, it’s worrying. It’s such a simple question. We all perceive color to some degree or another; we are all affected by it (except people with visual disabilities, and in that case, there’s always an equivalent question to ask), so it’s an easy thing to get to know about oneself. When someone doesn’t have an answer to this question, and their response is, “I don’t know, I haven’t thought about it,” that says to me that they haven’t thought much about themselves. And that troubles me.
Maybe thinking about the self is an important exercise to me, and we all know it is (I started this website so I’d stop bothering all my friends about personality theory). But I think it should be important to everyone to try to understand themselves. Listen, we don’t all have the same hobbies, interests, or talents, and yes, introspection is a skill and interest that not everyone shares. However, we do all have a self, and we all both influence and are influenced by our interaction with the outer world. Why not take the time to understand those dynamics? There’s a certain power in knowing yourself and being able to act consciously rather than simply react. Personality study benefits everyone, not just philosophers and intellectuals on the internet.
Color is a simple question but that is exactly what it should be. Personality tests can get so complicated for someone who doesn’t know much about themselves. Am I in tune with the mood of a room? Well, sometimes, I guess…it depends? Maybe? I don’t know! Those test questions depend on the subject knowing themselves well enough to understand the question and assess themselves honestly, which is difficult for most people to do. As a result, people get ambiguous test scores that only somewhat reflect them and give up to do something else. Typology then offers little benefit, because its purpose is not to give you a type so much as introduce you to a lifelong study of yourself. If the test results make no sense to you because you didn’t understand what you were being asked, there’s little motivation to continue exploring, is there?
So start here. What’s your favorite color? What’s your least favorite color? What do you love and what do you hate? Why? What is it you’re drawn to? Why do you think that might be? If you didn’t know your favorite color before now, consider it. There’s no reason not to. And the next time someone asks you what it is, you’ll have an answer.