People are like teabags. You have to put them into hot water before
you can know how strong they are.
Character is a set of behavior traits that define what sort of person an individual is. It determines whether a person will effectively achieve goals, be forthright in dealing with others and will obey the laws and rules of the “group.” Although character is related to personality, it is not the same thing. Personality is primarily inborn traits, while character consists of learned behavior. Both may vary with the situation or circumstances.
Questions you may have include:
• What is personality?
• How does character differ from personality?
• How can a per son’ s character change with circumstances?
People seem to be born with certain personality traits or tendencies. Some people are shy, while others are outgoing and talkative. Some people seem to be leaders, while others are analytical in their thinking.
A common way to classify your personality or disposition is whether you are an extrovert or an introvert. That is, whether you tend to be outgoing or keep to yourself more. Another classification is whether you tend to be task oriented or prefer social engagements. This results in people having either a domineering, influencing, steady or complying personality. (ie. DISC Personality model* )
*Note that this is just one of several classification methods of the various personality traits that people may have.
On the other hand, character is typically learned from your parents, teachers and friends. This learning comes from being taught directly or from observations of others.
Character relates to attitudes and values.
There is no such thing as a person having a dishonest personality. Honesty is a positive character trait and dishonesty is a negative character trait. But there may be a tenancy toward breaking the law, if you have a rebellious personality. Often rebellion is simply a phase that young people go through.
Whether you are an introvert or extrovert, your character concerns your attitudes toward doing difficult tasks, dealing with other people and following the rules of your culture. It is the judgment of the type of person you are.
Although character is taught to you as a child, it can vary or change with situations and experience.For example, man who is meek on the job may be demanding and assertive in his household. Or, a person may be devious in business dealings but devout and honest in his religion.
Also, since your character was taught to you when you were young, it is difficult to change your attitudes and values. But if you see that certain behavior does not work for you, it is possible to change your character for the better.
A person with dishonest parents may see that crime does not pay and change his personality to be a very honest person. People often change religions and have a different view about what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior.Therefore, character is a set of behavior traits that define what type of person you are. It determines whether you will achieve your goals, be forthright in dealing with others and obey the rules of the “group”. Character and personality are related, but they are not the same thing. Personality is inborn traits and character consists of learned behavior. Character may vary with the situation or circumstances or may be purposely changed.
“If you always do what you’ve always done,
you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”
Although most people do not think about or judge their own character, events in your life may motivate a change. You may realize that you are not achieving your goals and decide to change your personal character. Also, you may see that the opinion other people have of you is not what you would like, so you decide to change your social character. If you move to another area or join a non-profit organization, you may have to adapt your “rule-based” character.
Here are 3 key elements that need to be re-aligned, if we want to have build more positive character traits in our lives :
1. Personal Character – These traits are attitudes concerning overcoming challenges and achieving goals. Something must motivate you to change the personal character traits that you have been taught.
You may realize that you are not moving forward because of certain fears or lack of determination. Perhaps you were taught as a young child to worry about failing or getting hurt. Since this is holding you back, you may want to baseline and leverage on this incident to change your personal character to become a more courageous and determined person.
2. Social Character – This concerns your attitudes in dealing with others. You may change in a positive or negative direction.Something must motivate you to change the social character traits that you have been taught.
You may have grown up with training from your parents or peers that you can get what you want by being dishonest. But after being caught from your dishonesty, you realize that it does not pay. Perhaps you have been severely punished from being dishonest. Thus you make an effort to change your character and to be extremely honest. You are also motivated by this by saying that an honest reputation is worth while.
3. Rule-based Character – This is following the rules or laws of your government, cultural group, or religion. Something must motivate you to change the rule-based character traits that you have been taught.
A person with a rebellious personality may find that the consequences of breaking the rules are so great that it is not worth it. The police may arrest you or your family may disown you. In such a case, you may decide to change your ways and change your character and obey the laws and rules.
In the case of religion, the consequences of disobedience are not obvious, unless the religious body also controls government or cultural rules. But often, when you sincerely embrace a religion, you may become very devout and obedient to the rules of your new religion.
* Action Tip extract adapted & enhanced from School for Champions