Monday, September 30, 2013

Character or Personality

When we look at character versus personality we have to accept that one cannot be without the other.  Neither one is more important than the other either. While personality primarily consists of inborn traits, character is made of learned behavior.  Let’s look at them more closely:

Character is typically learned from our parents, teachers and friends. This learning comes from being taught directly or from observations of others. Character relates to attitudes and values.  It is possible to change one’s  character based on different beliefs and core values.  Although, certain habits such as lying or committing crimes are harder to change, and need mainly reform through change of environment and circumstances.

Character is trained by keeping certain disciplines such as: honor, diligence, loyalty, love, etc.

Personal character virtues are:

        Authenticity or integrity




Social character virtues are:





We are equipped with certain personality traits or temperaments.  Some people are outgoing and talkative, while others are introverted and keep to themselves.  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. Some people are born leaders while others are analytical in their thinking.  I wrote once a blog about the different personality types as laid out by Dr. Robert Rohm:

Now I ask you, what is more important? -- Character or personality?  I believe both are necessary to build a successful life. Since personality is something we are all born with we can compare it with talents, while character is something we have to attain and work for. 

Traditionally, our society paid more attention to character education while today often personality is favored.  While personality seems to unfold naturally, it takes effort to attain a solid character.  We need good role models, starting in the family, and larger community like church, school and sports.

I therefore suggest that character education has to be the internal compass which can direct us to attain our ultimate destiny. At the same time we want to let our personality unfold and share our given gift with others.

We can see in our society today what lack of character education has done.  It becomes apparent mostly in the loss of moral values.  We have lots of personality, especially those with domineering traits. 

I like to end my observation regarding character and personality with a quote from Lao Tzu:

“Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habit.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.”

~ Lao Tzu Chinese Philosopher 6th century BC, wrote the Tao Te Ching (the Way).

No comments: