“Why am I as I am? To understand that of any person, his whole life, from birth must be reviewed. All of our experiences fuse into our personality. Everything that ever happened to us is an ingredient.” – Malcolm X
Some people are good at just walking up to people and striking a conversation. For others, walking over to someone they don’t know and starting a conversation is not done so easily. I place myself into the second category.
Many times, I have been made to feel that being an introvert is not a good thing but I have learnt over the years we are different and it is wrong to expect everyone to be like you. Out of the many people you meet, you will see that each individual is different.
The starting point to understand people is to realise and accept the fact that everyone is not like you. Some people call it personality, temperaments or character. Character and personality are both related to how a person behaves.
Most of the time, these two words are used interchangeably, therefore, it may be helpful for us to discuss what they mean. This is a direct quote I found in an article; “Character traits are objective, constant, and timeless.
Character traits include honesty, trust, respect, responsibility, leadership, loyalty and courage. One’s character can be objectively judged. Character is defined as right or wrong. Personality is subjective.
Personality includes your sense of humour (or lack of), whether you’re outgoing or shy, friendly or stoic, your interests, passions and the list goes on”.
Personality is easy to read, and we’re all experts in that. We judge people as being confident, extroverted, charismatic, as well as introverted, quiet and shy when we first meet them.
Temperament is the balance of your personality. These are biologically based tendencies that you inherited from your parents.
Character, on the other hand, takes far longer to figure out. It includes traits that reveal themselves only in specific and often uncommon circumstances such as trustworthiness, virtue, and kindness.
This is your disposition to think and feel in a certain way that appeared from your early childhood.
Interestingly, research has shown that personality traits are determined largely by heredity and are mostly unchangeable. Character, on the other hand, is more malleable, though not without great effort.
There are many different personality and motivational models and theories, and each one offers a different perspective. As you can appreciate, I can’t begin to talk about the different types and give you an in depth description of each.
So I encourage you to go and explore to learn more for yourself. There is so much information out there. Get a book or go online and read about the different tests. Some examples are Four Temperaments, Myers Briggs Personality, Keisey Temperament Sorter and many more.
These tests have value in that they help us understand our own patterns of behaviour and those of others. The more models you understand, the better your appreciation of motivation and behaviour.
As you delve into the study of this subject, you will find out that you are a blend of different types or that one personality trait is more dominant. If you’re like me, your natural inclination toward one end of the spectrum or the other may be so strong that you know without a doubt which personality type you are.
Either way, it’s important to capitalise on the strengths of your personality while being aware of the weaknesses so that you can look for ways to improve.
Your personality is entirely up to you. It is in the actions you take and the decisions you make. Either you are laid back person, or not, a responsible person or not, either you are task oriented, or not, goal oriented, or not. The only way to change your personality is to take active steps to become the person you want to be.
As with all personality types, there is no right or wrong here. We need a balance of both personalities within society.
People-oriented personalities build relationships and community, while task-oriented personalities get things done, and both are important. The key message to take from this is that we are not all the same.
The writer is the author of The Seduction of Food