Personality And Character’s Influence On Our Whole Self.
Last week, at the firesight chat, I had a chance to get to know myself through the eyes of my friends. It was one of the best moments. I realized what I am, what I ought to do, what I ought to keep and finally what I ought to do away with. The discussion centered itself on personality and character looking keenly at its influence on our thinking, our choices, our talents and even hobbies.
What is the difference between character and personality? It is usually challenging and hard to differentiate between the two words since they usually tend to be almost related save for a thin line that keeps them different. The dictionary defines personality as the set of qualities that makes a person (or thing) distinct from another while character is defined as a complex of mental and ethical traits marking a person or a group. All these set of qualities and traits make a key part of us understanding all about our self. Sociologically the concept of self entails all ideas and feelings the individual associates with the words “I,” “me,” “my,” and “mine.”
In the sociology context that deals with our associations with others, personality is all of the readiness to behave, the tendencies to act, which an individual acquires in the process of interacting with other people. Personality is largely the result of our associations from others. Over time this interactions become a part and parcel of us which then influences our thinking and behaviors. The common phrase, “show me your friends and I will tell you your character,” hereby takes shape. Associate with winners and you become a winner. Associate with great thinkers and you become a great thinker, we can call that apprenticeship.
Socrates for instance influenced Plato with his teachings who also became a teacher of Aristotle and over the ages they have been known as the greatest philosophers of all time. This clearly illustrates how our character and personality are continually influenced by our associations. Professor Erving Goffman, a professor of sociology at the University of California noted that when the individual presents himself before others, he consciously and unconsciously guides and controls the impressions they will form of him. This is usually influenced by the people around us and the setting in which we are. Always keep the company of good people, especially those you look up to and cherish.
Once we understand our very self by first understanding our character and personality, we begin to understand what our hobbies and talents are. I have for instance observed that the people who are very understanding on most occasions are mostly quiet and aloof. Those who love travelling as a hobby are on the other hand friendly and love making friends. At the end of the day, the guy who loves travelling as a hobby and is friendly can add sales and marketing skills to be a salesperson.
Successful entrepreneurs are mostly like China. When everybody else is thinking that they are going to be the next big thing, the entrepreneur themselves thinks otherwise. They are resilient, sometimes dictatorial, ambitious, winners and unemotionally stable in the inside. Now we can connect what personality and character does to influence our thinking, skills and our whole self.
The challenge I give out to you today is to take three of your friends, discuss personality and character within yourselves. Get to see yourself through their eyes and get to know who you are in a deeper sense. Let them see themselves through your eyes also and then you can know the very core of self. It is not a discussion about other people, it is a discussion about yourselves. We enjoyed our discussion with Lewis Munene, Robert Agolla and James Maina who at the end of the day realized that success and understanding of other people and phenomena begins by us first understanding ourselves.
I conclude this article with a quote from Charles Horton Cooley’s Human Nature And The Social Order published in 1902. He observed than, “An individual’s idea of himself comes much more from what he imagined people thought of him when he was a child than from what he imagines they think of him now.” The best time to shape the best character and personality of tomorrow’s generation is through our children, while they are young. But first, we need to be upright in our character and personality because they interact with us for the better part of their life.
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