Character and personality make us unique individuals, but they are not necessarily one and the same aspect of who we are.
Personality represents who we are. It is the whole set of traits, natural tendencies, and beliefs that make us who we are.
When someone uses the word “character”, Sinaumed’s may assume that they mean personality, but that is not always the case.
So, what makes character different from personality, and which one has more of an impact on our overall well-being?
Definition of Character
Quoting the book “Character Matters”, it is said that a Greek philosopher, Heraclitus said, “Character is destiny. Character is said to shape one’s destiny and ultimately the fate of the whole society. “In the character of citizens,” said Cicero, “lies the welfare of the nation.”
Meanwhile, Lance Morrow as an essayist said that character spreads values and is a work of civilization.
On the other hand, Ralph Waldo Emerson emphasized that character is higher than intelligence. Then, psychiatrist Frank Pittman said that the stability of life depends on our character. It is not lust, but character, that makes a marriage long enough to raise children to be mature, responsible, and productive citizens.
It is also said that it is character that enables people to survive, survive, and overcome their misfortunes in a perfect world. Steven Covey said that to do well, we have to do good and to do good, we have to be good first.
Such is character.
Character determines how we act when we think others don’t see us. As the old saying goes, “Character is what you do when no one is looking.”
What if the contents of the character? Kindness is the content of good character. Kindness: honesty, courage, justice, to compassion, becomes a disposition for us to behave morally. For human qualities, character is good objectivity.
Two Sides of Character
The character of life has two sides, namely right behavior in relation to others and right behavior in relation to oneself. A life full of virtues, the contents of which are oriented virtues, be it towards others such as fairness, honesty, gratitude, to love, as well as self-oriented such as humility, self-control, fortitude, and trying your best instead of giving in to laziness.
We need to control ourselves to do the right thing for others.
Positive & Negative Characteristics, and Examples
Mentioned in the book “Understanding People: Communication Tactics Strategies Based on Personality”, in fact there is no such thing as a positive or negative character in general. Character is our innate form when we were children.
Usually, every individual has two contradictory characters, namely positive and negative characters. The reason is, positive character can help us succeed in life, while negative character is a character that hinders the success of our life.
Behaviors that lead to mental strength are identified below (Morin, 2013):
- Mentally strong people don’t feel sorry for themselves; instead, they are in charge of their own lives.
- They do not give their power to others and thus maintain control over their emotions.
- Individuals with mental toughness accept change and are open to being flexible.
- Control is placed over things under the person’s influence, such as their attitudes.
- Pleasing everyone is not a priority. While being kind and fair is important, making everyone happy is not.
- There is a motivation to take calculated risks.
- Mentally strong people focus on the present and make plans for the future.
- Mentally strong people try to make better decisions in the future and try not to repeat previous missteps.
- They show an ability to appreciate and celebrate the success of others.
- They don’t give up after failing; instead, they keep trying until they get it right.
- Mentally strong people tolerate being alone and remaining silent.
- They don’t feel that the world owes them anything; instead, they create opportunities for themselves by capitalizing on their own talents and strengths.
- Real change takes time, and mentally strong individuals understand this, so they are patient.
The opposite of the characteristics of being open-minded, calm, conscientious, and agreeable are those defined by judgment, neuroticism, and an external locus of control. Some of the behaviors that fall into this category are:
- Inability to accept setbacks
- Lack of clarity and decision making
- Low capacity for critical thinking
- Failing to build strong interpersonal relationships
- Always be in the comfort zone
- Helplessness and lack of persistence
- Tendency to lean towards pessimism
- Weak imagination and inability to visualize the desired results (Cardone, 2011)
Definition of Personality
Human personality is a complex thing and difficult to define. However, we can easily see that personality is an invisible structure that can affect the way a person interacts with other people and the environment, when he sees it.
A continuous and consistent process throughout life forms personality. It can also influence the way decisions are made.
Before considering work ability, we tend to consider a person’s personality first. This is often seen in the business world, when many leaders place a person based on their likes and dislikes, not their abilities.
Our basic character has begun to be formed from the age of under five years. Robert Driscoll in the book “Life Style Assessment” as quoted from “Understanding People: Communication Tactics Strategies Based on Personality” states that character reactions which are characteristic of each person ( life styles ) are formulated before the age of 5 years.
Once the framework is chosen, all experiences will be subjectively interpreted within that framework. This shows that education and upbringing in the family form the basic character that will carry over into adulthood.
Furthermore, the basic character will usually start to get external influences from various sources after we pass the age of 5 years. For example, from experience, education, values, to beliefs.
Even so, the basic character will still exist and cannot be lost, no matter how big the influence of our environment is. Even if you don’t see it anymore, it’s because the basic character is only covered by environmental influences, it doesn’t really disappear.
Differences in Character and Personality
In the world of psychology, when we think about the Self, our personality is everything. It is “us” from top to bottom: all the behaviors, interests, thoughts, beliefs, experiences, and traits that make us unique in this world.
Most modern personality models agree that the foundation of personality is our biology. Experience and environment helped us to develop other aspects of personality since then.
In other words, we are not born with a particular personality. It changes and adapts constantly, especially during the first 2 decades of life. After that, changes are unlikely or not that significant.
But if we weren’t born with our personality, how would our behavior and reactions as a baby develop?
Modern personality theory suggests personality begins with innate temperament. Over time, we develop character as we engage in everyday experiences, and this is how our personality develops.
Character and temperament mix and contribute to our personality traits, but not all of them.
More Important Character or Personality?
Character is one aspect of personality. It can affect major areas of life, such as work, social circles, activism, and crime. It may determine many of our life choices.
It is also important in determining the outcome of personal goals and relationships.
Character can be seen as the essence, while personality is how we express that essence. In this sense, they are interdependent.
Launching Psychcentral, research shows that personality, especially certain temperament features, may be important for mental and physical health.
In 2014, research found that people with the core personality trait of conscientiousness were more likely to be in better physical health at age 38 than people without the personality trait.
A population-based Swedish study from 2017 noted a high score of the personality trait neuroticism was associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular death.
Dispositional optimism was shown to positively influence mental health in a 2020 cross-sectional study with adolescents, whereas neuroticism was associated with adverse mental health effects in the same study.
In this sense, Sinaumed’s’ personality traits may have a stronger influence on overall health, but character traits can influence everyday and important life decisions.
Character Traits and Personality
While character and personality are both used to describe the behavior of a person, they examine different aspects of the individual. A person’s personality is more visible, while a person’s character is revealed from time to time, through various situations, as quoted from Positivepsychology .
While personality is easier to identify, it is largely static and slow to develop. In contrast, characters take longer to view but are easier to transform. That’s because character is shaped by belief, and with enough effort and motivation, changing one’s outlook and view of the world can lead to changes in one’s character.
Character flexibility makes sense when we look at human evolution. In order for our ancestors to survive, they had to adapt to new environments and change over time, and this is still true in the modern era.
If a person perceives changes in their environment as significant, then their beliefs will change to accommodate those changes.
For example, someone who may have a shy personality could learn to change their attitude toward public speaking while acting as a teacher. New social and external demands cause internal shifts that change their attitudes.
In this way, even though an individual’s innate preference is to stay away from the public, the beliefs and values that shape their behavior can evolve to reflect the values of their immediate group and community. Such awareness and adaptability help survival (Kurtus, 2011).
The point is that, despite the importance of innate personality traits, we can deal with them as personal or cultural demands require.
Personality Test Models
Nowadays, there is a widespread use of psychological test models that are used personally and simply, such as the MBTI, for us to try to identify ourselves. Here are two other personality test models that you must know!
The Big Five, OCEAN
Perhaps the most comprehensive and science-backed personality test is the Big Five.
Goldberg’s Five Personality Factors (OCEAN)
Unlike the popular (but debated) Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), this assessment does not divide people into personality profiles, instead analyzing individuals based on the most common traits found in the global community. The traits are easy to remember, as they can be spelled with the acronym OCEAN.
OCEAN stands for:
It describes the individual’s love for new experiences. Those who score high in this aspect tend to be more creative. Meanwhile, individuals with lower scores tend to be more conservative and prefer routine.
It shows a person’s tendency to organize. Those with high scores are seen as motivated, disciplined, and trustworthy. A lower score indicates someone who is less responsible and more likely to be distracted.
This factor shows how cheerful and communicative a person is. If someone scores high on extroversion , they tend to be social and more likely to achieve their goals. A low score indicates someone who is introverted and more subject to authority.
This trait describes the way a person interacts with the people around him. A high score indicates that a person is warm and friendly. Those who tend to be more egocentric and suspicious (or even shy) generally score lower.
Emotional stability can say a lot about a person’s likelihood of developing moodiness and anxiety. A high score on neuroticism indicates someone who lacks confidence, and a low score describes someone who is calm and confident (Westerhoff, 2008).
Developed by Hans and Sybil Eysenck in 1975, this model looks at the biological factors that trigger or influence personality. The three main characteristics examined by this model are psychoticism, extroversion, and neuroticism (Waude, 2017).
The origins of this model date back to the 1960s, but it did not originally measure psychoticism (which is related to measures of compassion, morality, and creativity). The older model uses the Eysenck Personality Inventory to collect and analyze results.
With the addition of psychoticism, the questions were updated and the tool for collecting these results was renamed the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire.
Each trait category explores the following human behaviors:
People who score high on this measure often participate in hostile, reckless, inconsiderate, inappropriate, tough-minded, and impulsive behavior. Higher testosterone levels are associated with higher scores in this area.
Individuals with high levels of extroversion are more outgoing and talkative, and they crave external stimulation. Higher stimulation usually occurs as a result of increased cortical arousal and can be measured through skin conductance, brain waves, or perspiration.
Those with high levels of neuroticism are more prone to depression and anxiety. These traits are activated by the sympathetic nervous system, which is also responsible for the fight-or-flight response. This can be measured through heart rate, blood pressure, cold hands, sweating and muscle tension.
This is a review regarding character and personality, which we hope can help Sinaumed’s become even more #MoreWithReading. Don’t forget to visit and read related quality books purchased through sinaumedia.com !
Author: Sevilla Nouval Evanda
Books (via sinaumedia Digital):
- Character Matters
- Understanding-ing People: Personality Based Communication Tactics Strategies