December 15, 2016

Personality vs. Character: Are They Really that Different?

Learn from the experts what the key differences are between Personality vs. Character. The difference between the two may just surprise you.

In the previous article, you learned to identify the characteristics of successful people. Now, are you ready to follow in their footsteps? In this article, you're going to learn the fundamental differences between Personality vs. Character. Some of which, you may not have thought, or been aware of before. In addition to deepening your knowledge and strengthening your Personality vs. Character repertoire, you will also learn about the peculiar relationship between Character and Integrity.

Do You Have it All?

Although some people may seem to "have it all," most people eventually realize that they lack in certain areas. For example, you may be a master at paying close attention to detail, but do you lose sight of the big picture? Likewise, you may possess an insatiable hunger for improvement. To become better. But, do you have trouble setting realistic and attainable goals? In light of these challenges, you might be tempted to echo the sentiment of the cartoon character Popeye.
I yam what I yam, and that's all that I yam!
In other words, "I can capitalize on my strengths, but I can't do a thing about my faults. They’re just part of me, whether I like it or not". Before you lose yourself in this line of thought, let's now dive into dismantle the difference between Personality vs. Character.

Personality and Character Defined

Online authorities in the business of comparison, TheyDiffer describes Personality as "the qualities that make you, You." The site goes on to point out the relationship between personality and behavior/outward appearance (the way others see you and, the way you see yourself). The relationship between the two becomes more apparent when you stop to consider that the word "personality" is a derivative of the Latin word "persona," which originally referred to a theatrical mask. Personality can, therefore, be defined by the way we project ourselves to the world.

Character, on the other hand, centers on moral qualities "such as being trustworthy or 'shady,' kind or unkind, generous or selfish." Character, therefore, is the traits we embody and live by. The traits that help define who we are and ultimately — who we become. Although many people consider Character to be more malleable than Personality, researchers have found that Character, once built, can be almost as difficult to alter.

Personality vs. Character

Medical doctor and the author of The Undefeated Mind, Alex Lickerman agrees that Character traits can be difficult to change, but confirms that they are far less malleable than personality traits. In his Psychology Today article "Personality vs. Character," he calls personality "easy to read" and contends that humans have become experts at it.

"We judge people funny, extroverted, energetic, optimistic, confident—as well as overly serious, lazy, negative, and shy—if not upon first meeting them, then shortly after that," Lickerman writes. "And though we may need more than one interaction to confirm the presence of these sorts of traits, by the time we decide they are in fact present, we've usually amassed enough data to justify our conclusions."

Character is Forged

In contrast, Lickerman explains why character "takes far longer to puzzle out." Unlike Personality Traits, Character Traits, such as honesty/dishonesty and kindness/cruelty, only reveal themselves under very specific and often uncommon sets of circumstances. Just as character traits take longer to identify from the outside, they also take longer to forge on the inside.

Research has shown that personality traits are predominantly determined by heredity and are largely unchangeable. Our deeply held beliefs, therefore, solidify our true Character traits and beliefs, unlike heredity, can be changed.

Mind and Soul

TheyDiffer sums it up like this: "if Personality is your Mind, Character is your Soul." In other words, "personality is connected with someone’s appearance and the characteristics that make them unique," while "character encompasses one’s moral values."

This may be the most significant difference between Personality and Character. While we may view personality traits as largely chaotic and randomly assigned, Character traits involve personal value judgments that constantly test your priorities and your morality.

See also: How to Build Character and Strengthen Your Image.

The Relationship Between Character and Integrity

You can change your Character for one simple reason: you can always strive to be a better and more successful person. defines the moral aspect of character quite beautifully. They state:
Personality often refers to traits that an individual was born with, while Character largely involves defining an individual's integrity.
Do you want a better personality? Then, keep the fire of curiosity burning and look further to personality development. If, however, you want to build your Character, begin today by living each moment with the utmost integrity.