Personality - Man wearing formal suit

What is Personality?


Personality is the sum of characteristics or traits of a person that form his distinct character.

Let’s understand the Life of Oliver…


Life of Oliver

Oliver never needs an alarm to wake up. He leaves his bed at 6:00 am sharp. The first thing he does is taking a cold shower. After wearing the dress that he irons last night, he moves to the dining table where his wife already puts his breakfast. Then he grabs his files and drives to his office which is hardly 20 minutes away.

Instead of moving straight to his cabin, he takes a round of his office and chit chat with his colleagues. If he has many pending tasks, he hastens to his desk to begin work. His working methodology is very systematic and highly collaborative. He first spends almost half-hour to review weekly schedule and plan his daily tasks. He brainstorms with his colleagues and takes feedback from his subordinates to ensure team collaboration.

At 4:30 pm, Oliver gets back to his home. After changing his dress and taking some rest, he joins his family for lunch and then helps his children to do their homework. He doesn’t use discretion in family matters, instead, he discusses with his wife matters of the day and their weekend plans. If it is a weekend, he takes them to any shopping mall or a park for entertainment. Finally, Oliver and his family sleep at 10:00 pm.   


What are Oliver’s traits?

Let’s list them down.

1. Organized – The organization of Oliver is near to perfection. He is always tied to the clock.  

2. Cooperative – He knows teamwork. Whether he is in his office or with his family, he works things out through discussion.   

3. Friendly – Getting close to the people is only possible for Oliver because of his warm and friendly attitude.

4. Achiever – His whole activities are circled about his goals. He puts efforts and makes plans to get things done.   

5. Caring – He knows how to take care of his family and make them happy despite his professional nature. 


Take a sum

If you sum up the above traits of Oliver, you’ll get a snapshot of his personality. Like Oliver, we all have some peculiar traits which add up to form our distinctive personality. These traits are hardened parts of our personality.


Another exciting way 

Another exciting way to understand personality is to think: Why Steve Jobs always produced few but better products? Why lionel Messi is an excellent football dribbler? And why Gordon James Ramsay is the world’s best chef?

By digging into the personalities of these stalwarts, you’ll find a combination of traits that made what they are.


Frequently Asked Questions about Personality


Is personality unique?

Yes. Of course! Your’s, mine, everyone’s personality is unique.

Personality is just like mobile numbers which cannot be the same. The digits of a mobile number are our traits. When we combine these numbers, they turn out to be a unique number. Just like this combination, when we combine our traits they turn out to be a distinct personality. 


Does personality change?

More during childhood, less during adulthood.

Consider the example of filling up a plate of salad. The plate of salad is your biological being. Its shape and dimensions are provided by nature. When you are a baby, your parents fill up the base of this plate. The recipe for this salad is made from the mixture of personality traits of your parents. As you reach the age of youth, the salad gets more variety by interactions with your siblings, kids, friends, and other people in society. As you reach middle age, the plate of salad is already filled up and has little space for further addition, but still, there is some space. At this stage, any fundamental change in personality requires a change in the whole recipe, which is almost impossible. By conscious learning, you can make changes, but they will be gradual and require an understanding of the whole recipe.

In early childhood, personality is more receptive to change, but as you grow old, this change becomes slow and require more hard and conscious efforts to change.    


Can we predict behavior?

Yes! We can predict the behavior of others based on their personality.

If your friend has a humble and friendly personality, he or she will mostly treat you with respect and warmth. Or if your father is a strict person,  there is the least chance that he won’t punish if you do something wrong.


Does inheritance affect personality?

Yes. Inheritance strongly affects personality.

In 1968, two newly born twin sisters had separated apart in the United States. They lived in different places and groomed in different families. However, after 35 years, when they were reunited, psychiatrists found they had quite similar personality traits.

Our genes transmit characteristics from parents to their offspring. These genes act in a variety of complex ways to produce different traits. Owing to this biological factor, the personality of children is closer to their parents. For example, Oliver’s father and mother must have been disciplined and organized.


How do people get to know our personalities?

People know about our personality during interactions and through our stuff.

People recognize our traits when we interact with them. Our dressing, way of talking, sitting, standing and in fact, every action reflects our personality. Our personality is also revealed by our material choices. Our choice of car, an arrangement of things on the desks, nature of stuff in our rooms, and even items in our wallets reveal our personality. In today’s online world, our Facebook profiles even show people who we are.