WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
Personality is easy to read, and we’re all 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 thereafter. 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, a present we’ve usually amassed enough data to justify our conclusions.
Character, on the other hand, takes far longer to puzzle out. It includes traits that reveal themselves only in specific—and often uncommon—circumstances, traits like honesty, virtue, and kindliness. Ironically, research has shown that personality traits are determined largely by heredity and are mostly immutable. The arguably more important traits of character, on the other hand, are more malleable—though, we should note, not without great effort. Character traits, as opposed to personality traits, are based on beliefs (e.g., that honesty and treating others well is important—or not), and through beliefs can be changed, it’s far harder than most realize.
1 “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
Abraham Lincoln (Read more quotes)
2 “You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself one.”
James Anthony Froude
3 “The great thing about acting is that you get to be a lot of different things in one lifetime. You get to explore different personalities and characters.”
4 “Reputation is what men and women think of us; character is what God and angels know of us.”
5 “Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character.”
6 “Man’s main task in life is to give birth to himself.”
7 “Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.”
Bruce Lee (Read more quotes)
8 “Every man has three characters: that which he shows, that which he has, and that which he thinks he has.”
9 “We continue to shape our personality all our life. If we knew ourselves perfectly, we should die.”
10 “I wonder if any element of the interior design is more personal than color? Nothing can more quickly reveal an aspect of personality and character than the choice – or absence – of color.”
Van Day Truex