There’s a pretty big difference between “character” and “personality”. The difference is in the roots and the definition, but from the outside, it isn’t visible. Knowing how to get to address bad habits and form new, effective ones highly depends on knowing the difference between character and personality.
“Personality” is a word used too losely these days. Most of us discribe what traits we feel like we display to others as personality. A more accurate definition, however is an action or inaction (reserved) derived from one’s character.
Character gets mixed up with personality very often because the age we live in today focuses so much more on personality that character remains an ambiguous term for many. Character is the foundation that allows our personality to emerge.
Character is based on principles. Character is a group of ground principles.
Putting the two Together
Our character is made up of a few principles. Our personality is what emerges as a result of our character. Put simply, personality is the surface element and character is the framework for it.
Lets use someone who steals frequently as an example. Their action, stealing may be the personality they display. In the old days however, someone might say “that says a lot about your character”. By saying that, they’re addressing the kind of principle this person operates on.
The principle of scarcity and abundance may be at play here. Someone growing up under scarcity may have that sink into their character and an untrust worthy personality (as a reult of stealing) might emerge.
To be, not to Seem – (Latin Proverb: Esse quam videri)
Where to go From Here
Society has been trending on surface modeling as of recently. We are only interested in working on our appearance. Lets use literal appearance as an analogy. If we max our physical appearance and begin to get attention from the opposite sex, we can go on many dates, but how many of those dates will transition into anything else?
Without working on social skills and building up our character, those hand full of first dates that your looks landed will have a very little value.
Lets face it, no one can tolerate a guy or girl JUST because they look good. That’s what gets the ball rolling, but who are is what KEEPS it rolling.
The same goes for character and personality. The latin proverb above “To be, not to seem” sums it up pretty well. You’re looking to be the person you want people to think you are, not act like the person you want people to think you are.
Acting is a difficult job In the long run, it’s harder to pretend to be someone you’re not than to actually address the foundation of your current personality and work on your character. The long term solution to anything long term is always the best solution. Acting is a short term solution. Sometimes it has its place. If you play a certain personality to get out of a parking ticket, that’s a short term solution for a short term personality. In that case, it works.
If you’re trying to form a relationship with someone, a personality act wouldn’t be the approach. Long term construction on your character IS how to gain a long term, desired personality result.