Personality (October 18)


“Few men are of one plain, decided color; most are mixed, shaded, and blended; and vary as much, from different situations, as changeable silks do from different lights” (Lord Chesterfield).

IF YOU’VE EVER WATCHED PEOPLE IN A PUBLIC PLACE FOR HALF AN HOUR OR SO, YOU’VE PROBABLY BEEN STRUCK BY THE VARIETY THERE IS IN THE HUMAN RACE. Physically, no two people are alike; that much is obvious. But there’s an even greater variety in the personalities that people project — and even in the personalities the same people display in different situations. All these personalities are produced as individuals take the “nature” they were born with and then use that to interact with the external circumstances that come their way. The results are a “mixed bag,” to put it mildly.

Hardly anybody is entirely pleased with his or her own personality, but even so, there’s a lot of wisdom in learning to accept the personalities we have. We can adjust them and improve them, but we ought not to despise them. Wishing we could exchange our personality for that of somebody else is largely a waste of time.

Rather than wishing we had a different personality, what we ought to do is become more proactive in cultivating and enhancing the ones we’ve got. We do that by getting out there amongst other personalities and getting involved with their uniqueness. Eleanor Roosevelt gave good advice when she said, “If you approach each new person in a spirit of adventure, you will find yourself endlessly fascinated by the new channels of thought and experience and personality that you encounter.” And Carl Jung was also right when he said, “The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.”

Just as our bodies are instruments through which we do our work, the same is true of our personalities. Two people can do the exact same work and end up making a very different contribution to the world. Personality is what makes that possible. Viva la difference!

“If you have anything valuable to contribute to the world it will come through the expression of your own personality — that single spark of divinity that sets you off and makes you different from every other living creature” (Bruce Barton).

Gary Henry – WordPoints.com

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