What is personality? Is it something that only a limited few people are born with as God’s gift? Or is it out there for everyone to attain? If it is possible to develop your personality, then why doesn’t everyone just develop a personality that can help him gain success, happiness, and fame? If it can be acquired and developed, then why do some people have a personality that makes them a target for failure, unhappiness, and social rejection?
The term “personality” is derived from the Latin word for mask, “persona”. To disapprove the traditional belief that the personality is a nebulous, mysterious quality that cannot be measured or calculated, research has suggested that personality pattern is something that can be objectively observed in the words and action of an individual and can be measured to a degree of accuracy.
Of all the different definitions of personality in use, the most widely accepted one is short, but all including definition provided by psychologist Gordon W. Allport of Harvard University. According to him:
“Personality is the dynamic organization, within the individual, of those psychophysical systems, that determine his characteristics behavior or thoughts.”
If we analyze the keywords in the definition provided by Gordon Willard Allport, it will give us a complete meaning and convey how much importance Allport had placed on Motivation.
Organization talks about the patterning of the different independent part of the person’s personality structure. This proves that a person’s personality is not just the sum of all his traits, but rather, the different traits and the manifestation of these traits are held together and influenced by the concept of a single core, called the “Concept of self”
Dynamic refers to the constantly changing nature of the personality. Not only does the personality of the individual become more complex in structure as the individual undergoes changes in his or her physical and psychological characteristics, but it also changes from time to time and based on the situation. These changes are not radical and nor are they necessarily permanent. These are the fluctuations in the intensity of the traits that are already present in the individual. They are therefore quantitative rather than qualitative in nature. The dynamic aspect of the personality is what makes it so hard and difficult to measure.
A psychophysical system is composed of the individual’s habits, attitudes, emotional states, sentiments, motives, and beliefs, all of which are psychological aspects but can also have a physical basis in the person’s neural, glandular or general body conditions.
The “determine” aspect of the personality emphasizes the psycho-physical system’s motivational effects on the individual. Within an individual, these systems influence specific acts and influence the methods and forms that these actions take. Once an attitude, belief, habit, sentiment or some other element of the psycho-physical system has been stimulated due to stimuli, either from the outside environment or from within the individual itself, it provokes and expresses adjective acts which a characteristic form of expression of the individual.
The term “Characteristics “refers to the uniqueness or the distinctiveness of the person’s behavior as an expression of the pattern of his particular psycho-physical systems. Even the concepts and behavior that the people apparently share with one another are in reality more individual than you might realize. Some of us might be less idiosyncratic than others, but all of us have our own personal flavor.
Behavior and thought
Behavior and thought together make a “blanket to designate anything whatsoever an individual might do”. And what most people do mainly is adjust to changes and conditions in the environment, although he might also reflect on it from time to time. This means that the patterns of behavior as determined by the psycho-physical system found within the individual are not aimless as previously thought but directed at helping the person fit better into the physical and social environment in which he or she lives.