Walking you through all different aspects of personality, here’s a complete, self-paced guide to personality development.
Personality is the reflection of an individual’s qualities and characteristics. Personality is the intrinsic nature of an individual and cannot be faked for a long period of time. It takes a lot of time and effort to build one’s personality and it shapes over a period of time.
What is personality development and its importance? Developing our personality helps us become more capable in life and helps us avoid diseases of despair like anxiety, neurosis, depression or addictions. However, it’s up to an individual how they want to shape themselves.
How Can You Develop Your Personality?
If you have googled about personality development, that means you are self-aware and want to improve yourself. Building your personality is not an overnight thing, it’s a continuous process and only you can judge your progress. The simple way to judge whether you’ve improved your personality and wisdom is to compare yourself with a younger version of yourself. If you consider your younger version dumb or a fool, then you have surely improved yourself or your personality over the years.
What is Personality Development in Simple Words?
One of 20th century’s greatest practising psychologist Carl Jung terms an individual’s personality development as “individuation”. Individuation means becoming an “in-dividual,” and also, “Individuality embraces our innermost, last, and incomparable uniqueness, it also implies becoming one’s own self. We could therefore translate individuation as “coming to selfhood.” You can learn more about Carl Jung’s Method of Self-Development – The Path of Individuation here.
In this article we discuss a simple method of self-improvement and self-development based on my own experiences and observations.
What is Self-Development
In my opinion, personality involves various aspects or traits, they could be characterized as external and internal. External personality traits are the most visible and most people judge a person instantly based on them when they engage with them. Once people spend more time with an individual, they get to know the internal traits also, which are a more important part of an individual’s personality. Thus it’s very important for a person to work on both external and internal personality traits.
So let’s look at these personality traits in detail and how they can help an individual in building their personality, which helps them lead a successful life.
1. Communication Skills
Communication is one of the most important external personality traits of an individual. If a person can articulate their thoughts well and communicate them orally or through written media, it can be extremely charming. Most politicians, journalists and actors have an excellent command over their oral and written communication skills. For example, people like Narendra Modi (our current Prime Minister), Mr. Sashi Tharoor, Mr. Sekar Gupta and Mr. Amitabh Bachchan. They have an excellent command over their language while communicating.
Good communication requires clarity of thought, understanding your audience and good command over language. If you just search on the internet how these people speak or write articles, you will understand my point.
In order to build good communication skills, one needs to read on various topics. Writing is also one of the top personal development activities, as it improves our ability to articulate our thoughts. Also practise orations that will give you confidence to speak in the real world. I would advise you to read books on a daily basis and also read them aloud to yourself. You should try to research more about what you have just read and understand its deeper meaning.
Listening to audio books is not as same as reading. When you are listening to an audio book, you are not in control of the pace. You would not be able to make deeper sense of the meaning of what you read. Yes, reading requires more effort, but it’s much more rewarding as there’s a two-way communication between the text and your thoughts, whereas when you listen, the communication is just one way.
2. Appearance and Non-Verbal Communication
Your appearance and body language start to make an impression about you before you even speak a word. Most people subconsciously judge you based on the way you dress, how you carry yourself, your expression and gestures. However, you can consciously make an effort to improve your appearance and non-verbal communication.
Also check out: Basic Facial Expressions: How to Recognize People’s Emotions
Keep up with the latest trends, understand the difference between formal and casual clothing. Try to know what colors and styles suit you and your body type. Keep yourself well groomed, taking care of hair, nails, skin, etc. In a social setting, sit with your back straight and shoulders relaxed. When you walk, avoid dragging your feet or making noise with your footwear. You can take an online class on body language so that you can modulate your posture, gestures and expressions.
3. Physical Well Being
Being physically fit and strong is one of the most important external personality traits. People make instant judgements about a person by looking at their physical appearance. A person who works on his or her physique is considered active. Leading an active lifestyle makes a person ready for any kind of physical endeavours, he/she is mentally alert and ready, and does not get fatigued easily in any situation.
One of the most notable visible traits of a physically fit person is they have a straight back and they take a good healthy diet to maintain their body. They also avoid vices like alcoholic drinks, tobacco, smoking and junk food, which lead to strong mental and physical imbalance and leads to overall unhealthy lifestyle. People who are fit most often involve themselves in some kind of competitive sport, which builds a gritty and never-give-up attitude. Such sporting competitive attitude leads to mental toughness and eventually leads to a successful life.
Personalities like Salman Khan, Dharmender Deol, Baba Ram Dev, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Virat Kohil and Elon Musk lead a physically fit lifestyle, which has helped them lead a successful life.
4. Mental Wellbeing
Mental wellbeing is one of the first and foremost personality development steps to work on. Being mentally strong helps an individual lead a life of confidence. Mental wellbeing means being calm, and being free from mental illnesses like anxiety, depression and lack of focus. Mental wellbeing is often neglected as mental illness can’t be assessed easily. In order to improve mental health, one should regularly practice meditation, do yoga and pranayama (breathing exercises), which lead to increased patience and mental well-being.
5. Character Building
Once an individual starts working on their mental and physical health, they create the foundation of character building. Character building is one of the key self-development strategies that people often ignore. When individuals are connected with their roots and understand the deeper meaning of the morals of their culture, they become empathetic towards others. Awareness about one’s history, culture and religion helps an individual learn from their mistakes and general human behavior. Moreover, strong morals make one more professional in a work environment.
Individuals who read and learn about their country’s history and religious texts get connected with their society at a deeper level. Young students are advised to read books and see quality documentaries on Indian history to improve self development skills. I would also recommend you to read religious texts like Mahabharata, Ramayana, Vedas, Quran, Bible etc. and understand the wisdom in their stories.
One need not restrict themselves to one religion only, and should seek wisdom from other religions, too. Once you dig deeper you will understand that most mythological stories have similar story lines and teachings. You can learn more about religion and society through this online crash course channel.
Awareness can be of different types. It’s good to be aware about what’s happening around the world and in your city. One should be aware about themselves, about how they look, what they know and what they don’t know. Also try to keep yourself aware about the societal trends and expose yourself to different subjects and not limit to only a particular area of interest, as its helps you broaden your horizon.
If you’re looking for personality development for students, here’s a great tip. I would advise students to look a little deeper into the news which they consume, and try to understand the “why” and “how” of the news. It’s extremely important to have a deeper understanding of the history and basics of any subject. Only when one has a good hold on fundamentals, will they be able to make a good sense of the issue.
One should also be aware about themselves, physically and mentally. One should look themselves in the mirror and feel confident. You could identify areas for improvement or personal development goals, and work towards them. For example, if you see yourself with a big tummy, you should work towards reducing it. The day people stop caring about how they look, they start becoming obese. Similarly, you can identify areas in different subjects where you need to gain an understanding.
Young individuals who have a shallow understanding of a subject often feel overly confident, as they are unaware how deep that subject is. On the other hand, people who have decent knowledge are aware how vast a particular subject is, and don’t appear very confident because they know how much more there is to learn. Understanding one’s limitations is an important quality towards gaining wisdom and self-awareness.
7. Being in a Wise Company
One thing we learn in sports is that you should always try to play against stronger opponents to improve your skill. If you are constantly winning during practice, it means you are not improving. Similarly, you can only get wiser and smarter when you are in company of smarter people. Try to find hobbies where you can be a part of such conversations. Listening is also one of the best activities for personal growth and development. Listen more and talk less.
I hope my self-guided personality development steps will help you improve your personality over time. We’d love to know about your progress, so keep us updated with it and your thoughts in the comments below or by tweeting us @CareerNuts.
Abhishek Sareen is a marketing professional with over 16 years of experience. He started his career as a management consultant and currently works in international business. He has set up businesses like Track & Trail, BrooksBicycles.com and created consumer brands like Montra, Machcity and Roadeo. He’s is a passionate cyclist and participated in several endurance competitive events like MTB Himalaya. His interests are in behavioral psychology, economics and chess. He is a graduate in Computer Science and an MBA in Marketing. He completed his executive education from IIM-A in 2016 focusing on business strategy.