Before studying personality, I thought that when people talked about personality, they were referring to whether someone was easy and fun to be around instead of not easy or fun to be around. So, people either had a good personality or bad personality. I also thought personality was something that could be present or absent such as if reflected in the statement that someone has no personality. This is similar to having a bad personality except it refers more to someone who is dull, uninteresting and has nothing to say. I believed that being extroverted was the same thing as having a good personality while being introverted was the same thing as being shy or having no personality.
I have come to realize that personality effects the way we view and interact with our entire world. It also causes us to shape our environment and what we come into contact with in certain ways. I also did not think of personality as something that had a strong genetic influence but I have come to learn that personality is based on temperamental qualities which are believed to be inborn and then the environment also help shape these into personality. For example, two outgoing parents are more likely to have an outgoing child. There is a genetic predisposition to this quality and they also interact with the child in an outgoing manner as well as model this behavior for the developing child increasing their tendency to be outgoing. The child will likely gravitate to outgoing others and that will influence who they make friends with and what peer groups they belong to. This will further reinforce their outgoing nature (Ryckman, 2008).
I have also learned that personality is not an all or nothing characteristic. I recognize there that there are certain types of personality characteristics that we have certain amounts of and that there are opposing poles for each characteristic. As long as do not fall into either extreme category we will interact in an acceptable manner with our world. For example, some people are more introverted and some are more extroverted and both are fine in terms of adjustment. However, if one is too introverted they may withdraw from people and not attend events or other public gatherings. This could result in children failing to learn good social skills because they rarely interact with peers and this could lead to increased introversion and social rejection when they get older. Similarly, someone who is overly extroverted may be perceived by others to be constantly in their space, or seem too clingy or too rude because they are always initiating the conversation, making plans and appearing to want to make all the decisions (Allen, 2006).
The personality theory I agree with the most is the Five Factor Theory because it says that we all fall somewhere along the five basic dimensions of personality and while the factors are independent of each other it seems to imply that the overall pattern of someone’s personality traits is what determines how they interact with their world. The theory I most disagree with is the Type Theory because this divides people into categories so if you are a little extroverted or a lot extroverted you would still be typed as an extrovert (Allen, 2006).
I think that what I have learned about personality will help me in my future academic and work goals in that I can focus on handling stress and achievement based on my personality type. I also think I will be able to get along better with others which will help me in classes and work roles since if I react negatively to someone I understand it may just be dissimilar personality styles. This will make me less judgmental. I also think I can use my personality strengths to compensate for my weaknesses. I can also use my strengths to boost my weaker areas. For example, I tend to be introverted especially when I’m not certain of situations. I also like new experiences however. So I can try to view situations that make me uncomfortable as new and exciting situations so I will be less likely to avoid them.
Allen, B. P. (2006). Personality Theories: Development, Growth, and Diversity (5th ed.).
Needham Heights, MA: Allyn and Bacon.
Ryckman, R. M. (2008). Theories of Personality, Ninth Edition. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth