Character vs Personality: What is the Difference & Examples

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There are many key differences between character and personality. They both play a major role in the way others perceive you, how you view the world, how thoroughly you succeed at work, at so much more.

By understanding the key differences between these concepts, you can properly grow both your character and overall personality. Unfortunately, too many individuals overlook the differences between character and personality, leading to confusion and a lack of growth.

There can be additional negative impacts on your career and home life, too. Luckily, the difference is easy to understand. In this article, we will discuss the difference between character and personality as well as how they both influence your life. 

HIGH5 is a comprehensive strengths test that aids individuals and organizations in identifying and leveraging natural talents for enhanced satisfaction, engagement, and effectiveness. It’s instrumental in understanding and developing character and personality, which are crucial elements of personal and professional growth​​.

Personality vs. character

Definition of personality

Personality is made up of numerous mental practices, including how you think, interact with others, and make value judgments. Personality motivates your conduct in different scenarios.

It describes how you commonly react, what you often feel, your attitude, and your thoughts in relation to your environment. Your actions and thoughts are all related to personality traits. For instance, negative thinking and constant yelling could mean you are short-tempered.

Definition of character

Character involves both the mental capabilities of the individuals and (most importantly) the individual’s moral judgments. Character influences how one reacts to tense scenarios, which job one chooses to perform, and who one chooses as a partner.

The character often impacts elements of your personality, such as how you think, control your emotions, or behave. Your background, guiding morals, life experience, and other factors will define your character. Most importantly, the character will define your moral limits.

Key differences between personality and character

Now that you understand what personality and character are, you should realize the key differences between these terms. Doing so will give you additional clarity and allow you to better see how these terms influence your life.

Character and personality both influence your behaviors, thoughts, and even feelings. However, the role personality and character play in your life are different.

Here are a few of the key differences between personality and character:

  • Personality changes far more throughout your life than your character does
  • Character is objective, while personality is subjective
  • Personality is made up of personality qualities that are based on thoughts, feelings, and attitudes. Character is made up of your mentality and morals
  • Personality is the way you act and are perceived by others, while character is who you are deep down with your morals
  • Character is about your morals more so than your behavior. However, personality is described as the thoughts, actions, and attitudes that set you apart from others
  • Personality is what is seen on the outside by society, while a character is more intimately known by you
  • Character-based behavior is learned and requires some amount of discipline, while personality is reflected regardless of whether you put in the effort
  • Mood and temperament can influence your personality, but it is difficult for fluctuating emotions to influence your overall character

a few of the key differences between personality and character

Examples of differences between character and personality

Honesty vs. charm

Character encompasses deep-seated qualities demonstrated through our actions under moral or ethical challenges; honesty is a prime example of such a trait. It’s about being truthful and transparent in various situations, reflecting a person’s ethical principles.

Contrastingly, personality includes surface-level characteristics that dictate how others perceive us in social settings. Charm is an aspect of personality that showcases one’s ability to attract or influence others through charisma without necessarily revealing the deeper ethical or moral standings.

Integrity vs. sociability

Integrity, another core element of character, involves adhering to moral and ethical principles regardless of the situation or presence of others. It’s about consistency in thought and action when faced with ethical dilemmas.

On the flip side, sociability falls under the personality umbrella, reflecting how comfortable and engaging an individual is in social gatherings. Unlike integrity, sociability is more about one’s outward behavior and less about one’s inner moral compass.

Understanding the distinction between character and personality is crucial in recognizing how they influence our interactions and growth. While personality can open doors and create initial connections, character is what builds lasting relationships and trust. Identifying and developing both aspects can lead to a well-rounded and fulfilling life.

Pro Tip From HIGH5

Explore the Character Development Workshop immediately after learning about the differences between character and personality. This workshop includes interactive activities and real-life scenarios that help you practice and strengthen your character traits, such as honesty and integrity.

Why is it important to recognize your own personality and character traits?

Both personality and character undoubtedly play major roles in an individual’s life. They influence the way that person thinks, how they act, what they believe, how well they achieve goals, how successful their marriage is, and so many other key areas of one’s life.

As such, it is important to recognize your personality and character traits. There are many benefits that come along with this recognition.

Identifying your personality and character traits can help you in self-reflection. You will recognize that some elements of both your character and personality have flaws. Once you do this, you can begin to plan how to overcome these flaws and build positive character as well as personality traits.

Your relationships with others can also positively change if you start recognizing and improving your personality and character traits. Personality is often interpreted immediately by those you meet, and first impressions mean a lot in today’s both corporate and intimate world.

As such, if you learn your personality weaknesses and improve on them, you can begin to form better connections. This could lead to better personal relationships, clearer communication, more collaboration at work, and so on.

How to improve and develop good personality and character traits?

As previously mentioned, good personality and character traits are crucial to your emotional well-being, career development, relationship strengthening, and many other parts of your life.

However, many individuals struggle with taking the next step. They wonder: now that I know my personality and character traits, what should I do? The next step that you should take is organizing yourself and making a plan.

Create a list, or save a screenshot of, your top positive personality traits and character traits. Write down a few ways that these personality traits positively impact you. Have they influenced your career or your relationships? If so, how? Try to notice a pattern where these traits are used well.

Then, you can apply these traits to other parts of your life. For example, if you notice your discipline and organization led to success multiple times in the past, you can apply them to current challenges.

You could plan and schedule meetings or study sessions, for example. While you should not dwell on your weaknesses, it is still important to be aware of them. Do not let your weaknesses bring you down or make you feel weak.

Instead, view them as a growth opportunity. Find ways to use one of your weak skills in combination with your strengths. Suppose you struggle with discipline but are very creative.

You could set a goal to create one piece of artwork daily, with no excuses. This way, you will be practicing discipline with something more enjoyable, but still ensuring you do not give excuses. In addition, you should also seek some outside help. It is always great to have a supportive group of people around you.

Your friends or coworkers can give you feedback on how well your personality and character growth plan is working. Ensure that you trust them and encourage them to give you honest feedback. In fact, you could even ask your boss for some input as well.

If you want to improve your personality or character traits that are tied to productivity (like hard work, organization, and persistence, among others) you can ask for your productivity metrics. Even without asking for productivity metrics, you can generally evaluate your plan.

Notice how well you interact with your team members. See if you are building relationships and if people are generally responding to you in more positive ways. Check if you are producing more sales, creating more ads, and so on to evaluate your productivity.

Try to keep track of the times when you let negative personality or character traits overpower your positive side. Write down whenever you do something unproductive at work, if you fail to meet a goal or deadline, and if you fail to stay organized. This will ensure you stay honest with yourself.

After these events occur, ask yourself what you did wrong to end up missing your goal and using your negative traits. Create a plan for avoiding this next time.

How your character traits and personality are perceived by others

How others perceive a person’s character and personality can often be a skewed reflection of their true self. Character traits like honesty, integrity, and deep-seated qualities may not always be immediately visible to others and typically require time and consistent actions to be recognized and appreciated.

Conversely, personality traits, such as charm and sociability, are readily observable and often form the basis of first impressions. This discrepancy can lead to misunderstandings or underappreciation of someone’s true character when initial perceptions are heavily weighted by personality.

Individuals tend to have a more nuanced understanding of their character and personality, recognizing the complexities and often the contradictions within themselves. This is because character traits like honesty and integrity are intimately connected to one’s values and beliefs, shaped by personal experiences and internal reflections.

On the other hand, personality traits such as charm and sociability might be seen as tools or roles that one adopts in various social contexts, which might not always align with how one views oneself at a deeper level. This internal perspective allows for a more comprehensive self-awareness but can also lead to frustration when others’ perceptions don’t match one’s self-understanding.

Bridging the gap between how others perceive us and how we understand ourselves is an ongoing challenge involving introspection and communication. It requires an openness to feedback and the courage to express oneself in diverse settings.

For many, this means finding opportunities to demonstrate character through actions, thereby allowing others to see the values underlying the more immediately visible personality traits. Likewise, it involves looking beyond the surface in others, fostering deeper connections that respect character and personality.

Character vs. personality FAQ

Which is more important personality or character?

Both personality and character are crucially important to your relationships, career success, and emotional well-being. It is difficult to say that one is more important than the other because they are two different and partly separate traits. Your personality is what is perceived by most individuals.

So, it can be more important when making initial impressions. However, your character often stays the same or similar for your entire life. It is made up of your morals, which is extremely important to the way you see the world and make decisions. In the long term, the character can be seen as slightly more important.

What is the difference between character and personality ethics?

There are many key differences between personality and character ethics. In a more broad sense, character ethics are major changes while personality changes are performed on a smaller scale. Character ethics are also related more to primary character ethics. On the other hand, personality traits include secondary traits.

Such secondary traits could be how you establish an interpersonal relationship, your thinking strategies, how you perceive those around you, your leadership style, communication methods, and so on.

In general, personality is what is shown to others. It is like your shell or covering, what others initially judge you on. However, the character is long-lasting. It is almost ingrained in you because it deals with moral judgments.

What defines a good personality?

A good personality is subjective. What one may consider moral and good could be different from another’s judgment. In general, though, a good personality is defined as having admirable and positive personal qualities.

These personal qualities include honesty, integrity, discipline, organization, hard work, friendliness, being open-minded, dependability, leadership, empathy, conscientiousness, responsibility, courage, and many others.

All of these traits allow you to form better bonds with others, as they will immediately get a good impression of someone with a good personality.

What determines someone’s character?

Character is made up of one’s moral judgments, which are in part defined by how you act, feel, and think, and the attitudes you display. Your morals are determined by several different factors.

For instance, your family background, experiences through life, relationships, and other factors all influence how you structure your morals. In the end, the character of an individual is determined not only by their moral beliefs but how they act.

If someone consistently acts in a way that is not aligned with their morals, it is clear that they do not take the morals seriously. When one is not committed to one’s morals, one’s character is negatively impacted. Thus, behavior also plays a role in determining one’s character.

What is the difference between personality and personality type?

Personality is the unique combination of characteristics, traits, and behaviors that make up an individual’s identity and influence how they perceive and interact with the world. On the other hand, personality type refers to a categorization or classification of personalities based on specific traits or characteristics.

What is the difference between character and characteristics?

Character refers to a person’s moral or ethical values, principles, and beliefs that guide their thoughts and actions. It is often seen as the “core” of a person’s identity.

Are you born with character or personality?

While some aspects of our personality and character may be influenced by genetics or early childhood experiences, both are primarily shaped and developed through life experiences, interactions, and self-reflection. This means that while we may have certain predispositions towards certain traits or behaviors, our character and personality are not set in stone and can evolve.

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