According to the Cambridge International Dictionary, ‘your personality is the type of person you are, which is shown by the way you behave, feel and think.’ Personality, according to the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, is the ‘whole nature or character of a person.’
How a person behaves, feels, thinks, how he conducts himself in a given set of circumstances is largely determined by the state of his mind. Mere external appearance or a person’s speech or mannerisms are only fringes of one’s personality and do not reflect their real personality.
Personality development in the real sense refers to deeper levels of a person. So a study of our personality should start from a clear grasp of the nature of our mind and how it functions.
Know your Mind
According to the Bhagavad Gita, the undisciplined mind acts as our enemy, whereas a trained mind acts as our friend. So we need to have a clear idea of the mechanism of our mind. Can we train it to obey us, to cooperate with us? How can it contribute to the development of our personality?
Development involves struggle with one’s lower mind characterised by desire, old habits, wrong tendencies, impulses and bad impressions. The lesser we identify with the lower mind, and the more we identify with the higher mind, and exercise our discrimination, the more developed our personality will be. This involves struggle to grapple with one’s mind and its old habits, to cultivate new and wholesome ones. But this struggle is the greatest of all struggles in that it makes us civilized in the real sense of the term by manifesting our divinity and thereby our hidden perfection.
Qualities of Personality Development
Faith in Oneself: Faith in one’s potential divinity is the sheet anchor of personality development. If one believes that his/her real nature is the spirit and not the body or the mind then one would be a better individual with a strong mind.
Think positive: Positive, wholesome thoughts based on our inherent divinity are essential for a strong character. The only sin is to think of oneself and others as weak.
Attitude towards failures, mistakes: It is important to commit mistakes and learn from them rather than leading an inert existence like a wall, which cannot tell a lie.
Self-reliance: Man is the master of his own destiny. He is responsible for what he is and whatever he wishes to be. Man has the power to make himself.
Renunciation and Services: Selfless service is a paramount means to character development. This, along with renunciation of selfishness and desire for the fruits of action, is considered as the twin ideal for any nation. As it is popularly said, “Intensify her in those channels and the rest will take care of itself.”