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Know Yourself: Can You Change Your Stripes?

Among his varied other writing interests, Richard Parr aspires to creating interesting and inspiring stories about life.

what-makes-people-tick-understanding-yourself-others

What Makes You, You? And Can You Change?

Whether you like it or not, you have a personality. One that predisposes you to a certain way or method of doing things. A modus operandi of likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, cares and concerns.

Does that mean you've been pigeon holed? That you can't change?

Well, yes and no.

Experts agree that by the end of childhood, and normally long before, our personality is formed—a product of genetic inheritance and earliest influences. From that point on it will be a key determiner of those life experiences we struggle with, and those we don't.

Severe trauma seems to be the exception to this fixed-persona theory. Extreme stress, pain or difficulty frequently changes people at a core level; though not necessarily in ways they'd desire or anticipate. For example, trauma can change a predisposition of extroversion to one of extreme introversion.

However, experts also agree that personality is not character.

Personality

Personality involuntarily reacts internally to stimuli.

Personality determines how we initially get affected by any given situation or experience. It sets the response that is first felt, or first comes to mind.

For example, certain personality types respond to argument with immediate unease and want to back away. Others with affront and a desire to debate.

Character

Character voluntarily reasons through to a response.

Character, is the reasoning we adopt that decides the course of action we will take through any given situation or experience. Using the previous example, those unsettled by argument could reason in line with their predisposition and decide to sacrifice truth on the alter of peace. Or, they could reason against their predisposition and decide to sacrifice peace instead.

Character, then, helps us determine whether our personality-prone reaction is appropriate, needs amending or is improper. For example, someone's initial –predisposed– response to danger may be to flee, however it is their character which determines whether they will warn others of the danger first.

Depths of Character

So it is our personality that predisposes us to certain strengths and weaknesses, but it is our character that will determine the level we choose to operate at.

Personality is like a pool of water. It presents at its surface a simple thoughtless reflection of what it perceives. Sometimes what it mirrors is accurate, often it is not, but it determines our initial internal response.

Young children operate at this level almost exclusively.

But there are depths to that pool, and we have opportunity as we age to plumb those depths of our nature.

Mastering Ourselves

With time and introspection we can come to recognise when our predispositions are presenting deceiving reflections, and we can learn to master them.

Full enlightenment normally takes a lifetime experience alongside a discerning mindset. But in the absence of such, it is character that will keep us from falling prey to the weaknesses of our temperaments, while making the most of its strengths.

But what is required to operate at such a depth of Character?

We'll address that question is Part 2

Our personalities can sometimes distort reality

Our personalities can sometimes distort reality

Scroll to Continue

Take The Personality Test

The personality test below is adapted from Des Hunts fun and easy to read personality profiling book titled, What makes people Tick.

He divides people's personalities into a unique combination of bird types; Eagle, Peacock, Owl & Dove.

Although we are a mixture of many personality traits, Hunt teaches that we have a primary and secondary type that predominates.

The test below will determine your primary personality 'bird' type. For a complete profile I highly recommend his website resources.

Your Primary Personality Type

For each question, choose the best answer for you.

  1. I would prefer to work alone rather than have to work with other people.
    • Yes
    • No
  2. When I’m with friends, I would rather be the one telling the jokes than hearing them.
    • Yes
    • No
  3. I like to have as much data and information as possible before making a decision, the more the better.
    • Yes
    • No
  4. I tend to laugh louder than most of the people around me.
    • Yes
    • No
  5. I tend to say just what I think at the expense of other people’s feelings.
    • Yes
    • No
  6. I would describe myself as a confident, fun-loving, spontaneous person.
    • Yes
    • No
  7. I always listen for how other people feel and consider their feelings before putting my point of view forward.
    • Yes
    • No
  8. I pay meticulous attention to detail before coming to a conclusion.
    • Yes
    • No
  9. I must admit I can come over rather bossy at times.
    • Yes
    • No
  10. My friends reckon I could sell ice to the Eskimos.
    • Yes
    • No
  11. I could be described as self-disciplined and result oriented.
    • Yes
    • No
  12. I can be critical of people who do not take a logical approach to things.
    • Yes
    • No
  13. It worries me if I’m rushed to meet tight deadlines.
    • Yes
    • No
  14. I would much prefer being alone then having to mix with people.
    • Yes
    • No
  15. I am a calm, even-tempered person who cares about other peoples feelings.
    • Yes
    • No
  16. I like to work in a predictable and systematic environment where I am not rushed.
    • Yes
    • No
  17. I am good at persuading people to my point of view.
    • Yes
    • No
  18. I can be seen by some as a perfectionist.
    • Yes
    • No
  19. Having authority and the title of leadership is important to me.
    • Yes
    • No
  20. Reason and logic are more important in the long run than emotions and feelings.
    • Yes
    • No
  21. I push strongly for my ideas, even if others may not like them.
    • Yes
    • No
  22. I could be described as steady, thorough and analytical.
    • Yes
    • No
  23. I am more attracted to adventurous and unusual ideas than to practical ones.
    • Yes
    • No
  24. I must admit that when I’m in a group, I do most of the talking.
    • Yes
    • No
  25. I am an even-tempered, patient, and quiet person.
    • Yes
    • No
  26. I must admit that there are some people who would see me as a little cool and withdrawn.
    • Yes
    • No
  27. When it comes to a team, I like to be the leader.
    • Yes
    • No
  28. I tend to withdraw from aggressive and assertive people.
    • Yes
    • No
  29. Most people would see me as being understanding and ready to share my feelings and disappointments.
    • Yes
    • No
  30. I tend to be restrained in expressing my feelings.
    • Yes
    • No
  31. I am known for being warm, friendly and a good listener.
    • Yes
    • No
  32. I have no trouble in expressing my feelings and opinions in meetings or discussions.
    • Yes
    • No
  33. I would much prefer to quietly listen than do most of the talking.
    • Yes
    • No
  34. Standing up, and talking to groups of people about what you know can be enjoyable.
    • Yes
    • No
  35. At the end of the day, results are all that really count, irrespective of how people feel about it.
    • Yes
    • No
  36. I have a willing ear for people's problems.
    • Yes
    • No
  37. I rely on my own decisions rather than other people's opinions.
    • Yes
    • No
  38. I gesture a lot with my hands when I get excited.
    • Yes
    • No
  39. I must admit that I am not very confident when it comes to meeting strangers.
    • Yes
    • No
  40. I am prone to exaggerate and elaborate when I am telling a story to my friends.
    • Yes
    • No
  41. I am generally ready to give in to what others want of me.
    • Yes
    • No
  42. I tend to avoid making the hard decisions.
    • Yes
    • No
  43. When I get angry, everybody hears me.
    • Yes
    • No
  44. I tend to take control of most situations I find myself in with others.
    • Yes
    • No
  45. I have a reputation for jumping in feet first.
    • Yes
    • No
  46. I tend to be a follower rather than a leader.
    • Yes
    • No
  47. Structure rules and procedure are important to me.
    • Yes
    • No
  48. I thrive on tackling something new, different and challenging.
    • Yes
    • No
  49. I am highly competitive.
    • Yes
    • No
  50. I am naturally a quick decision-maker.
    • Yes
    • No

Scoring

For each answer you selected, add up the indicated number of points for each of the possible results. Your final result is the possibility with the greatest number of points at the end.

  1. I would prefer to work alone rather than have to work with other people.
    • Yes
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: +5
    • No
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
  2. When I’m with friends, I would rather be the one telling the jokes than hearing them.
    • Yes
      • Peacock: +5
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
    • No
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
  3. I like to have as much data and information as possible before making a decision, the more the better.
    • Yes
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: +5
    • No
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
  4. I tend to laugh louder than most of the people around me.
    • Yes
      • Peacock: +5
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
    • No
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
  5. I tend to say just what I think at the expense of other people’s feelings.
    • Yes
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: +5
      • Owl: -1
    • No
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
  6. I would describe myself as a confident, fun-loving, spontaneous person.
    • Yes
      • Peacock: +5
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
    • No
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
  7. I always listen for how other people feel and consider their feelings before putting my point of view forward.
    • Yes
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: +5
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
    • No
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
  8. I pay meticulous attention to detail before coming to a conclusion.
    • Yes
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: +5
    • No
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
  9. I must admit I can come over rather bossy at times.
    • Yes
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: +5
      • Owl: -1
    • No
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
  10. My friends reckon I could sell ice to the Eskimos.
    • Yes
      • Peacock: +5
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
    • No
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
  11. I could be described as self-disciplined and result oriented.
    • Yes
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: +5
      • Owl: -1
    • No
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
  12. I can be critical of people who do not take a logical approach to things.
    • Yes
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: +5
    • No
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
  13. It worries me if I’m rushed to meet tight deadlines.
    • Yes
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: +5
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
    • No
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
  14. I would much prefer being alone then having to mix with people.
    • Yes
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: +5
    • No
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
  15. I am a calm, even-tempered person who cares about other peoples feelings.
    • Yes
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: +5
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
    • No
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
  16. I like to work in a predictable and systematic environment where I am not rushed.
    • Yes
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: +5
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
    • No
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
  17. I am good at persuading people to my point of view.
    • Yes
      • Peacock: +5
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
    • No
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
  18. I can be seen by some as a perfectionist.
    • Yes
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: +5
    • No
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
  19. Having authority and the title of leadership is important to me.
    • Yes
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: +5
      • Owl: -1
    • No
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
  20. Reason and logic are more important in the long run than emotions and feelings.
    • Yes
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: +5
    • No
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
  21. I push strongly for my ideas, even if others may not like them.
    • Yes
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: +5
      • Owl: -1
    • No
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
  22. I could be described as steady, thorough and analytical.
    • Yes
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: +5
    • No
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
  23. I am more attracted to adventurous and unusual ideas than to practical ones.
    • Yes
      • Peacock: +5
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
    • No
      • Peacock: 0
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
  24. I must admit that when I’m in a group, I do most of the talking.
    • Yes
      • Peacock: +5
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
    • No
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
  25. I am an even-tempered, patient, and quiet person.
    • Yes
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: +5
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
    • No
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
  26. I must admit that there are some people who would see me as a little cool and withdrawn.
    • Yes
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: +5
    • No
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
  27. When it comes to a team, I like to be the leader.
    • Yes
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: +5
      • Owl: -1
    • No
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
  28. I tend to withdraw from aggressive and assertive people.
    • Yes
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: +5
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
    • No
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
  29. Most people would see me as being understanding and ready to share my feelings and disappointments.
    • Yes
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: +5
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
    • No
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
  30. I tend to be restrained in expressing my feelings.
    • Yes
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: +5
    • No
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
  31. I am known for being warm, friendly and a good listener.
    • Yes
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: +5
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
    • No
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
  32. I have no trouble in expressing my feelings and opinions in meetings or discussions.
    • Yes
      • Peacock: +5
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
    • No
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
  33. I would much prefer to quietly listen than do most of the talking.
    • Yes
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: +5
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
    • No
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
  34. Standing up, and talking to groups of people about what you know can be enjoyable.
    • Yes
      • Peacock: +5
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
    • No
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
  35. At the end of the day, results are all that really count, irrespective of how people feel about it.
    • Yes
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: +5
      • Owl: -1
    • No
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
  36. I have a willing ear for people's problems.
    • Yes
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: +5
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
    • No
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
  37. I rely on my own decisions rather than other people's opinions.
    • Yes
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: +5
      • Owl: -1
    • No
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
  38. I gesture a lot with my hands when I get excited.
    • Yes
      • Peacock: +5
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
    • No
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
  39. I must admit that I am not very confident when it comes to meeting strangers.
    • Yes
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: +5
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
    • No
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
  40. I am prone to exaggerate and elaborate when I am telling a story to my friends.
    • Yes
      • Peacock: +5
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
    • No
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
  41. I am generally ready to give in to what others want of me.
    • Yes
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: +5
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
    • No
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
  42. I tend to avoid making the hard decisions.
    • Yes
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: +5
    • No
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
  43. When I get angry, everybody hears me.
    • Yes
      • Peacock: +5
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
    • No
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
  44. I tend to take control of most situations I find myself in with others.
    • Yes
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: +5
      • Owl: -1
    • No
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
  45. I have a reputation for jumping in feet first.
    • Yes
      • Peacock: +5
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
    • No
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
  46. I tend to be a follower rather than a leader.
    • Yes
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: +5
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
    • No
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
  47. Structure rules and procedure are important to me.
    • Yes
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: +5
    • No
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
  48. I thrive on tackling something new, different and challenging.
    • Yes
      • Peacock: +5
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
    • No
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
  49. I am highly competitive.
    • Yes
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: +5
      • Owl: -1
    • No
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1
  50. I am naturally a quick decision-maker.
    • Yes
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: +5
      • Owl: -1
    • No
      • Peacock: -1
      • Dove: -1
      • Eagle: -1
      • Owl: -1

This table shows the meaning of each possible result:

Peacock

You cannot be ignored and enjoy being the centre of attention. You are vibrant and theatrical in nature, easily attracting the attention and admiration of others.

Dove

Tranquil, even-tempered and careful. Your temperament leans toward the gentle, quiet and unobtrusive. You suffer in silence, but care for others and are supportive of their needs.

Eagle

Goal oriented, you possess great stick-to-it-ness. Less needy of others, you enjoy positions of authority that enables objectives to be pursued.

Owl

Quietly intense, yet unobtrusive, you think a lot, and prefer to think alone. individual space and time is important to you, as is security and predictability. You are a gifted problem solver.

what-makes-people-tick-understanding-yourself-others

References

On the Contextual Independence of Personality Christopher S. Nave, University of California, Riverside, Department of Psychology

Personality vs. Character Alex Lickerman, M.D. Former Director of Primary Care University of Chicago

What makes people Tick Des Hunt, International speaker, trainer, and consultant

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2014 Richard Parr

Comments

Richard Parr (author) from Australia on May 01, 2014:

@Frank ~ Thanks for the votes. As a writer, I think understanding this subject helps instil realism into characters. From what I've read of your stories, you have a great depth of insight into people.

@Audrey ~ Glad you found it interesting and appreciate you sharing.

Audrey Howitt from California on May 01, 2014:

Fascinating stuff! Passing this on!

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on May 01, 2014:

actually I found this hub useful as well as informative.. voted up and shared

Richard Parr (author) from Australia on April 21, 2014:

@MsDora ~ Thanks for the votes. I have always been a bit fascinated by personality, and how it influences us so dramatically in life.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on April 17, 2014:

Will come back for the personality test, but voting the article up and useful. Very good explanations on personality and character. Thank you.

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