We remember a person’s personality even when the impression has waned. Our – often subconscious – memory of someone’s personality influences how we will deal with that person in the future, if at all. One’s personality is largely a predetermined quantity, but how you communicate can enhance or weaken the best aspects of your personality and make a difference in your social world and your feelings of self-confidence. The key is to adopt styles of communication and behavior that fit your personality.
Knowing more about your personality can significantly help improve how you communicate with yourself and others. Communicating in a way that fits, or is congruent, with your personality leads to more effective and successful communication, which in turn can increase your feeling of self-confidence. If you interact with others in tune with your personality your success in life is likely to be greater. A number of very successful people come to mind who could communicate very well because their style of interacting fit their personality. Politicians Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, Margaret Thatcher and Angela Merkel are such examples, all very different in their communication style, but each seemingly genuine in what they did because it fit their personality. For people who make a living on self-expression, artists, entertainers, actors, breaking down the barriers to living out their personalities, and even transcending beyond it, is critical for success and survival.
Make your true personality shine by leveraging who you are, and you will increase your self-confidence. Since our personalities are a sum of inheritance and personal experience, changing the experiences we are exposed to can change our lives.It comes as no surprise that some of the most successful actors play characters that have something. They often focus on the part in them which contains a similarity to the character, which makes them more believable and helps the audience to immerse itself in the story.
Many people try to be something to themselves or other people which does not fit their personality. The result is that their effectiveness and their self-confidence is lower than it could be. Imagine someone with an introverted conscientious personality type applying for a sales position involving hard face-to-face selling. This will very likely lead to disaster, in personal and in business terms. I worked with a number of people who tried to be someone they were not. This had an averse effect on self-confidence, self-esteem and effectiveness in their professional and personal lives. The mismatch is may be obvious to their environment, but only subconsciously so to themselves.
From my experience of working with people I could clearly say that it never pays to play a role that does not feel right to you because it will not feel to others either. Successful relationship building depends largely on being oneself. People who have difficulties in their relationships with others often do not spent enough time on discovering who they really are, the kind of person, the expectations they want to induce in others, and what their strengths and weaknesses are. Many fear to look themselves in the mirror unreservedly, a fear which usually goes away once it has been done.
Personality is one’s unique pattern of acting and reacting to others. It has a large inherited component and changes only slowly over a normal life-span, though under extreme – mostly traumatic – circumstances a more rapid change is possible. A stable personality is actually something that is needed for a healthy level self-confidence. Acting in similar patterns over a length of time bolsters confidence because one has more practical experience with one’s patterns of behavior.
However, apart from these fundamental personality constellations we are free to design our interactions with our environment the way we want to. Through new experiences we adopt new patterns and discard old ones. If your environment changes rapidly because you are moving to a different country, your patterns of how you interact with other people also changes rapidly. This might lower your self-confidence while you readjust to the new environment before it can return to a normal level.
The match between our personalities and our environment not only influences how other people see us but how we see ourselves. The better the fit between one’s personality and the expectations one’s environment and oneself has, the easier it is to communicate and act successfully externally and internally. Many personality traits have an effect on our sense of confidence. While there are many categorizations of personality traits, three frequently encountered ones shall serve as illustrations: anxious, contemplative, extrovert
If you are the more anxious type your thinking focuses on risk and the consequences of a negative outcome. This view of the world can lead to lower confidence in yourself and others. But you may also become very successful as a safety and health campaigner which can actually increase your self-confidence. People have more control over the effect of their personality traits in real life than over the personality traits themselves. In most diagnostic systems a ‘low self-confidence personality’ does not exist because confidence is not a personality trait, it is what you do with what you have. What matters is how we chose the environment we live in and the experiences we make there. This is largely under our control.
If you are the contemplative, or introverted type you are used to communicating with yourself while planning or undertaking activities rather than with others, you want to share the finished project rather than the project while it is under way. This affects how your social network around you develops, whose shape may be more or less suitable for what you want to do in life. The pivotal point is to do design your life so that your introversion will be a major asset. You may enjoy more being a writer, designer or even an entertainer who can bring self-dialogue out to the world and thereby paints over the distinction between extroversion and introversion. There are actually a number of people in show business who consider themselves quite shy, so it depends again on the situation. If you are weary of large audiences you can still become a film star, as long as you are not afraid of film cameras. But to spare you unnecessary grief you should accept yourself for who you are … before you build on that.
Often within a field there may be a wide variety of jobs that fit better one personality type than another. Unfortunately, many people stay in jobs where their personality and their talents will never be able to shine as radiantly as it could. Many people I have worked with did not shine at all because the job was only something they felt was expected of them. No wonder they were never able to build confidence in their performance, as long as they stayed in their current job, which often spilled over into less self-confidence in other areas in their lives. Before you get trapped in such a situation think how you may change your work slightly to fit better with who you are, or – if this does not seem drastic enough – consider a change in your work.
Extroverted people may seem to have it easier. But many of them are actually trapped in jobs where they cannot really express who and what they are. Extroverts may be at an even greater risk of burnout than introverts. We thrive on living out who we are, so most extroverts are happier when they can connect with other people and build something meaningful with them. Many jobs in offices and factories do not give an extrovert the opportunity to live out this important side. This leads to a lack of confidence in one’s performance, which often poses the risk of swapping over into life in general.
Be who you are and do the things that fit you best. There are many personality tests out there, which can be found in research journals and the worn down magazine at the barber in equal distribution. Soliciting genuine feedback from honest and authentic people is one of the best ways to learn more about oneself. You can also try to listen better to yourself, and find out what insightful feedback is available right inside you. I have written on this topic in previous articles/ Whatever self-examination you undertake, it should
- lead to insights that feel right and, eventually, good
- be future oriented
- be positive
- focus on your strengths
It is important to know one’s weaknesses, like being uncomfortable in public speaking situations, but since our real strengths are usually fewer than the things we are ‘half good’ at, it can be more effective to concentrate on the strengths. So, focus on the strengths rather than the half-goods and the weaknesses, if you are human that is. You will actually find out that the fewer real strengths you have can be a blessing because it helps you focus more easily.
Discovering strengths is something most people have a hard time with. An important starting point is taking stock of one’s personality in a constructive, positive and future directed way. In a previous articles I have looked deeper in how to discover your strengths. It should be an enjoyable and relatively easy process.
Interesting books on communication by this and other authors: http://astore.amazon.co.uk/chrihaveltd-21 or search for “Christian Jonathan Haverkampf” on your local Amazon website or at your local book dealer. Suggestions for further explorations in communication: http://www.chrishaverkampf.com & http://www.ivy-experts.com
© 2013 Christian Jonathan Haverkampf. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction and/or dissemination prohibited. Please note that no professional advice of any sort can be given in this blog. Always consult a professional if the situation and/or the risks warrant it. Thank you for your interest in my work. This means very much to me. Trademarks belong to their respective owners. If this article is marked as a work of fiction all references to persons, living or deceased, or organizations, including former ones, are coincidental. I know that this is reiterating the obvious, but thanks for bearing with me.