Character or Personality

Thursday, April 03, 2014 - By: Bud Patel

In Susan Cain’s book, Quiet, she discusses the plight of introverts in an increasingly extroverted world. Introverts, as she defines them, are people who get energy from quiet, solitary moments. Extroverts, conversely, are energized by being around people. Introverts prefer a small dinner party while extroverts prefer the pulsating thumping of a night club. Let me be clear, both can handle the others’ environment but prefer and are reenergized by their own.

Since the 1920s in North America, the valuation of extrovert behaviour has skyrocketed. Our fascination with fame and stardom is over the top. Reality TV about hoarding, duck hunting, or bachelors is immensely popular. YouTube and SnapChat have made it even easier for us regular folk to get our "fifteen minutes of fame". Even politicians like our friend Rob Ford have utilized our obsession – I’m not sure what his end game is but everyone knows his name.

Cain calls it a shift from the “Culture of Character” to the “Culture of Personality”. Character, she goes on to say, is perhaps more learned than personality (which you’re born with). Self-help manuals, publications on how to be a better salesperson, leader, husband, etc., came into vogue in the late 19th century. Cain noted that as time went on the key words and frequency of the words being used throughout these manuals shifted from earlier versions that included: Citizenship, Duty, Work, Golden Deeds, Honour, Reputation, Morals, Manners, and Integrity to later and even current versions that include: Magnetic, Fascinating, Stunning, Attractive, Glowing, Dominant, Forceful, and Energetic.

The question is, what do we value?  What do you value?

According to a 1998 Myers-Briggs study, the rough distribution of introverts and extroverts, is 50/50. So logically, half of the School are extroverts and half are introverts…think about that. As a family that cares for each other, how are we ensuring that the introverts and extroverts amongst us are being nurtured? We all need to be reenergized. That’s why we need to create spaces for all of us at Brentwood.

Mr. Bud Patel, Head of School

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