Every individual is said to have a personality of his own which is unique and distinct from every other personality. In a popular sense, by personality we mean that an individual has some striking qualities or traits in which he differs from others i.e., in appearance, in aggressiveness or pleasant manners etc. But, these are not the only points that make up the person.
Every individual has a typical and distinctive style of behaving. This unique quality of his behaviour constitutes shape to his personality i.e., feelings, values, reactions, prejudices, attitudes, perceptions etc., are the basis of one’s behaviour.
Thus, personality includes physique, habits, temperament, sentiments, will and intelligence etc. Personality pervades every aspect of human life and influences every behaviour. It is on this ground that Woodworth calls personality as the quality of one’s behaviour.
The personality of the individual is much more complex and goes deeper. Personality is meant the individual’s characteristic and reaction to social situations and his adaptation to his social features of his environment.
Hence, personality is not only what we do in relation to others, but something more than that. Psychologically, personality is all that a person is. It is the totally of his being and includes physical, mental, emotional and temperamental make-up.
Personality is a term that has been used very widely but each time to mean some different aspects of a person. We often hear an adolescent admiring the ‘good looking personality of a film—star, Amitabh Bachchan or the great personality Smita Patil or the great personality of a national leader like Indira Gandhi and Subhash Chandra Bose.
A student may admire his Professor’s personality. Similarly, Abhinav may speak of his friend Avinash as having a pleasant personality while Avinash may denounce Abhinav as a boy having ‘No personality’ or ‘Zero Personality’ at all. In this light personality means the impact that an individual produces on the persons interacting with him.
“it is a system of reactions and reaction-possibilities in toto as viewed by fellow-members of the society. It is the sum-total of behaviour-trends manifested in his social adjustments It does not exist as an entity by itself. It is one’s habitual modes of response.”
In other words, we can say that it is “the sum total of our ways of behaving, especially towards others.” However, the above meaning of personality is only a part of the actual meaning of the term. What makes up a personality is the difference between various individuals. If all individuals were equal, there would have been no question of personality.