Each one of us is unique in their own ways. We all have varied thoughts, feelings, and behaviours that make us who we are- our personality. And it is our personality that shapes our unique strengths, weaknesses, and preferences and our interactions with others. Therefore, our personality determines to a great extent what life brings to us – success, joy, fulfillment, stress, sorrow, disappointment.
However, there are some well-identified personality traits which often result in a better life. It has been observed that people having these qualities leave a positive, lasting impression on most people and are said to have strong personalities. Just think of Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Barack Obama, Abraham Lincoln, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi – the list goes on. And, everyone would like to be part of the list.
Before we talk about the traits of a strong personality and personality development tips, let’s first see if it is possible to develop one’s personality. Earlier, psychologists were of the opinion that people were born with some characteristics, which tend to remain consistent throughout life. But recent research indicates that our personality isn’t set in stone. It is very much possible to change our personality. But, it takes time and effort! All that you need is a willingness to change yourself and a bit of direction.
Let’s try to find out what having a strong personality means and how you can develop one.
Components of a Strong Personality
- Happily embracing your own uniqueness
- Understanding yourself
- Finding the direction of your personality development
- Capitalizing on your strengths, working on weaknesses
- Empowering your communication
- Making knowledge your real power
- Pushing your limits to come out of your comfort zone
- Developing good work ethics
- Improving personal well-being
What Does A Strong Personality Look Like?
Most personality development coaches agree on the point that one’s genes, upbringing, experiences, and their environment play a crucial role shaping their unique persona. A strong personality has a lot to do with how others perceive your actions and behaviour positively. While you think of a strong personality, who comes to mind? Most likely- a likeable, accomplished, skilled, confident, and inspiring person.
A strong personality is marked by
Self-Confidence Optimism Integrity
Discipline Humility Empathy
Positivity Persistence Responsibility
Trustworthiness Good communication Emotional stability
Resilience Good self-esteem Growth-oriented mindset
Here’s on to how you can develop a strong personality using these personality development tips:
Understand Who You Are
Remember Aristotle, who often used to say “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” Well, that one is really the first baby step to developing a strong personality. Unless you understand your personality, you won’t be able to move forward in the right direction.
It means identifying your natural characteristics and finding out your personal strengths and weaknesses.
Since we all have cognitive biases, understanding ourselves can be a complex process. Moreover, it is important to remember that a certain set of characteristics isn’t going to determine a good, bad, strong, or weak personality. Rather, what matters is how these traits govern your actions and behavior towards yourself and others.
Practical ways to self-discovery
Good personality development coaches would always ask you to take the first important step of self-discovery by introspection. Introspection is observing your thoughts, feelings, and actions. We read books to gain knowledge of various subjects. Likewise, introspection helps us learn more about ourselves. Since our mental biases come in the way of truly recognizing our patterns, it takes great honesty to evaluate ourselves.
- Others’ Feedback
We are often much better at judging others’ personality. So, getting others’ feedback is a good way to know about our own personality. Your dear ones and the people you interact with can give useful insights into how they interpret you. Of course, you need to seek feedback from people who have your welfare in their hearts. And once you get it, be sincere and objective in analyzing and working on it.
- Personality Tests
Quite a scientific, proven way to discover your personality. Some popular and scientifically valid ones are PF 16, The Big Five Personality, MBTI, and DISC Profile. They may not be perfect assessments but they can help you know a lot about your prominent traits, abilities, strengths, and weaknesses since they are based on wide spared testing and scientific validation of their results. Of course, the results depend on the answers you give; so, you’ll need to answer honestly to get valid results.
A word of caution: Personality is too complex to measure or put into pigeon holes through tests. Remember not to see the results of these tests as the ultimate truth and to identify with it obsessively. It’s best to use them as important indicators to learn more about yourself.
Using all the three techniques, you can identify certain common themes to reach a solid conclusion.
Embrace Your Uniqueness
As a life coach, if I have discovered the biggest myth people have about themselves, it is this: they mostly wish they were someone else. Feel confident in your own skin by not comparing yourself with others as the constant comparisons blocks our own strengths from our views. The other person tends to assume more strength in our mind. But the truth is: you’re unique and incomparable and this uniqueness must be celebrated.
There was a time when you were required on this planet and that’s why you were sent here. In the history of the universe, there has been nobody like you and for an infinite time to come, there won’t be anyone else like you. Existence loved you so much that it broke the mould after making you, so none of your kind will never get born again. That way, you are original, rare, a wonder and a masterpiece. Celebrate your uniqueness.
Some of us are very tall, others quite puny, some obese, others lanky. If we compare ourselves with the currently popular media standards of physical appeal, our imperfections often agitate and trouble us. So much so that getting agitated becomes a habit and our grumpiness becomes a personality trait with age. But remember, people who are relaxed or chilled out, live happier and healthier and can charm people with their relaxed vibes. To feel cooler, give room to imperfections as those around you, the situations and your own personality don’t always have to be the way you want them.
Developing a strong personality is not a one-time task. It is a continuous process that permeates everything you do, in every walk of life.
There are many strong personalities you can take inspiration from. Far more techniques that can help you improve your skills, conquer your fears, defy odds, and set you up for success.
However, the bottom line of everything is to embrace your uniqueness. All your strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, and feelings shape a unique human being like no other.
Hence, your road to personality development will be unlike anyone else’s.
- Spend time understanding yourself better.
- Keep exploring new things to expand your potential.
- Keep pushing yourself out of your comfort zone.
- Take care of your mind, body, and spirit; and you shall be invincible!
Direction of Personality Development
The consonance between your current personality and what you want to become are two critical factors in deterring the direction of your personality development. Besides understanding your personality, you also need to know which parts of your personality are in sync with your aspired self and where you need to make improvements.
For instance, if you aspire to become a good politician, you must have leadership qualities, public speaking skills, confidence, and an ability to handle criticism. Likewise, if your dream is to become a good psychologist, you need to be empathetic, trustworthy, observant, active listener, non –judgmental and detached.
Your own goals will determine where you need to focus more – which traits to develop self-confidence or empathy or which ones to shed – diffidence or introversion.
As you understand yourself and your goals, list down your strengths and weaknesses -What are your biggest strengths? Biggest weaknesses? Which traits bring you the most opportunities? Which traits are a threat?
In fact, you may do a SWOT analysis for each area – career, finance, personal relationships, health, etc..
Capitalize on Your Strengths, Work on Weaknesses
Once you have got a clear picture of yourself- strengths and weaknesses – you can get into the action mode. Developing a strong personality is not just about working on weak spots, but is about making the most of your strengths – leveraging your natural skills and characteristics.
For instance, you may be an introvert, who doesn’t relish public speaking but is good at writing. If this be the case, you may excel at something like content writing or journalism or mass communication. Similarly, if you’re stuck in a job like customer service, you may handle the live chat and use your writing skills to solve customer problems, instead of exhausting yourself with phone conversations. Of course, it doesn’t mean that you needn’t try to get better at speaking.
The idea is- you can improve steadily without overwhelming yourself.
A word of caution here. Our strengths are our biggest assets but overusing them may make them a weakness. You may be endowed with good persuasion skills but obsessive persuasion may reach even a point of manipulation. So, if you don’t keep a close watch, it can do more harm than good.
Strong personalities have outstanding communication skills, enabling them to convey their thoughts, ideas, and information clearly with conviction. So much so that others not only resonate with them, but often get moved by it.
Having strong communication skills doesn’t mean you have to become an orator or a prolific writer. Effective communication means just expressing yourself clearly. Simultaneously, the audience is equally important as they need to understand it clearly. Good speaking skills are helpful not online professional life but also in personal life situations.
Effective communication builds trust, resolves conflicts, solves problems, increases productivity, gives clarity and direction. Communication, whether it is verbal or written, is a complex process involving multiple factors at play – verbal cues, nonverbal cues, and listening. The verbal cues refer to the words you speak while nonverbal cues involve your body language, facial expressions, posture, and gestures.
Besides the verbal and nonverbal components, listening is very important in successful communication. Likewise, your language, tone, clarity, and completeness of information affect the effectiveness of your communication.
Tips to Develop Good Speaking skills and Good Listening Skills
- Pay attention to the speaker
- Keep a watch on nonverbal cues
- Show that you’re listening by nodding or saying Hmm occasionally
- Ask questions/ clarify
- Respond appropriately and respectfully
- Summarize what the speaker says to ensure you have understood them correctly
- Stay away from giving unsolicited advice
Consider these points while speaking:
- Make mental notes before speaking
- Take your time to respond
- Be brief and clear
- Respectful language evokes regard
- Tell a story to engage
- Avoid fillers like “like”, “um”
- Avoid speaking too fast
- Do not get emotional
Sit or stand upright
Relax your body
Use open hand gestures (but avoid overusing them)
Keep eye contact
Exercises for better communication
Practice speaking before a mirror
Record yourself to assess your voice and tone
Begin by speaking in low-risk situations (friends and family)
Practice voice modulation
Make Knowledge Your Power
Knowledge is among the greatest treasures of a strong personality. Regardless of their domain, such people have in-depth knowledge about their work, themselves, and people in general. The impact they make on others comes from their solid knowledge. Further, for them , learning is a lifelong process for them. That’s why people always listen to them and give weight to what they say.
Knowledge can broaden your horizons and infuse your mind with new ideas. Gaining more and more knowledge is the royal road to strengthen your personality. And in a globalized, digitalized world, knowledge can be acquired from endless sources – books, audio books, podcasts, videos, newsletters, training, courses and others’ experiences.
With so much to learn about in a limited time, you may wonder how you will manage it. But if you have the will, there’s certainly a way out. Many productivity techniques can help you maximize your learning in a limited time. Several platforms offer bite-sized information for busy people. Similarly, Udemy and Coursera have a plethora of courses you can attend to upskill and reskill yourself at your own pace. If you wish to learn from what strong personalities do, go to platforms like Mindvalley and Masterclass.
Push your limits
None among us would like to feel uncomfortable doing something. In fact, we would always like to be in a state wherein we don’t experience anxiety or challenge. Not done. We all are victims of our comfort zones. Being in a comfort zone is something the wise warn against.
However, this kind of risk aversion can often cause stagnation and lack of fulfillment. Our own comfort zone, where we feel safe, becomes a limiting factor in realizing our true potential. Like they often say – true magic happens right outside your comfort zone. That’s why you’ll find strong personalities pushing themselves out of their comfort zones, repeatedly.
Psychologists opine that our brains seek stimulation for better performance. On the other hand, a long stint in the comfort zone causes boredom, leading to a performance decline. Hence, leaving your comfort zone is crucial to being successful.
There’s no single answer to the question of what a comfort zone looks like as everyone has a different comfort zone. For some, it may be not facing the stage while for others, it may be eating all alone in a restaurant. Regardless of the specifics, if you aspire to achieve more, you have to step out of your comfort zone, encounter fears, deal with challenges, and learn new things along the way.
- Identify those arenas where being too comfortable is doing more harm than good.
- Notice how you feel when you try to do something that scares you. Observing your response makes it easier to overcome fear.
- Try something uncomfortable daily.
- Learn something daily to broaden your belief system.
- Grow your skill set to boost your confidence.
- Avoid excessive thinking. Just get on to things and you’ll find them done.
Good Work Ethics
Strong work ethics are another striking trait found among strong personalities. No matter how brilliant one is in their domain, success will be undoubtedly elusive unless they are backed by good work ethics. Work ethics reflect a great deal about a personality – their sense of responsibility, trustworthiness, dedication and integrity.
- Deliver consistent, quality work 2. Be punctual
- Follow discipline Be accountable, honest, and transparent
- Admit mistakes if you’re wrong 5. Maintain a professional demeanour
- Cooperate with others 6. Treat others respectfully
- Encourage, help others 8. Keep your word
- Strive for excellence 10. Be open to learning new things
Developing strong work ethics not only leads to success, but helps you create an example for others. Your conduct becomes a model for your team’s performance.
And this not just a one-off event; rather it’s an ongoing process, which is reflected in everything you do in life.
Improve Personal Well-Being
Personality development is nothing unless you ensure good personal well-being – physical, mental, and emotional. It is essential to fostering growth and dealing with the challenges you will across in your pursuits. Obviously, unless the mind, the body, and the emotions are in harmony, you can’t give your best in your efforts.
Personality Development Tips
- Take a balanced, nutritious diet
- Be hydrated
- Exercise regularly (anything that suits you)
- Rest adequately
- Stay away from smoking, alcohol, drugs and sugary stuff that affect your health adversely.
- Spend some time out in the sun to get your dose of Vitamin D.
- Take regular breaks from the screen to keep your eyes healthy
- Relax and de-stress yourself regularly with yoga, meditation, relaxation, music, reading –whatever suits you
- Say NO to things you don’t want to do or those beyond your workload
- Spend time with family and friends
- Learn a new skill
- Do something meaningful daily to develop a sense of purpose
- To ensure overall productivity and remain stress-free, you may try out these apps to help you- Headspace, Calm, Habit, Reflectly, Todoist, Happify.