Often, you’d come across such quotes your inner self matters more than your external shell. Sayings that emphasize on something that lies inside of you and something that makes you up.
Perhaps, you’d find them scrawled on books and walls, or maybe, presented aesthetically on your Instagram feed. Either way, seeing it so often might ring some curious bells. What are they even referring to? Soul can’t be it, for we were all born with one. And so, that leaves us with only one other thing: our essence, our personality and our personality development. But the conflicting point, here, is that very often the latter is a consequential entity, rather than a carefully-crafted one.
It is a product of several influencing factors than a thoroughly thought-out thing. So, how can one possibly align it with one’s will? How can one develop a desired personality? Or is that even possible? Well, here in this post, we’re going to find answers to these very questions. There is a way that can help us align it with our will, i.e., understanding and adjusting the environment.
The mention of the environment in all this talk about personality development may confuse you a bit.
You might as well be wondering: what’s the connection? But this post is meant to eradicate the very confusion. The two do not only have a connection but a very strong one.
So, without further ado, let’s dive straight into the pool of answers.
What is Personality Development?
Every individual in this world possesses a different personality. It is what makes each one of us unique and extraordinary. And, amazingly, the personality of a human is distinguishable from as early as infancy. Two human children can have similar personality traits, but never the same!
However, the development of personality is what continues to increase this line of a difference either positively or negatively. Well, before diving into details, let’s first clarify the fundamentals. So, what is Personality Development exactly?
The term, Personality Development, refers to the change as well as growth in personality throughout the lifetime of an individual. It is the development of certain traits, behaviour, and attitude that differentiates one person from another.
As per studies, the process depends on three main influential factors, including:
Temperament, also referred to as nature, are the genetically determined personality traits. It affects a child’s approach towards the world and his learning abilities. The genetic materials play their role by influencing the nervous system development, which in turn affects the behaviour.
Character is a collection of cognitive, emotional, and behavioural patterns adopted from experiences. These experiences determine our perspective, feelings, and actions. Over time, the character continues to evolve with experiences. However, it is also dependent on one’s morals.
The third and most influential factor is the environment. Psychologists suggest that the environment surrounding an individual plays an almost 50-70% role in personality development. Continue reading to find out how!
Environment’s Impact on Personality Development
It’s been a long time since the world’s trying to figure out whether or not the environment has an impact on personality development. It’s now known as the nature VS nurture debate.
Some choose to go with the opinion of Pablo and Descartes, saying that our attributes are in-born. Meanwhile, some people consider the idea of Tabula Rasa proposed by John Locke, to be more rational. His concept says that the human mind comes in the world as a blank slate. Everything that it learns is only by experience. John B.Watson further supported this idea by suggesting that a man can learn anything or behave like anything irrespective of their background.
Although the research and debate continue, a current analysis declares the two equivalent to one another. According to this research, the environment’s effect on personality development is just as intense as hereditary factors.
Hence, we can say that, yes, the environment has a noteworthy impact on personality development. Now, the influential environment does not only refer to your work, school, college, university, or home environment. It also refers to all the surroundings wherein you have experienced things. It may even mean your culture, society, and childhood experiences. Whether it’s operant learning or observational learning, it applies to all.
Along the same lines, this research confirms that environmental influences have the largest impact in shaping personality because they are mainly accidental. And hence, the best source of generating natural response and leading to the development of learned behaviour.
Does it Apply on Both Children And Adults?
Unfortunately, a common misconception persists amongst societies worldwide. People believe adults have a developed personality, which remains unaffected by the environment.
However, personality is an ever-changing part of a human. The development rate may lower with age, but it is still present.
According to one study conducted by psychiatrist Erik Erikson in 1956, personality development consists of 8-phrases that occur from infancy to adulthood.
In the early years of infancy, a human learns fundamental trust or mistrust. Better care and love develop reliance, security, and optimism in a child. During toddlerhood, a child will learn about Will. He learns regarding self-confidence, control, and shame.
In the third preschool stage, an individual experiences the learning initiative and guilt phase. While a school child goes through the learning industry and inferiority phase.
Later, like adolescence, the child is in the learning identity phase. A child clarifies sexual identity and establishes goals.
The other three stages occur throughout adulthood, where an individual alters himself/herself according to per environment.
Types of Environment Influencing Personality Development
Up till now, we learned about the environment’s importance in personality development. However, did you know that different types of environment affect a child’s personality differently? Let’s unravel the details!
Ever since birth, a child spends the majority of time with family. Hence, this type of environment is most influential. Teachings provided by parents, relationships between different members, and parental behaviour towards the child influence the development of personality traits. For example, excessive restriction and limitation upon a child can establish rebellious features.
A human’s school life plays an important role in personality development. The academic challenges, socialization, and co-curricular activities provide an opportunity for self-grooming. It is the phase when the hidden traits of the personality are dominant as the child attempts to adjust on his own.
However, this process can get negatively influenced by a troubled environment. Peer pressure, socializing issues, bullying, and other factors can develop anger as well as frustration in one.
The cultural environment surrounding a child determines the norms for him and develops personality accordingly. For example, Asian cultures focus more on community and society norms, which is why cooperation is a more dominant trait amongst Asian people.
Undeniably, the environment surrounding an individual has a significant impact on personality development. While the temperament and character play a part, the environment affects a big chunk of your personality. And, it continues to influence throughout a human’s lifespan.
Consequently, all adults and parents must understand the importance of environmental influence. You see, the personality development of a child is a sensitive matter. One wrong action and you can be responsible for triggering the development of a destructive trait, such as indecisiveness and uncontrollable anger.
In severe cases, a child surrounded by a toxic and manipulative environment may develop personality disorders. These can be difficult to treat and have a permanent effect.
Hence, if you do want your child to lead a healthy and stable life, it is essential to educate yourself as well as others about the role of environment on personality development. And, you must learn to deal with situations patiently and wisely.