The word personality is very significant. It comes from a Greek word persona. Persona means “the mask.” In Greek drama the actors used masks, false faces. Those false faces were called personae. And from that, the word personality comes. It is beautiful. It means you are acting through a false face, it is not you. You are hiding behind a false face because you cannot reveal your real face.
That does not mean that one should necessarily – or unnecessarily – go on revealing your real face everywhere. There is no need: in some places the persona is needed. But be clear that this is the persona; this is not you. Inside, you must know when you are acting and when you are real. You must not be deceived by your acting. You must not become identified by your acting. Sometimes faces are needed; otherwise it will be difficult to live in the society, very difficult. Faces are good in a way. They facilitate, they work like lubricants. And in big society with so many people, you need not reveal your reality everywhere.
Someone meets you in the morning, and you feel disturbed by it… You think “Why have I seen this man’s face this morning? His face may destroy my whole day.” But, outwardly, you smile and say “Good morning. How happy I am to see you!” Inwardly, you are not happy at all.
But this is ok as far as manners are concerned. It would not be good to say to the man “I am feeling very unhappy. You have destroyed my morning. Your face is dangerous. I am afraid that seeing you will ruin my whole day.” This would not be good. Unnecessarily – unnecessarily disturbing to the other man; there is no need.
But you must know what is a mask and what is real. You must be aware of what is going on within. That is your real being. And what is going on, on the face is just a social utility. If you can make a clear-cut distinction between you and your personality, then the personality becomes just like clothing…
Character isn't something you were born with and can't change, like your fingerprints. It's something you weren't born with and must take responsibility for forming.
- Jim Rohn