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  • Writer's pictureJanika Byington

What Is Personality?

Updated: Sep 3, 2022

Are you born with it? Does it change? Are there universal traits?


Who Are You? How many personality tests have you taken? How consistent are your results? Every time I take a personality test I come to the conclusion, "yes, I have a lot of personality." But I really don't fit in the boxes. Some people do. Others select a few traits to emphasize and define as their fundamental identity. Definition According to the American psychological association, the definition of personality is: "individual differences in characteristic patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving. The study of personality focuses on two broad areas: One is understanding individual differences in particular personality characteristics, such as sociability or irritability. The other is understanding how the various parts of a person come together as a whole." (https://www.apa.org/topics/personality/ ). But in all my studies in psychology, and even in the Personality psychology courses, it became clear to me that there is no definitive answer or even consensus on the nature or function of personality. What personality is, how and why it operates, and to what degree it can be consciously, subconsciously, or genetically altered is limited because there is not a fundamental guiding theory that clearly addresses the multiple factors of human behavior, belief, thought, and feeling.

Research is scattered and confusing, because there is not a foundational understanding of what it is to be a human and an individual.

That my friends, is the purpose of the Four Needs Theory. It is simple, straightforward, seamless and encompassing. I am explaining it first for the common man. When Four Needs Theory is properly applied to data and research, a cohesive picture of the human experience emerges. If that became common practice, social science would experience a new renaissance in human growth and development--individually and socially.

Fundamental Human Drives The behaviorists and evolutionists see survival as the fundamental human drive. And the only things genuinely needed for survival are food, water, defense (clothing, housing, weaponry, etc) and sex. These theories only allow for the fundamental existence of physical drives. Everything else is "secondary." They think everything we long for and give meaning to is an adaptation to cultural definitions of survival.


The Four Needs is a direct contrast. We have physical drives. But we also have emotional, intellectual, and spiritual drives. Regardless of when, why, or how our Four Needs drives developed, they are fundamentally hard-wired into the human genome. Every human experiences lack and desire in each of these areas that drive them to satisfy each type of need. It's Tricky The trouble is, if we do not properly define those needs and know how to identify the specific areas of lack, we cannot accurately meet those needs. If we don't recognize all of our Four Needs or understand how to balance our needs as individuals and as a culture, we may have extreme anxiety, depression, obesity, violence, cultural polarity and animosity, etc. I am a problem solver. I created the Four Needs to resolve my own internal problems as well as develop a method to confront global problems. I truly believe this concept has the power to alter so much that we struggle with--personally and internationally.

Personality Is Your Pattern of Meeting Your Needs Most people are born with a neurological preference or capacity fro meeting a single type of need. Using Bandura's reciprocal determinism model (explained in previous blog Nature Versus Nurture) we can see how that innate "person" is then influenced by environment and behavior in a feedback loop. But the more "well rounded" your personality is (or how you and the people around you train it to become) the more deeply satisfied all of your needs will be. Therefore, attaching yourself to a single "personality type" may prevent you from being able to effectively meet your needs. You Are Free If reading that gave you a sense of guilt that there is something wrong with you, or you feel a burden for the need to change, you likely have a pattern of unmet needs in your life. How that came to be hardly matters. I am here to promise you that from here on out, you can live a satisfied life without all the pain and fear. The power is within you. How you think, what you believe, how you feel, and what you do can shift in ways that allow you to realize who you really are and how to push out the outside influences that create conflict within. You can make that shift right now, or you can increase your belief in your ability to meet your needs as you learn more about the Four Needs. Whatever your pace, it is right. You will be well. The power is yours and you are free. Feel free to reach out to me.



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