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Person Or Personality?

by David Brock on March 22nd, 2021

One of my favorite writers is John McPhee. Recently, I was rereading a short story, A Philosopher In The Kitchen. It’s outstanding, both as a masterpiece in writing and in the ideas he conveys. While it’s about a chef, it provokes thinking about the highest levels of practice in any profession.

One of the lines that struck me, “He would like to be known for what he does, but in this time, in this country, his position is awkward, for he prefers being a person to becoming a personality…”

Today, we seem to live in a world where people aspire more to be personalities than a person. Social media and related broadcast channels enable anyone to establish some level of personality. And often, these people broadcast their authenticity.

How would the world change, how would our businesses change, how would our abilities to engage, if rather than aspiring to be personalities we aspired to be a person?

What’s the difference?

It seems to me personalities focus more on themselves, their platform and how broadly they are known in their world. It seems they stand more for themselves, than anything else. It seem personalities are more known for who they are.

It seems to me, being a person is more “other” focused. It’s driven by caring, listening, learning. It seems a person is more known by what they do. I think being a person is more one on one.

Both personalities and persons may achieve some level of “fame,” at least within their communities. For the personality, “fame” is the end. For the person, “fame” may be an inconvenience.

Ironically, social channels make it so easy to be a personality, that it loses it’s distinction. To stand out as a personality in a world where everyone can be one, it seems the trick is to increase the volume-figuratively and literally. In doing that it loses meaning.

In striving to be a person, this becomes irrelevant and unimportant.

Just some Monday morning musing………

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