Attitude is what people think of you. Character is what you are.Truman Capote
This quote from Truman Capote, one of the most famous American writers of the 20th century, sums up the difference between attitude and character.
Attitude and character are very commonly confused for one another, and understandably so. They appear very similar in a sense but strictly speaking; there is a difference between them. Character is the very essence of a particular man. It is indeed what the person is within. Attitude is a surface emotion. It is the opinion or the method by which one approaches a given situation. Attitude is often referred to as the masked identity of a person. It is reflected by the outer appearance and behavior that may or may not reflect inner character. Attitude is the opinion or the method by which one approaches a given situation. On the other hand, character makes one do a particular thing even if the world is watching.
What is attitude?
An attitude is a positive, negative, or mixed evaluation of an object expressed at some level of intensity. It is an expression of a favorable or unfavorable evaluation of a person, place, thing, or event. These are fundamental determinants of our perceptions of and actions toward all aspects of our social environment.
Attitude may be defined as a feeling or disposition to favor or be against objects, persons, and situations. It is a well-defined object of reference. It may be defined as ‘an enduring predisposition or readiness to react or behave in a particular manner to a given object or situation, idea, material, or person.’
What is character?
Character can be defined as the collection of core values possessed by an individual that leads to moral commitment and action. Character here is seen as a value in motion and, in this sense, is related to the more evaluative concept of moral character.
Character is that part of personality developed through learning and experience. It is contrasted with temperament, an innate component of one’s personality. It defines a person’s behavior pattern, thinking style, controls feelings. It is based on the environment surrounding us, mental ability, moral principles, and other factors. It is the most precious thing possessed by a person, evidenced by the limits they never crossed.
Tabular Comparison of Attitude and Character
Now that we understand what attitude and character mean let us learn about some critical differences.
Attitude can be defined as a combination of mental behaviour and traits or qualities like thinking pattern, feeling, and acting.
Character means an enduring and distinguishing mental and moral characteristic in an individual. It is the only factor which determines our reaction or response to the given event or situation.
Attitude is the mask or the identity of a person. It is objective.
Character is the learned behaviour. It is subjective.
Attitude is the outer appearance and behaviour of a person.
Character indicates the traits of a person which are hidden from sight.
Attitude derives from physical and individual traits.
Character takes direction from moral and mental traits.
Attitude determines how you handle or approach certain things, and it is all up to your own decision how you are going to do those things. This means that attitude is a choice, and you can change it to fit the situation or environment you are in.
Character is already innate in every person and it is not subject for change. It makes you do things you are not supposed to do in front of many people, but you do it anyway because that’s your character.
Attitude are not felt simply because they are well within an individual.
Character impresses us for it is felt externally.
Attitude represents an individual’s degree of likes or dislikes for a given thing or a given situation.
Character is nothing about likes and dislikes of a given thing or a given situation for that matter. It is all about evaluation of a person’s qualities.
The attitude of an individual may change with time.
Character lasts for a long period of time.
It is easy to identify a person’s attitude by observing the physical conduct. This has most to do with behaviour and social skills.
It is very difficult to measure a person’s character just by looking at their behaviour.
Attitude overall, is significant in defining the type of person they are.
Since character makes up the moral attributes of an individual, it is important in the overall behavioural patterns in them.
It is easy to identify by their physical conduct.
To identify one’s character, we have to observe them for some time.
Attitude is not dependent on social validation.
Character needs social validation.
Someone generous might be giving in a quiet way or in a more public way. Here, attitude shows in the way the person acts on the character trait of generosity.
Someone who is naturally funny could use humour in a humble and self-deprecating way or in a biting and sarcastic way. This example shows when attitude reveals character.
Attitude Vs Character: Which One is Most Important?
We have studied in detail the difference But how do we know which one we should focus on?
The first and most obvious answer to this question is that we should try to be a good person first and foremost. Nothing matters if we don’t have a good character.
Essentially, the decision about whether to prioritize attitude over character comes down to how important it is for us to be liked by those around us as opposed to how important it is for us to live an honest life.
Attitude is outward, while character is inward. Hence, it makes a strong argument that attitude is secondary to character in evaluating any person. Neither of these concepts is easy, simple, or narrow. But if you ask most people which they want to value more between the two – most people would say character.
However, humans are varied and different from each other. This makes all of them unique individuals. Similarly, everyone has unique personalities and characters. Though one’s attitude and character are interrelated concepts, they are different.