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Definition personal development

Charisma and charisma theory

what's so useful about charisma?

Charisma is closely related to assertiveness, which we all need, if only for defensive reasons. Charisma is not just about showing off.

Charisma enables us to influence (and inspire) others, and also to influence our external environment, which from time to time we all need to do - even the introverts among us. Time management, for example, crucially depends on managing our environment and the expectations of others.

If you want to build a business, lead a team, be a teacher or a trainer or a speaker, or maybe enter politics, then you have more reasons for developing your charismatic powers.

Charisma is not an always-on aura that only special people possess. Charisma is a force of human personality which can be understood, measured, and developed. And while some people seem more naturally charismatic than others, the truth is that anyone - given belief and effort - can develop charismatic power, either as a conscious behaviour to be used when needed, or as a deeper 'second nature'.

Charisma is useful for inspiring others, leading a team, or teaching and developing people, or being an innovator or a fund-raiser.

Charisma is also helpful for project-management, problem-solving, facilitating and pioneering.

And charisma is of course useful for all sorts of personal relationships - dating, mating, parenting, etc.

Charisma helps in any situation where you need or want to influence other people and external factors.

When you see charisma in these terms - and also as a way of understanding and controlling your own strength of character - you might also see reasons in your own life for wanting to develop some charismatic power for yourself.

origins and definitions of charisma

The modern Oxford English Dictionary definition of charisma: "Compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others."

Interestingly the word charisma hadn't made it into the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary by the 1922 edition, and not even the 1953 edition. The 'Shorter OED' is not actually 'short' - it's huge - it's the next biggest OED version to the full several-volumes-long OED which only big libraries keep. In fact the 1922 and 1953 Shorter OED listed the older words 'charism' and 'charismata' rather than charisma: "Charism - Plural charismata and charisms. 1641. A favour specially vouchsafed by God; a grace, a talent. Hence charismatic, adjective, of or pertaining to a charism."


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