People
are complex beings with complex minds and there are many intriguing individuals
one can attempt to analyze. One such example is Donald Trump. It can be
incredibly difficult to dissect a personality, especially one like his, in
order to see into their lives and get an idea of who they are why they do what
they do. In Dan P. McAdams’ What Do We
Know When We Know A Person?, 
personalities are broken down into three levels. Level one consists of
non-conditional and broad decontextualized traits such as the Big Five
(extraversion, openness, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism) and
provides a dispositional description of personality (McAdams, 1995). Level two
digs deeper, including personal concerns and strivings, defense mechanisms,
coping methods, motivations, and life tasks (McAdams, 1995). Beyond that lies
level three, a person’s identity and life story that makes up one’s
personality. By delving into the personality levels of Donald Trump, one can
get a better idea of what makes him do what he does.

Beginning
with the dispositional traits of level one, Donald Trump rates high on
extraversion, displaying an inclination for talkativeness along with a
confident, ranging near cocky, demeanor consistent with those high in
extraversion. Dan McAdams (2016a) writes in the Atlantic that, in contrast to
his high extraversion, he is low in agreeableness, lacking empathy and
conducting numerous callous, rude, and arrogant behaviors, such as when he
bragged on Twitter or calls his opponents a variety of insults. In line with
his other traits is his low openness, exhibiting close-minded views and
prejudices against minority groups such as Mexicans, and his inclination for
talking about the past, often citing his slogan, ” Make America Great Again!”.
Trump also displays rather low levels of conscientiousness with his unorganized
campaign trail and him often rambling on topics unrelated to the questions
asked of him. As for neuroticism, Trump presents a rather moderate level of
this as he comes across as temperamental and hostile, behavior which is common
among neurotic people, but lacks the anxious and nervous characteristics
associated with neuroticism.

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Donald
Trump manifests his life tasks and personal strivings in that of a need of
power and money, persistently aiming for as much fame and wealth as he can
achieve. As noted by Dan McAdams (2016b) in the Guardian, he continuously
pursues a motivational agenda of expanding, displaying, and adoring the self
with his numerous self-references, plastering his name on everything from
towers and casinos to steaks and universities. When Trump believes his ego is
threatened, such as when the Khan family depicted Trump as someone who has
never seen sacrifice after their son was killed in Iraq, he lashed out at the
family and bragged about all the things he had done for the country and his
donations for veterans (McAdams, 2016b). He shows off his achievements as a
coping mechanism when his ego is wounded, and when he is put on the spot, he
blames and brings attention to others when things are not in his favor. For
instance, during Trump’s campaign trail and the presidential debates, he often
turned questions onto Hillary Clinton, continuously bringing up her email scam.
He changes his behavior according to his audience, being supportive and
sympathetic to the plights of his supporters while condemning those he does not
like or agree with.

Continuing
with level three, one could say that Trump’s lifelong identity as a businessman
began when he was young, having been born to a wealthy real estate developer
and later attending the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Finance.
As reported by Encyclopædia Britannica (2018), Trump continually pursued more
business prospects, purchasing a series of properties in Manhattan, buying and
renovating hotels and apartment complexes, as well as building new ones altogether.
By the 1990s, his empire encompassed multiple high rises, apartment complexes,
and casinos (Encyclopædia Britannica, 2018). His reach as a businessman only
increased and eventually he had developed several major hotels, resorts, and
residential complexes around the world. Not limiting himself to real estate,
Trump wrote multiple books on entrepreneurship and his business career,
detailing his life as a businessman and even started his own reality television
show, bringing even more money into his pocket. His entire life seemingly
revolves around business and money, and his persona as a businessman reinforces
his need for power and wealth. The actions he takes to reach his goal, whether
it be buying more real estate, starting reality television shows, or even
choosing to run for president to increase his status reciprocates this.

Overall,
the three personality levels can give us a glimpse into the life and mind of
Donald Trump. Beginning with his exuberant behavior as an extrovert and
strikingly low agreeableness, he is ranked moderately in neuroticism while
being low in conscientiousness and openness, making him an intriguing character
to observe. His strivings for power and wealth, preference for dominating his
peers, and his endeavor to preserve and expand his reach in the world makes him
an interesting person to analyze. Donald Trump’s lifelong career and journey as
a businessman sets him apart from others and has made him one for the history
books.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

Editors
of the Encyclopædia Britannica. (2018, January) Donald Trump. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from
https://www.britannica.com/biography/Donald-Trump

McAdams,
D. (1995). What Do We Know When We Know A Person? Journal of Personality. 63:3. 365-391.

McAdams,
D.(2016a). The Mind of Donald Trump. The
Atlantic. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/06/the-mind-of-donald-trump/480771/

McAdams,
D.(2016b). A Psychological Trap: Making Sense of Donald Trump’s Life and
Personality. The Guardian. Retrieved
from https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/aug/05/donald-trump-psychology-personality-republicans-election