The astrological sign on the horizon at birth provides an accurate guidepost for character development. The odd thing about the ascendant is that it precedes the individual. One is behind, not inside it, and the native often acts out traits that aren't natural inner ones. This can cause confusion, and that's where relationships come in handy. Others reflect ourselves back to us, and thus we get familiar with the persona we are projecting, more so as life goes on. I think people incarnate further into their ascendants as they progress through the years We learn who we are.
Because of the separation one actually has the opportunity to mold and sculpt this part of the whole. It is malleable and responsive to personal will. It's where the native creates him or herself over and over again like trying on clothes in a cosmic dressing room.
Often the rising sign conflicts with the sun, moon, and other placements, but this costume is the winner as far as outer existence is concerned. And it can be creatively thrilling.