If you think of your personality as flexible, you will do much better in life
Posted by Jennifer Thomas Oppong
on Jun 1, 2020
People can and do change for better (or worse). If you are not happy about certain character traits, you can do something about them.
The good news is, your personality — the combination of traits, thoughts, feelings and behaviours that make you unique can be shaped into who you want to become.
Your personality is not permanent.
I have always thought of myself as a “work in progress.” Always transforming. And I have become a much better person because of that mindset. I’m constantly learning about new models, perspectives and principles that can make me a better human every day. I’m not who I was a decade ago in thoughts, behaviours and emotional patterns.
Your own theories about who you are have a great influence your actions. And those perceptions dictate your experiences, which are literally rearranging your brain’s wiring.
Many people view their habits, traits, and characteristics as permanent.
If you view your personality as mutable instead of permanent, you’re inclined to work on it and improve in your life and career.
Stanford psychologist Lee Ross says, “People’s inflated belief in the importance of personality traits and dispositions, together with their failure to recognise the importance of situational factors in affecting behaviour, has been termed the ‘fundamental attribution error.”
In his new book, Personality Isn’t Permanent: Break Free from Self-Limiting Beliefs and Rewrite Your Story, Psychologist and bestselling author Benjamin Hardy, PhD draws on psychological research to debunk the popular misconception that personality — your consistent attitudes and behaviours are permanent.
Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who founded analytical psychology once said, “The most important question anyone can ask is: What myth am I living?”
The myths we choose to believe are life-changing. They have surprising impact on on our lives and careers. When you believe the myths world tells you about your identity, you’ll always tend to act out who you think you are.
Hardy’s key research-backed argument is that you’re not stuck with the personality you’ve got. He explains why personality tests such as Myers-Briggs and Enneagram are psychologically destructive.
His case for the transformational capacity of the human mind is a good addition to Carol S. Dweck’s research that human endeavour can be influenced by how we think about our capabilities.
“For twenty years, my research has shown that the view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life,” says Dweck.
In the book, Hardy guides you to decide for yourself the life you want to live, regardless of how different it is from your past or present. He provides evidence, case studies and true stories of intentional self-transformation to support his ideas.
“You are not a single and narrow “type” of person. In different situations and around different people, you are different. Your personality is dynamic, flexible, and contextual. Moreover, your personality changes throughout your life, far more than you can presently imagine,” writes Hardy.
People who transform themselves and their lives have a different, open, and flexible view of their own future. They refuse to be defined by the past.
“The most successful people in the world base their identity and internal narrative on their future, not their past,” he argues.
What you believe to be the only truth affects what you achieve
Steve Maraboli, a Behavioural Scientist said, “Once your mindset changes, everything on the outside will change along with it.”
People with established mindsets from the past stop looking forward. They stop integrating new and better experiences in — they’re still living in the past.
They have a very difficult time fully embracing new mindsets, mental models, and life principles. It’s also hard for them to allow present healthy experiences to continue shaping their personality.
Past experiences and traumas can trap you in unhealthy attitudes and behaviours, but there’s always a way out — if you’re ready to learn more about yourself and are open to improving beyond your current circumstances.
Dr. Hardy shows you why changing how you view your past is fundamental to upgrading your identity and future. He goes a step further and provides life-changing ideas to shift your story and reframe your current story.
“The meaning you place on past events determines who you are and what your future is. Changing how you view your past is fundamental to upgrading your identity and future. Fundamental to changing your identity is also changing your story. A new future creates a new past,” he writes.
A shift in how you perceive yourself changes everything. There’s more flexibility to who we are than we might assume.
You’re not trapped by your own character traits. When you think of yourself as evolving, you’ll open yourself up to new and better experiences that can create normal, healthy memories.
If your past experience has altered your authentic self, it’s not too late. You can override your past fixed memory about who you are and experience a positive and significant personality change.
“Life is a classroom. You’re here to grow. You’re here to live by faith and design. You’re here. You’re here to choose. The choice is yours. Who will you be?” — Benjamin Hardy, PhD
You can change your internal narrative, override past behaviours, and adopt an open mindset that can help you make the personality change you want.
Never stop evolving.