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There was something about the title Personality isn’t Permanent (by Dr. Benjamin Hardy, PhD) that really got my attention. I didn’t buy it at first, but something about it stayed in my mind. Thankfully, a few months later the digital Kindle version had a huge discount so I bought it right away.
My intuition was right. That book DID contain some extremely valuable lessons on personal growth and self-improvement and I’m very glad to have learned about them.
The main point of the book, if you haven’t guessed from the title, is that our personalities change over time. If you think about it, it’s pretty obvious. How many working adults are the same as who they were back in high school? How many 40-year olds are exactly the same as their 20-year old selves? Most likely very few. Extremely shy introverts can become outgoing leaders, and reckless party animals can become more intellectual and contemplative. Obviously, people mature and grow over time, right?
Think about this though.
How many of us develop some negative personality traits because of some trauma from our childhood? How many of us who have been bullied as kids grow up to become extremely shy and reserved, or become bullies at work? How many of us failed some tests, got scolded by our parents, and had the thought “I’m not very smart” etched into out minds? How many of us couldn’t keep up with other kids at sports and had “I’m not strong or athletic” marked into our self-image? How many abusive adults were the result of their parents abusing them as children?
Are those bad experiences and traumas holding us back from trying new things, such as good habits and hobbies that can improve our lives, because we think the effects of those traumatic events are a part of our personalities and are therefore “permanent”?
That is the most important lesson within that psychology book. We grow and change over time, and we can CONTROL that change. We can choose what part of ourselves we want to change for the better. Nothing in our personalities are permanent—not even our toxic habits and traumas.
We can be more confident, more generous, and more emotionally mature if we really want to. We can be the kind of person who is disciplined and courageous enough to succeed at what we value, such as our careers, relationships, physical and mental health, and more.
To do that, however, we have to imagine what kind of person we want to become. We have to seriously start thinking and planning our future selves.[Read more…]