I’ve been reading Personality Isn’t Permanent by Benjamin Hardy (It’s a great read for anyone, I’d recommend it!) with my morning cuppa over the last week or so and it has raised some questions for me.
Can we choose our personality, or is it something fixed and finite?
Is personality something to be discovered or something to be developed?
Is personality based on what has happened to us in the past, or what we are striving for in the future?
What even IS your personality?
Let me give you my answers.
Personality, what makes you, you, basically comes down to your consistent attitudes and behaviours. The stuff you think, say and do consistently.
Well, I don’t know about you, but my personality isn’t particularly fixed. I’m a different person in different situations. That’s not me being fake, just different strengths and skills are required when I’m carrying out the different roles in my life. I wasn’t the same person working in retail as I am in my own business. I’m not the same person to my partner as I am to my friends. I’m certainly not the same person I am when I am hungry or tired as I am when I’m well fed and rested!
If there is such a thing as a fixed personality, which one of those is the “real me”?
Whether personality is to be developed or discovered depends on how you want to look at things. I find it liberating to think that I can change my personality, that my consistent attitudes and behaviours can be changed over time, on purpose, in a way that supports my journey. You may prefer to think that you were always capable of these things, and just needed to unearth and nourish them. I like the intentionality and self-determination of the first option, but I can see benefits to both.
Up until fairly recently, I would say that most of my personality was based on what has happened to me in the past. My experiences, both positive and negative, have driven my personality and to some extent that is still true. Since I have created a vision for myself and started working towards something different, some of my personality has shifted to be more of the person that I need to be to make that happen.
As I develop my goals and the vision of what I want to offer in life, my personality shifts to start becoming that person. Not very long ago I was not “the kind of person who” would talk on camera, yet now I am holding online workshops, talking live on Facebook and am building a YouTube channel, my attitudes about what I am capable of are now looking at who I need to become and my behaviours follow. Anyone who knew me several years ago would be very surprised!
I know it isn’t easy to make that shift, it has taken a lot of hard work on my part and it’s been (and still is!) uncomfy at times.
To decide that you can choose, instead, to be a product of your future is hard work. But so is living as a product of your past. So, let me ask you, which work do you want?