“The truth is, though, that virtually everyone wants to change their personality. Recent research at the University of Illinois proves this. Over 90 percent of people report being dissatisfied with at least some aspect of their personality, which they hope to improve for the better.” – Benjamin Hardy
30 years ago, scientists discovered neuroplasticity, or the brain’s ability to generate new cells. Before then, the consensus was that the brain was static and unable to grow new cells. If you killed off some of your brain cells, they said you were out of luck. Now we know better.
The science of personality has now undergone a similar shift. There’s long been a consensus that personality is unchangeable. With his new book, Benjamin Hardy has proven what I already knew to be true. You can shape your personality to fit the person you want to become.
I knew this because I went through a similar transformation. Growing up, I was shy and socially awkward. It often seemed like I had ‘no personality’ and was ‘too quiet’. Something had to change. I had no choice but to change my personality, because the one I had was holding me back.
Through consistent action, I’ve changed in a few ways:
- From shy to outgoing.
- From lazy to disciplined
- From apathetic to passionate
I’ve shaped my personality into who I wanted to become, and will continue doing so as long as I live. By reading Personality Isn’t Permanent by Benjamin Hardy, you can learn to shape your own personality as well.
““That’s the truth of personality. It’s not innate but trained. It can and does change. It can and should be chosen and designed.” – Benjamin Hardy
Five Takeaways From Personality Isn’t Permanent:
1. You Create Your Personality
“You don’t have to be limited by what other people say you can have or achieve. If you want to be more confident and creative, or more extroverted and organized, you can become any or all of those things. If you’re timid but want to become a powerful, bold, and inspirational leader, you can become that as well.” – Benjamin Hardy
You can change your personality to become the person you want to be. Your personality is not static – it constantly changes based on the situation. There is not even a scientific consensus on what makes up the personality. You create your personality by making conscious choices that reflect who you want to become.
Personality tests are also not as scientifically rigorous as they seem. Myers-Briggs was invented by two people who had no formal psychology training.
The most popular test online is the Big Five, which measures Openness, Extroversion, Neuroticism, Conscientiousness and Agreeableness. As Ben points out in the book, all of those are learnable skills, not static traits. Through conscious effort, you can move up or down the scale in any of those areas.
2. Make Choices Based On Your Future Self
“Who you want to be in the future is more important than who you are now, and should actually inform who you are now. Your intended future self should direct your current identity and personality far more than your former self does.” – Benjamin Hardy
Choose your personality based on who you want to be, not who you have been. People who think personality is fixed use their past as evidence. In fact, believing the past determines their personality keeps them stuck.
Instead, think about who you want to be in the future. What personality traits do you most want to develop? Who do you need to become in order to live the life you dream of? By considering these questions, you can build your personality in a more directed way.
“It’s best to make decisions based on what your future, not your present, self wants. It’s best to decide and act from the vantage point of your desired circumstances, not your present ones.” – Benjamin Hardy
3. Your Goals Create Motivation and Hope
“Your goals…shape your identity. Over time, and through repeated behavior, your identity becomes your personality.” – Benjamin Hardy
Transforming into your future self begins with a goal. Goals are more important than they seem. Even goals that start out small and vague are better than nothing. As you move in the direction of your goal, the end result will become more clear and specific.
In order to set inspiring goals for yourself, you must have the confidence to believe you can achieve them. Goals and confidence build on each other in a virtuous cycle.
By tackling goals you’re not sure you can accomplish, your confidence increases. The act of pushing your boundaries and facing bigger challenges leads to increased belief in what you’re capable of. Then you can set even bigger goals for yourself.
“Confidence is built through acts of courage. It takes courage to face the past, expose yourself to it until it no longer hurts, and change it. It takes courage to admit what you truly want with your life. It takes courage to attempt challenging goals, and to fail along the way.” – Benjamin Hardy
4. Self-Doubts Are What Hold Us Back
“It’s not the obstacles between ourselves and our dreams that stop us. Rather, we are stopped by our commitment to the idea – to the identity – that we can never actually achieve our goals. That we don’t have what it takes. Instead of committing to what we truly want, we commit our time and attention to lesser goals.” – Benjamin Hardy
One of our biggest obstacles is believing the outcome will be worth the effort. We fear that if we go all-in and fail, it will prove that we are not capable of achieving our goal. That keeps us going after easy goals that we know we can accomplish.
We can change this pattern by developing a growth mindset. Make the decision to believe you can accomplish anything. Then it’s just a matter of putting in the work.
The best way to move toward a big goal is by starting small. Taking one small step every day will create consistent progress and release dopamine in your brain. This trains your brain to enjoy the work and want more of it.
Once you receive consistent feedback on your work, you hit an inflection point. Suddenly your brain is being flooded with dopamine as you accomplish more difficult goals. You find yourself with a deep passion and excitement for your work. Now you have a real purpose.
5. Purpose Is The Best Fuel For Action
“However, when you’re driven by purpose, you’ll be highly flexible and you’ll make decisions irrespective of pain and pleasure to create and become what you want. Moreover, if you are serious about your purpose, it will change your personality. Your purpose isn’t something you discover, but something you ultimately choose for yourself.” – Benjamin Hardy
The key to accomplishing difficult goals is creating a sense of purpose. The idea that purpose is something you ‘find’ is a myth. In fact, you choose your purpose by where you put your time and effort.
By taking courageous action towards a goal that you find meaningful, your sense of purpose increases. Action and purpose feed into each other in a virtuous cycle. By taking small daily actions toward your goal, you increase the sense of purpose you get from the goal. The greater your sense of purpose, the more internally motivated you are to take action toward it.
Next Week: How To Change Your Personality
If this article resonates with you, check out Personality Isn’t Permanent by Benjamin Hardy. It has been phenomenal so far. Putting into practice what Ben shares in the book will lead to incredible results.
Just a reminder, here’s what we’ve covered so far:
- You create your personality, and can change it however you want!
- The best way to shift your personality is to keep your future self in mind and forget the past.
- Your goals create the hope and motivation in your life, and a direction to move in
- The biggest reason we fail at our goals is that we don’t believe in ourselves enough
- The best way to push yourself to take action is by having a powerful purpose behind it.
If you enjoyed this article, feel free to join my email list below! There will be an article released next week on the second half of the book, which focuses on the action steps required to change your personality. By joining the email list, you’ll be notified when it’s published!