Today, I was asked by a colleague whether I believe that personality can be changed.
The question coincided with my explorations into how neuroscience and the theory of neuoplasticity is changing psychological theories, especially theories of personality.
To find out what the “traditional” view of personality is, I looked to the American Psychological Society. On its website it states: “Personality refers to individual differences in characteristic patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving. The study of personality focuses on two broad areas: One is understanding individual differences in particular personality characteristics, such as sociability or irritability. The other is understanding how the various parts of a person come together as a whole.”
My view is that personality is a stable pattern of thinking and behaviour (built over many years of thinking and behaving in ways that reinforce the pattern) and there are some things that have a genetic basis. But the research into neuroplasticity and the Rob Kelly Thrive program have shown me that any pattern can be changed with effort, belief, skills and resources.
So yes, I do believe that personality can be changed.
I’m sitting at my computer reading a colleague’s article about choosing our highest values. I know what I need to do today to serve my highest value of contribution, but the temptation to go down a rabbit hole and start searching and consuming tasty new information on the internet is so very strong. However, I know that every time I satisfy that craving, I am missing an opportunity to choose contribution over consumption and I’m also missing the chance to strengthen my mental choosing muscle.
Thanks to my colleagues for being there for me virtually, it really makes a difference.
I’ll just take a deep, mindful breath, get started with my work and see how I go.