Can Personality Change? Can I Change Mine?
If you’re watching life from the sidelines you’ll notice a clear pattern with the people who have the social lives you want.
They all have personality. Whether they’re big and loud in a group or just among the audience they all have something unique to them.
How about you?
Can you change your personality?
If you’re the quiet one at the party. The one who stays quiet in groups of people and laughs along with others.
Can you change and become the loud and outgoing one?
Can you become the type of person everyone likes?
Not long ago conventional psychology would say no. An outdated study said “you are what you are”.
Your personality is based on experiences when you’re young and the people that raised you.
For a while we bought this without really thinking about it.
Then along came a study out of Manchester and the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
Eventually someone realised how much nonsense this old way of thinking was.
People change all the time. It doesn’t happen overnight but it happens every single day.
Your personality is made up of many things. Yes, your childhood and previous experience is a part of that.
But your experience today is going to shape it.
Your experience tomorrow is going to shape it.
Your personality is in constant flux. It’s going to change whether you want it to or not.
But then comes the real question we get at groups all the time.
How to Change Your Personality from Shy to Outgoing:
We get asked about making your personality more attractive to people. Making it easier to find friends. Easier to get a social life.
It’s entirely possible.
But you might consider a change of perspective.
You don’t need to worry so much about your personality. As you do the things you enjoy you’ll evolve the personality you want.
But that’s easy for me to say isn’t it.
If you didn’t have to question your personality then you probably wouldn’t be here in the first place.
What you DO need to do is get yourself in a position where you’re able to do this.
And it’s not as hard as you might think.
The question isn’t really can your personality change.
The question is what is stopping your personality from changing naturally right now.
Most people don’t worry about their personality because it’s a part of them. It changes as they do.
But shyness has a way of restricting that.
If you’re shy. If you’re introverted. Your brain goes into full “lock down” mode.
It’s an outdated self defence mechanism. Left over from when the lower level of your brain needed you to blend into the crowd.
It learned to think that anything which makes you stand out is dangerous.
So any time you have an opportunity where you would otherwise be yourself – your brain is shutting you down.
It might make you sweat. Panic. Mumble. Panic at the idea of being the center of attention.
This is your brains way of saying “GET THE HECK OUT OF HERE”.
Because it thinks you need to.
It’s not giving you a chance to grow and develop your personality because it panics before you even get that far.
It cuts the legs out from under you before you get going.
You know the really annoying part?
The part of your brain doing this to you is about the size of an almond.
So how do we deal with this almond?
Pretty simple actually.
Shyness and social introversion is a learned behaviour. Your brain has learned to suppress your personality.
We just need to show it that there’s nothing to be afraid of any more.
Once you do this you’ll find your personality just naturally evolves to help you be the person you want to be.
Whatever you do – do us both a favour. Don’t be one of those people who only get this far.
Yes. You can learn how to change your personality. But you have to actually do something with this information. You need to actually act on it.
Too many people just like the reassurance of knowing they can do something about it. Sometime. You know, when they get the time.
But the longer you leave it – the harder it will be to sort later.
If you’ve read any of the other shyness guides or been to any of the groups I’ve led you’ll know I’m not one to beat around the bush.
I’m not going to tell you it’ll be fine.
You’re not a special little snowflake in this wonderful world and your personality is amazing.
If you’re here it’s probably because you don’t have the life you want.
I was in exactly the same position. I was unhappy.
And it took me far too long to do anything about it. My only regret in all of it was how long it took me to do anything about it.
The sooner you start working on it the better.
Part of learning to overcome shyness and change my quiet personality involved a lot of reading and studying. In fact a lot longer than I’d like to admit these days.
(Don’t worry – you won’t need to go through as many books as I did).
But the study of personalities themselves was something which did really interest me at the time. Partly, of course, because I wanted so desperately to be able to change mine. But also because we actually understand so little about these things which shape so much of our lives.
The five main traits of personality are generally agreed to be:
I don’t think any of us are surprised to see extroversion there. But all of these aspects can be moulded by shyness and social anxiety. A great interview from the Wall Street Journal a while ago featured a Psychologist trying to explain the many faucets to a reporter and obviously without the time frame to do it. It’s a hard subject to sum up in 60 seconds when there’s so many intricacies to it.
Here is someone who set out to change their personality to improve their life and a guy who studies it saying it’s perfectly possible. He is entirely right when he says you can’t set unreal expectations and hope your personality if going to change overnight. We have actually had people come up and ask us about making huge changes to their personality overnight.
Trust me. I get the powerful urge to want to make that change. And it is a good thing. You have to really want to change. You’ll need that drive because nobody else is going to take responsibility to change you.
But this is something you’re going to have to work at. It’s something you can see results for fairly soon if you’re focusing on making these changes but you’re going for the long game if you’re planning to get to the point where being the outspoken extrovert is second nature to you.