We often why we're stuck.
Even when you may already know so much we can't seem to put our fingers on what's wrong. Now what if I told you your playbook and interpretaton of why you are and have been is the problem?
What if I showed you that you've lied to and lead the wrong for your entire existence. This is what the book Personality isn't Permanent seeks to do and does well. The book had a profound impact on me.
In fact I actually did find myself avoiding certain parts of it due to held up trauma and fear of facing it. Upon picking it up a second time, I ploughed through it and lossed track of time and life.
Here are my major insights I learnt you can put into action to change your life from today
You are not your personality - personality tests as labels are dangerous
Your personality is an effect, not a cause The primary causes shaping your personality are your goals and the identity and behavior that flow from those goals. For most people, personality is a reaction to life events, circumstances, and social pressures.
It isn’t intentionally designed. It isn’t questioned. It isn’t chosen. Fixed Mindset
So much of medieval and modern science has pounded into our heads the notion of us being fixed. We were born either one way or the other and our life will always be that way. Standardized testing in schools has trained us all to think like this. Many life altering decisions were made because of it and unfortunately suicides happen as a result of such labels.
And it's pleasing that we now have the science to compellingly debunk all of this.
While we may have natural predispositions towards certain behaviours and preferences, a lot of those can be unlearned or completely altered.
And it make a lot of sense. Think of one with a speech impediment who undergoes therapy for years and successfully overcomes it.
You could also simply look at individuals who went through traumatic life events such as Post Traumatic Stress disorder (PTSD) and have recovered from it.
Even (though now banned) gay conversion therapy where it was once believed being homosexual was a psychological disorder that had to be healed.
Our personalities were never fixed and have always been malleable. Modern science, cirricula didn't want to accept it as such.
You're responsible for your present circumstances (and can change it quickly if you decide to)
Your Goals Shape Your Identity
You will only be able to control your time and yourself when you truly determine what you want for yourself. Your goals must be consciously chosen and then fiercely pursued. Spending your days on activities leading you to something incredibly important, something you truly value, is how you live without regret.
It's so easy to blame. Blame government, blame the country you live in, blame your race.
But is that really the biggest thorn causing your struggle?
Sure oppression and heinous acts like the killings of George Floyd, Botham Jean (and the thousands that go unreported) happen daily. But as the book correctly points out, what shapes your identity are your goals.
The fact is we have a choice to decide how we feel right now. Try smiling for 10 seconds. Tell me you don't feel better.
Although many of us are unconscious of this and sleep walk through life, we have a choice to decide what we put our attention and what we tune out.
Having challenging goals and eliminating distractions that don't support them will give you control of you thinking.
It will ultimately give you the power to mold who you become.
Also how we perceive our past determines on whether we dwell on it.
I'm sure you've heard that life happens for us, not to us.
Where you take action from is impacted by how you view the world and yourself.
We quickly begin to alter our results that by making a commitment to the lives we really desire.
Not just in speech but in how we choose to live.
Just like someone who wants to lose weight completely but have since struggled over the years, now makes a choice eliminates sugar from the diet and changes their eating habits for good, due to a life threatening medical scare.
Or woman who wants to attract a mate, have children and get married works to improve her appearance, mannerisms and health. She doesn't want to end up childless and die alone.
Or a smoker who is very ill drops the bad habit after failing to do so for years.
He was worried he wouldn't live to see his grand-kids or die prematurely.
Most people need severe pain and hitting rock bottom to do anything meaningful they've want to.
What you really need it wholehearted commitment.
Confidence comes from past wins
We all love motivational videos just like drug addicts like crack and cocaine.
Numerous studies have proven excessive social media use and people who spend hours daily mindlessly surfing the web, have similar brain structures.
We have so much dopamine in our lives we couldn't imagine one without the addictions we now lean on.
However to develop real momentum and confidence, we must take a leap of faith. A leap of faith would be doing something hard.
That's why activities like exercise and meditation gives us a kick of energy (apart from numerous health benefits).
Confidence comes from momentum from past wins. Taking bold actions and seeing the gains from such.
Like flexing in the gym or a good day at work, our results make us feel great. And we therefore trust ourselves now to do even more.
The fulfillment comes not just from the end result, but from going through the process of the attainment.
The milestones and achievements you want will take effort, and you must learn to be okay with that.
It is that effort that will make it worth it, not just the thing itself.
You will value it more and also have gained lots of experience, and thereby confidence. This is how all great leaders are made.
That's why it's imperative you take action not based on your feelings but on your desired outcomes.
You can choose your past story and how you remember it
The past is history. What happens in the past stays in the past
You've heard all of these. And they're true to some extent.
Your past isn't something to be buried, but honored.
You also have a choice to choose how you interpret the events that transpired, whether positive or not.
Sure you can't go back in time but you can mold that impact it now has on you.
And we all have skeletons in our closets, things we deeply ashamed of.
Everytime you recall a memory you're changing it.
You may also not had closure or full perspectives on prior events which may caused your 'story' to be inaccurate or incomplete.
It could be the loss of a loved one, infidelity that broke up your marriage or relationship, losing a child or someone dying on your watch.
Bad things do happen. If not you to someone you know.
While they can be humbling, we must not let it completely define who we become.
You can choose what you learn from the past how that's framed.
We have trauma from little things too not just major events
One of the other surprise insights from the book is the area of trauma.
Often we associate traumatic events to distint calamitous life situations, but it can also be the small stuff.
A teacher telling you can't learn. You missing that penalty kick which lossed your team the championship.
Or getting fired.
The fact is trauma happens in varying degrees and can easily be amplified. It has a huge effect on our current actions and patterns of behaviour..
Unless identified and worked on, we won't be aware and subsequently won't heal from it and fully be free.
We can hold ourselves back because our bodies are used to so much negativity
We can hold ourselves back because our bodies are used to so much negativity
The biggest enemy is often the one within.
One of the reasons why change hard for most of us is that we're so used to our current comforts.
It feels safer sticking the same routines, same friends, similar beliefs and patterns.
We're always caught off guard when severe change hits us so we avoid any.
Often we're forced there and it's this avoidance that stifles our growth.
Even when presented with a clear opportunity and path for such a transition, we limit ourselves and revert.
...and then we blame the program or the coach or the book for being ineffective.
We hold ourselves back because our bodies are so used to so much negativity.
We refuse to try giving up the news for a week or staying off social media for a day or two or working on that major project.
To reach your goals and become they person you're truly meant to be you will face discomfort.
It's very important you're aware of your own limitations and potential for self-sabotage in order to go past it.
A compelling vision trumps willpower
Without a clear vision pulling us forward, life becomes about how much willpower you are able to summon every day. What I needed was a goal to direct my identity and behavior. I needed a target.
Living only on your willpower is like a construction worker dropping a heavy chainsaw on glass.
It may feel good to be taking massive action and on the grind, but without intention you get nowhere.
Your ladder is on the wrong building.
That's why those who constantly hustle often become miserable.
Even if they hit their goals, they're typically burnt out and it simply isn't sustainable.
Willpower is finite and you won't feel like doing stuff often.
However a compelling vision of your future outcomes will push you through.
Think of professional athletes. They're paid to train, and therefore apart from loving what they do, have another incentive to do it well and stay sharp.
When we lose sight of our payoff, our actions are devoid of meaning.
And we quit.
It's is more important to know how actions connect to what is it you want than is it to always feel like doing it.
As you make progress and it becomes a bit, you willpower will go up.
It's dangerous living your life without a vision of where you want to be 6 month, 6 years or 60 years from now.
You're prone to distraction and going off whatever looks shinny.
That's a guaranteed way to miss your goals and live a miserable life.
Think of how much time you're wasted you can't even remember where it went.
Think of all the unnecessary ordeals, arguments and conflicts you got into that gave you no return.
And yes, no one is perfect but the more clarity you have about what is it you're really working for, the quicker you course correct when something goes astray.
Whether that's to provide for your kids, to see them grow up successfully, to gain that promotion or to win the Pulitzer prize, having a compelling vision gives your life meaning.
Most people are too soft because they don't have enough responsibility and hot painful fire pushing them towards it.
That's why most self help doesn't work. It's often not the information but the person doing the implementing.
When you have a why stronger you'll find the how.
BONUS LESSON: You accelerate to the best version of yourself but intentionally designing your environment to reflect it
Your environment is everything. Even I underestimated the impact of it.
Despite your best intention, nothing sabotages your progress quicker than the wrong people in your ear. A discouraging spouse, abusive family member, dysfunctional relationships and many other ills will affect you. Even if you're managing, you're probably putting twice as much effort as you should.
It is crucial you design your environment in accordance with the outcomes you want.
Let go (or reduce) contact with those who do support you or have an ulterior motive.
The fact is most people actually don't want you to succeed. It would challenge them to improve since they now have to relate to you differently.
Everyone don't have to agree with you, but they must be accepting of who you're trying to become.
Like the author points out this also means being selectively ignorant about certain items and events. The news is such a suck of mental energy and desire.
While you still need to be informed, the negativity needs to be strictly managed in order to lead a healthy life.
Who you are is an amalgamation of what you feed your mind and what you allow yourself to be exposed to and must be managed.
Life really is about choices. While there's so much we can't predict and may throw us off path, we still ultimate have the power.
Be being clear and deciding on the desired outcomes we pursue, we have a much better shot at them. You must muster the courage to strictly deine who you want to be and walk that path or else you will walk somebody else's.
Bad things happens to everyone. But your good can only be decided by you...even if you're not there yet.