Do You Want To Change Your Personality?

change your personality

I used to be extremely shy in high school.

I was the quiet kid who always sat in the back of the classroom and never talked much. I had a small group of close friends that I enjoyed hanging out with, but I hated meeting new people. I was a terrible conversationalist and couldn’t talk to girls for the life of me.

Things are a little bit different now.

When I came to college, I joined a fraternity, which forced me to talk to girls on a weekly basis at “mixers” and parties and other types of social events.

I also worked at a calling center for a year between my freshman and sophomore year, where my job was to literally beg alumni and parents to donate money to the university.

And last semester, I signed up for an improv class where I made a complete fool of myself in front of 20 people every Thursday from 12-2 pm.

Because of these experiences, I’m now way more confident and social than I used to be in high school. I’ve realized that girls—even very attractive girls—are just people too; I’ve learned how to connect with people quickly in just a few minutes of conversation; and, I’ve gotten a lot better at thinking on my feet.

But, I’m still an introvert.

The Real Difference Between Introversion and Extroversion

It’s a common misconception that introverts can’t be social.

But, sociability actually has little to do with personality. Sociability is a behavior, which means that it’s a learned behavior, not something genetically ingrained in your DNA.

The real difference between an introvert and an extrovert is that extroverts gain energy from interacting with people, while introverts lose energy from doing this. [1]

So, as much as I enjoy hanging out with friends, it still drains my energy and I need to spend some time alone at the end of the day to recharge my batteries. My friend “Jeff,” an extrovert (and one of the most social guys I know), on the other hand, is the exact opposite—he can only be alone for so long before he’s dying to go out and socialize with people.

This explains why it’s easier for extroverts like Jeff to be social, but it has absolutely nothing to do with a person’s capability to be social. By the same token, even though I’m now fully capable (or, at least more capable) of being social, I’m still an introvert. And I always will be.

Can You Change Your Personality Type?

According to most personality type theories, the short answer is no, you cannot change your personality. If you’re born an introvert, you’ll die an introvert.

Most people will say that there’s no “best” personality type, that every personality has its strengths and weaknesses, depending on the circumstances. This is true—to an extent.

But, if you look at the most successful people in the world, it’s obvious that certain personality traits have proven to lead to better results than others. Just think of two or three people that you admire and look up to. Indubitably, they share some common qualities…

They’re confident. They’re optimistic. They’re driven. They’re patient. They’re resilient. They’re flexible. They’re composed. They’re conscientious. And many other things that we are not.

But, guess what? It’s not because they all have the same personality type. Just take a look at this infographic—there are successful people from every personality type, including yours.

Which can only mean one thing—they weren’t born this way. No, instead, they learned to develop these traits, just like an introvert can learn to be social.

You might not be able to change your personality type, but you are fully capable of changing your personality traits.

Your personality type is the core of who you are. It’s the foundation of the way you act and the way you think. But you can always build on top of a foundation. You can change the way you think and the way you act—even if it’s at odds with your genetically given traits. It isn’t easy, but it’s definitely doable.

So, it really doesn’t matter what your personality type is. It might be helpful to know what your type is (I’m INTP) so that you can know what areas you need to work on, but otherwise, it’s completely irrelevant. Instead of obsessing over your personality type, put your time and energy where it matters. Focus on changing what you can.

Start By Changing Your Environment

Here’s a great analogy about how people are able to develop traits that differ or even directly contradict their personality type:

Imagine that lights in your flat suddenly go off and you are in complete darkness. You may be able to navigate your way to the door, but what senses are you going to use? Touch? Hearing? Smell? It would be anything but vision, your preferred sense. However, as soon as the lights come back on, you will switch back to using vision again as it makes it much easier to navigate around the flat.” [1]

So, what’s the best way to change your traits? Change your environment.

Joining a fraternity, working at a call center, and taking an improv class were all different environments that forced me to behave in different ways.

In order to stimulate change within yourself, don’t wait for it to happen. Instead, put yourself in an environment that forces you to change. [2]

Will it be super awkward and uncomfortable and unnatural? Yeah, at first. But, sometimes you just have to fake it ’till you make it.

If I could do it, you can too.

Sources

1. http://www.16personalities.com/articles/is-it-possible-to-change-your-personality-type 

2. http://www.reddit.com/r/socialskills/comments/2euknl/is_it_possible_to_changealter_your_personality/

About Stefano

Stefano Ganddini

Hey there! I'm the creator of Collegetopia and the guy who writes all these articles. I'm here to help you live BIG, do EPIC shit, & be HAPPY. Click here to read more.

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  • Mike

    Wise beyond your years. I look forward to reading more of your posts, they’re inspiring and it’s always reassuring to know people are moving in the same direction as yourself. Thanks

  • Roy

    Beautifully said! Great advice for a fellow introvert!

  • CaptainP75

    Thanks for another fine article. The link to TED, and Amy’s talk about “Fake it, ’till you make it!” was inspiring.

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