Can you change your personality? According to a new study, your personality in the first grade is a pretty strong predictor of your personality as an adult. The study measured four personality traits–talkativeness (verbal fluency), adaptability (coping well with new situations), impulsiveness, and self-minimizing behavior (being humble to the point of minimizing one’s importance) in children in the 1960s and then measured them as adults. They found that the personalities of the participants stayed nearly the same.
However, other scientists say that your personality can (and should!) change. Of course mental illness, addiction, and trauma can have a profound affect on personality, so can having great role models and teachers. In other words: you ain’t stuck!
If you have a personality trait that isn’t helpful or useful or is just plain annoying, you are most likely capable of change. So if you are socially clueless, overly talkative, boastful or aggressive, shy or self-deprecating, it’s okay to acknowledge that your personality might not be serving you as much as it could be.
Yes, go ahead and accept who you are. And then go ahead and make improvements. Religious/spiritual guidance, psychotherapy or just finding the right friend who can mentor you can help you transform yourself and help you get unstuck.
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Last reviewed: 9 Aug 2010