I can change!

I think people can change in many aspects of their life. Obviously habits and routines can be adjusted. Priorities can change. Opinions can change. Inputs can change. Associations can change. Positions and circumstances at large can change. I’ve experienced many of these changes myself over the years. Proof positive! Some happened naturally with almost no action required, while others required deliberate and sustained effort. And that lines up with a core philosophy that I’ve adopted, which is you are not your thoughts, opinions, etc since they are always subject to change. They are always in flux. Or maybe you can take a snapshot of yourself, and that really was you at that moment, but to think you’re not going to change is just silly. And to fight against the change, or hold yourself up to an ideal from the past, also silly. Swimming upstream there, good luck.

But when it comes to temperament, I am not sure if it’s quite so straight forward. As a review, temperament is what’s programmed into you through your genes. The 50% or so of your current personality that you were born with. The piece that you inherited through your genes. I go back to my OCEAN test, where the results indicated I was introverted and biased towards neuroticism. These are not the types of traits you find in successful business people or even the life of a small party, so I was upset. I was in denial for a while, and to be fair, I don’t think anyone should read the results of that type of test as gospel. But it certainly can be read as directionally accurate, and given how slanted towards these characteristics my results were, I can’t really deny it. And this opinion is re-enforced by my own life experiences too. I am anxious and introverted.

So after sulking for a while, I turned to the next logical turn – self-help! Can I make myself less anxious and more extroverted too? I think the answer broadly speaking is yes, but there is a cost of course. (NOTE – This is where I took a phone call and had a 50 minute break, more on this below.) How can you make yourself less neurotic? Meditation! And it does work, I feel like I’ve made big strides through a simple, 20 minute daily practice. And although there are many guides and meditation aides that are available nowadays, all you really have to do is sit and do nothing for twenty minutes. Eyes open or closed. And that’s all there is too it! From my perspective, the simple act of watching thoughts pass through your mind will help you realize that your mind is constantly racing. And you are usually left grasping, looking for something to hold onto! This process naturally led me to the conclusion that I am not my thoughts, because they are constantly changing. They aren’t a part of you, and there is no reason to get completely attached to them. To start ruminating on them. And there are certain other activities that you can use to bring down anxiety – namely getting some physical activity in everyday. Will you ever be able to get the anxiety to zero? No. And are some days worse than others? Yes. But the improvements are there to be had, and the gains are worth the effort.

In terms of becoming more outgoing, this has been more challenging. It feels like being an introvert, a home-body is more inherent to who I am. I genuinely get overwhelmed at large gatherings. And feel a huge amount of stress when getting up for a party or event, tying into my other deficiency noted above. But that’s not to say you can’t train and improve. Just like anything else, take away the unfamiliarity of the event and some of the apprehension will go out the door with it. You do need to overcome the fear of trying, and actually get practice reps in to improve though. Maybe getting the project off the ground is the hardest part. But if you have a game plan, and get enough repetitions, it will become more natural, and you will improve.

I have to be completely honest – I am struggling with this entry! I was unsure about what to write about from the jump, what’s new, I know, but I was interrupted by a phone call after about ten minutes, and I can’t get back into the right mindset I am thinking about it now, and I should have protected this window to write by screening the call. But it was from a friend of mine who I hadn’t talked to in a couple of months so I took it. Chatted for about an hour, and got back on the computer. I went on twitter before jumping immediately back into this which also was a mistake in hindsight. So there you have it. Putting all my cards on the table. I don’t want my last entry of the series to be a dud. Especially after setting such a high standard with the prior 29 entries! So I am proposing to write an extra, 31st entry tomorrow. A bonus for all my faithful readers. Ok, I just wanted to drop this in. I will publish this too, for the record, and I will try to wrap up as well. I think there is value for me in struggling through it, and I appreciate all of your bearing with me.

So you can change your temperament around the edges. You might not flip from one end of the spectrum to the other, but there are improvements to be made. It’s just going to take sustained effort and practice. But it’s all within your hands.

That brings me to another question though – should you be working to change your baseline? This goes back to an earlier entry about authenticity. If you were born that way, and you work really hard to change, are you being authentic? Maybe I am confused about the starting point from which you measure your authenticity. Is it from birth, or you at 20, etc, etc. I think it’s probably just semantics, and the question about whether you should allow the pursuit of authenticity to prevent you from self-improvement is silly. If you are highly neurotic by nature for example, you don’t gain anything by trying stay true to that. Seems fairly obvious. I think I am over-complicating things here. You don’t owe it to anyone to be stuck with the way you were. Nobody is keeping score except for you!

Another question, is there a point in your life (from an age perspective) when you should decide that putting in the effort to change no longer makes sense? Like the idea of diminishing returns. I won’t over-complicate this one. The answer is no. You can always improve, and the effort will always be rewarded, whether that’s directly or indirectly. Don’t let your age dictate whether or not you should try. Just do it.

Thanks for reading and I will speak to you all again tomorrow. 44 Minutes. 1388 Words.

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