Book Review by Kristen Cudd
Most of us view our personality as the “real and authentic” version of ourselves. We believe that personality is something that we are born with and it cannot be changed. We spend our lives in pursuit of discovering who we are and then we make life-altering decisions around that information.
The idea that we are “hardwired” and “unchangeable” is untrue. The notion that we are merely products of our past experiences with no choice in who we become is false. New data proves this. Author, organizational psychologist, and a #1 ranked writer on Medium, Benjamin P. Hardy argues that “personality doesn’t matter.” It is not the core of a person’s being. Rather, it is “surface-level, transitory, and a by-product” that can be changed.
In Personality Isn’t Permanent, Hardy shows readers how to become who they want to be, no matter where they have been. It teaches why people get “stuck in unhealthy patterns” and provides “actionable strategies for proactively” creating a new life that is chosen intentionally.
Intentional Identity Design
Your current self and your future self have different identities. Hardy says that ideally, your future self should be evolved, doing things differently and better than your current self. People get “stuck in a story” about who they are and it limits their potential. In order to intentionally design a future self, you have to view that “future self as a different person.”
Like any goal setting exercise, visualization is key to the process of realizing a different future. There must be a “someone” to work towards becoming, and then deliberation action must be taken toward the goal of becoming them. The future is inevitable. Who you are when you get there is entirely up to you.
Hardy recommends undertaking a specific process in order to design your future self. It begins by spending time carefully considering the details of who your future self is going to be. From there, you must choose “one major goal or outcome that would make your future self possible.” This single goal must be “measurable, definable, and visualizable.”
Why does Hardy say you should choose one goal only? “One goal creates focus. Focus creates momentum.” Every decision you make will be shaped by this focus on one goal. A positive loop will begin where you will develop skills that move you towards your goal and your confidence will increase as result. “By aggressively pursuing it and actively achieving it” you will also start accomplishing “everything else you are trying to do.” With each subsequent step in the right direction, the positive changes will spread until “your whole life will be changed.”
Reframing Your Narrative
We all create “stories to shape the meaning of our experiences.” Too often we get locked into the stories of our past instead of writing new stories for our future. Hardy teaches “how to reframe your narrative.” Your past is a part of you, but it is not who you are. You can use your past to move forward rather than letting it hold you back.
As far as your mind is concerned, “the past, present, and future are all happening right now.” The stories we know about ourselves are actually constantly evolving and changing based on the experiences we are having now. “Facts” can’t change, “but the story you tell yourself about those facts absolutely can and does.” You can rewrite those historical stories, omitting and ultimately, forgetting “certain facts that once played a dominant role in your story.”
In order to change your future you must change how you view your past. Fundamental to this process is being able to take a past experience that you labeled as negative and “reframing” it as a positive experience. Reframing your narrative creates a new future for yourself as well as a new past. By “flipping the script” on these past negative experiences and focusing on what you have gained from those experiences rather than what they have caused you to lose, you become intentional. “Everything in your past has happened for you, not to you.”
People who feel stuck or discouraged attempting to make big changes to their life will find methods to move forward on a path of their own creation in Personality Isn’t Permanent.
Kristen Cudd is a Contributing Writer at Soundview. She spent seven years in publishing working with business book authors. She loves sharing her viewpoint as a contributing writer for various publications across multiple niches. Her other reviews can be found here.
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