14 Nov Small changes you can make to YOU to enjoy more happiness and a better life
Happiness often involves balancing a number of sometimes competing strategies.
For example, happiness partly involves changing what can be changed; but also accepting what can’t be changed.
Happiness is about being the real YOU; but also making changes to aspects of you that can be improved.
Changing who we are, or at least aspects of who we are, is not necessarily as hard as it might seem. Here are 20 small changes you can make that will lead to positives improvements…
via Inc.com by Jessica Stillman
Many people think of personality as something unchanging — you get a certain set of characteristics at birth and by and large you’re stuck with them forever. But science paints a very different picture. Give the same person a personality test as 14 years old and again at 77 and they’ll appear to be two completely different individuals.
But while it’s clear that personality is more malleable than many of us believe, that leaves an important question unanswered: can you control the drift of your character or are you captive to random experience and the biology of aging? Can you choose to change your personality or is personality evolution just something that happens?
A new study aimed to find out not only if you can shape your own character but exactly what it takes to do so. Its conclusions are good news for those of us who would like to be more outgoing or less neurotic.
The more you try the more you’ll change.
To understand the study it’s important to first have a little background on how scientists view personality. Forget all those Facebook quizzes and even popular typing tests like the Myers Briggs. They are little better than astrology.
Psychologists agree that the only valid way to measure personality is a framework called the Big Five. It measures each individual’s personality according to where they fall on five scales measuring our levels of extraversion (do you like hanging out with other people?), agreeableness (are you nice?), conscientiousness (do you do what you say you will do?), neuroticism (are you emotionally stable?), and openness (do you like new things?).
The study team wanted to know if people can actively choose to shift where they fall on one of those scales. To find out they recruited 377 student guinea pigs for a 15-week experiment, asking each one to identify some aspect of their personality they’d like to change. Most wanted to be either more outgoing (i.e. more extroverted) or less neurotic.
The students were tested on their initial personality and then given a set of tasks designed to push them towards their desired personality change. A follow-up test at the end of the study checked to see if they’d actually made any progress towards their goal.
Here’s what the researchers discovered according to the British Psychological Society Research Digest blog: “the more trait-consistent behavioral challenges that the students successfully completed, the more their personality traits shifted over the course of the study.” Or to put that in everyday language: the more you take action, the more you change.
Or as study author Nathan Hudson commented: “The single largest implication of our study is that actively engaging in behaviors designed to change one’s personality traits does, in fact, predict greater amounts of trait growth across time.”
What kinds of activities actually change your personality?
While it’s not a huge shocker to hear that simply wishing yourself a new, improved personality isn’t going to work, it’s good to know that concrete action to change your character really does pay dividends. But what actions should you take?
I emailed Hudson to ask for a list of the suggested interventions given to the study subjects. He sent back a massive appendix from the study listing a wide array of challenges, varying in difficulty from dead easy to agonizingly hard. Here are a few examples for the most desired personality changes. If you want to be more extroverted…
…keep reading the full & original article HERE