Contrary to what you may think, you can improve your personality! Until quite recently it was believed that personality is permanent.
In 1890 William James, the famous Harvard psychologist, wrote in his influential work The Principles of Psychology, that personality was “set in plaster” by early adulthood.
This view prevailed for over a century; however, the idea that personality is more fluid has gained ground over time. We are now at the point where we realize that we have influence and control over which traits and characteristics we want to develop or refine.
What is Personality?
The personality is the typical pattern of thinking, feeling, and behaviors that make a person unique.
When we say that someone has a “good personality” we mean that they are likeable, interesting and pleasant to be with.
Everyone wants to be attractive to others. To that end, having a good personality is vital – probably even more so than good looks. In fact, approximately 85 percent of your success and happiness will be a result of how well you interact with others. Ultimately, it is your personality that determines whether people are attracted to, or shy away from you.
While we can only enhance our looks to a certain extent, we have the ability to improve the personality as much as we want. We can develop or integrate any trait we deem fitting and agreeable.
Here are someways we can accomplish this:
1. Be a better listener.
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis was considered one of the most charming women in the world because she cultivated the skill of being an exceptional listener. She was known for the way she would look a person in the eyes, hang on their every word, and make them feel important. There is nothing more appealing than having someone listen to you intently making you feel like you’re the only person in the world.
2. Read more and expand your interests.
The more you read and cultivate new interests, the more interesting you are to others. When you meet new people it gives you the opportunity to share what you know and to exchange your views with them.
3. Be a good conversationalist.
This relates to how much you read and know. Once you have much to contribute, learn how to talk about it with others. No one can read about or know everything, so it’s refreshing to learn from others those things we don’t have the time to about read ourselves. If you happen to be shy, join a group like Toastmasters that encourages you to talk about what you know.
4. Have an Opinion.
There is nothing more tiresome than trying to talk to someone who has no opinion on anything. A conversation has nowhere to go if you have nothing to expound on. If, however, you have an uncommon point of view or differing opinion, you are more interesting and stimulating to be with socially (unless you’re a know-it-all, of course). A unique outlook expands everyone’s perspective.
5. Meet New People.
Make the effort to meet new people especially those unlike you. It not only exposes you to different cultures and alternative ways of doing things, it broadens your horizons.
6. Be yourself.
The next most tiresome thing after having no opinions is trying to be something you’re not. Molding yourself in order to fit in, or be accepted, usually backfires. Since each of us is unique, expressing that uniqueness is what makes us interesting. Attempting to be a carbon copy of someone else not only falls flat, but reveals a lack of authenticity.
7. Have a positive outlook and attitude.
Who wants to be around people who are negative, complain a lot, or have nothing good to say? In fact, most of us run when we see them coming. Instead, be the kind of upbeat person who lights up a room with your energy when you enter it. Do it by looking for the best in people and things. Smile warmly, spread good cheer, and enliven others with your presence.
8. Be fun and see the humorous side of life.
Everyone enjoys the company of someone who makes them laugh, or smile, so look for the humorous, quirky side in a situation – there always is one. Comic relief is a much welcome and needed diversion at times. When you can add fun and lightheartedness to an otherwise dull or gloomy setting, others will naturally be attracted to you, not to mention grateful.
9. Be supportive of others.
Being supportive is probably the most endearing quality you can integrate into your personality. Just as you yourself welcome it, be the support for others when they need it. We all love a cheerleader in our corner; someone who is encouraging, believes in us and helps pick us up when we’re down.
10. Have Integrity and treat people with respect.
Being honest and true to your word will bring you the admiration, respect and gratitude of others. Nothing improves a person’s personality more than integrity and respect – respect for others, as well as respect for yourself.
We humans have the power and ability to shape our personalities however we wish. When we develop ourselves to be all that we can be, we contribute to our own, as well as the happiness of others.