1-Sentence-Summary: Personality Isn’t Permanent will shatter your long-held beliefs that you’re stuck as yourself, flaws and all, by identifying why the person you are is changeable and giving you specific and actionable steps to change.
Read in: 4 minutes
Favorite quote from the author:
Do you know what your Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is? What about your Enneagram number? We all love to get results from personality tests. It’s fun to compare and see which celebrities and friends of yours have the same as yours.
But personality tests are harmful because they keep you from reaching your full potential.
What?! You’re thinking I must be crazy. You love clinging to what you think your personality is because it describes you so well. How could it be holding you back?
The truth behind these tests is that they keep you from having a growth mindset. They make you think that this is who you are, have always been, and always will be.
But that’s false. You can change, improve, and have the life you’ve always dreamed of. All it takes is letting go of your beloved personality type results.
Dr. Benjamin Hardy is here to teach us why this is true and how to do it in his new book Personality Isn’t Permanent: Break Free from Self-Limiting Beliefs and Rewrite Your Story.
Here are the 3 biggest lessons I’ve learned from this book:
- There are five destructive myths about personality that lead to mediocrity and support the fixed mindset that holds you back.
- Your goals determine your personality and are the tool you need to change your identity.
- No matter who you’ve been in the past or who you are now, you can upgrade how you see yourself and transform your future.
After this, you’re going to want to shred your MBTI test results so you can become your best self! Let’s go!
Lesson 1: Your fixed mindset holds you back and makes your life mediocre because of the five destructive myths of personality.
Science and the many experiences that Hardy shares in the book prove that people can and do change. You know that you want to improve your life, but believing that your personality is fixed is damning your progress.
Here are the five myths of personality that keep you from being your best self:
- You can categorize personality into “types.”
- Your personality is ingrained and unchangeable.
- What happened to you in the past determines your personality.
- You have to discover your personality.
- Your personality test results describe who you really are.
Let’s briefly dive into these and discover why they’re false.
Type-based personality tests aren’t scientific. It’s a gross misrepresentation of the complexity of what it means to be human to think we can categorize people into types.
Additionally, research shows that your personality changes dramatically over the years. Think about who you were 10 or 20 years ago and you’ll realize how true this is.
You think your personality is permanent because of past traumas, the identity you think you have, your subconscious, and your environment. Our perception of historical events changes over time, so why can’t the way we think about ourselves?
George Bernard Shaw perfectly captures the meaning of myth four in this quote:
“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
And finally, the last myth is destructive because trying to be “true to yourself” keeps you from being flexible and learning to change.
Lesson 2: You can change your identity and personality through setting goals.
Every action you perform has a purpose. Another word for purpose is goal.
And whether you consciously think of them or not, your goals determine your identity.
Andre Norman’s experience of getting into Harvard after 14 years in prison is the perfect example of this. Once his decisions in his teenage years got him locked up, all Andre wanted was to climb the prison hierarchy by killing.
But after what he calls a revelation from God, he questioned his goals, upgraded them to be healthy, and changed his personality.
Goals drive every decision you make. To find out the aims you want to have to change your personality, look at three sources:
Open your eyes to the possibilities around you. Get more experiences to see what the world has to offer. In the wise words of Hardy himself:
“You can’t make decisions and choices if you don’t know they exist.”
Next, your desires are important because you don’t do anything if you don’t want it. If what you want isn’t healthy right now, train it by actively changing it to what you know is healthy.
And lastly, you need to have confidence that you can accomplish your goals or you won’t even consider them. Go beyond your current comfort zone and be willing to fail if you want to break free of what limits your courage now.
Lesson 3: You can improve the way you view your personality and change your future, regardless of where and who you’ve been in the past.
A young man named Nate always struggled with his weight as did his whole family. Seeing the health problems his parents were having, he asked himself some life-changing questions:
“What will my future be like if I continue to struggle with my weight? At age seventy, what will I be like?”
Connecting with your future self isn’t always easy. But considering whether or not you want to keep your current reality for decades makes things a lot more clear.
There are four steps to help you identify the future you want. The first is to carefully analyze the future you don’t realize that you’ve consigned yourself to.
Picture your life at age seventy. Are you okay with the way things turned out?
Next, you can write your own biography as if you’d already lived your whole life. Freewrite and begin by asking yourself:
- What were the major events?
- How do people remember your life?
- What were your accomplishments?
Then imagine what your future self is like three years from now. Ask and journal about these questions:
- What is a typical day like?
- What’s your work like?
- How are you different than you are now?
The last step is to simply tell your new story, to others and yourself, as if it was already your reality.
Personality Isn’t Permanent Review
Personality Isn’t Permanent is changing my life. I say changing because I’m going to re-read this book as much as I can to change! I’ve summarized over 200 books so far and this has been the very best one about how to improve your life.
Who would I recommend the Personality Isn’t Permanent summary to?
The 26-year-old victim of child abuse that believes they can’t change, the 57-year-old that thinks the best years of their life are over and is miserable about it, and anyone that still thinks that their personality test results are permanent.