I really kinda thought I'd be a better person by now :(.
May 16, 2011 11:10 AM Subscribe
I've spent decades working on the same personal flaws, and despite clear goals and clever attack strategies, nothing ever seems to stick. Is it even possible to permanently "fix" specific aspects of one's character or personality? If so, how? and how long does it take?
posted by gallusgallus to Human Relations (27 answers total) 78 users marked this as a favorite
This is less a question about specific problems than a meta-query about just what it takes to make a long-term personal improvement in any area of one's character. One of the saddest things about heading into my thirties has been realizing all the annoying personal flaws-- shyness, indolence, anxiety, indecisiveness, disorganization, lack of self-discipline, etc., etc., etc.-- that tripped me up ten years ago are STILL present, more-or-less unchanged, today.
I've got reasonably good self-knowledge, a crystal-clear idea of the sort of person I'd like to become, and am lucky enough not to have any sort of past trauma or present hardship holding me back... and yet, somehow, despite plan after plan, strategy after strategy, nothing about me ever really seems to improve. On the contrary, some things have gotten worse! Clearly, I'm doing something wrong.
So, my question: if, over the course of your life, you've actually succeeded in improving your self (that is, in some fundamental characterological fashion, not just by quitting nail-biting or getting your B. A. or whatever), what sort of experience or training was responsible for making that improvement? I guess I'm looking for something like the 30-days-to-a-habit rule, except for personality: what kind of experience is actually needed to produce real change, and how quickly should one expect to see results?
Oh, and just to clarify, I'm talking about fixing normal levels of flawed-ness here, nothing pathological or requiring professional intervention. Thanks!