Can people change over time?
People can sometimes not see or speak to each other for years because they have a certain perception of each other. Even after all these years, they keep thinking that someone has a certain character and people can’t change so the person will always stay that way.
But is that so? Are an individual’s character and personality innate and static? Research shows that someone’s character and personality are constantly changing.
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How does a person develop his character and personality?
There are certain aspects of a personality that are innate. The primary one, for example, is the fight versus flight principle. This means whether someone naturally wants to flee in a dangerous situation or to attack. But this innate natural mechanism only has minimal influence on a person’s character and personality.
Character and personality are developed through convictions
Convictions are the foundation of a character and personality. A conviction is guiding you in everything you do or don’t do. If someone is very strongly convicted of the importance of expressing an opinion, this will cause different behavior than the person who believes that modesty is a virtue.
In fact, your conviction can influence your performance as it can bring you to another state of mind. In an experiment, a group of students was divided into good and superior students and those who underperformed. Both were given the same test that they had to complete within the agreed time.
According to expectations, the good and superior students scored much better than the other group. They also finished earlier. Nothing seems strange about this unless you know what the students themselves did not know. The 2 groups were composed completely randomly.
Convictions influence behavior
Our behavior is constantly influenced by what we are convinced of. Broadly speaking, we can be convinced of something in 5 areas.
1. Beliefs about ourselves:
This is about, among other things, how good or bad we find ourselves and how valuable we find ourselves or not.
2. Beliefs about others:
Beliefs about others are about what we generally believe about people. For example, whether people are naturally social or not and whether people are always in the best interests of others or will always think of themselves first.
3. Beliefs about time:
Time can play a role in different ways when it comes to personality and character. If someone believes that time is always too short and that death is near, they will behave differently from someone who believes that there is always plenty of time for everything.
4. Beliefs about the world:
If someone believes that the world is a beautiful place and nature will always survive man, they will behave differently than someone who believes that man is more powerful than nature and can destroy it.
5. Beliefs about external powers:
The belief a person may have about external powers has to do with the extent to which a person believes he’s always or never lucky. It also has to do with believing in having influence. If someone is convinced that there is a divine power that has already determined everything, a different behavior arises than in someone who believes in self-determination.
Our convictions are constantly evolving
Our beliefs are constantly evolving as a result of what we experience, learn, and understand. Sometimes convictions become stronger and at other times they are weakened. This also changes our behavior and therefore our personality and character.
As we get older, most people learn that many of their strong beliefs may be deceptive. For example, people who are strongly convinced that you have to make yourself heard will find out that it is also important to be a good listener.
They level out their conviction and become milder in their actions. But of course, the other way around is also possible. People who always listen very well and rarely say anything can learn to express their opinion more often.
Dialogues and studies influence our beliefs
Without our own beliefs, we don’t know how to behave. We can’t check our behavior against anything. Everyone has their own set of beliefs, but by communicating with each other we align our ideas with each other. Even when opinions are miles apart, a healthy dialogue brings us closer to each other’s ideas.
Also reading about various topics and studying brings us new insights. After all, we can never know everything. Even everything about a specific subject is practically impossible. Investigating different perspectives on a specific subject influences our beliefs.
People are not machines
Contrary to what we sometimes want to believe, we are not machines. You’re not born with a personality or character, it evolves over the years. People are as flexible as elastic when it comes to who they are. The only thing that bends more difficult is the firmness of some convictions. That is also why it can be so hard to find yourself again
Therefore, if you haven’t seen or spoken to someone for years, make contact again. Who knows, all of a sudden the same person is standing in front of you, but with a completely different view of the world and himself. It all depends on which convictions have become stronger and which have become less strong.