BOOK REVIEW: Personality Isn’t Permanent
by Benjamin Hardy, Ph.D.
ABOUT THE BOOK (from Amazon):
Psychologist and bestselling author Benjamin Hardy, PhD, debunks the pervasive myths about personality that prevent us from learning—and provides bold strategies for personal transformation
In Personality Isn’t Permanent, Dr. Benjamin Hardy draws on psychological research to demolish the popular misconception that personality—a person’s consistent attitudes and behaviors—is innate and unchanging. Hardy liberates us from the limiting belief that our “true selves” are to be discovered, and shows how we can intentionally create our desired selves and achieve amazing goals instead. He offers practical, science-based advice to for personal-reinvention, including
- Why personality tests such as Myers-Briggs and Enneagram are not only psychologically destructive but are no more scientific than horoscopes
- Why you should never be the “former” anything–because defining yourself by your past successes is just as damaging to growth as being haunted by past failures
- How to design your current identity based on your desired future self and make decisions here-and-now through your new identity
- How to reframe traumatic and painful experiences into a fresh narrative supporting your future success
- How to become confident enough to define your own life’s purpose
- How to create a network of “empathetic witnesses” who actively encourage you through the highs and lows of extreme growth
- How to enhance your subconscious to overcome addictions and limiting patterns
- How redesign your environment to pull you toward your future, rather than keep you stuck in the past
- How to tap into what psychologists call “pull motivation” by narrowing your focus on a single, definable, and compelling outcome
The book includes true stories of intentional self-transformation—such as Vanessa O’Brien, who quit her corporate job and set the Guinness World Record for a woman climbing the highest peak on every continent in the fastest time; Andre Norman, who became a Harvard fellow after serving a fourteen-year prison sentence; Ken Arlen, who instantly quit smoking by changing his identity narrative; and Hardy himself, who transcended his childhood in a broken home, surrounded by issues of addiction and mental illness, to earn his PhD and build a happy family.
Filled with strategies for reframing your past and designing your future, Personality Isn’t Permanent is a guide to breaking free from the past and becoming the person you want to be.
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This was the absolute best book I could have picked to kick off a new year!
I actually love personality tests. We’ve done the DiSC and Kolbe assessments at my work. I think they’re really helpful in getting to know yourself better and how you work with other people.
But, in his book, Personality Isn’t Permanent, Benjamin Hardy definitely makes you think differently about those kinds of assessments. Personality tests can be limiting, and it’s important not to let them prevent you from creating the life you are meant to live.
“When you decide who you’ll be and the life you’ll live, you can have anything you truly want. You can become an outlier. You can have experiences that not only shock other people but shock yourself ”
Hardy focuses a lot on “trauma” which, to be honest, I found a little hard to get my head around. We tend to think of trauma as major incidents that cause PTSD. However, what he means by trauma is: failures and missed opportunities. It can be a much smaller scale — anytime someone or something made you feel bad about something that now limits you in some way.
He gives the example of a woman whose teacher corrected her drawing something like 40 years ago, and this incident stuck with her her entire life. It made her feel like she was not capable of creating art and so she never pursued it, despite a deep inner desire to illustrate children’s books.
Throughout the book, I had to keep thinking about what trauma may have occurred to me that could be holding me back in some way. I realized public speaking is probably my thing. There wasn’t a specific incident of a person making me feel bad, it’s just a fear of mine. I shy away from it. “I’m not good at public speaking,” is an excuse I tell myself and others. My personality tests confirm that this is not one of my strong suits. I am a heads-down, behind the scenes kind of worker, not an Influencer (on the DiSC scale). If public speaking were necessary for growth in my career, then this is the type of self-limiting belief that would hold me back from becoming who I’m truly meant to be.
Hardy talks a lot about journaling:
“Your journal is a brilliant place to actively convince yourself, emotionally, that what you want is already yours—you influence yourself through strategic communication”
In every chapter, he provides self-reflective questions to answer in your journal. This is very helpful for the reader to apply what they’re learning as they read the book.
Personality Isn’t Permanent is a very motivational read! I definitely recommend this book for anyone interested in personal development and growth.