Until quite recently, it was believed that personality is permanent. William James, the renowned Harvard psychologist, wrote in 1890 that personality was “set in plaster” by early adulthood. And, that belief stuck until rather recently.

According to one study, we all have the ability to shape our own character. Though, you probably don’t need too much scientific evidence. Instead, just reflect on your personality throughout the years. I guarantee that you aren’t the same person as when you were 13, 29, or 68. I know for a fact that my personality has changed as I’ve gotten older.

Even though we know that personality is malleable, how exactly is personality measured? Psychologists agree upon that this is through a framework known as the Big Five.

The Big Five framework personality based on where they land on the five scales that measure the following levels;

  • Extraversion (do you like to be around other people?)
  • Agreeableness (how nice are you?)
  • Conscientiousness (do you keep your word?)
  • Neuroticism (can you manage your emotions?)
  • Openness (do you enjoy trying new things?)

Researchers have found that we’re not only capable of shifting where we fall on one of those scales, we can also change our personalities. The catch? You need to take concrete action.

To get the ball rolling, here are nine little ways to upgrade your personality.

1. Know the Difference Between Who You Are and Who You Want to Be

“The first step towards change is to recognize what you want to change. This requires self-knowledge. Next, you have to decide what you want the outcome to be, and then what the steps are that are the bridge between who you are or how you behave and who you want to be and how you want to behave,” according to April Masini, relationship expert, and popular media resource.

Self-improvement can be more efficient if we identify the qualities we wish to change or enhance so that we work towards adding or reduce the qualities to become who we want to be. The first step is to decide; the second is to evaluate, and the third step is to reflect and act.

2. Sharpen Your Conversation Skills

Possessing strong conversational skills doesn’t just prevent misunderstandings. It also allows you to connect with others, which in turn, will strengthen relationships. And, it can also make you more engaging and likable.

Best of all? It doesn’t take all that much to develop your conversation skills. Some ideas would be to read and write on a daily basis or strike up a conversation with a stranger. You could call a family member or friend who you haven’t talked to in a while.

Also, definitely improve your overall communication skills by;

  • Practice listening
  • Learn more about nonverbal cues
  • Record yourself, then watch and listen to the vid

And form your own opinions on important issues. However, if you don’t feel like getting into a heated debate, don’t feel pressured to do so. But, you should stand firm on the issues that matter most to you.

3. Be More Interesting

No, you don’t have to sip on a Dos Equis validating that you’re the most interesting person in the world. But, nonetheless, becoming more well-rounded will benefit you in the long run. And, you can do this by reading, picking up new hobbies, or meeting new people.

It is essential to possess deep knowledge so that others view you as insightful and interesting. Therefore, keep learning and growing by experiencing intangibles vigorously.

In the words of the otherworldly David Bowie, “I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.”

4. Prepare Responses and Questions

Have you ever had a conversation with someone and afterward thought, “Why didn’t I say this instead?” Maybe that’s just me. But, I’ve learned that having a couple of prompts prepared in advance can be extremely beneficial.

There’s no need to overwhelm yourself. Instead, keep it simple by having a handful of well-rehearsed and brief responses on the ready. This way when you’re asked, “What do you do for a living?” you have an instant and insightful answer.

If you’re going to a party or industry event where you’ll be meeting new people, have a list of questions you want to ask. Some questions you could ask are;

  • What’s your favorite type of music?
  • Do you like to cook?
  • What are you looking forward to in the next few weeks?
  • How to decompress?
  • What are three words your friends would use to describe you?

5. Don’t Be So Serious

Nobody wants to be around negative people, complainers, or those with no good to say. Rather, be the kind of person who lights up a room whenever you enter it. You can do this by practicing gratitude, smiling warmly, and looking for the best in people and things.

What’s more, introduce more laughter into your life. Not only do people enjoy being around these types of people, but it’s also good for your health and well-being. If you need a chuckle, watch a funny YouTube video, play with your pet, or read the funny pages.

6. Quit Social Media

This isn’t an option for everyone. A lot of us rely on social media for business. However, even limiting your social media can come with the following advantages;

  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Stops you from comparing yourself to others
  • You’ll have more time in your day
  • Encourages you to have in-person interactions
  • Prevents information overload
  • Protects your privacy and reputation
  • Reduces distractions so you’ll be more productive

Personally, I’m all for permanently quitting social media. At the minimum, though, you could remove the apps from your phone to reduce your exposure.

7. Be Encouraging and Supportive of Others

Supportiveness is one of the most endearing qualities that you can incorporate into your personality. Support others when they need you as much as you would welcome it. It’s always nice to have someone who is encouraging and helps pick us up when we’re down.

8. Project Confidence

“Successful people often exude confidence — it’s obvious that they believe in themselves and what they’re doing. It isn’t their success that makes them confident, however. The confidence was there first,” writes Dr. Travis Bradberry.

It’s true. As he elaborates, doubt breeds doubt. What’s more, you need the confidence to tackle new challenges and obstacles. But, how can you develop your confidence?

“To grow your confidence, it’s important to do an honest and accurate self-assessment of your abilities,” adds Dr. Bradberry. “If there are weaknesses in your skillset, make plans for strengthening these skills and find ways to minimize their negative impact.”

He also advises that you;

  • Don’t seek attention,
  • Seek out small victories.
  • Speak with clarity.
  • Take care of yourself through exercise and self-care.
  • Dress for success.
  • Become more assertive.

9. R-E-S-P-E-C-T

You should always respect others, as well as yourself. That means never putting others down. After all, someone else may have a different perspective and train of thought or look physically different than you.

Respecting others’ time is part of being considerate. How would you feel if you were supposed to meet someone at 1 p.m. and they didn’t show up until 1:30 p.m.? You would be furious, right?

The easiest way to be respectful of others’ time is not to overcommit yourself. Going back to having a meeting at 1 p.m. You wouldn’t plan another meeting at 12:45 since that would cause a Calendar conflict.

Image Credit: andrea piacquadio; pexels; thank you!