Trying to achieve personal growth by transformation is tough. It may be wise to aim for incremental rather than dramatic changes to yourself.
It’s hard to fundamentally change ourselves. For example, do you often hear of dullards becoming brilliant, slackers becoming driven, the obese becoming svelte, the taciturn becoming charismatic, the procrastinator becoming highly productive?
Yet, fueled by the personal growth industry, we’re made to believe we can transform ourselves if only we make the effort… and perhaps pay $99.95…if you act now.
Yes, sometimes people do transform: One day, the substance abuser decides, “No more!” The layabout decides to grow up. The liar decides to be an honest person. But rarely is it a worked-on project. It seems to occur almost magically. For example, that substance abuser might have tried programs from AA to Zumba to no avail and then one day, simply decides s/he’s sick and tired of being sick and tired.
In my experience with clients and friends, I’ve found that, rather than aim for transformation, it’s wiser to accept your basic self and just tweak. Here are examples, none of which require a personality transplant:
- As a boss, romantic partner, or parent, more wisely decide when to be permissive or to set limits.
- Change bosses or workplaces but not career.
- Find a more compatible romantic partner or friend.
- Improve a skill, for example, a software program, your accent, your posture, gardening, running a theatre’s light and sound board.
- Become a more careful, caring, and tactful listener.
- Become neater and more organized.
- Become a better dresser
- Become smarter about money: a smarter shopper, budgeter, and investor.
- Try a new hobby.
- Improve your technique in bed.
Whatever the tweak, rather than take a course, it’s often wise to use some combination of self-study, a tutor, and watching masters, live or on video.
So, is there one tweak you’d like to make to your worklife? Your outside-of-work life? If so, what’s your first baby step toward making that tweak?