I’m currently reading a book called quiet. It talk about the unique strengths that introverts bring to conversations, such as deep thought, caution, thoroughness, etc. It also talks about how much a personality can stretch to be something it isn’t naturally. I want to talk about that briefly.
The initial theory is that personalities are rubber bands. They can stretch to include traits not naturally part of them, but only so far. I’ve thought similarly, though I felt there was more flexibility than the book implied.
However, some introverts can be very extroverted in certain situations, and some extroverts very introverted. This gave rise to the theory that there’s no established personality, just packaged situational traits. This theory has fallen out of favor.
A new theory has come around in recent years. It’s called free attributes, or something like that. It’s the idea that we have a core personality, but that we can pick up and develop new attributes for things that we love. If we care about something enough, we develop the personality traits that will nourish that thing.
An introvert who wants to live on acres of wilderness gives a lecture as animatedly as Tony Robbins. An extrovert scientist calms down and focuses intently in the lab. A curmudgeon uncle mellows out and is kind an loving for his favorite niece.
I like this theory. It give us the power to look at what we love, and then develop the personality traits that benefit those things.
Essentially, if you care enough about something you can actually change your personality. Not at its core, but you can add a module to it. I think that’s really cool