TED Conversations

Alan Baban

This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

Will we choose our personality when we grow up?

From the day that we were born until the day we will die, we will see many characteristics inside us. We might be lairs for a while. Or, we might be honest for the other while. Why do people change their characters when they are in a circumstance that they do not like? Why do not we train our mind to be faithful? How should we act?

0
Share:
progress indicator
  • Dec 8 2013: No. You are overwhelmingly the product of societal conditioning. It's neither good not bad. If you wish to choose something freely you must gain a brutally open understanding of this conditioning. To search for it, observe how you constantly react in life.
  • thumb
    Dec 10 2013: When I was about 18 I read that most parts of the personality are crafted before the age of 20, then it's just refining those traits... So I thought "shit I only have two years to set my attitude straight, what kind of person do I want to be" I decided that I wanted to be as kind and loving as I could and I also decided that I would try my hardest to find any topic interesting, since I knew that you had to have an interest to learn new stuff.
  • thumb
    Dec 9 2013: Whatever we are "given" by birth, and by our upbringing, is our 'material' to work with in life. How we work with our 'personal material' and the result of that (for personality as well as other aspects) depends on the choices we make. The ever benevolent laws of the universe will ensure we have plenty of opportunities to choose again, ... and again, ... and again, ...
  • Dec 8 2013: Everybody has to live with his personality: his qualities and his faults. When you grow up, you often try to become better but I think it's hard to completely change. For example, a shy person will try to be more sociable because of his work or of his family. He can progress but he will probably never feel at ease in public. However, in some circumstances, he can find ways or tools to seem less shy.
    To conclude, I think that anybody can change his personality but the experience of life helps us to hide our faults. It can help us to use our personality too; because a fault can quickly become a quality.
  • Sarah T

    • +1
    Dec 8 2013: I think, short of a biological influence on your brain, you choose to be the person you are. I don't think most children possess the ability for self introspection, but adults do. Even choosing not to examine one's behavior and actions is a choice - and thus a choice to not change who they are. Other people devote their lives to self improvement via introspection.
    I am not sure what you mean when you ask why people change their characters when they don't like their circumstances. I don't think that's necessarily true. Some people may change, other may not, others may improve their character from hardship.
    IMHO, people who are not faithful, have simply chosen not to be. Regardless, I don't think there is any "should" in a way a person should act. A person should be the kind of person they want to be, in so far that it doesn't cause harm to others. Personally, I think people should strive to be happy. To be the kind of person that they are happy to be.
    This is of course more of a philosophical opinion than a scientific one, but that is how I see it.
  • thumb

    E G 10+

    • 0
    Dec 22 2013: That are good questions , and hard questions .

    It's hard to be faithful , especially in conditions that do not favorize us . That may be the first reason why we do not train our being to be faithful . The most people don't even think at trainning their being --- when this life offers you a way of life that satisfies you , it looks such normal and easy to take the life the way it is .

    That's why Buddha was great ---- a prince who left evrything and started working and trainning his mind and body to find a way to stop the human suffering .
    Most of the people (and that may include us too) are not like Buddha , not even close .

    We don't choose our personality , we're first born with some characteristics and then life models us ; we are free to choose but only within the limitations we live in .
    • Dec 24 2013: Buddha found out that the causes of suffering are craving and desire, and ignorance.
      The desire of self improving is still a desire and is fired by ignorance.
      What is ignorance ?
      - We don't know who we are.

      Edited

      You say "Some people may embrance the idea of no free choice and you'd call them pesimists "

      It depends, probably, i wouldn't. It can be a very, very wise person.
      • thumb

        E G 10+

        • 0
        Dec 24 2013: Basically what it seems you're saying is that Buddha's philosophy is circular :
        Since we don't know who we are , we have the desire of self-improving --------------- it means that the very thing Buddha tries to eliminate (ignorance and thus suffering) is the very thing that makes us want to eliminate it .
        Or : we need to have to desire not to desire and thus the result will be no suffering .

        Well , I'm not quite sure Buddha's philosophy is like that . I think he realized that the things that determine us to take actions towards good reasults are good themselves , which means that rather the wish to know is the one that dermines us to eliminate the ignorance , is the one that fires in us the desire of self-improving and not the ignorance itself . We don't wanna be better because we're ignorant , we wanna be better because there is something good in us already besides ignorance .

        Buddha wasn't against desiring and carving , he was against desiring and carving evil things . He didn't shot himself in the foot , and that's for sure . (at least according to my understanding) . Yes , he predicted that after we follow the noble truths we will reach a state of enlightment, a state of deep understanding that will bring peace upon us ; but this doesn't mean he was against desiring and carving , it only means we will know how to desire and what to desire better than anytime before .

        edited

        Wise persons can be pesimists , can't they ?
        • Dec 26 2013: I am not an expert, really, but as far as i know the buddhist understanding is that good and evil are innate, inseparable aspects of life. This view makes it impossible to label anything as "good" or "evil."
          It's separation of good from evil that leads to the circular reasoning for one thing can be only defined by the other.
          What is Good ?
          Good is the absence of Evil.
          What is Evil ?
          Evil is the absence of Good.
          You see ?
          BTW, the notion of free will came from christian ethics, for only free can be guilty and then redeemed. Eastern philosophy in general doesn't play with this notion , it embeds you more. You are in the flux , you are not good or bad , you are unique one.
          Something like this...it's the way i understand it now , it doesn't mean that it's true :)

          "Wise persons can be pesimists , can't they ?"

          Wise people are neither pessimists nor optimists , but peaceful.

          Thanks for responding !
      • thumb

        E G 10+

        • 0
        Dec 26 2013: I see and you're right , the buddhist understanding is that the good and evil are innate , inseparable aspects of life , but it doesn't mean that it's impossible to label anything as 'good' or 'evil' . The notions of good and evil still make sense to us as well as to the buddhists . We and any buddhist can understand them , can't we ?
        The ultimate understanding of life requires faith , no matter of religion , but as long as we remain within our limits or if you want within the reach of reason ,we will see the same image from any angle we will look . Within our limits , without that ultimate understanding provided by buddhism , I think that's what Buddha said .
        The christian ethics is about both free will and determinism . As long as we stay within the reach of reason the understanding of buddhism can be conveyed in the terms of the christian ethics just fine .

        Peaceful persons can be optimist or pessimists , csn't they ?


        Thank you for responding !!!
  • thumb
    Dec 20 2013: I am a bit confused by your statement 'Why do people change characters...' and wondering if you are using 'personality' and 'character' as freely interchangeable. They are fundamentally different.
    Nicest of personalities can be backstabbing bastards. A person with an excellent charecter can be having the personality of a wet rag.
    There are some acting schools (theater) that believe that an actor should have no or little character like a blank canvas where characters (roles) can be built for for a play. When done, such charterer can be stripped off to 'wear' a new one.
    How to train our mind when we do not know where to put our faith on?
  • Dec 19 2013: You can only become what your environment ( in the most inclusive sense of the word ) wants you to become. You can easily mistaken its powerful demand for your own choice, actually, it's meant to be this way.It's neither good nor bad, it's how existence runs its business.
    As for you, you don't have to become anything , you are already everything.:)
    • thumb
      Dec 19 2013: i consider this a very pessimistic view. there must be at least some free choice.
      • thumb
        Dec 19 2013: I think there is, this is an inspiring example. http://youtu.be/I9HDVoi6n0g?t=1m58s
      • Dec 20 2013: Sure, there must be, but nobody knows how free choice looks like :) I can only tell you why i think it must be here. The world is obviously deterministic, but it's a dual world, so free will must exist to balance its deterministic appearance. Maybe it's like an ubiquitous glow or just little sparks but of such magnitude that it's enough to keep this reality from falling apart. We don't know how and when but we do choose ...
        Frankly, sometimes it seems to me that i 'know' how it all works, but i can't tell. Or it just seems to me :)
        • thumb

          E G 10+

          • 0
          Dec 22 2013: There is some free choice and at the same time there is some determinism . There isn't absolute free choice or absolute determinism , not for us at least .
          Some people may embrance the idea of no free choice and you'd call them pesimists eventually , some may embrace the idea of free will ; the truth in my opinion is that there are both free choice and determinism within certain limits .
          Nature is peculiar but that's the way it is and we should accept it .
  • thumb
    Dec 18 2013: how about a metaphor? some people don't like them. but i do. so here we go.

    can we choose our location? we can not just wish to be somewhere, and miraculously appear there. but we can start to walk. or run. or ride. or drive. if we work hard enough, if we are lucky enough, and if we have the appropriate means, we might get there. but it is not sure. failure is a possibility.
    • Dec 19 2013: Have you ever noticed that you are running on a treadmill ? :)
      • thumb
        Dec 19 2013: so you don't notice any progress in my personality?!?! :)
        • Dec 20 2013: I did, at once :)
          You say you like metaphors, it's new, i guess. But you failed to produce it. Please, no offence ! But what goes after " so, here we go " looks more like an accurate description of our cultural conditioning then a metaphor for choice.
          But it's OK, at the end of the day it's not the result that matters , but the intent.
          Be well !
  • thumb
    Dec 18 2013: I think it's just instinct, and I do believe that we will choose our personality when we grow up. I think one of the reasons why we change our personalities is because we are not quite sure yet how we want to be, if that makes sense. Some personalities change because of specific experiences that have occurred in life.
  • Dec 11 2013: Ask a person who went into combat. Some have a personality as a civilian, then during training another personality develops, but really changes in combat. When they return, it is difficult to fit back into civilian life with the personality developed in combat. I do not mean ptsd.
  • thumb
    Dec 10 2013: I have read that the basic personality of a child is pretty much set by the age of 5 to 7. In my own children and grandchildren that is pretty much as I saw it. Persona is an individual's projection of their sense of self survival. So, through life, a person may lie or cheat or steal or be generous to a fault, honest or truthful as circumstances permit.
  • Dec 9 2013: People tend to develop our personalities based on many things such as circumstance, experience, etc. One of the reason that people change their characters when they do not like their circumstance is because that is one of the way to run away from the fact that you are in the place that you do not like. In addition to that, people would likely have to adopt their circumstances so that they could fit in.
  • thumb
    Dec 8 2013: Are you asking why people change their behavior and outlook in relation to the circumstances in which they find themselves? One characteristic of species is adaptation to environments, with the primary goal, for example, of being safe. Over time, and depending on the species, living things also seek to perpetuate their own species, or once we get to humans, to pursue other aspects of quality of life.

    People weigh different goals differently and also differ in how heavily they weigh short term benefits against long term benefits. To the extent that actions and decisions about attitudes involve thinking about them in advance, which they sometimes do and sometimes don't, people will assume different attitudes and take different actions depending on the priorities in their lives at the moment and over time.