I did a radio interview this week and I was asked a question about whether or not people should accept their nature? In the personal development space it’s easy to believe that the whole quest is really about becoming someone different to the person you are right now. To an extent that is true. It is not so much about becoming a ‘different person as it is about becoming more fully who you already are. For complex reasons many of us go through life with all sorts of defences and systems to gain the approval and acceptance of others. True personal development therefore is about letting go of that stuff and becoming fully who you really are.
This leads to the question of nature. The concept of a fixed personality type and of human nature itself has been one of the great questions of philosophy for almost 3000 years. So, what’s my take? I am increasingly convinced that all of us have definitely been created with a distinct personality type. Over 800 years ago, Thomas Aquinas, drawing on even older philosophies, argued for the existence of four basic personality types. I’d imagine you are also familiar with the basic concepts of introversion and extroversion. As much as we may, at times, wish we were different, we do seem to have these core aspects of our nature that seem to be relatively impervious to change.
It has taken me many, many years to accept this. Why?
I am an extreme introvert. Off the charts! People often find this impossible to believe because I am a professional speaker and on stage I am extremely passionate. They confuse this with extroversion. I am happiest when I am alone in a corner reading a book or on my Harley alone, or on a golf course alone. Being shipwrecked on a desert island would not be a problem for me.
My sense is that the more we learn to cooperate with our nature the more useful, successful and happy we will be. I should also state that we need to avoid the extremes of our nature. Complete introversion can lead to dysfunction and withdrawal. Extreme extroversion can mean a person becomes too intense, over-the-top or annoying.
My humble advice for you my friend is to come to accept how you have been created. You have a nature for a reason. Enjoy it. Leverage it. Work with it. Do not wish you were like anyone else.