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A career in character- change

Updated on November 19, 2009

Math flower

From the book, "A career in character".


Character is a fluid thing, and people do change; to a point.

Sometimes change is for the better, sometimes not.

Identity isn’t a simple matter of definition. Your character is affected by your environment, and the nice easy going guy of yesterday may be the office tyrant of tomorrow.

However, that also means your character can be distorted by your environment. In a tough environment, the most placid person can become a fighter. The combat reflexes take over, and every question is a threat, every situation a reason to open fire. If you’ve ever worked in an office, you know the story.

These are often necessary defensive reactions, but they can cause more problems. High stress is a serious medical issue. Turning a normal person into a paranoid, ultra reactive psychopath isn’t a great diagnosis, or prognosis. Stress hormones are powerful stimulants, and they can tear your health to pieces. The downsides include depression, shattered relationships, misery, and a thoroughly unhappy person limping around the remains of their personal life.

Other people have an “easier” time of it, and just fossilize. The easy going guy becomes a pompous idiot, or a clown in a suit. Hit with a social imprint, you get a human rubber stamp.

People actually do think it’s part of growing up, and turning into your parents.

You’ll find some common ground with your parents on a range of things, particularly when you have a family.

This phenomenon, however, is a superficial process which can turn you stale as a person, if it’s allowed to go too far. Humans adapt to environments, and the adaption can go to the extent of extreme mimicry. Sometimes the mimicry replaces the original character. People try to fit in to the point of losing identity.

You’ll have seen the people who never have opinions, in the workplace. They don’t have ideas, either. If there’s a pecking order within a thousand miles, they’ll go along with it.

Some of these people are just good old fashioned hypocrites.

The acceptance is superficial, and expedient. They can’t be bothered expressing opinions and can afford to agree with things they don’t care about. They may find a pecking order funny, and decide they only have to put up with it during working hours.

But some mean it. They’ve adopted a role. Their character has become subordinate to the environment. That’s a nasty result, for something that used to be an individual. The forces that change character are often cumulative. Disappointments, frustrations, letdowns, all tend to produce a cynical, if not just plain hostile, character. Quite understandable, but the adaption has produced a mechanism that shoots first and may not bother to ask questions afterwards.

A very sour, hostile, person may have excellent reasons for being like that. Their character reflects experience. The problem is that the hostility can sabotage things that might not be disappointing and frustrating. If someone’s character has been turned into a Confrontation Machine, you can imagine what the result is likely to be.

At this point, remember your map. If you were a sour, hostile, person, how would you answer those questions?

Could you, possibly, be any further away from home?

Change can be good.

Some people do learn, and their characters do grow up a lot. They wind up with a healthy relationship with themselves and the world.

Definition of a healthy relationship isn’t about buzzwords. You can use buzzwords instead of kitty litter.

This is what’s meant by a healthy relationship:

· Effective, constructive and productive.

· Things are being achieved.

· You’re happy enough with the way things are going.

· You’re not winding up with negative answers to everything and everyone.

· You’re able to be objective and realistic at the same time.

· Your soul isn’t being offended by everything around you.

Bearing in mind this is you we’re talking about, how you do that is your business. Just learn to recognize when the wheels are falling


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    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      9 years ago from London, UK

      That was an interesting way of looking at it. Thank you.


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