Do you have any personality traits about yourself that you wish were a little different? Is there an area in your life that you wish you would handle differently, but you don’t know how to do it?
Here’s a tip:
Give it a name.
You may have a general idea about something you want to fix — “I wish I was better at small talk”, for instance — but that’s about it. And you don’t actually improve.
The key to improving yourself is figuring out what it is you need to improve. Give it a name. A title. Make it its own thing.
Then address it.
Think of five traits you want to gain or improve in yourself.
Then take these five traits and figure out a tangible way to help.
Want to get better at small talk? Purposefully talk to that coworker you have only ever just given a smile. Want to improve learning on your feet? Join an improv group.
There’s always a way to get better at something you’re currently not a master at.
But you must first give them a name.
To prove my point, I’d like to share five traits in myself that I want to gain and/or improve, and how I plan to do so.
- First Impressions
I want to be able to make people feel comfortable when I first meet them. I can make conversation and get my message across, but sometimes I don’t feel natural or feel as if I’m coming across as awkward. Whether or not this is true, I want to be in a place where I feel comfortable meeting new people.
The best way to solve this is to meet new people. Getting involved in my church, volunteering at local organizations — these are the best places for me to practice this.
- Being more comfortable when things are unconventional
On the Myers Briggs test, I’m an ESTJ, and one trait of this type is feeling instantly uncomfortable if something doesn’t fit into a social norm. This is something I would like to improve on. I am already fairly unconventionally minded, since I was homeschooled and am now in Praxis. Still, I want to be where I am comfortable even when something happens that is different from my experiences.
This isn’t something you can really plan, because the unconventional tends to be unexpected. However, just being aware I want to improve in this area means I’m more likely to be willing when the opportunity arises.
- Going with the flow without getting stressed
A sudden change of plans is the perfect recipe to get me in a bad mood. Cancelled plans, rescheduled plans… I hate them. But I need to learn to accept them. This is a trait I have been improving on, but I still have a long way to go. Sudden change knocks me off my feet. I am confident in myself, but when my surroundings change without warning, it can be hard for me to remember that.
This is a mindset. The next time my friend offers to go somewhere new and invites people I may not normally see, my goal should be to think about what could go right, and that it could be fun, rather than be stressed that my plans are different. Spontaneity can be good. I want to accept that.
- Realistic and Honest Thinking
There’s nothing wrong with thinking and considering your life. There’s nothing wrong with processing what has happened to you, whether it was five years ago or yesterday. However, it can become a problem if you think too much about it. When I’ve processed something in my mind, I can file it away; however, I have a tendency to open the file cabinet and peruse it again regularly. I need to stop overthinking, because it makes my life more complicated and stressful than it needs to be. I want to continue to proactively think, but I want to have a realistic, honest approach, and know when to stop so it won’t turn to worrying.
This is something I can only improve on with practice. It’s me becoming conscious on when I’m processing, and when I’m over-processing. It’s something I can start now, but it’s a process, and will improve with time.
- Having conversations with all different personalities
I can get along both with people like me, and people different from me. I have a harder time getting along with someone whose personality naturally conflicts with mine.
I want to be a film director, so I need to be able to communicate effectively with all personality types — even the ones that don’t work well with mine. I simply have to take my natural ability to make conversation work with those I wouldn’t normally click with. It’s not impossible; but it’s something I can improve upon.
The best way to exceed at this trait is interaction with different people. A good place is somewhere that has a wide range of ages and life stages, such as a church, or a place that brings certain people together for a common attraction despite how different they may be in their personal lives, such as a music festival, a convention or local event.
I want to get more involved in my church, and to start volunteering at local organizations. This is my first step to having more conversations.
What is something you want to improve on? What can you do to gain that skill?
Think about it.
You can achieve more than you think.