Do Personalities Control Our Destiny?
Updated: Feb 15
We don't know where our life path will lead us to, so we must learn to appreciate the time it takes to walk along it. Many things contribute to how our path is developed, but when we are able to, we should be the only one to determine how we want certain things to go. At least that is the hope. Our education, upbringing, culture and the people that surround us also inherently alter what we do, think, act or how we perceive life. This makes the path very uneven and challenging. The question that always comes up for me is what part of myself is actually in charge of my destiny, and what part do I let go for chance, faith or the practices and what I learn from other people in my life? I think back to all the years spent figuring out what I was good at, what I actually liked, yet also not letting myself just be me. I am confident in my own skin, but there is still that little push to try and "fit in" to what I should be doing in all aspects of life, or what I want others to perceive me as. I wonder sometimes that if I were able to just be me, and let my personality shine and unleash all my natural traits, would this be the determining factor on which my future is based? Did I stop trying new things to build a the career I really wanted or experience life because I would not be the person I was "supposed" to be? I probably would have become and actor or a dancer if I looked deep into my core and had the opportunity to recognize it. Who gets to decide? I should be the one to make that choice, and everyone else's opinion or advice is strictly theirs, and only mine if I choose to accept it.
Opinions might also alter this state of knowing which direction to go. Opinions about who we are and of how others should be, predetermines our position in this world by the way we dress, speak, or act. These opinions start as early as grade school, and evolve to give us an understanding of the "types" of people in our world. We then categorize ourselves in that type, making us way too concerned about the way we look if we dress or act in a different way. Some people don't get bothered by the opinions of others or what category they are put in, and those are the people that fascinate me. It is dynamic to me when I see an intriguing sense of style, a performer doing what they love in an odd place, or an artist who takes societies norms and throws them out the window. I hope young adults can see that their heritage, interests, background and personality are the keys to unlocking a creative and unique path for themselves that is based off their communicative abilities, and being open to express who they are. It's a brilliant opportunity when you can forget how others perceive you and just move to the beat of your own drum.
"As we strive for self-fulfillment in this life of ours, let us never forget that there must be an expression for our uniqueness. Self-fulfillment cannot be found just in terms of family, organizations, or work, it must be found through expression of the uniqueness which is our very own." - Halbert L. Dunn
The control over the way you shape your life by personality traits can be explained in the book Me, Myself, And Us: The Science of Personality and the Art of Well-Being by Brian R. Little. In it, he describes how personality traits shape different aspects of our lives and how we evolve surrounded by others in an attempt to figure out what makes for our health and success, ultimately having an effect on our well-being. "If the interaction of our inner personality and the outer reality of the situations we find ourselves in, brought together by the projects in which we engage, shape our behavior and lives, a few important questions arise: Do our own actions or forces beyond our control ultimately determine our fates? Does having or believing we have control matter? Are we agents who shape our lives, or are we passive recipients of whatever forces might play upon us? Psychologists are contributing important insights into the technical and philosophical aspects of these questions. However, personality psychology examines something different--the impact of our personal beliefs about control on our well-being. Some of us approach life with the firm conviction that we are the controlling agents, with luck or chance playing a very minor role. Others believe, with equal conviction, that forces external to us determine what happens in our lives, for good or ill." The author goes on to develop a quiz on the Spheres of Control where you can determine your own score on Personal Control. This was based off dimensions of internal vs. external orientation. The book dives into many other dimensions of personality, but what struck me most about this is that Internal orientation has been shown across many studies to have a major positive impact on human well-being and accomplishment. The author is essentially trying to determine the dimension of personality that dispositions our lives as under our own control and is sufficiently stable to be regarded as a personality trait, and our experiences can change it in an enduring way. Things such as resistance to social influence, and risk taking are two key experiences that might do that. Since I am always looking towards the path towards well-being, I feel that this book should be recognized among those who want to know that their own personality is unique and special and should be highly regarded when navigating their life path.