How to Prevent Personal Growth

The phrase "I am who I am" is an easy tell to identify someone who’s shut themself off from personal growth.

Allow me to translate: "I don’t believe I can change, or I simply don’t want to put in the work it would take."

People who say it generally do so to excuse bad behavior, from being an asshole to performing poorly at something.

Guess what?

You can change any of your personality traits. You can become someone who’s less impatient, closed-minded, irresponsible, anxious, or rude.

You can also change any of your abilities. You can be more organized, creative, skilled at ping pong, or a faster typist.

And this goes both ways. You can change for the better, or for the worse. It all depends on what actions you repeat.

"I’m not x" or "I’m not good at x" only means "I’ll never be better at x" if you don’t actively try to improve. If you feel stuck, it’s not because you can’t change—it’s because you don’t want to, or haven’t tried.

The person I am today is a different one than I was 5 years ago, and a different person than I will be 5 years from now, or even a month from now, because I don’t want to stop growing.

I used to be painfully shy. But it wasn’t serving me. I didn’t want to feel afraid of every new social situation or interaction. So I actively worked to face my fears and to change how I felt and how I saw myself, until I reached a level where I felt more comfortable.

I also used to be more stubborn, lazier, and less grateful, until I actively worked to change those traits.

What does that kind of personal growth take?

Identifying what you’d like to change, formulating a plan, execution, and feedback.

It’s not magic. It’s just practice.

The next time you slap a label on yourself, consider what your words really mean, and how they may be holding you back. You are who you are, but you have the freedom to change.