Step Three: Building Desirable Personal Qualities Into Yourself
David Lawrence Preston is a hypnotherapist and personal development trainer who has frequently appeared on radio and television. Over the last 20 years he has developed the Dynamic Living Programme, which draws on practical psychological techniques and the sum of all his considerable experience with clients. He is also the author of 365 Steps to Self-confidence.
It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.
If your dreams and ambitions still seem a long way off, it could be because you have not yet developed the core personal qualities you need. Obviously these qualities vary according to your individual proclivities and chosen field, but some are common to all. Some, like patience, determination, concentration, people skills, enthusiasm and a sense of humour never go amiss whatever your goals.
The personal attributes you bring to your activities are the most valuable resources you have. But can we change? I frequently hear comments like, ‘I’m a ditherer – that’s just the way I am.’ If you believe that’s just the way you are, you may find the whole idea of letting go of unwanted traits and developing new ones a little daunting. Let’s take a closer look at what’s possible and what is not.
We are born with about one-third of our character traits already in place through our genes and biochemistry. These play a part in shaping certain aptitudes and talents. They also influence our level of introversion or extraversion, placidity or volatility, and tendency to certain conditions such as depression and compulsive behaviours. Our physical make up is also predetermined to some degree.
Obviously, without the right physical make up you will never make it as a supermodel, win a gold medal at the Olympics, or sing like Placido Domingo. If you have little talent, effort alone will not enable you to write songs like Lennon and McCartney, act like Gwynneth Paltrow or paint like Salvador Dali. I’m not suggesting for a moment that these people didn’t have to work hard to develop their talents – they certainly did. But without their innate natural abilities they would not have reached such heights.
So what of the remaining two-thirds of our character? This is a result of our environment and conditioning, our learning, and, even more importantly, our way of thinking. Some attitudes are deeply ingrained, but can still be modified. Remember, anything which has been learned can be unlearned and relearned.
You won’t succeed at your major goals unless you acquire the qualities, knowledge and skills you need. When you start on a goal, you may not have all the personal attributes required; nevertheless, if the goal is right for you, you can develop them, provided you are willing and determined.
Who do you think you are (and who would you like to be)?
The qualities of success
Certain qualities and skills are common to most successful people. The main ones are in the sections below.
Everyone is enthusiastic at times. One person has enthusiasm for 30 minutes, another for 30 days, but it is the one who has it for 30 years who makes a success in life.
Once upon a time there were four people named Everybody, Somebody, Nobody and Anybody. When there was an important job to be done, Everybody was sure Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did. When Nobody did it, Everybody got angry because it was Somebody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it but Somebody realised that Nobody would do it. So it ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody then Nobody did what Anybody could have done in the first place.
Three ways to build new qualities into yourself (or reinforce existing ones)
If you recognise you need to acquire or strengthen certain personal qualities, here are three ways to speed your progress – our old friend the ITIA formula, modelling and the Ben Franklin method.
Step three: summing up
Research shows that certain character traits are closely associated with happiness and success, and all of these particular traits can be nurtured, developed and strengthened. We are born with only about one-third of our character traits in place, which means the other two-thirds can be amended or acquired with patience, practice and determination.
Furthermore, we are born with no skills whatsoever – and no knowledge. All this is acquired as we continue to gain experience throughout our lives.
You can literally decide who you want to be and become that person. You now have the tools – go for it!