“You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.” — Friedrich Nietzsche
Most people view change as a slow and gradual process. Something that happens over months, if not years. This is a commonly held opinion because it is usually true. To completely change who you are is an ambitious undertaking and most who try to do so unpreparedly fail. However, sometimes you don’t have time to wait for slow and gradual changes to happen. Sometimes, you must change immediately.
I embarked on this journey myself a while ago, and while doing it made notes and kept a journal every day. This meant that, after having completed this transformation, I had a birds-eye view of the entire process, which has helped me gain a thorough understanding of the process.
I must, however, note that I mostly focussed on becoming more social, so my experiences will be most valuable to those that seek something similar. Despite that, this article will still be of use for those that want to change another trait; I also got more disciplined, and that process was quite similar to the process of becoming more social, which has led me to the conclusion that almost all personality traits should be changed in a similar fashion.
Core Principles Of Rapid Personality Change
“We are chained by our own control. Life is nothing more than finding the key that unlocks every part of our soul.”
— Shannon L. Alder
There are a few important core principles to keep in mind before attempting to quickly change your personality:
- Know what you want: A vague statement like “I want to become more social” or “I want to become more confident” is not enough. You need to pinpoint exactly what you want to change. Locate the exact areas in which you are lacking. For me, the main issue because of which I wasn’t as social as I wanted to was that I could not think of subjects to talk about, which lead to two major problems: I could not initiate a conversation and most conversations that I did have quickly died unless the other person was an extraordinary conversationist.
- Do a lot of research: Your mind is not a magic device that can conjure up knowledge out of thin air. There already are millions of people on Earth who possess the traits that you want to acquire, and undoubtedly some of them are writers and/or video creators. Whatever it is you want, whether it is to become more social or to become more disciplined, there already are thousands upon thousands of high-quality videos and articles available on that subject online, explaining every aspect in detail. Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, learn from those who invented the wheel years ago and have been using it ever since. That’s quicker and yields better results.
- Visualisation is key: Create an idealised version of yourself. Picture yourself in your head, not how you currently are, but how you want to be. Disassociate this idealised you from your actual you, view him or her in the same way you’d view a movie character. Then, whenever you need to make a decision, ask yourself: “What would idealised me do?” Do exactly that.
- Change your physical appearance: This may sound very shallow, but a few days before changing my personality I got a new haircut and went shopping for new clothes. Looking in the mirror and seeing someone with a better haircut wearing new stylish clothes really solidified the idea in my mind that I had changed.
- Your previous self is dead: Building a habit takes 66 days, and unless you want to force yourself to act against your nature for the rest of your life you have to make all the traits of your new self habits. However, this is nearly impossible to do on willpower alone. Sure, you might get through the first week, maybe if you’re lucky the second one as well, but are you really going to expend a lot of energy and willpower on acting differently than you’re used to for two entire months when you could just stop at any moment? You have to ingrain in yourself the idea that your previous self is dead. Your previous self is gone, and you can never, ever return to being him or her.
- Consistency is very, very important: In the previous paragraph, I explained why you must maintain the belief that your previous self is dead. If you deviate from this even a single day, and if you revert to your previous self even a single day, this entire belief will be shattered. For the first month, you have to be very careful not to unconsciously slip back into old habits. After that, they will be ingrained in your mind deeply enough that you no longer have to constantly worry about losing them. After approximately two months they will have become fully-fledged habits.
How To Rapidly Change Your Personality
“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”
— Ernest Hemingway
You now know the core principles, but how do you actually put them into practice? Keep in mind that this is a very individual process, and everyone should approach this differently. This is simply the approach that worked for me, and I advise you to not blindly copy it but only extract parts that you think might work for you:
- Discovering your flaws: While you might be certain that you need change, what exactly needs to change may not be clear. Whenever you encounter a situation after which you wish you’d have done something differently, try to find out exactly what went wrong. Don’t try to do this just in your head, write it down. Write down what happened in what order, why you did what you did and what you should have done. When you have done this, you will be able to pinpoint exactly where everything went wrong. Try to not just find out what went wrong, but why you did that. You need to know what personal flaw caused this. Compile a list of everything you want to change.
- Research: After having discovered what you want to change, you should just be doing as much research as you can. Read not just one article on a topic, but many. After all, things like motivation and social competence are all very personal and what worked for that one author might not work for you. Find as many tips, techniques and approaches as you can, and compile them all into a large document.
- Approach: Think about what techniques and approaches you want to use. There is an endless amount of productivity hacks and techniques, but if you try to use every single one of them you will spend so much time managing your notes, databases, calendars, to-do lists, timeboxes and timers that you have no left time to work and your productivity will drop to zero.
- The makeover: Get a new haircut. Buy new clothes. Ask yourself: “How would my ideal self look?” and try to look like that. This will really solidify the idea that you have changed, as every time you look in the mirror you will be reminded of the transformation.
- The ritual: I call it a ritual, but it’s not really. It’s just the moment you officially become someone else. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, literally all I did was say: “When I wake up my old self will be gone and I will be my new self” before I went to bed. However, it is important that you do have a moment when you officially kill your old self and become your new self, as your old self and new self should be considered two separate entities and never blend into each other.
- The aftermath: You have now officially become your new self, but that does not mean the transformation is over. It will still take a lot of effort and willpower to maintain your new behaviour long enough for it to become a habit. The only advice I can give here is to continually remind yourself of why you are doing it. Think about what your future will be like if you revert back to your old self vs. what your future will look like if you permanently become your new self. You only have to persevere for 66 days, after that your new self will have become habituated and you will no longer have to put any effort into maintaining it.
“Make the most of yourself….for that is all there is of you.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
Rapid personality change requires a psychological rebirth. Personalities are stubborn and change slowly, so if you need to change right now you can’t just change your current personality; you have to create a new one. This is a difficult process that requires a lot of preparation, but anyone can do it if they put their minds to it.
This, however, is an intensive process that should only be used if you require a major overhaul of your personality in a short time. If you just want slow, gradual change I would recommend reading “How to Intentionally “Slow-Boil” Into Your Desired Future Self,” a brilliant article from which I took a lot of inspiration, written by Benjamin Hardy: