178: Do Personalities Change? Can We Change Our Personality Intentionally?


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Christian Jarrett remembers being interested in psychology as a young teenager. It was when he applied to be a stocker at a grocery store when he was 16 that he became even more eager to learn about why people do what they do, and whether people's personalities change over time.

At the Tesco store near his home in the UK, his application was accepted and he went on for the personality assessment, which he failed.

He took it again a few weeks later, thinking he might be able to answer the questions to show he was really a team player, outgoing and friendly. He failed again.

A third opportunity arrived, and this time he answered the questions with the intention of coming across as a lone wolf, a solitary person who could really focus and get the job done. He failed again.

This incident made him even more curious about personality, not just how it changes over time, he was curious whether we could change our personality intentionally.

I reached out to Christian after my husband shared his article with me, The Way You Tell Your Story Shapes Your Personality. It was exactly what I needed to read as I was writing my book, Your Stories Don't Define You, How You Tell Them Will.

When I reached out to interview him in May of 2019, he was working on his book, in the middle of a move, and changing jobs, and promised to get in touch with me for a podcast interview when things settled down.

This episode fulfilled the promise, and boy was it worth the wait.

Christian's book is confirmation of much of my work with clients and teams over the past 5+ years, my work is the practical, individual, intentional application of what Dr. Jarrett researched and wrote about in the book.

I couldn't be more grateful for our time together as we recorded this episode, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!


From his website:

Dr. Christian Jarrett, Deputy Editor, Aeon+Psyche

A cognitive neuroscientist by training, Christian was the founding editor of the British Psychological Society’s Research Digest and an award-winning journalist on The Psychologist magazine. His books include The Rough Guide to Psychology, 30-Second Psychology and Great Myths of the Brain. His next, Be Who You Want: Unlocking the Science of Personality Change, was released and available in the US in May 2021. Christian will never forget holding a human brain in his hands as part of a neuroanatomy class, the grey mass so heavy as if filled still with memories and dreams. Find him on Twitter @Psych_Writer.



"Uncovering the right stories for the right audiences so executives, leaders, public speakers, and job seekers can clearly and actively demonstrate their character, values, and vision."

In my work with coaching clients, I guide people to improve their communication using storytelling as the foundation of our work together. What I’ve realized over years of coaching and podcasting is that the majority of people don’t realize the impact of the stories they share - on their internal messages, and on the people they’re sharing them with.

My work with leaders and people who aspire to be leaders follows a similar path to the interviews on my podcast, uncovering pivotal moments in their lives and learning how to share them to connect more authentically with others, to make their presentations and speaking more engaging, to reveal patterns that have kept them stuck or moved them forward, and to improve their relationships at work and at home. The audiobook, Your Stories Don’t Define You, How You Tell Them Will is now available!

Included with your purchase are two bonus tracks, songs recorded by Sarah's band, Spare Change, in her living room in Montana.

194 episodes