Who are you, really? Do you consider yourself an extrovert or an introvert? Are you compassionate or rather detached? What defines your personality traits? Can you change your character?
The book “Who are you, really?” provides insights about the personality traits based on latest psychological studies. The good news is: you are not destined to have a certain character, you can change your personality traits. How? By pursuing your personal projects, you define who you are. In other words, the well-doing can change your character, and has an impact on your well-being. More details below.
Biogenic, Sociogenic and Idiogenic selves
The author argues that everyone has three ‘selves’:
The biogenicself: your genes define some of the traits of your character. This is the fixed part of your personality.
The sociogenicself: other traits of your personality are imposed by your social context and the culture you grew in; people who are important to you, your family, friends and colleagues.
The idiogenicself: what you decide to do, your projects and plans, are the last layer of your character. Studies have shown that what you do can even has an impact on the manifestation of your genes, and, in a sense, influence your genome at least temporally.
Fortunately, your genes and social context are not the only determinants of your personality. Your idiogenic self is your hero.
Title: Atomic Habits – An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones
Author: James Clear
Publication Date: 2018
Recommendation Score: 4.5 / 5
Very interesting book that deals with the science of habits. It can be considered an extension to the book “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg, with more examples and a kind of user manual guidelines for building and breaking habits (see the tables below).
The author presents the ideas very clearly, inspired by many real-life cases and based on recent results of academic research. He provides useful chapters’ summaries and other insightful resources that you may check on the author’s website jamesclear.com.
The main guidelines that the author suggests to build a new habit or break an old one are presented below (source: jamesclear.com).
Title: The Power of Habit – Why We Do What We Do, and How to Change.
Author: Charles Duhigg
Publication Date: 2012
Recommendation Score: 4.5 / 5
The book deals with habit aspects, at individual level, in organizations and in societies. It is quite enjoyable to read. It helps you understand how habits work, how to create them and how to replace them (unfortunately they cannot be removed).
What I really liked about the book is the examples and how they are meshed with the results of academic research. Examples of ordinary people, organizations (Alcoa, Starbucks, etc.), sports teams, social and political movements (the civil rights movement, Saddleback church), etc. show how habits shape our everyday life, and how they are able to create dramatic changes if changed carefully.
Here are some takeaways
The habit loop: Cue –> Routine –> Reward. Once the cue appears, the loop is triggered.
The craving brain: the cue, in addition to triggering the routine, must elicit a craving for the reward. The brain starts to anticipate (crave) the reward as soon as the cue shows up.
The golden rule of habit change: keep the same cue, the same reward, change the routine by inserting a new one. It is not easy, and it needs a Belief that the (permanent) change is possible.
Keystone habits: some habits are more powerful than the others, they are called “keystone habits”. They have an impact on other habits and have the power to change them. A very interesting example of Paul O’Neill, when CEO of Alcoa company, is presented to highlight how a keystone habit can transform an organization.
Small wins convert cumulative successes into routines.
Willpower: it is a very important keystone habit, it is a “muscle” that needs to be trained. It helps individuals to build self-discipline and to develop self-control.
Crisis are opportunities for good leaders to remake organizational habits.