Friday, January 4, 2013

How Much Will We Change in the Future?

An intriguing story was reported on National Public Radio today concerning changes that occur in personality and values as a person ages. via NPR

In a study by Daniel Gilbert, a psychology researcher at Harvard University, and two of his colleagues, he found that people generally fail to appreciate how much their personality and values will change in the years ahead — even though they recognize they have changed in the past.

This happens, Gilbert reports, no matter how old (or young) people are; that all people seem to believe that who they are today is essentially who they'll be tomorrow. His research proved this is not the case.

If you have an interest in reading the complete interview, it can be found at NPR.

This is interesting food for thought, and I'm interested in your views. Do you believe you'll remain in the future the person you are today? Why or why not? Can you imagine a different you in years to come? What would cause these changes?

It is my opinion that changes in "who we are" often occur because of changes forced upon us by circumstances beyond our control. These changes can be "good or bad," depending on our ability to adapt.

I believe change in our surrounding environment is inevitable, because the world does not remain static. It is a reality that nothing stays the same; time marches on. The key to remaining grounded is the ability to adjust to change, to adapt.

One thing is certain, however, in my opinion: that it's really hard to imagine a different, future version of ourselves. 

Do we like ourselves the way we are now? can we imagine a different "us" in the future?


  1. Happy 2013 dear Sanda! I hope that this will be a year of grand year for you and family.

    I am not sure why Daniel Gilbert is surprised. I am not. We always forget everything. Nations always forget everything. This is why we keep doing the same thing over and over, many of us, and others learn and move on and are aware of changes.

    Like too I think we do change for the better (I hope) as we face challenges and obstacles or even good things in our life. To me change implies growth. NPR is great. I have to book mark the talk for later listening. Happy Friday to you! xx

    1. Good point, Mona, in paragraph 2. I hope to have learned from previous mistakes/missteps and I believe we do, at least most of the time.

  2. I think aspects of a personality can change over time, especially in reaction to big or dramatic events which affect us. Also we can experience changes of attitude to various lifestyle situations, simply because of changes in general community attitudes. It seems to me that a few people do become stuck in one mental place, and cannot move forward with their life, or the times, which I think is sad and not living to one's full potential. Most of us evolve as we go, according to what is happening. I saw this topic discussed on local TV today, and it is an interesting one. x

    1. I think we must remain open minded. It's awfully easy to remain in our comfort zones and decry the changes happening about us. I don't think we always have to "approve" of what we see around us, but at least acknowledge our point of view isn't the only one.

      I've seen this topic discussed a great deal the past few days on news web pages.

  3. I gave this some thought, I tried looking back at myself at 20,40,60. Of course my circumstances have changed (kids/grown kids, work/retirement, etc.) over the years but I'm not sure my responses to those circumstances would be so much different today than they were at the time. I don't see that my personality and values have altered in major or significant ways. Maybe the edges have smoothed off but at the center I am much the same. I do expect external changes in my life over the next decade but I imagine going to the great beyond thinking and acting pretty much as I do today.

    I like NPR and hate to disagree with "science" but there you have it.


    1. I think we can become accustomed to a less than perfect situation, to the point we are "calloused" and it no longer matters. Is that acceptance? or survival? Are we obliged to "stir the pot" to reach a resolution? I think we are, if there's the potential things would improve. But then there's the chance it would only make the situation worse. I think we have to decide if it's worth the risk.

  4. Very interesting. I agree with Darla that I don't think the way I "really" feel has changed that much but the way I react is what has changed. I believe that "inside" me these feelings are the same but outwardly I am more tolerant and realize there is so much I cannot do one thing about and don't react - which is very hard to do sometimes.
    Hopefully, this new year will make me a better person and will listen more than I talk!!

    1. Being tolerant is a good thing, and it's an indication of a strong person who retains values/traits inwardly but doesn't feel the need to chastise others for their opposing feelings/views. And you, my dear, are the most tolerant person I know!!

  5. Pretty interesting that the report thinks that people remember how much they have changed in the past, but just don't anticipate that they will be changing in the future. I really think I have worked out all the kinks in my value system and don't see much room for change in my future. So I fit this report perfectly. We'll just see who's right - me or this report.

    1. I guess it's so much easier to remember the past than it is to anticipate what the future holds. That almost seems like a non-brainer, doesn't it?

  6. It would be interesting, but impossible to know, that if nothing on the outside changed - including family ties, work, health, wealth, nothing " big " in the world, would we still change as the research claims?
    Yes I know, that this idea is impossible, but how great is the influence of the outside to our personal change?
    I have changed a lot. I used to be near a perfectionist in housekeeping. Today I only sweep the visible dirt off the floors and the big cleaning operation happens seldom.
    The only thing I do with perfection these days, are the stable chores. Our stable is clean after me. I brush and wash the horses and Morty ( weekly, due to his skin problems ).
    If I skip those things, I feel really bad.
    I iron as little as possible ( I used to iron my hb´s socks too ).
    I used to have cupboards full of clothes and kitchen cupboards full of dishes, pots and electric gadgets.
    Things are v e r y different these days.

    I also used to get on a bad mood easily. Today, I´m on a steady mood ( almost ) all the time.
    I never thought I´d be interested in politics, yet I now am.
    Lots of these changes have happened during and after my psychoanalysis, during a period of 15 years. The long analysis has affected my behavior.

    Looking forward, I´m sure that I won´t be able to do as much heavy work as so far.
    If I maintain my health, I think that I will concentrate my interest in perfectionism in smaller things..

    1. I think outside influences carry a great deal of influence on our personal change.

      One of the reasons I think aging is "great" is that we can finally let go of traits/habits/beliefs we once held dear. It is good you have "let go" of some perfectionist traits. I have done so as well, realizing that in the big scheme of things those things don't matter at all.

      Psychoanalysis obviously was a great help to you, making you a calmer and happier person. And perfectionism in small things will definitely easier to pull off!


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