Human Nature – Fixed or Changeable?

I have always been an observer of human nature. Even as a child, before I even knew what psychology was, I studied people. An exploration that I do in intro to psychology is the exploration of personality traits as being fixed or changeable. The familiar statement, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is dated, but for some people, this may be true. Unlike the old assumption of tabula rasa (we are a blank slate at birth) we are born with a unique personality. Yet the nature of our personality is about adapting to an environment – a source of change, most likely to fit in and survive. However, there are behaviors that are fixed that would be better off if they were changeable. Example? How a person deals with rejection. According to Carol Dweck (The New Psychology of Success), those who treat rejection as a learning experience are more likely to develop better strategies with a healthier mindset, a.k.a. positive wellbeing. Those who treat the rejection as a personal attack are more likely to look toward revenge. In this exploration, the fixed mindset is not adaptable and can even negatively effect longevity. Overall I believe the average person has a level of malleability to adjust to situations both pleasant and unpleasant. The take away is how a person is willing to challenge negative behaviors to change to a healthier outlook and thereby increase wellbeing.


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