Who are You? Who Will You Become?

Personality Traits, and Traits of those Traits


This week, I listened to a fascinating interview with Dr. Benjamin Hardy. Dr. Hardy is launching his new book, Personality isn’t Permanent: Break Free from Self-Limiting Beliefs and  Rewrite Your Story. Tibor Nagy of Mindset Horizon conducted the interview. I’ve worked extensively with Ben through his AMP (Accelerated Momentum Program) project. I find his ideas very valuable.

The interview podcast is about 50 minutes long. Many of you will want to skip through it to get some key points. Here I note some times in the interview which will help you do that. The text below the podcast banner lists links to Hardy’s and other books mentioned.

3:10 – Nagy begins his introduction of Dr. Hardy

10:45 – Ben begins describing the ideas that inspired his first book Will Power Doesn’t Work.

13:40 – Ben and Tibor begin a discussion of how one’s identity is built. What factors affect one’s identity – how one identifies as an entrepreneur.

15:30 – Ben starts explaining that your personality continually evolves. You’re a different person from who you were a year ago, 10 years ago, etc. You will be a different person at any point in the future from who you are now. You can learn to design your future self.

20:00 – Ben begins to discuss journaling and how it can help you design your future self. Over the years I’ve started journaling several times, and never stayed with it. I think that’s because I didn’t know how to do it properly, nor solid reasons for doing it. Now, Ben has helped me see those methods and reasons. I would sorely miss journaling if I stopped now, after several months of regular journaling.

23:30 – Ben mentions a Harvard psychologist, Daniel Gilbert, who did a great 6-minute TED talk. He says people spend too much time thinking about their past, too little time imagining their future. They may agree that human beings are works in progress. However, they often believe they themselves are “finished”.

25:15 – Nagy asks Ben to talk about his objections to personality profiling tests. Ben discusses research showing that the tests don’t produce an accurate result. He considers them “junk science”. Also, why they lead to a fixed mindset – a belief in a personality “cast in stone”. With these beliefs, many people live mediocre lives.

36:20 – The two begin to discuss distinctions around “fixed” vs. “growth” mindsets.

44:00 – They talk briefly about confidence, what it is, why it matters, and what affects it.


The question all this brings up for me is: You’re going to evolve with time. Would you rather let it happen by chance, or design it?!

Are You a Problem Solver?

In this article, I turn again to Dennis Hooper. You may remember him from a few months ago. His topic then was how to choose a coach.Dennis has experience in large organizations and in small ones. He loves helping people work together in harmony. 

Dennis recently caught my eye with this article on the subject of giving advice. His point is, whatever value you see in your advice, it’s important to be careful where you offer it. Be sure it’s welcome. If you’re not sure, ask. He suggests some language for how to ask.

Just in the past week, I saw a chance to “help” someone through a social situation. Another friend suggested I think about how my help would be received. I decided against it because I wasn’t sure if my suggestions would be welcome.  If they aren’t they won’t help. In the coming days or weeks, perhaps I’ll see an opportunity to ask about that.

This situation planted the seed that grew into this issue of The Unity Community. Dennis’ article added impetus to the idea.

This newsletter offers advice and suggestions nearly every week. You have all implicitly invited my advice by subscribing to the letter. If you prefer not to receive my advice, please feel free to click the “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of this message. Every week, one or two people do that. It doesn’t trouble me at all. What I offer isn’t for everyone. I’m interested in being helpful and supportive, to those who want help.

In his message, Dennis offers Tony Alessandra’s “platinum rule”, an embellishment of the “golden rule”. The golden rule says “Treat others as you would like to be treated”. The platinum rule changes one word in that: “Treat others as they would like to be treated”. Of course sometimes you don’t know exactly how they’d like to be treated. It’s safer to ask than to assume your input is welcome.

In a recent effort to better define my personal mission, I arrived, after some thought, at:

“I make a positive contribution to every transaction and relationship I participate in.”

In pursuit of that mission, I had arrived at the platinum rule myself, though I didn’t so name it. I think “platinum rule” is an excellent name, and I thank Tony for coining it, and Dennis for offering the rule as guidance.

Think carefully about where you share suggestions and advice. However helpful you think an idea to be, it may be unwelcome to someone else. You won’t be helping if you make them feel inadequate. You won’t improve anything if they see you as invading their privacy. As helpful as you may think you are, offering advice where it’s unwelcome won’t help anyone. It may damage or even destroy a relationship.

Enjoy Dennis’ advice here, if you’re open to it.

Who Makes You Happy?

(Published in The Unity Community in June 2018)

Last year (2017) I discussed here some aspects of happiness and its causes (hint: look in the mirror). 

This week, we’ll take another look at what leads to happiness from a slightly different perspective, and arrive at the same conclusion. You can choose to be happy…or not, independent of outside factors. Sure, you won’t feel very happy when a loved one has a bad accident or dies. You’ll react to such events from a much stabler base, though, if you’re a fundamentally happy person. And you can decide right now to be that person.

In large part being internally happy is the result of living life with integrity, knowing you’re doing the right thing in your own honest opinion. 

Not someone else’s opinion

Not because it looks good to someone (or everyone) else

But because you know it’s right.

Do you enjoy your own company? That’s a pretty good test!

Your reaction to external factors (relationships with people, things, or achievements) are the  results of true internal happiness, rather than the causes.

Want to be Happier?

Here’s Rose Walker, a coach I recently “met” on LinkedIn,  discussing the “proper” source of happiness

Many people tend to depend for their happiness on their significant other, their friends, their parents, their children, even their compatriots at work.

Get this! In all things in life, YOU are responsible. Other people, possessions, achievements, travel experiences, etc, can certainly add spice to life.  Those enhancements are the icing on the cake. If the cake is not good, all the sweet icing in the world won’t make it good. 

Life is the same way. Adding nice relationships and experiences is great if you have a solid foundation as an internally happy person. Otherwise they’re empty and fleeting. No amount of them will make you happy. You’ve got to be happy first.

Entrepreneur? Or Just Another Business Person?

(Published in The Unity Community newsletter in January 2019)


Norm Brodsky
, who writes a regular column in Inc. magazine, has a very interesting story for us for this issue

He and his wife stopped by a store where Linda Pagan manufactures and sells ladies’ hats. 

Linda makes some very broad-brimmed hats that many people like for outdoor events. Since she includes boxes with all her hats, she needs larger than normal boxes for these hats. 

She took the “bull by the horns” and helped her box supplier develop the capacity  to produce these outsized boxes. The supplier hadn’t identified the market for such hat boxes. She did, and stepped up to make it happen, with benefit to herself and other marketers, the box supplier, and the customers.

This is the way business should be done – win-win-win! It’s how a market economy generates wealth. 

Through cooperative effort, everybody benefits. Linda, the box supplier and other milliners earn a profit by selling their wares for more than it costs to make them. The customers get the hats worth more to them than the money they pay for them.

So here’s the difference between an entrepreneur and another business person. Many people start a “business” which is really just a job for them. They don’t answer to a boss per se (except their customer), but they’re selling what others sell, with few if any unique features.

Those who identify and fill a gap, or space for a product or service that nobody is offering, are entrepreneurs. Others compete with existing suppliers without offering anything new. They must compete on price, delivery time, or other mundane features of their product or service. They have much more competition than the entrepreneur does.

Enjoy Norm’s story about entrepreneur Linda Pagan. This insight may be useful to better understand and explain the difference between entrepreneurs and other business people.

What Makes Experience a Better Teacher?

We’ve talked a lot about mindset in the last several issues of this letter. I’m sure some among you think all this mindset talk is “woo-woo” pointless chatter. 

“Just get on with the program!” you may say. I assure you, there’s abundant science supporting the idea that mindset affects performance. It also affects life satisfaction and happiness.

Effective “getting on with the program” requires a positive mindset. Are you working with an abundance, rather than scarcity, mindset? Focusing on solutions, rather than problems? If so, you’re in the most effective mindset. If you’re focusing on scarcity and problems, you’re not as effective as you may think! For sure, not as effective as you could be.

A few mindset-related concepts this week:

  • Reflection makes the most of experience.
  • Worry does nothing to fix what you’re worrying about. We have a quick recipe for dispelling worry.
  • Happy positive people are happy whether they’re materially wealthy or not.

Here’s Karyn Danielle on the topic of reflection. She begins by citing this quote:

We do not learn from experience, we learn from reflecting on our experience.” – John Dewey

Careful reflection can bring to light: 

  • What went well. 
  • What we can improve upon. 
  • Where life worked against us despite our best effort. 
    • Celebrate that effort, even if the outcome was less desirable than you hoped for. You gave it your best shot!

Karyn expands on that idea – all part of the concept of a positive mindset. 

Worry detracts from performance. Worry is nothing more or less than negative expectations. It’s a negative mindset. If you find yourself worrying about something:

  • Explore what you can do about it. Then do it – take positive steps.
  • If there’s nothing you can do about it, decide to accept the outcome, whatever it is.
    • Be on the lookout for anything you can do to mitigate its effect on you. Do that thing.
    • Then stop worrying.
    • Get on with the things you can do in the rest of your life.

The scare about the coronavirus is a perfect situation for practicing this.

There are many negative people who make lots of money or show other signs of success. Usually their “success” is short-lived, and they lead unhappy lives. 

Annette Bau has studied happy people enjoying life and those who fight it. Each category includes some who have money. And others who struggle financially. In 30 years of study, she’s found it’s all about mindset! Money, or other trappings of “success”, don’t make unhappy people happy. They just result in unhappy people with lots of stuff!

Focus on things you can control – especially your mind!

Need some Inspiration? Who Can You Count on?

Rounding out the month of March 2020, which turned into a “Mindset Month”, Mary Lynn Ziemer has this for us.

It’s a great reminder of the value of celebrating your wins, however small they seem. A genuine compliment from a friend may be more uplifting than closing a big sale! Reminding yourself of that compliment, and other “wins” in your life, makes you your biggest fan. And your greatest friend. Good company to have!

March began with business in full swing and the coronavirus mostly concentrated in China and Italy. Life in the Americas seemed pretty “normal”. Then the virus spread worldwide and governments took action. (Whatever your opinion of their actions, it happened, and we all live with the effect). Seemingly all hell broke loose. 

Heading into April it looks like more of the same for at least a few more weeks.

While all this is going on, the press is, as always, fanning the flames. It’s important for each of us to stay focused. There are things in our lives we can still control, most importantly our mindset. To keep our mindset positive, we sometimes need a source of inspiration.

Who better to count on than our own selves for that inspiration?

Mary Lynn offers wonderful advice for how to provide that self-inspiration. Her main suggestion? When you’re faced with a situation you’d prefer to be different, first, STOP! Give yourself a little break. Recognize what, if any, role you have in the situation. If you can correct your role to improve the outcome, do it. If you truly have no role, think carefully about what you can do to turn the effect positive for you. When you’re dealt lemons, make lemonade. Consider how to avoid negative effects as much as possible. 

In poker, any hand can win! Play the hand you’re dealt. Every hand has something that can make it a winner, if you play it right.

Among other things, stay informed. Follow the most factual, least emotional, sources you can find. When you have the information you need, turn off the news. The hoopla can only make you negative and crazy.

While you’re thinking about the next useful steps for you to take, do it with a positive mindset. You’ll think much more clearly with that positivity. To make your mindset positive – to be the best version of yourself – remember and celebrate your wins. Be your own cheerleader!Make a list of people and things you’re grateful for. Refer to it often. Update it often.

You have greatness inside of you – remind yourself of that and bring it out!

What’s Important Enough for You to Become an Activist?

(This is an article I wrote for my newsletter nearly 3 years ago. Since it’s come up in several conversations, I’m posting it here, which I hadn’t done before.)

My daughter called Saturday. We talked for an hour and a half We don’t talk very often. Our conversations, when we finally get our schedules together, can run to 2, 3, or 4 hours. Since we both have inquiring minds, the more we discuss things the more new questions arise.

About an hour into the conversation, after catching up on our various activities, things started getting philosophical, and soon Tara asked me:


What do you Care Enough About to be an Activist?

My answer? Building and nurturing relationships in my life and helping everyone around me understand the value of relationships in their lives. 

A good way of examining what’s most important to a person is to consider what they say during their final hours or days before death (in cases where they know it’s imminent) that they’re happiest or saddest about in their lives. In most cases they either celebrate great relationships or lament poor ones or the lack of satisfying ones. Only the vainest tout the amount of money or possessions they’ve accumulated, or even their achievements.

Landmark Education is a worldwide company who conducts programs to help people see and understand the “blocks” they put in their own life’s way, and then to remove or work around those blocks so they can live authentic, well-balanced, psychologically healthy lives.  Over the past several years I’ve done some work with this wonderful organization, both as a participant in their programs and as a volunteer to help others benefit from this great work at a reasonable cost.

At Landmark, the entry point to their huge menu of offerings is the Landmark Forum. A hundred people, more or less, assemble in an auditorium with only the vaguest idea of what they are about to participate in for the next 3-1/2 very long days. Early on, the Forum leader asks people what they think defines their lives. During the ensuing discussion, he or she writes a couple of large slate boards full of people’s answers. Sometimes a participant will finally hit on “relationships”, and sometimes nobody gets it until the leader finally suggests it.

The rest of the entire work of Landmark’s many programs is dedicated to helping people find ways to build, repair, and maintain healthy relationships with those who are important in their lives. The transformations that occur for people as a result of this work are truly stunning. Landmark makes no claims for specific changes that will occur in anyone’s life as a result of this work. Nonetheless, I’m fairly sure I’ve seen several suicides prevented, and certainly many completely different (from when they arrived) people at the end of the Forum and/or follow-on programs. 

In my own case, I’m not aware of changes that dramatic (Quite likely they’re there and I’m not consciously aware of their full significance). I can say that many relationships in my life have improved significantly, particularly notably and importantly those with my children and my ex-wife. I also have many important friends among the people I met at Landmark

Truly exciting…and indicative of the importance of relationships to the human condition!