Why The Science of Trait Psychology May Just Predict Everything In Your Life with Dr. Brian R. Little

In this episode we go deep on the science of personality. We look at how we’ve moved way beyond the debate of nature vs nurture, we look at the “Myth of Authenticity" and the danger of “just being yourself,” we examine why human wellbeing (aka success) depends on the sustainable pursuit of core projects in our lives, explore the complex dance of self improvement between the limitation of biological, social factors and the identity of individuals, and look at how much agency and control we really have in shaping our personalities and lives among all of these different factors with our guest Dr. Brian Little. What is Trait Psychology?Traits do have predictive validity“The Big Five” personality model is the most dominant perspective in personality trait psychologyOCEANOpenness to experienceConscientiousnessExtraversionAgreeablenessNeuroticism Honesty / humility is a sixth factor that may not be included in the “Big Five” modelThese personality traits have consequential predictive ability for your life outcomes, happiness, marriage, success, divorce, etcThe trait of conscientiousness is a very good predictor of work place success but also predicts health outcomes, why is that?Disagreeable people also have a health risk factor - low agreeableness shows an increased risk for heart diseaseOpenness-to-experience and conscietouness have different paths to success - but both can be successful predictors of positive life outcomesThe myth of the creative hero. The creative project is much more important than the illusion of the solo creative.How changeable or immutable are our personality traits? Are we stuck with the personality we are born with?Your trait expressions can be shaped not just by your biology but also by the things that really matter to you - by your own “personal projects”If you constantly act out of character - you may eventually run the risk of burning outThe study of our traits gets us INTO the study of personality but not ALL THE WAY inWe’ve moved WAY beyond the nature vs nurture debate Genetic expression is a matter of external influence than shapes the expression of genesThere is a biological “base” to our personality - but it’s a base that we can either act against or act in accordance with itSelf improvement is a dance between biological, social, and individual factors Traits are a necessary way of understanding personality but they are not sufficient We explore "The Bodnarian Aspects of Matt"We are not just pawns - we can shape things and change the trajectory of our lives (within reasonable boundaries)“Go for it” feels good - but its often a cheap way out - take a harder look and really look at the best path forward for yourself Accepting and facing reality as it is - including your own limitations and weaknesses - is an essential component of successHuman wellbeing (“success”) depends on the sustainable pursuit of core projects in our lives. Natural dispositions that we don’t borrow from our cultural scripts are the first line of influence that help shape what becomes the core projects in our livesOut of the stew emerge biological shaped, but also socially influenced possible futures for yourself that are anchored in core projects The sustainable pursuit of core projects is vital - the way in which we get them isHomework: If you want to play outside your personality comfort zone, start with small uncomfortable changes and gradually build into more and more difficult situations Homework: Conduct short term experiments, self change experiments, “fixed role explorations” and then monitor the impact that has on your personality and behavior

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