094: Ben Hardy #1 Writer in the World on Medium

Personality Types Aren’t True

Dr. Benjamin Hardy is an organizational psychologist and bestselling author of Willpower Doesn’t Work.

From 2015 to 2018, Benjamin was the #1 writer in the world on Medium.com. During that time, he grew his email list from 0 to 400,000 without paid advertising. Ben’s blogs are read by millions monthly.

Today, he talks about his newest book, Personality Isn’t Permanent as he debunks some pervasive myths of personality that have captured pop culture.

The book provides science-based strategies for reframing past memories, becoming the scribe of your identity narrative, upgrading your subconscious, and redesigning your environment.

Science proves you are going to change throughout your life – so you might as well be intentional about that change.

What We Discuss with Ben Hardy:

  • Using writing as a creative process vs. just editing
  • Where his book ideas begin
  • Understanding the incorrect use of personality types
  • Should you choose your goal based on personality or the other way around?
  • The roles of trauma and the subconscious in the world of personality
  • What labels the tunnel vision
  • Why purpose tramps personality

[02:55] Ben’s Early Writing Journey

Ben was writing as a tool for self-understanding and self-creation. He then had an appreciation of great books which opened him up because he was fascinated by the authors.

Being a voracious reader, he realized he was learning just as much while writing or journaling as he was while he was reading.

[04:44] Seeing Writing as a Creative Process Rather Than Just Editing

Because of our education system, kids aren’t given the chance to use writing as a tool but as a performance outcome. So they never saw writing as a creative process. We’re actually not taught more about writing, but editing.

Your behaviors in writing will shift when your belief about why you’re writing shifts.

You want to write something that dares someone to click. Write something that is semi-scary to publish because you’re revealing something about yourself or what you see or believe in the world.

Write something that would terrify you to share with others either about yourself or how you view the world. Then frame it strategically from a marketing perspective of daring someone to come and see.

[08:00] How His Ideas Began

After studying psychology for so long, you begin to see the world in the form of context. Ben saw that most of the self-improvement advice completely ignored that because we view ourselves as independent structures. 

Ben originally sold the book Will Power Doesn’t Work using a different title but he didn’t feel it was right.

[10:23] Key Takeaways from His Book, Will Power Doesn’t Work

You can’t really accomplish what you’re trying to in the wrong environment. So you fight against the situation and putting the pressure on yourself, rather than just changing the context and putting yourself in a situation that pulls you forward.

Your personality doesn’t shape your decisions, your decisions shape your personality. 

The idea of self-signaling: Your behavior signals back to who you are. Your behavior shapes your identity.

Personality tests are cultural fab. The measure of intelligence is the ability to change. Learning means change. If you truly learned something, you did change.

[13:08] Thoughts on Labeling

Labels create tunnel vision. When you assume a label and identify with it, you see the world through the perspective of our identity. You assume the labels are always true when they’re not.

Labels aren’t necessarily bad but they should serve your goals.

[18:30] How Trauma Relates to How Personality Isn’t Permanent

Trauma is one of the most fundamental aspects of personality. Trauma is an experience you absorb and internalize.

Trauma is what creates a fixed mindset. So if you had a bad experience you don’t recover from, then it’s a trauma. Even failing can be trauma if you don’t keep going.

Trauma freezes you and your development. It keeps you stuck in the experience of the past. Trauma stops you from learning. You just avoid it.

Trauma eliminates your imagination. It damages your mental flexibility. If your imagination is limited, you’re going to be stuck being the person you’ve been in the past.

[27:50] The Role of the Subconscious in Personality

At least 95% of what we do is done subconsciously. There are so many things we do on autopilot whether it’s tying our shoe without talking about it. Your personality is where you’re at at the subconscious level. It’s where you’re at as a person.

If you can change yourself at a subconscious level, you’re definitely going to change your personality.

Your unconscious will only allow you to have what you believe you deserve. So if you don’t believe you deserve success, then you’re going to do anything and everything to sabotage that.

If you don’t believe you can feel good all the time then you’re going to do everything you can to create chaos in your life even if you want to feel good.

Think of ways to upgrade your subconscious. What behaviors, actions, of information you could get that would alter things at the fundamental and upgrade what you believe you deserve?

[37:00] Purpose and Personality

Your purpose is something that should tramp and transform your personality. Purpose is not something to be discovered, but chosen.

You’ve got past and experiences you can draw from. But the more confident you become as a person, the more you choose a purpose worth pursuing. 

When you commit to that, it’s going to transform you. Pursue something that transforms you!

When you have a higher sense of purpose, you will make a choice irrespective of pain and pleasure in order to do and become what you want. You can create what you want because of a higher why rather than what you see at the moment.

Episode Resources:

Visit BenjaminHardy.com. Pre-order the book Personality Isn’t Permanent and send the email through his website. They will send you free access to genius blogging, a deep-dive content into writing strategies.

Grab a copy of Benjamin’s book:


Book mentions:

The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk

Letting Go by David R. Hawkins

The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks

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