Post a 200- to 300-word response to the following: Do you think this event changed your personality? If it has changed your personality, how has your personality been changed? If the event has not changed your personality, why not?
Never mind the details, but when I was 15 I dropped out of school and went to work full-time landscaping. I worked 10 hours a day 5 days a week whether it was freezing, raining, or blistering hot. It was a very trying time for me, but also a time of learning. See I had to drive 30 miles to work, 30 miles to the job site, 30 miles back to work, and then 30 miles home every day. Most of the time I did not drive so I began to read; science, history, whatever I thought might be interesting. I read hundreds of books while working there for a year. I also learned to overcome physical pain, fatigue, and sickness in order to persevere. It really has shaped my personality, sometimes for the worst. As a result of this job, for years, I was very introverted. I read a lot and only conversed with my close friends and family after having that job. The job did help to moderate my anxiety though because the work was steady and relentless. There is nothing to worry about when you know you are going to be laying sprinkler system pipe for the next 10 hours. I also developed a very good work ethic during those years. I adopted the mottoes, “Don’t stop until the job is done” and “Don’t start another job before you finish this one” and “Always drink plenty of water”. I live in Texas and we have very hot summers here. As a result of my reading and studying outside of public school, I was able to complete my G.E.D. when I turned 18. Those years also helped prepare me for the intensive reading and writing that goes along with the distance learning that my college education entails.
How much of your personality do you think has been determined by environmental influence vs. genetic influence?
In my life, I believe that environmental influences have dominated over genetic influences. From what my parents and close family tell me I was always extremely extroverted as a child and showed very few neurotic tendencies. I believe that the environment I was brought up in greatly shaped my personality. It was not until early adulthood that I started to under exactly how I had changed and why. Since that time I have worked to undo any negative traits brought on by my environment and to expand desirable traits. Sometimes I wish I had not gone through so much as a child but then I remember that wisdom is formed through such experiences.
McAdams, D.P. (2006). The person: A new introduction to personality psychology. Danvers, MA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.