We all know that people change over time, be it their behavior, or their outlook and perception of life. This means, one is constantly trying to become a better person and bring in those subtle changes within him or her that will ultimately result in a better personality.
This change which happens over time depending on the impact of different situations can be known as incremental change. This change is different from transformative change however, in which case, the entire outlook of a person is changed in an instant. It is to become something completely different than before, something completely new which hasn’t ever existed before.
Think of it this way, if you let your thought processes be similar to how they have been since the start, it is unlikely that you will start thinking any differently, and therefore, you will continue getting the same results out of life. Change starts when you start thinking differently or have a new outlook on life.
There is a very famous Chinese proverb which states that, “If I don’t change my direction, I will likely end up where I’m headed.” So if you are to change the way you think about what is happening around you, you are likely to transform. This transformative change is known to affect your overall character because your overall character is affected by how you are and how you think at that point in time.
Defining the Two Aspects
Before we go into depth regarding the topic, and how the former affects the latter, we must first define the two aspects separately.
This is the change that happens in an individual which results in a complete transformation into one’s personality which leads to a completely new person.
Character can be defined as an individual’s set of mental, physical and emotional traits, how he behaves in society and what his ethical and moral values are.
The character of a person is what distinguishes him in terms of the way he lives his life. Each person’s character is unique to him and helps show the complete profile of a person. The Character of a person helps us distinguish or tell us about how a person will act in a certain situation or how he is bound to behave. It comprises of certain mental and physical traits which are built in and make a person behave in a certain way. The following points will help us understand character further:
- A person’s character governs the way they carries their life forward. Character controls thinking, speaking, and behavior.
- It is a habit which can further be developed through hard work and repetition.
- While many factors play a part in building one’s character such as environmental factors and heredity, a person has a certain power over their character and thus can change their thought processes and behavior for the better.
- The level of motivation to change or keep a certain behavior might be different for different individuals, for instance some students might not cheat due to the fear of getting caught and some due to them understanding that cheating is wrong. This difference however, does not change the perception of the character as a whole.
- Every individual has a combination of negative and positive traits. Some traits develop consciously while others without any conscious effort.
- Good character, as mentioned above, can be developed by an individual.
How Transformative Change Occurs
Transformative change can occur through the use of two key elements. The first key element is to be with someone you trust who will help you see things from a different perspective. This different perspective changes the way you look at things, and therefore results in you creating a transformation for yourself. The second key element is when a person has this dream or a vision for something different. This vision causes the individual to change his current thinking into the thinking which will support his vision or dream. Both these elements help support a change which is essential for transformation.
Examples of Transformative Change
Transformative change happens in a lot of circumstances and especially holds true in those rare cases where an individual goes through life altering experiences. For instance, a person who has gone through a traumatizing or abused childhood can be completely transformed during his adulthood due to that experience alone. Similarly, if a doctor volunteers to go to Africa to serve there for a certain period of time, he can experience a transformative change during his time there and have a completely different perception on life by the end of his term.
Transformations happen all the time, and transformations become much easier when faced with a life altering experience.
How Transformational Change Affects Character
When an individual is transformed, his way of thinking, and therefore his behavior in society changes. This directly or indirectly affects the person’s character because a person’s character is made up of the way he thinks, and hence, the way he acts. A good transformational change affects one’s character in a positive manner. It helps a person bring out their new self for the world to see. For instance, when we spoke of the example of a doctor going to Africa, he probably came back filled with compassion and being more humble. His outlook on life changed which caused a similar change in his character.
Life is full of experiences, some good and some bad. Some of them are so intense that they completely change our perception about life. But life experiences are just one of the causes of transformational change. Sometimes it has more to do with what an individual wants. If he wants to keep walking down the similar path, his perceptions are unlikely to change. If he wants something else out of life, he will start thinking differently which will result in a transformation. A person’s character is how he wants to be portrayed in life. Therefore, it is always best to develop the best character possible.