This anecdote is actually less of a story than it is a realisation. Mr. Atkinson had run into a student years after he had taught him (I’m guessing at like a reunion or something) and he remembered this particular student quite well, as he was apparently a bit of loose cannon who drove his teachers insane. After a brief chat, Mr. Atkinson realised that the only difference he could see in this boy was that despite being exactly the same person he used to be at school, he was now able to hide his faults.
So what the hell does this story have to do with anything? Well, with some 21sts I’ve been to so far this year resembling a high school reunion more than anything, you run into people who you haven’t seen for a couple of years. And it seems as though some people haven’t really changed much or at all, while some have actually become quite different from the way I remember them.
So I do what I do on days after a heavy night’s drinking, and ponder about this in that half-sick, half-dazed kind of state, coming up with bullshit ideas which I think are great at the time. Can people change? I mean, are we actually capable of changing?
Maybe, I really don’t know. But I did arrive to the conclusion that it’s irrelevant, to everyone but yourself. I mean whether you’ve actually changed or not, how people think of you depend on their perception of you anyway.
Here’s a diagram of the idea that I have in my mind;
If you were originally perceived being lazy, you can change your behaviour around other people so that eventually make people notice and believe that you’re a hard worker. Vice versa, your behaviour may change over time to go from a positive to negative, like from generous to selfish. And obviously if your behaviour doesn’t change much, people won’t think of you any differently. X/X’ and Y/Y’ being opposite characteristics of a personality.
I guess what really matters in the end is not only being able to recognize the faults (and the goodness!) in your own personality, but how you’re being perceived by others as well. If you’re unhappy with what people think about you, the onus is on you change that. Two ways of doing this – either you can actually change and hope for your behaviour to follow, or you can manipulate people into thinking you have qualities that you actually don’t. As for me, I’m pretty perfect so I don’t have to worry about it.