AntiFool with Norman Chella

Dr. Benjamin Hardy on why Personality Isn't Permanent, Redefining Trauma, and Your Future

June 17, 2020 Norman Chella Season 1 Episode 14
AntiFool with Norman Chella
Dr. Benjamin Hardy on why Personality Isn't Permanent, Redefining Trauma, and Your Future
Show Notes
Dr. Benjamin Hardy is the Organizational Psychologist, the Writer against Willpower, and the Advocate for a Future Self. He is the AntiFool.

Have you ever taken a personality test? Like the Myers-Briggs Personality Test, or the Enneagram? What element are you? Are you fire or wood? (I think I'm water)

There are tons of personality tests out there that give you an idea of what kind of person you are and that's fun. But it does lead to something dark: These tests create a narrative FOR us instead of us creating that for ourselves. We are that power away to tests found on Facebook or somewhere else to try to understand ourselves better.

Who better to take a deep dive into reframing our past and heading towards the future than Organizational Psychologist, Dr. Benjamin Hardy.

Dr. Benjamin Hardy is an organizational psychologist and bestselling author of Willpower Doesn’t Work. His blogs have been read by over 100 million people and are featured on Forbes, Fortune, CNBC, Cheddar, Big Think, and many others. He is a regular contributor to Inc. and Psychology Today and from 2015-2018, he was the No. 1 writer, in the world, on He and his wife Lauren adopted three children through the foster system in February 2018 and, one month later, Lauren became pregnant with twins, who were born in December of 2018. They live in Orlando.

His latest book Personality Isn't Permanent debunks the myths of personality that have captured pop culture. Like tests like Myers-Briggs, and all that is not only psychologically destructive but are no more scientific than horoscopes.

So to shed some clarity on the meaning of personality that changes over time, I had a chat with Ben about:
  • How he came from a traumatic childhood of divorce, addiction, and much more to becoming the number one writer in the world on medium.
  • On why willpower doesn't work for addiction and what works instead
  • The meaning of a fixed personality and why we frame our past in certain ways.
  • Trauma and how you can accept the past to reach the ideal future of your choosing.
  • How to be the scribe of your identity narrative


  • 5:22 Ben's childhood: divorced parents, extreme drug addiction and no purpose
  • 7:01 How reconnecting with his faith to gain purpose
  • 8:36 Why choose writing?
  • 9:33 "I was learning a lot from my own writing...introspection, a lot of clarity and insight" The choice to be a writer
  • 10:35 Why willpower doesn't work, and why sobriety is not the opposite of addiction
  • 12:04 "The ability of the average person could be doubled if the situation demanded it" - William Durant
  • 14:17 Foster parenting, and Ben's reasons for adopting 3 kids
  • 17:10 "We did have future versions of ourselves that gave us purpose" on having 6 kids and a purpose
  • 18:35 Why do we have an obsession with personality tests?
  • 21:42 "It takes courage to make decisions" Why it's hard for someone to define a future version of themselves
  • 25:47 Benjamin Hardy's definition of a trauma
  • 26:42 "Trauma shatters hope, and hope is essential for happiness"
  • 28:58 How to find the courage to face your trauma and overcome it
  • 33:52 A hero, a best friend: What Benjamin Hardy's father means to him
  • 38:04 Accepting the past version of yourself: This is how Benjamin Hardy did it
  • 42:07 Who is the future version of Dr. Benjamin Hardy?
  • 45:53 Benjamin Hardy's memento
  • 47:08 Benjamin Hardy's walkaway wisdom
  • 48:37 What Ben wishes future Ben would say to him