‘The greatest value in thinking of personality as “doing projects” rather than “having traits” is in three powerful words: potential for change.
‘We can consciously choose and adapt our projects in ways that we cannot change our traits.
‘But that doesn’t mean we can leave our traits back on shore, speeding freely across the water toward a self shaped by projects alone.
‘Our projects and our traits are connected.
‘Our research shows that where you stand on the Big Five trait dimensions (to recap, those are openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeability and neuroticism) affects your appraisal of your personal projects.
‘And this has practical implications for which projects you undertake and how challenging they are for you.
‘For instance, neurotic people have a generalized sense of negative emotions and so are much more likely to appraise all their projects, whether they are interpersonal or academic or work-related, as stressful. If this describes you, there is one practical implication you should know. Make a space in your life for projects that you find uplifting.
‘These needn’t be major projects; indeed, it is better if you have frequent engagement with smaller-scale projects that give you a sense of pleasure. Your natural tendency to see the downside of the larger endeavors of life can be offset by frequent, intense experience with the little things.’
Our projects shape and influence our personality. I guess that explains why we change as we explore, and experience, new ways of working on things that matter greatly to us. My favorite line is this one:
‘Make a space in your life for projects you find uplifting’
I love that someone else is saying this because I have been saying it for a long time, and I’m not an expert in psychology. I wanted to put it here in order to help me back up my personal philosophy that showing up to do the things you want to do in conversations and through co-creation is a way to find out more about who you really are.
S P A C E is a weekly zine that I made to keep this practice up, for myself. A practice of going and finding things that I don’t know about.
I started the project Atelier S P A C E in 2017, so, the year this article came out, in order to go on the road and discover people, then stage several ad hoc opportunities for us to make something, in situ, on the spot. I did this in Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Finland, Latvia, and Vietnam, mostly. It wasn’t easy to land somewhere new and go, ‘Let’s make zines.’ But we did.
Honestly, it was a tough thing to pull off. Only a very small handful of people I met would say ‘yes’ to this invitation. Often it was in a workshop format, or an event with a ticket. Other times, I found out it was better to leave it open, let it happen, and make it up as I went. More me, honestly. Collaging my way to the next issue.
This is the one for tomorrow. S P A C E | ‘Discovery.’