by Portia Nelson


I walk, down the street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I fall in

I am lost. I am helpless

It isn't my fault.

It takes forever to find a way out.


I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I pretend I don't see it.

I fall in again

I can't believe I am in the same place but, it isn't my fault.

It still takes a long time to get out.


I walk down the same street

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I see it there.'

I still fall in. it's a habit, my eyes are open.

I know where I am.

It is my fault.

I get out immediately.


I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I walk around it.


I walk down another street.

The poet says it very well. Many times people do the same mistakes, even though they know this will hurt them. Why?What makes change so difficult?

Things that are learned early in life are the hardest to change or unlearn. Early conceptions of the world, even if lost to consciousness, remain a part of our memory and may influence our behaviors in some very interesting ways.

Children attempt to explain and make sense of their world in terms of their experience. By the very nature of their limited number of years, their experience is not very wide or deep. Their interpretations of the world, why things happen, is extremely limited and often very inaccurate. Nevertheless, these early interpretations are often the groundwork upon which later, more accurate and sophisticated explanations are based.

Exposed to poor or destructive parenting, a child is likely to explain the mistreatment as being deserved due to some lack, deficit or badness within him/herself. In other words, if someone has to be the bad or undeserving, the child is inclined to take the negative self-view on him/herself. In this way a child protects his parents; they are kept perfect. It is not that the child has bad parents; instead he or she becomes the bad child who gets just what he or she deserves.

People seem to have a need to repeat unrewarding situations in the present that are remarkably similar to unhappy situations and relationships that occurred in their childhood. It is as if they are trying, over an over again, to recreate a painful experience from childhood, but, this time, have it work out better. The attempt is to undo a painful history by redoing it successfully in the present.

While one part of the personality seems to be actively engaged in trying to redo the past in a more favorable or successful manner, another part seems determined to make sure that the present turns out exactly the same as the past. This is certainly a more difficult motive to understand since it seems designed to continue a painful, frustrating, even self-defeating situation.

Who we are, our sense of self is a product of all the experiences that have impinged upon us. Every time we say 'I am good at writing,' or 'I can't play tennis,' or 'I am not very good at arithmetic,' or 'Athletics are really my great strength' we are making a statement about some aspect or ourself, our identity. Over the years, we add to and modify parts of that identity. The process goes on without our having to give it much thought. Often, discovering who we are becomes a complicated process of reviewing influences that have had an impact without our realizing it. Sometimes, the review process--the getting to know ourselves--holds some very real surprises as well as confrontation with some real contradictions that exist within our personality

Despite all this things, people do change over the years. They change their ways of life, their jobs, their families, sometimes even their personality. Experience is very important here:

"Experience is a revelation in the light of which we renounce our errors of youth for those of age."

As a child, you don't have to worry about anything. All you have to do is discover the world around you. And that is pretty easy when you are 5 years old, don't you think?

As a teenager, things are starting to look more difficult. You leave your toys behind, and start looking for your own personality.

And then you turn 18.

I bet you could fill the entire paper with stories about what you used to be like, odd habits that you dropped and so forth.

By the time you turn 18, you are considered an adult. Does turning 18 mean you're done growing as a person? Of course you'll continue to learn and experience new things, but will the essence of your character change?

I think that, for the majority of cases, who you are when you turn 18 is pretty much who you'll be for the rest of your life. What factors cause people to change?

What can cause a chronically grumpy person to become pleasant and agreeable? What can turn a dependent, submissive person into someone independent and assertive? Maybe it is because we're extroverts, but we think people change personality, habits and emotional grounding over time primarily because of the influence of other people.

One reason people wouldn't question their characteristics is if they didn't have to. Imagine if you didn't interact with people after high school, if you got your college degree by reading the books and viewing taped lectures from your room. You might still change because of a good philosophy or English class. You would probably have read more books in your leisure time, and that could have caused you to look at things differently, too. But altogether, you'd probably be pretty much the same as you were at the end of high school.

But bigger changes are possible when one is surrounded by so many peers. It's so easy to observe your friends and neighbors, examine their lifestyles and compare them to your own.

And if you're honest with yourself, you can see that maybe they're going about something better than you are. Maybe you'll find you dwell on mistakes more than your friends do, and you'll ask yourself why. Or you're more organized than you need to be, or you're hanging out with the same people too often. Being around others allows us to question everything about our lives, a process that can be reaffirming or unsettling but often leads to change.

Not everyone changes though. There are still those we know who are as abrasive, messy, timid or clingy as ever. But the opportunity for change is present.

How about marriage and raising children? These things make everyone reevaluate their priorities and have the potential to change people's behaviors.

"At 20 you have many desires which hide the truth, but beyond 40 there are only real and fragil truths- your abilities and your failings."

Scientist say that we all have a different personality type.

What is a personality type? It is something you're born with. Like handedness or other preferred ways of using your brain, your Personality Type is an essential and inherent part of who you are.

It is not possible to change our type as a result of experiences or as a result of pressure to be different. While we may change the way we behave and may develop all kinds of adaptive or accommodating skills or habits, we do not change our personality type. Now, under extraordinary circumstances (i.e. serious child abuse, extensive experience in a lifestyle or career that runs counter to your normal operating style), people can and sometimes do become so affected (or damaged) that they no longer recognize their 'true' selves. But in most situations, all we are really changing is our behavior - not our inborn preference.

All types develop over time - and in a pretty predictable and logical fashion. We all begin to unconsciously develop and strengthen the less developed parts of our personality starting at around mid-life. This explains why work that used to be a good fit may no longer be, or why we begin to see ourselves differently. We are not the same person at 20 as we are at 40.

A person is born with one true type and remains that type all your life. If you seem to behave differently at work/school than you do at home, you might consider which is the 'real' or 'true' you, and which is the one you have to act like in order to meet the demands you have placed on you.

In conclusion, people change over the years, but that change can be influenced by many factors: childhood, way of life, money, personality type, etc.