On character

Can a person ever change his character? That is, if as a child he had always been lazy, or shy, or impetuous, or arrogant, then as an adult too, he shall always carry in his actions a small strain of laziness, of shyness, of impetuousness, of arrogance. Consider the one who is shy. As a young boy, he spoke only when spoken to, and even then, spoke very few words. Then as an adolescent, as a more independent vessel, he pushed himself to speak a few more words, but nevertheless remained the quiet, timorous child he had always been. Finally, he reaches adulthood. He tries his best to conceal that primordial shyness; he throws off all sense of insecurity and begins to speak his mind whenever an opportunity presents itself. “There is nothing to be afraid of”, he tells himself. “What childish monsters have scared me into reticence; they shall be no more.” And so he goes about impressing upon people that he is no shy person at all, but an outspoken one, who would neither hide his thoughts nor treat them as too piddling for conversation. But he quickly grows tired. Nature has not endowed him the powers to operate in this loquaciousness. You see, he has only concealed his character, his shyness; hid it behind a mask of confidence. Deep inside, he is still that awkward little boy, and will always remain. Are we not bound to our characters in the same way a tree is bound to the type of fruit it bears?

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