In my ongoing quest to answer the question ‘What’s really going on here?’ in response to lay articles written about psychology, I was drawn to a piece in the Guardian newspaper (UK). The author seeks to understand, and hopefully untangle, yet another claim about a psychological trait, this time it’s the claim that charisma can be taught. Apparently, charisma is the ‘must-have’ for all modern leaders and the rest of us who just want to get ahead (or impress someone we find attractive).
In his article, Colin Drury does an admirable job of tackling this topic. I breathed a sigh of relief as I came to the end of his piece where he denounced as dubious the claim, made by so many coaches, that they can teach this psychological trait to any well-paying punter. Spot on, Colin. The claim is not even close to being true. To be sure, charisma is a very real personality trait, however, I firmly maintain that it cannot be taught or learnt as it is the product of a very specific pattern of thinking whose origins are, we believe, genetic. (Sorry, if it was on your Christmas wish list.)
What worries me more than the existence of these charlatans selling charisma, who after all take their name from 17th Century hawkers of potions—ciarlare, Italian ‘to babble’—is the fact that there seem to be so many amongst us who are perfectly willing to hand over large sums of money to try to become something we simply are not. Why are people so eager to masquerade in this way and risk being seen for who they are, pretenders? Why are people not exercising and sharpening their innate talents in ways that will yield positive results?
Of course, peer pressure, the media, loony psychologists and coaches hyping nonsense such as “Ten Traits Every Great Leader Shares”, and “What You Must Be To Make An Impression”, are all to blame. Well, if chasing rainbows is your thing, good luck to you. For those rather more grounded individuals who would like to know and grow their real genius, I invite them to explore their thinking patterns here. Find your genius, stand on solid ground and just be your charming, honest self. Being genuine is a character trait and a charm more powerful than charisma.
PS. Charisma is a trait that arises out of Future mind. The MindTime project’s technology maps thinking patterns within the framework of time and is founded on a well-respected theory of mind published in the scientific literature (the theory of MindTime). To visit our project web site click here.