Charisma, Are You Born With It Or Can It Be Learned?

It’s an interesting topic, that’s enlightening to hear and know other people’s opinions on, the wider reaching scope of which is – are humans capable of change, under their own steam ?

Take Joe. Joe’s not very charismatic, in fact he’s relatively pathetic. He decides one day to learn to be charismatic. Can he rise to the challenge or does he just have to accept his lot in life that he’s just not one of life’s winners ?

Or take Joe2. Joe2 wasn’t born a leader. So does Joe just say, well genetics and my “luck” didn’t favour me as a leader, so I resign myself to being a follower ? Or does he say, maybe I’m disadvantaged, but I’m going to be the best me I can possibly be ?

Or take Joe3. Joe3 is depressed, in fact the guy is borderline suicidal. Does Joe3 say, well I was born this way, I’m just miserable, fed-up, I’m just gonna lay down and die ? Or does Joe3 say, not so fast, I’m gonna give my best shot to trying to change my life for happiness and move myself out of this trap ?

Now Joe, Joe2 and Joe3 have a choice. They can take the path of just accepting things as they are and doing nothing, resign themselves to “fate”. Or they could take the path of accepting things as they are and moving forward making changes to make himself the best possible him he can be, taking responsibility and choosing “free-will”. Self Improvement Self Improvement

Some say that the path of improvement and change doesn’t lead anywhere, fight club I think it was “self-improvement is masturbation”. Well that actually takes it to another level, saying it’s pointless and narcissistic, and goes on to say self-destruction is a more noble goal.

It’s an interesting sentiment, however I think in being and striving to be the best that we can be is worthwhile, and it’s not just for ourselves. IN being our best selves we are much better equipped to help, support and positively influence others. I also think change is something that we can bring about in ourselves, and change from NOT to SO is possible. As I’ve said already, anything is possible with Charisma 🙂

There are many examples of “mediocre” people who’ve been outstanding successes, Einstein I believe was in this category. And I’m sure there are plenty of examples of people who had it all, and achieved very little in the way of success. Don’t they say that disadvantage can actually be a catalyst to success ?

The difference I feel is the personal belief that positive change is possible, and in fact probable with consistent effort. Moreover having or acquiring the self-belief to do, be and become what is necessary to succeed is the important thing. Charismatic is something we can learn to be if we want to, and being a leader isn’t the sole right of someone who is genetically favoured, or comes from a privileged background. However no one would argue that it helps to have had advantages to start off with.

What always surprises me is when people seem resigned to mediocrity, it’s genetics, it’s fate, I didn’t get the advantages that other people did – why, why would we limit ourselves so harshly and unfairly ? Why do we let others do this to us ?

Life offers many challenges, problems, difficulties and hardships, but at what point does one “sell-out”, give up or quit ?

Largely rhetorical questions, I know, but nevertheless may get the grey matter pondering anew.

Lastly, again, clearly I’ve already formed my own opinions on the subject. This is not a request for support or cry for help for “personal problems”, I don’t need, I don’t have, I don’t want. Merely it’s an interesting topic, that being one’s best self is entirely possible, and probable with the will and vision to see it through. You can digest or comment 🙂



Notes for commenters:

Comments are invited. BUT you are reminded that this is a public blog and you are also reminded to think before you press the “post comment” button. 

Good manners are a mark of a charismatic person – so please keep comments civil, non-argumentative, constructive and related, or they will be moderated. If you feel you can’t comply, press the “unfollow” button and/or refrain from commenting.

I read ALL comments but can’t always reply. I will comment if I think there’s something that I can add to what you’ve said. I do delete without notice comments that don’t follow rules above. For persistent offenders I will ignore you permanently and/or report you.

Most decent people already know how to behave respectfully. Thank you for your co-operation on the above.

Warm regards, Don Charisma

Resources & Sources

Fight Club Scene –

75 thoughts on “Charisma, Are You Born With It Or Can It Be Learned?

  1. I used to be quite shy when I was younger but over the years have become more outgoing and assertive. Part of it has been out of necessity as well as gradual change and a conscious choice. Either way, I like who I am and will continue to push myself to change and grow. Fate or product of environment? Does not matter to me personally, I choose to spend my pondering time on other questions.

  2. I can digest AND comment 😉

    “Life offers many challenges, problems, difficulties and hardships, but at what point does one “sell-out”, give up or quit ?”

    or at what point does one change? When you are going nowhere with you efforts by now, may be you should change something, that’s more than possible.

    But if you look at it backwards, change is actually giving up on your previous strategy/ philosophy. And probably you’ve had your strategy/ philosophy for a long time by now and it probably has had many benefits to you, although apparently still not enough. What makes change hard, is giving up on this previous strategy/ philosophy, but that’s far from impossible 🙂

  3. You probably already know my stance on this – change is always possible if you are willing to take the risk to do so. It is rarely easy and many stumble and fall but it is always possible. 🙂

      1. I was hoping it was early onset senile dementia, but seems just an inability to track more than a certain number of threads … no one’s perfect not even me !

  4. Thank you for inviting me into your beautiful community by following my blog! I appreciate what you have created here out of your own charisma. Inspirational to say the least. ^_^

    Mostly i agree with all your sediments… how wonderful! And funny for the past few days, i also have been thinking of writing an article for my blog on free will. The notion being, from my perspective, the only free will we really have is the choice to stay positive or turn towards the light… all else is destined. At this physical level of self this is all the power I see we have…. but this little bit of free will is powerful and can transform into what i think you call charisma? And I would say we can condition and teach ourselves to choose the light by paying attention. And do you think the paradox of free will and destiny become One when choose light?

    In peace,

    1. Hey Sheilan, you are very welcome, and lovely to hear from you 🙂

      I’m happy you mostly agree with me, we don’t learn anything from people who entirely agree with us …

      The paradox is solved when one understands both paradigms, that of fate and that of free-will. I could explain this like – fate is experiencing life as things happening to one, and free-will is experiencing life as outcomes of choices (often one’s own choices). Cases can be argued either way, but I prefer to think of it as free-will, whereby I can take responsibility for my life and what’s in it.

      I’m assuming by light you mean virtue ? I don’t think virtue is always applicable, as it could leave a person unbalanced. I think it’s more like mostly making a conscious choice to be virtuous, whilst accepting that the dark exists and exercised if needed. For instance I’m not an advocate of violence, but would use it to defend myself, my home and my loved ones.

      Warm regards


  5. ‘pondering anew’ here. Thank you DC for opening the forum on ‘charisma.’ It seems to me that answers or suggestions to your question depend much on what someone’s perspective of charisma actually is- be it self-fulfillment, maximizing success, being happy, engaged with the world around us, or what have you. A common thread, tho, is a personal choice to be engaged, yes? Personally 1: I find your daily posts of “everything’s possible with Charisma,” to be a very positive, socially engaged mindset. Personally 2: I am completely comfortable with many perspectives on charisma. That all said, thank you for your posts and invitation to share. best regards!

    1. LOL, yes I “borrowed” your catch phrase and hoping you might join in. Charisma is challenging to define, not impossible, perhaps I’ll do my own version again later. And yes I’m quite happy for people to have their own definition of charisma. Works well for me, because no one can ever accuse me of not being charismatic, especially as most people can’t even define it LOL

      I do my best to post positive things, things that I’m interested in and things that I think others would be interested in … add enjoy, like etc … and happy when I’ve achieved these things and it gets fed back to me 🙂

      Warm regards


  6. Fake it until you make it. I believe charisma can be useful and not at all a bad thing if used to an advantage. If charisma is hiding a psychosis like narcissism or multiple personalities (Fight Club), usually that will reveal itself in time. When life shakes the world you’re in up, depression and grieving are normal emotions. A mask is worn (fake it) to not bring others down… most of all, to not keep you down. I’m living proof.

    1. I like that, and there’s some gems in what you say. I don’t think a person goes from zero to hero in one instant, so there may be some learning (faking) along the way.

  7. This is about becoming the best that one can be. Indeed, we can never be the best possible version of ourselves by stopping at the current state of who we are. With our freewill, we have the right to decide whether to stay as we are or aim to improve.

  8. I think it depends significantly on environment. For example, a person born into an environment where their sole contact is with those who are unemployed with no prospects, probably won’t have an ideal to aspire to outside of their society, or may believe that a better alternative is completely unattainable. For a person to have a vision outside of that scenario (the concept of which could be entirely alien), they would have to have amazing strength of character and super human drive. Where would that come from?

    1. You think I know the answer, or it was a rhetorical ?

      I concur with your thinking, and I think the strength of character and drive are part of charisma. Charisma as I’ve said, I believe can be learn’t. So it would come from the individual’s decision or there may be an external catalyst such as a teacher or mentor, who would influence the individual.

  9. My observation is that its very much both with your surrounding or environment having the biggest influence. Morals and work ethics are learned first hand and passed down. Passion is a strong factor in the right environment. I don’t think it a cliche about being a product of your surroundings

    1. Didn’t Jack Nicholson say he wants “his environment to be a product of him” rather than the other way around in “The Departed” … although I’m not suggesting people become a crime boss, the sentiment is that we can create our environment, rather than it creating us …

      And should have said earlier, I concur with your observations 🙂

      warm regards


  10. Um – yes – I agree – I agree so much that my comment turned into a blogpost which I have copied and pasted and will post shortly! LOL! Thank you for the inspiration dear SIr. 😉 Will pingback right 😀

  11. Thank you for a thought-provoking piece! I think there are examples all around us of people who have turned their lives around and become charismatic, through their own achievements. I am an optimist and I believe we are all striving to be the best that we can be.

  12. Really important stuff, you bring up here Don. When I saw your headline and the sign of question, I decided to take my walk with the dog, where I have time for minding too, before I considered to comment at your post.

    First of all, I will say, if you are raised with love and encouragement, it helps to be the best of yourself from beginning.

    Then there are the rest of us, mostly I think, as need to fight to be the best edition of ourselves. And I mean, we can learn that. By education to get knowledge about life too.
    If we really wish to be the best of ourselves, I think this is possible with the “white magic” as one in here wrote about yesterday.
    But if we only have the wish to be the best of all others, we may end up using the “black magic”, and end up as manipulators of worst kind.

    By being the best us, and feel the fire inside us, that we really to our best to become the best edition of ourselves, it is possible to be charismatic, because we then bring in our soul and burn for the case. Then we use the “white magic” and are able to act in the good way to other souls, without any kind of bad minding in same time.
    We will not need to behave bad, because we know, we are good enough, just as we are, and we try to improve ourselves all the time.

    Thanks for sharing this interesting question Don. I’m looking forward to read all the other comments later at the day.

    1. Thanks Irene, I think I understood you. For me externally it’s a question of respect. Whilst I’m getting respect on the outside I’m quite happy to continue working white magic until the end of time. When I start to detect a lack of respect, that’s when I’m likely to move to the black magic side of things. Personally I think it’s important to know both sides of the equation, and be able to fight and defend when one needs to. Bad shit does and bad people do exist in the world, and to make oneself intentionally helpless and defenceless by only learning white magic, isn’t very smart or charismatic. For monks maybe it’s the true way, but I’m not a monk, and it’s not a true way for me.

      So I think it’s that old thing about treating others how you’d like to be treated yourself 🙂



      1. I understand, what you mean Don. And yes sometimes it feels necessary to use the black magic, when we meet bad people. I just mind not to use that, unless I feel there are no other way to handle the situation.
        In business more than in private life.

        I try my best to sort bad people out of my life, have had more than my part of them. Unfortunately also the ones, who use the black magic and act narcisitic, to get their opinion as the only right in the whole world.

        I did learn this on the hard way, why I learned to be more awake.

  13. The Fate vs Free-Will is a very tough debate that’s almost always on in my head, I almost always felt as if being mediocre was my fate. Then someone told me ‘Never believe anything that makes you weak.’ After that it’s been much easier to believe that taking charge of my own destiny might actually overwrite what’s already been ‘fated’!!

    1. I think there’s arguments for both fate and free-will. I’m fond of Dan Millman (see my about page), and he deals a lot with paradoxes, which is what fate and free-will are. The conclusion I came to in myself was that they are the same thing, just a different mental perspective. Now I don’t concern myself too much with it, and tend to err to the side of free-will, as it gives me a sense of control of what’s going on in my life.

      And I’m very much liking the ‘Never believe anything that makes you weak.’ … it’s a very strong thing to think !

      Warm regards


  14. I absolutely completely agree that personal change is possible, it’s all about mindset and deciding who and what you want to be and acting on it. Someone can choose to be unhappy just as they can choose to be happy. Totally agree with you on that. As long as it isn’t only for show, that’s where I feel that the charisma question comes in. My ex husband could be extremely charismatic in public but behind the scenes was a bag of insecurities and rather unpleasant most of the time – hence being ex – so this is where I struggle. For me, my opinion only, charisma should not only be skin deep and change should be complete and from the heart, not just for show.

    1. I’ve certainly got some scumbag exes under my belt, gold-diggers and women that are only around for the good times, aren’t charismatic and weren’t worth investing my loyalty in. So for me it’s good riddance, dust myself off and find someone better having learnt from the experience.

      To be truely charismatic like you’re describing, from head to toe, day-in day-out, fully heart engaged is a challenge, and takes strength. Strength for me is what underpins charisma. Within that we’re all vulnerable, get tired and lack charisma from time-to-time, so I’d temper the expectation of charisma with a little bit of human compassion for another being who is limited. And of course life is a continual learning … so today’s not very charismatic person, may be tomorrows very charismatic person.

      I also think that charisma should be shared between man and woman, not one or the other’s “job”. I’ve known some very charismatic women, and therefore it’s not solely a man’s “job”.

      1. Absolutely not!!! I wasn’t assuming we were only talking about men! I’m a very charismatic female thank you very much 🙂 and pretty much all the time too!!! 😉

      2. Then it’s not absolutely not, that’s what I just said, didn’t I ?

        Men and women are both capable of being charismatic, however I’ve often been expected to be “the charismatic one” by women I’ve been with in the past. I don’t accept that anymore, it’s something we should share – put our skills into “the pot” for a strong healthy relationship. So we’re saying that same thing I think Elaine ?

  15. It’s a very interesting subject! 🙂 And I do believe that we should always try and make ourselves ‘better’, not just stop and accepting what we got handed to us. I have been there myself and see that in some friends and family.. Years ago I was Joe3 (or maybe a Joanna3 😉 ) so know it can be done, just wished I started y ‘reinvention’ earlier 🙂

    1. Thanks, that doesn’t exactly follow my experience. Authenticity is a nice idea, but not applicable in every circumstance, so I partially agree with you on that. Certainly agree with being true to oneself, and growing from within. I do however think charisma can be taught and learnt, just like any other skill 🙂

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