9 personality traits that are keeping you stuck in life

Do you find yourself repeating the same patterns over and over again?

You’re doing all of the things you ‘should’ be, maybe you’re even achieving all of your goals, yet there is a clear sense that you’re not quite where you want to be.

If we want to truly evolve, we require the inner tools of self-awareness, resilience, and a willingness to confront challenges head-on. 

If you’re feeling stuck, it might not be related to what you’re doing externally, but rather personality traits and perspectives that might be keeping you in a loop.

These traits can act as heavy obstacles on the path to self-improvement. 

In this article, we will explore 9 common personality traits that can hinder personal growth and success. 

By understanding these traits and learning how to overcome them, you can unlock your full potential and lead a more fulfilling life.

1) Arrogance

If you ever feel that you know it all, it’s a sure sign that you don’t!

Arrogance can be a personality trait that’s keeping you stuck in life because it allows no room for growth, new learning, or openness to change. 

A little humility goes a long way, no matter how good you are at something or how much information you know. You can live an entire life and still never scratch the surface of possibilities of experiences this earth has to offer. 

So if you feel any hint of superiority towards others about something, this may actually be keeping you stuck, although it makes your ego feel like you’re ahead. 

Try to instead operate from the possibility that you know nothing at all – it will take you a long way socially, professionally, emotionally, or in any area of life.

2) Defensiveness

Defensiveness is a layer of our personality that protects arrogance. 

This personality trait is something I have firsthand experience in overcoming.

I was once an extremely defensive person, and it took looking at many uncomfortable truths in myself to stop taking myself so seriously. 

The reality is this:

If someone mentions an area of improvement for you, and you get defensive, you are missing out on a huge opportunity to become a better person than you thought possible.

If you can set aside that part of you that says, “f—- you, you don’t know me!” if someone has something negative to say about you, and instead approach with an open mind and willingness to change, it does wonders. 

Not only does the person feel a renewed trust and admiration for you, but so do you for yourself, after the discomfort is over. 

Looking back, it always feels way better to respond with openness than defensiveness.

3) Entitlement

Entitlement is an attitude that can lead to a lot of imbalanced behaviors, outlooks and relationships in one’s life.

Overall, when we have an outlook of entitlement, we are creating our reality from either manipulation, using others’ resources, or a belief that we are more deserving than others. 

None of these are healthy or a truthful approach to building your vision. 

A grounded, unproblematic life is all about the natural balance of give and take, staying true to your word, knowing when it’s time to give back, and thinking of others as much as yourself. 

To combat entitlement, you can practice gratitude, set a vision, and practice the self-empowerment that helps you actually enjoy the process of creating and realizing your dreams.. 

By shifting the focus from entitlement to empowerment, you can be the sole creator of your own destiny, which will take you much further than expecting others to hand it to you. 

It’s also far more rewarding and fulfilling!

4) Overdependence on others

independent thinker 9 personality traits that are keeping you stuck in life

Speaking of being the creator of your own reality, depending too much on others is another trait that won’t help with that. 

It’s similar but slightly different from entitlement.

Overdependence could look like: 

  • Depending on others to help you out a lot (even gratefully)
  • Depending on others to make decisions on your behalf
  • Needing validation from others
  • Caring too much about what others think
  • Waiting for others to lead the way on your dreams

This trait could be keeping you stuck in life, because you are the best, most qualified creator of your reality – and waiting or relying on someone else is only going to cost you time and put a heavy imbalance on the relationship. 

5) Perfectionism

While striving for your best is admirable, perfectionism takes it to an unhealthy extreme. 

The pursuit of perfection can result in never being satisfied with one’s achievements, causing stress, repressed guilt or low self-esteem, and stalling progress.

Speaking from experience, a perfectionistic tendency can stop you from even trying before you’ve started, or stop you from finishing projects that already aren’t going ‘perfectly’.

By practicing self-compassion, setting realistic standards, and embracing the truth that imperfection is a beautiful part of this ‘life’ experience, you can learn to enjoy the learning process and make far more progress this way.

6) Having low self-esteem

On the seemingly opposite end of arrogance, our first trait on this list, is low self-esteem. 

But little might you realize…

Arrogance can also come from underlying low self-esteem, too!  Just in a cover-up-the-shame kind of way. 

More obvious low self-esteem comes in the form of self-doubt, fear of failure, and reluctance to take risks. All of these can be damaging and paralyzing to your progress in life. 

Building self-esteem involves challenging negative self-talk, setting achievable goals, and seeking support from friends, family, a coach or a therapist.

By developing a more positive self-image, you can boost your confidence (healthily) and know that you’re truly capable of anything you want, with enough belief and determination. 

7) Being too rigid

Having an inflexible or fixed mindset can make it challenging to adapt to new circumstances or accept different perspectives.

And, this trait is one that definitely limits personal growth. 

To become more adaptable, you can practice open-mindedness, engage in self-reflection, and cultivate a willingness to learn from experiences. Embracing change as an opportunity for growth can lead to increased resilience and personal development.

Fear of change can also come from rigidity – or the other way around. Being overly resistant to change can prevent you from exploring new opportunities and experiences. 

To overcome this fear, you can gradually try stepping out of your comfort zone, set small goals for change, and focus on the potential rewards that come with embracing new challenges. 

Know that change, when approached with an open heart, can lead to deep personal transformation.

8) Victim mindset

phrases manipulative use be victim 9 personality traits that are keeping you stuck in life

Seeing oneself as a perpetual victim of unwanted circumstances can lead to a sense of powerlessness and inaction. 

Yes, life can be truly unfair. But every unwanted situation has its growths and silver linings, if you can do the hardest part: not letting it cloud you from seeing the beauty and feeling gratitude in your life. 

It’s crucial to understand on a deeper level that life is filled with challenges, but you have the power to shape your responses. 

To break free from a victim mentality, practice:

  • Letting yourself feel all the emotions associated with what’s causing the victim mentality, so that they are not repressed
  • Taking responsibility for your choices in it (without holding on to any guilt or shame)
  • Forgive yourself or others who have ‘wronged’ you
  • Seek the lesson in a painful situation
  • Develop resilience in the face of adversity.

9) Procrastination

Procrastination is where so many dreams go to die!

Yes, we often procrastinate for things we don’t want to do. 

But this also can kill dreams, because often we feel a looming sense of guilt for what hasn’t been done, which dampens our momentum for things we do want to do down the line. 

Underlying procrastination can often be a fear of failure or – one of the above traits we already covered – perfectionism. 

Overcoming procrastination involves recognizing the underlying fears, and implementing helpful techniques that work for you. 

This could look like:

  • Time management
  • Setting clear goals
  • Breaking tasks into smaller, manageable steps
  • Setting (healthy) rewards for those smaller steps that you do!


So we’ve delved into nine traits that can keep you stuck in life. From arrogance to perfectionism, low self-esteem to rigidity, these traits can act as big obstacles on your path to self-improvement.

But here’s the silver lining: these personality traits are not set in stone! 

They can be transformed, reshaped, and harnessed for more growthful journey. 

The key lies in self-awareness, resilience, humility, and a willingness to be truly honest with yourself about your own tendencies.

It may feel confronting at first, but by being forgiving with yourself in addressing these traits, you will create a deeply enriching life – however that looks for you. 

Your path to personal growth is uniquely yours, and it’s never too late to start being the best version of yourself. 

You have the ability to transcend any and all barriers and create your unique destiny.

Picture of Shela Riva

Shela Riva

Shela Riva is a Thai-Swiss freelance writer, artist, energy mentor and co-creator of Jaiyen Eco Resort, a creative retreat space in Thailand. She is deeply passionate about our incredible ability to transform and is dedicated to helping each person realize the power within themselves, whether through her writing, empowering custom art pieces, one-on-one work or in-person retreats.

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