Definition Essay: Word "Malleable"

Would not it be a funny world if people were “capable of being extended or shaped by beating with a hammer or by the pressure of rollers,” which is the meaning of the word 'malleable' as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary? Even though the word usually refers to the property of various elements, especially metal, which can easily be shaped under pressure, the word can also be used to describe a certain type of personality. Being a malleable person would translate roughly as being susceptible of change that comes through external forces. Thus, figuratively speaking, a person's attitudes, actions, and even their beliefs and values can be 'hammered' into something else if their personality is malleable. Over here, hammering would translate into such things as brainwashing, repeated stimuli, and/or a convincing argument.

Having a malleable personality can work both in your favor as well as against you. The degree of failure or success that would come through this personality trait would depend on how much and to what extent a person is willing to change under pressure owing to different circumstances. Thus, it might be a good thing to be malleable in some situations, whereas it would be a great folly to be malleable in others. On the other hand, being completely rigid (which is the opposite of malleable) is also very bad. An analogy with metals would be in order here to explain this. If a piece of metal is too rigid and not malleable enough, it becomes brittle, which means that it is unable to support its weight, let alone any additional weight that is put upon it. Thus, the more rigid a metal is, the easier it is to break it under force. On the other hand, if the metal is too malleable, then it is a problem again, since it becomes too soft and is not able to support any weight. The best combination would be to be rigid enough to support weight, while being malleable enough so that it does not break.

The same ideas can somewhat be applied to personality. Being too rigid can be bad for people, as these people tend to resist change. Such people are not able to adjust themselves with new times and ideas and this can be a very big problem for them. These people would find that they cannot cope with the rest of the world and this would mean that they would break under pressure. This is why people need to be a little malleable so that they can be open to change and new ideas. Changing oneself in accordance to the changing environment is a good thing. However, it is again a bad idea to be so malleable that people can change you to your disadvantage. This is why it is important for the person to realize when to be rigid and when to be malleable.

For instance, it is always a good idea to be extremely rigid about one's values and beliefs. A person's value and belief system is something that gives them their unique personality. These things hold a person together and work to tell the world what are some of the things that that person stands for. Thus, if a person believes that drinking alcohol is not a good thing, they should be rigid about this belief and should not let anyone faze them no matter what. However, if the person is required to be a little malleable in order to give up their old habits (for example using pen and paper to do the accounting) to get ahead in the workplace, it would be a good idea to start learning how to use an accounting software.

I have notices that malleability has always been good for me when I have been in a situation where I understand that bringing a positive change in me is necessary. This has usually been in terms of making compromises and adjustments to your life while dealing in teams. However, it is always a good practice to know the extent of how much you are willing to bend otherwise people start to take advantage of your flexibility.