Tag Archives: Change

Identities: Obstacles to change

20210203_Painting IDENTITY_mathias sager Psychology & Art_60 x 60 cm

[This article was also published together with other authors at the ‘Skilled Helpers Collaborative’: tinyurl.com/dsja4q4h]

Transitions can be defined as “change from one form to another.” In physical life, change is inevitable. So, we (and all matter) constantly change. Our body that we occupied only a few years ago does not contain the same atoms anymore and might look quite different. All real estate erodes. Paradoxically, it’s that unstable matter that we shortsightedly consider as “real.” Wouldn’t it be more accurate to call “real” what actually is stable and doesn’t change, even in the long run? Isn’t, therefore, our soul more likely our real self?

The problem is that most people solely identify with their fragile bodily existence and not with their eternal spiritual being. We theoretically know that at some point in time, we’ll lose our stuff, and we’ll have to die. Because we tend to deny this for most of the time to satisfy the desire for stable security, change is rejected as well.

Seeing ourselves as spiritual beings solves the problem in that we get a real glimpse of everlasting life, even beyond our earthly journey. Therefore, I argue, this is the one big change we have to accomplish for a fulfilled life: to expect significant material losses and be ready to die during a lifetime to access our real self as divine beings.

What does it take to trigger such change? As explained before, we must, involuntarily or voluntarily, face loss and death. That’s why for many only major life events bring the necessary interruption in their protected sense of stable identity that leads to personal growth. Asking people about the reasons for their major transformations in life usually comes with narratives about some painful (because unexpected) material losses like, for example, losing a beloved one, losing one’s job, or health by getting sick.

Once awakened to this realization, going through change is still challenging. Social comparison and related peer pressure represent an essential factor for not wanting to change, respectively, to remain fitting in. I believe it is still very uncommon to live a spiritual understanding of life. It is popular to post spiritual quotes and be part of religious communities, but the courage to break away from the pursuit of status, prestige, wealth and material security is rare. The illusion that one can protect oneself against inevitable aging, loss and death with material things is too great.

No one is more hated than the one who speaks the truth.

Plato

It’s even difficult life situations, victimhood, and (relative) poverty that people defend against change. Research finds that people often justify the existing social system even when this comes at personal and collective costs. System Justification Theory posits that authoritarian ideologies and cultures, respectively ‘cultures of justification,’ which can also appear through inequalities in wealth in so-called democratic societies, motivate the often-unconscious belief of inferiority most strongly among individuals of underprivileged groups. What role a person takes in society seems less critical to her/him than a stable (and therefore seemingly secure) identification with whatever role.

In summary, it can be said that people with a worldview of an identity that seeks stability and security, regardless of its quality, prevent themselves (and others) from changing. In this way, they deny themselves access to their real selves, the spiritual self, and sooner or later they will be devastated if changes happen anyway, let alone regret not having thought about it earlier and changed voluntarily.

The thinking man changes his opinion.

Friedrich Nietzsche

If you’d like to “question” your worldview/identity and learn how to access a more humanly spiritual way of thinking, you can find a helpful self-reflection tool and supportive services on www.mathias-sager.com.#psychology#art#artist#change#identity#awarenessintelligence

LET YOURSELF OFFEND. The benefits of letting you get offended.

You get an understanding and compassionate ear here, but the most significant benefit lies in permitting me to offend you. First of all, if I didn’t dare to offend, I couldn’t be honest. Being offended offers a real-world check outside of one’s comfort zone. Second, if I solely entertained you, I’d waste your time distracting from the real work to be done. I will, however, offend you with substance, so you can accomplish getting very clear on your worldview / identity: Who are you really beyond social conditioning? What would you stand for if you had the self-confidence to overcome social pressure? Why are you here as a complete human being beyond economic considerations? Also, the feeling of being offended is a warning indicator that is showing you where to look within yourself for unresolved issues.

I may offend people, but I also make it easy for them to forgive me. You’re not alone; my content and approaches contain wisdom that offends quite everyone. I love people in general (not only the proximate ones who flatter me), and that’s why I care to offend you too. To be genuinely kind means to have the courage to offend. Of course, people like sugar. But shall I, therefore, feed them with more of what is not suitable for health? I’ve learned that if I love myself, I have the courage to allow me to get offended (which doesn’t mean to let me abuse, though).

If we feel offended without being able to forgive the offender, we actually say to disagree with the Right of Freedom of Expression. By instilling more fear, people become more susceptible to being offended without the willingness to forgive. And that’s how the freedom of expression gets strategically undermined by authoritarian systems. Today people are brought to be offended by others just breathing (we can even see it by people wearing masks;-)). It’s more important than ever to stand up for the right to offend, which is implicitly part of the Right of Freedom of Expression. So, have the courage to use the right to offend “sacred” symbols (who says they are sacred?), offend emotions and feelings, offend countries, governments, organizations, as well as political parties, religions, and traditions, and cultures.

Living in a comfort-seeking and fear-based materialistic society, my humanistic approach rejecting salvation-seeking from extrospection is offending people, of course. For me, however, respecting people doesn’t mean accepting their illnesses, victim roles, and unfulfilled potential. If we respected such unhealthy limitations, we’d offend humanity (and life, or god, as you like) as a whole. Indeed, many people live life in the offense to life itself as they put material goods over life. Yes, we justify our physical survival (which in our society doesn’t have much to do with survival rather than with a decadent luxury lifestyle) by not assuming responsibility for the many who suffer hunger, exploitation, and abuse.

I deliberately combine the science of psychology, the wisdom of philosophy and the intuition of art. Art is often very well suited to insulting people, challenging them and opening them up to creative and self-reflective thinking. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to offend or hurt someone who doesn’t care. This is the reason why people often have no interest in the artistic (or spiritual).

Group thinking inhibits critical thinking in favor of a wider human community. For example, religions proclaim to spread unconditional love and the universal truth of their respective God, but feel offended by other religions that believe in another God, who in turn should represent the same unconditional love and absolute truth according to these others. That’s the big lie of hypocrites on both sides. Such belief systems do base on exclusivity to offer fearful people the seeming security of belonging, which, however, they nevertheless never experience (therefore their defensive attitude). But there is a more inclusive way to feel more satisfyingly human. Learn to love truly! Love is the opposite of fear. If you’ve learned to get offended, you’ve learned to love. Love is hard to offend; a heart full of love doesn’t get irritated and offended irrevocably; it doesn’t see the world in terms of threats against one’s ego-assumed superiority, advantages, and privileges over others. Instead, strong minds who dare to seek being offended, not for hate but growth purposes, can find what humans actually are looking for: actualizing themselves through meaningful change toward their best self (which can’t be measured by material success alone, to make that clear once more).

You may have enough “friends” who will tell you what you want to hear and who are happy that you are unsuccessful (because it justifies their own stagnation). If I can’t offend you, I haven’t done my work of serving you decisively. With this in mind, thank you for allowing us to offend each other, not with style, but with substance for learning opportunities for our personal growth, individually and as a human collective.

The ability to respond

Psychological issues, and by that ultimately any human-related problems, come either from neurosis or character weaknesses. Both are a matter of lack of responsibility and typically lead to symptoms of individual and collective stress. If a society and its members decide to see the world as threatening, hostile, and transactional instead of being determined by love, and if the path to happiness as the highest goal is considered to be depending on what kind of or how much stuff one can accumulate, it is not surprising that this leads to fear of loss, obsessions, and depression. There lie serious responsibility issues in excusing diminished awareness, which lead to selfish, greedy, and passive behavior. Character flaws tend to be excused at all or as illnesses. It appears that it is cheaper for a society to pay for standard treatments, which bring temporary relief of symptoms rather than to invest in the long-term healing of people as whole-human beings. From a financial and law and order perspective, it is more efficient and effective to fight the most extreme symptoms of exclusion, for example, by paying some public assistance and to exploit only to the point that there remains a broad enough middle class that helps defending the privileges of the upper class than to risk a revolution from below. People need to be kept happy enough in their misery that they are still helping to defend the oppressors’ authority. That’s how it came that everybody’s issue and suffering has become nobody’s focus of awareness.

Several psychological mechanisms are explaining how people are brought to justify existing social systems that do even disadvantage them. Social justification theory is about the promotion of ideologies, which underline the belief in the inferiority of underprivileged groups. So, it is a myth that Western societies are based on equality of opportunity. The economic success of most people also depends on the level of resources allocated to them, for example at the workplace or by parents who could afford better education and the necessary capital for entrepreneurial ventures. However, many people today believe in the story of meritocracy and attribute economic inequality to their own inferiority. Such unaware system justification is further blocking critical thinking and can also manifest in system-reinforcing victim blaming and stereotyping.

The saying “It’s all about the perspective” should not become a justification and excuse for any social exclusion or harm to anybody, regardless of how far away and seemingly unrelated.

It is more sensible to assume a multi-perspective awareness that is all-inclusive rather than defending group interests.

People who are not able to coordinate complex multi-limb movements with their body are called disabled and are not allowed to do certain things like, for example, driving a car as it would be too dangerous for others. But people who are unable to coordinate complex multi-perspective situations in their minds are allowed to run organizations and countries.

In contrast to a leg-focused person who forgets about the arm-movement and therefore is realistically considered a risk for driving a vehicle, a single-minded career of exclusively fighting for one particular group’s interest is likely to be admired for its dedication. Standing up for one group to succeed over others from a humanitarian point of view, however, is like prioritizing eating over drinking. The organism of humankind is doomed to die.

It’s time to assume responsibility for one’s scope of awareness. Humanity needs a shift from physical protection to a right intention. A society guided by Awareness Intelligence does not build on barriers, walls, and defense mechanisms anymore because nobody needs to be protected against Awareness Intelligence that can’t but take care of everybody’s needs. Such is the beautiful nature of responsibility of humantime. What else could be more worth to realize?! I, for my part, rather want to have tried.

Highest qualities of the mind do not know fear from failure as only failure to learn falls short of them.

Everybody can develop Awareness Intelligence. Once tasted, the knowing about one’s self-efficacy irrespective of society’s non-responsiveness or punitiveness, is too good to be given up again. Everybody can get the control over one’s access to life source, to meet other people lovingly in the current moment, and to serve the communal good and next generations to come. Even if you are discouraged and rather hopeless about what you can do about your future, you always can start with impacting others’ today and tomorrow, which, in return, will reveal your future to you as well. Your impact is of the full scope of humankind.

Recognize how important you are. Every dream for a better world, every creative act, and even a seemingly naive idea can inspire and provide the courage to break out of the cage of limited knowing.

Think, paint, play music, dance, write, and think again. It’s not commercial products that touch people’s heart most profoundly. It’s what you can do in your mind. It’s not compliance, but boldness that nurtures your, others, and all humankind’s Awareness Intelligence. Every feed into the expansion of knowing is fuel for more awareness-intelligent thought and more wholesome behavior. Life might be right, and an awarian land of awareness not too far away to be already part of now.

So far:

Chapter 1 – Life’s introduction of Awareness Intelligence

Chapter 2 – The awarenessland of Awaria

Chapter 3 – Your life that is humantime

Chapter 4 – Consciousness, awareness, and social intelligence

Chapter 5 – Broadening the social scope

Chapter 6 – Increasing the attention span

Chapter 7 – Distraction of the mass

Chapter 8 – Missing systematics and links in science

Chapter 9 – Spiritual consumerism and mystification of spiritualism

Chapter 10 – Expanding the here and now

Chapter 11 – Individual revolution, human evolution

Chapter 12 – Mental coordinate system

Chapter 13 – Ignorance is not bliss

Chapter 14 – Awareness Intelligence is learnable

Chapter 15 – The difference between Awareness Intelligence and Emotional Intelligence

Chapter 16 – Technology and the distributed intelligence of the mind

Chapter 17 – The choice to be part of something bigger

Chapter 18/19 – The structure and dimensions of life: The socio-temporal matrix (three tenets of Awareness Intelligence)

Chapter 20 – The Intra-past

Chapter 21 – The Inter-present

Chapter 22 – The Extra-future

Chapter 23 – Full awareness and pure thoughts for coherent meaning

Chapter 24 – The three awareness sparring partners

Chapter 25 – The joy of being, doing, and becoming

Chapter 26 – Learning to die during a lifetime

Chapter 27 – Physical spacelessness and spatial mentalness

Chapter 28 – The law of creation: Intuition, intention, and imagination

Chapter 29 – Energy and the illusionary objectification of life

Chapter 30 – Body, mind, soul

Chapter 31 – Trialistic harmony, not dualistic balance

Chapter 32 – A tripartite world that works in triplets

Chapter 33 – Triadic philosophies and wisdoms

Chapter 34 – Think thrice

Chapter 35 – Circumthinking

Chapter 36 – Unconditional love

Chapter 37 – Humankindism

Chapter 38 – Unimportant urgencies versus purposeful service

Chapter 39 – Becoming wholly human

Chapter 40 – Exchanging and building energy through gratitude

Chapter 41 – Enthusiastic learning and teaching

Chapter 42 – Surviving and thriving through change

Coming next:

Chapter 44 – Safety, satisfaction, and connectedness

— In love for my daughter Natalie and all children of this world. —

Surviving and thriving through change

As we see ourselves, we see others. And as we see others, we see ourselves. If we reduce humanity to cultural sets of human expression, specific groups, and prevailing opinion and behavior only, we constrain ourselves too. Life is as you see it. If you see it with a continually watching mind, the whole world becomes open to you.

While the human mind respectively the intellect changes over time, the soul does not. We can feel that clearly when we separate mental awareness from bodily sensations and instead picture the wholeness and infinity of life. Our way of thinking can be changed.

The most profound, impactful and sustainable way to change the thinking is to change the layer from where thought arises: awareness.

The human condition is no longer dependent on social identity alone as it learns to integrate the three modes of the intra-past, the inter-present, and the extra-future into increased and undivided awareness. As our thoughts and actions become more symmetrical, life will never feel like a lie again.

Living in consort with a comprehensive ability to observe everything at any time is a source of being youthfully enjoying one’s body, exploring the world, appreciating social encounters, and achieve high learning goals. Living an awareness-intelligently inspired life guarantees continuing motivation to become and stay our best self. For us, this is a deeper experience, and for others, we’ll make a bigger impact.

Hopelessness in the sense of not believing that change is possible leads to depression with the known consequences of low school and work performance, reckless behavior, poor health, self-injury, and even suicide. Multi-cultural competence positively influences a sense of social justice and the promotion of change. The awareness about the possibility of doing things differently across cultures provides a showcase for the relativity of any culture.  Global citizenship is not a travel-lifestyle, it should rather be an attitude of compassion. Multi-relational ability in the sense of Awareness Intelligence is a precondition for cross-cultural competence, but goes beyond as it is culture-neutral. Any travel starts within.

Cultural competence can be developed by putting one’s feet in another’s shoes. Awareness Intelligence, however, is putting one’s consciousness in another’s soul.

This will not only enable us to experience some different walks of life but to learn to qualify all of the life’s souls. Real and lasting change comes from the level of mental models that enable awareness. Only if the deep-rooted individual mindsets shift towards forming a regenerated collective of deculturized societal structures, human behavioral patterns will start to change accordingly as well.

Humans like stability to feel safe. Society prefers consistency in people’s behavior to render them into predictable and plannable resources. And yet, people also do not like repetition that leads to boredom. By an awareness-unintelligent mind, everything tends to become judged as boring eventually. However, as people have learned to fear punishment from not reliably contributing to the production and information processes of the modern economic societies, many of them learned to accept monotonous courses of life. While being incentivized by punishment-free long periods of compliance, many forgot the excitement of rhythm and surprising improvisations of a freely lived life. Avoidance is a characteristic of both the awareness-unintelligent inter-past and inter-future. Interdependencies, as they are typical for poor Awareness Intelligence, are justifying the past and controlling the future, which is highly frustrating for individual’s authentic development. Only if the inter-past is shifted to the intra-past, judgment-free and timeless self-realization become possible. And only if the intra- and inter-future are transposed to the extra-future, self-focus and fear of punishment and lack of control disappear.

We can enjoy social interactions together in the inter-present, but the past belongs to us alone, and the future ultimately belongs to all to come.

Isn’t it incredible that

“Men have made millions of laws to punish crimes, and they have not established even one to reward virtue”

as the Neapolitan economist Giacinto Dragonetti already more than 250 years ago remarked?! Societies’ need to define the tolerable appearances and thresholds of punishable deviations from limiting and therefore provocative social norms is in stark contrast to letting people virtuously thrive. Sadly, if not constantly rags were held in front of the bulls’ eyes, all the bulls would remain gentle and friendly as it actually is their true nature.

The universe preserves itself through change, and so humanity too needs change to survive. Change is our nature, and yet typical management education is about controlling change to create the illusion of stability in administering life as a business. Awareness is about acceptance, willingness, and courage; it is the basis of voluntary human adaptability and learning. If you don’t know what you possibly don’t know, you cannot learn what you don’t know. It would be strange if we didn’t increase our view over time, learned more, and consequently changed our mind. Become an attentive and agile dancer who controls the body, cooperates with the mind, and coordinates the congeniality of the souls to dance the socio-temporal dance of life. Every movement is your decision, and harmony comes from being intelligently aware of your, your partners’, and the music’s desire to unfold. When the spirit of the music intuits your individual and collaborative intention to the imagination that the music is just perfectly reflecting the vibes of melted body and soul, Awareness Intelligence has come to play.

So far:

Chapter 1 – Life’s introduction of Awareness Intelligence

Chapter 2 – The awarenessland of Awaria

Chapter 3 – Your life that is humantime

Chapter 4 – Consciousness, awareness, and social intelligence

Chapter 5 – Broadening the social scope

Chapter 6 – Increasing the attention span

Chapter 7 – Distraction of the mass

Chapter 8 – Missing systematics and links in science

Chapter 9 – Spiritual consumerism and mystification of spiritualism

Chapter 10 – Expanding the here and now

Chapter 11 – Individual revolution, human evolution

Chapter 12 – Mental coordinate system

Chapter 13 – Ignorance is not bliss

Chapter 14 – Awareness Intelligence is learnable

Chapter 15 – The difference between Awareness Intelligence and Emotional Intelligence

Chapter 16 – Technology and the distributed intelligence of the mind

Chapter 17 – The choice to be part of something bigger

Chapter 18/19 – The structure and dimensions of life: The socio-temporal matrix (three tenets of Awareness Intelligence)

Chapter 20 – The Intra-past

Chapter 21 – The Inter-present

Chapter 22 – The Extra-future

Chapter 23 – Full awareness and pure thoughts for coherent meaning

Chapter 24 – The three awareness sparring partners

Chapter 25 – The joy of being, doing, and becoming

Chapter 26 – Learning to die during a lifetime

Chapter 27 – Physical spacelessness and spatial mentalness

Chapter 28 – The law of creation: Intuition, intention, and imagination

Chapter 29 – Energy and the illusionary objectification of life

Chapter 30 – Body, mind, soul

Chapter 31 – Trialistic harmony, not dualistic balance

Chapter 32 – A tripartite world that works in triplets

Chapter 33 – Triadic philosophies and wisdoms

Chapter 34 – Think thrice

Chapter 35 – Circumthinking

Chapter 36 – Unconditional love

Chapter 37 – Humankindism

Chapter 38 – Unimportant urgencies versus purposeful service

Chapter 39 – Becoming wholly human

Chapter 40 – Exchanging and building energy through gratitude

Chapter 41 – Enthusiastic learning and teaching

Coming next:

Chapter 43 – The ability to respond

— In love for my daughter Natalie and all children of this world. —

Leadership & (Em-)Power(-ment)

From our ‘80% Percent is Psychology’ session, Wednesday, January 16th, 2019. Thanks all for the great discussions!

  • Force causes counter-force; and transactional leadership likely results in compliance only; It is transformational leadership based on inspiration and collaboration that increases most follower’s involvement and true commitment.
  • It is not the acquisition of power (whether it be positional or personal), but the mindset through which it is employed which determines the nature and effectiveness of leadership.
  • Agile leaders are able to cope with uncertainty and complex issues. Based on self-awareness, they are willing to ask for help and transfer experiences and values to different areas of the business, which is inspiring and developing others too.
  • Representativeness posits that leaders need to demonstrate how they are similar to their followers and then succeed by representing the values of the group. Leaders themselves may be required to adapt to followers to ensure continued representation.
  • Leadership and follower diversity is an important contributor to organization’s success (DuBrin, 2016). Unfortunately, gender stereotypes still cause a preference for men in ‘power’ roles. •Acceptance of inequality doesn’t stem from a passive stance, but rather an active endorsement that allows to justify and perpetuate the status quo.
  • System Justification Theory (SJT) states that an underlying ideology is motivating the justification of social order in a way that contributes to the often-unconscious belief of inferiority most strongly among individuals of underprivileged groups. Although it is a myth that Western Societies are characterized by equality of opportunity, studies found that a majority’s belief in equality helps to justify a meritocratic ideology, i.e., that it is, given we all start with the same possibilities, fair that individual differences are rewarded. The motive to legitimize economic inequality is further blocking critical thinking capacities with severe consequences for the economic and psychological well-being of marginalized persons (Godfrey & Wolf, 2015).
  • It’s a good description for Authentic Leadership too: “Your true character is most accurately measured by how you treat those who can do ‘nothing’ for you.” – Mother Teresa
Course-2-Session-6-Leadership-Power-and-Influence_v02-compressed

Leadership, (Cultural) Threats, and Change

Strong culture – weak culture

A strong organizational culture helps leadership and motivation, but it risks to become too rigid and inflexible. A leader needs to balance the inflexibility of a strong organizational culture with resistance to change from a too weak organizational culture.

Creating the need for change

A leader is analyzing and realizing that there is an unsatisfactory situation, then creates and communicates the required sense of urgency.

Behavior change

Behavior change can be “coerced” but it may be ineffective for positive changes of attitudes, such as solidarity and accountability.

Unfreeze, change, refreeze

People generally don’t like to unfreeze their accustomed situation. To unfreeze and change, change agents should reassure, involve, empower, support, and celebrate change.

“Men have made millions of laws to punish crimes, and they have not established even one to reward virtue”  Dragonetti (1766)

Solidarity and accountability

Payments are not resolving the solidarity problem in a competitive and career dominated environment. Leadership based on self-awareness (e.g., servant leadership) creates a sense of increased meaning, belonging, and promotes accountability and self-leadership.

Resistance vs. apathy

Resistance might be preferable to apathy, as resistance can highlight genuine problems in proposals, and there is an energy that serves as a source of commitment from converted followers.

Cultural context

(Transformational) leadership needs to be fine-tuned according to cultural contexts, such as collectivism/individualism and power distance. For example, on an individual level: low power distance fosters higher emotional commitment to transformational leadership.

Material from the session on January 9th, 2019, 19:30 – 21:00 in Tokyo (at J-Global, Yaesu)

Course-2-Session-5-Leadership-Cultural-Threats-and-Change_v03-compressed

To be free requires freedom to learn

Thankful for another night being free to learn.

mathias-sager-freedom to learn

 

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The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change. – Carl Rogers

10 takeaways from the 80% is Psychology session ‘Learning and motivation’. Tokyo, November 7, 2018.  

Presentation and discussions:

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Beyond the brain (Takeaways from 80% is Psychology)

Takeaways from our event on October 24th, 2018. Thanks for the discussions. Please see also https://www.facebook.com/colorfulgrowth/

Course 1 Session 4 Brain and Memory in Learning_v04_TAKEAWAYS

1.Know that the brain has different chemical processes for addictive pleasure experiences (neurotransmitter is dopamine) versus more long-term, empathic, and self-sufficient happiness-related behavior (neurotransmitter is serotonin).

2.Reduce distractions, especially to avoid over-dependence (addiction) to technology and social networks that interrupt your attention and learning.

3.Increase for how long you are able to stay offline and/or exclusively focused for better learning results.

4.Train your brain through exercising, diet, sleep, and alternative learning strategies.

5.Recognize how your consciousness requires the joint operation of brain, body, and the world. Brain activities may be necessary, but not sufficient preconditions for human behavior.

6.Experiment with stretching your sense of time and thinking of cyclical time. The soul/spirit wants to expand. As the earth is not a plate where you can fall off the edges, time may not be a simple line with birth and life ‘abysses.’

7.Do not fear the future. The brain takes even distantly thought threats for real and causes already now suffering, anxiety, and depression.

8.Do not fear loss. If we are only our physical brain, we don’t need to fear any regrets or pain after death. If there is something more permanent than our brain, death isn’t an existential threat to fear either.

9.Use intuition, imagination, and intention to ‘real-life check’ what really counts in everything you learn: Is it meaningful, unlimited, and purposeful? If not, it’s not worth it.

10.Read to activate your brain, increase the working memory’s capacity, and expand attention span.

 

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Social Learning & Developing a Growth Mindset (7 Takeaways from 80% is Psychology)

Takeaways from our event on October 24th, 2018. Thanks for the discussions. Please see also https://www.facebook.com/colorfulgrowth/

mathias sager psychology social learning growth mindset

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Philosophy of Learning TAKEAWAYS 2018/10/17 (80% is Psychology Series)

Takeaways from our event on October 17th, 2018. Thanks for the discussions. For photos, etc., please see https://www.facebook.com/colorfulgrowth/

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Philosophy of Learning (80% is Psychology Series)

Takeaways from our event on October 10th, 2018. Thanks for the discussions.

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Leading the Threat of Change

mathias-sager-change-threat-psychology-leadership

Change: Improvement or loss?

Choosing not to change risks failing if change is understood as improvement [1]. In organizations, mainly the investors, but also drivers like competition, globalization, technology, and employees require change [2]. Change always signifies loss that prompts threatening emotions, which cause resistance. Therefore, resistance to change needs to be understood from an individual’s emotional perspective [3]. For example, people mostly don’t alter their change decisions related to moral dilemmas solely based on reason [4]. Often, leaders and managers have a better understanding of the organizational situation than of individuals [5]. Change antecedents, reactions to and consequences from changes like, for example, organizational commitment and job satisfaction, have to be carefully considered. Commitment can positively correlate with a favorable perception of proposed change, while commitment to the status quo can be negatively related [6].

Personality differences in predispositions to resist change

Helping conquering limitations in improving is a core function of leadership, and it is relieving for people to feel understood in their resistance to change [7]. Indeed, supervisory support is a key factor in positively influencing people’s commitment to change [8]. However, there might also be personality differences in predispositions, i.e., having negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors towards organizational change [9]. It is more difficult to positively influence job satisfaction for people characterized by lower levels of openness to change [10]. Increased mindfulness (i.e., engagement in new and healthy thoughts and habits) and tolerance of ambiguity (i.e., tolerance of lack of clarity and uncertainty) predict a more positive attitude toward change [1].

Trust and authenticity in transformational leadership

Change follows a process [11], most simply described as ‘unfreeze,’ ‘mobilize,’ and ‘re-freeze’ [2]. To help people through these phases, understanding their emotional and intellectual needs seems to be essential. Transformational leadership ought to consist of these qualities, but some researchers suggest a broader integration of leadership dimensions, including spiritual elements to bridge the gap between profit strategies and quality of life [12]. Studies found that transformational leadership, regardless of the leaders’ behavior, was positively associated with promoting acceptance of change. Even change-specific leadership behavior could not compensate for transformational leadership, especially when there was a lot at stake personally for the change receivers. A history of long-term trustful relationships with their followers may be the reason for this as consistent research of authenticity in leadership evidenced too. In cases where the job impact of the change was low, rather than transformational leadership, proper change management practices were sufficient for effective change. This finding speaks for a close integration of the change leadership and change management disciplines [13]

We change for what we have chosen for ourselves

Resistance can be a capacity for change itself [14], sometimes coming from positive intentions too [15], and providing feedback from people who may know best about the day-to-day operational details [16]. To support effective change, leadership should involve change-related training [17], possibly also in early developmentally sensitive school years [18]. It is crucial to help individuals experiencing close and successful participation in the change process [19] because people are more likely to adapt what they have chosen for themselves [20].

Photo credit: Geralt (pixabay.com)

References

[1] Dunican, B., & Keaster, R. (2015). ACCEPTANCE OF CHANGE: EXPLORING THE RELATIONSHIP AMONG PSYCHOMETRIC CONSTRUCTS AND EMPLOYEE RESISTANCE. International Journal Of The Academic Business World, 9(2), 27-38.

[2] Higgs, M. (n.d.). Change and its leadership. [Video]. Retrieved February 10, 2018 from http://hstalks.com.ezproxy.liv.ac.uk/main/view_talk.php?t=1104&r=396&c=250

[3] Bailey, J. R., & Raelin, J. D. (2015). Organizations Don’t Resist Change, People Do: Modeling Individual Reactions to Organizational Change Through Loss and Terror Management. Organization Management Journal (Routledge), 12(3), 125-138. doi:10.1080/15416518.2015.1039637

[4] Stanley, M. L., Dougherty, A. M., Yang, B. W., Henne, P., & De Brigard, F. (2017). Reasons Probably Won’t Change Your Mind: The Role of Reasons in Revising Moral Decisions. Journal Of Experimental Psychology: General, doi:10.1037/xge0000368

[5] Clarke, H. (2013). Context, Communication and Commiseration: Psychological and Practical Considerations in Change Management. Perspectives: Policy And Practice In Higher Education, 17(1), 30-36.

[6] Oreg, S., Vakola, M., & Armenakis, A. (2011). Change recipients’ reactions to organizational change: A 60-year review of quantitative studies. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 47(4), 461-524.

[7] Kegan, R., & Lahey, L. L. (2001). The Real Reason People Won’t Change. Harvard Business Review, 79(10), 84-92.

[8] Jaros, S. (2010). Commitment to organizational change: A critical review. Journal of Change Management, 10(1), 79-108.

[9] Erwin, D. G., & Garman, A. N. (2010). Resistance to organizational change: Linking research and practice. Leadership & Organization Development Journal31(1), 39-56.

[10] Hinduan, Z., Wilson-Evered, E., Moss, S., & Scanell, E. (2009). Leadership, work outcomes and openness to change following an Indonesian bank merger. Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources, 47(1), 59-78.

[11] Kotter, J. P. (1995). Leading change: Why transformation efforts fail. Harvard Business Review, (March-April), reprint No: 95284.

[12] Gill, R. (2002). Change management or change leadership? Journal of Change Management, 3(4), 307-318.

[13] Herold, D. M., Fedor, D. B., Caldwell, S., Liu, Y. (2008). The effects of transformational and change leadership on employees’ commitment to a change: A multilevel study. Journal of Applied Psychology93(2), 346-357.

[14] Ford, J. D., Ford, L. W., & D’Amelio, A. (2008). Resistance to change: The rest of the story. Academy of Management Review, 24, 274-288.

[15] Clayton, M. (2016). RESISTANCE TO CHANGE. Training Journal, 16.

[16] Ford, J. D., & Ford, L. W. (2009). Decoding Resistance to Change. Harvard Business Review, 87(4), 99-103.

[17] Whelan-Berry, K., & Somerville, K. (2010). Linking Change Drivers and the Organizational Change Process: A Review and Synthesis. Journal of Change Management, (2). 175.

[18] Haig, E. L., & Woodcock, K. A. (2017). Rigidity in routines and the development of resistance to change in individuals with Prader-Willi syndrome. Journal Of Intellectual Disability Research, 61(5), 488-500.

[19] Choi, M. (2011). Employees’ attitudes toward organizational change: A literature review. Human Resource Management, 50(4), 479-500. doi:10.1002/hrm.20434

[20] Kettleborough, J. (2014). Time to change the way we change. Training Journal, 60-63.

Learning from and For Life Transitions

mathias-sager-life-transitions.jpg

It remains a challenge to explain how individuals transition from one goal cycle to the other [1]. But this is a relevant question in lifespan development. Life course theory conceptualizes series of events respectively transitions in life [2]. While there are many terms to describe life transitions (e.g., turning points, momentous events, etc.), there seems to be agreement that transitions are about major life changes [3].

Life changes can be school transitions, life events such as parenthood, migration [4], or retirement [9]. These normative events mostly are experienced positively; there are also unexpected and involuntary events that are perceived more negatively though [3]. In other words, transitional phases potentially present opportunities and uncertainties [4]. It is difficult to disengage from prior goals and commit to new ones, as goals stand for a hoped future and consequently also support psychological well-being [5]. Cultural and societal changes can trigger change, but there is also increasing variability in developmental journeys within societies and generations as people exercise agency, i.e., taking conscious decisions to initiate and go through life course transitions, be it as an adjustment to the current social environment or not [6].

Learning helps to cope with stress from life transitions [7] while going through transitions conceptualized as experiencing disequilibrium and stability adds to psychological resilience [8]. Seen it that way, transitions naturally involve chance, choice, and change, all interlinked to trigger, enable, and result in personal development and growth.

Photo credit: LaughingRaven (pixabay.com)

References

[1] Heckhausen, J., Wrosch, C., & Schulz, R. (2010). A motivational theory of life-span development. Psychological Review, 117 (1), 32–60.

[2] Alwin, D. F. (2012). Integrating Varieties of Life Course Concepts. Journals Of Gerontology Series B-Psychological Sciences And Social Sciences, 67(2), 206-220.

[3] Svob, C., Brown, N., Reddon, J., Uzer, T., & Lee, P. (2014). The transitional impact scale: Assessing the material and psychological impact of life transitions. Behavior Research Methods, 46(2), 448-455. doi:10.3758/s13428-013-0378-2

[4] Syed, M. (2017). Identity integration across cultural transitions: Bridging individual and societal change. Journal Of Psychology In Africa, 27(2), 105-114. doi:10.1080/14330237.2017.1301675

[5] King, L. A., & Hicks, J. A. (2007). Lost and Found Possible Selves: Goals, Development, and Well-Being. New Directions For Adult And Continuing Education, (114), 27-37.

[6] Flaherty, M. G. (2013). Age and agency: Time work across the life course. Time & Society, 22(2), 237-253. doi:10.1177/0961463X12455598

[7] Carragher, L., & Golding, B. (2015). Older Men as Learners: Irish Men’s Sheds as an Intervention. Adult Education Quarterly, 65(2), 152-168. doi:10.1177/0741713615570894

[8] Henning, P. B. (2011). Disequilibrium, Development and Resilience Through Adult Life. Systems Research & Behavioral Science, 28(5), 443-454. doi:10.1002/sres.1108

[9] Merriam, S. B. (2005). How adult life transitions foster learning and development. New Directions For Adult & Continuing Education, 2005(108), 3.