The Dynamics of Going After Big Change
We all want big change. There is probably nothing more universal and completely compelling within us than to want to change ourselves. Growth is part of who we are as human beings. What are the dynamics? How do we simplify the process so that is more available everyday to everyone? What a world that would be! We know this for sure. The knowledge of how to change just about anything about us is going to be available and wildly practiced by billions of people. When that happens who we are now will scarcely be recognized.
in the Anisa Model of Education, a holistic approach to development, human beings are seen as having unlimited potentialities. We are is guided by the concepts of immanence (how one’s past impinges on the present) and transcendence (how one’s future effects the current reality. When you work with these two realities, you can evoke some rapid transformation. Here is an introduction.
When we normally think of change dynamics, we try to erase many of the negative limiting aspects of our past so that they don’t impede how we currently function. When we look at our immanence,however, it represents the sum total of all of the capacities that we have heretofore actualized. Whatever our current reality is in the real world, the thing we want more than anything, is to be competent in our day to day existence. We want to have lots of capacities that are available. Since the immanence represents the positive capacities as they bare on the present, the one thing that is absolutely vital in bringing our immanence to the current reality is remembering everything positive about ourselves. Without knowing and remembering that we have a capacity, it is generally not available to us. Remembering that we have a capacity allows our immanence to function amazingly well.
If you are manager or a coach or a teacher or CEO and you want your people to perform well right now, one of the things you need to do is to help them access the memory of what they already do well so that they can bring it bear on what they are doing. The general rule for managers should be this!! When you see it, “say it” to the person you are supervising. Don’t hold back or think the person is going to be spoiled. The pressure to forget one’s abilities is so great in everyday life that no one could ever possibly get enough validation of their positive energies.
If you are doing your own change work, you need to get a journal and start reminding yourself about all of your positives. Just write them down and keep writing new ones and keep repeating them all the time. What can you do? How are you effective? There is absolutely nothing more powerful in the way of invigorating your immanence to act in the present competently than to remember the things you have already actualized and repeat them often. The one thing we know for sure about memory is that it needs repetition to stay in shape just like a running needs to run a lot to maintain fitness.
There are lots of reasons for forgetting. Here is a post on memory that might help. https://dreamsforpeace.wordpress.com/2013/02/03/day-14-the-best-asset-is-a-positive-memory/
When you have your memory in place and your immanence right, then the next part of the dynamic that needs to be addressed is your transcendence (how the future affects the present). The first problem in dealing with the future is, as has already been said, not being able to remember your past abilities. We find that with most cultures, parents, teachers and supervisors make the mistake of trying to remind a person of their weaknesses, those thing which they haven’t actualized and then throw blame on them for not being able to be good at them already. It is so absurd, but unfortunately the general rule. It is as if we all believe that if you just say what a person is bad at a million times, then the change will happen. Well, one thing the research on change is absolutely sure about. The strategy of blaming a person for what they can’t do doesn’t help anyone to change. Time to give it up.
What does work? First of all when we orient toward the future, toward changing ourselves, it is extremely helpful to understand that we already have a built in mechanism that motivates us to change. The mechanism is called our ego. It is not who we truly are, but it is the part of us that feels negative stress or negative emotions when we orient toward developing new abilities. Suppose that you are trying to learn how to ski for the first time. If you are not used to taking risks or have really poor balance and strength, then your ego is going to send a message of fear to your mind and body because most likely it will want you to get out of there as fast as you can. The ego is protective. Your true self may want you to have the capacity to take more risks, but your ego is going to put emotional barriers to stop you. If you are young and already have a lot of experience with risk taking, you won’t feel the stress of fear as much, because you will know what the benefits of risk taking are.
It is usually pretty easy to clarify what kind of change we want to make in life like being able to sit down and concentrate for long periods or maintaining a close relationship or finishing what we start, but often it is difficult to admit to the negative feelings we are feeling that hold us back from moving into a learning dynamic. The best place to start is with the simple question, what am i feeling? Is it fear, anger, frustration, hurt, grief, guilt, embarrassment? What is it? Asking this question and being able to answer it loosens up the tension that is caused by the ego’s resistance to change. If that were the only question you ever asked, it would help a lot. Just saying you are afraid before you start skiing helps the risk taking. I once had a colleague who would say to a group that she was not good at speaking in front of groups, and then go on speaking for 20 minutes.
In the first stage of developing a new capacity, you have to be able to do whatever it takes to lessen the ego’s hold on your action. What often makes this difficult is our extreme attachment to cultural practices that try to shame a person into change by repeating how bad they are at the new thing. If we want to stay stagnant, shame is how we do it. If you want change, name the ego. The cultural practice of shaming tightens the grip of the ego on protection. It causes us to try to hide our weaknesses rather than be open with them. Being open with your own ego does not mean that you need to go on national television to admit it. It doesn’t even help admitting it to someone else. The only place where it helps is admitting it to ourselves and then realizing that it is natural to have negative emotions when dealing with new capacities.
What you do have to watch out for is the second bad cultural process which is something like typology. Typology is the kind of defense of the ego where it admits to a fear like the fear of heights and then believes it is a permanent condition so that you don’t have to work on developing things connected to it. Children learn this as early as 5 years old. Then we give them big long names with the suffix, phobia, on the end. The ego is always a temporary condition. It is never permanent. It doesn’t mean that it will be easy to let it go. If just means that you haven’t figured out how to loosen its grip. When a child gives up at age 5, it is like cutting out huge aspects of their lives that they could be totally involved in. Don’t ever catch yourself saying this popular phase. “I am not the type of person who……….”
The ego is kind of like the brakes in a car only it normally is out of your control when the car stops rather than being in your control. Sometimes it is as if you have headed out the door, gotten in your car for a new destination, gone down the road, and then 10 minutes later find yourself back in the garage. The ego doesn’t really care if you change. It only cares about protection. The transformation aspect of yourself, the true self, is the one who is really going after the change. It wants the transcendence. The measure of whether you end up back in the garage and give up or keeping going down the road despite the obstacles of the ego, indicates who is in charge, the ego or the true self.
Transcendence requires that the true self be in charge, which essentially is the belief that the change you want to make is possible, probably, and if you stick with it long enough, assured. As soon as the change becomes habitual then it becomes your immanence, your past, that allows you to function even better than before. If it is the right change for you to make, then all you really have to do is stay with the process of letting go of the ego continually while you learn new aspects of the ability.
We find in our current world that people who have been trained technically very well often find themselves in employment positions where they are managing people, which is an area where they are not trained very well. While they may have been extremely motivated to learn technical skills such as being an engineer or doctor or lawyer, when it comes to managing people, their egos take over. They use management that is based upon leading with one’s ego like using dominance. While they may keep up on current practices in their technical field, they do not do the same with management. We used to find something similar with a lot of children who worked really hard to be great at playing the most recognized sport like soccer, but when they were encouraged to learn a new sport that had less recognition, they made almost no effort. Instead of using the same kind of determination to broaden their competence, they allowed their egos to take over and putting in little effort. What this means is that your true self never wants to let you off the hook in the area of transcendence.
It is difficult to meet a lawyer who is also a good parent, because while they have put in humongous hours in the law firm and being lawyer-like, the skill set for being a parent is about as far in the opposite direction that you can go, but requires equally as much effort to get to a level of excellence. It turns out that, by and large, what our world culture recognizes and rewards, is also the reason why we are in so much trouble worldwide. A doctor’s daughter may be screaming for some kind of attention, but the doctor consistently puts her off because being a parent brings up huge amounts of avoidance and fear. And because the doctor’s profession is so regarded as important, he can easily hide from his parental role.
The general rule for transcendence is this. Look at the world and what it rewards and recognizes. For instance, football stars can make 200,000 dollars for each game they play. Then develop the part of you where you are least like to gain public recognition no matter how good you get at it. I can guarantee you that this is where your true self wants to change first. When you do it, the whole world changes. The area where you need to grow isn’t something you choose. It always chooses you because it is the area where you are the weakest.
Once you know where the weakness is and know what ability you want to have, then the transcendent aspect works best if you have the best possible vision of what that ability looks like in future. After that it is all about waking up each morning seeing the vision and then recognizing and dealing with the ego that is going to want you to stop doing the work. If the ego is doing its work correctly, which it always does, then it will always be trying to take the vision away. That’s its job. When you are friends with the ego, you can thank it, and then see the positive vision even better.
Not every bout with the ego is easily won alone. A lot of them require professional assistance.