This Blog explores applied game theory, life strategies, personal development and self help how change and the resistance to change affects our lives?
Definition: Change – A shift in a recognizable pattern or habit.
STUDENT: Speak further about change.
LEWIS: We all know that life is all about change. In the creation of a life filled with love, freedom and wealth the ability to respond effectively to and influence what changes around is essential. It doesn’t really matter why or how people change. It only matters that they do. Even if people could somehow refuse to change, everything and everyone else around them would still change.
STUDENT: And yet people do not change easily?
LEWIS: No, they don’t. People like habit and they will stick to what they know unless they are in such discomfort that they must change or experience the pain of remaining where they are.
STUDENT: Pain? Speak more about pain and change.
LEWIS: Dr. Dennis Waitley, a well known writer and speaker in the motivational field has gone on record as saying, “When I experience pain I know it simply as a signal for change. It tells me that I need to change either the way I do things or the way I look at things.
STUDENT: Is there a system for measuring change?
LEWIS: Substantial change seldom happens instantaneously. It happens in stages. The rate and manner in which people change will vary based on many factors including beliefs, culture, gender, and personal history. Throughout the change process, relapses can and often will occur. This should not be a point of concern. Relapse is a normal process and a constant possibility in one’s attempt to change behaviors. Mathematicians use calculus as a tool for studying complex changes. A master influencer will use different persuasion techniques depending upon what stage of change the receiver is in and whether or not they are in relapse. (See the Conversation on Mastering the Art and Science of Influence.)
STUDENT: So there is a system of influence based on the point of change that an individual is in?
LEWIS: Yes. One of the most effective approaches is known as The Transtheoretical Model of Influence. This approach works on the concept that since influence creates change, it is best applied in situations where change is the prime focus. Those who use this model believe that there are five essential stages of change. Since people are always changing it seems natural that an individual who understands these five essential stages can effectively apply influence.
STUDENT: What are these five stages of change?
LEWIS: The Five Stages of Change as defined by the Transtheoretical Model of Influence are:
• Pre-contemplation – This is a state of benign ignorance. Highly heuristic in nature, individuals in pre-contemplation mode will generally not even think about a situation more than they have to. In this stage, an individual is not even conscious of change. The status quo rules. There is no thought of risk, or of internal or external influences. Things just are as they are. There are no thoughts about consequences. There is a faith that all that has worked before will continue to work as it has before. There are some individuals in a state of pre-contemplation, though a minority who know that a particular behavior is not in their best interest, but see no reason to change it. Most of us are in a state of pre-contemplation a good part of the time.
• Contemplation – In this stage, individuals recognize that there is a consequence for their behavior and have even considered changing. They may even have explored a solution to the problem at hand – Googled it, talked to some friends about it, took notes on it while hearing about it on TV, the radio, or the news. It is a major thought, rather than a passing thought, however it is still merely a thought rather than a commitment. These are the folks who talk about writing a book some day or quitting smoking. They are interested, involved, and even excited. Yet they are still spectators to the game at hand, not yet participants.
• Preparation – In this stage, individuals decide to change risky or unproductive behavior. In the process of this preparation, they are exploring what the best course of action will be. In essence, “What will make the cost too high to choose one path over another?” When the preparation stage is complete, it is time to act.
• Action – The change has taken place recently, maybe in the last six months. There is no way as of yet to determine whether it will be long-term or short-term change but the change is a reality. It is a one-day-at-a-time kind of thing but you are definitely on your way.
• Maintenance – Interestingly, maintenance can become as heuristic a mode as pre-contemplation. This is because once you have repeated a behavior over and over it becomes comfortable and consistent. You do it without thinking or planning. There is no discipline required. It is automatic! The change has lasted long enough, and patterns have been established to indicate that the change will be maintained. In such a case, there is usually an attitude change and the changed individual can even articulate what motivated the change and what it is that he or she did to make it last.
The Transtheoretical Model of Influence provides a simple, easy to understand and apply approach to influence and persuasion. By understanding the five stages of change and applying the appropriate influence models they are assured of success.
STUDENT: Is the Transtheoretical Model of Influence easy to apply in everyday situations?
LEWIS: It requires specific skills. Particularly keeping in mind that it is essential that you assess what stage the receiver is at and make the appropriate tactic for influence to fit the stage of change. Why approach a person in pre-contemplation with an influence model that is most appropriate for a person in the action stage? It just won’t work. In fact, there is a good chance that the receiver won’t even recognize that you’re attempting to influence them.
STUDENT: Are you saying that if you apply the wrong form of influence for a specific stage of change, that which you are doing will not even show up on the receiver’s mental radar?
LEWIS: That is correct. You must consciously define what stage the receiver is at then assess whether he is in a heuristic or systematic mode, and then use an influence tool that fits the stage and the mode. This cannot be done too quickly either. If you are in a hurry or impatient, the Transtheoretical Model will not serve you well. You must move stage by stage, systematically, shifting your influence models as the receiver moves from one stage of change to the next.
STUDENT: This seems like a lot of work. There must be an easier way?
LEWIS: There are many easier ways but not if you wish to have longstanding influence. If you are effectively able to influence the receiver at each stage, you are building a foundation of influence as well as a bridge to the next stage.
STUDENT: So you start at stage one and influence step by step?
LEWIS: No. Keep in mind that when you first attempt to influence the receiver, he or she may already be in stage two, three, or four. You must be skilled enough to determine this before you engage the receiver in the influence process.
STUDENT: Can influence be used to help a sick person heal from a physical or emotional illness?
LEWIS: Yes. There are many different types of influence-based health professionals. Psychotherapists and counselors including psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and specially trained therapists such as family therapists, pastoralcounselors, behavioral therapists, gestalt therapists and body/mind therapists (those that integrate hands on healing with counseling).
STUDENT: Is there an ethical problem with a therapist or health professional using these manipulation techniques to influence a client or patient?
LEWIS: NO. All therapy and counseling techniques and systems involve suggestibility as part of the process. Psychotherapy and mental health counseling come in many forms including Freudian and Jungian Psychoanalysis, Gestalt and Rational Emotive Therapy, Ericksonian Hypnosis (and its offshoot, Neuro-Linguistic programming), Inner Child work, Family Therapy, and many others. If there were no influence involved then the work would have little or no value. It is the influence that makes it so valuable. Some health professionals are in the business of influencing their clients to be more responsible and accountable for their actions and behaviors. A skilled therapist should have background in the study of human development and personality; interpersonal issues, marriage, family and group/ community dynamics; cultural systems; research methods; and supervised field experience. Many of these approaches focus on reversing common self-defeating behavior and negative thinking. All of this is applied influence in one form or another.
STUDENT: There is so much to master here. Where does one begin? Where is the manual that will teach me everything I need to know about influence?
LEWIS: There is no manual that will ever be accurately called “The Definitive Book on the Art and Science of Influence.” We have just too much new research and too many revolutionary approaches arriving on the scene. However, I know if a serious student studies, researches, practices and repeatedly puts the principles into practice with positive intentions and ethical applications, he or she will immediately notice a shift in his/her own quality of life. These students will see the world through new eyes. It will happen quickly and seem much as it must have seemed to Moses when the Red Sea parted in response to his command.
STUDENT: Can you discuss the relationship between instinct and the choices we make?
LEWIS: Yes. In the end, both the influencer and receiver benefit from the process because when applied effectively and proactively, influence makes the world a better place to live in.
STUDENT: Can you discuss the relationship between instinct and the choices we make?
LEWIS: Human beings, more than any other living creature have a wide range of choices available to them. One of these choices is to respond to our genetic and biological inclinations. Another is to make short-term journeys into the domain of desire and short-term gratification, even if to d o so is to rebel, even slightly against our genetic predispositions. Do we repress, suppress, or transcend our instinctual urges, or do we act on these urges? And then the question arises, “Can we learn to leverage one urge (the urge to compete for instance) against another (the urge for sex)?
STUDENT: So in essence all humans possess the ability to make choices in opposition to instinctual urges when they wish to?
STUDENT: It must be difficult if not impossible to make a choice that goes against one’s genetics?
LEWIS: It is difficult. There is always the question of what is one to do if one has a genetic disposition towards a pattern or behavior. Is it best to act on it or if it appears to have negative consequences, to avoid it?
STUDENT: Should a person with alcoholic tendencies simply avoid imbibing in the beverage or should he say, “This is me, it feels nice, and I’m going to do it in spite of my genetics or rather because of my genetics.”?
LEWIS: As I have said often throughout the Harrison mentoring process, “I am not going to tell someone how to live his or her life.” The fact is that the choices we make, whatever the source or influence, affects our health and viability as an individual.
To see photos of beautiful architecture that has been abandoned: http://www.boredpanda.com/abandoned-places/
Lewis Harrison, the author of this blog is a speaker, consultant, and Contemporary Spiritual Teacher. He is a pioneer in the personal development movement The author of nine self help books on human potential he offers seminar, workshops, retreats and phone based coaching. He is creating a series of ebooks entitled “Ask Lewis…” which will be available on line
Lewis offers phone-based and on-line life coaching services and created the course on Life Strategies http://www.How ToSolveAny Problem.com – a simple system for decision making based on Game Theory, the idea expanded on by John Nash, the Nobel prize winning subject of the biopick “A Beautiful Mind”.