Managing Personal Change

It's Difficult!

Here's How You Can Change


Managing Personal Change - It's Difficult!
Here's How You Can Change. Picture of a tree with leaves on one side but not the the other.



Managing personal change is inherently tricky.

We usually make the flawed assumption that it is skills based, in other words that we can read about it, go to seminars, watch videos and be taught to change.


Whilst it is true that we can be taught, generally we won't change.


For background reading [free download]: "Managing Personal Change"






Contrary to what the multi-billion dollar self-help sector, and it's gurus, will tell you:


"Narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to a better life, and there are few who find it."

This site can help you become one of those few.






Managing Personal Change - Key Themes

 

[1] Immunity to change

We can't change because of what Professors Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey have referred to as: "Immunity to Change" or inner resistance.

So what is the source of our inner personal resistance that lies beneath and sabotages our best attempts at managing personal change?

Research undertaken by Kegan and Lahey has led them to define inner personal resistance to change as a "hidden commitment", with a hidden underlying root cause, and this "hidden (or unconscious) commitment" is in direct opposition and conflict with our stated commitment to change.

So what this means in practise is that our best intentions, for example a New Year resolution, to lose weight or stop smoking is sabotaged from the outset by another unconscious part of us that actually likes and wants to smoke and over eat.

Your failure to achieve a personal change goal isn’t the result of a lack of will-power, it’s your "emotional immune system" trying to protect you.

Here's how to deal with it:

Immunity To Change





[2] The knowing doing gap

So quite clearly, any attempt at managing personal change starts with a clear understanding of what our unconscious or hidden commitments really are.

This is often referred to as the "knowing doing gap", or as Kegan puts it:

"... how to close the gap between our intentions, things we actually want to carry out, and what we are actually able to do".





[3] Your inner map of reality

As we are all the product of our own ethnic, national, social and religious backgrounds we quite naturally have an inbuilt inner map that see life from the perspective of that background and that has a tremendous effect on our attempts at managing personal change.

This inner map applies a whole range of filters related to the profile and characteristics of our environmental background. We develop our own personal beliefs that are based on this inner map of reality, to navigate us through life and primarily to keep us safe. For most of us, most of the time, this is largely an unconscious process.

These inner beliefs are very strong and have a very strong emotional (or energy) element and it is this unconscious feeling, based on an inner belief, that is the root cause of our resistance to our best attempts at managing personal change. The inevitable outcome is that it is this unconscious belief and associated powerful feeling that causes us to not do things we commit to doing.

These inner beliefs also act as very strong filters and stop us seeing or hearing anything that conflicts with those beliefs.






[4] How you build your own personal (and unconscious) inner map of reality

Here’s the big picture of how your internal map of reality operates to generate your feelings, thoughts, and behaviours:


How you build your own personal inner map of reality.


  • First, you experience something through your senses. You see something, hear something, touch or feel something, smell something, or taste something. In other words, you have an experience.
  • Then you automatically create an internal representation or association – or to put it another way – you adjust your inner map of reality with an internal picture, an internal sound, an internal smell, and internal taste, and internal feeling or touch sensation, or an internal dialogue (otherwise known as thought).
  • All of these vast numbers of incoming sensory impressions first pass through a number of filters, which delete huge amounts of it, distort it in various ways, and create generalizations. These filters are hugely important in determining how you create your reality and thus your resourcefulness in managing personal change.
  • With what is left after this filtering process, which happens almost instantaneously and almost totally unconsciously, you then create some sort of internal representation of reality.
  • We string all of these internal representations or associations into sequences or strategies.
  • Everything you do and everything you feel is the end result of a strategy, or a sequence of these internal representations string together in a certain order.
  • These strategies (or sequences of internal representations all strung together) ultimately end up as a behaviour or a state of mind.





It is these sequences of internal representations and associations all strung together that create your experience of life, internally in terms of how you interpret it and how you feel about it, and externally in terms of how you experience it.

The problem is that this internal representation that you have created, and that shapes your thoughts feelings and behaviours and all of your attempts at managing personal change is a very poor copy of reality, and it interferes with your all of your attempts at managing personal change.

This is because so much of what came in through your senses has been deleted, distorted and generalized in a number of ways.

You’ve made a map that represents your perception of reality, but that perception isn’t reality, and it isn’t really very accurate.






If you change the internal representations and associations that you make, if you change the meaning that you attribute to them, and if you change how you string them together you get a different outcome – i.e. you feel differently and behave differently.

Also, this works on reverse, if you change your behaviour you change how you think and feel, so:

  • If you change your internal representations and associations, you change your behaviour and your state.
  • If you change your state, it changes your behaviour and your internal representations.
  • If you change your behaviour, it changes your state and your internal representations.

See: Why we think the way we do






[5] A summary of how inner your inner resistance to change occurs

Based on the descriptions we have just examined, here is a summary of how inner resistance to managing personal change develops and why, and how it manifests:

  • From early childhood onwards, we all develop our own inner map of reality
  • As we develop, we understand, interpret and relate to the world "out there" through this inner map
  • Our capacity to be conscious or aware of our own inner map and especially how we create our experience of life through it is determined by our level of self-awareness
  • However, for most of us, most of the time, this is an unconscious process
  • In accordance with this inner map we have our own inner commitments to our own personal priorities
  • Our inner hidden commitments have a high priority and will over-ride any counter intentions that conflict with them
  • We assign this high priority because the hidden commitment is inextricably linked to an inner hidden perception that we have of our own physical, psychological, social or emotional safety
  • This hidden commitment is (nearly always) outside of our conscious awareness
  • The quickest and easiest way to identify our inner resistance is to observe our reactions and our behaviour in our attempts to change






[6] And here's how we all get stuck in the mud with all this

Part of the way our minds work is that:

  • We get very attached - or stuck - to our thoughts and emotional states
  • They arise automatically
  • They are repetitive
  • The repetition causes reinforcement – making us more attached and thus more stuck
  • We are largely if not totally unaware of this process
  • We mistake the state for who we are
  • We identify totally with these states – we are immersed in them – "I am angry" – "I am happy" etc
  • After the passing of a certain amount of time these states recede or pass and we are "normal" again
  • After the passing of a certain amount of more time these states arise again and the whole cyclical process repeats itself
  • Again and again and again…ad infinitum

This is the tragedy of the "natural" human condition and why we fail at managing personal change.





If you can take charge of these things, you CAN succeed at managing personal change as you choose how you do them instead of having them just run on automatic pilot.

By taking charge, you can make huge changes in how you experience life and the kind of outcomes you get.


See: The filtering mechanism





How To Change The Way You Think

You can waste years of your life (as I have done) and spend a fortune in various forms of introspection, analysis and therapy digging and delving into how and why you think and feel as you do - and becoming very well informed.

Please don’t get me wrong, there can be value in doing this – for a while. But ultimately there comes a point when we want to move beyond all the information about why we think and feel as we do and we just want a practical solution - we want to change.


Practical solutions to change the way you think

Note:

Some of these solutions are free of charge and some are paid for.

I have no commercial relationship with any vendor and I do not receive any commission or financial payment if you purchase any of their services.

I recommend them because I believe them to be of benefit and value.

Each of the links below will take you to another page on this site that provides a full context and review of the solution offered.

In most cases  I have also provided you with a write up of my own experiences with the solution.

Then, and only then, if you wish to take it any further you can either download the free material that I have provided, or connect with the third party solution provider via the links shown on that page.


Personal Development Tools

Self Talk: Dealing With The Ghost In Your Machine

NLP Course: Achieve and Sustain Peak Performance

Emotional Freedom Technique: Dealing With Your Anxieties & Stress

Cybernetic Transposition: Get All Levels Of Your Mind Working For You

The Three Minute Power Pause


Meditation Programme + Relaxation Music

Meditation Programme: No More Boredom + No More Years Of Training!

Relaxation + Meditation Music + Guided Meditations


Personal Development + Spiritual Growth Programmes

Higher Awareness: Personal Development and Spiritual Growth Programmes






Dealing With Resistance To Personal Change

Your failure to achieve a personal change goal isn’t the result of a lack of will-power, it’s your "emotional immune system" trying to protect you.

Immunity to change can be defined as a "hidden commitment", with an underlying root cause, that competes and conflicts with a stated commitment to change.

It these hidden commitments that cause people to not change and to fail to realise their best intentions.

Understanding this and knowing how to deal with your inner resistance is key to making any lasting personal change.

Immunity To Change





Understanding Personality Types and Thinking Styles

Understanding your personality type and thinking style is important.

I have wasted an awful lot of time both in business and in my personal life by not understanding this, and by wrongly assuming that we all think in fundamentally thinking in the same way.

It is true that as human beings, and regardless of ethnicity, culture and demographics, we have so much in common, and our basic values, needs and aspirations are very similar. But, and this is a very big but:


The way we receive and process experiences and information is very different.

This is partly to do with the "hardware" of our brains - the physiological structure of our brains - and partly to do with the "software" of our brains - the conditioning our brains have been exposed to by our primary care-givers and ethnic, cultural and societal influences.

The articles below will provide you with the basis of helping you form your own mental model for:

  • Understanding these dynamics, and
  • Applying them to yourself in the context of managing personal change.

Personality Quiz

Who do you think you are, and what makes you so special?

Myers Briggs Type Indicators

This is why most people don't think like you do. Are you a leader? Then less than 1 in 50 people think like you do!

Katherine Benziger - Thinking Styles Assessment

How your brain makes you think. Why it matters to you to understand  this. How to avoid suffering from "Prolonged Adaption Stress Syndrome".

Enneagram of Personality Types

Plotting your position in life the universe and everything via a modern synthesis of various wisdom traditions aka Integral Theory.

Howard Gardner: Multiple Intelligence

Multiple Intelligence Theory - suggests that you may be more intelligent than you thought you were and in different ways!

George Kelly: Personal Construct Psychology

Here's why you think the way you do and the big picture of how your internal map of reality operates to generate your responses

Emotional Intelligence - Self Awareness In The Emotional Dimension

Emotions get in the way or get you on the way.  Reason leads to conclusions, emotion leads to action.

Primal Leadership - How The Leader's Emotions Infect The Organisation

The leader's emotions can affect you in ways you may not be aware of.





Models Of Change

It is also helpful to understand models of change for providing a proven route map through the stages of change and learning:


Bridges Transition Model - Coping With Imposed Change

There is a distinction between the events, situations and circumstances that are imposed on you and your inner response to these things. This is known as "transition". One of the major causes of the difficulty that you will experience with transition is that it necessarily involves letting go of something.

Lost In Transition - Going Round In Circles, Stuck And Lost?

Further advice and support for successfully making the transition with the three stage psychological and emotional transition process

Recognising Limbo As A Stage Of Transition

Limbo is a situation in which nothing happens or changes for a long period of time, and it is difficult to make decisions or know what to do, often because you are waiting for something else to happen first.

The Wilderness Years - 3 Keys To An Exit

 The wilderness years can be described as any lengthy time, longer than a year, that is spent aimlessly; without an immediate purpose, or without a current goal.The internal psychological, emotional and spiritual landscape of the wilderness state is one of being unable to find one's way, of aloneness, bewilderment, confusion and disconnection. Here are 3 keys [based on personal experience] to an exit from the wilderness.

Kubler Ross - Change Curve -Mapping The Impacts Of Imposed Change

Mapping the impacts of unexpected or imposed change.  Understanding that people can go through grief responses when faced with unexpected life-changes.

Conscious Competence - Stages Of Learning

Why 95% of your thoughts are an unconscious competence. How to move from “I don’t know what I DON’T know” to “I don’t know what I DO know!










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