Two Questions To Ponder On The Road To Transformation And Personal Development
When coaches talk about transforming people and organizations, what clients tend to hear is that they are not good enough and the process is going to add even more hassle to their already stressful life.
The most successful change agents don’t push, they remove barriers. Rather than adding pressure, they reduce friction, lower the hurdles to action and make it clear how change is not about betraying anybody’s identity or heritage, but a way to level up.
This is where cultural intelligence and the language we use are critical to bridging the gap between intention and impact. Transformation comes from a mindset shift, a different perspective that makes clients realize there is an even better way of doing things. The right questions have the power to create the inner need to be more and to do more.
These are the two questions we have been asking clients who are not sure if they want or need to invest in personal development:
1. Do you understand and value yourself enough to get along with people who think and behave differently without feeling that you are more or less than them?
2. Do you understand yourself better than social media algorithms and the people who are trained to influence you?
So far, we have never heard two yesses. As technology is rapidly evolving, this challenge is getting harder day by day. Personally, I cannot say yes to both either, which equally scares and motivates me. How about you?
The first question sheds light on why so many people bully others to feel important or hide to feel safe. If their self-esteem depends on being right instead of getting things right or conforming to the group norms instead of expressing their own opinion, it is nearly impossible to have a healthy relationship with themselves and others.
The more we clash with ourselves and others, the more we can be taken advantage of by the ones who promise pleasant, instant gratification instead of uncomfortable solutions. The less we understand ourselves, the less we can trust ourselves and the more we look for authority figures or pre-packaged mindsets such as political parties where they tell us exactly what to think, what is right and wrong and who we must like and hate. As we have the option to join online groups where everybody agrees with us and we can delete the ones who don’t, it gives us an extreme level of conviction for the wrong reasons.
Not surprisingly, digital algorithms also mimic human prejudices. Homophilic diversity is a rarely used term even if it is the concept that underpins these invisible forces. It simply means that we like and trust people who see the world as we do.
As Daniel Kahneman explained in his book, Thinking, Fast and Slow, we are wired to stay in our comfort zone. The digital world is a place where we seemingly have less uncertainty and feel more confident. The pandemic has sped up this process as we are not forced to work things out in our physical communities where we used to learn how to interact with people who think and behave differently. Rather, we can stay inside, join like-minded online groups and watch the TV channels we like so we identify ourselves more with what we are against rather than what we stand for.
Saying no to the second question — Do you understand yourself better than social media algorithms and the people who are trained to influence you? — is also concerning.
As Yuval Noah Harari pointed out in his book, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, over the past century, humankind has managed to do the impossible and rein in famine, plague and war. So where do we go from here? As life is stressful and unpredictable, people crave certainty and at least the illusion of safety. Staying in our comfort zone is as pleasant now as it is dangerous in the long run. The less we use our skills, the more we lose them. The more we rely on artificial intelligence to make decisions for us, the more control we lose.
Getting out of our comfort zone feels like going against nature as our brain is designed to keep us safe. The moment we realize that certainty does not exist, we can turn an unpleasant activity into a positive one. Here are some suggestions that cost nothing:
• Talk to people who disagree with you and find out why they think they are right without trying to convince them otherwise.
• Watch news on the TV channels you normally would not.
• Give yourself the quality and amount of attention you give others when getting to know them.
• Practice some purposeful doubt about your habits and best practices. Are they still serving you or might they be hurting you? Is there an even better way of doing things?
Investing time and energy in personal development or coaching is not a luxury, it is a means to stay relevant in a world where more work tasks will be handled by machines than humans by 2025. Now is the time to identify our own weaknesses and skill gaps.
The original article written by Csaba Toth was published in Forbes.
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