I am not sure how to review Chapter 12 of Jeffrey Kottler’s book “Change”. The chapter isn’t bad, and it focuses quite well on “Changing People’s Lives While Transforming Your Own”. The problem is that it is a bit narrowly-focused.
If the change you are looking for in life is that you are unhappy, I suspect it is a decent chapter. It deals with altruism vs. reciprocity, the “helper’s high”, being part of something bigger than yourself, paying back (altruism born of similar suffering), or even “my life is my message”. Namely living according to your principles, transformation through service. All laudable, good elements.
But if you are dealing with a problem like weightloss, or a specific addiction, but you are generally happy in your life, or you are already in a service mindset, it wouldn’t be a very helpful chapter. I’m not sure it is even worthy of being a separate chapter. » Read the rest
Chapter 11 of Jeffrey Kottler’s “Change” is titled “Creating Meaning and Happiness” and I admit that it starts off pretty strong.
You don’t findhappiness, but rather, you create it a little bit at a time. This is an active process of invention as much as discovery, one in which you shape the meaning of your own experiences in such a way that they inspire you to continue along the transformative path. […] It is estimated that about 50% of reported happiness is the result of genetics, and another 10% is influenced by particular situations and contexts. The good news is that this means that as much as 40% can be shaped, influenced, and controlled by strategic intentional actions. [pp. 235-236]
I’m not as thrilled a few pages later though when he shifts into the concept of those who move away from “happiness” as being too hard to define. I don’t disagree that it’s challenging, but I think most people understand intuitively what it means to be unhappy rather easily, and even what it means to be extremely happy. » Read the rest
Chapter 10 of Jeffrey Kottler’s “Change” has the title of “Reducing Stress and Facing Fears” and talks about stress as both a catalyst and resistor to change. On the stress side, it isn’t the focus of the book, and I’ve read better materials. However, I do really like a quote when he’s talking about the benefits or costs of stress:
The key, then, is to kick in just enough of a stress reaction to help you perform at peak levels, but not enough to override the off switch once the crisis or events is over. [pg. 213]
Kind of “stress when you need it, peace when you don’t”. By contrast, if you can’t switch off, you start shifting towards maladaptive stress responses:
Turning a blind eye;
Fears and phobias;
Over-reliance on rituals to manage the day;
And if you ask people how they manage the stress that surrounds change or that they use as the excuse to not change (i.e. » Read the rest
Chapter 9 of Jeffrey Kottler’s “Change”, entitled “Moments of Clarity that Change Everything”, talks about how there are people who have undergone profound change but it was not the result of a single overwhelming event that changed everything “immediately”. Instead, over time, change seemed to have been happening almost in the background. A series of positive changes that was so gradual as not to be obviously apparent, and yet there was some moment where something “snapped into place” and they felt a profound sense of clarity.
This isn’t revolutionary, it is often the entire basis for psychotherapy…analysing situations until something is “learned” about it, some new identified element that allows you to reinterpret a situation, an insight that allows you to change the way you interpret and react to certain types of situations. Some of that insight is that “you are not alone”, that what you are feeling is “normal” and that others have felt the same way previously. » Read the rest
Chapter 8 of Jeffrey Kottler’s “Change”, entitled “Transformative Travel and Spiritual Journeys”, covers a specific type of “change” tool, popular in such novels as Eat, Pray, Love and Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail.
The premise, in part, derives from several aspects of change. First, by undergoing a challenging experience (such as hiking the Pacific Crest Trail), you find renewed confidence in your ability to make changes in your life. Second, by pulling yourself out of your daily life, all the anchors that hold you in place — routine, work, life in general, etc. — are displaced, freeing you up to make a change, since many of your reinforcing resistors are missing. Third, since the event/trip is clearly aimed at making a change i.e. if it is a “spiritual journey”, you have already made a firm commitment, often the first step to lasting change. And fourth, the trip often lasts several days or even weeks, ensuring that it is not a simple one-off event that you can blow off the next day since when the next day comes, you are STILL on the journey i.e. » Read the rest