Internet notebook about my work: deep listening to facilitate positive change


Thursday 28 March 2013

The overview effect

OVERVIEW from Planetary Collective on Vimeo.
The awe of earth gazing. Astronauts' testimonials what this experience does with people's understanding of and attitude towards the earth and the universe.

Learning to be social

Social learning is also learning to be social. Mastering a skill, a technique or other content is a process of social learning. I experienced that through learning music and playing together you also learn to be social. You learn to listen to each other. To share the joy of makling it sound good. To realize the right timing together. To build up some suspense together. You see from each other's faces when to start a new phrase, how it develops, what to de next. You learn to communicate without words. Developing empathy and emotional intelligence. With the passing of the years my father and I started playing together again. I had come to understand that making music together was often much better than trying a social conversation. And a few years ago before his passing away, when my father could not hear anymore the high tones and switched from violin to viola, I made an effort to play the Mozart duos for violin and viola, and really practiced hard to be technically able do my social duty. He loved it. Said: "you became a very handy grabbler!" From my side double social learning!

Wednesday 27 March 2013

Social learning

Social learning theories claim that we learn in a social context. I realize that when I remember how I learned to play the violin. I was five, got a small violin and imitated my father as he was playing. We played together and he demonstrated and explained how to hold my left hand and curve my fingers, how to keep the pulse of my right hand loose, use my elbow and keep my shoulder low. I had to practice alone, learn simple tunes by heart and then reproduce the modeled violin behaviour with some positive or negative reinforcement. This went on for years. Later I had other teachers, but the fun part always was playing together. Scales and exercises sounded much better: less out of tune and more volume. A bit like the Mouse and the Elephant walking over the wooden bridge, says the Mouse to the Elephant: “listen what a big noise we make!” When I had enough skills to play with others, the real fun started. Hours of daily practice were rewarded and stimulated by playing music of famous composers and by the social and sometimes competitive environment of my violin duo, the student orchestras, or for a while my piano trio. Yes, the social context.

Monday 25 March 2013

Dealing with uncertainty

We always come to the point that we have to make a choice. Hercules at the cross roads avoided the choice between just turning right or left. He expanded the set of choices and widened them. He reflected and checked his assumptions while analyzing his options. When making a choice: go for the one with the long term impact and benefits (Virtue), don’t get distracted with short term emotions (Pleasure). Then stick with your choice and prepare for having made the wrong choice. That is dealing with uncertainty. Read more in DECISIVE, the latest book of Chip and Dan Heath, study the painting by Sebastiano Ricci or learn from the life of Hercules.

Saturday 23 March 2013

What is strategy?

Strategy is not a plan to implement. Strategy is a three-fold skill set one learns along the road towards desired results. These skills one learns by practicing, contemplating and practicing, the way one masters an art.
The first skill is to unconditionally accept uncertainty on the road towards a desired result.
The second skill is to see the unique possibility that will help us gain a decisive advantage along the road towards the desired result.
The third skill is to timely exploit that unique possibility to gain this decisive advantage on the road towards the desired result.
See also the principles of the way of the strategy

Thursday 21 March 2013

Learning from the mental transformation process

Training to transform the mind is in Asian Bhuddism often depicted as a man trying to catch an ox or a monk walking with an elephant. In a posting some years ago I tried to summarize my learning for behaviour change from the Zen story of taming the ox:

1. analyzing the situation
2. identifying the behaviour we want to change
3. defining desired behaviour
4. analyzing obstacles for change
5. analyzing motives for change
6. making change easy
7. making the new behaviour normal and desirable
8. change has turned into a habit
9. we understand everything changes and all phenomena are interdependent
10. we apply the learning about change in other spheres of life.
Most important is to realize that the end is not static, but the beginning of a new cycle to create  more impact.

Wednesday 20 March 2013

The secret of change

The secret of change is not to focus all your energy on fighting the old, but to focus on building the new. This quote from Socrates keeps creeping up in my mind while working with the new European Natura 2000 strategic planning tool. This Prioritized Action Framework  (PAF) focuses on threats to species and habitats. The tool tries to analyze all the reasons why we are losing biodiversity and tries to provide priority reasons and measures for investing in biodiversity. 

I wonder whether it would lead to real change. To focus on reasons is almost like to focus on excuses why we did not achieve conservation results in the first place. It is almost as giving in to the habit of procrastination, not doing what we set out to do and getting away with. This common psychological 'failure' habit of people, institutions and society is the key obstacle for conserving biodiversity. 

So maybe the tool should focus or at least also make an effort to focus on what we can learn from conservation results and how we can realize more results. Results are driven by success habits, e.g. commitment, consistent action, accountability, doing the right things and joint celebration. The tool we need should help create a psychological environment that drives us to positive action. In the end change only takes place through action. Maybe conservationists in the European Commission, in governments and elsewhere should pay more attention to the psychology for a better world

Monday 4 March 2013

Psychology for a Better World

Psychology offers three core ideas if you want to make a difference towards sustainabvility:
1. People are happiness seekers. Connecting with people's desire for happiness triggers positive change qualities like creativity, cooperation and openness to change. We need to appeal to these positive emotions.
2. People are social. People are natural imitators. People change behaviour to blend with their environment. Doing and viewing are overlapping brainprocesses. So play into the idea what is normal and make visible sustainable behaviours of individuals and organizartions, so that they become normal.
3. People want to be good. They want to protect innocent others, and to be fair to others. These moral behavours are very powerful. Frame issues as social justice and make people to live up to their values. What they do in their lifestyle, what they do in their organizations and what they do as members of civil society.
Download Niki Harre's publication.

Friday 1 March 2013

Communicating climate change realities

Introducing Reality Drop from Climate Reality on VimeoSocial media can help unmask climate change myths and denialz. The Reality Drop website highlights 106 of the most common myths about climate change, and provides easy, succinct ways to respond with the truth. The site is an innovative social media tool that educates users about the reality of climate change and also uses modern gaming techniques to combat climate denial.