The psychological phenomenon of «The Death Valley of Past Experience»
Lototska I., Phd
Institute of Psychology named after G.S. Kostiuk of the National
Academy of Pedagogical Sciences of Ukraine, Kiev, Ukraine
This article is a brief of the issue of success anthology, the author developed the concept of success, argued a direct link of success with the activities of intelligence structures. Briefly described the main stages of the experiment "Psychology of life success and failure."
The basis of the article is a description of the psychological phenomenon of "The valley of death of past experience" in personal transformations. We considered the algorithm described by Prochazka and Norcross, E. Kübler-Ross (adapted by Lototska) as a platform for management changes in adults. In the researching process of our experiment, it was noted that the most of our participants strongly passed the first three stages, some of them went out into the 4th stage and then back to the start again. After 14 months of pilot work, we confirmed that a new psychological phenomenon preceding the onset of changes was found. We divided the preparation stages for changes into three parts: the identification, awareness, change. We have identified and described seven stages of passing "The valley of death of past experience" - from the choice of idea- reference, to the consciousness - resolution:
2. «Quick win»
4. «Fear. Back traction»
5. «Motivational escape»
The statistical data of the experiment, in which the results of "The valley of death" passing in the project "The psychology of life success and failure" is described in % in a sample "normal" (live and remote format) and a sample "mental disorders". And also data on the maximum recorded "The valley of death» among our members are presented in the article. The phenomenon also explains one of the reasons for unsuccessful transformations in adults. It is important to permit yourself to see, to reveal a contradiction that will cause another round of development, or to refuse, that is not to enter into the transformation.
It is interested for us to research in details the characteristics of those who refused to enter the VD to work out the means of help and self-help.
Keywords: psychology of success, success, failure, the phenomenon. «The Death Valley of Past Experience»
Психологический феномен «долина смерти прошлого опыта». Лотоцкая Ю.Н.,
кандидат психологических наук
Институт психологии им. Г.С. Костюка, Национальной Академии Педагогических Наук Украины,
г. Киев, Украина
В статье представлена краткая антология изучения вопроса успешности, разработанное автором понятие успеха, обоснована прямая между успешностью и деятельностью интеллектуальных структур. Кратко описаны основные этапы эксперимента «Психология жизненной успешности и неудачи».
В основе статьи лежит описание психологического феномена «Долина смерти прошлого опыта» в процессе личностных трансформаций. Платформой для управления изменениями у взрослых мы считали алгоритм, описанный Прохазкой и Норкроссом, Э.Кюблер-Росс (адаптация Ю.Лотоцкой). В процессе изучения результатов нашего эксперимента было отмечено, что наши участники (большинство) решительно проходили первые три этапа, некоторые входили в 4-й, а затем снова возвращались к началу. После 14 месяцев экспериментальной работы мы подтвердили, что обнаружен новый психологический феномен, предшествующий наступлению перемен. Мы разделили этапы подготовки к переменам на три блока: выявление, осознание, изменение. Нами выделены и описаны 7 этапов прохождения «Долины смерти прошлого опыта» - от выбора идеи-эталона до осознания – разрешения:
«Страх. Возвратная тяга»
Приведены статистические данные эксперимента, в которых описаны данные о результатах прохождения «долины смерти» в проекте «Психология жизненной успешности и неудачи» респондентами выборки «норма» (живой и дистанционный формат) и выборки «психические расстройства», также представлены данные о максимально зафиксированной «долине смерти» у наших участников. Феномен объясняет одну из причин неуспешных трансформаций у взрослых. Важно разрешить себе увидеть, выявить противоречие, которое станет предпосылкой очередного витка развития, или отказаться, то есть не входить в процесс трансформации. Нам было интересно детально исследовать особенности тех, кто отказался от вхождения в ДС, чтобы разработать средства помощи и самопомощи.
Нами было отмечено, что влияние трансформационной среды на «долину смерти» связано с ее построением, и мы сделали вывод, что трансформирующая среда должна быть особенной.
Ключевые слова: психология успешности, успех, неудача, «долина смерти»
The concept of "success" in the post-Soviet society carries the scurf of Western or Eastern philosophy. There are four basic paradigm of success: American (cult of material achievements, the youth and the activity, the peak of success – up to 40 years); German (efficiency, striving for the ideal, profound development, the peak of success - from 40 years); Hinduist, insular philosophy (today is the preparation for tomorrow’s life, creation of karma, peak of success – now, in every moment); Slavic ("at random", trust in a higher powers, regardless of my actions should be Bigman, in his role may be God, the state, etc., success depends on the proximity to the Bigman and good relationship with him). Cross-cultural aspects of life success are associated with the accepted culture of success, which is based on the paradigm described above.
We also are the bearers of different historical models of success, socially accepted from primitive society to nowadays, which leads to conflict of models: "The personal benefits", "Glory, Status, Recognition", "The dichotomy of success, success fees", "Da Vinci - versatile implemented talents", "Efficient innovation", «Media recognition, the scale of idea»,"SMART model" .
The author defines successfulness as activity directed outward or inward, which leads the subject to the desired result (the actual success), which can be objectively or subjectively verifiable, which has predictable or acceptable expenditures and for a desired period, with the possibility of highlight the activity model leading to a successful result, and reproduce it.
Success of the personality is evaluated by the society on the basis of the presence or absence of objective "significant" result (the goal) and the importance of the activities performed in accordance with the system of social values. Subjective evaluation of the results is felt by the person emotionally as success (pleasure, joy, etc.) or failure (frustration, resentment, anger, etc.), but can be realized and experienced only in significant activities . There is an age periodization of success. Efficiency of communications, lack of unconscious conflicts between modalities is also criterion. The subject of our research was the ability to manage personal life success, the intellectual model of life choices (IMLC) in adults that leads to success or failure (Figure 1).
Figure 1. Ten-factors intellectual "Model of Life Choices" by Iu. Lototska.
It was determined that our program "Success" leads to increasing success in different life spheres (20 to 70%). The hypothesis that transformations can be controlled independently through specially organized / found developing environment (real and virtual) gave us an access to new fields of research. We found some unexpected psychological phenomena and effects, one of which is the "Death Valley of Past Experience." This article is devoted to describing of this phenomenon.
The psychology of adult’ transformations are a whole branch of psychology . Changes are to some extent, the death of past formations that is uncomfortable. The developed program "Success", which includes all the necessary aspects for developing pulse, working techniques and methods and certified specialists of the Project, gave us the hope that changes of participants will be appreciable. After five weeks of productive and hard work, it was noted there weren't any qualitative changes in participants although we’ve considered this period as sufficient for plunging into transformation. As the platform for change management in adults we considered the algorithm, described by Prochazka, Norcross and E.Kyubler Ross (adapted by Yu. Lototska), postulates of the system-thought-activity paradigm (Tab.1). But the majority of our participants passed strongly through the first three stages, some entered the fourth, but came back again to the beginning. We have once again checked the input data, the motivational background and willingness of participants. Everything pointed that the changes are desired, in time and important for the most of participants, however they didn’t happen. We were not prepared for such an eventuality, and plunged into a new research. [7; 8; 9].
After 14 months of pilot work, we confirmed discovering of a new psychological phenomenon PRECIDING onset of change. It is known that mental model is aggressive to reinterpretations, while new knowledge about the system put person in front of such choice, and he needs the internal or external "permission" for changing. We divided the preparation steps to transformation into three parts: the identification, the awareness, the change. It is important to permit oneself to see, to reveal contradiction that will cause the next round of development or to refuse, that is, not to enter into the process of transformation. Without outside help, we fixed different quantity of participants in the different samples, who allows himself transformation (from 7% to 12%). After this revealing of contradiction, there was the process of understanding its consequences for life, for future, the revision of the past and then only transformations were started. This is a natural process that can be managed. But after detecting the areas of development, among the majority of participants started an interesting process, which we called the «Death Valley of Past Experience".
The idea of the necessity of personal transformations usually appears at the moment of decreasing efficiency, successfulness (subjectively or objectively evaluated) in one of a meaningful, actual sphere (Figure 1). In identifying such reduction, the respondents started to search for the prototypes that would help in solving the difficulty, tried to replicate the strategies of solutions. If the process wasn’t effective within a limited number of attempts - the existing limits wasn’t being perceived by 70% of respondents - respondents experienced negative emotions. Their stages are well described by E. Kubler-Ross (adapted by Yu. Lototska) (Tab. 1). Some respondents refused to solve the problem, resigned with decrease in the quality of life and rationalizing it. Some of the respondents who had higher relevance in transformation (they are also more likely had an internal locus of control than those who refused transformations), continued the attempts and were seeking for outside help. Our groups were formed precisely out such clients of psychological counseling. Qualitative study of the differences in the psychological competencies those, who refused the solution / changes or allowed themselves to make it, we have not performed. It became the issue of our next researches.
"Idea". Insight of necessity of the changes occurs in this stage, the idea-model is being selected. A model selection process we plan to describe in the next articles.
"Quick Win". The joy of understanding, the activation of hope and faith in self. Short-term confidence boost gives faith in success of the changes. The effect is short-term. It lasted for different participants from 3 to 14 days.
"The Collapse." An attempt to live «in a new way» leads to an emotional collapse, a person is convinced that he and the idea are two different things. And he does not know how to implement the changes. We noticed a connection between this period with the previous: as higher the emotional feelings were there, as worse this stage is experienced. Without the support, a lot of changes are terminated at this stage. A person returns to his former behavior, the quality of life decreases, which is rationalized and explained more often by age-related aspects.
"Fear. Return traction". At this stage, a conscious, perceptible fear that this change will destroy them was turned on to the participants. A lot of them estimated it as a score of 100 out of 100. We noted that the beliefs, habitual behavior, values, habitual opinions, a set of standards (models) and acceptable stereotypes, even destructive, are recognized by the participant as "The Self" and its changing are equated to the destruction of "The Self". That is, our consciousness that makes us human, at the same time deprives us of the possibility of easy changes. A lot of participants said concerning this stage: "I understood that changes were possible, but it'll make me another person, not me, some bad person, etc. And the transformations were interpreted as destructive. Without external support this stage was completed by 10% of the participants. 25% of the participants refused transformations, but half of refused participants continued participating in the project, making the attempts to pass through the stage of fear. 12.5% of the participants left the project. There were 40% of those who left the project in Distance Course.
"Motivational leaving." At this stage, the participants seemed they couldn’t handle, the changes were too global, and it takes too much effort. We fixed a splash of the cognitive distortions such as absolutization, dichotomy, obligation, etc., at this stage. Motivational background of this stage was the lowest in the project. At the same time, participants felt regret of leaving the project because of enclosed efforts, constructed relationships and support groups. Percentage of executing tasks was the lowest in this phase for all the time of project, both for living (LF) and for distance format (DF). There were also a large percentage of the participants in the distance format (DF), who took a "vacation". There were 15% of participants who left the project in LF, in DF - 30% of participants (10 percent of them later came back).
"Awareness" This stage is characterized by awareness of the consequences of changes or life according to previous models, strategies. The participants begin to localize their findings and make small steps for implementation of a new model of thinking. The findings often are characterized by high abstractness, for example, «I need to go in for sports”, “I need to try developing my talents" and so on.
"Resolution". The participants performed a breakthrough at this stage, which we called the "Interrelation”, they are started to see the cause of the failure, the GAP (gap) between their desired and actual situation. High percentage of refinements in assessment of real and desired situation occurs at this stage. They can decompose abstract conclusions into specific behavioral steps For example, “I can do morning exercises 15 minutes every day; reduce number of portions, sign up for art lessons, etc”. They allow themselves to see how their changes can be implemented in their particular case. The plan of action is formed. After this step, we noted beginning of transformation in beliefs and behavior of those, who followed the 6-stage change algorithm by J. Prochazka and J. Norcross. The main feature of this stage, which we named as "successful small steps," is the fact that instead of globalist expectations that were characteristic for the second stage, the participants began to look for a specific, exactly possible for them ways to improve the situation.
We reach the new level after passing through «Death Valley» (DV). Permission to meet the problem and plunge into a crisis of its awareness is the key to successful transformation, and it is unknown which the project of transformations will be after the passing the valley of death (DV).
The participants of LF, besides 12.5%, had allowed themselves to enter into DV, in DF - 60% participants; 70% of the participants reached the end of DV and have got high quality results. We are proud because of such figures. Now we specify them with the groups, where there are some life difficulties (prisoners who are exempt) and children with disabilities, elderly people and among the participants of distance format (project has not been completed yet) to highlight a technique of managing DV for the different categories. The name “Death Valley” was appeared in such a way: one woman said, "As if I have dived and don’t come to the surface, but isn’t seems I am dying”, and then another participant added: "And for me it looks like a crossing a desert. It is a desert from the past to a new life". We remembered that the "Death Valley" is in the desert. The name has been stuck. The more so there is a similar name for new projects in business, though it describes the decline of innovation efficiency.
We found echoes of the DV in other experts’ researches, there are much common ground, for example, each stage of the DV is gone like similar stages of dying described by E. Kubler-Ross (see Table 1) . There is a difference in the flow of these stages depending on temperament. We used Eysenck’s EPI Test, adapted by us. .
The knowledge about the VD is inherently psychotherapeutic and helps people to cross it with dignity and generous love for themselves and their transformations. For controlling (acceleration, reducing the depth and discomfort) For controlling (speed, the depth and reducing the discomfort) it was necessary to apply the model of activity. It has become our next task. We are also interested in detail researching of the characteristic features of those who refuse enter into the VD to develop the tools of assistance and self-help.
The maximum fixed period of Death Valley among our participants of "Norm" sample was 1.5 years. In a sample of "mental disorders" this process was going faster (3 - 4 months on average), in a group of convicts we are testing it now. Finally, we note that the influence of transforming environment on the DV related to its construction. The participants, receiving adapted knowledge about themselves and forecasts, relaxed, stopped acting; getting answers to their questions, they found a conscious protection for habits and didn’t change. Taking the other people's answers for their standards, they don’t reveal the difficulties and do not enter into awareness, as this reflexive exit is resource-intensive and uncomfortable. We have concluded that the transforming environment should be special. Our realized programs with a detailed description we are going to publish later.
Five stages of Change Acceptance by E. Kobler-Ross (adapted by Yu. Lototska).
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