Learning from Dogs

Dogs are integrous animals. We have much to learn from them.


with 97 comments

Pharaoh – just being a dog!

Dogs live in the present – they just are!  Dogs make the best of each moment uncluttered by the sorts of complex fears and feelings that we humans have. They don’t judge, they simply take the world around them at face value.  Yet they have been part of man’s world for an unimaginable time, at least 30,000 years.  That makes the domesticated dog the longest animal companion to man, by far!

As man’s companion, protector and helper, history suggests that dogs were critically important in man achieving success as a hunter-gatherer.  Dogs ‘teaching’ man to be so successful a hunter enabled evolution, some 20,000 years later, to farming,  thence the long journey to modern man.  But in the last, say 100 years, that farming spirit has become corrupted to the point where we see the planet’s plant and mineral resources as infinite.  Mankind is close to the edge of extinction, literally and spiritually.

Dogs know better, much better!  Time again for man to learn from dogs!

Welcome to Learning from Dogs

About these ads

Written by Paul Handover

July 5, 2009 at 02:31

Posted in Core thought

Tagged with ,

The book! Part Four: Compassion for self.

with one comment

That one can not truly love another until you love yourself is a truism that is well-known.

If only it was that simple!

As an earlier chapter, The process of change, illustrated, albeit in a anecdotal manner, loving who one is rests fundamentally on knowing who one is and that, for a sizeable chunk of people, I don’t doubt, is a significant journey of self-awareness.

Stepping lightly over that last sentence, for this section is about change in thoughts and deeds, and focussing on the title to this specific chapter, compassion for self, leads one to pause and ask two questions: exactly what do we mean by self-compassion, and how is self-compassion different to self-esteem?

To be perfectly honest, until I started thinking about the answers to those questions, the differences between self-esteem and self-compassion had previously never occurred to me in the many (too many) years of my life. Yet another surprise that has been visited upon me as a result of writing this book!

But, of course, as soon as one thinks about it, there is a difference between self-esteem and self-compassion! Almost as though the former is an outward-looking perspective of oneself and the latter is the diametric opposite; an inward-looking perspective

Or as Kristin Neff, an associate professor in human development and culture at the University of Texas, Austin, puts it in an article published online by the The Greater Good Science Center, University of California:

Most of us are incredibly hard on ourselves when we finally admit some flaw or shortcoming: “I’m not good enough. I’m worthless.”

And of course, the goalposts for what counts as “good enough” seem always to remain out of reach. No matter how well we do, someone else always seems to be doing it better. The result of this line of thinking is sobering: Millions of people need to take pharmaceuticals every day just to cope with daily life. Insecurity, anxiety, and depression are incredibly common in our society, and much of this is due to self-judgment, to beating ourselves up when we feel we aren’t winning in the game of life.

So if self-esteem is the judgement or evaluation of oneself, self-judgment in other words, and may only be measured, by definition, through comparing oneself to others, then what is self-compassion?

An article published in February, 2011 by Tara Parker-Pope of The New York Times offers an insight that isn’t immediately obvious to one. It opens:

Do you treat yourself as well as you treat your friends and family?

That simple question is the basis for a burgeoning new area of psychological research called self-compassion — how kindly people view themselves. People who find it easy to be supportive and understanding to others, it turns out, often score surprisingly low on self-compassion tests, berating themselves for perceived failures like being overweight or not exercising.

Tara Parker-Pope then refers to Professor Kristin Neff; as follows:

But Kristin Neff, a pioneer in the field, says self-compassion is not to be confused with self-indulgence or lower standards.
I found in my research that the biggest reason people aren’t more self-compassionate is that they are afraid they’ll become self-indulgent,” said Dr. Neff, an associate professor of human development at the University of Texas at Austin. “They believe self-criticism is what keeps them in line. Most people have gotten it wrong because our culture says being hard on yourself is the way to be.

Fear of becoming self-indulgent restrains people from being more self-compassionate! I find that counter-intuitive but readily admit that it had never crossed my mind. The article then continues:

Imagine your reaction to a child struggling in school or eating too much junk food. Many parents would offer support, like tutoring or making an effort to find healthful foods the child will enjoy. But when adults find themselves in a similar situation — struggling at work, or overeating and gaining weight — many fall into a cycle of self-criticism and negativity. That leaves them feeling even less motivated to change.

Self-compassion is really conducive to motivation,” Dr. Neff said. “The reason you don’t let your children eat five big tubs of ice cream is because you care about them. With self-compassion, if you care about yourself, you do what’s healthy for you rather than what’s harmful to you.

Now that started to make sense to me. Still, if at this point in my learning journey I had been challenged to define precisely what I understood by self-compassion, I would have been bound to display some lingering uncertainties.

Therefore, how does one understand self-compassion in a clear and easily understood manner? Thank goodness for more guidance from the good Professor Neff. Back to that article published by the University of California.

As I’ve defined it, self-compassion entails three core components. First, it requires self-kindness, that we be gentle and understanding with ourselves rather than harshly critical and judgmental. Second, it requires recognition of our common humanity, feeling connected with others in the experience of life rather than feeling isolated and alienated by our suffering. Third, it requires mindfulness — that we hold our experience in balanced awareness, rather than ignoring our pain or exaggerating it. We must achieve and combine these three essential elements in order to be truly self-compassionate.

Self-kindness, recognition of our common humanity and mindfulness. Wow! What a trio of wonderful components.

I took a writing break at this point and went across to our living-room where some of our dogs were larking around. To my eyes, the group of five dogs, from old man Pharaoh, he of the front cover, down to young Oliver of less than a year old, were displaying kindness for themselves, an obvious recognition of their common doggyness and what seemed to me as mindfulness!

Then when I returned to ‘the book’, I couldn’t resist Kristin Neff’s concluding words from the above-mentioned article:

An island of calm

Taken together, this research suggests that self-compassion provides an island of calm, a refuge from the stormy seas of endless positive and negative self-judgment, so that we can finally stop asking, “Am I as good as they are? Am I good enough?” By tapping into our inner wellsprings of kindness, acknowledging the shared nature of our imperfect human condition, we can start to feel more secure, accepted, and alive.

It does take work to break the self-criticizing habits of a lifetime, but at the end of the day, you are only being asked to relax, allow life to be as it is, and open your heart to yourself. It’s easier than you might think, and it could change your life.

Relax, allow life to be as it is, and open your heart to yourself.

Those words should be framed and hung on the walls of every house in the land.

For they provide passionate reasons for changing how we think and, inevitably, how we act.

1,185 words. Copyright © 2014 Paul Handover

Written by Paul Handover

November 24, 2014 at 00:30

Smart dogs!

with 3 comments

A video courtesy of Dognition.

In my research travels across the internet, yesterday I came across this piece that had been aired on CBS back on October 5th.

I came to the video clip after visiting the home page of Dognition, a company that offers a way of learning how your dog sees the world through your dog’s eyes.

Despite the clip only being eight minutes long, it offers incredible evidence of the benefits, to man and dog, of the shared evolution of both species over thousands of years.

Not going to say any more because I don’t want to spoil your enjoyment of what is presented.

So, here’s the video.

Published on Oct 7, 2014
Anderson Cooper meets Chaser, a dog who can identify over a thousand toys, and the scientists who are studying the brain of man’s best friend.

Love to get any comments from you.

Written by Paul Handover

November 24, 2014 at 00:00

Picture parade seventy-one

with 3 comments

The second set of wonderful dog pictures from neighbours, Jim and Janet, on the theme of parenthood!















The third, and final, set in a week’s time.

You all take care of yourself, and of your pets!

Written by Paul Handover

November 23, 2014 at 00:00

No apologies for airing this advertisement!

with 5 comments

Because it’s wonderful – just pure joy.

The official advertisement for the Fiat 500X (already viewed over 4.9 million times!)

Thanks Dan for sending it on to me.

Written by Paul Handover

November 22, 2014 at 00:00

The book! Part Four: The importance of hope.

with 4 comments

The night is always darkest before the dawn.

That very well-know saying rings in my ears the word: hope. Hope! What a short, little word that carries on its back, so to speak, so much promise, so many reasons for staying with it, whatever ‘it’ might mean at any particular moment.

For countless times for countless numbers of people, the importance of hope has been incalculable! But first let’s dip into the dictionary as a way of clearly understanding the word.

Hope: as a noun, in part: “the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best”; as a verb, in part: “to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence”.

Yes, there are other definitions of the word ‘hope’; both as a noun and an adjective. But I selected the two above because they resonated with me and past experiences. Or more accurately, a past experience. My prelude to another story from my past that seemed an appropriate way of opening this chapter; this chapter on hope.

In 1986 I had the opportunity to take a few years off. Off from the working life, that is. I had started my own company in 1978 after eight years of being a salesman for the Office Products Division of IBM UK. In 1986, the successful sale of my company meant that for a while I could go and play. By chance, I went on a vacation to Larnaca on the Island of Cyprus; Larnaca being on the Greek side of what was a divided island(and still is!) between Greece and Turkey.

Larnaca struck me as a lovely place on a lovely island in the Eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea. Again, quite by chance, one day during my vacation, when strolling around Larnaca Marina, I noticed a yacht with a For Sale notice on the yacht’s pulpit. The yacht, named Songbird of Kent, was a Tradewind 33, a type that I had heard about previously from reading yachting magazines. I vaguely recalled that the type had been designed in the UK by John Rock, himself an experienced deep-water yachtsman, for the purpose of serious ocean sailing and that many Tradewinds had completed vast ocean crossings.

I was still looking at the yacht, lost in some dream about sailing the seas, when a call from a man who had just come up from the cabin caught my attention. He had spotted me looking at the yacht.

Hi, my name is Ken and I’m the owner of Songbird. Did you want to come onboard and have a look around?” I couldn’t resist!

It transpired that Ken, and Betty his wife, an English couple, had been living on Songbird for some years, cruising the Mediterranean each Summer, and now wanted to return to England.
It was obvious that Songbird had been cared for in every possible way and that the yacht was offered for sale in a manner that meant she could become my permanent new home with little or no effort on my behalf.
Three hours later Ken and Betty and yours truly had agreed terms for the sale of Songbird of Kent. One of those spur of the moment things that we do in our lives that, so often, make being alive such a reward.

I should explain that as a younger man (I was 42 when I agreed to buy Songbird) I had devoured the books written by such round-the-world solo sailors as Francis Chichester and Joshua Slocum and others and harboured this silly, naive dream of one day doing a solo transatlantic crossing. Later on in life, when living in Wivenhoe in Essex, I bought my first yacht but never achieved anything more than local coastal sailing and a couple of overnight sailings to Holland; all with others I should hasten to add – never solo! However, I knew for sure that if there was one yacht that was perfect for open ocean sailing it was the Tradewind.

Thus it wasn’t long before my home in Great Horkesley, near Colchester, had been sold and I was adjusting to a new life as a ‘live aboard yachtie’ out in Cyprus.

I loved living in Larnaca for a whole bundle of reasons that I won’t go into here. Except one! That was that in my years of living and working near Colchester, which was where my business was based, I had been introduced to gliding and eventually had ended up becoming a gliding instructor. So imagine my delight at finding that there was an active gliding club on a British ex-military airfield thirty minutes away from Larnaca. It was not long before I was fully back to gliding.

One day, I was doing gliding experience flights for some visitors. Early in the afternoon, up came a quietly spoken Englishman who wanted to get an idea of what it was like to fly in a glider. Les, for that was his name, settled himself in, I checked his straps were secure, pointed out the canopy release and jumped into the seat behind him, and within moments we were airborne.

Later on, when back on the ground and sitting to one side of the old runway, Les and I started chatting about our backgrounds and what had brought each of us to Larnaca. I learned that Les was not only Les Powles, the famous solo sailor, but that he was living on board his yacht, Solitaire, right here in Larnaca Marina.

Over the following days, often with a beer or two in our hands, I heard Les’ tales about him having been in his 50s when he built Solitaire, with little prior knowledge of boatbuilding. That he had just eight hours of sailing experience when he decided to sail solo around the world. That remarkably, he had made it across the Atlantic, albeit discovering that his navigation skills didn’t quite match up to his boatbuilding abilities. This translating to his first landfall being the coast of Brazil, a 100 miles south of (and a different hemisphere) the Barbados he had been aiming for!

I listened for hours, in utter rapture of what Les had achieved. This quiet, unpretentious man that had achieved so much. Including how after solo circumnavigation number one, Les ended up completing three solo circumnavigations, all of them full of incidents. Particularly, the last one, with Les being given up for dead when he hadn’t been heard from for over four months. When eventually he sailed up the Lymington River in Hampshire, in a skeletal state, his arrival caused a media frenzy. Lymington Marina subsequently gave him a free berth for life. Les’ boat had been damaged in a storm, he had lost all communications and had virtually run out of food by the time he made it back to England.Oh, and Les was 70 at the time!

It’s OK readers, I haven’t forgotten I was promising you an anecdote on the subject of hope! Stay with me a little longer; it’s coming!

At one point, Les asked me about my own sailing ambitions. I remarked that I had this tired old idea of a solo sailing across the Atlantic.

Have you done any solo sailing?”, Les asked.

I replied, “At the start of most Summers, I sail alone from Larnaca across to the Turkish coast to meet up with family and friends who want to cruise along with me.

Continuing, “Generally I head for Alanya or a little further along the Turkish coast; to Antalya. It takes me two or three days to get there non-stop, most often with me going west-about Cyprus, and then straight up to Turkey. But I am embarrassed to admit that I hate both that trip, and the return solo trip at the end of the Summer. Detest would be a better word than hate.

Pausing before adding a moment later, “If I can’t stomach solo sailing for three days then there’s no chance, no chance at all, that I could sail solo across the Atlantic ocean.

It was then that Les said something both profound and deeply inspiring.

Paul, guess what! The first three days of being alone are just as terrible for me, too. Indeed, I have never met a solo sailor who doesn’t say the same. Those early days of adjusting to your new world, your new world of being alone out on the ocean, are the worst. But never lose hope that from some point around the third or fourth day, you will have worked through that transition and found an unbelievable state of mind; a freedom of mind that has no equal.

Years later, with Les’ words still ringing in my ears, I set out from Gibraltar for the Westward crossing of the Atlantic and lived the truth of Les’ prediction.

Sorry if that turned into a longer trip down memory lane than you were anticipating. However, I knew of no better way of telling you about how I learned the real meaning of hope, courtesy of dear Les.

Now a purely anecdotal tale on gaining the meaning of hope would be no way to end this chapter. We need to seek a professional view as well.

Scott Barry Kaufman is the Scientific Director of The Imagination Institute in the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania. (See footnote)

Back in December of 2011 he was the author of an essay published in the journal Psychology Today. The essay was called: The Will and Ways of Hope, with the subheading: Hope involves the will to get there, and different ways to get there.

It opened:

Talent, skill, ability — whatever you want to call it — will not get you there. Sure, it helps. But a wealth of psychological research over the past few decades shows loud and clear that it’s the psychological vehicles that really get you there. You can have the best engine in the world, but if you can’t be bothered to drive it, you won’t get anywhere.

Psychologists have proposed lots of different vehicles over the years. Grit, Conscientiousness, self-efficacy, optimism, passion, inspiration, etc. They are all important. One vehicle, however, is particularly undervalued and underappreciated in psychology and society. That’s hope.

Professor Kaufman went on to say that, “Put simply: hope involves the will to get there, and different ways to get there.” It struck me that those words seemed to resonate strongly with the multi-stage process of change that was covered in the previous chapter: The process of change.

The good Professor then adding:

Why is hope important? Well, life is difficult. There are many obstacles. Having goals is not enough. One has to keep getting closer to those goals, amidst all the inevitable twists and turns of life. Hope allows people to approach problems with a mindset and strategy-set suitable to success, thereby increasing the chances they will actually accomplish their goals.

Thus what Professor Kaufman seemed to be saying, well to my ears anyway, was that hope was not some wishy-washy emotion, some vaguely defined way of giving oneself a good talking to but “a dynamic cognitive motivational system” to use his words. That people who have clear goals in their lives, especially goals that demand learning, that in themselves are related positively to success, whatever success means specifically to an individual, that those goals are critically dependent on hope.

More from Kaufman:

Under this conceptualization of hope, emotions follow cognitions, not the other way round. Hope-related cognitions are important. Hope leads to learning goals, which are conducive to growth and improvement. People with learning goals are actively engaged in their learning, constantly planning strategies to meet their goals, and monitoring their progress to stay on track.

While reading Professor Kaufman’s essay, I found myself quietly wondering about where hope fitted in with other psychological attitudes, such as optimism and self-confidence. I didn’t have to wonder for much longer because, towards the end of the Professor’s essay, he specifically addresses my wonderings:

Hope can be distinguished from other psychological vehicles, such as self-efficacy and optimism. Self-efficacy refers to your belief that you can master a domain. Optimism refers to a general expectation that it’ll all just ‘be alright’. Hope, self-efficacy, and optimism are all incredibly important expectancies and contribute to the attainment of goals. Even though they all involve expectations about the future, they are subtly, and importantly, different from each other. People with self-efficacy expect that they will master a domain. Optimism involves a positive expectancy for future outcomes without regard for one’s personal control over the outcome. In contrast to both self-efficacy and optimism, people with hope have both the will and the pathways and strategies necessary to achieve their goals.

For the first time in many decades of reflection and introspection into aspects of success, motivation and achievement, I saw the sense of seeing hope in a two-dimensional manner: the will and the ways! Fascinating!

Reinforced so clearly in Professor Kaufman’s closing words:

We like to think that current ability is the best predictor of future success. We’ve built up the importance of existing ability because the testing and gating mechanisms are so well established to suit this belief. Important psychological studies show that ability is important, but it’s the vehicles that actually get people where they want to go. Oftentimes, the vehicles even help you build up that ability you never thought you had. And hope — with its will and ways — is one of the most important vehicles of them all.

Is there a connection between learning the “first three days are the worst’ from dear Les Powles and the academic eminence of Professor Scott Barry Kaufman?

I think so. For one could interpret Les’ advice about working through that initial three days at sea as containing both the Will – I am determined to keep going through those transitional days – and the Way – one can only achieve the peace of mind of being alone at sea by sailing onwards for three or four days.

I cannot close this better than by quoting Aristotle, “Hope is a waking dream.”

2,361 words Copyright © 2014 Paul Handover


Footnote: Scott Barry Kaufman is Scientific Director of The Imagination Institute in the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania. Kaufman investigates the development and measurement of imagination, and the many paths to greatness. He has six books, including Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined and The Philosophy of Creativity(with Elliot Samuel Paul). Kaufman is also co-founder of The Creativity Post. Kaufman completed his doctorate in cognitive psychology from Yale University in 2009 and received his masters degree in experimental psychology from Cambridge University in 2005, where he was a Gates Cambridge Scholar.

Written by Paul Handover

November 21, 2014 at 00:30

Removing the fear of the unknown

with 4 comments

This was a post from Jon Lavin back in 2011.

I thought it would be nice to republish it today.


Removing the fear of the unknown

Seeing the light

I’ve been working with most of my clients recently through painful transformations brought about by the economic downturn.

An interesting metaphor really because since the first wave of uncertainty triggered panic, first noticed in the UK banking system, I have been picking up on that uncertainty that feels like it’s stalking the globe and has been for some time. Recent stock market crashes have simply exacerbated this and that, coupled with the riots taking place in major cities in the UK, make for pretty disturbing reading.

Interestingly, I, too, have been aware of an underlying fear that was difficult either to name or source.

It has been rather like a deep river in that whilst the surface feels slow-moving, currents are moving things powerfully below.

So this ‘fear’ has caused a few household changes.

1) We now are the proud owners of 12 chickens. Our youngest son and I have dug up the back lawn and planted vegetables and built a poly tunnel.

2) We have also installed a wood burning cooker. Right back down to the base of Maslow’s triangle really!

Maslow’s triangle of needs

These feelings have brought about such change everywhere and I wonder seriously whether we will ever return to what was; indeed would we want to?

I might not have mentioned it in previous blogs but as well as an engineering background, in latter years, I have focused on how success in business is linked directly to aspects of relationships and how we are in our relationships with others, so things like integrity, self-awareness and the ability to see the point of view of others, and modify our approach appropriately.

To inform this, some 7 years ago, I embarked on an MA in Core Process Psychotherapy, primarily to work on myself so that I could be the best I could be in my relationships, in and out of work.

The point I’m trying to make is that the same panic I notice in many of the companies I work in, and in me, is based on fear of the unknown and on a lack of trust in all its forms.  I’ve deliberately underlined that last phrase because it is so incredibly important.

The truth is that we get more of what we focus on.

So we can choose to focus on the constant news of more difficulties, hardship and redundancies, or we can focus on what is working.

In the workplace this positive focus has been pulling people together across functions and sites and pooling resources and ideas.

When we realise we’re not doing this alone it’s amazing how much lighter a load can feel and how much more inspired we all feel.

I also notice how humour begins to flow and what a powerful antidote for doom and gloom that is.

Transformation is never easy but the rewards far exceed the effort put in ten fold.

So what is it going to be? Are we all going to bow down to the god of Doom & Gloom, fear and anxiety, heaping more and more gifts around it, or are we going to start noticing and focusing on the other neglected god – that of relationship, joy, trust, abundance and lightness?

Whatever the future holds for us all a belief in our inherent ability to adapt and change and focus on the greater good rather than fear, anxiety, greed and selfishness is the only sustainable way forward.

By Jon Lavin

Written by Paul Handover

November 21, 2014 at 00:00

The book! Part Four: The process of change.

with 8 comments

They didn’t bring us here to change the past!

That opening quote to this chapter comes from the blockbuster film Interstellar that was drawing in the crowds when I was up to my neck in the first draft of the book. Jean and I had taken an afternoon off, together with neighbours, Dordie and Bill, to go and watch it. It was the middle of November, 2014.

I’ll resist the temptation to include a review of the film in this place; this is meant to be a book about what we can learn from dogs! But there were two spoken lines that really jumped off the screen at me; one of them being the opening quote to this chapter.

Why did that opening quote strike me so forcibly?

Simply because when it comes to making deep, fundamental changes in who we are, how we see ourselves and, flowing from that, how we behave, or better put, how we wish to change how we behave, we have to change the past.

Sorry, I was being ‘tricky’; we can’t change the past in any real sense! But what we can change is our understanding of our past and how it made us the person we are; at this present moment in our life. That self-understanding is paramount before we set out along any journey of personal change. That was my motivation in recounting, in the opening chapter of Part Four, my discovery of my fear of rejection that for so many years had remained out of sight; albeit not quietly so within me.

Before continuing, I am minded to issue a ‘health’ warning. My writings and my conclusions are purely and solely my personal view of my life and the world as I see and experience it. Don’t empower me with talents and skills that I don’t have! Phew!

Moving on.

Anyone who has attempted a change in their behaviour, from a New Year’s Resolution, to a metaphorically large slap on the wrist for being dumb about some aspect of their life, will appreciate the difficulty of achieving a lasting change in behaviour. Changing our behaviour is rarely simple, straightforward or even, surprisingly, logical. Very often it requires a major commitment of time, effort and, perhaps most importantly of all, an emotional commitment.

The other vital thing to appreciate is that what works for one person, in all likelihood, will not work for another. Even trickier than that; what worked for you one time, may not work another time! That, just for the avoidance of doubt, is not me downgrading the need for change, when your intuition is saying to you that a change or two wouldn’t do any harm at all! Not at all!

So don’t worry about it not ‘speaking’ to you clearly in the first instance, in the sense of you not being clear as to how it is that you need to change, just embrace the fact that it is a process of trial-and-error, and keep reminding yourself why it is that you wish to change an aspect or two of your behaviour.

This important aspect of being relaxed about achieving change for yourself is more easily understood, as in understood rationally, when one takes an overview of the models (note the use of the plural) of change as used by therapists, physicians, and teachers. The researchers, that therapists and others base their knowledge and understanding upon, have multiple theories to explain how change occurs.
One of these theories, a popular one known as the Stages of Change model, demonstrates that change is rarely easy and often requires a gradual progression of small steps toward a larger goal.
In other words, only through understanding the elements of change, the stages of change, and the ways to work through each stage, can help one achieve a lasting behavioural change.

I’m not going to go much further because I’m conscious of potentially over-stepping boundaries. This is a book about learning from dogs, not an amateur self-help manual on change!

But I do want round off with the following; the product of my research and from speaking to a couple of professionals in the field of change.

Apparently, about 20 years ago, two researchers into alcoholism, Carlo C. DiClemente and J. O. Prochaska, proposed a multi-stage model of change. Their aim was to help professional ’change consultants’ understand their clients who had problems of addiction and how to motivate those clients to change. It was a model that was not based on theories but on the observations by DiClemente and Prochaska into how people tackled problem behaviours such as smoking, overeating and excessive drinking.

The multiple stages of the model were called: precontemplation; contemplation; determination; action; maintenance and termination. Six stages in all.

I’m only going to dip into that first stage: Precontemplation.


Individuals in the precontemplation stage of change are not even thinking about changing their drinking behavior. They may not see it as a problem, or they think that others who point out the problem are exaggerating.

There are many reasons to be in precontemplation, and Dr. DiClemente has referred to them as “the Four Rs” —reluctance, rebellion, resignation and rationalization:

Right that’s enough from me. But for anyone that would like to read the full article by M. Gold (2006) Stages of Change, there’s a footnote [APA Reference Gold, M. (2006). Stages of Change. Psych Central.] that includes a link to a website that can offer you more detailed information about this multi-stage approach to change; indeed has the full article from Mark Gold, MD.

It’s never too late to change.

Oh, nearly forgot! I noted that the film Interstellar offered “two spoken lines that really jumped off the screen at me”, using one, “They didn’t bring us here to change the past!”, as the opening line of this chapter. The second spoken line couldn’t be more appropriate to close a chapter entitled: The process of change.

We all want to protect the world, but we don’t want to change.”

999 words. Copyright © 2014 Paul Handover

Written by Paul Handover

November 20, 2014 at 00:30


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,235 other followers

%d bloggers like this: