Ronald M Allen

When we face any issue in life, there are many perspectives we can select from in order to address the issue at hand. Our experience, our learning, and social conditioning are just some of the components from which we select to address and achieve the best possible answers. The challenge (opportunity) is having the conviction to select and move on a path.

Kurt Lewin, a founder of social psychology refers to a three-part physiological process through which our mental state is engaged and our behavior is rewired or redirected to behave in a desired manner, different from before. This concept was identified from his studies in social behavior culminating in research around inborn (natural adaptive behavior) and experiential (nurtured) life experiences.

A three-part process is referred to in his research that shows an Unfreezing, Replace (Change), Re-Freeze stages. The unfreezing is witnessed by some force, energy, event or leverage that causes us to identify with a ‘vibe’, that needs to be addressed. Some of us take a long time to acknowledge this event in our lives, while others act quickly to the environmental signals all around us.

Dr. Lewin created a mathematical equation to represent this event know as Lewin’s Equation for Behavior. It’s components are, Behavior is a function of a person’s interactions with their environment, B = f (P, E). His further studies in this area produced what is referred to as Forced-field Analysis that takes into account the many elements in our lives that cause us to calibrate one decision over another. Consider the following.

We all go through a first encounter of the dating process. Forces such as physical attraction cause us to desire the other person. Social teaching causes us to evaluate how to approach the other person. Theology may require us to check our reasoning for approaching the other person. Our family dynamics may give off signals of why they want us to or not to engage with that other person. Friends have their own set of inclinations and the circle gets bigger and bigger of the possible forces that we engage with to make this one decision. In the end, it is up to us to commit an act. Unfreeze!

The perceived benefit of engaging with that other person is the Replacement (Change) in our lives. At this point, a good or bad outcome is not part of the equation although it is a consideration in the Unfreezing process as to what makes us act in the first place.

The Transition (Change), replacement of behavior is what is required in order to send the right signals to our desired partner that we are willing to connect, adapt, adjust and in some cases be flexible. Those that resist will recognize one set of feedback signals while those that are flexible and respond to the tactile sense of the other party will receive another. The interpretation of this exchange of signals (biofeedback) determines if we a) continue with our exchange, b) adjust during the exchange of shared feedback and or c) stop the process altogether and take our ball elsewhere. Note there are other options which will not be addressed at this time.

Re-Freezing or Freezing the new behavior (hardwiring) is a culmination of staying focused on what has been received well by our new partner, discarding what does not work and or is undesirable and adjusting once again to reinforce our intentions to be with this other person. Note this is much a part of the external exchange of emotional communication as it is an internal communication with ourselves (the internal voice). Note, the comfort, acceptance of our new found relationship give us a psychological charge that serves our need which drove us to act in the first place. An exchange if you will, is created by identifying what could be, was forced upon and now accepted.

An observation from Dr. Lewin’s findings. It would be a welcomed development of our senses to program ourselves to recognize that life demands change and hard-wire that mental process (fortitude) so we embrace it without the psychological babble we engage in trying to make sense of the inevitable.

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