Psychology is Just a Fancy Word for “Human Engineering”.
And just like the laws of physics or the laws of thermodynamics, there are laws for human engineering as well.
Much like an object in motion stays in motion unless acted upon by an outside force, human beings also get into habits and grooves, and stay in these motions unless acted upon by an outside force. These outside forces can come from a variety of different factors, including people around us, such as our friendships, family and coworkers, and also from our environment such as our jobs, hobbies, and curiosities.
As previously discussed, to “grow” we need certain conditions, and must expect it to occur over at least 1 year. Although longer is likely necessary.
4 Factors for Growth
Factor 1 – Time.
People come into counselling and expected change their lives overnight. They often spend many years developing the habits that have led to the difficulties that they are experiencing by the time they come into counselling, and yet expect everything to change in 2 weeks, or a few sessions. This will inevitably lead to failure. This does not mean you need weekly counselling, however consider a monthly session over 8 months and you’ll start to see more tangible results.
Factor 2 – Conditions.
Plants grow best in optimal conditions, as do human beings. We need to create conditions that allow us to explore different options, cultivate new habits, and engage in our curiosities. Just because we think going to the gym 3 times a week will help us feel better or lose weight, this is unlikely to be the case. After a few months, if we’re just as miserable than we were prior to attending the gym, look for other routes, such as exercise groups, running clubs, and organized sports.
Factor 3 – Connections.
Humans did not evolve to be solitary animals. Compared to the rest of the animal kingdom, we are pretty weak, we are pretty slow, our claws are abysmal, our teeth are not very sharp. Perhaps we have visions of being mighty Hunters chasing down prey on the open plains, but we would inevitably fail every single time if we did this as solitary animals. Place a bunch of humans in a pack, allow us to coordinate and give us a few sticks and rocks, and we become the top predators on earth. Humans have a natural tendency to work well together, perhaps not with everyone we meet but certain people tend to get along with other certain people, and certain groups can get along with other certain groups.
Build these connections with people around you. If you’re wanting to develop your occupational skills, seek out a Mentor that you can collaborate with once a month. Talk with your manager about the soft skills required for the next promotion, and develop a plan to obtain those skills. Review the job market, figure out the skills required to do the job that you want to do, and then contact people that are already doing that job. Ask them for advice, the pros and cons of the job, where they went to school and about the biggest hurdles they had to overcome. Building these connections will allow you to achieve the growth that you are looking are.
Factor 4 - Feedback.
Although many of us hate the word feedback, those of us who learn to embrace feedback will inevitably develop our skills and continue to grow. Many people feel criticized, under attack, or even persecuted when they’re given feedback. It is important to remember not to become defensive or to let our ego get in the way - as difficult and painful as this may be. The best feedback I was ever given was from a PhD psychologist with 30+ years of experience during my undergraduate clinical placement program. She looked at me at the end of the program and said, “you have everything you need to be a brilliant psychologist. The problem is that you do not take feedback well”. I looked her straight in the eye and said “that’s bullshit”. She smiled, shrugged her shoulders and held her hands up in a “there you go” motion. She encouraged me to start seeking feedback from everyone in my life, from my friends, to my employers, to people I trusted. When I started listening to this feedback, I realized there were opportunities for growth everywhere – I simply wasn’t paying attention.
As we said on the farm. When you’re making friends, make sure you make a few friends who are smarter than you. And if you cannot find anyone smarter than yourself, make friends with people who challenge you.
Come heal, grow and create together
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