Research: MAKE IT HAPPEN – Clarity and agency in times of unlimited possibility
In today‘s times, everything seems possible – the world is more interconnected than ever before, technological progress lets things come to life that were previously unimaginable, the amount of accessible knowledge and data grows immensely by the day, an in midst it all, we must find orientation, make decisions, find and make our way, and take a stand for ourselves and what we believe in. What if we didn‘t have to face this complexity „based on gut feeling“, but could make use of helpful tools and approaches that were precisely made possible through scientific progress?
Which path do we choose when any path is possible?
Given seemingly endless possibilities, the question is not always what is merely possible, but what the right and best possible action in one’s own context and that of one’s community is. Do we do something merely because it is possible, or because it is the right thing to do? How can we make considerate, holistic decisions that take many different perspectives into account and foster the greater good? The Competence Center for Intrapreneurship believes that self-knowledge and self-empowerment of individuals is crucial to making better decisions for the common good, understanding complexity and being equipped to lead wisely, taking things into own hands and being guided by agency, not passivity.
Whatever receives our time is automatically our priority
Only when we clearly know what we stand for, and when our thoughts are represented in our actions, can we act decisively and with integrity in midst complexity. Day by day, for example, our time is the most important resource, because we cannot make more of it – practically speaking, it is often measured in attention and actions. When we pay attention to something, we give it meaning. At the same time, our attention is more contested than ever before, also due to digital temptations of distraction. Our daily small actions add up to a strong pattern over time. It‘s in our hands to decide for or against certain daily habits and steer our attention consciously. Whatever receives our time, attention and action is automatically our priority, therefore we should always be aware of what exactly that is. Self-empowerment, while becoming more and more accessible through such things as personal development opportunities, non-formal education or, in part, under terms such as life hacking, still may face the risk of remaining an abstract concept overall. In fact, however, self-empowerment and self-knowledge, lived day by day and present even in small actions, attitude and habits, can be a highly practical tool with a notable effect on our own personal and professional impact.
Making ideals a reality – with the help of science
Many concepts that have been extensively researched in various scientific disciplines still lack a mainstream understanding and usability. We might all potentially benefit from various insights and approaches from, for example, Psychology, Pedagogy and Philosophy – to be more of who we know we can be, build and maintain constructive relationships in business and personal contexts, create value and let our voice be heard professionally, make a difference for others, take a more active approach in shaping the world around us, and reach personal goals with willpower. However, we might never learn of these useful insights and approaches, for lack of being accessible in an easy manner. Indeed, teaching willpower may be Psychology’s greatest contribution to mankind (Baumeister & Tierney, 2011), while mindfulness is a notable path to wellbeing (Brown & Ryan, 2003), and various goal setting and planning approaches such as Mental Contrasting with Implementation Intentions assist in reaching goals more efficiently and effectively (Oettingen & Reininger, 2016).
Yet when have we typically last read about the newest insights on willpower, or even applied them in our own lives for early mornings, better work-life-balance, a faster mile run time? And even when they are more accessible, we perceive them as theoretical, lacking a practical bridge of applicability in our own lives and daily contexts. Therefore, we understand the gap between insight and action as a problem of accessible information, but especially as a pedagogical challenge of teaching the translation of concepts into practical action steps for everyday life. Through our approach of Design-Based Research, our work contributes to gaps between intention and action being understood less as mere issue of knowledge, and more as a pedagogical challenge of transfer.
The philosophy of Challenge Management and its practically applicable method of “F.A.C.E. the Challenge” aim to close this gap, merging both practically gained insights from the sporting career of longest-reigning (cumulative) heavyweight boxing world champion Dr. Wladimir Klitschko, as well as proven insights from Positive Psychology and related fields, bringing this knowledge to action through the practical method of “F.A.C.E. the Challenge”, which connects body and mind in various formats. “F.A.C.E. the Challenge” is created through Design-Based Research, aiming specifically for a context-aware, lively experience that will make theory applicable to uniquely individual context. The method is continuously being applied in various contexts and backgrounds. Participants of a six-day-summer camp, offered by the Egidius Braun Foundation of the German National Soccer Association and the Klitschko Foundation, and accompanied by the Competence Center for Intrapreneurship, are experiencing the method as the conceptual backbone of the program this current week. The method has previously been applied in the contexts of, for example, voluntary engagement, perspective-finding or sports in collaboration with other programs. Collaborations in further contexts are also possible – if you are interested in one of our formats, we would be happy to hear from you.
- Be aware of the metrics of success, a good life and happiness. How do you define a good life? What is your definition of success? We rarely stop to ask ourselves how we might measure happiness, and yet many of our actions may follow an implicit ideal. What is it that makes us fulfilled, feel that we are contributing to something larger than ourselves, and when do we feel most alive? If we consider our own definitions of these terms, we may find that our goals shift.
- Dream big, but act day by day. We can create large visions, for instance in the context of a company, yet they may be easily overshadowed if they are not anchored in daily actions. Make day-by-day count by consciously transferring the vision to culture and behavior, for example by supporting employees in implementing fitting positive habits. All of this is the most consistent when it follows the larger vision and translates it into detailed actions. That way, an abstract vision becomes a reality, day by day.
More on the topic
- More about the method “F.A.C.E. the Challenge”: https://klitschko.com/en/face-the-challenge-method-en
- DFB Notice: https://www.dfb.de/news/detail/letzte-chance-bewerben-fuer-ehrenamt-aktion-mit-klitschko-199629/
- Contact us: Alexandra.Kessler@unisg.ch
- Baumeister, R. F., & Tierney, J. (2011). Willpower: Rediscovering the greatest human strength. New York, NY, US: Penguin Press.
- Brown, K.W. & Ryan, R.M. (2003). The benefits of being present: Mindfulness and its role in psychological well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 822-848.
- Oettingen, G., & Reininger, K.M. (2016). The power of prospection: Mental contrasting and behavior change. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 10, 591-604.
- Picture: Unsplash / Inbal Marilli