Does Your Identity Make Sense?

Erik at his Castle © Erik Back 2011

When you were born you were given a name; so was I.

Have you ever looked you name up in a dictionary to see what it means? – I have.

My name is Erik and it means ‘one ruler’ or ‘ever powerful’. In Denmark we have had seven kings named Erik. I cannot help being influenced by the meaning of my name. It is as if I’m destined for something great because there is greatness in the meaning of my name.

I chose to study strategy and management at business school – why? It could be coincidence but my choice of education is a decision I made upon my perception of identity.

My name is the first identity tag I received. Later in life I have received other tags and experienced other events that helped form my identity.

We need an identity to exist; without an identity life becomes pointless, it won’t mean anything – it wouldn’t make sense to us.

Identity is fuel to the process of sensemaking.

Why You Hate Change and Love Variety

Variety © Erik Back 2011

Change is everywhere and the world is in constant change. Experts say that change is good and a lot of us maintain that we love change; but we don’t!

I must admit that I have always thought that I welcomed change. That was until I had a personality profile made. First I ignored its insane suggestion that I’m reluctant to change. I write about change; I preach change; I love change!

But I was wrong. I don’t like change – I like variety… and so do you!

Change vs. Variety

We need change to develop. If we want to achieve and have success or to be happy, then change is necessary. Since we don’t like change we have to learn how to cope with change and learn how to create change to develop in a positive direction.

Big changes, whether they are good or bad will create stress. Unforeseen change will always make us feel uncomfortable to some degree. Some people cope better than others do, but we all have our limits.

Too many changes at one time will break you and that’s why you do not like changes.

Variety is different. Variety is something you need to stay motivated. Variety is doing what you do in a different way without changing it. Maybe you choose to go another way to work or maybe you ride your bike instead of driving your car to work. You don’t quit your job.

Variety is what makes you see the world and your life from another perspective and sometimes that is what you need to create change. That way variety can be a means to change.

Change has a more permanent character than do variety.

Have you experienced big changes that made you uncomfortable? How did you cope?


If you would like to take a personality test like the one I had made, then try a free DiSC test on 123Test.

Focus on What You Want, but Don’t Ignore the Problems

Tunnel of Light © Erik Back 2011

I’m working on an ebook titled “6 Powerful Mechanisms Behind Personal Change”. This post is an extract of the chapter about positive attitude. Also read [The Nature of Attitude]

Having a positive attitude does not imply that you ignore the problems or negative experiences. It is a choice of focus.

When I took my drivers license back in 1988 my driving instructor said something wise. He said something that has helped me improve my driving as well as my life.

He was giving me a driving lesson at night and as we were driving on a small road with heavy traffic he said to me: – Don’t look at the headlights! Look at the roadside.

At first I thought he was mad. I felt I had to keep an eye on the heavy traffic because I did not want to crash into an oncoming truck. I could not see anything but light, I was blinded by the headlight of the other cars.

My instructor explained to me that when I focus on the headlights I would unknowingly steer towards the headlights. The strong light would attract me. But if I focus on the roadside I would automatically aim for the side of the road.

The point is that I knew about the heavy traffic and the danger of driving too close to the oncoming cars. I also knew that I did not want to crash into an oncoming truck. My driving instructor reminded me of what I wanted; I wanted to drive safely as close to the roadside as possible. By focusing on the roadside I chose a positive focus and got rid of my fear of crashing. We had a safe a pleasant trip.

I have remembered his instructions since that day, because life is just like that driving lesson. Your life will go in the direction that you focus. If you focus on the problems, you will get a life with problems. If you focus on the positive then you will get a life full of positive experiences.

Choosing a positive focus is about accepting and learning from negative experiences and find out what you want in life and put focus on that instead.

Do you want a life full of problems?

Do you want a life full of positive experiences?

The Nature of Attitude

Attitude © Erik Back 2012

I’m working on an ebook titled “6 Powerful Mechanisms Behind Personal Change”. This post is a part of the chapter about positive attitude. I will show you what attitude is and how you can use it to be proactive.

The Nature of Attitude

Daniel D. Droba claims he was the first to define the attitude concept and he did so in his article The Nature of Attitude from 1933.

Droba based his study on 55 books on sociology and psychology and he concluded that attitude is a state of preparation to action.

“Attitude is a state of preparation to action”

Carl Jung’s definition of attitude

I’m surprised that Droba only used American sources and studies because the attitude concept has a central role in Carl Jung’s Psychological Types published in 1923.

Jung’s work is used today in personality tests and development of organisations.

In his work “Psychological Types” (pp. 526-30) Jung gave his definition of attitude:

“Attitude is a readiness of the psyche to act or react in a certain direction.”

Jung places great emphasis on the attitude concept because it is a powerful mechanism that is based on experience:

“To have a certain attitude means to be ready for something definite […] having an attitude is synonymous with an a priori direction towards a definite thing.”

Jung believes that we have both a conscious and an unconscious attitude. I you want to act in a certain direction you have to be conscious about it; for that you need attitude.

“Active apperception is impossible without an attitude.”

Jung has identified certain types of attitudes that are based on habits.

“When a function habitually predominates, a typical attitude is thereby produced.”

This means, that habits can develop both consciously and unconsciously; these habits will produce some kind of attitude.

If you want to change something you need the right attitude to do so. That is why you can combine habits and attitudes and thereby create personal change.


Experience → Attitude → Action

It’s raining. Rain is wet and cold. → Rain is bad → Cancel date

Habits → Attitude → Action

Bad habit → Negative attitude → Negative projection to other people

Unhealthy diet → feeling of guilt → healthy people are patronising

You can use this mechanism to create change. Changing a habit is difficult and it takes time, but you can choose to adopt a certain attitude, e.g. a positive attitude, and thereby change your action.

Another type of action will lead to a new experience. That new experience is your resource to the attitude you desire.

Your attitude is not predetermined. You can choose to take responsibility for your actions and adopt an attitude that will help you to personal change. This is being proactive.

Make your choice:

I choose to be reactive and let my bad habits control my life and actions I choose to be proactive and take charge of my life and actions

Is it that simple? – Yes, it is that simple! The difficult part is to make the decision about being reactive or proactive. If you chose to be reactive then you don’t have to read anymore – just carry on with your life as usual.

Did you choose to be proactive? What are you going to do to be proactive?

Maybe you are already in charge of your personal development, please share how you did in the comments.