Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Komfortzone Zukunft oder Wider die Gewöhnung: Prof. Dr. Gunter Dueck at TEDxRheinMain

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Yeah, I read the theme, 'Subject to Change'.

They always capitalize 'Change' now.

If you work in a big company,

they say, 'Everything has to change, not a stone must be left standing.

We will reorganize everything from the bottom up.

But don't worry, your work won't be affected.'


And they're right.

You just have to work a little bit faster. Your salary goes down just a bit, but --

'Minor changes'

And certain types of people want to maintain the situation somehow

while other types, usually from the top down, rant and rave and say,

'You guys are too stubborn. You must change your approach.'

Everyone says that.

Well, it's not that easy.

Managers want us to change our approach,

as do the teachers, our parents, Frau Merkel, everybody.

And every time a politician says people should change their approach,

you realize he has already given up any hope that he'll make it.

Because our approach won't change like that,

and in a way, that is due to ourselves.

I would just like to comment on the theory behind this.

It's simply the 'theory of change'.

I've just looked this up in a normal psychology book,

which contains horrible terms

that you can see on the first slide.

I will simply tell you the bare facts.

But I can also do it in a softer way so you don't end up scared.


So there is this tug-of-war going on between different forces inside humans.

There is a famous book 'Grundformen der Angst' [The Basic Forms of Fears]

from the '70s which you must have read.

Psychologists dont like it as it is a literary masterpiece

and describes everything very well, it just doesnt prove anything.

But it makes for good conversations.

The message of the whole thing is that there are two tugs-of-war

of which I will only discuss one as the talk should only be 18 minutes.

From left to right:

There is a kind of obsessive type and a kind of hysterical type of person.

The obsessive ones want to keep everything the same way,

and the hysterical ones want everything to change all the time.

There are these two sorts of people.

And they argue.

Both are more or less unchanging and stay that way,

and this is the standard argument.

At the moment, the hysterical ones are in the majority,

or lets say, 'in a higher priority'.

They are in higher salary classes,

all those 'change managers' and consultants

who attack us and say that we have to change radically.

Basically, they celebrate the hysterical principle.

I simply took out the characteristics

of hysteria and obsession for a company once

and said that the entire current management theory

consists of dissing the obsessive type.


That's it, basically.

It doesn't have any intellectual content.


Theres another tug-of-war from top to bottom, but I'll leave it out.

It's about the depressed ones,

those who always want to do everything in company.


It happens.

And the schizoid ones with high self-confidence,

but with a very sensitive self-consciousness,

'geek' or 'nerd' types. Right?

Super-isolated, excellent solitary workers,

especially at the computer,

and from time to time they have to make a proud contribution to Google+.


But thats another talk.

Today, I am to talk about 'change'.

The depressed ones are mostly on Facebook.


But thats true.

(Applause) (Laughter)

Because they have friends there.


On Google+ you have opponents.


Like a kind of royalty that meets up there to duel.

This is also an extra talk. I will leave that out.

Once, I posted the same thing on Facebook and on Google+.

The depressed ones on Facebook said, 'You must have read my thoughts.'

'We love you all', stuff like that.

And on Google+, 'You didnt read the link anyway!'

'Look it up, thats not new!'


Right? On Google+ you get completely different answers.

These are the different --

That explains the contempt of these Google+ people

for Facebook people and vice versa,

but as I said earlier, thats another talk, let's drop it.

In 'Subject to Change', only those who defy change fight each other.

I looked that up in a psychology book

in order to make such difficult terms a bit softer.

That is the short version for now.

[Slide, 'obsessive']: Tradition, rules, order, unity,

and the others say, progress and panta rhei. Thats not fair.

[Slide, 'hysterical': Progress, Flow, Accessibility, Diversity]

The hysterical ones arm themselves with Greek -- stuff,

'But you are using foreign words that I didnt even know.'


But you understand, right? I dont have to explain it any further.

I want you to really understand it.

This is official psychology. It's not my fault.

Here are the characteristics: meticulous, ambitious, enduring, persistent,

clean, rational, and so on.

As opposed to: no risk, no fun, impulsive,

adventurous, loves the show, the centre of attention -- or the stage.


Did you read it all?

'Shallow, sometimes restless and so on.'

You can literally taste that argument, can't you?

These guys say, 'You stupid duty monkey, why do you always do the same things?'

-- from right to left.

'You blockhead,

always home on time to your garden plot, and keep your appointments.

Why can't you come in on the weekend for once and work, so we can finish it?'

'No, I work at VW. Im not available on weekends.'


And from left to right, they always talk about shallowness.

'And you just talk and dont do anything.'

'You only want the adventure, but I'm to make it happen.'

'And additionally, I should give you the money, too.'

Because the others are thrifty

and usually don't have money left by the end of the month.


They get loans, right?

You also see it now in the behaviour of the companies.

So they argue with each other.

What should I do with my other 11 minutes of the talk?


The official German notion of a human is --

left, obsessive, right?

And I just want to comment on that.

Virtually everyone tries really hard

to teach us these characteristics, not those over there.

I mean, if everyone works hard on raising their kids to be obsessive,

then how should they change?

And in what way?

And I just want to comment on that.

I coined a term for this: 'Ungewöhnung' [dehabituation],

meaning they shouldnt work so hard on teaching the children

how to limit themselves every day, because then its easier to change.

But I'm not saying you should bring up your children in the hysterical way.

That would be a bit too much.

Maybe we should take the middle way.

But in the current system

we are getting the people used to all these characteristics over here.

Approximately up to the masters degree.

Then, they join a company and they're told, 'Do something!'


'Like what?'


'Yeah, but what? Can I have a look at the road map?

Can you tell me what the milestones are, what I should do tomorrow?

Bit by bit?

So they're told, 'Dont just stand there asking what to do: Change!'

Then, 'In what way?' And we just stand there.


That doesn't give us a good outlook into the 'comfort zone of the future'.

We only notice the change after it has happened.

But the obsessive ones already notice the change when their fear sets in.

There is something in the air that something is about to happen,

and they recognize change very well,

because it's when they get scared.

And the hysterical ones really feel like doing something.

That is fundamentally different. Right?

I have written down some opposites.

Like I said, this is what a normal boss would say at work.

So here on the left side: 'Avoid mistakes!', 'Unity!',

'The slides have to have the real logo,

and all slides have to match our corporate identity.'

'The A-level exams must be the same across the country', and so on.

Unity, unity, unity.

Everything in the same bland colour.

So thats what they force onto us in daily life.

And in the management meetings, or 'strategy meetings',

where you can let your thoughts and ideas roam,

think about a sustainable future and so on;

or at those psychological seminars

where you talk about emotional intelligence

and what you have to do in normal life

they always say that stuff here on the right,

'Now act', or, 'You must be allowed to make mistakes.'

Right? Or 'Set yourself some goals', 'Do things differently',

'Dont always ask for permission'.

Sadly, we still dont have a science for this,

business administration is strictly on the left.

For the right side, we only have appeals. It's hard to actually teach it to someone.

The problem is that the people on the left feel more like adults,

and the people on the right kind of represent our inner child.

The child is still spoiled and always wants something new,

it wants to go on adventures.

Thats a bit dangerous and thats why its really difficult to stay a child.

At my home, they sometimes tell me that Im still a kid.


But that's OK.

It means Im not too far on the left side yet.


So I Googled something.

I took out my old report card, had a look and found this.

I looked at what I was good at in school --

'Ordnung' [organization] and 'Fleiß' [diligence].

That's my actual report cards from school.

It says 'Ordnung', 'Fleiß', 'Betragen' [conduct] and 'Mitarbeit' [collaboration].

We got grades for that.

Is that still the case?

Very similar.

If I Googled correctly,

it's now substituted with more sophisticated vocabulary

like 'social behaviour'

and 'purposeful professional success whatever'.

Thats what Ive written there.

Can you see how the school is teaching us to become obsessive?

That's the implicit message.

I proposed new grades so that it's easier to see.

I simply made them up.

You can check them out and see if you like them.

I just took some other ones.

'Creativity, innovativeness, sense of humour.'

[constructive will - proactivity - self-confidence]

Have you ever seen a job description requiring 'a sense of humour'?


Not even in marketing.


They should be able to make dumb jokes, be funny on demand;

that's marketing for you.


Funny on demandthats left again, right?


By now youve read everything.

A 'winning appearance'.

Imagine I went public with this, not just at TEDx,

but imagine I told that to the teacher union,

they'd crucify me. Isn't that strange?

But that is the stuff that's actually needed in a job.

You don't find that in job descriptions or general conduct grades. Right?

Of course, like every year, Ive written a book about it,

and this time it is about professional intelligence.

Here I randomly wrote down some types of intelligence.

I just made them up. Those are the ones we should have.

People have intelligence anyway; you know it because you do.

Emotional intelligence, you probably dont have it yet.

It's only at 30 years old and not enough research has been done yet.

When they run projects and they go wrong,

they always sit together

and start whining and ask, 'What went wrong?'

That is called 'lessons learned'.


And then it turns out we had conflicts and communication problems.

We didnt really talk to each other, blah blah blah.

'You have no EQ', they say.

Somehow, creativity is not allowed anymore.

There are TEDx videos about paper clips.

'Can you tell me 100 things --', they have this brass thing,

'Can you tell me 100 things you can do with a paper clip?'

If you are on the executive level, a manager like I was, then you say,

'Sticking travelling expenses together.'

Can you name 100? You can't.

The moment I ask you, 'Can you tell me 100 ways?', your brain goes, 'Oh, shit.'

Do you understand?


The part of your brain capable of that switched off long ago.


I found statistics -- you can look them up under this test -- saying

that 98% of all children around the age of five

are able to tell you 100 ways right away.

Try it one day.

Small children. Boys, girls.

Spotlight on! See their eyes shine.

The boy says, 'I can poke the girls, (Laughter)

pick my ears, pick my nose, pick everything, backside -- '


The girl, 'Jewellery here, there, piercings all over --'

They reach 100 just like that!

And then you see their eyes shine

as they count the ways, and you, on the other hand --


And the statistics say 98% of the people sitting here

arent able to list 100 ways.

As five-year-olds you could do it; 98% could do it,

and now its exactly reversed so the statistics say --

So the truth comes out

and there is this -- I believe it was Kurt Tucholsky --who said,

'Look at the children, how cute they are!

What a pity they will later become adults.'


Look, thats what you are. In the context of CQ, you are nothing.

'Talent for attraction', Germans usually hate that.

You mustn't do that, you know, stand out.

There are some rare exceptions like Paris Hilton and all the consultants.


Virtually no one has any vitality.

They have to make nearly everyone a manager to give him enough will.

And this here is 'meaning', thats why were here.

This is still the responsibility of the bloggers.


Well, what I want to do

is to get humans to test these six types of intelligence on themselves.

We already have IQ and EQ.

A newspaper lets you test this online.

Just enter SZ+IQ or SZ+EQ in Google.

We should do this for the others, too.

Then we will realize that we are not at all

prepared for change or for a new world.

Because the obsessive ones only use their intelligence and nothing else.

Now I want to tell you some rules that they drilled into you as a child --

Or at least into me. [Slide: 'Habit-forming']

You heard stuff like: 'Love is something you earn',

'pocket money must stay the same',

and, 'we must solve this consistently in the village,

so nobody is treated unfairly.' (Laughter)

'Let's have coffee and cake and discuss how much it should be,

how long they can watch TV', etc.

I want to use the last minutes

to give you a short demonstration on brainwaves --

to show that this is something in our brains.

[Slide: 'Blocking of alpha-activity']

This slide shows a normal EEG test.

You lie on the couch and think about holidays in Egypt.

Thats nice.

Close your eyes: Egypt.

Then, the doctor comes in and asks the usual question,

'Now, think of the number 1,000.

Keep subtracting 31 until you reach 0.

Really fast.'

Well, 1,000, 969; 900,--

Do you see what's happening? Your brain says, 'Sorry, can't do.'


That is what I had in mind with this talk.

You laughed a few times, I got you into the alpha wave mode

and you don't want beta waves now.

Beta waves are your average management meeting.


Take a woman, a beautiful one. Any woman here.

Take a picture of her when she's thinking about Egypt.

Thats makes for a great picture.

Then you say, 'OK, just taking your photo.'

Then shes going to look ugly on the picture.

These are beta waves. Like in a meeting.


And thats what it actually looks like.

This is just a chart.

If you take a real picture, it looks like that --

But you can see it, right?

The three phases --

There are different waves, long, short, and so on.

You already know that?

You only get delta waves in a near-death experience

or an Indian Guru might have one for a second.

Theta waves occur during meditation.

Alpha waves are that 'think-about-Egypt-thing',

and beta waves are the meeting.


You cant read it that well, pity.

At the top: a newborn. You have delta waves up to 18 months.


A toddler, from around 18 months to 5.5 years, has theta waves.

Adults never have delta waves again,

they have those up to 18 months, then 3 years of theta waves,

then from age 6 alpha waves,

then unfortunately they become an adult,

approximately between 15 and 20 years of age.

Then, in my age, you get alpha waves again.

Great, right?


Well, beta waves are, 'Dont do that!' 'Stop it!'

'Hold the spoon properly!'

The usual upbringing.

When grandchildren take a walk with grandpa, who has alpha waves,

he just looks at them,

until the child says eventually, 'It's nicer with grandpa.'

And the parents say, 'You weren't supposed to give them chips!'

And grandpa says, 'I didnt do anything.'


Look, these are simply different waves.


An old man like me and a child have the same waves, alpha,

and the evil adults are in between.

There's one thing I'm worried about.

They try to get a child, with delta waves, a kind of apocalypse in the brain --

they try to teach them cleanliness and to maintain a sleeping pattern.

Do you see the problem?

The question is: Is the child even able to do that?

Thats a serious question.

Is it able to do that at all?

What are you doing with the child?

Why are you trying to get a child with theta waves

from 18 months to 6 years of age to learn English in kindergarten?

It is able to do that at all?

Does it even have a hard-drive yet?

You want to scream, 'We want child-adequate welfare', when someone --

Do you understand?

Are not nearly all the obsessive things,

like organization, behaviour, conduct, collaboration, diligence,

all the obsessions,

are they not drilled into a child for 18 months during its theta state

when it was really vulnerable and couldnt say anything against it?

Basically you messed with the BIOS of the child,

so Windows 7 cannot fix anymore

what has already been broken in the BIOS?

That's called 'a mark'.

'It left a mark on him.'


And then you want a 'comfort zone of the future'

and turn him into a hysterical type?

I would be careful.

Take the slides with you

and ask yourselves if were not destroying people.

My clock shows zero; I have to stop.

I have a lot more stuff.

I am not that old, but 60, about.

As I said before, I would like to see,

first of all, child education in accordance with the brain waves,

so that people dont drill all the values into the children,

in EEG times that we cannot undo later.

And then we could start talking about differentiated education.

Bringing up every child individually, depending on how it goes.

I have already talked about this a lot, last year as well,

and I will keep on claiming the same,

I will repeat this at the end of each of my talks,

until something is done about it,

and until this uniformity finally stops.

The general uniformity in education

and work environments has to stop.

It's obsessive, and it has to change.

Thank you.


The Description of Komfortzone Zukunft oder Wider die Gewöhnung: Prof. Dr. Gunter Dueck at TEDxRheinMain