Dr. Judith and Dr. Bob Wright founded the Chicago-based Wright, a transformative education organization, and the Wright Foundation for Transformational Leadership. Traditional (transactional) leadership utilizes the concept of an exchange of effort (activity) for value (reward). Transformational leadership is designed to empower and develop the follower’s (employee/participant) interest and desire to achieve the organization’s (be it a business, family, or community) goals, thereby having a positive effect on the parties involved and, ultimately, the world around them.
“Transformed!: The Science of Spectacular Living” is a book co-written by the Wrights designed to bring the organization’s beliefs and methods into the home and, thusly, our daily lives. To be honest, I expected loads of unfamiliar jargon interspersed with complicated theories unfamiliar to me and a difficult reading experience. What I found was an enjoyable learning experience centered on the very common ideal of turning idle dreams and ideas into reality. In “Transformed!,” the authors openly discuss the differences in mental attitudes of children and adults in order for the reader to understand that the methods used to enhance growth must follow different paths.
Whether the reader is interested in self, family, or business improvement, “Transformed!” is a book well worth your time.
Q. What do you believe “Transformed!” provides readers your other books don’t?
A. We have developed our curriculum over time in response to research into customer desire and satisfaction. You could say that the programs developed organically as our clients and students were moving into their next area of focus and development. Our first books really focused on different components of those trainings.
The in-depth research we conducted since then revealed and named the core process to all learning, development, and transformation. The process runs through and is the foundation of the other books, but wasn’t named and described specifically. For the first-time ever, we have put this core process into one book in a powerful but easy to understand way so that everyone can the fundamental process by which human beings learn, grow, and transform. This understanding has powerful impacts for not only breaking through persistent barriers in their lives but also being able to have the results they have longed for.
Q. Why should a working mother on a tight budget buy this book?
A. The tighter the budget, the more we need to squeeze out of every second — more productivity, care for the kids, enjoyment and fulfillment. “Transformed!” does this.
And frankly, the same holds true for a non-budget focused executive or business owner, their time is valuable and they need to squeeze the most out of that time.
Q. When you began writing “Transformed!,” who were your targeted readers?
Page 2 of 2 - A. It’s funny because, I think “target readers” is where we always get stumped. We have segments of individuals who are very much attracted to what we do — business owners, young emerging professionals, boomers-in-transition — but when we look at the makeup of our courses, the individuals are so diverse. It’s not uncommon to have a high level executive sitting next to an artist sitting next to a single mom sitting next to a small business owner. Even the ages are diverse from 14 to 86 years old.
Despite the remarkable success of all these different segments of students, certain students excelled even further. They transformed, but we did not know the secret to their success. We wanted to discover this to improve our teaching. The book followed. As we worked to report the results of the research, we were amazed by how it put into context everything from behavioral economics to positive psychology, neuroscience and eudaimonics.
So I don’t think we had target readers, demographically, when we started this book. What we did focus on was writing to the heart of the success we had experienced in the people whom we had met over many years.
Q. In “Transformed!” you touch on the detriments of “overthinking.” How dangerous is overthinking to a person’s attempts to expand their personal world?
A. Analysis paralysis is a result of overthinking. We are built to balance thought and action—over-thinking is a sign of fear-oriented failure to move forward in life.
Overthinking can literally stop any potential forward progress. It’s like sitting in your room thinking about what it would be to live a spectacular life vs. going out and doing it. Many of us use our thinking as a way to avoid doing. We are unconscious about how threatened we feel to making real change in our life and we use our smarts to justify it. We think once we really get it figured out then we’ll do something about it. But that’s not how learning works. True learning comes from trying and also from failing.
Q. Any parting comments for those not familiar with your work?
A. We are excited to share this discovery of the core process of learning and growing that leads to transformation. The way it brings together current and past research on human emergence is powerful and we are looking forward to hearing how others apply it.
DA Kentner is the author of the award-winning novel “Whistle Pass.” http://whistlepass.blogspot.com/