For some time now I have had a personal discomfort with the T is for Transform in SALT. So I thought I would raise the issue.

I am very comfortable with the idea that as a member of a SALT Team, I Support, I Appreciate, I Learn and I Transfer.

But I do not Transform.

And I do not Transform at 2 levels.

First of all, I do not Transform people. If people are transformed (which I will question later), then they transform themselves. I neither claim nor desire the ability to transform people. I run away from people who make such claims. Maybe I transform myself as a member of a SALT team? Is this the claim that we are making for the T is for Transform in SALT? If so, I go to my second point.

Is Transformation desireable? For me, change is a journey that simply takes for ever. It is a series of steps that leads to an ever greater appreciation of something. There are steps backward, but if we are fortunate we move forward. Personally, I find myself struggling endlessly with each of these ideas of supporting, appreciating, learning and transfering. But I enjoy the journey, get endless insights as I make the journey and meet lots of interesting people along the way. Transformation suggests an instant transition from one state to another. So when I am in this new state what do I do? What do I do next? I find my approach of trying to move forward step by step far more interesting and entertaining.

So in a nutshell.

I do not wish to Transform anybody.
If they so wish, people will Transform themselves.

Transformation does not describe my journey of change.
Transformation does not feel a very interesting or enjoyable journey to me.

A happy New Year of Transformation (or gradual change) to all of you.


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Comment by Jean Legastelois on March 23, 2009 at 11:32pm
Back to T for "transform" !

At second thought, I can recall that some encounters, some particular human experiences have transformed me. I had not only learnt something, I was changed, I was someone a little different after. And looking back at it, I realize that it was always a matter of sharing something with people whom I thought to be "others". People I used to look at from the outside, with my own views and appreciations, my own standards. Sharing an experience with them made me SEE them, from "their inside". And some of "this" got into me. I could no longer look at them - and at many other persons - the same way. They certainly did not intend, neither tried, to transform me. It just happened. And fortunately, it was good.
And contrary to what I wrote earlier, it was not a stop. It did not keep me from going on along the road. I just had the feeling that now I could see a little better while walking at night.
Comment by Phil on March 19, 2009 at 11:37pm
...I love the ending of The Alchemist. So you go on endless journeys in search of 'treasure' and ultimately the journey leads you back to where you started where you find the 'treasure'.
Comment by rebeka sultana on March 17, 2009 at 6:05pm
Thanks Phil for the explanation.
I agree 'evolution' is the right word then transformation.
I also remember The Alchemist, I guess you have read this book by Paulo Coelho. To acheive one's legend in life ( in my case to evolve as a SALTy person) we struggle, we pass many hiils and hard to reach areas. And in the case of being SALTy it is our own habbits that we continuously struggle with and do and undo.

Comment by Phil on March 14, 2009 at 4:56pm
Hi Rebeka,
I've had several discussions with people about this sentence. I think the question is what do we mean by the words 'transform' and 'transformation'. They certainly imply a profound change. But in my mind, they imply something more. One dictionary that I've looked at says that 'transform' suggests a sudden or mystical change. One moment, you are one thing and the next moment you are something different. And it is that aspect of the word that makes me uncomfortable.

First of all, I am suspicious of such change. If you can make the change one way in an instant, it is quite likely that you can make the change back again just as quickly. (For example, I am suspicious of the 'born-again' Christian'. But there is a positive side to this as well. The journey of change is full of interest. If the change is gradual, we learn about how we change, we learn about why we slip back along the process of change. And so the process of change becomes an interesting and fascinating thing in itself. And it is precisely what we learn as we change that helps us to avoid slipping back to the old position.

A specific example might help. I think that the idea of 'appreciating strengths' is a remarkable idea. But it goes against all my training where I have learned to analyse weaknesses and deal with those. I now know the remarkable things that can happen when I appreciate strengths. But I struggle endlessly to drop the habits of a lifetime and find myself looking for weaknesses. So after several years, I still find myself dropping into my old ways of doing things. So the journey for me from one state (analysing weaknesses) to another (appreciating strengths) is an evolution, rather than a revolution. And as I evolve I learn a lot about how I learn and how I change.

So that is what I was meaning.

Comment by rebeka sultana on March 13, 2009 at 8:19pm
Hi Phil,

Just now I read your this blog and I liked it immediately. Transfer is possible and we do transfer joyfully but What did you mean when you said "Transformation does not feel a very interesting or enjoyable journey to me".
Would you explain a bit more?

Comment by Jean Legastelois on January 6, 2009 at 2:21pm
Transformation from a state to another sounds like just a change of immobility. And the temptation of saying : "Before, I was wrong, now I am right, I am in the right place (therefore I just have to stay there)". I think that the great benefit, the great gift of our encounters is an everlasting movement, maturation, change. Every true meeting is one more step forward on that road ... that does not exist before we start walking, as wrote the spanish writer Antonio Machado :

Caminante, no hay camino,
se hace camino al andar.

Wanderer, there is no road,
walking makes the road.

Marcheur, il n'y a pas de chemin,
Le chemin se construit en marchant.


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