So there's this guy named William Bridges. (That's him up there). He is a change consultant. (What the heck is a change consultant?) Anyway, he most likely worked alongside companies to consider the impacts of hiring and firing. I know what you're thinking, what does this guy have to do with your study of Module C? Well, his thoughts on the processes of change and transition align quite nicely with our study of transition within texts.
Firstly, you need to understand that change and transitions are two different things. The main differences between change and transitions are timing and choice. Changes are external forces which can occur rapidly with or without our consent; for instance, your brother has just killed two people and injured another in a devastating car accident. Your life has now changed forever. This change took an instant. Transitions though, are the internal processes we go through as a result of change. This might be someone's journey to coming to terms with the guilt and pain felt as a result of this accident. This is more of a lengthy process. We know it takes Tom about a year to feel happy and himself again. So, change = fast and transition = slow (usually). Got it?
Change isn't something that comes naturally or easily to most people. Change is uncomfortable. Change often requires hard work. A new habit takes at least 21 days to take effect. Sometimes we embark on a quest for change whilst other times, change is forced upon us. These changes can be positive or negative or both, and have loads of implications for us, those around us and the broader society. Significant change can last a lifetime.
William Bridges knew that in order for people to progress successfully through transitions, they needed to understand what they were feeling and why, and the different phases of their transition. He determined that there are three distinct process people have to go through when making a significant transition within their lives. Thanks Bridges for helping us to build a bridge and get over it! (Sorry, I couldn't help myself).
These are the three phases within Bridges Transition Model:
Entering phase one: Ending, losing and letting go.
You have just said goodbye to part of your life you are familiar with. Somewhere nestled between your comfort zone and your safety net, you are forced to give up a part of your world which has somewhat defined you. For something to change something else has to give, so hand it over! You might experience some emotional turbulence including fear, denial, frustration, anger and sadness, but hang in there it should pass (eventually).
Progressing to phase two: The neutral zone.
Are we there yet? You will ask. This is the awkward limbo between the old and the new. We can't completely let go of our past and we feel uncertain in this foreign space we find ourselves. We may resent our lives, become anxious about our ability to move on and sceptical about the future. It is important to gain a sense of direction and work towards our personal goals as we venture into this new world. Look to the future, even if you don't think it is close ahead.
Completing your final mission phase three: The new beginning.
Congratulations! You are rebooted. A new and improved version of yourself. The fear and uncertainty seem to melt away as you gain a deepened sense of acceptance and energy. You have likely had a shift in attitudes, beliefs and gained new knowledge and ideas about yourself, others and the world. But don't chillax too much, it's important to remain focused on new goals and sustaining this positive outlook.
Mission complete... for now.
So what does this Bridges guy and his fancy transition model have to do with my study of this module you may ask? Well, you may wish to apply the phases of this model to texts studied within Module C. It should help you to better appreciate the difficult nature of transitions and how significant change usually takes a while to achieve.
- How is change provoked for characters within your texts? Is change a process sought or forced upon them?
- How do characters respond to this initial change? What emotions do they experience as a result of this catalyst?
- How do characters approach their transitions to change? Are there strategies or goals put in place to help them to let go of their past?
- What setbacks or obstacles obstruct the characters from moving on? Are there personal or social factors inhibiting their transformation?
- How do characters achieve a transition or transformation? What are the consequences of their development?
- What have the characters come to understand about themselves, others and their place within the world as a result of their transitions?