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There are 8 ways of expressing “change” in the Japanese language; Kaizen, Koutai, Tsurisen, Kawase, Ryougae, Kiritae, Henkou and Kougukoukan, each of them to describe the meaning of “change” or “transformation” from a different approach. Henkô or へんこう, talks about the change regarding the transformation from one situation (or mode) to a following one, in which there’s no return to the original state.

cambio en japonés

Note the existing analogies between the concept of “Henkô change” and “the flow” of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Csikszentmihalyi (the author of “Flow, a Psychology of Happiness”), reviews the concept of happiness and speaks about “flow experiences”, or those moments in which one feels attracted to a deep creative joy, moments of high concentration, absorbing everything that has been made. Mihaly speaks about reaching “autotelic experiences” or those activities that are self-consistent, that’s to say, those made not with the hope of any future income, but only because of the fact of doing it is the reward itself. The autotelic personality turns potential entropic experiences into “flow”, defining 4 basic rules:

  1.  Defining goals.
  2.  Feeling completely immersed in the activity one is involved in.
  3.  Paying attention to what it is happening around.
  4.  Learning how to enjoy the immediate experience.

For him, the result of having an autotelic personality; or learning to set goals, to develop skills, to be sensitive to feedback, to know how to concentrate and get to be engaged; is that one can enjoy life and work; even when circumstances aren’t optimal. To be able to transform the aleatory events into “flow” you have to develop skills that improve your capacities, that make you become more than the person you are right now.  For Mihaly, the analogies between yoga and “flow” are endless, such as intense meditation and martial arts, influenced by taoism and zen buddhism, putting emphasis on skills to self-control your awareness.

In parallel, Zygmun Bauman (the author of “Liquid Modernity and Human Fragility”) reflects on the concept of “change”, transferring it to the metaphor of “liquidity”; the current changing and transitory situation we are experiencing nowadays, a society, he calls “liquid” and always in permanent change, uncertain and more and more unexpected. The “liquid modernity” is a figure of change and the transitory :”the solids keep their shape and remain for a long time: they linger, meanwhile liquids are shapeless and constantly changeable: they flow

We live in a liquid society, in a constant state of change, whose main expression comes up in the professional world, and whose adaptation to it is one of the key points to reach both personal and professional balance and, ultimately, vital. Henkô or “change” in Japanese, leads its gaze to those skills needed to “flow” in this, our “liquid world”, so uncertain and changeable, as the nature of the sea itself, in which we dive.


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