The Ideal Self as the Driver of Intentional Change
Purpose – If the ideal self is the emotional driver of intentional change, the purpose of this paper is to
explore the components of a person’s personal vision and how it comes from that.
Design/methodology/approach – Based on the concept from intentional change
theory, the paper examines a variety of theoretical foundations, from psychoanalytic to positive
psychology. Each views the ideal self and its components as deficiencies needing therapeutic
intervention or the heights of human experience and intrinsic motivation.
Findings – The ideal self is a primary source of positive affect and psychophysiological arousal
helping provide the drive for intentional change. Many current frameworks or theories examine only
portions of this model and, therefore, leave major components unaddressed. It is composed
of three major components: an image of a desired future; hope (and its constituents, self-efficacy and
optimism); and a comprehensive sense of one’s core identity (past strengths, traits, and other enduring
Originality/value – Intentional change is hard work and often fails because of lack of sufficient
drive and the proper intrinsic motivation for it. This model creates a comprehensive
context within which a person (or at other fractals, a group or system) can formulate why they want to
adapt, evolve, or maintain their current desired state.
This is part of the Knowledge Philanthropy Project inspired by Marshall Goldsmith where we are encouraged to give our work away.
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