Wisey Stories: Barriers and Channels

Wisey knows two ways to change people’s behavior…

1. Encouraging others, for example he talks to people about the importance of regular reading. He talks about the benefits of exercise and nutritious food and within his home promises his kids that if they get good grades he shall buy them a present.

2. He scares others; he talks of the misfortunes of having a low per capita of reading. He talks of the risks of inactivity and having an inappropriate diet and within the home, scares his children about the future of not studying.

Wisey also uses this method to change his own behavior: He sets rewards for his successes and rewards himself or else thinks of the high price of failing.

Wisey’s approach to changing his own and other people’s behavior, sometimes works but most of the time doesn’t. He guesses that he’s doing something wrong bur he doesn’t know where.

A lot of people think of Kurt Lewin as the father of modern social psychology. Lewin noticed that when people want to change their own or others behavior, they try to push them to their desired path: meaning that just like Wisey they either encourage them or scare them.

When the problem is not having enough motivation, these approaches work; but most of the time, the real problem is not motivation. Most people have enough motivation to be healthier, have more money, or be more beneficial. In this case, injecting them with more motivation won’t work.

The more beneficial strategy that Lewin recommends is to recognize and eliminate the obstacles on the favorable path, in other words, to cause change, pave the way or establish a channel between good motivation and action.


Ross, L., & Ward, A. (1996). Naive realism in everyday life: Implications for social conflict and misunderstanding. In T. Brown, E. S. Reed & E. Turiel (Eds.), Values and Knowledge