Changing Your Lifestyle With Alberts Wolfe’s Approach To Personal Psychology
Lifestyle is the habitual attitudes, interests, behaviors, and social orientations of a specific individual, group, or society. The word was first introduced by Austrian psychiatrist Alfred Adler in his famous essay, The Case of Miss R. With the implied meaning of “the guiding principles that govern a human activity generally”
The term “Lifestyle” was first used by American psychiatrist and philosopher: Karl von Clausewitz. In his book, World War I, he wrote, “Lifestyle is the way of maintaining oneself to the requirements of his lifestyle, and the achievement of its aims”. It was also used by British philosopher and educator, Bertrand Russell. He wrote in his treatise, Principles of Popular Organisation, “Lifestyle means a system of habits, which may be called, more or less, the governing principles of conduct”.
In the field of individual psychology, the concept of lifestyle has a slightly different significance. Lifestyle in this case is the general way of being in the world and behaviour is central to this. The question of how to change one’s lifestyle is much more complicated than in the field of behaviour. Weber distinguished two general types of individual traits, namely, extrinsic (actual) and intrinsic (soft) traits.
Extrinsic traits are those that depend on external sources and are therefore, independent of the individual; they are not constrained by reference to the person who gave them birth. Intrinsic traits, however, are traits that depend on internal sources and are therefore, dependent upon the individual themselves. Examples of intrinsic traits in the area of lifestyle include values, beliefs, attitudes, personality, social media profile, mobility, occupational category, and knowledge.
Weber distinguished two important dimensions of lifestyle content namely, attitude and behavior. The level of attitude determines one’s level of social media participation, for Weber, those who have positive attitude have high social media participation while those who have negative attitude have low social media participation. Behavior on the other hand is a more specific dimension. It is measured by means of specific questions such as, “do you agree that violence against women is acceptable?” and “do you think that stealing is always wrong?”
It is with these dimensions in place that we can understand how to change one’s lifestyle by means of individual psychology. In order to test the two concepts of attitude and behavior we first need to have an understanding of the nature of the two concepts as it applies to human beings. Alberts Wolfe described attitude as, “the aptitude for self preservation in the face of danger”, while behavior as, “the ability to perform in the face of punishment”. Alberts Wolfe also pointed out that individual personality traits are formed by social environment, which can be broken down into five factors: Neuroticism, Extraversion, Dominance, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness.