We are living in an era of fundamental change and completely new, complex challenges. How can we develop our full human potential at this very moment? How can we bring to fruition – in our own lives, businesses and communities – our full potential of freedom, effectiveness and quality of life? Petra Bock’s work and thinking focus on these questions. To understand this concept, it is important to not only be familiar with her comprehensive practical work with individuals, but to also be aware of her scientific roots as a transformation researcher, which led her to investigate the fundamental system transformations as well as the history of human intellectualism for many years. In pursuit of answers to these questions, her biggest contribution to date has been the discovery of the system and logic behind thought and emotional patters that block human development along with the development of a theory and method that make it possible to overcome these obstacles and uncover completely new human potential.
In thousands of conversations Petra Bock has conducted since the early days of the new millennium as part of her calling as a coach and consultant, she discovered a parallel world in human thinking. She first described its logic and systematic patterns in 2010. Just like many other discoveries, she unearthed these facts literally by chance through the phenomenon we call “serendipity.” One day, she started to ask her clients what they were actually thinking and feeling when they were examining their own situation under the options they have today. What exactly were they thinking, what did they believe in and what were they presuming if they were holding themselves back, exercised too much control over their own progress, lacked confidence, gave up too soon or considered their own liberty to shape their lives in a self-effective manner a mere illusion?
She began to ask similar questions in businesses and teams she worked with. After all, she had gained the impression that the mindset – the thought patterns humans use to manage each other and themselves – play a major role in our actual behavior patterns and that it is possible to comprehend better than ever, the structure, functions and systemic of this human mindset. Deploying this method, Petra Bock spent years on collecting virtually countless arguments and justifications humans expressed when they blocked themselves as well as others. She persisted and asked until the complete logic behind a mental or emotional blockage revealed itself to her. She recorded these arguments and the logic that was the basis for all of these arguments with utmost attention to detail and discovered recurring patterns she found repeated themselves in people who were complete strangers and in a wide range of situations. Patterns in thinking and emotions, which cause humans to systematically impair, block, abort or even permanently prevent their own development. Patterns in thinking and emotion that cause people to take unnecessary detours; cause vast aberrations as well as internal and external conflicts.
Thinking patterns driven by fear, self-denial, habitual judgment, mistrust, permanent pressure, wrongly interpreted serfdom or patterns of excessive motivation, compel us to remain on a rollercoaster ride between euphoria and depression instead of developing our complete sense of freedom, our creativity and effectiveness as strong, adult human beings. Petra Bock provocatively refers to these thinking patterns as MINDFUCK scenarios. They are amplified whenever humans feel exposed to change and uncertainty. They keep us from opening ourselves to change in a constructive way; from cooperating well with each other and from becoming the individuals we truly could be. They also prevent us from remaining receptive and capable of learning in difficult situations. They render us clueless and defenseless. They instill in us a sense of fatalism and powerlessness or of euphoria-stimulating, illusionary omnipotence. They ensure that as individuals and collectively, we remain far below our actual potential.
Regardless of whether our own lives, loving relationships, career issues, entrepreneurial or political challenges are at the heart of the matter: We all block and impair ourselves and others due to deeply embedded patterns of convictions that have their roots in different times of our lives or in different cultures, which follow a logic that is congruent within itself and also fatalistic. Nevertheless, as Petra Bock has observed, we consider these intellectual roadblocks the actual truth. The reason for this is perhaps that these patterns are much older than an open-minded, receptive way of thinking, which has only existed in human intellectual history since very recently. However, we have to overcome this obsolete, blocking way of thinking – not only to master the huge issues of our time or entrepreneurial as well as economic challenges, but also to attain our objective to lead satisfying, fulfilling lives. Petra Bock is convinced that this isn’t a first world question. In fact, it has been the objective of every human civilization from the start. The oldest philosophical endeavor of searching for the purpose of human life is simultaneously the hub of our western life model based on the concepts of liberty, equality and development of our individual personalities. The pinnacle of evolution has been reached if two things come together: Technical and human progress.
Not only is Petra Bock a scientific intellectual who has her roots in the European tradition of thinking; she also has all the hallmarks of a pragmatist. Her work did not stop with the observation and description of blockage patterns. She spent years researching and developing an extremely effective award-winning method that allows individuals to recognize and overcome their blockages on their own. When she reached this point in her research and exploration of new methods to overcome mental blocks, Petra Bock did not know what to expect: A new image of humans and a completely new perspective of the practice of human potential development. What Petra Bock was able to identify as she constantly used and fine tuned her method was that people who manage to separate themselves from the deeply embedded patterns that block them, are able to achieve great transformations and enter into phases of creativity, inner stability and self-effectiveness they never thought themselves capable of in the past. This happens almost instantly and they achieve it autonomously. The internal stance of these individuals changes from infantile patterns of dominance or insecurity and submission to self-effective, balanced and truly adult attitudes. In Petra Bock’s eyes, these discoveries and experiences arising from the direct work with people are among the greatest moments of her life. They answer her big question about the potential of human transformation and evolution she has spent a lifetime researching in scientific, business and coaching contexts. Petra Bock’s thesis, which is based on experience and research is: Yes, people can change at their own volition based on their own strengths. And yes, they can evolve and subsequently show a completely different range of potential than they and others would have even thought possible before.
The core message in Petra Bock’s theory of human evolution is that the true potential of every human being is concealed behind roadblocks the individual has acquired as part of his/her biography, history and culture. This means that every person living today blocks himself, herself or others in one way or another. It also means that every person can overcome these hurdles and gain access to very different layers of potential. Not only does this directly affect our individual lives; it also has an impact on our ability to create relationships with other human beings. We can all follow patterns of impairment and blockage or we have the option to follow those of unfettering from our impairments and aim for evolution. Yet – who is this person that comes out of the shadows of these roadblocks? It is the curious, open-minded and courageous individual who is incredibly original, creative, sensitive and perception capable. He or she is willing to be fair and has the capability to trust – rationally. This human being has a natural sense for his or her resources and is highly effective whenever he or she can follow his or her own, individual timing. People who do not block themselves have true intuition for what they want and do not want. This gives them extraordinary willpower and a deep sense of inner drive. Catapulted by this attitude, they leave the otherwise common level of infantile games of dominance or submission. They are ready to take on acts of manipulation and negative power games. They see themselves and others from a levelheaded perspective. From this moment forward, they have the capability to build healthy relationships from the inside out.
To be able to understand Petra Bock’s work, it is important to comprehend her coaching concept. Her core ideas have their roots in more than a decade of comprehensive work with individuals. Coaching as defined by Petra Bock is anything but superficial or even esoteric entertainment that merely aims at inner wellness or efforts at self-optimization. It is a form of excellent, targeted and incredibly effective reflection among adults – an approach that was not possible until this century – our century. It is a form of methodically guided self-enlightenment and also triggers a humanly inspired motivation equal to philosophical and analytical conversations in terms of sophistication and artfulness. The level is just as high; however, the style and the results are much more contemporary. This is because Petra Bock measures the success of any coaching effort on the basis of the actual consequences in reality. Did it produce genuine, visible changes that can be felt? Have things improved as a result of greater clarity or new strategies? In Petra Bock’s eyes, coaching is a practice of art; a “craft” performed on a high reflective level that isn’t a means to an end, but allows for tangible changes. It’s not talking for the sake of talking; but an excellent conversation that is methodically moderated that effectively changes reality.
Petra Bock considers this type of coaching the most critical 21st century communicative key competence, even from a higher, philosophical and humanistic perspective. It allows individuals to finally complement the external liberty they enjoy with truly experienced inner freedom and effectiveness. The success of this work has to be measured by determining the level of perspectives and actual action leeway a person has gained. Hence, in Petra Bock’s opinion, coaching is a sophisticated dialog technique that works on the level of our time right now. It makes it possible for people – in keeping with the idea of enlightenment – to say good-bye to the diverse forms of immaturity and excessive demands through conversations between adults that see eye-to-eye. It allows them to experience themselves as free, self-effective human beings even under the hyper complex conditions of our world today. Even in the scenarios where simple solutions or generic answers just won’t do.
At this point it becomes evident what the differences between Petra Bock’s coaching concept and esoteric or self-optimization and functional mandate oriented coaching styles of other school really are. Even if the subject matter is the tangible improvement of skills and competences – and this frequently the case – Petra Bock always approaches this work under the fundamentally human aspect of individual potential development. There is nothing more important than the fundamental freedom and quality of the individually experienced human life. It’s the basis for everything. That includes everything from successful collaborations in personal or professional relationships to complex, sometimes international, cooperative agreements.
So how do others experience this work style? At a first glance, Petra Bock’s coaching style looks like a lively, alert, intense conversation. She provides space for the very fundamental, important questions and for calm, clarifying reflections. Her clients report that they feel like time just flies by. Yet – at the end – they find themselves to be changed men and women. They have more clarity, feel more adult and self-effective. They have the capability to understand themselves, their lives and their responsibilities on a whole new level of purpose and effectiveness and to approach it from a completely realistic perspective. For the enlightened pragmatic that Petra Bock is, this isn’t magic, but a clean, theoretically and methodically well-founded approach to work based on a high quality process that demands a lot of the coach. It takes many years to acquire the skills this art form demands. It is composed of a sophisticated mix of thorough fundamental work, a deep understanding of human nature and clear awareness of the demands of our era.
Experts call the method Petra Bock developed as “work with the inner adult,” because it consciously brings forth the self-effective and balanced components of a human being. It is the core of potential-oriented coaching; the genre she practices and that has been named for her. This is the style she teaches at her academy. Petra Bock’s method makes it possible to achieve extraordinary transformations in an extremely short amount of time. The attitude a person has vis-à-vis himself or herself, others and the external reality changes dramatically – for the better. It gives not just individuals, but also entire teams access to entirely new potential. That’s the reason why Petra Bock’s method is successful in individual lives as well as organizations, enterprises and public institutions. Numerous renowned companies have already been convinced that it works to take entirely new, contemporary and groundbreaking roads to success. Several years ago, Petra Bock began to train advanced colleagues in her method with huge success. She received the highest category Coaching Award for extraordinary achievements and merits in coaching in 2012.
Considering the sometimes confusing and disturbing events of our time, it becomes obvious that the patterns Petra Bock discovered and described can be found virtually anywhere. They are actually amplified whenever people are exposed to more changes and transformation. At this time, they actually impact the zeitgeist of our era: During the U.S. presidential election campaign, in the power driven politics of aggressive potential winners, in brainless votes cast in western democracies and in the ignition of radical, extreme ideologies and religions all around the globe. The impairment of human development is in evidence everywhere. That’s hardly surprising, since the depth and speed of change has never advanced as quickly as it does in this century. The mental blockage of human evolution is a phenomenon that spans all cultures and that possibly affects all people right now. Petra Bock is convinced that this trend hampers desperately needed human progress instead of driving it forward. That’s why we are lacking the urgently required foundation to resolve the pressing questions of our time.
When Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, a reader posted the hashtag “keepcalmandreadthemindfuckbooks.” Those who read Petra Bock’s books and pay attention know that they are far more than just practical self-help books with an imminently high value for the reader. These are works that encourage us to understand the state of being human in a novel way in this day and age and acquire the capability to change our perspectives. Petra Bock does not claim to have the finite answers for the issues of our era, but she wants to spread pragmatically effective impulses for new perspectives and a new quality of thinking and discourse among people. The chances that her endeavor will be successful are good. Her MINDFUCK books have been translated into numerous global languages and are not only bestsellers in Germany, Austria, Switzerland or Italy, but also in difficult societies moving through rapid transitions, such as the Czech Republic or Turkey. After having now been published in Korea, MINDFUCK will also be released in Japan. Numerous other translations into and publications in other languages of the world will follow.
Petra Bock has been working on her next big publication, which will base her insights on an even broader platform and will link her work with people even closer to her roots in business, political science and transformation research, since 2015. The title of the book, which will be published by Droemer is “Der entstörte Mensch” (The Interference Suppressed Human). Its subtitle translates into: Hope for the 21st Century. Those who know Petra Bock and her work also know that she takes this claim very seriously. Not just in theory – also in practice.