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The Lenses Through Which I View People

There are a lot of lenses through which you can view things. Your sales process is a conceptual framework from which to view sales. The methodologies that you use are also lenses on how to think about certain ideas. I study human achievement, success, and psychology, believing that all the results we produce are through, for and with people, and the problems we have are people problems.

Here are four of the lenses I use.

Anthony Robbins’ Six Human Needs Psychology: Robbins is known for a lot of things, mostly for his late-night television infomercials and Personal Power II. But that was early work for him, and as powerful as it is, the work he does with people at his live events and at Robbins-Madanes Training is far more interesting and useful. That work is fundamentally built on his Six Human Needs Psychology, which makes Maslow’s hierarchy useful.

Robbins believe that you have six human needs: certainty, uncertainty (variety), love (or connection), significance, growth, and contribution. You are driven primarily by two of these needs, even though you have all of them. Some people choose healthy vehicles to meet these needs, while others make unhealthy choices (you could exercise to change your mental state, or you could do drugs).

Robbins uses his brand of NLP, his massive charisma, and his gifts of connecting and communicating to help people change. But just knowing what needs someone is trying to meet can help you understand how best to help them.

Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits: Stephen Covey was an educator, a teacher. In 1989 he wrote a self-help book that is still one of the best of its kind, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Covey’s great contribution was recognizing that you first had to gain control over yourself (what he called “Independence”) before you could be effective working with others (or what Covey called “Interdependence”).

Most of the problems you or I have as a human being can be solved by working on one (or more) of Covey’s habits. The first three, “Be Proactive,” “Begin with the End in Mind,” and “Put First Things First,” are a recipe for identifying your values, designing your life, and doing what is most important. The next three habits, “Think Win-Win,” “Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood,” and “Synergize,” are about putting relationships first, being empathetic and caring, and teamwork. The final habit is to “Sharpen Your Saw,” or make time to renew yourself. This is about sustainability.

All of Covey’s work is built on the idea that there is abundance, not scarcity, and that there is always a way to produce a better result. Looking at the challenges you are dealing with through Covey’s lens can help you easily pinpoint the root of almost any people-related problem you face.

Ken Wilber’s All Quadrants, All Levels: There simply isn’t any way to describe Ken Wilber’s work effectively. Wilber is mostly philosopher, but the actionable and interesting part of his work is about developmental lines, how human being grow up and wake up. Wilber calls this work Integral Theory.

It’s not easy to summarize Wilber’s map of everything, but it begins with the idea that human beings are capable of over two dozen types of intelligence (or lines), some of the most important being cognitive and moral intelligence. Wilber suggests that cognitive intelligence without moral intelligence leads to things like Enron and Nazi doctors. [His list of intelligences includes logical-mathematical, spatial, kinesthetic, musical, spiritual, and more].

Wilber’s levels are more difficult to describe, but he has mapped every developmental psychologists work and lined up the commonalities. All human cultures grow through these levels, and the easiest way to understand them is to look at Clare Graves and Don Beck’s Spiral Dynamics. The levels are: Beige (survival), Purple (kin spirits, magical), Red (power gods, mythical), Blue (truth force, absolutes), Orange (Strive, independence), and Green (human bonds, or pluralistic), Yellow (FlexFlow, integrative), and Turquoise (GlobalView, holistic).

Wilber’s work is the best and most comprehensive map of human psychological and cultural development. This work is useful in understand why people believe and behave the way they do, and it does so without being judgmental.

Howard Bloom’s The Lucifer Principle, Global Brain, and Genius of the Beast: If Wilber is difficult to describe, Bloom is impossible. He is a scientist first and foremost, and his fundamental principle is “the truth at any price, even the price of your life.” Bloom studies the superorganism that is we humans, and one of his experiments was running his own PR firm where he handled the careers of people like Prince, Michael Jackson, ZZ Top, Aerosmith, and John Cougar Mellencamp, among others.

Bloom’s contributions to science are many, and he is the most well-read and meticulous researcher you will ever meet. Bloom discovered that the selfish gene doesn’t drive our behavior; we’re not all individual selection. In fact, we are driven by group selection too, and these groups are the products of memes, the cultural beliefs that connect us to each other.

Bloom’s perceptual framework includes self-organizing systems (replicators), the superorganism (of which you and I are members), memes (self-replicating clusters of ideas), the neural net (or group mind), and the pecking order (dominance hierarchies).

Bloom’s work helps you understand the massive cultural shifts that have occurred throughout history and what drove them. You can use these lenses to understand the great scope and sweep of history and to understand why the major issues and trends of the day are occurring now.

You can use these lenses to better understand people. You can also turn them inward and better understand the one person you most need to better underdtand.


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