I know what you are thinking. “YOU CAN’T BE SERIOUS”
But I am.
I’m doing it again.
At Noon PST.
I know what you are thinking. “YOU CAN’T BE SERIOUS”
But I am.
I’m doing it again.
At Noon PST.
What to do if you find yourself stuck with no hope of rescue: Consider yourself lucky that life has been good to you so far. Alternatively, if life hasn’t been good to you so far — which, given your present circumstances, seems more likely — consider yourself lucky that it won’t be troubling you much longer. – Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
I’m sorry if you clicked on this link thinking it was a sex chat room. Never the less, you should read on because it still might help you get some in the long run.
This blog post is a follow up to the question I was asked recently on my blog radio show. THAT’s RIGHT!!! Someone actually called me. You can find the show at the following link but fast forward to about the 10 minute mark to hear the question, unless you want to hear my sad ramblings for 10 minutes. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/hoyle/2014/02/24/motivation-according-to-hoyle
The question was about how to communicate to a certain type of person.
Here are the 2 communication styles we are dealing with:
Style 1 = Amiable – Indirect (they tend to ask more questions) and people focused (they want to get along with others)
Style 2 = Dominant – Direct (they tell you what they want) and task focused (they want to get s**t done)
The amiable is sensitive to other people’s needs and avoids conflict like the plague. They read people very well and are great listeners. Angry people and conflict make them nervous and cause them to shut down. Amiables can become silent and accommodating under stress and tend to ask questions instead of telling you what to do.
The dominant is focused on solving problems and achieving results. They speak directly. They don’t always read others emotions well and require direct and specific requests to get them to respond. Dominants can get impatient and angry when under stress.
Let’s answer my caller’s question. The caller would tell the husband, “I need help” and assume that by saying this the husband would come to help. But to a direct speaker, “I need help” can be vague and has no deadline. It is open ended. Of course, if you told an amiable, “I need help” they would either come immediately to help or ask more questions to clarify your request.
So you can see the amiable ’s trap, can’t you? They assume everyone is paying attention and sensitive to the needs of others but really we are not. In this case the amiable needs to make specific requests.
Example – “I need help now for 20 minutes.”
Additionally, it might help if the amiable and the dominant can work out an agreement ahead of time.
Amiable, “I don’t want to bother you when you are doing something else but I want to be able to ask for help at certain times of the day. Is it ok to ask you when I need help but you can say no if you are busy.”
It’s not that the dominants don’t care about you or don’t want to help; it’s that they might not be able to read the subtle communication from others. Lastly, dominants should know that anger is a very hard emotion for amiables to deal with. Even a frown or slightly raised voice can shut down an amiable. Keep in mind, dominants have a fantastic ability to focus and when they are focused on something else, they can look angry to the rest if us.
Yup, I’m doing it again.
The life of a creative mind is not for the faint of heart. This week I launch my weekly podcast. Every Monday from 12 to 12:15 PST you can find (or avoid) it here.http://tobtr.com/s/6067785
So, if you are trapped under a heavy object or serving a life sentence, tune in and kill 15 minutes of your day. What else are you going to do?
I have been told my blog posts are too long.
Today I made a 4 minute video expressing my ideas regarding marriage. Watch it with the one you love.
How do we learn to embrace our vulnerabilities and imperfections so that we can engage in our lives from a place of authenticity and worthiness? How do we cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection that we need to recognize that we are enough – that we are worthy of love, belonging, and joy?
Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. She has spent the past ten years studying vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame. She spent the first five years of her decade-long study focusing on shame and empathy, and is now using that work to explore a concept that she calls Wholeheartedness
Do yourself a favor and watch this video today http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability.html
Felt compelled to finally sit down and bang out a blog post. I was doing a little light reading this week thumbing through a book on FBI profiling techniques and I came across a transcript of the actual FBI interview with Jeffrey Dahmer, the serial killer who was convicted of murdering and eating 17 men in the greater Milwaukee area from 1978 and 1991. The interview with Dahmer sheds powerful insight into the nature of motivation and how addictions can grow to dominate and take complete control over our conscious mind. By examining the nature of Dahmer’s overwhelming urges that ultimately drove him to kill and eat 17 people, we can glean powerful insights into the mechanism of addiction and the process by which any motivation is amplified inside the human mind.
While Dahmer eventually became completely consumed by his addictions, it didn’t start that way. He actually tried to control his murderous urges and even succeeded for a long duration, but the combination of his internal processing and his lack of social connections were what ultimately stoked his base urges into a full blown psychosis. And, as often is the case, the study of an exaggerated psychological abnormality can provide great insight for the rest of us.
Dahmer grew up as a loner and possessed very little ego strength. He experienced very little happiness as a young child and was experiencing quite an emotional deficit when he hit his teen-age years. He felt worthless, unlovable and shameful. Shame is a very powerful emotion, often described as toxic in psychological circles due to the crippling effects on the human psyche.
Adding to the dark emotional cocktail now fermenting inside Dahmer’s teen-age brain was yet another powerful internal drive, perhaps the most powerful drive a human can possess beside the will to survive, the urge to have sex. Dahmer developed strong homosexual urges that were, in his mind, completely inappropriate. When asked later about these sexual urges, he quipped, “Being gay in rural Ohio in the 70’s was just not possible.”
If you are scoring at home, here’s what we have so far:
If you study abnormal psychology, one key theme seems to be repeated – the need for the human body to escape powerful, habitual, negative feelings. When Lenny Bruce, the groundbreaking, controversial comic of the mid 1960’s first tried heroin, he said, “It was as if I was finally whole. My entire life I had been plagued by some free floating anxiety and foreboding of dread, but when heroin hit my veins, I was released.”
Bruce is describing a common need of the human psyche to escape the opressive feelings of shame, anxiety and worthlessness. The more powerful the emotion and the longer it endures, the stronger the drive to relieve it by any means necessary. This is key concept number 1.
When we add this drive to Dahmer’s social isolation it exacerbates and intensifies these feelings. His lack of social connections shut off important avenues that could have helped mitigate these negative feelings through attachment to other humans who were important to him. Without any significant relationships, Dahmer did not develop the ability to feel compassion for his fellow man. Instead, his feelings, thoughts, urges and beliefs about himself remained underground where they would become amplified and distorted. This is key concept number 2.
Dahmer is faced with two significant problems.
One surefire way for a lonely, isolated, person to escape these feelings and urges is through a powerful fantasy life. The neurochemistry of fantasy is nature’s heroin. When humans engage in fantastical thoughts and imaginative scenarios the body literally releases natural opioids (like heroin) into the brain, thereby temporarily relieving the pain and suffering the person is experiencing in the real world!!!!! This is key concept number 3.
However, like any drug, it’s never enough. As the subject begins to escape more and more into the fantasy two things happen simultaneously.
Consider now the dynamic Dahmer has created for himself. He gets temporary relief from overwhelming feelings of shame and diabolical urges (to murder and eat people!) by creating vivid fantasies in his head. These fantasies consist of thoughts of capturing, torturing and eating people (something he knows he should not do). But the fantasies do not provide any long term relief, just the opposite. Relief and escape from his psychic pain requires longer and longer amounts of time fantasizing about exactly what he wants to do and conversely, like any drug, the fantasies prove less and less of a “high”. This is key concept number 4.
That is the basic breakdown of the psychological motivations at work inside Dahmer. Clearly there is a lot more to it because most of us who grow up sexually repressed and insecure don’t rape, kill and eat people. But what is interesting to me and what should be a lesson to us all is how he tried to fight his urges. For several years Dahmer went to church, refrained from drinking, and tried to turn his thoughts away from these urges. Then, one day he is sitting in a bookstore and is approached and propositioned by a teen-age male prostitute. Dahmer refuses him but this brief encounter seems to be the trigger that unlocked the beast. This is key concept number 5.
In fascinating detail, Dahmer describes how the encounter “woke up” the dark urges that had been lying dormant inside. He begins drinking heavily (which decreases self-control and lowers inhibition) and in a few months embarks on a 13 year campaign of torture, murder and cannibalism.
This is how human motivation works folks. It is a combination of biological and emotional internal drives that are either amplified, bargained with, or denied by the conscious mind.
Addiction to any behavior is created thusly.
Concept 1 – The longer we spend in painful feelings the stronger the drive to escape or relieve those feelings by any means necessary. Painful feelings can come from anywhere. They could be stress related from work or poor health or by painful feelings from childhood buried and never dealt with. This becomes the fertile ground on which an addiction begins to take root.
Concept 2 – A lack of social support forces the feelings underground where they become more powerful and distorted. This is the vicious cycle of an addiction. We do not tell people we are an addict. We even lie to ourselves about it (the best way to lie to someone else is to lie to ourselves first). We bury these thoughts and feelings, denying they even exist. To admit they exist is the first step to breaking the addiction. And this presents an emotional quandary for the human brain because of concept number 3….
Concept 3 – The human body must have relief from pain and suffering. To admit we are an addict is the first step that, if we follow to the logical conclusion, will lead us to literally shut off the flow of opioids in the brain. Yet this is the only relief the brain is currently getting and the brain MUST RELIEVE PAIN AND SUFFERING. It is one of its prime objectives. This is why withdrawal is such a powerful deterrent to breaking addictions. The brain will do anything to avoid the painful, debilitating feelings of withdrawal.
Concept 4 – The longer we think about something the more likely we are to take action on it. This, of course, works for both positive and negative emotions. In the case of addiction, these thoughts and urges build powerful motivational forces that drive us to ultimately take action. Talk to any serial killer and they will tell you they thought about the acts they would commit for years before they started to kill people. What this means for you and me is that it behooves us to recognize early in the process when we begin to dwell on thoughts and actions that feel unhealthy. When we begin to fantasize about an act, we begin to create the impetus to someday act on the fantasy. Affairs, drinking, shoplifting, drugs, embezzlement, what have you, it all comes with premeditated thoughts and fantasies.
Concept 5 – Beware the trigger. The trigger is the final straw. It is the event that finally tips the balance from fantasy to action. In the case of Dahmer it was being hit on by another man. In our day-to-day lives it can be anything. A fight with a spouse, a car accident, being fired, etc.; once the trigger is fired we have precious little time to prevent a catastrophe. Indeed, it is common knowledge in the world of addiction, when the trigger is fired the train starts moving down the track, gradually at first but once it gathers enough momentum, there will be no stopping it. Addicts are taught to recognize their own triggers so that they can get help immediately before it’s too late.
Of course, all of this works in reverse too. Lately, I have embarked on a campaign of positivity and good thoughts. I am trying to fantasize about loving my fellow man and being a good person in hope that I can become addicted to these feelings of high conscientiousness. As usual, in my blog, I have painted the dark side of the underpinnings of human motivation, but they work just as well in service to truth, peace and love. What we focus on, think about and dream about is what will ultimately come to dominate our conscious minds. This in turn leads to action. Please, use your powers for good and not for eating people. Go Broncos!
Feeling stressed out? Click on the stress relief button below and remember, no one gets out of here alive.
This week’s blog post begins with a simple observation – you can’t fix what you can’t see. I am a big believer in the importance of correctly diagnosing any problem before you can find the solution. This is especially true when dealing with problems that seem murky or unclear. Consider the following example from the University of Arizona website regarding the father of antiseptic surgery:
Prior to Lister’s discovery, doctors thought patients became infected because of bad air and would open up all the windows in the hospital at midday to help “air out the patients‘s wounds!”
And, of course, this idea of correctly diagnosing the problem is no less important when we are trying to understand the actions of human beings. I am obsessed with personality and motivation because I have seen people trying in vain to “air out” their relationship issues instead of correctly diagnosing the invisible causal agents. The field of personality theory has exploded in the last 10 years and there is so much information out there regarding the way our personalities work and interact. Understanding these personality traits can greatly improve your ability to consciously influence your behavior and mitigate negative feelings. Sometimes, learning about these traits can create an insight so powerful change becomes almost instantaneous.
Case in point: In 1993, at the age of 27, I travelled from Boston to SF to start my life over. I had burned every bridge back in my hometown and had a chance to start afresh in the Bay Area. Upon arriving I found a job in the city and worked for two years until 1995 when I got fired from said job.
A little context; at the age of 27, I KNEW EVERYTHING and was also convinced that I was a unique person with a unique perspective on the world and this unique perspective left me isolated and saddled with an exceptional burden. Woe as me.
Anyway, I got fired from my job. And when I say, “I got fired” I mean, “I got fired.”
It wasn’t a lay-off. As in, “Thanks Tim, but we are downsizing and we no longer need your services. Take a few weeks to get your affairs in order and we will give you 3 months’ severance pay,”
Oh no. It was a, “Get out now. Here’s a box, get your things and security will escort you out of the building.” I kid you not.
I was devastated! I didn’t see it coming (although everyone else did) and was convinced my firing was due to my unique perspective on the world. I FELT SO SORRY FOR MYSELF. This was pretty much summed up how I had lived most of my adult life (although, in fairness, I am not sure I would have considered myself an adult for most of my twenties).
So, I moped around my apartment for a few days, calling my family members to proclaim the huge injustices of the world while simultaneously endeavoring to nobly persevere (hmmm, sounds like every blog I have ever written). After about a week of that, a book arrived in the mail with a note from my oldest brother.
The book was called, Understanding the Enneagram by Helen Palmer, and the note from my brother said, “Read chapter 4.”
The Enneagram, for the uninitiated, is a model that maps out a framework for understanding human personality and motivations. It delineates nine basic personality types of human nature and provides, in detail, an overall pattern of behavior for each type. Very handy for helping anyone get a handle on the “germs” in their behavior.
Chapter 4 described the “Type 4” personality which Palmer calls, “The Hopeless Romantic.” Here are a few brief descriptors:
Reading the chapter floored me. It was one of the most powerful moments of my adult life. It was liked being slapped in the face or having a bucket of cold water thrown on me. It instantly sobered me up and shut down the “woe as me” parade of feelings. Up until that moment in time, I thought I was uniquely special and burdened. After reading the chapter on Hopeless Romantics I realized it was nothing more than a personality type and there were millions of people in the world just like me!
It reminded me of an old joke from an Abbott and Costello movie, Abbot and Costello Meet the Werewolf. In the movie, Abbot and Costello are talking to the guy who turns into a werewolf under a full moon. The guy is pleading with Abbott and Costello to lock him up because he will turn into a wolf at night and kill people. Of course, Abbott and Costello are too stupid to listen to him. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6l8auIACyc
The werewolf says, “You guys don’t’ understand, at night I turn into a wolf.”
And Abbott says, “Yeah, you and a million other guys.”
I don’t know about you but “being uniquely burdened” is a way tougher problem to solve than “having a creative personality type that is prone to depression.” I’m not saying all my problems went away but at least I had a fighting chance since I could begin to see the real issue.
So for you my loyal reader(s), I wish to share with you a cool Enneagram website I came across a few weeks ago. If interested, you can go to the site, take a quick quiz (5 minutes), find out your Enneagram type and start getting emails every day reminding you how to best manage the strengths and weaknesses of your personality type(interesting side note, in the consulting world we don’t say weaknesses, we say “opportunities for improvement”. Oh brother, no wonder I get depressed).
Here are a few of my email tips from the last week:
And my personal favorite from last week
The daily reminders are not all bad but I seem to benefit most from those.
Anyway, check it out, take the quiz and start peaking under the hood of your personality. Of course, if your world is humming along without a hitch there’s no need to tinker with the engine. But if you are trying to get a handle on some pesky part of your personality or you and your significant other are stuck wrangling over the same issues, take a look. But be warned, once you see the real issues, there’s no going back.
Here’s the website. http://www.enneagraminstitute.com/
Have at it.
Shameless marketing plug – Got a motivational issue you want resolved but don’t want to submit a question to the blog? Check out my new blog page “Motivational Hotline”.