A few years ago, the television industry moved from large screen picture tube to digital flat screens. We had no idea what we’d been missing in picture quality. Oh, my GOD did that look terrific! Then we went from digital flat screens to 52″ High Definition TV’s. They are so clear that the athletes appear to be sweating right on our living room floors. They are so clear that people get up in the morning and watch “Sunrise Earth” just to enjoy the clarity of the picture in front of them.
We are interacting with those around us in a picture tube manner not aware that there is a far clearer Hi-Def way of relating to people in our lives. We engage in this manner with our co-workers, our bosses, our direct reports, the leadership of our charities and volunteer organizations, and possibly even our families.
My 85-year-old mom insists her old Zenith picture tube is “just fine for her,” No manner of explanation or demonstration can convince her to watch her golf games in 52″ Hi-Def. But you and I have a right, possibly even a duty in our lives to at least look at the possibility of a world in which 52″ High Definition trust, understanding and camaraderie are the norm, and picture tube miscues, inconsideration and even finger-pointing are things of the past.
The comic strip Dilbert makes the point day after day, week after week by exposing our inability to be clear and mis-communicating with the world. And we laugh because we know it’s totally TRUE!
When all of the people in your world are in Hi Def, you see them clearly and understand everything they say and are. The conversations you have become totally interactive and clearly understood.
How would that affect your outlook on life? Can you see it reducing struggle? Resolving crisis? Improving Relationships? Relieving stress? Gaining clarity with those around you is like switching off the old CRT TV and watching a new 52″ Hi-Def screen.
Have you ever been in a conversation with a boss, a co-worker or a partner when all of a sudden that person “changed before your eyes?” They were standing in front of you nodding their head up and down agreeing with you and then suddenly they were defensive, maybe aggressive. Or you and your boss were having a conversation and you added something to the idea and he or she frowned and walked off? Sometimes just change their personality right before our eyes. They are just delightful hanging on every word of your brilliant new idea one minute and the next minute, telling you a gazillion reasons why it won’t work. You’re left wondering “what just happened”. Your feelings are hurt. You vow not to bring up any new ideas.
One minute you were enthusiastic and creative and the next you were back in your Dilbert cubicle licking your emotional wounds. You changed personality in an instant. Perhaps you have even been aware of these traits in yourself from time to time. You were presenting an idea that you had been thinking about for some time and the listener started in on a litany of reasons your idea was stupid. You felt hurt and didn’t quite know how to handle it and so you turned and walked away.
Simultaneous awareness of your present ego state and that of your conversation partner takes you from a picture tube world to 52″ Hi-Def trust, understanding and camaraderie.
The technology of conversational Hi Def Clarity was first outlined by Jut Meininger in his book “How to Run Your Own Life” ISBN 0448123606 (Grosset & Dunlap, 1976) in which he described this situation suggesting that we don’t really change personalities, but we actually shift between four unique and individual ego states we all possess. These four ego states (the 4 Ego State Model or 4ESM) become filters through which we both transmit and receive data, beliefs, feelings and ideas.
Let’s start with what we have a high possibility of recognizing. The Parent ego state and the Adapted Child ego state.
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