Tag Archives: Rules of Life

Jumping to conclusions

From Volume 11, Issue 6:According to Wikipedia, “jumping to conclusions” (officially the jumping conclusion bias, often abbreviated as JTC, and also referred to as the inference-observation confusion) is a psychological term referring to a communication obstacle where one “judge[s] or decide[s] something without having all the facts; to reach unwarranted conclusions.”

JTC has caused me more grief than any other Knower/Judger reaction I can think of.

Enemy-ness

From Volume 11, Issue 6:Can you imagine toilet paper being the root cause of someone’s murder? Well, structurally, I can.
In my workshops and keynotes, I bring up the age-old debate on whether toilet paper should roll off the top of the roll or the bottom. My research shows that about 5% of the population is rigidly certain (from their Knower/Judger, of course) that the only proper way toilet paper should come off a roll is off the bottom. The other 95% is convinced (from their K/J) that God meant it to roll off the top. It can be quite amusing when two combatants start debating this in a workshop—and quite difficult to get them back on track.
I use the example to get people to feel just how concrete some of our rules of life, no matter how trivial, can be.

What pisses you off?

From Volume 11, Issue 5:Seriously. What event, person, occurrence, treatment routinely puts you over the edge? Write it down… on paper.

Got it? For me, it’s pretty routinely my level of anger of stupid things that I do, personal failures, frequently forgetting details or things that cascade into bigger things—like leaving the phone on my nightstand when I’m expecting an important call.

Defining the problem

From Volume 11, Issue 4:Harold walked into his boss’s office to report on the project he’d been given earlier in the week. Before Harold said a word, his supervisor, clearly agitated, asked why the completed project was not yet on his desk.

Harold’s blood pressure rose and in an instant he found himself in a potential fight, flight, or freeze situation. He chose to defend himself and offered myriad valid reasons why the project was not yet done.

The battle had just begun—and not for the first time. Harold’s supervisor frequently set expectations of Harold that Harold felt were unreasonable. In other words, this dialog was not foreign to either participant.

Prepare the Child

From Volume 11, Issue 1:Prepare the Child for the Road, not the Road for the Child. —Native American proverb

This article is basically an op. ed. piece. And it’s “parent-y.” It’s totally my opinion, and I’ll take any heat and commentary on it as productive.

It’s been my (and most transactional analysis psychologists’) premise that the experiences of our youth, from about two years old through about six, form our Knower/Judger persona. It is thought that through that age period we make decisions about how the world works and how we fit in it. We create our concepts of right and wrong, persuasion, self-worth, and thousands of things that we’ll compare ourselves against for the rest of our lives. We may even have a concept of the type of spouse we’ll marry, and, if we grow up in certain environments, even how often we should beat him or her.

The process of Learning and Researching to Learn

From Volume 10, Issue 4:In this monthly missive, you’ve read about two states we present to our world. One state—the Knower/Judger (K/J)—is purely learned, reactionary, and emotional. It pretty well defines how we present ourselves to the world. It is observable for many of us through various behavioral assessments, such as DISC and Myers/Briggs. They help us and those around us understand how we will act in various circumstances. Aggressive-Passive, Compliant-Rebellious, People- or Task-Oriented, etc. These assessments are wonderful for improving communications on teams.

Shit or Get Off the Pot

From Volume 9, Issue 7:There have been times in my life when no saying was ever truer than the title of this article. It’s not a spot I can say I’m satisfied to be in, nor does it contribute to my general happiness. So why am I there—wanting to do something but unable to do it? Because I’m torn between two competing messages in my self-talk….you know, that chatter in your head you use to build yourself up or sometimes completely denigrate yourself? Here’s how to determine whether it’s time to go for it or get off the metaphorical toilet and focus on something else.

Decision, Decisions

From Volume 9, Issue 7:Life success guru Tony Robbins said, “A real decision is measured by the fact that you’ve taken a new action. If there’s no action, you haven’t truly decided.”

I think it’s subtler than that. I think we make decisions about a lot of things that don’t lead to action, but do lead to what I call “rule revision.” And revising the rule can make a huge difference in our lives.

Questioning Universal Beliefs

From Volume 8, Issue 4:Be perfect. Be strong. Hurry up. Please others. Try hard. Any of these beliefs sound familiar? I know I have them. I can picture my parents admonishing me to be these things, frequently adding the word “should.” I “should” be perfect, please others, etc. After all, who wouldn’t want their kid to be all these things, right?

In moderation, believing these rules of life can contribute to a higher quality of life, but when we allow them to take us over, behaviors can tip toward dysfunctional, even obsessive, and all we get is more stress. Here’s how to cast a little doubt on universal beliefs that are causing you grief.

Moment of Clarity, August 2011: My Dad’s Three Rules of Life

Most of you are familiar with my position that we operate in life through the Knower/Judger rules and traditions gifted or cursed to us by our parents.

Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad concept also works for Happy Dad, Sad Dad; Aggressive Dad, Passive Dad; Persecutor Dad, Victim Dad, etc. We grow up mirroring the environment that surrounds us.