A meta what?
You heard me (or should I say read me?) right, in this post we're going to be covering Meta Programs.
Maybe you've heard of them. Maybe you haven't. But in any case, you gon' learn today.
All right, no more memes. Let's get down to business.
Meta-Programs are like the operating system of your mind. You're not aware of them because they run behind the scenes.
To be more accurate, I should say above the scenes, hence the word "meta".
These "perceptual programs"play a central role in how you perceive the world.
The way that you think, act, and behave are all influenced by your Meta Programs.
The subject of Meta-Programs is a large one, so I'm going to be spreading it out over 5 posts. This is the first one.
In this post, we will be focusing on the "Mental" Meta-Programs. These Meta-Programs describe the meta-level styles of inputting, outputting, and processing of information.
There are 12 of them in total and we will go over all of them one by one.
By the time we're finished, you'll have a thorough understanding of each of the 12 Meta-Programs as well as an increased awareness of your own "Mental" Meta-Programs.
And like Nathaniel Branden said, "The first step towards change is awareness."
Everyone has a personal preference in regards to the size of the "chunk" of information when thinking, communicating, learning, etc.
- Inductive Thinkers: Start with specific details and move upwards to draw general conclusions.
- Deductive Thinkers: Start with general concepts and "move downwards" to specific details.
- Abductive Thinkers: People who reason "on the side"; Use metaphors and analogies.
- When you pick up a book, what do you pay attention to first---the big picture, book cover, or specific details about its value?
- If we decided to work together on a project, would you first want to know what we generally will do, or would you prefer to hear a lot of specific details?
- What do you want first when you hear something new---the big picture or details?
We have one of two basic ways that we mentally work with and compare data when we first confront new information.
- Sorting for sameness: People who look for how things compare to a previous experience.
- Sameness with exception: People who look for similarities first,
- Mismatching: People who look for differences.
- Mismatching with exception: People who look for differences first,
- Sorting for sameness and mismatching equally
- What relationship do you first see between what you do now and what you did last year?
- What do you pay attention to first when you first walk into a room?
- How do you "run your brain" when you attempt to understand something new? Do you first look for similarities or do you check out the differences?
Representational System Sort
Thoughts are created via "re-presenting" sensory data that we receive from our external senses. Bandler and Grinder noted that people tend to develop a "highly favored" representational system and use this for most of their thinking.
- Visual representers: Usually sit up erect, move eyes upwards when visualizing, breathe high in
chest, move quick, use visual predicates (see, imagine, clear, picture), and look directly at people.
- Auditory representers: Tend to have the "gift of gab", demonstrates a sensitivity to volumes and tones, use auditory predicates (hear, loud, soft, clear as a bell, sounds right), move their eyes side-to-side when accessing information.
- Kinesthetic representers: Moves their eyes downward when accessing and using kinesthetic predicates (feel, touch, grab, warm, hot), breathe deeply, talk and move slower, gestures a lot.
- Auditory-digital representers: Often have little awareness of pictures, sounds, and sensations, live in a "world of words", often love lists, criteria, rules, etc.
- When you think about something or learn something new, which channel do you prefer?
- Which channel do you use most commonly?
Information Gathering Style
When processing data, we can either focus on the internal world of our subjectivity, or focus on the external world.
- Uptime: Refers to people that havefull sensory awareness of the environment. When listening, theyprocess data by attending descriptively to the other person's responses.
- Downtime: People that "go inside" of themselves and their internal awareness, i.e., their own "sounds", "images", "sensations", provide the most compelling data.They tend to become "blind and deaf" to the external world.
- When you listen to a speech or conversation, do you tend to hear the sensory-based information (VAK) or do you go inside and listenfor what the speaker means?
- Do you want to hear proof and evidence from the outside, or do you take more interest in your internal thoughts about it?
There are two key ways that we can gather information from things: by either using one's senses or by intuiting.
- Sensors: People that use their senses primarily for gathering information.They prefer to deal with concrete and actual information. They function primarily as pragmatists and empiricists.
- Intuitors: People who gather information through non-sensory means. They approach things abstractly and holistically and look for relationships, possibilities and appraise larger significance of things.
If you began to study a subject, would you take more interest in facts and their applications for the now, or would you find more interest in the ideas and relationships between the facts and their application for the future?
Perceptual Categories Sort
Some minds operate more skillfully in discerning broad categories, while other minds are more precise with determining "gray areas" in-between polar areas.
- Black-and-white: Allows people to make clear and definite distinctions. It motivates one to make quick decisions and adopt a more "judgment" perspective.
- Continuum: Enables one to think at finer levels, make fewer judgments, and adopt a more "indecisive" lifestyle.
When you think about things or make decisions, do you tend to operate in black-and-white categories, or does your mind go to the steps and stages in-between?
We can either look at the problems, dangers, or challenges of a situation or the opportunities, possibilities, or excitement which in turn create either a worst-case scenario or best-case scenario respectively.
- Pessimists: People who see problems and difficulties first. They thrive in fields like quality-control analysis, troubleshooting problems, and proofreading.
- Optimists: People who move through life with golden perspectives of dreams and visions. They can catch a vision and keep people motivated for the long-term.
When you look at a problem, do you tend first to consider the worst-case scenario or the best? Does your mind go to problems and difficulties or opportunities and positive challenges?
Perceptual Durability Sort
This Meta-Program addresses the quality of our mental constructs in terms of permeability or impermeability.
- Impermeable Construct People: Typically move through life with ungiving beliefs and beliefs systems.
- Permeable Construct People: People who create mental constructs that are "capable of being revised and extended in the light of new experiences."
As you begin to think about some of your mental constructs, your ideas of success and failure, of love and forgiveness, of relationships and work, of your personal qualities... do you find the representations of what you know as permanent or unstable? How can you tell?
This refers to how much of the environment a person characteristically screens out.
- Non-screeners: People who see, hear, smell, and otherwise sense, a great deal of what goes on around them. They often experience places as complex and overloaded with triggers for distractions.
- Screeners: People who move through the environment in a focused way by screening out less relevant elements.
- When you think about the kind of places where you can study or read, can you do this everywhere or do you find that some places seem too noisy or have too much of other stimuli that prevent concentration?
- Describe your favorite environment for concentrating on something.
- How distractable do you find yourself generally in life whether reading, playing, talking, thinking to yourself, etc.?
Our human minds in terms of philosophical direction alternate between "why" did this or that happen or "what" does this or that mean in terms of origin or source.
- "Why" people: People that value understanding the origin or source of something. They tend to get stuck in the past and are highly susceptible to sabotage cycles.
- "How" people: People that sortfor the usefulness or purpose of things. They tend to be solution focused rather than problem focused.
When you think about a subject (whether a problem or not), do you first think about causation, source, and origins (why), or do you think about use, function, direction, destiny (how)?
Reality Structure Sort
How minds "think" about the territory of "reality"--whether in terms of something static, permanent, solid, eternal, etc., or changing, processes, movement, etc. determines the kind the kind of map they use in navigating life.
- Aristotelian: People who think of reality as static. They can view life from a macroscopic or microscopic perspective and live in a world filled with Things, Objects, People, etc.
- Non-Aristotelian: People who think of reality in terms of processes.They view life from a sub-microscopic level, which enables them to have an appreciation of the quantum level. They also use a lot of verbs, functional language, and behavioral descriptions
When you think about reality, do you tend to think about it as something permanent and solid made up of things or do you think of it as a dance of electrons, fluid, ever-changing, made up of processes?
Communication Channel Preference
We receive information from the environment via two primary channels---verbal and non-verbal. While both "channels" provide a multitude of messages and data, some people tend to favor one channel over the other.
- Verbal: People who focus primarily on what other people say, their languages, terms, and phrases. People who use Auditory-Digital representation most often are more likely to be verbal.
- Non-verbal: People who focus primarily on how other people talk such as their tone, tempo, breathing, volume, pitch, etc. Most will distrust the verbal channel and tend to favor the Intuitor sort.
- Balanced: People that use both channels equally.
- When you think about communicating with somebody, what do you tend to give more importance to---what they say or how they say it?
- When you communicate, do you pay more attention to the words and phrases that you use or to your tone, tempo, volume, eye contact, etc.?