Our senses are always misleading us.
We look ‘out’ and see a world that appears solid. And feels solid. In reality, it is anything but. It’s not that we live in denial about this reality. The problem is that it is not possible to perceive this reality as it actually is, given our physiological constraints and habits of mind. That is why the illusion persists. It is wired into our system.
If there is no thing out there, what is there? Energy. That’s all there is folks. That’s all we are. Energy — presumably of the conscious kind. Energy masquerading as Presidents, CEOs, managers, parking-lot attendants, and every noun, proper and otherwise, you can possibly think of. (To be clear about terms, I have provided a definition of energy below.)
What should you do with this information — which, by the way, is another form of energy? Well, for starters: Be at peace. Be happy. Love your neighbor as yourself. And remember to send your mom flowers on Mother’s Day!!
I’m certainly not sharing anything new. But, because it is so difficult to accept, it bears repeating. Appearances to the contrary, there is no physical handle to the universe. I mean that quite literally. What you think is solid is oscillating many orders faster per second than a 1960s Houghtaling Magic Fingers vibrating bed. And there’s no need to put a quarter in the meter.
As Max Planck stated in 1918 upon receiving the Nobel Prize: “We have now discovered there is no such thing as matter; it is all just different rates of vibration.” Within six years of Planck’s visit to Stockholm, Louis de Broglie, working with Einstein’s equation, worked out a formulation that showed the wave/particle duality of matter, which was soon proved experimentally. What does that tell us? That what we take as categorically different entities – i.e. light and matter — are in fact directly and mutably related through energy, which is the basis of matter itself. Including me and you and everyone else.
You may, if you like, tightly clutch your passport, driver’s license, social security card — anything, in fact, with your name on it. But, should you attempt to unravel who you think you are, you will eventually arrive at… nothing. However, that nothing is not empty, per se. It is the home of unlimited energy. If you undertake that thought experiment and reach the same conclusion (I tried it once and had a kind of Jerry- Maguire moment) there is no cause for alarm. On the contrary, there is reason to celebrate. It is this actuality, and potentiality, this energy, that makes it possible for us to be, to learn, to evolve, to actively engage in life in all the various roles we have assumed.
The idea of ceaseless change at nature’s most fundamental levels — and therefore, the lack of independent existence to anything formerly believed to possess enduring qualities — has been around for 2,500 years, since Heraclitus made us aware that “You can’t step in the same river twice.”
Those, however, who prefer new ideas served up with experimental rigor, needed to wait till the 1920’s, when Niels Bohr and his colleagues (thanks in part to Planck, who I already mentioned) formulated what became known as the Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum mechanics. That theory formalized a view of the reality which, for all intents and purposes, shattered the cozy idea of a solid and completely predictable world, at least in the domain of physics, and particularly within the tight inner circle that realized the implication of this discovery. After nearly 100 years, it has remained the prevailing scientific theory of the way things are, despite the challenges it raised then, and still does now, to our conventional way of seeing the world.
To summarize up to this point, the principle that we live in a dynamic, energy-based universe, and that most of what we can physically observe is not of a primary nature, is not speculation. It is fact. A fact that has many implications, whether we choose to recognize it or not. I would argue that the principle demands our utmost respect and attention. For at the very least, if it’s all energy, then we’re all connected. As business people, however, more concerned with the bottom line rather than what may lie beneath it — and possibly at the root of everything— we may be more expediently served by considering the utility of understanding energy in the context that I am describing it. And there are indeed tangible applications.
Psychologists and other therapists schooled in the principles of “energy psychology,” for example, have made enormous strides beyond conventional talk-therapy in treating Post Traumatic Stress and other trauma-induced disorders. They recognized that memories (a kind of stored energy) with a high negative affect (read charge) may be present throughout one’s body (a bio-energetic system) or localized in certain areas. The goal is to help patients identify painful memories, then neutralize them, or otherwise clear them from one’s system. It may sound like magic, but success is turning skeptics into believers. Traditionally-trained therapists are today regularly adding energy-based techniques to their skill-set.
If energy cannot be visualized directly, the myriad forms that energy takes can. The reason is that energy is prior to the appearance of structure. This is easily illustrated. Fill your kitchen sink with water and watch it drain. As the water flows down the drain, it may rotate into a spinning vortex with a hole at its center, allowing air to flow up while the water flows down. The vortex, along with the hole, owes its existence to the dynamism of the flow. When the process stops, the form disappears. The vortex was reflective of an energetic process, not the process itself.
With that example, I will jump to Minds + Motives Motivational Styles, and explain why I said at the top, “You are an energy state — which is reflected in your Motivational Style.” But first let me give credit where credit is due.
During the period when Carl Jung, the eminent Swiss psychologist, was working out his theory of Psychological Types, one of his patients – and confidants — was Wolfgang Pauli. Why is that significant? Pauli was a seminal figure in the development of quantum theory. Jung was interested in these developments because he recognized the parallels between energy of the physical kind and those of the psychic/psychological kind. In other words, Jung saw how both conscious and unconscious processes can create a “complex,” i.e. structure. Unlike, say, a vortex, that structure is not visible. But with a little experience, it is possible to see how individuals manifest the various forms that Motivational Styles take — in the world and in every part of their lives.
The four basic Motivational Styles are: Advocate, Discerner, Sustainer and Shaper. (If you are wondering “Why four?” the short answer is — because that’s just how it is. DNA has only four base pairs. There are four fundamental forces of nature. Elephants walk on four legs. And so on. You get the point. We didn’t create the reality. Nature did that long before we showed up!)
While the four basic Motivational Styles share much in common, each may be known by a very specific energy that has its own “signature.” We can even refer to it as a “ground state.” With a little experience and sensitivity, you can pick up their respective vibes. Why? Because of the principle of resonance. Because to some degree we each possess the attributes of the other groups, though one typically dominates.
For example, Advocates customarily convey warmth and encouragement. Discerners run cooler. Energetically, they are more in their head. You can sense their analytical brains spinning like a hard-drive.
Sustainers are proper and upright. If you are an Advocate or a Discerner, when you meet a Sustainer for the first time you may feel like you just hit a speed bump. And if you are a Sustainer, you may sense a certain irreverence upon meeting an Advocate or a Discerner, as if whatever authority, position, or views you hold are being subtly challenged.
Shapers are the energy of now. They are extremely present, sometimes to the exclusion of tomorrow, which Sustainers prepare for exceedingly well. Initially, these impressions may be faint. But the more you understand and are capable of accepting and seeing beyond your own energetic bias, the more clearly you will see others.
To conclude, energy is all there is. Motivational Styles is a way to enliven your prospect and customer data by revealing the energetic processes that ultimately manifest as consumer choice. In this respect, Minds + Motives represents a leap from traditional segmentation, which is based on a static and mechanical view of reality that was proven false over 100 years ago.
This does not mean you need to abandon your existing models and start anew. Minds + Motives is an evolution, not a revolution. You don’t have to give up anything except what may not be working in favor of what can be working. Once the Motivational Styles of your audience are revealed in your database, you will begin to recognize the energy behind the designations, of which you and I are simply a reflection.
*Most standard dictionary definitions provide a rather quaint view of energy, as “the capacity for doing work.” While this is true as far it goes, it smacks of an earlier time, when horses pulled wagons. I would define energy as the light which contains infinite potential that precedes and animates life and substance, which, once formed, may be acted upon.
I want to thank Jack Engstrom, President of The Institute for the Study of Consciousness, for his valuable suggestions while writing this blog.