Is It Really True? New Rules for the Game of Life Quiz ~ Motivate by Fear?

As promised, here is the first installment of our new monthly feature:

If this is the first time you’re playing along, you may want to read our initial explanation. You can find it here:
Is It Really True? Quiz Intro

Please remember that in this quiz there are no right or wrong answers. We simply want to stimulate dialogue in our community about some of our commonly held cultural beliefs. This quiz comes out of a practice we have of asking ourselves if the beliefs we hold as the “truth” are our own, or if we have just adopted them unquestioningly. We hope you enjoy playing along.

Here’s the first statement…

Fear of getting a ticket is the best way to stop people from speeding.

Do you agree or disagree?

Here’s what we came up with when we examined the statement.

Why would governments give tickets in order to stop people from speeding?

We believe that everything we say or do is to meet a need or experience something we value. And when we want something we come up with ideas for getting it–strategies such is giving tickets to people that don’t obey the speeding laws in order to stop people from speeding. Since cultures, societies, and governments are made up of people, we believe the same holds true at that level.

Keeping all this in mind, the first thing we want to do is get to the essence–the underlying values–hidden within any strategy.

What values are people trying to satisfy with this strategy?

We guess these might be the needs or values underlying the strategy of giving tickets to stop speeding:

  • safety–so less people are injured or die on the roads.
  • predictability–so you have greater confidence about what you can expect when you get on the road.
  • effectiveness–by establishing clear agreement about what is and is not unsafe.

Can you think of any other needs our values people may be trying to satisfy using this strategy?

Why this strategy?

Now the question becomes, why this strategy? In our experience, behind every strategy we choose there is a belief that guides the choice and our subsequent actions. So what’s the cultural belief that led the government to choose this strategy as opposed to any other?

Here’s a possible belief we came up with that might have led to adopting this strategy:

  • People need authorities who “know better” to set strong boundaries that will govern their actions.

Which may point to these even deeper underlying beliefs:

  • People can’t be trusted
  • People only care about themselves
  • People make bad decisions on their own

Can you think of any others beliefs that might lead to making laws that impose traffic fines as a way to prevent speeding?

Does this strategy work?

If your goal is to make people worry about getting a ticket, then we would say this strategy works. But if what you really want is safety, predictability and effectiveness then we think it’s probably not working very well.

Think about it. How often do you still see people speeding? How often do you speed yourself? Why is it that so many people continue to speed if there’s a law that tells you not to, and is enforced by the use of speeding tickets?

We’ve identified a number of reasons for this, but the one we’ve picked to explore here is the difference between intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation.

We define the difference this way: being motivated from our internal values vs. being motivated from externally imposed consequences.

If you’ve been brought up in a typical world culture, then you are no stranger to externally imposed consequences. They start at a very young age. Early on, the authorities in your life teach you what’s right and what’s wrong, what’s good and what’s bad, what’s appropriate and inappropriate.

And you probably quickly learned that you get punished for being wrong or bad and rewarded for being good or right.

So here’s another rule–don’t speed. Enforced using an externally imposed consequence–you’ll get a speeding ticket that will cost you a lot of money and a lot of time if you disobey.

What does this strategy accomplish?

Let’s recap:

  • There is a cultural belief: People can’t be trusted so authorities must tell them what to do.
  • The culture teaches using a system of punishment and rewards.
  • Government came up with this strategy of punishing people who break speeding laws by giving tickets that costs them both time and money.

But what do most people learn from this strategy–both now and when they were children? In our experience the lesson learned is:

Don’t Get Caught When You’re Breaking the Rules.

Given the number of people who still speed, it doesn’t appear that this strategy–or what people actually learn from it–satisfy the underlying desire for safety, predictability, or effectiveness.

What might satisfy these underlying values?

Now let’s contrast the use of extrinsic motivation with intrinsic motivation. What would it take to cultivate intrinsic motivation?

How would we motivate people to do things–such as obey agreed upon speed limits–simply because this was in harmony with their personally held values?

Let’s start with the underlying belief.

What if we were able to change our cultural belief from “people can’t be trusted,” to “people can be trusted to make decisions that are for the highest good of everyone involved” because they inherently care for, and want to contribute to others and themselves.

Where would this belief take us?

Would we change how teach our children?

Let’s see . . . If our underlying cultural belief was that “people can be trusted to make their own decisions,” then most likely we would want to support them in staying present to what’s most important to them–what they personally value.

And we would probably ensure that our children’s education included developing their emotional intelligence. This would support their ability to make decisions based on how their actions might benefit or impact themselves and those around them.

We would still want to do whatever we could to maintain safety, predictability, and effectiveness on our roads, but with this underlying cultural belief, what strategy might we come up with?

This is where we start getting into very unknown territory. We’re not raised to pay attention to our internal values, or whether the consequences of our actions are in harmony with our values. Instead, we are constantly being distracted by external authority telling us what to do–and by the threat of consequences if we don’t obey.

So where this would go and how it would turn out is anyone’s guess.

But imagine being raised in a culture where your caring, kind and competent nature was valued and nurtured. Where your ability to reason and come up with successful, satisfying choices for everyone concerned was respected.

Imagine that your education, both at home and in school, had focused heavily on supporting you in making your own decisions, with respect for your internal guidance. And it supported this through teaching, conversation and experiences designed to help nurture these abilities.

Now imagine, as a society we have decided that limiting speed really will support achieving the goal of keeping our roads safe, predictable, and effective. What strategy might you use to achieve the greatest possible compliance with these speed limits?

What occurs to you?

That’s our thinking on the subject. Please let us know what occurs to you about any or all of this in the comment field below.

We look forward to reading your response.

With great trust and respect for your ability to choose wisely,

Beth and Neill

PS Please remember to sign up for the RSS feed to make sure you are alerted to our next installment of: Is It Really True?


Self Discovery – Ask Yourself, “Is It Really True?”

Everything Old Is New Again

Have you ever noticed how everything seems to cycle back into popularity. Bellbottoms, guys with long hair, tie-dyed shirts–they all seem to be coming back in full force. We read somewhere that it takes about 40 years for things to get recycled back into popularity.

We’ve decided not to wait 40 years to bring back The Full Cup Test, an exercise that we used in our seminars awhile ago. We named this based on an old Zen story that goes something like this:

“Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), was visited by a university professor who came to inquire about Zen. Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor’s cup full, and then kept on pouring. The professor watched the overflow until he could no longer restrain himself. “It’s overflowing,” said the university professor, “no more will go in!” “Like this cup,” Nan-in replied, “you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?”

It’s Hard To Receive When Your Cup’s Already Full

We just love what this story teaches and we strive to keep emptying our own cups so we’re able to continue learning new things. One way we do this is to think of the tea as a metaphor for the cultural beliefs that fill our minds. This tea comes in many varieties for us: beliefs about what life means, who we are, how we should act, and many others. These beliefs motivate our actions and dictate the direction we will take on our life’s journey.

Because of this, we often ask this question: Are the beliefs that I hold as the “truth” my own beliefs–ones that are truly in harmony with my personal values–or are they beliefs that were handed down from past generations and I have just adopted them unquestioningly?

Question Authority

As we start to question, we are able to empty our cups, which allows us to taste new and more satisfying varieties of tea. We believe this is essential for our continued learning and growth, and for us to evolve into the highest expressions of ourselves.

We also believe that our deepest discoveries emerge in relationship with others. Since we connect with others through language, the most powerful interactions happen through dialogue: sharing our stories, discoveries, and ideas.

To support this evolution in our community, we’re bringing back a modified version of The Full Cup Test. Our aim is to use this as a fun way to stimulate conversation that promotes self discovery. This time we are calling it:
Is It Really True? ~ New Rules For The Game Of Life Quiz

There are no right or wrong answers. Our goal is to stimulate dialogue about some of our commonly held cultural beliefs. The point is to ask yourself these questions and comment on what you discover:

  • Do I believe this statement?
  • What cultural belief is this statement based on?
  • Is this belief in harmony with my personal values?
  • Does it support me living consciously and in harmony with what I value most?

In the next few days we will be posting the first installment of this monthly quiz. So sign up for our RSS feed and look for the title, “Is It Really True?” Then drop by and start playing this game of self discovery by seeing if you agree or disagree with the first statement.


10 Personal Growth Questions That Make a Difference – Part Two

Supporting Your Continued Growth!

Yesterday I posted the first five out of 10 Personal growth questions that have made a difference in my life. Here is part two, the next five questions out of 10. I hope they support you as much as they have supported me.what motivates you?

6. What motivates me?

Motivation is what gets us in action, action is what creates results. Ask the question, what motivates me? Then observe your life. When you accomplish something, identify what is that motivated you to accomplish it. Watch when you get excited, what are you feeling excited about, that’s motivation. If you discover the answer to this question you are well on your way to creating a life you love.

7. What do I value most?

Your values are the essence of who you are. Getting clear about them and living them is a guaranteed way to be the fullest most authentic expression of yourself.

8. What do I really want?

Yes I know this question might seem trite, but how many times do you actually stop and ask yourself this question and then really listen to the answers. The funny thing is, in each moment this question can generate completely different answers.

So, start asking this question, stop and really listen to the answer, and then identify small step towards getting it. You are worth it.

9. What do I appreciate most about myself?

This question is essential for creating a life you love. It’s very challenging to love your life when you can’t identify anything you appreciate about yourself. And I’m convinced the only reason that you couldn’t find things you appreciate about yourself is you haven’t had enough practice. So start practicing today!

10. What am I grateful for?

If you want to live your best possible life, if you want to be all that you can be, or if you just want to be happier in any moment, asked this question as often as you can remember. When you’re in the process of being grateful you can’t help but feeling good.

Why ask questions?

Questioning myself is the easiest way I have found to find truth in my life. This is because we are the only ones that can say what is true for us. So ask questions and never stop asking. Listen to the answers and trust they are true for you. Then start taking actions that move you closer and closer to your truth. This process will guarantee your continued growth into the fullest most authentic expression of you.


What Do You Choose?

Choice — Both an Opportunity and Responsibility

Every moment of every day we have the opportunity to consciously choose where we focus our attention.  It is one of the few choices that no one can take away from us.

Maybe it’s more than just an opportunity. Maybe it’s also a responsibility since what we choose impacts how we are, what we do, and ultimately who we become. And collectively, our becoming is what will become of the world.

Here’s a video that we found [tag-tec]very inspiring[/tag-tec], and we hope that you will too!

We Choose [tag-tec]Love[/tag-tec]!

Beth and Neill