March 25, 2013

Modeling Excellence Series #8

In the last post (#7), I wrote this:  So just how do you model using Meta-States?  The answer lies in detecting and identifying the meta-levels that a person has reflexively brought to themselves that now qualifies their experience and operates as a frame to their experience.  What this means is that as you and I access another thought-and-feeling about our first state, that second state operates dynamically to do several things-

  • It brings another mind-body state to it and so adds qualities or qualifies the first.
  • It sets the cognitive ideas within that state as the frame for the first.
  • It puts the first as a member of a class, the “class” being the classification that the second one creates.

I then addressed the first two bullet points and suggested that in modeling, exploring the meta-stating or self-reflexivity process will enable you to model out how the person has qualified or added the qualities he or she did to an experience.  And I suggested that when you model, within every meta-state that you detect there’s going to be a whole world of the so-called “logical levels” there-beliefs, values, identities, intentions, permissions, memories, imaginations, expectations, etc.

I think of this meta-level modeling as knocking on the expert’s door and asking to come in and then when in, standing in awe of the dynamic complexity that’s within the meta-level.  The metaphor that really appeals to me is that of a hologram.  If the experience is like a hologram, then within any part of it is the whole.  So when I explore the meta-state that’s qualifying the experience I can ask about the person believes about it, values in it, identifies with it, anticipates, expects, forbids, permits, understands, knows, means, and so on.

By meta-stating joy to the state or experience of learning and creating the simple meta-state of joyful learning, the joy has become the frame of meaning for learning.  That is, “learning” is now a member of the class of activities that is labeled “joyful” or “fun.”  What’s fun for you? Learning, yes, definitely learning.  What does learning mean?  One thing it means is fun.  It is in that category.

But it is not so simple as that.  So ask, “What other category is learning in?”  “How else do you classify it?”  “Oh, self-improvement, growth, development, professionalism, etc.”  Ah, there’s been lots of meta-stating here about learning!  Now you can ask about the rich interplay of these states and classifications.  “Is self-improvement also a member of the category of joy?”  “Is personal development also joyful?”  If you then ask, “And what do you believe about that?” you move up yet another level to see how it is next classified.

Now these classifications are part of how the higher levels of your mind sort things out, understand things, and creates your knowledge base.  They reflect the level of category making.  And strangely enough, you and I as human beings can have category problems.  Really?  How is that?

Well, if you create categories that box you in, limit your choices, and/or that creates pain and distress for yourself- and you have lots of members in those categories, you could really make your life a living hell.

  • Failure: Do you have a category in your mind of “failure?”  If so, what are the things that for you are members of that class?  Making a mistake?  Saying something wrong?  Sending out a report with typographical errors? Not being flawless?
  • Embarrassment:  Do you have a category for “embarrassment?” What’s are the members of that class?  I know people who are so skilled at embarrassment, they experience it dozens of times a day.  How do they do that?  They have so many experiences that are members of that class.
  • Moments of ecstasy: Do you have this category?  How many everyday things “count” for this?  Smelling a rose, seeing a sunset, warming shaking someone’s hand, saying something that validates someone … what?
  • Commitment to your development of excellence: Do you have this category?  What are your “members” of this class?

When I model, these are some of the things I want to know about.  What are the categories of the person’s mind?  How does the person classify things? This is a key aspect of meaning-making and so fits into the Meaning Matrix (using the Matrix Model) and if you ignore this, you won’t be modeling as fully as you can.

When I was modeling resilience, one of the first categories I heard in several people was a meta-state and meta-state belief.  It went: “I will get through this.  This is temporary.”  In my notes, I wrote down. Classification: Set-backs are Temporary.   Is that a belief?  Yes, of course.  Is that a value?  Yes, of course.  Is that an identity?  If you want it to be!  As a meta-state of “patience” this belief, value, identity, permission, understanding, meaning, frame, etc. is a hologram of a very powerful resource.

Another category I discovered in people with highly effective resilience was: “I’ll be back!” a lot of them anchored that with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s voice from the Terminator and other movies.  This created the meta-state of commitment, persistence, and/or determination.  The set-back was a member of the class of “Living my Vision and Values.” And just because something interrupted me now doesn’t it that’s my future.  My future is Living my Vision and Values.

To meta-state is to classify and that means framing and reframing and outframing- all of which lie at the heart of modeling.

L. Michael Hall, Ph.D.