priorities, preferences, perceptiveness, and panics

First, I assess my priorities. Then, I make assessments of how effective I am in producing any of my priorities. (In other words, I evaluate how effective that I have been and then project how effective that I currently would expect to be in the future.)

I also may assess what allies are available to me in producing my priorities. I may assess how effective an alliance would be (or has been so far).

Assessing people is just one stage of the discernment process. There is also assessing specific patterns of behavior.

In fact, I do not really think about my own overall effectiveness unless I am already concerned about my own patterns of behavior being ineffective (disappointing) – including my involvement in any current alliances. Further, when I assess my recent behaviors as ineffective and then I realize that “I do not know what else to do next and I am scared about it,” then that is how I assess myself as “ineffective so far.”

That is when I would turn my own attention toward possible allies. With prospective allies, I may assess their overall results rather than their specific methods (since I may not have the familiarity with their individual practices or skills to make an assessment… or the expertise to make assessments even if familiar).

I also may refocus because of a potential threat or adversary or competitor. Maybe I identify myself as generally effective, but open to assistance with a specific challenge that is emerging or expected. So, I seek a relevant, competent ally.

It may come about that I assess my own behavior as generally ineffective (inadequate) and so then I assess a specific possible ally as possibly effective, but then later revise my assessment of them to “no longer promising” or even “a barrier to my effectiveness.” At that point, a variety of behavioral options exist.

First, I can go with passive aggression and attempt to “politely” drive them away (or at least indirectly rather than to openly bully or blackmail them). We could call that “resentment.”

“I would sincerely like to ally with you, except for this one small detail: I would like you to already be a better ally than I have assessed you to be. So, please come back only after you have gone away and developed effectiveness on your own. Because I am so generous, I’m giving you about three more seconds to have a miraculous transformation before I launch in to a type of hysterical panic called a tantrum. Three… two…”

In other words, we are rejecting them. We may say that we are rejecting them “politely.” That may be a pretentious politeness.

If I really do not want to ally with someone in particular, but I also do not want to totally sever the alliance (and face my expected future challenges alone), then I may both push them away and pull them in. I might do both at once or in an alternating sequence of pushing, pausing, pulling, pausing, pushing, and so on.

In some cases, I very much do want an alliance, but just not with them. I have assessed myself as independently inadequate and I have also assessed them (or the alliance so far) as inadequate.

My assessments (perceptions) may be imprecise, although the precision of my perception is a different issue. The more interested that I am in a subject, the more interested I would be in precise assessments.

Or, maybe I am experimenting with “I can do this myself with no alliances.” If so, then why would someone be interested enough in this content to have gotten this far in to the presentation?

We want our priorities to be fulfilled. Maybe we are re-assessing our priorities (even as a priority). However, whatever priorities we currently experience (whether consciously identified or not), those priorities will organize our behaviors (and thus our results).

Did you read this? If so, why?

What priority are you exploring? Do you know?

Are you open to a new alliance? Are you even open to new kinds of alliances (or “exchanges of support”)?

If you were totally satisfied and confident in your own independent effectiveness (and current network of alliances), then would you be investing time in this interaction? If I was totally satisfied and confident in my own independent effectiveness (or my current network of alliances), then would I be investing time in this interaction (such as typing or publishing this)?

Am I open to new patterns of investing my time and attention? If so, that may be because of an assessment that future circumstances will likely exceed current patterns of effectiveness.

In other words, fear (or at least caution) motivates alertness in general and focus in particular. Why do people get jobs and earn money? They fear poverty, right? If they did not fear poverty, then why not just get hired for a job and go to work consistently but simply refuse to cash the paychecks?

Why do people not only cash their paychecks, but then do predictable things with the cash like buy food and then eat it? Are they motivated by hunger? Are they motivated by a fear of starvation? If we say “yeah, but they just want their children to thrive,” then that implies that they are concerned that, without taking actions that promote the welfare of their children, their children would not thrive.

What if behind every attraction was a repulsion? What if for every end of a spectrum, there was another contrasting part of the spectrum?

“I value health” = “I prefer health over illness” = “I prefer to avoid illness”

These three statements are variations in how people use language, not in the actual preferences and priorities that we see demonstrated over and over again throughout the lives of various individuals (of various species) Creatures tend to first move away from perceived threats (fleeing), though they may risk presenting a counter-threat (fighting) if that fits with their perceptions.

What are creatures attracted to? Perceived safety. What are they repulsed by? Perceived threats.

Those are not two different issues. Those are two contrasting ways of referencing a single behavioral pattern.

In fact, it is when fear is greatest that people tend to focus the most on words like “safety” and “security.” When there is no perceived threat, why would people focus so much on safety or security?

So, to experience motivation for change, there must be sense of priority to address a perceived gap between current effectiveness and what (speculatively) will be relevant in the future. Motivation thus requires making both an assessment of current effectiveness (which is a common assessment) and also of what could be relevant in the future (which is less common).


Thus, an important strategy for motivating change is to make precise assessments about the future. In fact, making precise assessments would be most important when there is a perceived challenge or even a perceived crisis. People value precise assessments most when the accuracy of those assessments is perceived to be most crucial to their future results.

What is the one thing that you may value most in an ally or alliance? You might value extraordinary perceptiveness. You might value an exceptional ability to effectively communicate. (Perceptiveness can be useful for effective communication, by the way.)

The more that you recognize someone else as a prospective ally, the more that you may relax. The more that you relax, the more that you may notice the nature of their own motivations and priorities. In the midst of a comforting amount of extraordinary perceptiveness (without any adversarial threats), you relax and your own perceptiveness naturally improves.

There are two common ways for people to respond when they perceive someone else to be capable of extraordinary perception. First, if they are already in a panic, they might flee in terror. However, they also might be attracted to an extraordinary perceptiveness as something that they might want to ally with and even to study and develop on their own.


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