of Effectiveness Models
by Luke Setzer
[Warning: Neo-Tech material is FUNDAMENTALLY, METAPHYSICALLY INCOMPATIBLE with Objectivism! It stars with some Objectivist-like premises, then injects the following arbitrary metaphysical assertions into its discussions: (1) Civilization of the Universe, (2) Extraterrestrial Zons, (3) Thinkons, (4) Universal Computer. Arbitrary assertions have NO PLACE in Objectivism! The authors have expropriated Objectivism and twisted it into something metaphysically opposed to Objectivism. Do yourself a favor and read some of Ayn Rand's books instead.]
The Grand Integration of Effectiveness Models is a diagram I built primarily for my own use to tie together in my mind a wide range of idea sources into a coherent whole. It does not necessarily represent the opinions of any of the noted authors or publishers. Let me explain the meaning of each piece and then explain how it all fits together.
Grand Puzzle Piece #1: The Objectivist Ethics
In her book The Virtue of Selfishness, Ayn Rand writes an essay entitled "The Objectivist Ethics" which details the three primary ends values (states of mind) required for a rational, happy, productive life. These three primary ends values are: Reason, Purpose, and Self-Esteem. The corresponding virtues, i.e. the means values or behaviors required to achieve these states of mind, are Independence, Integrity, Honesty, Justice, Productiveness, and Pride. If you were to group these virtues with their corresponding values and rank the values in order of importance, you would have a table like this:
Grand Puzzle Piece #2: The Franklin Productivity Pyramid
Hyrum W. Smith is the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of FranklinQuest, the largest and most popular time-management training company in the world. The company was created back in 1984 with a central philosophy: Teach people how to discover what is truly important to them, how to act in accordance with these values, and thus how to be truly productive and happy. Their time-management principles are based on The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, in which he details the use of his "little book" to track the ongoing satisfaction of his chosen virtues and his long-term goal of "moral perfection." As part of their one-day time-management training seminar, FranklinQuest trainers share an idea advocated in the early days of Objectivism by both Rand and her long-time associate, psychologist Nathaniel Branden. In his book The Psychology of Self-Esteem, Branden recognizes the direct link between personal productivity and self-esteem. Generally speaking, an increase or decrease in one will result in a corresponding increase or decrease in the other. Smith has taken this known relationship and expanded it further for the FranklinQuest seminars. He reveals that a third component, Event Control, plays a pivotal role in the dynamic relationship between productivity and self-esteem, and that an increase in event control will result in an increase in productivity and self-esteem. The Franklin Tri-Quation illustrates this dynamic:
Notice the similarities of this tri-quation with the Objectivist Ethics. Substitute Reason for Event Control, realizing that Reason is in fact a precursor to Event Control. Substitute Purpose for Productivity, realizing that Purpose is the end value of any Productivity. Suddenly, you have the Objectivist Ethics! This should not come as a surprise, since this tri-quation is rooted in the work of Objectivist Nathaniel Branden.
Event control is the component over which people have the most control, and therefore the component which FranklinQuest addresses. Their Franklin Day Planner is the most popular day planner in the world specifically because it addresses this issue so well. Their fully integrated day planner interlocks an appointment calendar with a prioritized daily task list and a full blank page for recording notes, commitments, etc., all in a two-page-per-day format that makes planning, tracking and executing a snap.
The real power of the FranklinQuest system is the Franklin Productivity Pyramid. Trainees are asked to sit down and ask themselves a serious question: "What is so important to me in my life that I would risk my life to preserve it?" They are asked to imagine a situation in which they must walk across a steel I-beam straddled between the twin towers of New York's World Trade Center during a light drizzle. Most people immediately think of loved ones, cherished principles, etc. as being the only things worthwhile enough to endure such a risk. Each trainee then privately writes down these Governing Values and prioritizes them in order of importance, writes a brief description of what each Governing Value means to himself or herself, and thus forms his or her own personal constitution. This constitution has its own dedicated section in the Franklin Day Planner for daily review. You can get the idea of how to write your own personal constitution by clicking here to see mine.
This conscious formation of a personal constitution is often a powerful and life-changing experience. As you can see from the illustration, the Governing Values are a reflection of our innate human Needs. Furthermore, our Long-Range Goals, Intermediate Steps to achieve those goals, and ultimately our Daily Tasks should reflect our chosen Governing Values. These conscious, daily decisions produce the long-term Results we want in our lives. Many lives have been positively changed by FranklinQuest. Find out more about this information in Hyrum W. Smith's book The Ten Natural Laws of Successful Time and Life Management, available at most bookstores. You can also mail-order it directly from FranklinQuest at 1-800-654-1776.
Grand Puzzle Piece #3: The Franklin Reality Model
As the FranklinQuest company matured, it ventured into other seminars for topics such as project management and stress management. The Franklin Reality Model is a block diagram used in FranklinQuest's Rethinking Stress seminar, and is also discussed in the latter half of Smith's book. You can immediately see that the Reality Model is a generalized version of the Productivity Pyramid. Rather than addressing just Governing Values, which are a person's beliefs about what is most important in life, the Reality Model addresses the fact that people have beliefs on all kinds of topics.
What exactly is a "belief"? In essence, it is any guiding principle that provides a sense of certainty about meaning and direction in life. Beliefs are our prearranged, organized filters to our perceptions of the world. We form beliefs early in our lives because they are necessary for our survival. We make observations and draw conclusions that should serve us later. Consider the belief that "a hot stove should not be touched." This belief protects the believer from injuring himself by preventing him from touching the stove, thus satisfying his need to live without pain. Of course, we often form beliefs that do not serve us at all, and in fact frequently harm us and our loved ones. Consider the alcoholic who believes that "one drink won't hurt." This addict's self-deception will probably lead him to experience another bout with alcoholism and probably bring emotional hardship to himself and his family. In fact, an "addiction" can be defined as "any behavior that produces short-term pleasure at the expense of long-term pain to the addict or those around the addict."
The metaphor used in the Reality Model is that of a "Belief Window", which is basically an invisible "window" hanging in front of everyone's face and through which they perceive the world. On each person's window are written his or her own beliefs. Outside sensations pass through this window and are assigned meaning or are filtered out as meaningless. Without this belief window, a person would soon go mad from trying to absorb the multitudes of outside sensations bombarding people constantly.
Based on our general beliefs, we form If-Then Rules about what our Behavior should be in our current situation and act accordingly. The Results we produce are then observed and Feedback is given to our brain, which must determine whether the belief satisfied the believer's fundamental Needs. If the answer is "Yes," the belief is reinforced. Otherwise, the belief is eroded. Cognitive dissonance is the mental anguish experienced by attempting to implement two conflicting beliefs in the same situation at the same time. This anguish is so unsettling that the brain will almost always discard the most painful of the two beliefs.
Grand Puzzle Piece #4: The Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) Ultimate Success Formula
In the 1970's, business partners Richard Bandler and John Grinder set about the gigantic task of integrating the techniques of the most effective therapists in the world into a concise set of mental tools that could be duplicated by others. Their primary role models were Virginia Satir, a world-renowned family therapist; Fritz Perls, the originator of Gestalt therapy; and Milton Erickson, an incredibly successful hypnotherapist. They studied the techniques of these role models, discovered what distinctions they had made in their years of work, and noticed what techniques these three therapists had in common. Bandler and Grinder then systematized these techniques into a science they christened Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). This science can be summarized as the study of the structure of a person's subjective experience of objective reality. The metaphor that NLP uses for the brain is that of a computer running different programs at different times. This science provides a method not only of decoding, but also "reprogramming" a person's subjective experience so that it is more objective and empowering.
Anthony Robbins is probably the world's most well-known marketer of NLP. His first book, Unlimited Power, became an international best-seller in a very short period of time. In it, Robbins describes what he calls the Ultimate Success Formula (USF):
The book provides a good overview of NLP techniques, which I can only describe briefly here. If you will consult the diagram, you will see that the NLP USF has many similarities to the Franklin Reality Model. It is, in fact, a further expansion and generalization of the Franklin Reality Model. Rather than just focusing on If-Then Rules, NLP carefully examines a person's state whenever that person is acting on a particular belief. A state is the sum total of a person's subjective experience at any moment in time, and has two components: mental syntax (also called focus or internal representation) and physiology (body posture, breathing patterns, muscular tension, etc.)
In his second book, Awaken the Giant Within, Anthony Robbins discusses further the impact and structure of our belief systems, and uses a clever metaphor to explain how a belief is structured. The metaphor is that of a table top with legs. The table top is our belief, and the supporting legs are our sensory evidence we use to support that belief. If a woman believes of herself, "I am sexy," she may have plenty of sense-based references to support that belief, such as: Guys tell me I'm sexy; I look good in jeans; I work out every day; I drive a hot car. Notice that the references do not necessarily have to be logical in order for a person to end up using them to support a belief. This example I just gave is mostly a woman's subjective judgment about what has to happen for her to consider herself sexy.
There are, of course, ways to use this metaphor to illustrate Ayn Rand's theory of concepts. Rand defined a concept as "the integration of two or more percepts into a higher-level abstraction." If we use Robbins' table metaphor, the table top would be the concept and the supporting legs would be the concrete sense percepts. A valid concept would be logically supported by the sense percepts. Consult Leonard Peikoff's excellent book Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand for a thorough discussion of this process of concept-formation.
Grand Puzzle Piece #5: The Three Components of Effective Habits
In his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey states that every effective habit can be identified by three key components: What, How, and Why. One must know exactly what results one wants to produce, how those results will be produced, and why those results are desired.
Grand Puzzle Integrator: The Neo-Tech Discovery
In his landmark book The Neo-Tech Discovery, Dr. Frank R. Wallace makes key identifications that implicitly tie all of these ideas and concepts together into one mighty weapon. Wallace introduces us to the concept of neocheating, which he defines as "the undetected usurpation of a livelihood." What exactly are the mechanics of neocheating? To understand these mechanics, we must first review a pair of well-known terms. The first is the myth, which can be defined as simply "a false or dishonest belief," i.e. a belief that is not in agreement with objective reality. The second term is mysticism, which is "the acceptance or promotion of myths." All human beings fall victim to mysticism, but some fall much more easily than others. Wallace identifies two primary character flaws which support a person's mysticism: dishonesty and laziness. In the broadest sense, dishonesty involves not only deliberate deceptions of others but also evasions of sensory data and self-deceptions. Laziness involves not just an unwillingness to exert effort to support oneself through physical effort but also the refusal to integrate external reality through hard mental effort.
Neocheating itself is a slick, poker-like, two-step maneuver:
Neocheating is present in just about every field imaginable: sales, politics, religion, nutrition, relationships, psychology, and the list goes on. In fact, Wallace covers 114 areas in Part II of The Neo-Tech Discovery, pointing out the slick maneuver in each area and how to identify and nullify that maneuver readily. He calls these new identification techniques Neo-Tech. In general, he uses the term Neo-Tech to mean "fully integrated honesty based on facts of reality." He also shows that the dual character virtues of a professional Neo-Tech practitioner are honesty and effort, exactly opposite the character flaws of a mystic.
Using Anthony Robbins' table top-legs metaphor once again to illustrate how beliefs are structured, we can readily see that a myth is either what Ayn Rand called a "floating abstraction," i.e. a table top supported by nothing, or it is a table top not supported logically by relevant sense-based "legs". In Awaken the Giant Within, Robbins explains how to collapse an old belief and replace it with a new belief. Quite simply, the legs supporting the old belief are questioned strongly and weakened through doubt until the belief collapses to the ground and is smashed into a billion pieces. A replacement belief can then fabricated with strong supporting legs and planted firmly into the mind of oneself or another. Wallace uses this technique to smash myths and replace them with valid concepts. He calls this technique Mysticism-Collapse!
Once a person collapses his own personal mysticism, he is ready to move to the next stage of his mental development: Neothink. Neothink is simply myth-free reasoning applied dynamically and ruthlessly to the businesslike production of values for oneself and others. In Mark Hamilton's book Neo-Tech Cosmic Business Control, the reader is introduced to a new time-management concept: the mini-day/power-thinking team. Hamilton shows that all money-making projects ultimately involve just two steps: first, break money-making projects down into their raw physical movements; second, interlock those movements to capture the money and power. Hamilton applies industrial engineering analysis to the daily desk laborer and shows how every project will generally share the same handful of common physical movements such as phone calls, letter-writing, accounting, operations, etc.
To prevent the commonly experienced waste of a physically disjointed day, Hamilton instructs the reader to record over three days how much time is spent on each of these movements. Once that time is known, the reader is then instructed to block out a fixed time each day dedicated exclusively to that movement. In other words, a person might reserve 8:00am-10:00am solely to making phone calls, 10:00am-12:30pm solely to writing letters, etc. Each block of time is called a mini-day. With the intensity of an assembly line worker, the desk worker can use his mini-days to race through a huge load of work in a relatively short period of time.
After a couple of weeks of using the mini-day, the desk worker is ready for the next step into Neothink: power-thinking. Power-thinking is where the rubber really hits the road. This is the point where the human mind, free of self-deceptions and other myths, can objectively break huge money-making projects into their raw physical movements, then inject these movements into their appropriate mini-days for the coming weeks or months.
Neothink optimizes the power of the human consciousness to control existence. By mentally bringing the future into the present, portions of existence begin to fall under the control of human thought and action. The purpose of all this thought and action is, of course, value production, the most ethical of all human behavior.
Now, click here to see the graphic integration of all these models into a coherent whole.