Most people are already pretty good at crashing relationships and goofing up communication. Different people have different thinking styles (different Meta Programs). And people often have trouble with that. They like their own thinking just fine, it’s the other people they find weird. Look around you, and you will see plenty of irritation, misunderstanding, anger, frustration, conflict, despair and so on. So, how do they do it? How do they succeed in creating all this trouble? Or even more important: How do you do it? Let’s have a look at seven effective and time-tested ways to get frustrated through thinking styles. Seven proven ways to drive yourself crazy with Meta Programs.
What are Meta Programs?
Meta Programs are elements of your thinking style, things like ‘towards’ (focus on goals) versus ‘away from’ (focus on problems). Your thinking style is a combination of Meta Programs: different Meta Programs working together. Your Meta Programs often determine what you do and how you feel about things.
1. Be convinced that people with a different thinking style suck
Let’s start with one of the most effective ways to get frustrated: believe that your own thinking style is the best style in the world. If not to say the only style. So for instance let’s say you think in terms of the future and you like options. You could then simply call anyone who thinks in terms of the past and procedures an ‘old-fashioned coward’. This is a great technique, because it guarantees that you will meet old-fashioned cowards everywhere. Principle: my Meta Programs are the only sane Meta Programs.
2. Mismatch proactively and in great detail
Let me explain the jargon here: ‘mismatching’ means that you focus on what’s bad or wrong. Its counterpart is ‘matching’: looking for what is right and good. If you mismatch proactively, that means that you do it without thinking about it much. You just simply do it all the time. And if you mismatch on all the details, you have a huge number of things you can find fault with. Everywhere you go, you will notice lots of things that are bad or wrong or incorrect or just simply ridiculous. Especially when you are an emotional person, this can be a perfect self-despairing technique. Principle: Use the Meta Programs ‘mismatching’, ‘proactive’ and ‘specific’ in combination with eachother.
3. If it doesn’t work, do it some more
Your thinking style is great for some things and not so great for other things. It may be great for designing buildings but not for playing with children. That’s why some people are flexible in how they think. So here is another great frustration booster: if your thinking style is not working, do it some more! For instance, if you feel strongly responsible for things and you are exhausted, do it some more of that: start taking even more responsibility. Principle: Stick to your Meta Programs no matter what.
4. Find derogative words for other thinking styles
If you are a very practical thinker, you like to ask: what are we going to do with this? How can we use this? And if you work or live with someone who is more of theoretical thinker, they like to ask: what is the essence? Now watch out! You might be tempted to appreciate them for their different thinking style. Don’t! Instead, call them ‘cerebral’ or ‘vague’ or ‘pedantic’. Finding derogative words for their thinking style works great as a relationship destroyer! Principle: People with other Meta Programs are dumb, ugly and [fill in negative qualification here].
5. Try to motivate people without understanding them
Sometimes you want to suggest to people what would be a good thing to do. And their thinking style usually differs from yours. And this provides you with yet another great opportunity for self-frustration! Lets say, for instance, that you think in terms of goals you want to achieve, and they think in terms of problems they want to avoid. So you vividly describe the things they can achieve with your plans. And they respond with a blank stare. An awesome self-frustration technique! Principle: Everybody has the same Meta Programs I have.
6. Explain to people what is wrong with them
You have probably had someone, a friend, a co-worker, a family member, whoever, come up to you and start complaining to you about you. You were not doing things right, you wanted the wrong things, you didn’t treat them right, and so on. Remember: if they can do that to you, you can do it to them! For instance, if you are focused on the future and they are focused on the past, explain to them – in great detail and at great length – how much better it would be if they focused on the future more. Just like you do. And if they protest? That’s because they are so focused on the past. Explain that to them. Principle: Clearly explain to others why they use the wrong Meta Programs.
7. Surround yourself with people who think just like you
This last technique can defeat not only individuals, but whole organizations; whole countries even. And yet it is quite simple to do. Just select people who have the same thinking style you have. And then simply refuse to talk to anyone else. Do you think in terms of goals? Only work with goal oriented people. Avoid anyone who thinks in terms of problems, they just make things difficult. Do you focus on feelings? Only work with other feeling types. Avoid anyone who focuses on pictures or stories, they just confuse things anyway. And so on. The beauty of it is: you can use all of the other techniques I described above to support this one! Principle: Find people with the exact same Meta Programs and talk only to them.
What is really terrifying about this article is that I can see this stuff happening all the time and (sigh) I can get caught up in it as well.
My favourites (if that’s the right word) are: 2. Mismatch proactively and in great detail, and 6. Explain to people what is wrong with them.
If you ever decide to write the “Dummies Guide To Being Unhappy”, I think number 2 would be all you need to get that result.
To get really insane try to think of an eighths way.
You genius provo!
And Andy Hunt, not to bad either.
After reading this, I realized that I’ve been messing up with lots of people for such a long time.
Thanks for your post, Official.
I can tell I do like four of the seven things I have to tell all of them seem crazy now I understand what I have been doing wrong, specially doing time and again what I know doesn´t works.
Many things I read on this post I have seen and criticized, done myself too, but now I see how my mother thinks everyone else´s thinking style sucks, she says this is the way to think and act, and that is the only correct and acceptable choice ever.
Many ways to go crazy, we all make those kind of mistakes, I used to judge people who thing in different ways I do, people who use different meta programs, specially in school and at work.
Not only these mistakes can mess up our social life but our work most of the times, there are many things we don´t do because of mistakes like the ones you describe that prevents our success.
On my former job I had a coworker who complain all the time, if people showed up early what a bug, if they were late how lazy, if it was sunny it was too hot, if the sun didn´t come out, what a sad day, she even made some of the other people in the office get cranky. Now I know about mismatching proactively and I´m learning about meta programs.