In this, the first article of a series on the theory underlying the Social Priority Tests, we begin to look at how the human experience of personal "need" can be used to identify and explore the social distractions present in all human relationships, including the distractions present in teacher - student relationships, in romantic relationships, in work relationships, and in friend and family relationships. We also look at how we can emerge from these distractions so as to better connect to each other, with less judgment, and with more love.
Introducing the "Social Priority Chart"
Recently, I ate dinner with a close friend, my friend Linda. As is our way, part of what we spoke about was how our work lives are going.
What work did I speak about?
I spoke about the work I've been doing this year on the topic of this series of articles; the Emergence "Social Priority Scale." Then I showed it to her by actually doing her chart, and the charts of a few of those closest to her.
Half an hour later, Linda got up to use the restroom. When she returned, she looked at me with tears in her eyes. She then told me she felt more love and understanding for her husband and her mother than she remembered feeling in years.
What had happened?
Over dinner, on a little flip pad I'd purchased only an hour before, I'd done both hers and the Social Priority Charts of those people closest to her. In about half an hour. With pretty much no explanation to her of what we were doing. In fact, afterwards, Linda even admitted to me that, as we began she had not a clue of what were were doing nor any sense of where it was going or if she even wanted to be doing it. No clue what so ever.
Even so, half an hour later, with no explanation of what we had been doing, Linda had discovered some pretty good, starting-point answers for some of her most troubling questions, such as what career she would be happiest in and what had been stopping her from getting closer to her husband.
How did this happen?
Obviously, how it happened was, I drew Linda's Social Priority Chart, along with the charts of a few people she is close to.
Did I expect this much to emerge in Linda though?
To be honest, no. Not even close. I had simply been showing my friend what I had been recently exploring.
What amazed me even more though was the fact that the charts I drew were no more complex than the chart I've drawn above. No more. No less. In fact, the chart you see above these words is simply a more artistic version of the very chart I drew for Linda that night.
Now the point. How can something so simple as the uncomplicated drawing you see above spark all this change in a person in just one half an hour? Obviously, something very powerful happened to Linda that night.
How this change happened is the point of this series of articles. As well as how you or those close to you might enjoy similar changes.
Have I peaked your interest?
What is a "Social Priority Chart?"
As I've just told you, I refer to the chart you see above as a "Social Priority Chart," a deceptively simple and incredibly comprehensive way to assess social relationships, at least as far as "where" and "how well" a person will, and will not, get along with others. Further, it does this by focusing on only one thing; on identifying the degree to which people get distracted in social situations.
So what kinds of relationships does this chart assess?
For one thing, it assesses just how well children will relate to teachers. Thus, we all know that for many children, connecting to teachers in learning situations can be a burden and worse while for others, it just comes naturally. What makes the difference? The right teacher?
To a great degree, yes, I think having a great teacher does matter. Unfortunately, matching children to teachers is a far more complex process than simply finding the "best," "nicest," or "smartest" teacher. In fact, despite what common knowledge tells us; that there are "best," "nicest," and "smartest" teachers; I have found these searches to be pretty fruitless.
What does work them?
Matching students to teachers; in effect, creating the best "connections."
So how exactly do you match teachers and students?
Social Priority Charts can reveal exactly which teachers will best match which students. Along with what kinds of learning situations these students, and teachers, will do best in, whether this be in classrooms or in life in general.
What else do peoples' Social Priority Charts show? The big thing in fact?
The thing I've already mentioned; social distractions.
Thus, one of the main things you can use Social Priority Charts for is to identify what distracts people the most. For example, while some people bug out when they have to sit in uncomfortable chairs or wear tight shoes, other people hardly seem to notice such things. Yet these same "not notice discomfort" people may bug out if the "uncomfortable chair" people complain.
Is this really just a matter of that some people are just more tolerant?
I think not.
So what is really going on here?
Social Priority Charts what's going on in incredible detail. In about half an hour. With little to no pain. And without years of training.
Yes, I admit it does. It's not, though.
What other things do Social Priority Charts show?
How about how some teachers bug out if you ask them a single "off-topic" question, while other teachers welcome such digressions and even see these straying off the topic questions as the evidence a student is really "involved."
Even have this happen to you? Ever been thrown by someone digressing in the midst of what to you is an important discussion?
Now change my words "teacher" and "student" to "wife" and "husband" and you'll see, this changing-the-topic in relationships stuff happens between a lot of people.
In fact, no matter what you change my words to, whether it be to "girlfriend" and "boyfriend," "child" and "parent," "co-worker" and "boss," or "motorist" and "cop," in each and every one of these important relationships, some people will react well to digressions and some will just downright hate them.
So what exactly makes people react so differently to to off-topic questions?
Here again, peoples' Social Priority Charts can show exactly what is happening. In incredible detail. In about thirty minutes. And this is just the beginning of the kinds of things it can show you about people.
What other kinds can it show you?
Well, besides what I've already mentioned about tight shoes and connecting to teachers, you can also find out what kinds of careers people will thrive in and what kinds they'll hate. As well as peoples' tendencies toward such diverse personality traits as whether they will be prejudiced or not, what kinds of hobbies they'll be drawn to, what kinds of friends they'll have if any, and what kinds of people they'll fall in love with.
Social Priority Charts even show how likely it will be for people to be troubled by ADD. Or by OCD. Or by Asperger's Syndrome, or by other autisms. As well as what kinds of chances, and obstacles, these people will have, if, and when, they ever try to heal these conditions.
How can one simple diagram, a personality quiz comprised of only five boxes, reveal all this?
This is the point of the article. By the end of it, I hope to have helped you to see the beauty in this simple personality quiz.
I also hope to have helped you to discover some as yet unseen beauty in yourself. And in your relationships with others, both personally and professionally.
Sound like something you'd like to explore?
Then let's begin.
The Two Qualities of "Need"
We'll begin by looking at my friend Linda's Social Priority Chart, the one I've placed at the beginning of this page.
Asking only from the "just-what-you-see-on-the-page" perspective, what do you see?
First, you'll see the five boxes. Then, if you look more closely, you'll see that there are actually two columns of information, a left column, and a right.
Now if you look in the left column, what you'll see is what I call a person's, "character type." In the right then, you'll see what I call a person's, "social priority."
Two qualities of personality; "character type" and "social priority." What exactly do these two "qualities" of personality represent?
They represent the two ways in which human beings respond to "experiencing need in the presence of others."
Now the difficult question: What exactly do I mean by "experiencing need in the presence of others?"
For now, I must ask you to hold this question, as this is exactly what a Social Priority Chart reveals about a person; what you personally "need" in life and how you react to these needs in the presence of others.
This said, we obviously have to begin somewhere. Let me begin then by briefly defining what these two columns of information mean, starting with the left column; peoples' "character type."