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Same World, Different Experience

The Integram: an Integral Enneagram of Consciousness;  a model of consciousness, including all aspects, for designing practical paths of personal development and evolution.

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Same World Different Experience
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One of the most important and yet difficult things to understand is just how differently each of us experiences the same world. It seems logical that if we’re standing next to each other witnessing a car crash, that we’ll see the same car crash. So why don’t we?

Our filtering systems are such an integral part of how we process incoming information, that it doesn’t occur to us to question them. We just take in information and sort it how we always sort it.

Unfortunately the combination of this automatic aspect and the lack of questioning sets us up for conflict, confrontation, and confusion. If you’re wearing colored lenses, it affects how you see things; there’s no escaping that. If we forget that we’re wearing these lenses, and go about our business believing that we’re seeing pure truth, we get into trouble, especially with other people - especially when they’re wearing different colored lenses, and seeing a different situation.

Close But No Cigar
There are a number of things that contribute to being misled by our lenses, but it usually starts with the initial appearance of similarity. We start off standing next to each other seeing the same car crash, assume we saw the same thing, and then when our descriptions are only off by a little bit we figure somebody must be more accurate than the other. Somebody is more right, and somebody is a little wrong. Then we do a dance of assertion, compliance, or withdrawal, to establish “the truth.” This is also known as arguing, giving in, pushing a point, going along to get along, throwing one’s hands up and walking away, and many other common strategies.

One thing we rarely do is start off with a premise like, “what if we’re both right? Can our two stories fit together in a way that sheds more light or clarifies things better?” We know that two heads are better than one and that we all have blind spots, and yet our drive to be “right” trumps listening to what we know.

The rationale for that drive to be right varies slightly from person to person, but it’s usually tied to the same three issues that shape our perspectives in general: I feel safer when I’m right. My identity is tied to being right. I just know I’m right.

The Big Three
Imagine what a different world you would experience if everything related back to your identity and how you fit in? How different would that same world look if everything related back to ensuring safety, security, and a solid foundation? What if everything related back to how things should be? These are enormously powerful filtering systems, and they shape our perspectives, our motivations, and our language.

Conflict arises when we confuse our perception of what’s going on with objective reality; that “pure truth.” Again, this is because we don’t necessarily remember that our perception is a result of our perspective, and our perspective is in no way fixed or static. When your perspective changes, you perceive differently, so you know it’s not “the truth” (as in the one-and-only). Unfortunately this loops back to that silly thing about being “right,” so again we don't listen to ourselves.

A Cubed Perspective
The simplest model of different perspectives would be you and I facing each other. You see what’s behind me, and I see what’s behind you. Add more people, in a larger circle, and each has a slightly different view. This is very helpful in showing how we could see something so differently from one another, but it’s only a start. What makes things really interesting is that we’re far more complex than any flat, two-dimensional model could illustrate.

For a more accurate model, we have to include two other axes of variables: states of mind, and stages of consciousness development. A person in the same position in that circle of people will have a different perspective depending upon these other variables. Likewise, different people in different positions could have similar perspectives, based upon their state of mind and stage of development.

Even if you haven't played "Battleship," you've likely had some contact with
coordinates being on axes named x, y, and z.  If we call position x, state of mind y, and stage of development z, understanding another person’s perspective becomes as tricky as solving a trinomial equation. This is why we need to not make assumptions, or try to figure it out by standing back and observing. It’s just too complicated, and thinking we understand when we don’t is what causes so much conflict.

We simply have to engage with the other person, and consciously communicate with them, so that they can help us understand where they’re coming from and what they’re experiencing. And we must leave room to allow for their experience to not be “wrong,” so that we can add it to our own, fleshing out and enriching our experience as well.

Why Bother?
Every step of the way, we can improve our experience and interactions in the world by adding that extra bit of consciousness into the mix. Whether we want to understand ourselves better, or understand those around us, we need to dig in to these perspectives. If we want to persuade, build
rapport, motivate, or just alleviate those argumentative conflicts, we need this system; this model of perspectives to help us. This is how our perspectives can co-exist without making any of the others wrong.

Want to learn more about how to become the best you possible?  Come visit the web site, or better yet, contact me and see how we can design a program to fit your needs and desired outcomes.

     - Ian J. Blei


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Resource Links:

Conscious Communication - the podcast series

Melissa Risdon's Raving Fan Radio Show:
Ian Blei on the
Integram (TM) -understanding ourselves, each other, and our relationships

KG Stiles: "Conversations that Enlighten and Heal"
Ian Blei on Kind Ambition and the
Integram (TM)

Kind Ambition - 2nd Edition


Welcome to the Integram, where consciousness meets intentional design.   Enjoy!


The Optimizer
Ian Blei,
Director of the
Institute for Integral Enneagram Studies and
President of
Optimized Results



Kind Ambition

Click HERE



Kind Ambition:
Practical Steps
to Achieve Success
 Without Losing Your Soul

Kind Ambition
Fan Page
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Kind Ambition is about you having the tools to slide over to the driver’s seat of your own life.  Circumstances will always be changing, seemingly thwarting our plans, but we don’t have to be  thrown around by them. You can be in charge of your choices and actions more than you might imagine - yet.


Kind Ambition is written for you, as a practical guide you can use right now.  It is a collection of  insights and actions designed to help you move forward and get more out of your life at home and at work.  The chapters hold to a formula of first giving you a new way to look at things, then offering you tangible Action Steps to try them out, and finally some things to notice when you do.



Kind words for “Kind Ambition”


"If you are interested in success, whether it is in running a large organization, a small business, or leading a satisfying life, you will find a right blend of rules, wisdom and wit in a digestible fashion that will serve to accomplish your objectives. The notion that kindness can be blended with ambition and made to work and serve the "bottom line" is enlightening, uplifting and satisfying."

-Steven Kiefel – CEO, Red Pill Media


“An easy to use guide for anyone who wants to achieve real  growth and success. His sensible and practical tactics solve age-old challenges with real, how-to solutions. Best of all, Ian lives his work!”

-Romanus Wolter - Author: Kick Start Your Dream Business
Success Coach Columnist: Entrepreneur Magazine
Radio Host: Syndicated Kick Start Guy Segment


" We all face obstacles in our lives and careers. Some of these come from within, subverting our conscious intentions. The  good news is: they can be overcome.  The techniques and processes found in this book will help you on your way."

-Margaret Heffernan – Author: The Naked Truth: A Working Woman's

 Manifesto on Business and What Really Matters

Syndicated Columnist: Fast Company Magazine


“A scientifically-based, spiritually-awake, (and smart and funny) guide to making the most of your life.  Ian Blei provides the know-how, the inspiration, the structure and all the tools you need in  this straightforward and inspirational book.”

     -Lisa Betts-LaCroix, Past President of SF Coaches
Star of Unapix film, “Dance Me Outside”


" Ian Blei shares his deep insights in simple and straightforward ways.  His work continues to inspire me whenever I feel I'm getting stuck in some area of my life."

-Roy King, III , Director Pacific Development Partners


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