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Watch Your Tone

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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Watch Your Tone
(click for podcast) (4:20 min.)

Although I often concentrate on linguistics revealing our worldviews and the worldviews of others, let’s not ignore the 800 pound gorilla in the room called “tone.”

Along with body language, tone has great impact on our communication. Even the lack of tone in e-mail causes its own misunderstandings. Conversationally, you’ve felt how tone affects you. Yelling hits you differently than cooing. The sound itself carries its own energy. Shout at your pet how much you love him or her and watch as they duck or run. Warmly, sweetly coo how much you can’t stand them and they’ll purr or wag their tail. We’re not so far up the ladder from our pets. We share a lot of biology.

Before our cerebral cortex gets a chance to start processing words and language, the carrier waves (sound) have already impacted the flight-fight-freeze parts of our brain (amygdala sends signals to hypothalamus.) If there's congruence between word and tone, we process faster. If there's incongruence, creating cognitive dissonance, the information is passed to secondary systems for analysis. Now we’re trying to figure out which is accurate, and if there’s a threat. All of that extra work takes energy away from processing the initial message. This means the initial message gets diluted and changed by the over-processing (just like food).

We usually maintain congruence in tone and message when we’re being conscious about it. When we’re not, our message can be taken off course. Have you ever experienced somebody snapping at you about something that had nothing to do with you? That extra processing, where you try to figure out why this person is mad at you takes you away from hearing their actual words.

We're probably all guilty of giving as well as receiving that mixed message. None of us is entirely conscious all the time, but we can do better. Enough of our communication gets trashed by our tone to be worthy of attention. We can so easily solve the problem with added consciousness that it becomes almost irresponsible not to do so.

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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Quick Communication Tip

When you want someone to listen to you, take on the non-intuitive thing: lower your voice. Think about the physical aspect. When someone raises their voice at you, your reaction is to "back away," even if that's just mentally. When someone speaks quietly, you lean in to hear them.

To take the "raise your voice" into the biological realm, it's about making oneself seem "bigger." This is what a puffer fish does. This is why a cat fluffs it's tail and arches its back. This is why a bear stands on its back legs. We can't make ourselves larger, so we raise our voice. It's that low a level of conscious development.

Want to learn more about how your communication can hold you back or catapult you forward?  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.


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



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Kind Ambition:
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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.


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