Three Kinds Of Starters

Why do some people take the initiative to develop their careers, but other folks seem to be unable to move ahead job-wise unless someone else is urging them forward?  This article examines three different approaches that people tend to take when it comes to the matter of getting the ball rolling in their work life.

TERMS:  (These terms are gradually defined as you proceed through the article.  They are listed here as a reference.)

  • Self-Starter (SS) – A person who begins work or undertakes a project on his own initiative without needing to be told or encouraged to do so.
  • Manager Dependent (MD) – A person who is generally unable or unwilling to work on a project unless someone else is telling him what to do or encouraging him.  Being MD is a type of mind-based handicap.
  • Symbiotic Manager-Dependent (SMD) – A manager dependent person who realizes and embraces his need for a manager.  The SMD person welcomes encouragement and direction from his manager and will perceive the relationship as a win-win.
  • Adversarial Manager-Dependent (AMD) – A manager dependent person who is unable or unwilling to fully accept his need for a manager.  The AMD person may only begrudgingly accept direction from the manager and may perceive the relationship as a win-lose struggle in which the manager is making unkind or unnecessary intrusions.
  • Self-Control-Ability Profile (SCP) – An individual’s self-starter-ness “setting” is usually a mixture between the SS/SMD/AMD extremes for any specific task.   And the exact mixture tends to change for each of the different possible tasks that a person can face. So the SCP is a way of looking at a particular individual’s landscape of self-starter-ness settings for each of the tasks across the full spectrum of all possible tasks that he may face in life.

What is a Self-Starter?

I remember my first few experiences, many years ago, with looking for a job.  I was fresh out of high school.  I got a local newspaper and I turned to the Help-Wanted ads.  I remember seeing the phrase “must be a self-starter” in some of the ads.  That kind of scared me, because I thought to myself that I was probably not a self-starter.  So what is a self-starter?

A Self-Starter (SS) is an informal term for a person who “begins work or undertakes a project on his own initiative without needing to be told or encouraged to do so.”  People with this trait are generally successful when it comes to becoming self-supporting because they keep on looking for work and they keep on studying to improve their job skills.

3KOS Chart SS 30w

So, is everyone a self-starter?  Or just some people?

Not everyone is a self-starter.  This is easy to demonstrate.  The newspaper ads asked, specifically, for self-starters.  Now, lets suppose for a minute that everybody was already equal in terms of their “self-starter-ness”.  If that were the case, then why would the ads ask for that kind of a quality?  Not everyone is a self-starter.

What is the opposite of being a Self-Starter?

A Manager Dependent (MD) person is someone who is not a Self-Starter.  Being MD is a type of handicap.  It is as if the self-direction instinct in the MD person’s mind is faulty. Ironically, a MD person might be successful at completing a certain project when his manager is telling him to do it – but un-successful at getting himself to do the same task when it is he, himself who is initiating the project.

In real life, an individual will never completely fit into one extreme or the other (i.e., being a SS or MD).   Also, the answer will, most likely, change depending upon the specific task that is being considered.   Since someone could be a SS in a task that they enjoy (like going to the ball game), but MD in a task that they don’t care for (like looking for a job).

Another way to look at this is to think of leaders and followers.  The leader is closer to being a SS, while a follower is closer to being MD.  These are well-known personality types.

Symbiotic or Adversarial?

There are two kinds of Manager Dependent people.  The difference has to do with the degree to which the individual embraces or rejects their relationship with the manager.

A Symbiotic Manager Dependent (SMD) person is someone who recognizes and accepts the extent of their MD handicap, and looks for ways to constructively deal with it.  Using the “constructive” approach means that the SMD person seeks out and welcomes (that is key) a manager.  Of course this can be very difficult to do – partly because it requires on-going humility.

3KOS Chart SMD 30w

An Adversarial Manager Dependent (AMD) person is someone who is MD but who, for one reason or another, cannot constructively work together with a manager.  The AMD may perceive the relationship with his manager as a boundary struggle in which the manager is unfairly encroaching on the AMD’s own decision making process and time-table.

3KOS Chart AMD 31w

There could be many different reasons that explain why a person’s Manager Dependence becomes Adversarial. We will take a look at two cases.

I don’t really need a manager

When someone suffers from dementia, part of the patient’s “disability landscape” is that they also intermittently forget that they have  dementia. Therefore, when the patient’s caregiver performs a legitimate act of care, the dementia patient may perceive the needed service as an aggressive and unnecessary intrusion.

Although dementia normally only strikes a person in old age, there are several early age illnesses (for example, alcoholism) which have a similar feature – in that the sufferer tends to forget that he has the condition in question.  And this stage of “forgetting” can work out to be an important link in driving the downward spiral of the disease process.

Similarly, the handicap of Manager Dependence is sometimes aggravated by the sufferer’s inability to remember that he himself is someone who often fails to achieve satisfactory career results (satisfactory to himself) unless he is being served by a manager.  Just as in the case of the elderly dementia patient, the result is going to be that the MD person  may perceive the manager’s legitimate act of care (which is the management function) as an aggressive and unnecessary intrusion.

I need a manager – but this one is a jerk

In fairness to AMD people, managers do tend to make mistakes in the frequency and intensity of their feedback, encouragement and discipline.  Part of these mistakes could be chalked up to human error.  But part of these “mistakes” are also sometimes due to willful self-indulgence on the part of managers – just because they like to be bossy.

In any case, whether the origin of the AMD’s friction with his manager is accidental or willful (on the part of the manager) or willful (on the part of the AMD) the relationship is going to be strained.  But since the AMD needs the relationship to work for him (in order to deal with his self-control handicap), that strain means that there will be a weaker than needed handicap-compensation.  In the long-run that will mean that there will be a drop in the AMD’s overall well-being.

The dilemma of the Adversarial Manager Dependent

A person who is a SS will, most likely, be fine in the long run.  He will continue to keep looking for ways to become self-supporting.  Generally speaking, people who keep on trying will become successful in their endeavors.

And a person who is SMD will also probably be fine.  He knows that he has a serious handicap in the area of keeping-himself-on-track with his career efforts, so he will actively look for a boss or a friend or a family member to provide him with the encouragement and direction that he needs. Because he is self-aware of his weakness in the area of self-direction, he will welcome (and that is key) the encouragement and direction when it comes, rather than rejecting it as an unnecessary intrusion.

But what about the AMD fellow?  He has a real problem.  He will find it very difficult to work under a manager, because he does not recognize and fully embrace the implications of his need for the manager.  But he will recognize the unpleasant pushiness of the manager.   Because of this dilemma, an AMD person will probably find himself at a significant long-term disadvantage when it comes to his career and finances.


So how can we tell if a person is a Self-Starter or not?   And if someone is not a SS, then how can we tell if they are closer to SMD or AMD?

Also, the answer will probably vary depending upon the specific area of life that is being considered.  So, for example, someone might be a SS in the area of “going to the gym”, but SMD in the area of “working at a job” (which they already have), and AMD in the area of “studying to improve work skills” (in order to follow their dream to get a better job.)

An individual’s Self-Control-Ability Profile (SCP) is a way of describing  the self-perception that there is a variation between the SS and SMD and AMD extremes which also depends on the area of life-task in question.  (Exploring the idea of the SCP will be the subject of a future article.)

In any case, as far as Get Help Get Active is concerned, we skip this problem (of trying to decide who is a SS versus who is MD) and just invite each person to decide for themselves where they fit in.

 Get Help and Get Active

Are you a Self-Starter?  If so, then you will most likely become successful in your education and career.  That is because you are able to motivate yourself to keep on keeping on.

But what if you find yourself closer to the Manager Dependent category?  Being MD is similar to having a mind-based handicap.  When a person has a handicap it makes sense to recognize it for what it is and to look for a constructive work-around.

For a MD person, the “constructive work-around” is to seek out and welcome the services of a manager.  That kind of a win-win approach describes the SMD person.  Alternatively, the AMD’s approach is to reject the manager’s direction as an unnecessary intrusion.

Are you AMD?   Free and confidential help is available.  You will never have to pay anything. You can even get some cash  just for trying out our service.

Get help and get active!

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177 Responses to Three Kinds Of Starters

  1. PAL says:

    Questions For Discussion

    Please print out these questions and write in your answers by hand with a pen. The “right” answer is just the truthful answer, as nearly as you, yourself, personally see things. If you feel that any question does not apply in your case, then that is fine, but please just write about why you think that the question is not appropriate for your situation. Then bring the printout (with your hand-written answers) to your next meeting with your Accountability Partner.

    1. What does the term “Self-Starter” mean to me?
    2. Am I a Self-Starter in some ways? What are some examples?
    3. What does the term “Manager Dependent” mean?
    4. Am I a Manager Dependent in some ways? Please give examples.
    5. What is the difference between Symbiotic Manager Dependence and Adversarial Manager Dependence?
    6. Are there some ways in which I am Symbiotic Manager Dependent?
    7. Are there some ways in which I am Adversarial Manager Dependent?
    8. Has my Adversarial Manager Dependence affected my career? How?
    9. What kind of manager would I be willing to take guidance from?
  2. 20B says:

    Working, Selling and Learning

    There are three top areas of development which are needed to get out of poverty and be successful in a career: Working on the job, Networking to make job connections & Personal Development (which includes learning new skills, physical exercise, diet, balance in life and all other forms of basic self-care.)

    Working, Selling and Learning – a MD person may need a Manager in each of these three areas. Importantly, the Working manager cannot be trusted to also manage the Selling and Learning areas – since he will probably have cross-purposes from those of his employee. So a “pure” MD will need (at least) two managers. One for Working and one for Networking + Learning.

    This reminds me of the old saying: “Behind every great man is a great woman.” Perhaps the “great woman” is the behind-the-scenes manager in the Networking + Personal-Development areas?

  3. 20B says:

    Create nine charts – each 3 x 3 to illustrate the fact that there are different combos in which a single person can be SS/SMD/AMD in the three areas of career exertion: working, selling and learning. Excellent Idea!!!

  4. 20B says:

    It’s rare that we need to be taught anything new, but it’s common that we need to be reminded of the things that we already know.

    That wld make a nice call out box. To replace “self diagnosis” block?

  5. 20B says:

    Approaching An Issue At The Wrong Layer

    Sometimes ppl try to solve a problem by approaching it at the wrong layer or the wrong level of complexity. For example, the world is full of ppl who go to doctors trying to find a pill to fix their difficult to diagnose health issues, when the real solution may be as simple as changing their diet to cut out the obviously unhealthy junk foods.

  6. PAL says:

    Misc Ideas

    • In the real world, no one will be strictly SS or SMD or AMD.  But these are, nonetheless useful points of view to talk about.
    • PAL is here for the AMD who want to make the transition to SMD or SS.
    • Investigating the pros and cons of the Accountability Partner model.
    • The best case scenario that the AMD person came hope for will be a begrudging acceptance of the manager.   The worst case will be a person who swings between poverty and unemployment & back – bcz he is unable to be served by a manager.
    • fully realize versus partially realize
    • finding a symbiotic manager – only on the job or a life manager?  Wife?
    • The difficulty of striking a happy medium between freedom and being managed.
    • The freedom/management line will vary – a lot of judgement call.
    • The fact that the line is difficult to draw does not mean that there is not a line.  People may be inclined to rely on the difficulty in selecting a manager and the difficulty in being a manager (whether career or life) as a reason to abandon the relationship. Psych pts may need to try several diff types of meds before find the right balance.
    • Prevalence of MD is a function of human socialization?  Since non-harvest-sharing animals cannot afford to be MD because they will starve to death.
    • Is learned helplessness as a form of MD?
    • You cannot rely on the job-manager to be a life-manager.  In fact, he may be positively not what you need.  He may even have an incentive to see you fail in non-work areas. The Scope Of Management.
    • My personal experience with the AMD to SMD struggles as a MD person.
    • The similarity with coming to terms with mental illness – pride, shame, moral weakness versus physical disability
    • There are actually very few people that fully fall into the SMD category.  Many people accept (grudgingly) the guidance and direction from a manager.
  7. PAL says:

    Pride Versus A 15% Improvement

    For a while now I have thought of myself as SMD, but I am coming to think that there is a lot of AMD in me. Because if I really were SMD, then, when these long blank spots come up, I would be reaching out to my Accountability Friend for guidance and cheer. So I might be calling for help every hour or so. Or more like comfort the disturbed and disturb the comforted?

    Yes, yes, I think that that is it. I secretly hate my participation in the AP relationship. Secretly I am saying to myself … “Okay, I’ll go along with this charade – just so as I can practice helping other people by pretending to be an AP. But I don’t need it myself. It is actually really offensive to me just to countenance the suggestion. But I’m a good actor, so it wont be difficult for me to play along.” PRIDE fuels that.

    And it makes sense in a way, too, because I have been a SS in many areas. Although, I suppose that, since I have been working with the AP, that my SS-ness has been largely “helped-along” by the threat of humiliation (and the promise of a rewarding positive feedback) when I give my daily report. But I am telling myself, that I cannot count that threat of humiliation and promise of reward against my self-appraisal as a sincere SS because that would mean that everything that I am doing is being “helped-along by the threat of humiliation” … and that would be absurd, because I was already doing fairly okay with my ADL’s even before I started the AP relationship …

    But that thinking requires purposefully overlooking the 15% improvement on my daily goals that I have noticed, since I started working with the AP.

  8. 20B says:

    What Causes Laziness?

    I think I just figured out what causes laziness. It is the untreated mind illness of AMD. Caused by pride and fear of work and some confusion about where I actually fit in on the SS-SMD-AMD spectrum for the area in life in which I am experiencing laziness. This explains why I vaguely recall that it began around my high school years – because I was unsmoothly extracting myself from being obedient to my parents and moving toward the exhilaration of self-direction. I didn’t want to have anybody telling me what to do. And in the end I got my wish. Nobody could tell me what to do. Not even myself. Hence I began to be a self-hating lazy person, hating myself for my own unwillingness to work.

  9. 20B says:

    Why Do People Reject Offers Of Encouragement?

    Maybe it makes sense sometimes. Especially if grieving is appropriate – as for example at a funereal. And then, in the more general case, maybe it still makes sense to reject encouragement sometimes because if you have too much of a positive expectation, then you are setting yourself up for dis-couragement. On the other hand there is also a definite phenomenon of a psychological sickness which is the urgency to see things in a negative light.

    This reminds me of the kind of person that they choose to be a military leader. They look for people with a good sense of humor who will work to perceive their environment in terms of hopefulness – rather than hopelessness. People who are not going to be susceptible to a psychological attack – whether it originates from themselves or from their enemies.

  10. 20B says:

    Humble yourself enough to take advantage of the healing community. Where part of the benefit of the HC is the direction and guidance that a manager can give. Another part is the encouragement that comes from the HC. That’s the take-home that I get from reading this article and coming to grips with the fact that I have a lot of AMD in my life.

  11. 20B says:


    There could be many different reasons that explain why a person’s Manager Dependence becomes Adversarial. We will take a look at two cases

    The Manager Is A Hypocrite. Really any imperfection will do when an AMD is looking for a reason to reject a manager on the grounds of hypocrisy. A person who smokes advising you to stop smoking. A lazy person advising you to be a better worker.

  12. 20B says:

    You might think that being MD is not really a handicap. But that may be because you are thinking of someone who is midway between being a SS and MD. in fact that is where pretty much everyone is – a mixture of MD and SS. So, in that sense, the MD-SS mix person will often be able to summon the willpower to enable himself to perform a task. The handicap-ishness of MD only reveals itself in those cases in which the MD-SS mix is far enough towards the MD side of the spectrum that the individual becomes unable to blast through and perform the task that he wishes to perform. (For example, the person who really does want to get off his couch and go for a walk – but he finds himself mysteriously glued to his seat until a friend calls and invites our wanting-to-walk-but-unable-to-do-so friend to join him for a walk.)

  13. 20B says:

    The Self Controlability Profile

    The criteria is reasonableness. To determine if I can control myself or not. So reasonable goals combined with reasonable dedication should, all else being equal, result in a successful outcome. Assuming that the individual is in control of their own bodies and minds.

    So, for example, eight hours a day of work. That means means enduring a reasonable degree of frustration and delayed gratification in pursuit of a greater goal. But of course many people cannot do that unless there is someone helping them by converting the payoff horizon. So, in those cases, it seems like it would makes sense to rate the individual’s SCP (in that area) as compromised – or even useless.

    • 20B says:

      That is what a manager does! They convert the payoff horizon by refocusing your attention and reframing your self-direction via OBM (Obey The Boss-Man Mode).

    • deskman says:

      This is so profoundly true! “Assuming that the individual is in control of their own bodies and minds … [the ability to endure] a reasonable degree of frustration … But of course many people cannot do that unless there is someone helping them by converting the payoff horizon. So, in those cases, it seems like it would makes sense to rate the individual’s SCP (in that area) as compromised – or even useless.”

    • deskman says:

      Converting The Payoff Horizon – this article is a must!

    • PAL says:

      How I Spend My Time

      The SCP revolves around the difference between:

      How I can and would like to spend my time, versus
      How I actually spend my time.

      Graph: That could easily be put into a graph. For example, showing the RSE tasks that I would be assigning to an employee if they were running my life for me.

      • Yes – 24 hours a day – 12 hrs sleep vs 8, 4 hours tv vs 0.5, 0 hours exercise vs 1, 2 hours work vs 8, and for other less pressing responsibilities – weekly or monthly efforts. So if you are not tracking your own reasonable goals then the diff is the SCP.

  14. 20B says:

    MD is the sense in which it is an illness. AMD is the sense in which it is a sin.

  15. 20B says:

    Cut this:

    Are you a Self-Starter?  If so, then you will most likely become successful in your education and career.  That is because you are able to motivate yourself to keep on keeping on.

    But what if you find yourself closer to the Manager Dependent category?  Being MD is similar to having a mind-based handicap.  When a person has a handicap it makes sense to recognize it for what it is and to look for a constructive work-around.

    For a MD person, the “constructive work-around” is to seek out and welcome the services of a manager.  That kind of a win-win approach describes the SMD person.  Alternatively, the AMD’s approach is to reject the manager’s direction as an unnecessary intrusion.

  16. 20B says:

    The Actionable Take Home For AMD Sufferers

    Understanding AMD is nice bcz it changes the landscape of the problem. As I understand it, the new form of my own sloth problem is that I need to:

    1. Realize that, on my own, I will definitely not be able to accomplish the task in question – because I suffer from the handicap of MD in this particular area.
    2. Make sure that I actually want the to do the thing in question (that is not particularly difficult).
    3. Find a manager who
      1. Also wants me to accomplish that goal and
      2. To whom I am willing to submit myself to, then
    4. Let the manager manage.

    I think that the problem will be 3.2. – the humility problem. But, by focusing on 1., it will make 3.2. more palatable.

    This is kind of a wonderful revelation! I always had kind of felt like there was something wrong with me – and there is! But it’s not laziness necessarily – rather it is untreated AMD – which is energized by pride and shame (to refuse to seek and embrace the help of the manager.)

    Point 1 needs to be changed to reflect my position on the SS-MD spectrum for the particular area of my SCP (Self Controlability Profile) in question. The closer I am to the MD side, the more difficult will be the internal experience of self-initiated work in that box of the SCP. Unfortunately, though, there is no externally visible difference when I attempt the task – in comparison with someone else (closer to the SS end) who attempts the same task – so there may be a frustrating confusion about why *he* can do it but I can’t. The difference has to do with the underlying setting of the SS-MD state for that box.

    That is so true. And unfair. So it makes it seem like a person who suffers from MD must humble himself more than a SD. At least if he wants to get the get.

  17. 20B says:

    Use Cooperative MD (CMD) rather than SMD.

  18. PAL says:

    AMD Marketing Idea for PAL

    How about an ad asking for people who self-identify as AMD? Directed towards students – or prospective job seekers?

  19. 20B says:


    nother way to look at this is to think of leaders and followers.  The leader is closer to being a SS, while a follower is closer to being MD.  These are well-known personality types

    Change SMD to cooperative MD CMD.

  20. PAL says:

    The Self-Controlability Profile 2

    In life we are faced with many different responsibilities. Some of these tasks are things that we find ourselves naturally inclined to do without any urging from others. For example, most people like to eat and sleep, so they do not need to be told or encouraged to eat and sleep. In these areas, most folks are Self-Starters.

    In other areas, some individuals are naturally inclined to take action, while other individuals are less inclined to take action. For example, some people are real go-getters when it comes to looking for a job. Thus, they are self-starters. Others will only look for a job if they are told or encouraged to do so. These people are closer to being manager-dependent.

    It is important to clarify that some life tasks are optional and some are necessary. The old joke is that “death and taxes” are necessary. Alternatively, going on vacation and learning how to water-paint are optional.

    So, whether something is optional or necessary is nice to know, but it is kind of irrelevant to the idea of the definition of the SCP. The SCP is just a way of perceiving the landscape of a given individual’s natural mixture of SS/SMD/AMD for each of the possible tasks that we face in life – including both optional and necessary tasks.

    What is a Self-Starter?

    A SS is a person for whom the instinct to provide a certain exertion level at a certain time/place/manner just happens to equal the effort that is needed to exactly match the responsibility in question. (Or, at least, in case of any mismatch, the force of will of the individual is sufficient to fill in the gaps.)

    An Exact Match and an Odd Coincidence

    Why should an individual’s natural impulses (to breathe, eat, work, drink, have sex) just coincidentally exactly match what is needed by the individual’s responsibility profile? If there were an exact match, then I would think that that would be kind of an odd coincidence.

    And if there is not an exact match, then it makes sense that there will have to be a counter-intuitive struggle within the person that they must put up with in order to force themselves to get to the right exertion level at the right time/place/manner to fulfill each of their responsibilities. It sounds tiring.

    The next graphic shows a person’s willpower adding in some extra force to adjust the aim of the Unconscious Instinct. (The willpower says to the UI: “Grrr … why do I always have to clean up after you?!”) And this same process of “adding in willpower to adjust the aim” needs to be repeated for each of our responsibilities. So, if your set of UI’s do a good enough job, then you can kind of “take it easy.” But if your set of UI’s are misconfigured, then you will need to add in a lot of extra effort if you want to finally straighten things out.

    Combine with: Our Beliefs and Instincts do the Heavy Lifting.

    • As u expose your mind to the manager u become a kind of zombie and the managers mind takes over your body. That is what marketing does.

    • Two Kinds of Profiles

      The Responsibility Profile (RP) versus the Self-Controlability Profile SCP. The reason that they are different has to do with the difference between our natural inclinations (in which our instincts do all of the heavy lifting) and the extent to which our force of Will Power fine-tunes the instinctual work. RP(r) – SCP(r) = SS/SMD/AMD(r)

      SMD people have the mentality of slaves (although it is adaptive and successful.). AMD people have the same slave-like mentality but it is non-adaptive to the MD handicap.


      NOTE: Rework this to include Natural Inclination Profile (NIP):
      RP(r) – NIP(r) + SCP(r) = SS/SMD/AMD(r). (?) But perhaps it should include pride, dementia and lack of self-reflectiveness?

      Why should the things that I want to do just happen to match up with the things that I need to do? That is what would be an odd coincidence. SCP & Responsibility Profile & Natural Inclination Profile. The consumption of food is a great example of this. I.E., what food do I want to eat and how much?

    • A Single Voluntary Choice

      When you join the service you make a single Voluntary Choice to Submit (VCS) yourself to a manager, permanently. For some people (according to their own self-appraisal) the choice to join the Army is driven by a despair at not being able to stay on the Self-Starter (SS) track long enough to establish oneself in a career. And it works out well, in a way, because the Army makes sure that you stay in the Symbiotic Manager-Dependence (SMD) zone. (Some lucky people even make it to the SS zone – although even they probably do slide off course sometimes – at which point the Army nudges them back towards the SMD zone.)

      Once-and-Done vs Over-and-Over

      Alternatively, when you get out of the Army, you can still make a single VCS yourself to a manager – but unlike the once-and-done character of the join-the-Army VCS, your civilian VCS cannot self-perpetuate beyond the original single VCS. So you have to make it over and over more or less continuously. And that is what we call freedom!

      The Freedom to Give Up Freedom

      Unfortunately freedom doesn’t work very well for people who suffer from Manager Dependence (MD). So the MD victim finds himself in a new type of despair in which he cycles back and forth between making a VCS and then unmaking it, over and over. (That cycling could be illustrated in a diagram.) Eventually he cruelly realizes that he does not have the ability to make a real VCS and he may, therefore, wish to return to a life of forced SMD. But that is not legal – because our society has determined (a priori) that freedom is such a good thing to have, that we refuse to allow a person to exercise his freedom by giving up his freedom (unless it means self-commitment to a mental hospital.)

      So the only two cases in which we actually do allow a person to exercise his freedom to give up his freedom are in 1) Joining the military and 2) Self-commitment to a behavioral health hospital. (Interesting grouping there, wouldn’t you say?) Or are there others? Maybe that list should also include 3) Getting married and 4) Borrowing money. And of course everyone is always free to 5) Purposefully commit crimes in order to be committed to prison by the police. So actually there are really several ways in which we can exercise our freedom in such a way that we loose our freedom.

      A Structured Loss of Freedom

      But there is no clear way to structure the loss of freedom in the way that you personally would like. For example, there is no easy way for a person to give up the freedom to over-eat (say under penalty of imprisonment) while still retaining their freedom of association and movement.

      A Possible Work Around

      Get Help Get Active looks for people who can voluntarily describe themselves in this way:

      I am struggling financially. In my own opinion, part of the root problem is that I have a habit of low self-exertion. I tend to give up too easily when it comes to either working, or looking for work, or studying to improve my career skills. I want to change, but it seems really difficult.

      • The single VCS vs multiple VCS would make a nice graph for WASMV Homeless?

      • PAL says:

        Graphic: Actually there are many ways to exercise your freedom to give up your freedom. This happens because of the principle that “taking advantage of one opportunity opens up multiple new opportunities”. Conversely, not taking advantage of opportunities eliminates the future opportunities that would have been created had you taken advantage of the first opportunity. The cascading future opportunities could be positive or negative in nature. For example, studying and doing your homework opens up a wider range of career opportunities. If you get A’s in high school, you can readily become a street sweeper or a doctor. But if you get F’s, then you can only readily become a street sweeper. The illustration reminds me of convolution (which is the time integral of a function.) On the negative side, by choosing to associate with drug users, a person creates a wider range of opportunities to use drugs. So, the five examples that you gave before need to take this concept into account. This is similar to following a specific leg of a fractal. Or a branching structure in which each decision point causes you to enter a new Field of (unchangeable) Environment + Decision Points (FEDP). The problem with the illustration is that it becomes exponentially vast at each decision point. And there seems to still be a lot of overlap between all of the different FEDP regardless of which Decision Point (DP) you take. But that is a bit of an illusion since it does not take into account the single direction (forward) of time. This reminds me of the song “Yes there are two roads you can go by, but in the long run, there’s still time to change the road your on.” In reality each DP irrevocably moves you into a new FEDP. [Note that this current paragraph focuses on the creative aspect of opportunity creation (which takes effort), but, I think that the broader comment focuses on the destructive aspect of opportunity creation – as in the case of the five examples.]

        Unfortunately, though, these examples only address the Freedom-to-give-up-Freedom is an extremely broad-brush way, rather than the narrowly-focused way that most people would prefer to have (like the person who wants to force himself to stop his overeating.)

      • PAL says:

        Am I Rich or Poor?

        How can a person tell if he, himself, is actually, indeed “struggling financially” or if he, himself, just thinks that he is struggling financially (when in reality he is not)?

    • PAL says:

      Responsibility 24/7/365

      Do we each have a responsibility (perhaps to ourselves) to rest and relax and play, i.e., down-time? The problem is that this self-responsibility could make it seem like life is one big responsibility after another. Which, if you perceive it that way, could be psychologically debilitating. Perhaps the resolution is to realize a further meta-responsibility, to spend as long as it takes (without purposefully dragging my feet) to make the decisions as to what responsibility is next on my list.

      One way to avoid getting sucked into the psychological debilitation trap of perceiving life as one responsibility after another is to think of that perception as an avatar. In other words, there are many seemingly different ways of perceiving the same truth about the big picture of life. We could equally correctly say: Its all about Love. Or: Its all about Money. Or: Its all about Power. Or: Sex, Math, Fields, Instincts, Greed, etc, etc. Or, for that matter, we could say that our perception of life is, itself, all about Perception itself.

      Hopefully that will help to ease your mind.

    • Anonymous says:

      The Meta-Responsibility

      Are most people responsible or irresponsible? Many ppl are irresponsible. Are irresponsible people typically responsible enough that they know the exact areas and the exact degree as to which they are irresponsible? No they are not. Typically, they don’t like to think about it. It takes a lot of effort to think about that question. It is the meta-responsibility: The responsibility to determine what my responsibilities are and to correct those areas in which I am failing to meet my responsibilities.

    • Anonymous says:

      Cartoon for SCP – outline of a naked man in a circle a la Leonardo (The Vitruvian Man). The body is split up into a prism-like fan of sections. Each section represents a certain responsibility. The length or shortness of each prism slice (as compared to the outer contour of the body) represents the natural inclination to action or inaction to address the given responsibility. Hence a slice which exactly matches the contour requires no Counter-intuitive Struggle (CIS) effort on the part of the person either to reach or to avoid exceeding the given responsibility. Ideally our instinctual desires would exactly match the nature-needed limits, but that is sometimes not the case. But it usually IS the case. We only take notice when the need for the CIS becomes distressingly obvious. Almost all cases, though, are taken care of precisely by nature. Hence, we breathe, pump blood, drink water, experience sexual responsiveness and digest food with NO PERCEPTION OF EFFORT. (Although each of these activities actually requires a good deal of effort.)

    • Anonymous says:

      Graphic: a heart in the center of a circle. Radiating out from the heart are 10 responsibilities that the individual senses within themselves for one single day to form a circle of the self-perception of responsibility. (Each of the ten either exactly match or under reach or overreach the required responsibility – in which case a counterintuitive struggle must fill the gap or suppress the urge.)

      Mow lawn even though it is hot out (desire under loads), don’t punch brother-in-law in the face (under loads), work on three job applications (under loads), only three hours of video games (under), wash dishes, eat breakfast lunch and dinner (this desire exceeds)

    • Anonymous says:

      An overwhelming set of critical responsibilities OSCR means some stuff gets left undone. Versus plain old dereliction of duty? Or delinquency?

    • Anonymous says:

      Dieting is an example of the SCP and a counterintuitive struggle.

      What are the different kinds of responsibility? Self-to-self, self to other, other to self, other to same other and other to non-same other.

      Dieting is an example of self to self responsibility. But maybe also self to other?

  21. 20B says:

    What causes poverty in the land of opportunity?

    Let’s rephrase the question: What causes ignorance in the land of knowledge? To which people might say: Well, that is exactly why we need free high speed Internet access for everyone. (As if to say that the reason that people are lacking in knowledge is that they do not have access to the Internet.). Well, if that reasoning is sound then how was it that people managed to self-educate prior to the advent of the Internet?

  22. 20B says:

    Why Do People Sometimes Reject Encouragement?

    Personally, I have rejected encouragement at many points in my own life. And, from hindsight, I can see how it would have been a much better choice to have accepted and embraced the encouragement that I rejected.

    One answer that a friend gave me:

    People need to have a mix between depression and pain (on the one hand) and exhilaration and happiness on the other. So, in that way it is natural to reject encouragement.

  23. 20B says:

    What are all the specific areas or task descriptions that a person is responsible for in life? Has that question ever been asked before? I am thinking that the answer would form the outline for the (pre-customized) SCP.

  24. 20B says:

    It is easy for an AMD sufferer to convince himself that he is, in fact, a SS when he is actually still just AMD or SMD. This happened to me at the end of my last college semester when I was “voluntarily” studying 4 hours a day. Of course though it was not at all voluntary bcz I was under the threat of shame if I did not do well on my finals.

    It is as if the AMD knows in a way that he really is MD – but it is just so very easy and seductive for him to reframe his perceptions differently such that he appears to be the good guy.

  25. Gamer says:

    Go from AMD to SMD is the process of accepting help that we all had to go through in early sobriety. Realizing that I would need to seek out and accept regular “nudges” to help me to stay on track. But once I agreed to take more suggestions, it began to work. I just accepted my place in the command hierarchy – which was *not* at the top.

  26. Gamer says:

    Obey-the-Boss-Man mode is a form of SMD. It reminds me of the idea of a zen state. There is no arguing or dissension. You just do what the boss tells you to do. Mentally, it is very freeing. And then you get the nice side-benefit that, at the end of the week, you get paid.

  27. Gamer says:

    Am I Satisfied With The Learning Efforts That I Made Today?

    Idea for accountability partners – add in a statement of 1) what did I learn today 2) am I satisfied with my learning efforts for today 3) what has my recent derivative of learning velocity looked like? IOW – have things been getting better or worse or no change recently.

    Similarly, I could ask myself if I am satisfied with the Networking efforts that I made today. Working, Selling and Learning. Am I living a balanced life?

  28. PAL says:

    Disbelief, Healthy Threat & Paralysis

    This is a way of looking at the three stages of dealing with a long-range problem. When it is still far off (time-wise), it can be dealt with through (1) Disbelief. And the Disbelief stage is very convenient for a person who dis-likes taking action since dis-believing means taking no action. Then, as it becomes closer, it can be perceived at the (2) Healthy Threat level – which means that the person will take appropriate action to prevent any bad outcomes. If nothing is done to counter the problem, then it will eventually get so close that the thinking may become: “Its too late for me to do anything about it now!” – so they may enter a fearful (3) Paralysis stage – again, with no action.

    A healthy person will have a long stage 2 in which they take appropriate action. But an unhealthy person may spend a long time in stage 1 and then a short visit to stage 2, then suddenly skip over into stage 3.

    Coincidentally, in the military, they want leaders who will will spend all of their efforts in stage 2 and refuse to enter stage 3 – no matter how desperate the situation looks.

  29. An Illustration

    There are two levels of work being done. One level is the decision to do the task. The second level is actually doing the task. The MD person does not have the wherewithal to achieve level one – or, possibly, just to stick with level two long enough to complete things. How to illustrate this? A flowchart. Level 2 may have multiple natural rest periods (each of which creates a possible failure bcz you need to restart). And between NRPs there may be a drop in enthusiasm in the MD person – or even a full-out stop / unscheduled break. (Again, possible failure points). So the flowchart would show that there is a (possibly) needed infusion of energy (from the manager) at each of the potential failure points.

  30. Humility and OBM

    There is a certain frame of mind in which I surrender my will over to the boss and just do the work that he gives me. And when I am in that frame I am not struggling with the questions of humility or humiliation. Those thots may occur early on when the job is first starting but they are not a factor once I break through to OBM (Obey the Boss Mode.)

    So the reason that this interests me is that I am currently being partially hobbled by my lack of humility which (I believe) is a good chunk of what keeps me in the AMD mindset. So I am wondering if I could derive some lesson from my successful experiences with OBM to assist me in moving from AMD towards SMD?

    • Re: H and OBM – perhaps a SMD person becomes a SS at the instant that he enters OBM? But it is artificial, of course. I mean due to the converted payoff horizon.

      BTW, when someone acts under torture or the threat of torture (as in the “stick” part of Army Basic Training) then is it really fair to describe their efforts as SMD? I think not. There is no (conscious) symbiotic component, as there is in the normal case of a 9-5 job with a weekly payday. Instead, the torturee is more of a SS within the artificial world that has been created for him.

      Perhaps the distinction is not really there?

    • Anonymous says:

      I Hate My Boss

      That is how %50 of ppl view things. So why do they keep working there? Because I want and need the money.

      Meanwhile the AP has the same dynamic (including the hatred?) but you do it because it creates the value that you need and want.

  31. A Drawing to illustrate the action of a manager in SMD and AMD – a worker must force energy from his mind through to his body. The manager must beam energy into the mind of the worker to keep the worker focused on his task and focused on his (possibly converted) payoff horizon. The SMD welcomes the work of the input from the manager. The AMD rejects it. The input from the manager could be as simple as focusing one’s mind on YEZ type thoughts – rather than needing to actually have a “real” manager.

  32. Georgina says:

    Well written article. However, I think it is difficult to label all the motivating factors that encourage individuals to learn and grow, or the other way around. All living things are in a constant state of change and what was yesterday may not hold true today.
    I think it would be challenging to research the possible motivating factors that encourage earthlings to change. I am guessing that basic needs take precedence over higher level skills and so forth.
    The Three Kinds Of Starters remind me of a way to define a subject matter, sort of like a label that might or might not be use permanently. However , are we not implying that change is not possible unless the definition meets the criteria?

  33. PAL says:

    An Inescapable Conclusion

    The key question is: “Am I a self-starter?” For people who answer “no”, it seems to be an inescapable conclusion that there is some kind of handicap going on.

  34. PAL says:

    Illustration Idea for the SS-MD Continuum

    There are three competitors each of which is trying to use a sledge hammer to ring a bell. This kind of a game is called a “high striker” and often shows up at carnivals and fairs. The high striker is exactly the same for each player, and it is set at the same tension level.

    The first player is a very muscular, very strong man. He easily rings the bell.

    The second player is a regular looking man. He is not a body builder. He tries to ring the bell but he is not quite able to do it. He is then psyched up by a sports coach. He tries again and he is able to ring the bell.

    The third player is a very weak and sick man. He is not able to ring the bell. The sports coach does his best to psych him up but he still cannot ring the bell. Then he keels over and an ambulance crew comes over to carry him away.

    This illustration shows how SS-to-MD is a continuum. The second player was dependent on the Manager in order to summon his strength sufficiently to ring the bell. In this sense he was SMD. Alternatively, if the second player would have psyched himself up – while rejecting the offer of help from the sports coach, then we might be correct in thinking of the second player as an AMD who was able to push himself into the SS category when he sufficiently summoned his mental and physical focus to allow himself to achieve the goal.

    In any case, though, we see how the first player is a good example of the SS ability. In that he did not have to put a lot of energy (of psyching himself up) into achieving the goal to use his strength to ring the bell. Similarly, a SS does not have to struggle against himself in order to just keep himself moving forward. Because he has a naturally occurring inner voice which keeps on telling him to move ahead at a reasonable rate.

  35. Two Kinds Of Responsibilities

    Externally Imposed and Internally Imposed. AMD is one of the three kinds of ways that people deal with these two kinds of responsibilities.

    Does everyone who has the capacity to meet their responsibilities actually meet them? No, of course not. There could be many causes for this.

    Many people who suffer from Adversarial Manager Dependence. It is one of the top causes of long-term poverty among generally able-minded and able-bodied adults in America.

  36. Buying And Selling A Worldview

    About marketing and the billions that are put into belief formation training. The marketers know that it will work (statistically). Yet, we perceive it as simply a boring reminder when we see or hear a commercial. Those who are brainwashed do not sense that they have been brainwashed. Political candidates. Policy views.

  37. PAL says:

    Fix: “specific task” should be “specific responsibility” for the SCP.

  38. PAL says:

    Three Kinds Of Delusion

    The three kinds are: Unconscious, Historical and Chronic. Unconscious Delusion is the kind of delusion in which a person does not realize or even suspect that he is deluding himself. This often occurs in young people. They have not yet had the experience of being able to look back on an earlier time in their lives and saying to themselves: From hindsight I can see that I was deluding myself …

    Historical Delusion is the phenomenon of self-recognition that an individual experiences when he looks back on an earlier point in his life and says to himself: “From hindsight I can see that I was, at that time, deluding myself.” But that is where it stops. In other words, the individual recognizes that he had previously been self-deluded, but he does not believe himself to currently be deluded.

    It is actually kind of rare that people reach the stage of Chronic Delusion. This stage occurs when the individual has passed through Historical Delusion several times, over several different topics. At a certain point, he begins to suspect that the HD experiences are actually part of a larger pattern – which is that he, himself is chronically prone to convincing himself of the truth of certain things in life and then realizing that his beliefs were actually mistaken.

    Chronic Delusion is kind of freeing in a way. Since the individual is no longer bound by the prideful insistence that he is right about everything. In this new state of mind he is free to question his fundamental beliefs – and follow the truth wherever it may lead.


  39. PAL says:

    Self-Confidence Versus Self-Exertion

    A procrastinator might have a lot of self-confidence that he will be able to finish all of his tasks at the last minute. But a procrastinator is not a self-exerter (at least until he has to.) PAL is looking for people who are low in the self-exertion category. So what is the difference between being low in Self-Confidence versus being low in Self-Exertion? Do people sometimes confuse these two? Certainly high self-exerters tend to have high self-confidence. Which is the cart and which is the horse? I think I could envision scenarios in which it goes both ways.

  40. PAL says:

    Graph Idea

    I am looking for a medical term. Could you help me? The term describes any disease process in which there is a primary disease symptom and for which there is a effective treatment – but the treatment (a medication) causes significant unpleasant side-effects. So, the patient decides (after the treatment is working well enough to remove the *primary* disease symptom) to stop taking the medication in order to avoid the unpleasant side-effects. The result is that the original condition eventually re-emerges (possibly requiring re-hospitalization), so the patient has to re-start the original medication. And then the whole aggravating process repeats itself over and over. I think that this happens quite commonly with psychiatric medications. Does anyone know of a name to describe this cyclical movement from illness to treatment to wellness to ending-the-medication and back to illness?

    The reason that I am looking for this term is that I am writing an article about the difference between people who are self-starters versus those who are manager dependent. So, some folks (who are manager dependent) might be able to live effective lives so long as they allow themselves to be “served” by a manager. But then, after a period of career success, they might come to view the manager’s work as an unnecessary intrusion (while forgetting that they are dependent on the manager.) Then, the manager dependent person might refuse to work with the manager – with the eventual result that the individual’s career could spiral down-ward. I am thinking that the service that the manager provides to a manager dependent person is similar, in that sense, to an effective medication which has an unpleasant side-effect.

    This could be turned into a nice graph – to chart 3 things over time: 1) compliance with the medication 2) intensity of the primary symptom and 3) intensity of the secondary symptom. Where: 1 = Making use of a manager, 2 = Success (really the pain of failure) in completing long-term projects and 3 = Aggravation of having to work with a manager.

  41. PAL says:

    What is Lost Efficiency Syndrome?

    Lost Efficiency Syndrome (LES) is the mindset of discouragement and the resulting reduction in effort to achieve one’s goals that follows a reduction in the efficiency with which one is able to achieve those goals. Most commonly, this occurs when a tool that was being used to reach those goals is suddenly no longer available.

    For example, now that computers are widely available, many students consider themselves to be handicapped in doing their homework if their computer/modem/printer is suddenly no longer working correctly. When such a machine failure occurs, many students consider that the reduction in efficiency (whereby their efforts were previously directed to complete their homework) is so great that the “sensible” thing for them to do is to give up on their schoolwork efforts until the tools can be repaired or replaced.

  42. Equal Efforts vs faith amplification tool to compare going to school vs home study.

    Country song idea:
    Each verse deals with some life obstacle and considerations of action steps that I could take to ameliorate situation. Then the chorus: but I would rather just sit here at the bar and be pissed off! So pass me another drink.

  43. When Does it Make Sense To Ask For Help?

    WSL within the RSE range and efficiently balanced at the boundaries of the CZ. Does this provide me with my needs? If no, then asking for help makes sense. Also it is important to distinguish between needs and wants. Do you need to own your own home?

  44. How To Measure Courage?

    Fear of death or injury. Moral studies. Can someone be morally misguided and still courageous? A discouraging environment may set the bar. Potential for error due to blind patriotic nationalism.

  45. Try Versus Do

    Yoga’s saying. Try applies to weight lifters struggling at their limits. For the main body of efforts it is do or not do. This could be a nice graph.

  46. PAL says:

    Where Did The Time Go?

    The way that I actually used the day – versus the way that a person who was approximately at Reasonable Self-Exertion would have used this day had they been in my shoes. AMD. A way to determine if I suffer from MBH-LSE or not.

  47. PAL says:

    The Self-Controlability Profile

    Give an example of SCP. Working selling learning and many sub categories. Red yellow green for AMD, SMD and SS.

  48. PAL says:

    PICTURE: 2 people holding hands and hopping over the word “PROBLEM” while looking over their shoulders and smiling.

    At the point: “In any case, as far as Get Help Get Active is concerned, we skip this problem (of trying to decide who is a SS versus who is MD) and just invite each person to decide for themselves where they fit in.”

  49. deskman says:

    Actions Flow Naturally From Beliefs

    When a belief is false, then it makes action very difficult to produce. Some beliefs are sick. Proof that some beliefs are sick.

  50. Is Everyone Equally Responsible?


  51. PAL says:

    Hindsight Is 20/20

    Lets assume that I wasted my day. Was my judgement regarding the worthwhileness of spending the day in “working on a long-term project” flawed at 8 AM? Or was my judgement of regret that I did not work during the day flawed at 8 PM? Either way, in one instance or the other it seems as though I regularly cycle through false beliefs about the worthwhileness of work. Intriguing case of mind blankness – intriguing partly because it is so regular.

    Graph idea: How we value our time: At all points other than the present moment we place high value on time. We judge our time as very valuable in the past (with regret) or in the future (with confidence) (likely unwarrented confidence). But at the present moment we tend to judge our time as unvaluable (in terms of “should I use this time to achieve some long-term goal?”)

    When does a group of people have the right to declare national independence? Per the UN?

  52. Practicing Confrontation

    The valuable skill of PC so as to be able to easily deal with real life situations without becoming emotionally compromised by anger / fear / shame etc. LG needed this in the MS work.

  53. Lack of self-control (LSC) versus Pride and Dementia (PAD)

    Spectrum of Starters

    SS —- AMD —- SMD

    The AMD cannot move to the personal effectiveness island of SS bcz of LSC and he cannot move to the PEI of SMD bcz of PAD. A diagram with arrows showing the AMD’s desired movement options and the opposing two forces from each PEI. SS on left is above water, AMD center is below water, SMD right is above water.

    Great great great diagram idea! And easy to make.

  54. One Paycheck Away From Homelessness

    Advocates for the homeless sometimes say that. But is it true? Are there some people who save and prepare for the future? Are there some people who do not? Are they both equally “one” paycheck away from homelessness?

  55. PAL says:

    RSE on the Boundaries of the Comfort Zone

    Here is the goal: Reasonable Self-Exertion (RSE) on certain boundaries of the comfort zone. Which certain boundaries? The boundaries for which a reasonable person would forecast Return On Investment (ROI) to be the highest in terms of meeting three types of goals. What are the three types of goals? The goals that meet the individual’s short-term, medium-term and long-term self-responsibilities (as listed in order of importance.) And that is what PAL is all about!

    This should be the Mission Statement of PAL.

  56. PAL says:

    Four Kinds of Personal Problems
    Self, Friend, Professional & Impossible

    Those that can be solved by the individual themselves. Those that can be solved with assistance from a friend. Those that can be solved with assistance from a professional person. Those that cannot be solved by any human being. Level 1, 2, 3 and 4.

    And I suppose there are also those problems that can be solved by a large group of friends (barn raising), a large group of professional people (police force) and problems that can be solved only by God. But the majority of the issues that we face in life come under the first classification of four kinds of personal problems. Also, these exceptional cases are probably just extensions of the first four cases. For example, to solve a problem that requires getting the help of a police force, usually all that an individual needs to do is to call 911.

    PAL Can Help

    PAL is here to help with a certain subset of the problems which can be solved via help from a non-professional friend. We won’t help you to move your furniture but we might be able to help you to move yourself.

    One way to look at problems that we encounter in life is to ask: “What kind of resources do I need in order to solve this problem?”

    A Chart of Combinations

    Create a chart showing all possible permutations of these four. For example, when a person does not have a physically strong friend, then they may need to pay a professional person to be able to move a large piece of furniture. Or a person who does not have wholesome, encouraging friends may need to hire a professional psychologist to help them to sort out issues which are things that could be resolved through discussion with a caring friend. At each level in the hierarchy from Self to Unsolvable, Self relies upon the guidance of the assisting person (really just friend or professional person) to help us to know when it would be appropriate to escalate to the next level. So it is important that the assisting person knows their limitations.

    A Special Class

    There is a special link in the flowchart which is: Do/Not-Do. It comes up in the case of things that are plainly doable. (BTW, this reminds me of Functional Selling.)

    The simplest case comes up when the solution is Self-Self. Sometimes people decline to take the Self-Self solution simply because they lack the impetus to move themselves. And this impetus could be supplied by an encouraging friend if Self would only allow/invite the healthy friend into their sphere of influence / decision-making input process.

    It is very important to recognize that there are two different Self-Self solutions at work (or not at work, ironically) in this case.

    The First Self-Self Solution is the objective “problem” at hand, i.e., “This sink full of dirty dishes is really bothering me. What can I do about it?”

    The Escalation Problem

    The Second Self-Self Solution is the escalation problem, i.e., “I know that the solution to my sink full of dirty dishes is for me to stick my hands in the water and wash them. But I see that within myself I do not have the extra umph to get up and do it. I believe that the natural umph in me is being blocked by my own MBH-LSE without any (serious) additional psychiatric or physiological illnesses. I could work to over-come my MBH-LSE through the ministrations of a Healthy, Encouraging Non-Professional (HENP) friend. I can access such a HENP friend by using my telephone which I have here with me right now. So the solution is for me to call my friend and ask for some encouragement.”

    So, in this case, the second Self-Self Solution contains the solution to the first. And the second solution will be implemented if the Self is healthy. But, if the Self is not healthy, then it will not be implemented. Which, in turn will leave the root cause of the first Self-Self Solution un-addressed. And that root problem will remain largely un-addressed even if the Self summons a great effort of inner energy to implement the first Self-Self solution. Because it will mean that future, similar wash-the-dishes problems will require a great effort of inner energy to solve. And most of the time we are unable to, regularly, summon that kind of great effort.

    So the likelihood is that, even if you wash the dishes this time, you will find that the dirty-dishes problem will, in the near future, once again rear it’s ugly head.

    The upshot is that, in order to be healthy, people need to have friends who are healthy.

    Cartoon Supplement Idea

    Who are you to presume that you could help me? A person has a deep-seated psychological problem. A healthy, encouraging non-professional friend might be able to help them – but it might make more sense to seek professional help. The friend knocks at the door. The sick person answers and says: Who are you to presume that you could help me?! (Angry, too.) So, in this case, the inference is being made by the sick person that the non-professional friend is believing himself to be able to help the sick person through a problem that really requires a professional – when, in reality, the non-professional friend may just be offering the services of a non-professional friend. But the friend is at a loss to prove his good intentions.

    Second panel: The sick person described above also needs help to move a couch in his living room. Someone rings the door bell. It is another person coming to offer to help. The sick person says: “Who are you to presume that you could help me?!” (Angry, too.) The answer is “I’m here to help you to move your couch.”


    Self, Friend, Professional, Impossible – these are the escalation levels needed to solve various types of problems. Lets call them Levels 1, 2, 3 and 4.

    So, for any given problem situation, there is the minimum level of help needed versus the level of help actually accessed (which may have been higher or lower than what was actually needed). There there is the question as to whether or not lower levels of help (below the minimum level of help needed) were or were not used to supplement the actual highest level of help accessed. Also, perhaps a given issue is such that an intermediate help level should not be accessed to supplement the higher level?


    Minimum Level Needed (MLN)
    Actual Level Accessed (ALA)
    Suitability of Lower Levels (SLL)
    Use of Lower Levels (ULL)

    Here are all possible combinations:

    (not too well developed from here on down …)

    1, 12, 2, 13, 123, 3,

    Self Friend Professional Impossible

  57. PAL says:

    Can physical exercise increase health? Of course. So lack of physical exercise causes health to be impacted negatively.

    Does everyone who has equal time and opportunity and ability to exercise, exercise with equal amounts of vigor? No, of course not. The difference has to do with personal choices that we make as individuals as to how we want to spend our time and whether or not we want to use our energy or not use it.

  58. PAL says:

    Eight Hours of Discouragement

    A reasonable baseline goal of what I will endure on a workday. Where the particular type of discouragement is that which results from applying RSE focusing on the area(s) of the Comfort Zone at which I have a reasonable belief that my efforts will be efficiently productive in terms of completing my top responsibilities with a judicious mix of near/medium/long-term payoff horizons.

    This Eight Hours of Discouragement (EHD) is the worse case scenario of what I would need to endure in a day in order to feel like I am pulling my weight. (Of course, this formulation assumes that I am sufficiently physically / psychiatrically / psychologically healthy in order to be able to put in an eight hour work day. So, for a person who only has the time/energy/health to reasonably put in a smaller amount of time, then the number would need to be adjusted downward as they see fit. As in all cases of PAL definitions, it is the individual themselves who makes the decisions as to what is reasonable.) (Notice that EHD does not include ADL’s.)

    This should be a top-level article.

    Two Kinds of Discouragement

    The two kinds are discouragement that is inflicted upon the individual from outside of himself and the discouragement that is inflicted upon the individual due to steps that he is actively taking. I suppose that the second kind should also be divided into two categories based on whether the steps that he is taking are reasonable steps or irrational steps. The laudable case is that in which the individual actively subjects himself to and endures discouragement due to his reasonable steps.

  59. When Are Labels Appropriate?

    Just some ideas:

    Not okay – Fat lazy messy alcoholic

    Ok- Felon, unchangeable characteristics, age. Plus good qualities that are choices and therefore not unchangeable – but the fact that they are good allows them to be suitable as labels.

    The core idea of the claim is that it is morally wrong to use an negative label when describing someone else. This is true even if the individual in question uses that label in their own self-description, because, to do so, would be affirming their negative self-image. But it is morally okay to use a label when describing someone else so long as the label is either neutral or positive.

    • I feel like you often do not address what I am actually saying when you respond to me. Rather, you address charicatures based on your belief that I am motivated by racism and sexism. Also at times you become intellectually territorial when you refuse to agree to the points that I make in my (intermediate) line of thinking (even when it is plainly correct and you yourself do indeed plainly agree). Rather you, at times, have withheld your assent lest it be “used against you” – as if to indicate that you cannot permit a single crack to appear in your opposition to me – and as if to indicate that we are struggling against one another rather than struggling with each others help to find the truth. This seems to be stubbornness. We should instead be working together from a platform of friendliness congeniality and a mutual belief in our respective goodwill and our willingness to entertain new ideas – even if they fly in the face of lifelong beliefs. Otherwise, how can we grow?

  60. Tiffany says:

    Is Everyone Equally Qualified To Self-Identify Their Own Mental State?

    Perhaps people are not, themselves qualified to be making the decision as go whether or not they themselves are “making an unhealthfully low effort to self-exert?”. But if that is true, then who is qualified to make that decision?

    Also, if people are not, themselves, qualified to affirm (or deny) the low self-effort assessment, then are they equally unqualified to affirm or deny any other kind of internal mental state? For example, to say “I am in love” or “I feel joyful” or “I am angry.”

    I believe that there really are such folks who are so disconnected with their own self-perception that, yes, it would be fair to say that they are unqualified to affirm or deny that they are, at a given moment, experiencing love or joy or laziness or any other mental state. But these people are the exception. Generally humans are able to at least roughly, correctly describe their own inner state of being – whether that state is good or bad, virtuous or unvirtuous, happy or sad.

    Service or Dis-service?

    Could PAL actually be doing a dis-service to someone by inviting them to self-determine their own Inner Mental State? For example, lets assume that the individual honestly assesses and believes that their own IMS is one of non-virtue. But, unbeknownst to the individual, their true motive for believing that their own IMS is one of non-virtue is that they want to have a friend to talk with – or someone to pay them for their time to talk about their own non-virtuous IMS. So, if that situation arises, then would the client be harmed by the self-affirmation (and PAL-affirmation) that the non-virtuous IMS is indeed characteristic of the person when, in reality, it is not?

    Regarding the Concept of Adversarial Manager Dependence

    Are you trying to impose an objective management framework over an elusive psychological problem?

  61. Tiffany says:

    You Will Thank Me Later

    Why do we forcibly discipline children but we let adults make their own (possibly bad) decisions? It is an attempt to balance human rights to self determination against the responsibility to care for someone who is disabled (where a child is like a partially disabled adult because their brain body and mind are not yet fully developed.). So the presumption is that, by the time you get to be 13 or 18 or 21 or 25 or 35 then you are suitable to be allowed by society to self-determine. Thus making your own mistakes and responsibly enjoying your own liberty. But these age cutoff points are just estimates. Since some people mature at different speeds. And some people never mature (they get a court appointed guardian). And some people mature in some areas but not in other areas. (This could make a nice diagram.).

    Others mature and then temporarily regress in one or more areas (commitment to a behavioral rehabilitation hospital.). There is not a lot of granularity in the phases between childhood dependence/submission and adult freedom. Maybe three levels? Five? Ten? And the regression process is very difficult. We as a society are really very irresponsible in helping folks who need to regress but are unwilling to ask for help in regressing.

    A lot of that adult child immaturity covers delayed gratification and self discipline for long term goals. The PAL process may take six months or a year. And along the way there will be many setbacks. This reminds me of WM’s theme about “growing up.”. The country is loaded with walking wounded adults.

    One way that we get people to mature is through shame. That probably works for some people. And some age groups / relationship dynamics. But at a certain point it becomes counterproductive. Hence, as adults many people often refuse to ask for help with things because of the perception that they will be mocked for asking for help! Which is exactly where I am at!

  62. I Need Help

    I need help in several areas but I am ashamed to ask for help because I perceive that I will be mocked – or that the “help” that I receive will be worse / more painful than I can currently stand.

  63. PAL says:

    AT LEAST DO SOMETHING! Say it over and over.

    This is a good mantra when you are stuck and just sitting there doing nothing.

  64. PAL says:

    Picture Idea:

    3 train tracks – one train stays on the tracks, one train stays on the tracks because it uses training wheels, and another train keeps running off the tracks and then slowly getting back on after alot of trouble.

  65. PAL says:

    I Really Can Move The Ball!

    Squishily wishily
    Hands in the sink
    Washing my dishilies
    Got me to think

    I don’t like to wash them
    When they’re crusty with crud
    And murky and musty
    And smelly and mud!

    I don’t like to feel
    How the water is cold
    And greasy and grimy
    And coated with mold!

    I like to wash dishes
    As soon as I eat
    So I can sit down in my
    Comfortable seat

    With napkins and forks
    And knives and spoons
    And a man knocking on the door
    With a lot of balloons

    Saying: “I have a delivery
    Just special for you
    Its a new day of living
    For you to do what you do!”
    I would ask and invite him
    To enter the door
    And walk to my kitchen
    And look at the floor

    And look at the sink
    With it’s sparkly shine
    And it looks that way
    Because it is mine!

    And the reason I give
    That I keep it this way
    It that it helps me to live
    At peace every day!

    Then I’d give him some coffee
    And a cookie to snack
    And then do a quick washy
    To put the cup back

    Back in my cupboard
    All nestled and snug
    With nary a crumb
    Or a wiggly bug!

    The cleaning and washing
    Was not a great pain
    I just used my fingers
    And my hands and my brain!

    And now that my home
    Is so tidy and all
    I think that, just for today,
    I really can move the ball!

  66. Tiffany says:

    How we can be conditioned to hate good ppl – envy and sloth?

  67. Tiffany says:

    Are You Taking Your Medicine?

    For many people, the answer is some kind of mix midway between PMA and affirmatively bad thinking.

  68. Tiffany says:

    What the heck? Why did you stop writing for the website? It seems like, after finishing SS/AMD/SMD, you rested on your laurels. AMD was 6+ months ago!!!

    You have tons of great ideas but you are not doing the footwork! That is unacceptable!

    And new good ideas are coming in every day – yet you do not do the do. :-(.

    Remember we are not looking at super human effort here – just RSE with OBM.

  69. Tiffany says:

    A New Type Of Disability?

    The inability to (at a reasonable hour) turn off the computer (or TV) and go to bed. And therefore unable to find and hold a job. Hence, disabled?

  70. PAL says:

    If You Pay Me, I’ll Do It

    There have been many times in my life in which, the tasks that I was putting off doing, were tasks that I would gladly have been willing to do if only there had been someone who would have offered to pay me to do the task. It’s as if I can see the value in my self-care efforts only when cash is at the stake.

  71. Chart comparing 3

    Most tasks require Extended Frustration Tolerance (EFT) (sometimes over a period of hours). At that point the task may be completed or, it may be that said EFT is followed by a rest period and then a return to the same (or similar) EFT. For example, earning a college degree.

    Depending on an individuals ability to voluntarily withstand EFT, he/she will be able to complete some tasks and unable to complete others.

    EFT periods become easier to endure when there is a clear PH and ROR. Nudges from a manager can also be very helpful. SMD accept these nudges while AMD reject them. Both SMD and AMD need the nudges (at least in the “need” sense that, by accepting the nudges they become able to complete the task.)

  72. Manager Dependence As A Politically Incorrect Concept

    The notion that anyone is constitutionally predisposed to be dependent on a manager is philosophically abhorrent for several reasons. We are all equal. Suggests a rational for forced labor.

  73. Freedom and Employment

    We are free here in America, right? But what about the case in which a person agrees to take a job? Is he still free? Somewhat, yes he is still free because he is free to quit. But in another sense he has traded his freedom for cash. In that sense, though, he is not free.

    So, if I am not free then what am I? What is the opposite of freedom? It is bondage. That sounds bad, but maybe, in the way it is practiced with employment it is okay.

  74. PAL says:

    There Is No Such Thing As A Stupid Question

    Or is there? When I hear people say that “there is no such thing as a stupid question”, a part of me feels compelled to prove them wrong. For example, if I put my mind to it, would it be possible to contrive a certifiably stupid question?

    A Help Board

    A “help board” is a website that lists questions and answers. Usually, all of the questions revolve around a certain topic. Anyone out there is internet land can log in to the website and post a question, and then, in response, anyone can log in and post a response. Responses are normally graded by the community by clicking on a thumbs up or a thumbs down icon. Using this method, knowledgeable question-answer-ers are publicly recognized & thanked for their help. Alternatively, question-answer-ers who get a lot of thumbs down and usually banned from posting further responses to questions. This way, the help board community forms a self-policing, self-cleaning system out of what might otherwise be a chaotic mess of anonymous replies.

    For example, if the topic of the help board is website design, then you could expect to find questions like “How can I change the background color on my website?” Usually, the questions are posted with more detail than that example, and a few specifics describing the efforts that the questioner has already made to solve the problem.


    Sometimes, the answer to a question is succinctly given as: RTFM. That stands for “Read the F**ing Manual.” When they first encounter the RTFM response, many questioners feel shocked and offended. There are two reasons that this happens.

    First, the internet community is unlike an in-person community. It becomes very easy to take the help for granted. We forget that the answer-ers are people too, and that they would like to use their time in, what they consider to be, a sensible way. So, if the answer-er senses that a questioner should be spending more time on their end by reading the manual, then they might resort to the RTFM answer.

    Secondly, (and here is the connection with Get Help Get Active), there is a tendency that some folks have to let other people do their thinking for them. (If you don’t think that this is true, then just consider the field of politics-oriented newscasts and the process by which people form their politically-oriented opinions.) For some folks, the “let other people do my thinking for me” tendency approaches absurdity in their slavish adherence to the guidance that they seek from their intellectual leaders.

    Perhaps “secondly” should be that people who are already reasonably exerting on the boundaries of their fear comfort-zones don’t need to worry about asking dumb questions because they have already done their homework. When a student comes to class and, as part of the teacher’s lecture, the student asks a question which was covered in the previous homework assignment (which the student knew about but he did not do), then does the teacher have a legitimate claim to say that the question is stupid? Or perhaps more appropriately that the question originates from a intellectual failure in the student? Is there an appropriate level of push-back in this case?

    So, if the answer-er senses that the questioner is lapsing into excessive “let other people do my thinking for me” mode, then, they might decide to respond with RTFM.

    Is RTFM Ever Really Justified?

    So, in the two scenarios that we just presented – is the RTFM answer justified? Certainly there is a nicer way to say it (perhaps just “RTM” without the “F”). But even in that milder form of the answer, the premise of the thinking of the answer-er is that the questioner has not made a reasonable effort to come up with the answer on his own. So, yes, perhaps in that sense, it really was a stupid question.

    I consider myself your friend and I desire to help you and be a blessing to you. But I also expect you to try to help yourself, too. So when you come to me with a request for help I think that it makes sense for me to ask myself: What is the ratio of time and energy that I should put into solving this problem for you to the time and energy that you should put into solving the problem for yourself?

    • Diagram Idea: in using a map with multiple decision points there are some effort required to think. So a teacher could point out the broad outline of the map, but it would b RTFM if u ask the teacher to do the footwork ofbasic decision making for u.

    • At a certain point in problem-solving research, the next step becomes clear. Yet there exists a certain type of personality for whom the preference is to slavishly appeal to a teacher for specific guidance. In such an instance, does the teacher have a legitimate gripe in that their expertise is being inefficiently used?

      Do Responsibilities Exist? Yes, but how to demonstrate that they do? The exact form is hard to state – except for the case of the law. But even there the law does not always exactly mirror responsibilty. It could even be that the actual responsibility is to directly *violate* the law.

    • The Ratio of Time and Energy

      How much Time & Energy (TE) should I spend to help you versus how much TE should you spend to help yourself? Balance scale. I am thinking that ratio should be 1:20? 1:10? 1:40? Many people do not want to experience the frustration that comes from self-help. Frustration tolerance. Example: Reading a basic computer book before asking someone else to fix things for you. The Help-Requester (HR) probably sees this ratio as varying by Zone Of Responsibility (ZOR). So the Question-Answer-er (QA) also has his ratios which also probably vary by ZOR. And these two disagree. And HR’s tend to lie about how much TE they have already put into trying to solve the problem on their own. There is also the question of who goes first in investing their time towards solving the problem. There are many HR who would like nothing more than to state the problem and allow the QA to do all of the work.

      • Anonymous says:

        Diagram showing how these ratios are high in infancy, low in childhood and very low in adulthood. But someone who is AMD would respond as if he is still in childhood or infancy!

    • PAL says:

      For each different Responsibility (R), there is a perception of the would-be charity recipient that his Time & Energy investment in addressing that responsibility is TE(R1), TE(R2).

      The would be Charity Recipient (CR) has these two questions to answer:
      CR-Act = How much TE do I believe that I have actually put into solving R on my own?
      CR-Shd = How much TE do I believe that I should have to put into it before receiving help?

      The would be Charity Giver (CG) has these two questions to answer:
      CG-Act = How much TE has CR actually put into solving R?
      CG-Shd = How much TE should CR put into solving R before receiving help?

    • Anonymous says:

      Is it a stupid question or a lazy question?

    • Anonymous says:

      Example suppose that the rule has been given do not play with matches now if a person as a follow-up question to the effect is it OK for me to play with a lighter when I am in a certain spot then the instructor would have would be justified in thinking that the student did not perform due diligence to spend a few minutes thinking about how his question was just a specific case of the earlier general rule – hence, while it was not a stupid question it was a lazy question

    • Dinner Party says:

      The connection with Pal is that people tend to become anchored in one of two untenable states. The high state is when a person refuses to think for themselves and simply ask others what to do. This is when RTFM might be the appropriate answer. The low state is when a person has been told RTF them so many times that they retreat into a shell. And I asked no questions. So, in both cases it would be appropriate for the person to read the manual. But in actuality, in either case do they actually read the manual! Hence, there will be an under development in their life in both cases. Pal can help to strike the balance by reminding a person to read the manual!

  75. PAL says:

    A Position of Strength

    Regarding the dynamic of asking someone for help in a certain area (without having first made a basic attempt to resolve and/or understand the issues underlying the need for help) – and then the requestee refuses to help – perhaps because they are disgusted with the requester due to what they perceive as the requester’s lack of basic preparation in asking for help. So the request for help was made from a Position of Weakness.

    Really, though, the requester was negotiating with the requestee to get the requestee’s help. So, when a negotiation is happening, each party brings what they have to the table. And “what they have” (or don’t have) constitutes a Position of Strength or a Position of Weakness. Each part sees or senses that in the opposing party and their decisions as to the proposed trade take into account the other’s Position of Strength or Weakness.

    And so it is with RTFM. If you ask for help from a Position of Weakness (really emotional weakness over your fear of learning about the topic in question on your own) then the opposing party (the requestee) senses that emotional weakness and may respond with non-cooperation which is driven, at least partly, by their feeling of disgust.

  76. PAL says:

    The Average Person Is Extremely Irresponsible

    The way to prove this is to ask people if they think that it is, in their own opinion, important that they study the details of political questions that they are called to vote on. The Average Person (AP) will say that, “Yes, it is extremely important for me to study the details of the questions and candidates that I am voting on.” Then, again, ask the same AP if, in their own opinion, they make a reasonable effort to fulfill this responsibility, and they will answer “No.” In fact, AP will probably admit to being woefully under focused on that area of life responsibility.

    You can then repeat the same process across a wide variety of questions, i.e.: Is it, in your own opinion, important for you to

    • stay in touch with your family,
    • eat healthy foods
    • be connected with the community,
    • push your brain to continue to study
    • exercise regularly,
    • get enough sleep, etc.

    Again, AP will answer “Yes, it is extremely important to me to invest my time and energy in each of these areas.” But then again, AP will sheepishly admit that he/she does not make more than a smattering of a feeble attempt to fulfill that responsibility.

    So we see that there exists a Principle in that AP is frequently Woefully Under-Performing (WUP) in Many (if not most or all) Areas of Responsibility (MAR). And this under-performance is (again focusing on the “average” of AP) not due to lack of time/energy/resources to fulfill the responsibilities in question.

    Sorry, But I’m Really Too Busy

    Next, lets explore the objection to the WUP-MAR principle which claims that AP does not have enough time/energy/resources to fulfill the responsibilities in question.

    What is the military principle called in which, in the face of an Overwhelming Set of Critical Responsibilities (OSCR), a leader is expected to optimize the effectiveness of his unit in dealing with those responsibilities? The “act of optimization” means that he must select certain critical chores and ignore other critical chores. So there is a need to rank critical chores. Notably, one of the critical chores is “to rest”, so this explains why, even in the face of an overwhelming number of critically injured patients, soldiers sometimes are ordered to relax. (Of course that order only comes when their energies are already very low.)

    The concept of the principle is similar to triage.

    So the primary objection to the principle of WUP-MAR is that “I am overwhelmed due to a triage-like situation.” But is that actually a fair objection? No. The reason that it is not a fair objection has to do with the way in which the AP’s 24 hours per day of time/energy/resources are allocated. In the case of the military leader who is facing an OSCR environment, the expectation is that he will shift resources from the R&R category into the work category. But AP does not do that.

    What Does A Responsible Person Look Like?

    So, if the average person is, indeed, extremely irresponsible, then what would a reasonably responsible person’s day look like? Would it be workaholic? Probably not. And there would have to be a ranking of responsibilities out of the OSCR. But at least he would be addressing the top ones.

    This reminds me of the EMS concept of “Bandaging Someone To Death”. It means that the EMT’s are spending time making tidy splints and bandages for a patient with multiple areas of trauma – when, in reality, the patient’s top need is to be transported to the ER so that his internal bleeding can be stopped. So, in this case, the internal bleeding is a much greater threat to the life of the patient than the external trauma of broken bones, etc.

    Then a graph of proximity, intensity etc to show how various critical (or sub critical) issues are ranked by importance.

    Imagine a Perfect World

    One way to think of the OSCR triage problem is to imagine a perfect world. Then imagine a single case of critical injustice in that world – but it is very distant. Would you be responsible to make an effort to heal that injustice? If you could do so by only RSE? Probably your answer would be: Yes. Now add in more injustices and rank them.

    Variations in WUP-MAR by Responsibility Payoff Horizon

    Lets compare two different responsibilities: Due-diligence in Political Studies and Voting (PSV) versus due diligence in Financial Self-Support (FSS). AP would say: “Yes, both PSV and FSS are both critical responsibilities that I have.” As we discussed, though, in the previous section, it is very likely that AP will sheepishly admit that they have succumbed to WUP-MAR in the area of PSV. However, AP most likely has fulfilled their responsibility in the area of FSS (getting a job, paying bills, not being homeless, etc.)

    So why does AP fail (probably 20/80) in PSV, but succeed (probably 80/20) in FSS? The difference has to do with the Payoff Horizon (POH). POH for FSS is usually only days/weeks/months down the road. If you stop working to support yourself, there will be a poverty crisis in the near-term. Alternatively POH for PSV may be years/decades/generations down the road. If you fail to fulfill the PSV responsibility, the bad results are likely to be much further off in time.

    So there is a principle in that AP is more likely to be irresponsible when the POH is further down the road than when the POH is closer at hand.

    • AMD and Your True Self

      Are you living to your true self? When a critical personal responsibility goes undressed then, no. PAL calls you to your true self. Does that me that you are trying to change me – as a sort of “project”? No, I am only calling you back to your true self. Note that there is someone who is trying to change you – it is your false self which is trying to pull you away from your true self.

    • The AP does indeed have an OSCR situation every day! So really everyone has to make that triage-like decision all of the time. And if you screw it up you have noone else to blame. You are, therefore, responsible. This reminds me of the Ayn Rand saying that, at the most fundamental point, you can’t outsource you thinking and still claim to be a responsible person.

    • Dinner Party says:

      Graphic 95% of the population is irresponsible in the case of one or more critical responsibilities. Have a drawing of 20 people in which 19 of them have a pizza slice percentage removed from their brain or their head symbolizing irresponsibility. Second graphic 50% of the people are able to see how others are irresponsible symbolizing how we are able to give advice which is generally wise but we are unable in 95% of the cases to take her own advice

    • PAL says:


      Create a chart with stacked side-ways bars:

      Failure rate / Responsibility
      50 stay in touch with your family,
      60 eat healthy foods
      70 be connected with the community,
      75 push your brain to continue to study
      80 exercise regularly,
      45 get enough sleep,
      80 study political questions
      85 spiritual development
      etc etc

  77. Sincere, Correct and Competent

    When government proposes a solution to a problem, there are three possible failure points. First, it may be that the proposers of the new program are insincere. They may actually be primarily concerned with accomplishing some goal other than the one that they claim to be proposing to accomplish.

    Secondly, even if their intentions are sincere, they may not actually be smart enough to understand all of the factors affecting the problem in question. That is the matter of competence.

    Finally there is the matter of being competent to implement the program. It often happens that government programs get bogged down because they cannot efficiently construct the beurocracy to do the work.

  78. Recognizing and Admitting to a Pattern of Low Self-Exertion

    A key aspect of the AP call. But is it counterproductive? What is the upside?

  79. PAL says:

    Possible Solutions

    How about a Possible Solutions section to this article? Changing beliefs … how is that done? Conversion of the payoff horizon? Getting paid for NTE? A psychological rational for allowing people to voluntarily enter a long-term contract of forced (but reasonable) labor?

  80. Forced Commitment to a Hospital?

    The shocking conclusion is that most people are not (currently) performing due diligence in some area of Critical Personal Responsibility. And the overwhelming likelihood is that they never will perform due diligence in that area. Hence, following commonly held views on the criteria for forced commitment to a hospital, most people qualify to be forcibly committed.

  81. PAL says:

    Problems, Variations, Impasses, Fellowship and Underlying Manifestations

    Two people meet. They both have the same Problem (P) – for example, laziness. But their P is actually only one characteristic from out of a large set of characteristics – some of which are problems (P1, P2, … Pn) and some of which are merely character variations (V1, V2, … Vn). Each of the original two people intuitively sense that they might be able to help one another to make headway in gaining control over the original P (lets call that P-Zero) (or just Pz for short).

    As the two friends discuss their lives and Pz they begin to recognize that there exist these other variations of (P1, P2, … Pn) and (V1, V2, … Vn) – which tend to cloud the sense of fellowship and brotherhood that was initiated when they both first admitted to each other that they each, individually, suffer from Pz. So, the clouding of the sense of fellowship could occur because the magnitude and importance of the other P1,2,n and V1,2,n may widely vary between them.

    For example, the first friend (F1) might have a religious belief which differs from that of the second friend (F2). Lets refer to religious beliefs as variation (Vrel). So long as F1 and F2 are tolerant of each other’s Vrel, then all is well. But, if either F1 or F2 consider Vrel to be a sticking point, then they may end up being unable to help each other with Pz!

    You can imagine a similar situation arising in the area of P1,2,n.

    So, perhaps, in order to obtain the maximum benefit in making headway against Pz, it would behoove F1 and F2 to avoid discussing any V1,2,n or P1,2,n which has the potential to end up becoming a point of impasse between F1 and F2. But it is possible that approach may actually spell doom in the longer term for both F1 and F2 – since it may be that an impasse-generating difference regarding differences in, say P31 versus P32 may actually be an indication that there is an Underlying Maladjustment (Pum) in both F1 and F2. So, theoretically, the Pum may manifest itself as Pz in both F1 and F2, but, separately also manifest itself as P31 (only affecting F1) and P32 (only affecting F2).

    Some might say that Pum is really just “self” (manifested in 100 different forms).

  82. Do You Like to Work?

    Do you like to work? Many people will answer yes. But what they really mean is:

    I don’t actually like to work, but I do become willing to work when a) the pay-off horizon is near and definite b) the rate of exchange for my-effort-to-the-cash-that-I-receive is above a certain threshold.

    Because there are an infinite number of hard work tasks that do not satisfy a and/or b – but most folks are not keen on doing them. So, if they really do like to work, then why don’t they work on those tasks, too?

    Another way to look at this is to ask a person “Do you like to play video games?” Again, most people will answer “yes.” But the difference between video games and work is that people will play video games for free, but most people will not work for free. Some people, however, will work for free – and those are the people who actually like to work!

  83. PAL says:

    AMD and Multitasking

    Some people self-perceive that Intellectual Self-Development (ISD) is an important part of their personal responsibility hierarchy. One way to perform ISD is by listening to an educational CD while they are driving their car. (Of course, this discussion only applies to people who believe that they can safely drive their car and listen to an educational CD.) So, among this group of self-perceivers there are some who do not like to listen to educational CD’s because their don’t like to multitask. Could that be considered an AMD-caused under-performance?

  84. PAL says:

    AMD vs the Voice In Your Head

    Do you swim towards the light or towards the darkness? One form that Adversarial Manager Dependence (AMD) takes is the disinclination to focus on the positive side of the voice of the portable manager that you carry around in your own mind. These are your own thoughts and memories of mottoes that have been taught to you and are encouragement-inducing (as opposed to discouragement-inducing.)

    Many people swim away from the light and then wonder why they are so weak.

    If we had a way to measure each person’s willingness to swim towards the light, then would everyone have the same measurement?

  85. PAL says:

    What Is Responsibility?

    Its like asking: What is air? Because it surrounds us psychologically and socially. Examples: I am responsible to make a reasonable effort to be self-supporting. Maybe even more than just a “reasonable effort?”

    Many times, when you ask someone for a definition of something, instead they give you examples of it.

    From the internet: What is Responsibility?

  86. PAL says:

    The Inescapability of Choice

    Swimming to the light versus swimming toward the darkness. I sense that I am responsible to swim toward the light – and to take the most treacherous course possible towards the light (if need be) if that is the most efficient way to get there. But I don’t particularly like the light. I see the light as meaning: The will of God. Or: The advice of the ages (as embodied in wise old sayings) (IOW: Just meditate on what Benjamin Franklin would say if he saw me in the current situation.) And the darkness is the easy way out. And, probably not entirely coincidentally, either, I mean that it is the easy way out.

    So, I suspect that that is probably a lot of the cause of the laziness & depression. Which gives me hope. Since at least I can sort of see what the problem is. And this, I think, will help me to change course toward the light … and to recognize what I am doing when I catch myself swimming towards the darkness.

    Swim To The Light 2

    To Re-size & Center Image

    Upload to media. Resize. View image. Edit image. From that page the “original” image is listed on the right hand side in a small dialog box. Highlight the full address and then use with the “Img” button on the comment edit. At that point, the new dimensions are listed correctly. Use the “center” tag.

  87. PAL says:

    If You Want to Work, Then Why Aren’t You Working?

    Meaning of want. Meaning of work. TE versus NTE. This is proof that (in almost all cases), people who say that they want to work really do not want to work (in the sense that a person wants to have sex). Rather, what they mean is: “I am eager to find a convenient way to trade my exertion but only in exchange for near-term guaranteed cash.”

    Which explains why the average person cannot be trusted to become a NTE investment for the boss – barring the use of force and law. Hence, their greatest resource (the person himself) goes largely undeveloped.

    • A Vision And A Promise

      An investor who would be willing to pay you to perform NTE is working with two things: a Vision and a Promise. The Vision is the investors belief that worker/learner will be able to increase his efficiency at being able to convert his time and energy into cash by following the investor’s NTE directions. The Promise is the worker/learners promise to repay the investor for his up front cash gamble. Many people, unfortunately, cannot be trusted to keep that promise.

  88. Anonymous says:

    How about a graphic of a waving flag – and all it says is:

    Do Stuff!

  89. PAL says:

    Dependency: Healthy and Unhealthy

    Certainly, there are many un-healthy forms of dependence. But are there also healthy forms of dependence? A person who has had a lot of experience with unhealthy dependence may react to an offer of healthy dependence by shuddering and saying: “No thanks! I don’t want to be dependent on anyone or anything!”

    The Strong and the Weak

    For example, we can imagine a relationship between a psychologically strong person and a psychologically weak person. Sadly, what often happens is that the strong person uses his power over the weak person in order to keep the weak person from “growing”.

    One important way in which healthy people grown is in their ability to become self-supporting. If the weak person is prevented from becoming self supporting, then they may decide to stay in the relationship with the stronger person, simply in order to have their bread and butter needs met.

    From the strong person’s perspective, such a dynamic will have a near-term payoff, because the strong person’s relationship with the non-growing weak person seems to be more stable and “safe”. However, from the weaker person’s perspective, the non-growth dynamic usually works out to form an unhealthy dependency relationship.

    [Cartoon: A high-earning (but very insecure) man finds a wife who is relatively less intellectually developed. He leverages her weakness in greed and vanity by buying her expensive jewelry and paying for her high-spending lifestyle (high spending on clothes, hair-dos, perfume). The woman becomes addicted to having stuff, so she stays in the relationship because she cannot see how she herself would be able to maintain such a high spending life style by the minimal type jobs that would be available to her.]

    The Natural World

    Healthy forms of dependence are usually so smooth in their operation that we don’t even recognize them as forms of dependence. For example, we all depend upon the Sun. Think about it. But you might say that the Sun is not a person, so that does not count. Okay.

    A Powerful Network

    How about electricity? If you are reading this comment on a website then you are dependent upon electricity. Again you might say that electricity is not a person, so it does not count as a form of dependence.

    I would agree that the concept of electricity is not a person, so in that sense you are correct. But the particular instance of electricity that you are using to read this does depend upon people. You might not know who they are, and you might not ever see them at work, but behind every single electron that moves through your computer, there is a person who is working to provide that electron.

    Get help and get active

    So we have looked at three forms of dependency: Unhealthy dependence upon another person, healthy dependence upon an inanimate object (the Sun) and healthy dependence upon a network of people (for electricity.)

    Are there unhealthy forms of dependence in your life? Are you using those memories of unhealthy dependence to keep yourself from taking advantage of the healthy form of inter-dependence that can come from having an accountability partner?

    • PAL says:

      [Cartoon: A mother (who is independently wealthy and mentally ill) encourages her son to think that he also is mentally ill. She discourages him from seeking any jobs because, if he gets a job, then that will count as a minus in his attempt to become certified as disabled by SSD. It may also be that secretly, the mother hopes that the son will never leave home, because she likes to have him around. The mother pays for top of the line video games for the son and encourages him to play video games late into the night – and thus become addicted to them. The lack of structure (early to bed, early to rise, look for work) in the son’s life aggravates his genetic predisposition to fall prey to mental illness. The mother also encourages the son to eat junk food, which, again aggravates his genetic predisposition to fall prey to mental illness. The son’s food and shelter are provided by the mother. So the son has a strong incentive to not seek employment. As the years go by, the son falls further and further behind his contemporaries and grows more and more convince that he will never become able to “escape” to become self-supporting. This might be a better example of 3 kinds of co-morbidity: 1) sloth (on the part of the son), 2) inadvertent (?) or purposeful (?) attack from the mother towards the son, and 3) predisposition to fall prey to mental illness (on the part of the son.)]

  90. PAL says:

    A New Kind of Mortgage

    What is Reasonable Self-Exertion (RSE)? Determining RSE is the crux of the matter in the new mortgage concept. We all roughly recognize it within ourselves when we are producing it, but it is very difficult to measure or prove.

    In a normal mortgage, force is applied on a borrower in order to squeeze money out of him. The force comes via the threat that the constable will evict the person from their home. So the borrower works (time + energy + focus + pain) to get money to pay his monthly bill.

    And we don’t really have any problem with the idea that force is being applied in this case. So why is it that we do object to other types of force – like forced labor? Part of the answer lies in the fact that the mortgage is not really forced labor – rather, it is forced cash payments. And there is a difference.

    A monthly cash payment is very easy to measure, so it reduces the opportunity for the lender to abuse the borrower. But RSE is not easy to measure, so the opportunity for the lender to abuse the borrower is greatly increased.

    Now suppose that we did have a way to clearly measure RSE. In that case, the lenders would be willing to offer a different type of mortgage. You get the house. You never have to make a cash payment. But you do have to provide us with 20 hours of RSE (in the specific way that we direct) every week for the next 30 years.

    I wonder if the RSE payments might actually be more profitable for the bank in the long run? Because borrowers (at the beginning of the mortgage) would automatically convert their 20 hours of RSE into the amount of cash that they think that they could earn in 20 hours. But really they could actually earn tons and tons more – if they would only intelligently apply RSE. And the lender can see that.

    Someone believes in you!

    Graphic: A stylized house – small with one door and two windows, a sprig of grass on the lawn. And perhaps a sign saying: Sold!

  91. A Cog In Someone Else’s Machine?
    Yes, And That Is Perfectly Okay

    Each person is like a widget with an energy source. You can make money at a job if you can find a place that has a need for a close match to your outline (like a puzzle) that you can fit into. But it requires rotating into the position such that your outline fits the needed outline. So, in most cases, a good chunk of who you are will not be able to be expressed (at full energy levels) during the work day. Orthogonal? And that is what people mean when they say that you are a good fit for the job!

  92. Lack of Creativity

    That is half of the problem for many people. Creativity plus energy to implement the creative impulse. And willingness to accept the low probability that the creative energy will actually work out to something good. And that is why I don’t draw cartoons!

  93. NC Walker: You don’t have externally imposed deadlines. And you are unable to enforce your own internally imposed deadlines (due, I suspect, to AMD.) And that is why you have been, of late, so extremely unproductive.

  94. Manager Dependence at the Level of Basic Self-Care

    Morbid obesity. Versus a contract of RSE slavery to do regular exercise and diet. The person who is manager dependent in the area of basic self-care (exercise and/or healthy-eating and/or early-to-bed-early-to-rise and/or etc) may actually be just as handicapped as the person who has any other type of brain injury that prevents them from fulfilling a given critical responsibility. If then, indeed, someone really is mentally handicapped (in a certain area) why not allow them to make a contract with a care-taker company that would help them to fulfill their potential and (importantly) to work around their handicap? And if the only method that would work would be a type of RSE slavery (enforced by fines and imprisonment), then so be it. You will thank me in the end.

    The problem is that, legally, once an adult is alert x 4 and can demonstrate in court that he is competent to care for his concerns then the state says “Okay, let them go free.”. But is the morbidly obese really competent to perform their own self-care?

    For example, would you be able, in a court of law, to prove that you are competent to perform your own basic physical self-care if you are chronically morbidly obese? This reminds me of the suggestion that obese children should be taken away from their parents due to incompetent parenting.

    • It is possible that your apparent stubbornness based MD is really just an unintentional outgrowth of a psychiatric imbalance. If that can be fixed by a dr then all is well and I encourage you to do so. That would take a lot of pressure off of your will power because your unconscious instincts would then do most of the heavy lifting (to get you to the gym). But let’s say that the psych med solution is not available or not readily available. Then why nit allow a person to use a force based method?

      Testing the strength of a contract of force based non medical behavior contract. 1. We draw up a contract stating that you agree and request that I imprison you in a private prison if you fail to exercise. 2. The contract clearly specifies that you anticipate that this will most likely occur. 3. You fail to excersize so I come to your home to imprison you. 4. You call the police and ask for their help. 5. They charge me with attempted kidnapping. 6. I go before a judge and present our contract (notorized 5 different ways). 7. The judge is therefore Imclined to drop the charges against me. 8. The cycle repeats. 9. Caselaw is thus established allowing our contract to be enforced as a single-issue type of slavery.

  95. Paradigm Shift Into AMD

    The process of realizing and accepting that I am not a self-starter. Similar to discovering that I have a mental illness. Or alcoholism? There is grieving that should (?) take place. And a struggle to prove myself wrong about it. (To prove that I really am a SS.) The stages of the paradigm shift. At this point it is a socially untenable conclusion. Because we have an ethos that says “Personal freedom is good and right – and anyone who challenges that idea is a Nazi or a racist.”. But that view fails to take into account the nuances of real life. And the pain that (normal seeming) people cause themselves by their repetitive self-defeating choices based on near-sighted or unworthy goals.

  96. Diagram idea of the “I don’t really need a manager” section:

    Diagram showing spectrum from SS to MD. Statistically speaking, where do I really place when it comes to this specific responsibility?

  97. EZ says:

    Maybe I’m nit picking, but I don’t see managerial dependent in the context of work to be a handicap. Using the same logic that was used to show that not everyone is a self starter (otherwise why would the help wanted ad have the phrase “must be a self starter”), it follows logically that not all jobs require a self starter. Some employers are specifically looking for managerial dependent types, as per their corporate culture or the nature of the job being advertised. To put it one way, every sports team has a coach.

    • Symbiotic manager dependence (SMD) is the adaptive approach to the handicap of manager dependence. SMD is widely practiced in American industry. In this case, the crippling character (which we normally associate with a handicap) is not there, because the symbiotic adaptation is being utilized. Alternatively, the crippling character of manager dependence does fully manifest itself in the case of adversarial manager dependence (AMD) because the sufferer is unable or unwilling to recognize his need and adapt to it.

      Because of the every-two-weeks converted payoff horizon that industry makes available to workers (which really works out to be a powerfully artificial environment) most workers find themselves begrudgingly willing to accept the SMD adaptation. However, when there is no converted payoff horizon (as is true is the independent Networking and Learning avenues of the Three Pathways by which human exertion can be converted to cash) then the crippling character of manager dependence does becomes more apparent – meaning AMD.

      A second reason why the Networking and Learning pathways are so prone to AMD is that there is no easy way for a worker and his would-be manager to achieve symbiosis. Normally, in a business environment, the manager is being paid for his management efforts. This is an easy point to overlook, possibly because most people who are being managed have a begrudging SMD relationship with their manager and thus fail to see the win-win character of the relationship. (That point needs to be fixed in the TERMS section.)

      So, for the case of Networking and Learning, because they are, (in the usual case) instances of Non-Transferable Exertion (NTE) with a distant and difficult to track payoff horizon, there is currently no legal structure in the USA by which a business can control the NTE product and therefore make a profit (there is that ugly word). And since they cannot make a profit, they therefore do not have the money to pay the manager to perform his 100% necessary, needed and legitimate management service! Hence the AMD sufferer remains crippled in his Networking and Learning efforts (which would, in a more perfect world, be the 90% ingredient to his success.)

  98. An Honest Obituary

    Rather than to just laud all of the person’s accomplishments, it would include their regrets – including their regrets due to undeveloped talents and careers and the ensuing unavailable free time and money that would have come from working at those careers and thus being able to exchange their work energy at a higher rate for money. Also all of the unwritten poems, the unpainted paintings and the uninvented inventions. This should also take into account the age at which these things died (early on in some cases) (lingering death for 50+ years in some cases) and in some cases prorated physical death due to lack of healthcare which was, in turn, do to the lazy lack of making the effort to get a better job with health benefits. Actually there would be a cascade effect in many different areas.

  99. PAL says:

    Update to TERMS:

    Symbiotic Manager-Dependent (SMD) – A manager dependent person who realizes and embraces his need for a manager.  Ideally, the SMD person welcomes encouragement and direction from the manager and will perceive the relationship as a win-win.  Alternately, he may only begrudgingly accept direction from the manager. In either case, though, the manager-worker relationship stays alive and the work gets done.  Most people approach their jobs under the SMD mentality.

  100. PAL says:

    What Causes AMD?

    It is a perfect storm between dementia, pride and a faulty belief about the importance of freedom. The faulty belief is to think that I don’t have to sacrifice my freedom. But everyone does. It is unavoidable. So why not make that sacrifice consciously rather than unconsciously? Hence, talking about it (which means admitting to the dilemma) is a good way to make headway.

    A Conscious Sacrifice

  101. PAL says:


    When an artist talks about a “Leonardo”, they mean that a piece of art is such a masterpiece that it would be worthy of Leonardo Davinci, the great polymath from the 16th century. Lets imagine for a moment that Leonardo could be brought back to life in America of today. How would he view our libraries? He would probably see them as a fantastic treasure in which he would spend the rest of his life reading and learning. And he would use his reading and learning to create new masterpieces.

    But is that how we, ourselves, look at our libraries? No. The average person would start by agreeing with the idea that books certainly do contain valuable knowledge. But then they would conclude that, the amount of trouble that you would have to go through to actually learn that knowledge and then build anything new from that knowledge would be “cost prohibitive”. And then they would go back to playing computer games and watching cat videos.

    Leonardo would be disappointed. But probably not surprised.

  102. PAL says:

    The Goal and the Anti-Goal

    From the position of the Anti-Goal the Manager Dependence (MD) sufferer looks longingly towards the Goal. And he can see very clearly that there are only N steps which he could take which would bring him to the Goal. Each step is entirely do-able. So he sets out in pursuit of the Goal.

    But as he gets closer to the Goal the Confusion grows. The Confusion causes him to forget why it was that he had ever set out in pursuit of the Goal in the first place. What causes the Confusion? Perhaps it is just an aspect of the MD sickness? Perhaps the Confusion was there all along, but it only manifests itself as the sufferer comes closer to reaching the Goal? In any case, the sufferer forgets his pathway and drifts backward to the Anti-Goal. (Diagram the single cycle.)

    This cycle repeats. With each repetition, the sufferer becomes more disheartened and puzzled. And so the sickness of MD holds the sufferer in the grips of the Anti-Goal. (Diagram the repeated cycles.)

    Then the Manager comes to the rescue.

  103. SCP 4 – four levels to desirable behavior:

    Natural Inclination to Do
    Work Ideal
    NID + Force of Will
    NID + FOW + motivating community

    And there should be another FOW on the negative side – the choice to be sick.
    And then another motivating community even farther below to aggravate sickness.

    An AP is a one person motivating community. Social pressure is the operating principle. And the mirror.

  104. PAL says:

    Chart Idea

    How about a chart showing how SS/SMD/AMD issues come up through the 8 most productive hours of the person’s day. What it would show is that the SMD is like the piston moving in the cylinder. After many little nudges, he eventually moves very smoothly along the track. And the soldier appears to gladly do what his manager is telling him to do. But that appearance only manifests itself because the soldier is immersed in Obey-The-Boss Mode.

  105. Tbear says:

    I read the article above and with what I read I would classify myself as MD I need some to tell me and to keep pushing me to do something. I have met with an advisor from get help get active and with meeting with him I explained what I have problems with and he has been able to help me so much I now have what is called an accountability partner who helps keep me on track and keeps me going

  106. PAL says:

    Self-Created Problems

    There is a large number of these. Frequently, we self-create a problem and then explain the result in terms of an other-creation. What facets are common to all self-created problems? Are there any tricks that could help us to spot them? Unfortunately, to the person who is self-creating a problem, it seems to him that his problem really is other-created – so he definitely cannot rely on his intuition to spot this dynamic. It is a disease of perspective.

  107. 99% of the population is AMD in one or more areas of Critical Responsibility. This is an estimate. Create a table showing CR’s and what makes them critical and estimates of the population who are AMD in that area.

  108. AMD and Political Responsibility

    Why is there so much war and turmoil in the “free” world? It is because most people are constitutionally unable to handle the demands of their own freedom. Specifically, the responsibility to perform the due diligence necessary to select and monitor good political leaders. Its not that they can’t do the work to select them and monitor them – it’s just that, from the near term, it seems like it is too much work.

  109. The problem that you are facing is different from the problem that I am facing. TS4 vs me.

  110. Do All Cultures Value Education Equally?

    No. This can be mathematically demonstrated. The smallest culture has two people. Can two people (who have a habit of LSE in the area of study) reinforce one another’s disinclination to study? Yes, of course. What about three people? Again yes. At some point, the number of people in the group rises to the level that we consider to be a “culture”.

  111. Anonymous says:

    Do All Cultures Value Education Equally?

  112. PAL says:

    The Subtle Sleep of AMD

    To convince someone of AMD … how? Why was it that you (time and time again) did not complete the RSE tasks that you set out for yourself? Time available, energy available, sufficient down-time, no unusually difficult environmental conditions. That needs an acronym.

    Because, from hindsight you might explain it to yourself as “I didn’t really want to do those tasks anyway.”

  113. PAL says:

    Four Kinds of Desire

    I have a friend who told me that his job was only offering him 20 or 25 hours a week of work. He said that he wanted to work full time. And he told me that he thought that anyone who wanted to work full time should be able to get full time work. He seemed to be kind of angry that they would not give him more hours.

    This got me to thinking about what, exactly, it means when a person says: “I want to work full time.” I think that there are three different meanings – each of which hinges on the word “want”. So what does “want” really mean?

    For the sake of clarity and brevity, I will begin with my conclusions:

    TERMS: (These terms are gradually defined as you proceed through the article. They are listed here as a reference.)

    1. WSS = Want-Spontaneous
    2. WCP = Want-Converted-Payoff
    3. WNC = Want-Non-Converted-Payoff
    4. WNW = Want-Not-Want


    The first meaning of “Want” is what I call “Want-Spontaneous”. This means that the person really wants to work. This is the kind of guy that everyone would like to have as a neighbor. He actually likes to work. So, for example, if you give him any old excuse as to why you can’t mow your lawn this week, he will be happy to jump in and do it for you. For free. Using his own lawnmower and his own gas. And he does it all because he actually likes to work. In much the same sense as a “normal” person likes to play volleyball or swim or go hiking, our WSS neighbor likes to mow lawns.

    For many people this is difficult to understand. But that is because most people do not have the Want-Spontaneous mentality. Instead, most people have the Want-Converted-Payoff mentality.


    The second meaning of “Want” is what I call “Want-Converted-Payoff”. My friend (who got me thinking about this whole idea to start with) has, I believe, the WCP-mentality. In order to explain WCP, we need to understand what is meant by a payoff horizon and by a converted payoff horizon.

    A payoff horizon is the future date at which a person expects to receive the payment for the efforts that they are making in the present-moment. For example, if you work a 9 to 5 job, you probably get paid every Friday or every second Friday. So the payoff horizon is, tops, two weeks in the future. In any case, you know exactly how many days it will be until payday.

    Converted Payoff Horizon

    Now, what do we mean by a “Converted” Payoff Horizon (CPH)?

    Think of the case of a person who owns a factory versus a person who is an employee of the factory owner. They both get paid every Friday, right? Well, not exactly.

    Certainly, the employee gets paid every Friday, because that is when the boss told him that he would be paid. But when does the owner get paid? The answer to that question can get very complicated. The short answer is that the owner gets paid at an irregular frequency and at an irregular rate. (graph comparing owner pay versus employee pay: For owner, the frequency on x-axis is a statistical variable and rate on the y-axis is a statistical variable. For employee, the frequency is constant (every 2 weeks) on x-axis and rate is constant (hourly wage) on y-axis.) So we see from the diagram how the factory owner is paid for his efforts with a non-converted payoff horizon, but the employee is paid for his efforts with a converted payoff horizon.

    Cartoon: A man with a hardhat and coveralls is looking at the probability distribution of payoff and he points toward the end at which the likelihood of success is > 99%. He says: “I am willing to work if someone else is willing to convert the payoff horizon.” The distribution shows various points along the likelihood of success spectrum. “9-5 job with a reliable company” is at 99%. Self-education is at 50%. Networking is at 10%, etc for other points.

    Risk Tolerance

    Does everyone have the same willingness to take risks? No. A good example of this comes up in the case of people who prefer the “safely” structured Converted Payoff Horizon that comes with being an hourly employee. Alternatively, other folks prefer the win-big or loose-your-shirt un-converted payoff horizon that comes with being a business owner. Different people have different levels of risk tolerance.


    The Want-Not-Want mentality covers the case of people who do not really want to work – even when they are offered a good wage and a Converted Payoff Horizon. You might say that this case does not really exist. But we all know of cases in which people claim “Oh, yes, I really do want to work” – but then, when they are actually offered a job, they don’t show up.

    Now, in some cases you could attribute this to a legitimate excuse like “the car broke down” or “I got sick” or something else. But after a while those kind of excuses get a little thin. The fact is that many people just do not like to work. And when you think about it, doesn’t it actually make sense? Work is generally boring and difficult. Most people prefer to engage in fun and easy activities rather than boring and difficult activities (like work). A lot of this boils down to a very difficult to define concept called the “work ethic”.

    Transferable and Non-Transferable Exertion

    Now lets get back to the case of my friend who told me that he wanted to work full time, but his employer was only offering him 20-30 hours a week. What exactly did he mean when he told me that he wanted to work full time?

    I think that he meant “I want to work full-time – but only if there is someone offering to convert the payoff horizon for me.” And I think that I can prove it by referring back to the mysterious case of the converted payoff horizon.

    Think of the entrepreneur (the owner) who starts up the factory and hires the workers. Is he working? Yes, of course he is working. He works by thinking and acting and moving to make the business move along. But he does not enjoy the safety of the converted payoff horizon. Instead, his payoff horizon is a statistical variable. He might make a profit (that is another way of looking at the concept of “getting paid”) or he might suffer heavy losses.

    So who is directing the entrepreneur to take action? Is is he, himself who is directing himself to take action. And his actions are not guaranteed to result in a profit. But, because he is studying and thinking and acting he is making choices which are reasonably likely to result in a profit.

    Who Owns the Business of Your Life?

    In fact, everyone is their own entrepreneur and business owner. Everyone owns the business of their own career and their own life. That means that we are all forced to study and think and act on our own behalf when it comes to the top-level efforts and decisions of where to work and what kind of work to do. And these “top-level efforts and decisions” cannot be transferred to someone else. This “Non-Transferable Exertion” (NTE) is, in fact, the biggest factor that determines a person’s success or failure (or stagnation) in a career.

    Non-Transferable Exertion can only be done in the Want-Spontaneous mode. Unfortunately, most people shrink away from the risky “studying and thinking and acting” that is necessary in order to make NTE (statistically) successful. Instead, most people prefer the safety of a converted payoff horizon. Unfortunately, there is no easy way for an employer to convert the payoff horizon when it comes to the crucial Non-Transferable Exertion tasks which will either make or break (or just hobble) a person’s career. It is only possible to convert the payoff horizon in very narrow cases of Transferable Exertion.

    We Can Easily See Things in Others, But …

    My friend owns the business of his own life. He is the entrepreneur. Only he can do the top-level “studying and thinking and acting” to decide where it makes sense (statistically) for him to invest his time and energy. And that is a risky business. He may fail. But he may succeed, too. The embarrassing fact of the matter is that most people prefer the safety and securing of a converted payoff horizon. But in many valid areas of “work”, the CPH is not available. So if it is going to get done, you have to do it yourself.

    Networking, Learning and Self-Improvement

    These tasks are always available. At the highest level in each person’s life-business, these efforts cannot be outsourced. And no one will pay you to do them, either, because the result of this kind of work is a Non-Transferable Product.

    Note: Perhaps, there should be a fourth kind of want between WS and WCP? It would combine WCP and statistical faith in the value of my own non-converted payoff horizon … yes, that is it. Maybe Want-Statistical-Payoff. To distinguish between the person who will work without pay because he just like to work, from the person who will work without pay because he believes that (at some distant statistical point) he will receive payment for his work. That is what the entrepreneur is experiencing when he pulls himself out of bed and goes to work in the beginning phase of his business venture – when it is unclear if the whole thing will fail or not.

    Cartoon Idea: a vector representing the acceptable flow of money for each of the four wants: WS, WSP, WCP, WNW.

    _____ -$ Now ________ +$ Near & Certain _________ +$ Far & Uncertain

    1-IIG = Instinctive, immediate payoff
    2-SDP = statistical distant payoff
    3-ENP = exact near-term payoff
    4-PSA = pretending for social acceptance

    How about these for the four kinds of work:
    1 Enjoying
    2 Planning
    3 Working
    4 Pretending
    In practice people often combine the four types and switch between them, all while performing the same task.

    • What is a Converted Payoff Horizon?

      Diagram 2 – the entrepreneur is thinking “how can I change my actions in order to best serve the longterm success of the business?”. The WCP employee is thinking “how can I get through this boring job? What will be on tv tonight?”

      Diagram 3 – time vs payoff delta Dirac x and y. There is another dimension that comes with time. The value of the time is increased by thinking and decreased by not thinking. The employee gets paid by the hour and (preferably) he does not think. The boss gets paid primarily by the quality of his thinking – whether or not he works many hours or few.

    • Anonymous says:

      How about:
      1. Enjoyment
      2. Employee
      3. Entrepreneur
      4. Pretender

      How about:
      1. Joy
      2. Proof
      3. Faith
      4. Lie

  114. Anonymous says:

    Freedom is good, right? No, not necessarily.

    What is your definition of success?

    We specialize in removing consequences.

  115. fulltime_80 says:

    There should be no reason why a person who has anyone of these traits cannot be fitted to a job to their liking or one that fits them. An AMD type of worker is better off doing side jobs or having their own business if they are stable enough to fit the bill. An SMD could work in sales or warehouse or food industries. as an example Also, the self-starter could do sales or management or have their own business. There are assessment tests which can help a person find what type of job or career they are best suited for. I enjoyed this article because it gives me hope that there is a job out there for everyone.

  116. fulltime_80 says:

    I liked the premise of this article. If it achieves help for amd’s, that would help the world be a better place. We don’t need amd’s going postal ’cause they don’t like their boss and quitting and sabotaging jobs is something I have experienced. I can relate. But I try to gain humility with a little gratitude. That makes for better workers. What can a consultation do for the individual who is struggling with their attitude? Is there a phone number they can call to get help and get active?

  117. Anonymous says:

    Three Examples of Adversarial Manager Dependence

    Lets imagine that you are an example of a person who is recovering from alcoholism. AMD means that you know that it is a good idea to call your support group contact every day. And you would strongly recommend to your friend that he make that phone call if he were in the same situation as you are. But you consciously (at least somewhat consciously) allow yourself to believe some excuse that keeps you from making the call.

    A Round-About Self-Chosen Blowout

    Then eventually you relapse or have some other blowout. Then you sit there shaking your head and wondering to yourself: Why didn’t I just call him? And the best answer that you can come up with is: I was too proud, stupid and stubborn to recognize that I needed to call him and to be willing to make the phone call. So you depended upon your support group contact for management but you treated him like an adversary – rather then to welcome him into your mind and your decision making.

    The Responsibility of Self-Education

    Alternatively, on a smaller scale, lets think about the person who self-perceives that he has the responsibility to make a reasonable effort to self-educate in order to be able to get a better paying job. In this case, AMD occurs when the individual knows that he can self-educate (say by reading a career-related book or website) but he chooses not to do it. And he knows that he could call a friend who would remind him to read (say one page a day). But he does not want to call that friend because the experience of being reminded to read one page a day is too onerous.

    Four Kinds of Pain and Shame

    So, eventually, our friend looks back with self-disgust as he is daily reminded of his career under-performance which results in him only being able to work in boring and low-paying jobs. In this case, there are several kinds of pain. One kind is the self-perceived shame of working at a low-paying job. Another kind of pain is the (relative) poverty that comes from having a low-paying job. Another kind of pain is the embarrassment of telling people that you work at a low-paying job which, implicitly (whether you say it or not) means admitting that, for many years, you have been making the non-self-education life choices which have placed you in that low-paying job. Another kind of pain is the pain of non-self-actualization.

    Obesity, Exercise and Eating Choices

    A third example of AMD is deciding to exercise or not.

  118. Dinner Party says:

    25% of the poor are poor because they are lazy. One person in 100 who hears about Pal privately admits that it applies to them. Separate out the false positive is the false negatives the true positives and the true negatives.

  119. Dinner Party says:

    Three kinds of starters – present this by asking people what are the three ways that children deal with responsibility?! Then ask: when does childhood end?! Then everyone will laugh and say: it never ends! Then present the incremental changes in responsibility (difficult to measure) versus freedom (easy to measure.)

  120. PAL says:

    Two Kinds of Immaturity

    The two year old child emphatically stated that they wanted to live on their own. The first kind of immaturity was that the child was, in fact, not mature enough to live on their own. The second kind of immaturity was that the child was not able to accurately assess their own level of development to be able to see for themselves that they were not mature enough to live on their own. (There may be other types of immaturity as well, btw.)

    The easiest way to see the difference between Type-1 and Type-2 occurs in the case in which a person has Type-2 maturity, but lacks Type-1 maturity. An example of this occurs when a person is hospitalized or incarcerated following a (mildly) violent episode. Then, during the period of their internment, it dawns on them that the loss of freedom that they are experiencing is actually a good thing because, if they had full freedom, then they would commit a much more serious act of violence which would likely result in much more serious and permanent consequences.

    This reminds me of how people will sometimes say: I don’t want to get a motorcycle, because I won’t be able to safely control myself emotionally enough to be able to ride it without getting hurt. Another example occurs when people refuse to start drinking because they know they will, likely get out of control. Owning a weapon is another example.

    Now, how about a nice diagram or two to top this off into an article? Perhaps Venn? Perhaps a motorcyclist doing a stunt?

  121. PAL says:

    Two Kinds of Investment

    How much would you be willing to pay in order to get someone else to read a book and learn something, and then have that knowledge transferred to you?

    The rich would pay a lot. Example: $20 a page to read & digest & learn the contents of a 500 page book – so a total of $1,000. It would be a type of investment. It may never return cash, but, statistically, it probably would.

    The poor would not be willing to pay as much – because they would run out of money sooner.

    The point is that there is a cutoff line ~ perhaps like the three point diagram of solid, liquid and gas? And it would vary by the person and the thing that they wanted to learn. And there would be a band of willingness – in which a person would be willing to read the book for himself. But that band would vary depending on the initial level of wealth of the would-be reader.

  122. Dinner Party says:

    Therapeutic Objective

    The therapeutic objective of Pal is to help a person come to the realization that they suffer from adversarial manager dependence in one or more area of critical responsibility. Then, the hope is that, by virtue of their recognition of their terrible disability, that they will be willing to accept the available treatment – which means: swimming toward the light of a symbiotic manager dependent relationship

  123. Anonymous says:

    Chart Idea for SS/SMD/AMD

    Able to do a job, willing to do a job, self-awareness, etc

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