Metaprograms Explained Simply

Metaprograms – All You Need To Know

In this post, we’ll unpack all you need to know about Metaprograms, defining exactly what they are, why we have them, exploring the primary types of Metaprograms and more.

What Are Metaprograms?

Metaprograms are mental shortcuts that we use to process information which determine what we notice and what we ignore based on what we distort, delete, and generalise from our experiences.

Metaprograms are neither good nor bad, right nor wrong ― they are just different. No one responds the same way to information but we all have a tendency towards a specific metaprogram.

Why We Have Metaprograms

Our brains are bombarded with millions of bits of information every single moment. As a way to help us make sense of the world, our brains create filters that determine what we notice and what we ignore which ultimately shape how we perceive, experience and interact with the world around us. These filters are Metaprograms.

The Key To Success

Metaprograms provide us with the ability to understand and change our own behaviour.

Once we discover the different ways we process information and how those processes influence our behaviour, we can begin to represent things in a way that empowers us rather than disempowers us.

However, Metaprograms not only help us to better understand our own behaviour, but they also help us to understand the behaviour of others, arming us with the ability to communicate more effectively.

For example, a salesman who communicates using the wrong Metaprograms is likely to lose the sale, but a salesman who communicates using the right Metaprograms is likely to win the sale.

If you want to be a master influencer and a master communicator in both your personal and professional life, you have to learn how to get through to people. The path to this is through Metaprograms.

“In the right key one can say anything. In the wrong key, nothing: the only delicate part is the establishment of the key.” ― George Bernard Shaw

Motivational Pattern Metaprograms

There are 6 primary Motivational Pattern Metaprograms which we will outline below.

When evaluating Metaprograms it is important to remember that Context is king. One person’s metaprogram in one Context may be different for the same person in a different Context.

  • Proactive Or Reactive ― Motivational Level

The Proactive Or Reactive metaprogram is used to determine what motivates someone to act.

Someone who is Proactive is quick to act. Someone who is Reactive is slow to act.

For example, someone who is Proactive will initiate action themselves while someone who is Reactive will wait for others to initiate or wait until “the right moment.”

  • Hot Buttons ― Motivational Criteria

Hot Buttons are the words and phrases that someone uses to make distinctions between what is good and bad or right and wrong. They incite a physical and emotional reaction.

To identify someone’s Motivational Criteria, ask: What do you want in [add context]?

  • Toward Or Away ― Motivational Direction

The Toward Or Away metaprogram is used to determine what motivates someone.

Someone who is Toward is motivated by pleasure. Someone who is Away is motivated by pain.

For example, someone who is Toward will be motivated by the pleasure derived from achieving their goals while someone who is Away will be motivated by the pain derived from not achieving their goals.

To identify someone’s Motivational Direction, ask: Why is that (criteria) important?

  • Internal Or External Frame Of Reference ― Motivational Source

The Internal Or External Frame Of Reference metaprogram is used to determine how people make decisions.

Someone who is Internal will look to themselves to make decisions. Someone who is External will look to others to make decisions.

For example, someone who is Internal will evaluate their success based on their own criteria and feedback while someone who is External will evaluate their success based on the criteria and feedback of others.

To influence someone with an Internal Frame use suggesting language. To influence someone with an External Frame use commanding language.

To identify someone’s Motivational Source, ask: How do you know you have succeeded at [add context]?

  • Options Or Procedures ― Motivational Reason

The Options Or Procedures metaprogram is used to determine how someone likes to work.

Someone who is Options likes to have choices. Someone who is Procedures like to have routines.

For example, someone who is Options thinks there are many ways to do something while someone who is procedures thinks there is one way to do something. Someone who is Options wants to know why. Someone who is Procedures wants to know how.

To identify someone’s Motivational Reason, ask: Why did you chose [add context]?

  • Matcher Or Mismatcher ― Motivational Factors

The Matcher Or Mismatcher metaprogram is used to determine how someone relates to things.

Someone who is a Matcher looks at the world and finds similarities. Someone who is a Mismatcher looks at the world and finds differences.

For example, someone who is a matcher will look for things in common while someone who is a Mismatcher will look for things different.

To identify someone’s Motivational Factors, ask: What is the relationship between [add context]?

Productivity Pattern Metaprograms

There are 8 primary Productivity Pattern Metaprograms which we will outline below.

  • General Or Specific ― Motivational Scope

The General Or Specific metaprogram is used to determine how someone chunks information.

Someone who is General will look at things and see generalisations. Someone who is Specific will look at things and see details.

For example, someone who is General will see the forest for the trees while someone who is Specific will see the trees for the forest.

To identify someone’s Motivational Scope, ask: If we were going to work on a project together, would you want to know the big picture or the details first?

  • Sorting By Self Or Sorting By Others 

The Sorting By Self Or Sorting By Others metaprogram is used to determine how someone think about themselves in relation to others.

Someone who is Sorting By Self thinks in terms of what’s in it for themselves. Someone who is Sorting By Others thinks in terms of what’s in it for others.

For example, someone who is Sorting By Self will focus on their own needs first while someone who is Sorting By Others will focus on the needs of others first.

  • Feeling, Choice Or Thinking ― Motivational Stress Response

The Feeling, Choice Or Thinking metaprogram is used to determine how someone reacts to stressful situations.

Someone who is Feeling will have an emotional response to stress. Someone who is Choice will have an emotional response to stress and then decide whether they want to return to an unemotional state. Someone who is Thinking will have no emotional response to stress.

For example, someone who is Feeling will tend to get stuck in an emotional state, someone who is Choice will tend to go into an emotional state and then come out of it and someone who is Thinking will have no reaction at all.

To identify someone’s Motivational Stress Response, ask: Tell me about [add Context] that caused you trouble?

  • Independent, Proximity Or Cooperative ― Motivational Style

The Independent, Proximity Or Cooperative metaprogram is used to determine what motivates someone to operate at their best.

Someone who is Independent likes to work alone and have sole responsibility. Someone who is Proximity likes to have a clear territory of responsibility whilst also having others either involved or around. Someone who is Cooperative likes to work and share responsibility with others.

To identify someone’s Motivational Style, ask: Tell me about a [add Context] experience that was [add Criteria]?

  • Person Or Thing ― Motivational Organisation

The Person Or Thing metaprogram is used to determine how people organise their work.

Someone who is Person focuses on the thoughts and feelings of themselves and others. Someone who is Thing focuses on objects.

For example, someone who is Person believes feelings do have a place at work while someone who is Thing believes feelings do not have a place at work.

To identify someone’s Motivational Organisation, ask: Tell me about a [add Context] experience that was [add Criteria]?

  • My/My, My/., No/My Or My/Your ― Motivational Rule Structure

The My/My, My/., No/My Or My/Your metaprogram is used to determine how someone manages themselves and others.

Someone who is My/My has rules for themselves and others. Someone who is My/. has rules for themselves with no concern for others. Someone who is No/My do not have rules for themselves but once given them, can communicate them to others.  Someone who is My/Your knows the rules but cannot communicate them to others.

To identify someone’s Motivational Rule Structure, ask: What is a good way for you to increase success? followed by What is a good way for someone else to increase their success?

  • See, Hear, Read Or Do ― Motivational Convincer Strategy

The See, Hear, Read Or Do metaprogram is used to determine how someone comes to believe something to be true.

Someone who is See needs to physically see evidence. Someone who is Hear needs to listen for evidence. Someone who is Read needs to read for evidence. Someone who is Do needs to work alongside someone for evidence.

To identify someone’s Motivational Convincer Strategy, ask: How do you know if someone is good at their work? followed by How many times do they have to demonstrate this before you become convinced? (either immediately, multiple times, over a period of time or consistently).

  • Possibility Or Necessity ― Motivational 

The Possibility Or Necessity metaprogram is used to determine why someone takes action.

Someone who is Possibility takes action because they feel they want to while someone who is Necessity takes action because they feel they need to.

For example, someone who is Possibility will take action because they are motivated by opportunities while someone who is Necessity will take action because they are motivated by threats.

To identify someone’s Motivational Organisation, ask: Tell me about a [add Context] experience that was [add Criteria]?

Summary

Metaprograms are powerful mental processes that determine what we notice and what we ignore.

We can harness the power of Metaprograms firstly as a way to understand our own behaviour and then use that information to empower us and secondly as a way to understand the behaviour of others so that we can communicate with them more effectively.

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