The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Why this questions

It is easy to step into a project or to say yes.

Stepping out of a project may seem equally easy, but it often is much less so, especially when it comes to the need to say no. Until they start to think about stepping out, most people have already invested themselves in the project, become attached to the idea of what it can lead to, and will find themselves wondering how stepping out will be perceived by others.

There is no easy answer to either of them. That is knowing when to say yes and when to say no.

But that might not be the real point.

Wanting to have an answer may simply be too much of an expectation towards oneself. Especially if the chosen path to an answer is arguing with oneself over the benefits or the drawbacks of either answer. In doing so, one easily becomes entangled in explanations, that is in seeking to develop a rational answer.

Doing so easily leaves many of our instinctive decision-making criteria in the dark. Emotions may play a lesser role here, even though they may trigger an answer. What impacts decisions more will be the emotional attachments one has. These can be what one likes, the desires and hopes one has, and it can also be one’s perception of what is right, or how things should be.

Arguing or seeking a rational answer then quickly becomes a judgmental process of one’s reactions instead of an assessment of the situation based on thorough data collection.

Transactional Analysis uses three ego states to distinguish three different ways to behave, act and react. One way to look at these three ego states is by thinking about the different types of interactions and relationships an individual has with their context in a specific situation. Questioning the Ego States may therefore serve our need to inform a decision process through data.

The Parent Ego State can be seen through the lens of the different role models someone integrated into their experience. What are the people they want to live up to or what are behaviors they want to avoid or prevent? Thinking about joining or stepping out of a project, what would the different role models say? How would that project contribute to implementing what one believes to be right?

A way to look at the Adult Ego State is through its negotiator role between the Parent and the Child Ego State. But it also is the Ego State that will look at the practicalities of a project. That is how it fits into one’s schedule, what impact can be expected from it, how much work it would require to find alignment, etc.

To be able to weigh the alternatives the Adult Ego State seeks to integrate all three Ego States into the decision-making process.

The Child Ego State involves a lot of the experiences someone collected and processed throughout life. It is focused on what the individual wants and needs. One could jump to the conclusion that being generous would mean leaving one’s wants and needs aside for a worthy project. However, that is not how energy can be found and motivation can be kept. It would also mean to give more weight to one Ego State than to others.

One can safely assume that there are needs and wants an individual cannot cast aside. Taking an in-depth look at what a project can contribute to needs and wants allows us to become aware of the needs and wants a project can fulfill and serve. That is also gaining the knowledge of which ones can be left aside.

Collecting the information the different ego states are dealing with or are seeking to satisfy is a way to generate data that can fuel a decision-making process. And even more so, one that is aware of the details a project can satisfy and which ones it can’t, or to which extent.





Share this post:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *