Meant to Live How? p2 [v76]

JUNE 2005

HOW WERE WE MEANT TO LIVE?—Last month I sent you the first ‘installment’ of the “Living The Life You Were Meant to Live,” book authored by Tom Patterson. As a reminder, Tom is an internationally distinguished strategic consultant, and process designer. He took the principles that he had been using to direct the efforts of America’s top executives for more than 20 years, and developed the “LifePlanning” process—to help people discover their foremost traits and talents, and how this can aid in one’s efforts in gaining greater purpose and fulfillment in life.

This second and FINAL ‘installment’ includes:
Chapter 8: Module #4; The Talent Search
Chapter 9: Module #5; Drivers and Comfort Zones
Chapter 10: Module #6; The Thinking Wavelength
Chapter 11: Module #7; Transformation Through Surrender
Chapter 12: Module #8; The Gift of Helpful Relationships
Chapter 13: Module #9; Putting Together the Big Picture

[NOTE: As before, I have ‘built’ some charts with the underscore key, that are for your ‘answers’. So that they print out properly for you, they were originally formatted in Word with 1.25″ left and right margins and 12 pt Times font].

Again, I hope you can find the time to actually do these ‘modules’—this has been even MORE POWERFUL than the first time I did them.


by Tom Paterson, copyright 1998

CHAPTER 8: Module 4 – The Talent Search

Our gifts are a manifestation of God in us. They are His gifts. They are the parts of His infinite and glorious self that He has chosen to ‘implant’ into us for His purposes.

Many people today don’t ‘know’ who they are. They haven’t ‘found’ themselves. The key to the realization about who you are is to DISCOVER your gifts. You then know the areas in which you need to grow.

The full ‘application’ of your gifts through service to others gives satisfaction and fulfillment in life—it is the essence of feeling that you have had a ‘meaningful’ life!

So, how do you ‘discern’ your talents? Your LifePlan will rarely present itself in ‘large type’. The clues are much more subtle. They are to be found in what you enjoy doing, in areas where you have known satisfaction, in achievements of what you’re proud of, and in your secret ‘yearnings’, drives, and affinities.

A talent search begins in discovery of what you like to do and, beyond that, ‘love’ to do with a passion.

The problem many people face is that they have lost sight of what they enjoy doing. They have become so wrapped up in the expectations of others and the ‘necessities’ that life has imposed upon them, that they have lost sight of what they like to do.

A Second important key to talents and gifts is to discover what you are good at doing—and to discover your giftedness, just look to your past successes.

The “Talent Search Construct” is aimed at helping you discover your unique giftedness. It is presented here in chart form, with the definition of terms to follow:


ELEMENTS                 EVIDENCE               LIFE DOMAIN MESSAGES

– Passions                                                         Family
– Needs
– Drives                                                             Personal
– Obsessions
– Characteristics                                                Faith
– Qualities
– Longings
– Hopes
– Achievements                                                 Vocation


– What do I care about?
– What do I dream about?
– My “Opus Gloria”:
– What will be my contribution?

The “Definitions”:

In the “Clues” section of the Talent Search Construct, you are to identify the traits that make you uniquely you. Start with any one factor, and write down a specific fact, trait, or quality. Identify at least on specific for each factor. Use as few words as possible to convey to you t specifics related to each factor.

For example, you might note these specifics:
– Quality: Truthfulness
– Drive: To get results
– Achievement: Eagle Scout

Reflect seriously on what you really are and really want, need, or desire.

These are what you can’t get enough of—what you want to do forever. Passions ‘make’ work play.

Passion as used here, refers to a depth and intensity of feeling toward a task, not a person. What do you most enjoy doing? In what do you most enjoy participating in?

Some examples of passions are designing, creating, composing, healing people, and preaching. So, ask yourself:
– What do I love to do?
– What can I not imagine living without?
– What makes a day or an experience more complete to me?

Beyond ‘basic’ needs, you have needs that are uniquely related to you. Examples include music, affirmation, other people to work with, appreciation, orderliness, encouragement, new challenges, sufficient personal space, being outdoors, and love.

Ask yourself:
– What do I need to feel as if I am able to function fully?
– What types of rewards do I need?
– What makes something worthwhile or valuable to me?

These are compulsions, not passions. Examples include being results oriented, getting things in better order than you found them, making more money, and performing well.

Ask yourself:
– What motivates me to do my best?
– What causes me to choose right over wrong?
– What gets the ‘gears’ going for me?

An obsession is something a person feels compelled to do or have. Without the desired object, relationship, or accomplishment, life has little meaning and little quality for the person.

Examples of obsessions include fame, power, control, wealth, meaning, usefulness, and contribution.

Ask your self:
– What do I seek to possess, do, or give at all costs?
(may be material, spiritual, intellectual, or emotional)
– To what do my thoughts and desires inevitably seem to turn to again and again?

These are the traits that others see almost immediately in you. They are both inner (emotional, spiritual) and outer (physical, behavioral) qualities.

Some examples include being talkative, energetic, laid-back, quick-witted, slow talking, and self-righteous.

Ask yourself:
– What about me do strangers or acquaintances seem to notice first? What are their initial conclusions about me?
– If a person has had only a few hours of contact with me, how is he likely to describe me to others?

These might also be called “character” traits. These qualities are ‘innate’ to you; they are the product of what you have become or are becoming.

Examples are giving 100%, being a family man, exhibiting integrity, and being trustworthy, outgoing, and a ‘team’ player.

Ask yourself:
– If one of my close friends were asked to describe my character in one word, what would it be?
– What trait do I look for above all others in a friend or associate?
– How would I answer a person who might ask me, “What can I count on getting when I enter a relationship with you?”
– Which adjective describes me best?

These are yearnings, often unexpressed deep desires, or whispers of secret prayer. True longings are very likely to be yearnings that you have felt for many years or for as long as you can recall. They can lie very deep in the spirit.

Examples of yearnings are to be free, to be self-determined, to complete a college degree, to feel accepted, to be respected, and to be a part of a specific group.

Ask yourself:
– What do I most wish I had in my life that I do not presently have?
– If I could add just one accomplishment to my life, what would it be?
– What would I most like to do, change, or try?

These might also be called expectations—what you expect the future to ‘hold’ for you, or ‘where’ you hope to end up.

Examples of hopes or expectations include prospects for getting ahead, having a job, saving, being able to retire gracefully, finding growth and opportunity in a company, and having the company invest in your development.

Ask yourself:
– What do I hope to do in my life?
– What do I hope to be?
– What do I foresee as areas of future growth and accomplishment?
– What do I expect of myself?
– What shortcoming most makes me feel as if I am a failure?

These are strong indicators of who you are and the gifts you have, because for the most part, achievements reflect what you are innately equipped to do.

Examples of ‘personal’ achievements include peer recognition, a successful marriage, and a community service award. Examples of ‘vocational’ accomplishments include a successful start-up business, chairmanship of a task force that fulfilled its mission, a progressive ‘track record’ of growth, and Employee of the Year award.

Ask yourself:
– What is my foremost accomplishment to date?
– What have I done that I believe is worthy of distinction or honor?

In doing the Talent Search, be aware that qualities overlap. Don’t worry about whether something is a need or an expectation. These clues, as a whole, point toward your unique giftedness.

After you have completed the “Clues” section, turn your attention to the top of the Talent Search. There you will find three bullets. Write in those spaces the three specifics that can be derived from your list of clues and evidence that you believe ‘best summarize’ who you are.

One woman noted these traits in her “Clues” list:

– Passions: To be available to wipe away tears
– Needs: The hugs of children
– Drives: To make a difference
– Obsessions: To see children rescued from pain
– Characteristics: Intense; huggable; good listener
– Qualities: Enduring friend
– Longings: To help
– Hopes: To be a good mother
– Achievements: Four foster children helped through college;

When it was time for her to note the three foremost factors of her overall talent, it was fairly easy for us to note together these things:

– Enduring intensity
– Commitment to children
– Compassion for those in pain

So, what are the foremost talents that you believe God has given you? Don’t be dismayed at this focus on only a few gifts or talents. A person usually has three or four dominant ‘God-given’ gifts. We are not equipped for all tasks. Rather, each of us is gift equipped for mastery over something. If we grow and develop our set of gifts and we craft them through our life experiences. We will fulfill our purpose on earth!

In addition, we will always be passionate about our gifts. If we have found them, we will do them. We will not have to be prodded to ‘perform’. We will delight in our growth and in the doing of what we are gifted to do. We will experience ‘purpose-driven’ lives!

At the bottom of the chart is the “heart” area. Heart is where you are ‘centered’—where you desire to serve—the ‘altar’ upon which you wish to place your talents. Giftedness is ‘what’ you are. Heart is ‘where’ you will most likely apply what you are.

Using the example of the same woman from above, you might very well have anticipated her heart statements:

– Care about: Seeing that abused children get help
– Dream about: Providing a home for a group of children recently encountered in a nearby neighborhood
– Opus Gloria: Helping children to become loving parents someday to their own children ( breaking the generational pattern of abuse)

Now, reflect for a few minutes on what you truly desire, dream about, and hope to contribute to humankind. Then answer the heart questions on the Talent Search Construct.

Turn back to your Turning Points Profile. Do you claim to love children with your heart and yet have nothing in your “Clues” list that points toward your having children, being with children who are not your own, or being trained to work with children? If so, your claim to love children is likely to ‘ring’ hollow.  If you have no experience with children, your ‘love’ for them is theoretical only. It isn’t rooted in reality or practice.

A number of people are drawn to heart issues that they think that they ‘should’ have. They are issues that seem noble or that may currently be ‘popular’ in our culture. In reality, however, they are not genuinely concerned about these issues. Be honest with yourself. Face up to what you ‘truly’ have a heart for doing. Who do you truly want to serve with your life?

Gifts (talent factors) and heart are intended to work together on your life. Your gifts equip you innately for service. Heart directs you toward an avenue of service in these ways:

– Focus of compassion
– An age group
– Subject matter
– A means of serving

A truly miraculous thing occurs when you dedicate your gifts to God’s service—He ‘anoints’ you for your mission—His mission—which you will execute. The mind cannot conceive where this will lead. You would be OVERWHELMED if you could foresee His plan. You service will be ETERNAL, adding your bit to the Kingdom of God on this earth.

Peter Drucker once said, “Everybody is good, but good for what? That’s the question.” That’s the key. Talents are God’s gift to us. What we do with them—our service—is our ‘gift’ to God.

The next step in the Talent Search is to apply your talents—especially the three that you have identified as your foremost traits, coupled with your heart statements—to the Life Domains.

So often we see most clearly how to apply our gifts to personal life and to vocational life. Each gift, however, has an appropriate and highly beneficial application to EACH of the five Life Domains!

This final stage of application involves the interpreation of the gifts, heart, and supporting clues into practical areas of work or tasks. The key question to ask yourself is this: How can I best apply my giftedness to each of the five Life Domains? (i.e. Personal; Family; Faith; Vocation; and Community).

As you evaluate your Talent Search specifics, ask the Holy Spirit to direct you to the traits that are truly your ‘outstanding’ or foremost qualities, passions, and interests. Ask Him to reveal to you how you might apply them in practical ways to each Life Domain.

The final step in consideration of your giftedness is to use the information you have gleaned from the Talent Search Construct and to identify the next steps that you take to turn Life Domain applications into a reality.

In applying talents to Life Domains, you inevitably are faced with work, or tasks. Tasks are very specific and require skills. You must be gifted to do certain tasks and have a hear for doing them, and you must be able to do them. Enablement involves both  inner enablement (the power of the Holy Spirit equipping and giving courage), and outer enablement (the acquisition of skills, abilities, knowledge, and relationships).

In the end, we gravitiate toward tasks we enjoy. A gifted writer must enjoy not only seeing his work in print, but also generating ideas, writing them down, editing them, crafting them, and so forth. A gifted counselor must enjoy not only helping people with wise counsel, but also conversing, listening closely to others, doing research to support wise counsel, and so forth.

Consider the tasks involved in the doing of the gift-and-heart application you have identified for each Life Domain.

Once you have determined to whom and in what ‘field’ you expect to apply your giftedness, you need to ask, What type of training do I need?

In virtually all cases, a person never stops growing in the ability to learn how better to apply gifts. It’s a lifelong process.

We are challenged by God to hone our gifts to the sharpest ‘edge’ possible. Our gifts are given to us. We can choose to accept them or reject them, however. Most important of all, we can choose to develop them.

We are challenged to develop mastery with our gifts. The person who is a master at a task is completely unconscious of doing the skill.

What God gives to each of us in a LifePlan is not a predetermined, cast-in-bronze, blow-by-blow plan. It is a general direction, a compass, a topical ‘map’ to follow. He gives us the foundation of giftedness and a heart for applying that giftedness. He puts us into the contexts of family, vocation, church, and community. What we do with our giftedness and heart is OUR RESPONSIBILITY.

There are four ‘stages’ in the process that leads to mastery of any talent. They are stages of learning that someone theorized years ago.

Stage One: Unconsciously Incompetent
Stage Two: Consciously Incompetent
Stage Three: Consciously Competent
Stage Four: Unconsciously Competent

As we stated before, gaining mastery is a lifelong process. No one becomes completely unconsciously competent in life. At every major stage of life, we tend to find ourselves back at the unconsciously incompetent stage. Every ‘crisis’ gives us an opportunity to face our incompetence. Life has numerous moments in which we are stuck anew with the fact that we are incompetent and that we are struck anew with the fact that we are incompetent and that we hadn’t known that we were!

At each major emotional crisis in our lives, we also come back to the level of being unconsciously incompetent in our spiritual formation. Then we must discern anew God’s will and His purpose in the crisis.

Periodically, stop and ask yourself, At what stage am I in the mastery of the gifts I am seeking to develop? The logical next question is this: How can I ‘move’ to the next level? What must I do?

Don’t become discouraged if you find yourself at a level that is less than unconsciously competent. Simply CHOOSE to grow! As the past Nike slogan said, “There is no finish line.”

You are ‘responsible’ for doing four things in response to God’s giftedness and as part of developing your talents:

– Choosing and living out your values
– Your faith decision about Jesus Christ
– Focusing resources made available to you
– For the commitments you make

Your ultimate ‘goal’ in the development of gifts is to both be and do your best. You are to seek to develop your life to the mastery level in ALL of the Life Domains.

Being and doing your best, however, are NOT PERFECTIONISM. Perfectionism is related to an external absolute—an ‘ideal’ of what it means to be best. It is always a ‘shifting’ goal!

The perfectionist tends to get so caught up in the details that he loses sight of the big picture—and, by definition, always fails himself! What a ‘downer’!

Can any person get it right 100% of the time in every domain in life? No, of course not. Even ‘masters’ make errors. But we can become progressively “more right” in all we do. We can practice our gifts, practice giving our gifts with love, and practice living in righteousness until we become masters at the “Christian life”—that is our ‘higher calling’. All of us are ‘called’—to WHAT is the question.

Do you have a new understanding about the person God create you to be? Do you have a clearer understanding of how you desire to apply your gifts to the whole of your life? Do you feel a new responsibility to development of your gifts and to their use?

Identify some of the next steps that you believe are necessary for you to take, based upon what you have ‘seen’ in your Talent Search’. Reflect on the following:

– The most important step I can take immediately to develop my giftedness:

– The most important decision I can make right now related to the application of my giftedness:

– The most beneficial thing I can do to focus the application of my gifts in each Life Domain:

CHAPTER 9: Module #5 – Drivers and Comfort Zones

What drives you? With what are you most comfortable? The answers to these two questions reveal a great deal about the way God has ‘shaped’ you!

Within each of these categories, drivers and comfort zones, there are three focal points:


Power                    People
Image                     Ideas
Contribution          Things

Every person has a focal point driver and a focal point comfort zone. Each is valuable for the ‘work’ you are to perform. No one driver or one comfort zone is more valid or spiritual than another. Like talents, these drivers and comfort zone factors are randomly distributed.

“Drivers” refers to the things that motivate you, that ‘trigger’ you to action. “Comfort zones” refer to the things with which you have the greatest affinity—the things around which you experience the greatest sense of ‘ease’ and familiarity.


People tend to be ‘drive’ by either power, image, or contribution. So, ask yourself:

– What excites me?
– What do I seek?
– What do I feel is a necessity?
– What do I crave?


These people wear easily the mantle of leadership. They can be controlling and manipulative in their exercise of power, but they need not be. Those driven by power include those who seek to empower others.

In a positive ‘light’, people driven bt power desire change and see themselves as change ‘agents’. They are not satisfied with the status quo in their lives; neither are they satisfied with the status quo around them.

Examples of people who are driven by power are Sir Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, and a company president.

To determine if you have power as the foremost driver in your life, ask yourself these questions:

– Am I most comfortable if I am the one in charge or if I can see that things are being done my way?

– Do I desire to make things happen, create momentum, or see that changes I desire are effected?

– Do I readily accept leadership positions when asked to assume them? Do I seek out leadership roles?

– Am I concerned about how and when I might earn a promotion or rise in rank or status within groups to which I belong?

– Do I desire to have greater spiritual power over evil, sickness, or things that plague humankind?


To some people, what counts the most is the ‘way’ things are done, especially the appearance associated with the way things are done. People driven by image are good presenters of a message, although they may not have been the originators of the message.

People driven by image are generally very conscious of protocol, manners, appearance, and social acceptability. They desire to please.

Examples of people who are driven by image include a marketing specialist, an actor or entertainer, a creative arts person, a fashion designer, and a public relations person.

To determine if you have image as the foremost driver in your life, ask yourself these questions:

– Is it important to me that I make a good impression?

– Do I care how things are accomplished as much as whether they are accomplished?

– Do I readily accept positions related to publicity, design, decorating, or protocol?

– Do I admire those who perform well and who stay within traditional cultural boundaries, displaying good manners and social graces?

– Do I place a high value on public recognition and rewards for those who do good work, seeing both as necessary for inspiring others?

– Am I as concerned about how my work is presented and perceived as I am about getting the work done?


People driven by a desire to serve or to make a contribution do not want to be in charge. They may have very little concern about how something looks or is perceived by others. They are driven instead by a desire to see goals reached and people helped.

Examples of this type of person include Mother Teresa, a social worker, and a missionary nurse.

To determine if you have contribution as the foremost driver in your life, ask yourself these questions:

– Do I shun the spotlight?

– Am I uncomfortable being singled out, recognized, or made a fuss over?

– Do I care most of all that something good is accomplished, regardless of who does it or how it is accomplished?

– Do I find myself moving almost automatically to help others who seem to be struggling or in need?

– Do I find myself annoyed with what I perceive to be the materialism or fashion-consciousness of others when more “important” things are to be done?

– Do I prefer to be in frontline active service rather than in a decision-making role?

– Do I care more about getting the job done than about whether an awards ceremony or recognition dinner is planned after the job is finished?

Some people may say that they are driven by more than one thing, but that is rarely the case. Own up to your driving force! Choose ONE, not because you think it is noble or because you ‘desire’ to have that driving force, but because it truly is the force that drives you. Your Turning Points Profile and Talent Search will confirm your choice.

Now, one thing that you have to be ‘concerned’ with is “PRIDE”—and it is not the ‘property’ of any one area. The person driven by a desire to contribute can be just as proud as the power-driven or image-driven person. Rather, recognize that you have the driving force within you that you have, and then make a decision to use this ‘force’ for good, and not evil—for the benefit of others, and with love as your overriding quality, motivation, and guide.

Also be aware that others may be driven by forces that do not drive you. Their driving force is valid and natural for them, and if used in a loving, helpful, and positive way, their driving force is just as effective as your driving force.


We all have met people who are more comfortable tinkering with things in the kitchen than in mingling socially with their guests in the living room. Some people care very little about people or ideas, but are most at home experimenting in their ‘labs’, sketching at a drawing table, or concocting new creations at the kitchen stove.

This affinity is called the “comfort zone.” The overriding question to ask is this: In what setting do I feel the greatest sense of pleasure, satisfaction, and ease?

The three comfort zones are people, ideas, and things.


The person who has a comfort zone with people feels that relationships are far more important than either things or ideas. Such individuals tend to have strong emotions that they are keen to express—they rarely allow logic to ‘override’ their emotions. Bonding with others is vital to them.

Individuals with this comfort zone make excellent managers, counselors, and pastors.


Some people live in the world of ideas. They love strategy and enjoy making paradigms and sketches. They are often very creative, expressing their ideas in the formats of music, painting, drawing, sculpting, choreographing, or writing. They are the theorists of the world—especially drawn to formulas and patterns, and the ideas that prompt scientific experimentation. They see a world that is possible, but perhaps not presently in existence.

Individuals with an affinity for ideas often are writers, artists, scholars, inventors, strategists, or those who are involved in corporate development.


The person who has a comfort zone of things is likely to feel emotionally at home tinkering in the workshop, sitting at the sewing machine, or working on the family car. A person with an affinity for things is often restless and uncomfortable unless he is doing something, generally involving the sense of touch or the use of hands. Such a person loves the feel of metal, wood, fabric, soil, or objects. They find satisfaction in seeing something take shape, produce a physical or material result, or be fixed and put into goos working order.

Individuals with this comfort zone often work as product designers, craftsmen, construction workers, engineers, tailors, chefs, or model builders. They also make excellent architects, farmers, naturalists, florists, and veterinarians.

A driving force and a comfort zone are ‘linked’ within you. They do not exist independently but come together in unique and creative ways.

The nine basic combinations are these:

1. Power – People
2. Power – Ideas
3. Power – Things

4. Image – People
5. Image – Ideas
6. Image – Things

7. Contribution – People
8. Contribution – Ideas
9. Contribution  – Things

1. Power/People
The person driven by power but with a comfort zone of people is going to be very concerned about how to marshal the masses. Such a person may will gravitate toward politics.

2. Power/Ideas
The person driven by power but with an affinity for ideas is going to want to make sure that the ideas are widely circulated, and that they have maximum impact on the culture or group. Such a person may find an outlet in publishing or the academic world.

3. Power/Things
The person who is driven by power and has a heart for things is going to seek to use machinery in the exercise of power. Such a person may be drawn to the military, to the use of heavy machinery, or the use of computers or broadcast technology to ‘weild’ power.

4. Image/People
The image-driven person with a heart for people is going to be very gifted in organizing large events foe maximum pomp and circumstance. A royal wedding, state funeral, or a state inner will be a desired challenge.

5. Image/Ideas
This person would be a great fashion designer, or the innovator of new packaging for an established product.

6. Image/Things
This person is likely to be an excellent architect or window ‘dresser’.

7. Contribution/People
This person is likely to be drawn to group activities and efforts, perhaps working on medical teams rather than in solo clinical settings, or perhaps teaching groups of children or organizing the masses into demonstrations and rallies.

8. Contribution/Ideas
This person is going to be the one to write the editorials that incite the masses to take on an important social concern.

9. Contribution/Things
These people volunteer for projects like “Habitat for Humanity” or to ‘man’ a soup kitchen. In the corporate world, these people are likely to be administrative assistants, a trustee, or a church secretary.

Now, identify yourself on this construct. Circle the base ‘force’ that motivates you. Then circle the thing to which your heart is drawn and for which you have greatest affinity:


Power                  People
Image                   Ideas
Contribution        Things

Then draw a line to ‘connect’ the two areas you have circled.

Now, reflect on what you have identified in this construct:

– In what ways are you likely to express yourself?
– In what fields are you going to be most comfortable?
– What settings are you likely to ‘engineer’ for yourself?
– How are you likely to interact with other people?
– For what are you most likely to spend money?
– In what roles within the ‘church’ are you going to find the greatest fulfillment and satisfaction?

Go back and take a second ‘look’ at your completed Talent Search Construct. Your combination of driver and comfort zone may very well indicate other ways to apply your talents to each of the five Life Domains. What you ultimately choose to do in applying your giftedness should be in line with both the force that drives you and the affinity that oyu have for people, ideas, or things.

Know what’s in your frontal lobe. Know what drives you. Recognize the zone in which you are most at ‘home’. Make the connection.

There is much to be done in God’s kingdom, and it will take people with all nine combinations of driver and comfort zone to accomplish all that He desires.

CHAPTER 10: Module #6 – The Thinking Wavelength

The result of trying to function in a role for which you aren’t mentally wired is going to be distress—spelled “dys-stress” to make it easier to remember linking it to ‘dysfunctional’—which is the ultimate outcome.

Each of us is born with a built-in thinking ‘wavelength’—a way of organizing the worl, tolerating change, and juggling variables. No one way of thinking is right or better. Thinking wavelengths seem to be distributed at random throughout our world, although not necessarily in equal proportions.


Concrete                                                                                    Abstract
Thinker                                                                                      Thinker

A                            B                     C                      D                    E
“Grinders”        “Minders”         “Keepers”          “Finders”       “Theorists”

– Risk-adverse                      – Sees and                     – Embraces risk
– Resist change                    appreciates                    – Welcomes change
– Few variables                      both sides                     – Many variables
– One step at  a time                                                  – Quantum leaps
– Low tolerance                                                          – High tolerance
for ambiguity                                                                 for ambiguity
– Problem/task                                                           – Opportunity
oriented                                                                           orientation

Administrative/                                                                      Strategic/
Operational                                                                       Development

To help you find your thinking wavelength, here is more information related to each of the five categories. We’ll move from left to right: grinders; minders; keepers; finders; theorists. The ‘flow’ is from concrete thinking to abstract thinking.

A – “Grinders”

Grinders get the work done. They are detail-minded doers. The world cannot operate without grinders. They provide the basic labor force for the entire world and all its operations. A company is likely to be successful only in direct proportion to the productivity , quality, efficiency, and morale of its grinders. They are the ultimate concrete thinkers.

Grinders have these tendencies:
– Document things
– Get the work done
– Are risk-adverse
– Like few variables
– Take things one step at a time
– Have a low tolerance for ambiguity
– Understand tasks and the need to solve problems
– Handle administrative details well
– Deliver working drawings

Positions usually best occupied by grinders include: corporate meeting planner, mechanic, administrative assistant, software programmer, bookkeeper, and line factory worker.

B – “Minders”

Minders can manage a unit team, having both the people skills and the organizational abilities to do so. They can supervise the performance of work. They are basically concrete thinkers and are likely to function best in frontline supervision. They have an ability to conduct diagnoses and to problem solve. They will “mind the store” well, putting out brush fires upon their appearance.

Minders have these abilities:
– Can run a department
– Have diagnostic tendencies
– Are usually not innovative, but perceive no reason to be
– Manage people in area of expertise

Positions often best occupied by minders are supervisior, teacher, chief engineer, section leader, and foreman.

C – “Keepers”

Keepers are capable of managing the whole store. The possess an appreciation for the strategic and the administrative. They may have both concrete and abstract thinking skills, but will be biased to administrative/operational work. They make great mediators because they relate to both ends of the thinking spectrum.

Keepers make good personnel managers, directors of departments, plant managers, and executive assistants.

Keepers have these tendencies and basic traits:
– Handle details and see the broader vision
– Handle variables well
– Are operationally biased, but have a sense of and appreciate the strategic
– Are organized
– Are good with people

Sample positions that are good for keepers include department operations or division manager, chief operations officer, general manager, school principal, executive pastor, and academic dean.

D – “Finders”

Finders open up new territory, close an important new account, reclaim a key lost account, or transfer new applications into a territory. They are entrepreneurs. They are abstract thinkers, so they often don’t complete the paperwork that most concrete thinkers require. They can appear to be loose cannons within a group structure. They are innovators and creators. Follow-through is not their strength. They need grinders, minders, and keepers to follow in the wake of their activity.

Finders can have these characteristics:
– Sense and seize opportunities
– Spot voids and fill them
– Are bored by a steady state
– Are good site locators
– Love a new challenge
– Must be thrown “raw meat” regularly

Sample positions often best occupied by finders include chief executive officer, chief visionary, product or market manager, joint venture leader, founding pastor, and advanced development engineer.

E – “Theorists”

Theorists are bright, articulate, and persuasive, but in working with them, don’t expect things to come to closure. Theorists can lead a company down a primrose path. They have a role best suited for universities, seminaries, and pure research laboratories. They don’t belong in business. They cannot manage others well, and their ideas rarely become commercialized. Translation is not their thing. Theirs is a world in which the idea is the whole of it. In the proper environment, however, they can make highly significant contributions.

Theorists have these traits:
– Embrace risk
– Draw little sketches
– Can make quantum leaps
– Welcome change
– Are strategic
– Produce seminal concepts
– Enjoy many variables
– Are opportunity oriented
– Have a high tolerance for ambiguity
– Postulate the new, but don’t execute
– Love the 40,000 –foot macro view

Sample positions best occupied by theorists include scientist, researcher, and philosophical professor.

Several key concepts are critical to understanding the thinking wavelength, but remember, people CANNOT CHANGE their thinking wavelength, regardless of the amount or type of training received! There is very little potential for movement.

People who are asked to perform a job outside their thinking wavelength will experience stress and internal discomfort.

Those operating to the ‘right’ of their wavelength are likely to feel what is termed “Stress A”: frustration at NOT BEING ABLE to do it. Those operating tot he ‘left’ of their wavelength experience “Stress B”: frustration at HAVING to do it. Both kinds of stress lead to eventual burnout.

So, what happens in burnout? Metamorphosis—a change in character, substance, and appearance.

Burnout is just what it says—the area has been leveled and is scorched. A new forest may grow—a new interest or challenge may be pursued after a period of rest—but the old forest is no more!

Regardless of your thinking wavelength, you also have a propensity toward how much you are likely to take on. The question you should ask yourself is: “Are you a burro or a horse?”

A horse accepts every assignment, takes on all work, says no to nothing, and is very likely to burn  out, become ill, or even lose his life in the process.

Burros are smarter than horses. They refuse to get into overload. Put too much on the back of a burro and it will sit down. It won’t move! A burro knows when enough is enough.

Horses tend to be the 5% of the workforce that creates 50% of the profits. In the end, they have much shorter life spans within the company.

On the personal side, recognize which you are. If you are a horse, you will need to ‘pace’ yourself and give yourself permission to say “no” to some projects, some promotions, and some commitments. If you are a burro, recognize that you are likely to need to prod yourself to test your limits, and then to maintain a maximum workload without overload. Horses must learn to restrain themselves and take a vacation. Burros must learn to motivate themselves.

So, to primarily you horses, if you recognize that you have taken on too many responsibilities, too many obligations, too many burdens of others, and you find yourself unable to let go of any of them, find a burro to give you PERMISSION, RIGHT NOW, to do so!!! God never gives us responsibilities that will ‘drain’ us of all our energy or that will ‘destroy’ a domain in our lives!

Now, ask yourself these questions:
– Where does my current job description fall on the spectrum?
– Does my current job description match my thinking wavelength?

If you wavelength and current job description do not match up, start planning for a change in job. You can change your job, but can’t change the way you think—a job that is ‘drifting’ out our your “joy zone” is a big warning signal!—you’re better off switching than fighting.

Take a few minutes now to reflect on what you have learned about yourself in this module. Ask yourself:

– What action do I need to take regarding my thinking wavelength and the work that I do, the volunteering positions I fill, or the roles that I have taken on?
– In what ways may I need to adjust my expectations regarding others?
– In what ways do I need to adjust my communication with others?
– Do I have a tendency to take on too much work and put myself in overload:? If so, what changes do I need to make?
–  Do I have a tendency to say “no” when an opportunity seems overwhelming? If so, what do I need to do to make sure that I don’t miss an opportunity for good?

Remember that no one way of thinking is best, right, or desirable. Accept who you are and the way you think. Accept others for the way they think. Remember, too, that there are both burros and horses. So, find it, fill it, but don’t exceed it!

CHAPTER 11: Module #7 – Transformation Through Surrender

We are not today what we were yesterday. We will not be tomorrow what we are today. We are in the process of being changed. Though the process of transformation is never complete in a lifetime, we can at least ‘monitor’ or progress.

One of the best-known models related to human psychological and social growth is Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy (pyramid) of human need—with “physiological needs” (air, water, food, sleep, and shelter) and the ‘bottom’ or ‘base’ of the pyramid; “need for security” above that; “need for recognition” on top of that; and “self-actualization” at the top.

Maslow’s basic premise was that we human beings cannot rise above the fulfillment of lower needs. For example, a person’s primary needs are for sufficient air, water, food, sleep, and shelter. Deprivation in any one of these areas will become an all-consuming need in the person’s life, and little else will matter. Once the basic physiological needs are met, the next concern is then for personal safety—-and so on.

It is helpful to recognize where you might be on Maslow’s hierarchy of human need, and even to recognize ‘why’ you are there so that you might focus on what is truly important and not become frustrated with what once was. It us also important to recognize that the meeting of the need is what counts.

Each of us is a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual being. In our Western Civilization, we tend to isolate those areas of our lives—but we cannot de ‘divided’ in this way—we are ‘one’.

Part of becoming a ‘whole person’ lies in recognizing that you have been created as a singular being, with each ‘aspect’ of your being related to all other aspects. It is as if you are a multifaceted cut diamond—each facet capturing and radiating a degree of light, but all facets part of the same stone.

The ‘spirit’ is ultimately the integrating influence of all other facets of your life. It is the essence; it is the everlasting aspect of your being, the overriding ‘ruler’ over every relationship you have.

You are transformed ‘entirely’ when your spiritual focus is transformed from self-centeredness to Christ-centeredness—you truly are a “new creature.” Your responses, desires, goals, thoughts, feelings, purchases, and physical concerns all undergo a ‘radical’ transformation the longer you ‘walk’ with Christ, and the deeper your relationship grows with Him.

The spiritual transformation process is essentially one from being a sinner to being a ‘mature’ Christian. It might be charted in a way similar tot he model used by Maslow, except for the insertion of “surrendering to Christ” between the need for recognition and self-actualization.

The self-actualized Christian is seeking to grow in spiritual potential through a process of ‘pouring out’ self more and more, and allowing more and more of self to become ‘filled’ with Christ’s presence.

The “surrender” process begins with ‘conversion’—but does not end there. At the point of conversion a person comes into a ‘relationship’ with God through a belief in Jesus Christ as god’s Son and an acceptance of Jesus as having made the one complete and definitive sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin. Jesus becomes the Savior of one’s soul.

At the point of surrender, however, a person makes a complete renunciation of confidence in self and claims a total ‘reliance’ upon the presence and power of God. The person has a passion to ‘walk’ with Christ and to be completely Christ-centered. The person generally has a ‘revelation’ of the greater mission that God has for him or her. As the Apostle Paul said, “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ [Philippians 1:6].

It is my contention that only the surrendered person is going to ‘fully’ embrace God’s plan and purpose, and is going to make a commitment to living out God’s LifePlan.

The “converted” person may gain much perspective during the LifePlan process, but they are also likely to say to themselves, “Let’s see if this works to MY benefit.”

The “surrendered” person, in comparison, will regard God’s plan with the thought, “I know God’s way WILL BE for my highest good.”

An ‘opening’ of one’s self to spiritual self-actualization is a matter of choice, of becoming ‘intentional’ about your life. Gods ‘calls’ you to surrender, but He will not ‘force’ you to do so.

If you choose to make this ‘step’ of surrender, the Holy Spirit will be your ready ‘ally’. His comfort and presence will be ‘profound’, and will often be manifested in very ‘dramatic’ ways to those who surrender fully to God (This is the greatest ‘gift’ you can ever give yourself!)—through His grace and mercy your spirit will ‘sour’ and will ultimately allow you to live the life you were meant to live!

CHAPTER 12: Module #8 – The Gift of Helpful Relationships

God’s gifts to us come in a variety of forms. Some of His greatest gifts to us are people. He allows for us to enter into and develop certain relationships that are for our growth, development, and blessing. God ‘blesses; us with and through people.

When it comes to our giftedness, we are wise to seek out those who have complementary gifts—gifts that ‘mesh’ with ours and fill in the gaps that we are missing. Such people can be tremendous assets to us, and vice versa.

People frequently have difficulty letting go of certain jobs or responsibilities because they think they are required to be all things to all people. No person can fill that description.

There is a tremendous sense of release when a person recognizes that she does not ‘need’ to be gifted in all ways that a certain job description may demand. Others can fill in the gaps and find fulfillment in their lives as part of the process. The overall direction is forward and upward. Usually two people working together can generate far more than the two of them working alone.

Don’t try to become something you are not gifted to be—because you’ll be miserable, and in the end, you’ll make everyone around you miserable too! So. Do what you do well and that will inspire others to do what they are gifted to do.

In the well-known fail tale of Cinderella, the stepsisters do their best to cram their oversized feet into a glass slipper that was exclusively designed for Cinderella. The person who tries to fill a job when he is not gifted for that job is somewhat like one of Cinderella’s stepsisters—it won’t ‘fit’.

In addition to those who will complement your giftedness, you are wise to seek out those from whom you can learn. These are the people who can help you develop your giftedness and from whom you can receive information, insights, and wisdom to help you grow.

Some dictionaries define “mentor” in very broad terms, such as “coach” or “trainer”—but I define it as a “wise and trusted adviser, one to whom you can turn to for sound counsel.”

There are a few different kinds of mentors. First off, every person needs a ‘historical’ mentor—turning to their works or biographies for insight.

A person should also have one or two living mentors—vocationally it might me someone that has “seen it all” or is truly an outstanding achiever in your particular field.

Another type of mentor can help with your spiritual transformation—especially if you have committed yourself to a total surrender to Christ. This person should be a ‘mature’ Christian that wants to help you discover your unique spiritual gifts—termed “graces.”

While some ‘limit’ the definition of “grace” to “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control,”  this list is by no means comprehensive—-and a spiritual mentor will be able to guide, direct, challenge, convict, and, above all, love you while you develop the manifestations of God’s nature in you.

It is very important to have a mentor, but don’t be in a hurry—choose them wisely! A good mentor will know your LifePlan and be capable of helping you to:

– Be accountable and keep your promises to yourself
– Think things through
– Encourage you when you need it
– Keep your deepest secrets in confidence
– Help you review our LifePlan periodically and offer suggestions and counsel

The hallmarks of a good LifePlan ‘partner’ would be:

– A very close friend of the same sex
– A secure, confident person of wisdom
– Someone who will tell you what you need to hear
Someone who will always be there for you—you will never be ‘imposing’ on them when you need help

This would be a great time to reflect on those who have occupied these various roles in your life in the past—people with complementary gifts, vocational mentors, historical and living mentors, and spiritual mentors. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you the type and/or specific person that you may need in your life at this time.

CHAPTER 13: Module #9 – Putting Together the Big Picture

God’s plan does not impact your life unless you acknowledge that you are willing to pursue His LifePlan, and you yield yourself to it.

Taken as a whole, your understanding of your life leads you to the point of drawing certain conclusions about life. You can and should state them clearly in a summary fashion for easy review.

Take a look at the Learnings Matrix. It is your working ‘model’ for summarizing the perspective you have gained. In each box of the matrix, you will be asked to write one or two points of learning that you have gained from the various modules you have completed. The definitions for “life messages, core values, and roadblocks to growth” follow.


LIFE                            LIFE                   CORE               ROADBLOCKS
DOMAINS               MESSAGES            VALUES              TO GROWTH






With the reference to all of the constructs that you have completed, ask yourself, What is the message to me about the personal domain in my life?; the family domain?; my vocation?; my faith? and my involvement with my community?

Messages are ‘signals’. From an overall appraisal of all the exercises you have completed in seeking a greater perspective on your life, WHAT MESSAGE comes ‘ringing’ out to you with clarity?

Each of us should now intuitively ‘know’ what our specific “calling” should be—based on the unique combination of traits, abilities, and desires we have within us. And, hopefully, we will know, in the moment of awareness, how we can best “minister” to other people—because bring of help, service, or blessing to others is the highest and greatest ‘purpose’ for our lives—and that serving or ministering will allow us to ‘experience’ the greatest fulfillment possible!

Why is this so? Because it is the reason we exist! Jesus said “you did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain” [John 15:16].

The fact is, ALL of us are “called”—only a few are to manifest their gifts as pastors, evangelists, and missionaries. Most of us are to do our ‘ministry’ as part of a vocation that is not bound to the direct function of the church.

Lou Holtz, the former head football coach at Notre Dame, gave a new meaning to the word “win,” making it mean, “What’s Important Now? He encouraged his players by telling them that if they could only determine the answer to that question, they would always be winners—not only in football, but also in the ‘game’ of life.

So, why not make your life count for more than just the here and now—choose to leave a ‘legacy’.

What are the “must” rules of your life? Review the various constructs you have completed and look for an expression of values.

Your ‘core’ values must be what you say you believe in and what you actually practice—you must “walk the talk.”

Your core values are the ‘baseline’ for all decisions you make. You will have a sense of peace and contentment when you follow through with a decision based on them.

It might be helpful to ‘frame’ your core values in terms of a ‘contract’ with God for the rest of your days here on earth. This is a statement about the values that you choose to reflect in every word, thought, and action.

In reviewing the various constructs, you will likely see “roadblocks” that are currently standing in your way of future growth.

In identifying these roadblocks, don’t fall into ‘self-victimization’, because you will ‘close off’ you awareness to God’s working in your life.

If you believe that God is at ‘work’ in all things, then you must acknowledge that all circumstances are under His control, and He is using them to ‘conform’ us to His will and train us about His ways. He will make good come from all that we experience!

The number one thing keeping most of us from pursuing or acting on this truth is fear (some have said that this word is an acronym for “False Evidence Appearing Real”).

If you think back to some of the tens of thousands of decisions you’ve made in your life so far, and consider the ones that lead to failure or frustration, you will likely find that you made the decision out of fear—fear of loss of income or financial security; loss of reputation or status; or loss of relationship.

The decision driven by fear ‘contravenes’ on of God’s laws—He will reveal to us the truth we need if we are open to receiving it, and He will give us the courage required to act on it once it is revealed [James 1:5].

President Roosevelt was right when he said that we have nothing to fear except fear itself!

Reason does not require that you know all the details or all of the specifics related to the future, even to what tomorrow may hold—that would eliminate all need for daily trust—it would also make life pretty ‘boring’.

The approach that God challenges us to take repeatedly in our lives is this: “Act when you have a certainty in your spirit about what you ‘should’ do, with no other guarantee necessary except the knowing in your spirit that you are doing the right thing in God’s eyes.”

What many people have found is that God has provided something better than they had imagined, and that He will ‘lead’ us, and provide what is ‘best’ for us. He will reveal NO MORE than we need to know. He provides for us with ‘sufficiency’.

So, don’t hesitate in you pursuit of the changes you see ahead of you. Each of us has something ‘wonderful’ to contribute to the world. The point at which our talents turn into great ‘success’ is the point at which we truly dare to act, developing our gifts and turning them into active and loving service for the glory of God.

Consider to choose to:

– Think God’s thoughts about your life
– Dream God’s dreams about yourself
– Believe God’s Word to you and trust that He is work in and through you
– Dare to do God’s LifePlan

You won’t be disappointed—to the contrary, you will truly come to LIVE THE LIFE YOU WERE MEANT TO LIVE!

[Excerpts from: Tom Paterson]


If you have a ‘neat’ story or some thoughts about an issue or current event that you would like me to try to respond to, I would be glad to give it a try…so, send them to me at:

Just as there are physical laws that govern the physical universe, so are there spiritual laws that govern your relationship with God.

LAW #1
God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life.

God’s Love
“God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, NIV).

God’s Plan
[Christ speaking] “I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly” [that it might be full and meaningful] (John 10:10).

Why is it that most people are not experiencing that abundant life?


LAW #2
Man is sinful and separated from God. Therefore, he cannot know and experience God’s love and plan for his life.

Man is Sinful
“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

Man was created to have fellowship with God; but, because of his own stubborn self-will, he chose to go his own independent way and fellowship with God was broken. This self-will, characterized by an attitude of active rebellion or passive indifference, is an evidence of what the Bible calls sin.

Man Is Separated
“The wages of sin is death” [spiritual separation from God] (Romans 6:23).

This diagram illustrates that  God is holy and man is sinful.  A great gulf separates  the two.  The arrows illustrate that man is continually trying to reach God and the  abundant life through his own efforts, such as a good life, philosophy, or religion—but he inevitably fails.

The third law explains the only way to bridge this gulf…

LAW #3
Jesus Christ is God’s only provision for man’s sin.  Through Him you can know and experience God’s love and plan for your life.

He Died In Our Place
“God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

He Rose from the Dead
“Christ died for our sins… He was buried… He was raised on the third day, according to the Scriptures… He appeared to Peter, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred…” (1 Corinthians 15:3-6).

He Is the Only Way to God
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father but through Me'” (John 14:6).

This diagram illustrates that God has bridged the gulf that separates us from Him by  sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross in our place to pay the penalty for our  sins.

It is not enough just to know these three laws…

LAW #4
We must individually receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; then we can know and experience God’s love and plan for our lives.

We Must Receive Christ
“As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12).

We Receive Christ Through Faith
“By grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as result of works that no one should boast” (Ephesians 2:8,9).

When We Receive Christ, We Experience a New Birth
(Read John 3:1-8.)

We Receive Christ Through Personal Invitation
[Christ speaking] “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him” (Revelation 3:20).

Receiving Christ involves turning to God from self (repentance) and trusting Christ to come into our lives to forgive our sins and to make us what He wants us to be. Just to agree intellectually that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He died on the cross for our sins is not enough.  Nor is it enough to have an emotional experience. We receive Jesus Christ by faith, as an act of the will.

These two circles represent two kinds of lives:

Self-Directed Life
-Self is on the throne
-Christ is outside the life
-Interests are directed by self, often resulting in discord and frustration

Christ-Directed Life
-Christ is in the life and on the throne
-Self is yielding to Christ, resulting in harmony with God’s plan
-Interests are directed  by Christ, resulting in harmony with God’s plan

Which circle best represents your life? Which circle would you like to have represent your life?

The following explains how you can receive Christ:

You Can Receive Christ Right Now by Faith Through Prayer (Prayer is talking with God)

God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. The following is a suggested prayer:

Lord Jesus, I  need You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my  life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and  giving me eternal life. Take control of the throne of my life.  Make me the kind of person You want me to be.

Does this prayer express the desire of your heart?  If it does, I invite you to pray this prayer right now, and Christ will come into you life, as He promised.
[Bill Bright-Campus Crusade]

(NOTE: To see all the diagrams, visit this site: )

“I find it fascinating that most people plan their vacations with better care than they plan their lives. Perhaps that is because escape is easier than change.”
[Jim Rohn]

I hope you enjoyed some of these insights. Share them with your friends and colleagues, so we can have a larger ‘pool’ to receive from—and more to share with! Also, remember to include your name as the “source,” especially if some of this wisdom is of your doing—I would like to give credit where credit is due!

“For I know the plans I have for you, “declares the Lord,” plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” [Jeremiah 29:11].


Disclaimer: All the above jokes & inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright are used when known. Other than our name and headers, we do not own the copyright to any of the materials sent to this list. We just want to spread the ministry of God’s love and cheerfulness throughout the world.

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