Joan Johnson-Porter
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Joan Johnson-Porter — ...asking the next, not so obvious, critical question.

Welcome…


…in today’s world we face challenges that humanity has not had to handle in our recorded history…and the only way will can handled them now is together and with new thinking tools that are able to support us as we work at the speed of life.

I began this work with a different goal. At the beginning it was only to try to get my life back after a head-on car accident in 1973 that left me with such profound amnesia that I did not remember what foods I liked or the ability to read.

In the mid-1980s, my direction changed when a friend, who was writing a book with Dr. Albert Ellis, sent some of my tools to Dr. Ellis. He wrote back to me saying that my work was the first original work in psychology that he had seen and encouraged me to develop the materials into a body of work that could be used by other people. Fortunately I did not realize that choosing to do that would alter my life from that point on.

If I had known I might have chickened out.

I am glad I chose to do the work. I am thrilled to be able to share it with you now.

In this article, you will find:

• Where did this materials come from?

• What is “Transition Point”?

• What is SuperWinning?

• The 5 Transition Point Maps

• SuperWinning Methods

Under the tabs at the top of the page, and in the links in the right hand column, you will find additional articles.

April is our soft launch month, so what it posted will be changing on a daily basis as we add the Maps, Methods and additional articles.

Please sign up for our newsletter if you would like a weekly summary of what is new on the site.

And again…Welcome…

Today we are facing challenges and crisis in many areas of life. To rise to those challenges and create solutions we tools that can work at today’s pace in ways that take into account the scope and interrelatedness of our world today. And we are finding that the ways of thinking, evaluating and addressing issues that have come down to us through the ages are not up to the task of handling our time’s mix of global crisis.

The thinking and planning tools that are in general use today were developed when times were slower and life was scattered across the planet. With civilization scattered across the planet there was separation that supported the development of different cultures and societies, but one thing that tied them together was the pace of transportation and speed of work being done. They traveled at the speed of foot and horse/camel.

Today moves too fast and is too interrelated for yesterday’s ways of seeing and thinking about “things.” Not only is the pace faster, but the speed of the acceleration is increasing, too, making it more and more critical that we be effective at speed.

On this website, we will be introducing Maps and Methods that provide the additional elements to be effective in a variety of areas at the speed of today.

You will find that these are not Maps and Methods that come out of previous success, business or leadership materials. They were not created in the usual way.

Where did this material come from?

When John F. Kennedy was running for President, a young boy asked him how he got to be a war hero.

Kennedy replied, “They sank my ship.”

This work came from a personal disaster and the need to reclaim my abilities and my life.

In April 1973 I was in a head-on car accident on a two lane country road in Ohio. The young man driving the other car was behind a school bus full of his friends. His attention was on waving to them when he pulled into my lane to go around the bus. It was reported to me later that the two cars had impacted with a force of 80-100 mph.

In the accident, my face and chest broke the steering column. I sustained a skull fracture that resulted in profound amnesia as well as numerous other injuries.

The amnesia was not like what we see in movies. I could write, but not read. I could count out three items or five items, but I could not count out four items. I could name the people in my family, but I had no memory of our lives before the accident and could not do more than say their names and relationship.

Unless someone asked, I had no access to any of my life before the accident. It was years before I could put things together enough to explain that to myself let alone anyone else.

I did have a sense that I had had a previous life that I did not remember, and that in that life I had had abilities that I did not have after it. I have no idea why, because even with the limited knowledge of head injuries back in the 1970s they should not have written my injuries off so easily, but various doctors and my attorney told me that I was unlikely to recover what I had before. Several advised me to make the best of my life and settle into it because there was little hope for much improvement. I remember sitting in an office and hearing one of my doctors repeating that and asking me if I understood. I only got the gist of it, but I knew it was not good news and that I did not like it. Something in the back of my head said, “Watch my dust.”

Although I could not remember my previous life, I knew I had had a previous life and I wanted it back. With little assistance on any front, I set out to reclaim my life by relearning to function in everyday life.

I created projects and tools to achieve them. I looked at and pronounced written words in sequence until I was able to string them together and remember what I read and said.

My first goal was to get my life back.

By the early 1980s I thought I was well enough to take a job in California. Although I really was not ready to take on a move and a job, I did it and just kept working on it as things came up…all the while developing my support tools to be able to function.

In the mid-1980s, a friend of mine, who was writing a book with Dr. Albert Ellis, sent some of the materials that I had developed for myself and only shared with a few people to Dr. Ellis. He wrote back to me saying that my work was the first original work in the field of psychology he had ever seen, and told me that if I was to expand the work into a complete body of work that could be taught, as well as used with clients, it would be valuable.

In response to Dr. Ellis’ suggestion, the way I was working shifted from doing work for myself and a few special applications that had come up previously, to developing a complete body of work. Instead of stopping with just what I needed to function, I took the tool and methods further. My criteria was that each one had to be able to be explained in fifteen minutes with a crayon and a napkin and people be able to do something differently in their lives.

Various tools grew and then simplified, and some combined with others, all in the process of developing tools and methods that could be utilized in a variety of situations.

The tools had originally had to work because I could not get basic life tasks done without their support. They were created from the in-side out by me, for me. This is quite a different process both in point of view and in verification than the process of having success in a specific field and then looking back at what people should need to know to also be successful. It is also a different process than observing someone else with a problem and analyzing their problem and coming up with a solution or practice that makes things better for them.

Each method of developing success and achievement tools has their strengths and weaknesses. My proposal is that everyone utilize the best of the tools available to make their lives and the lives of those around them more vital and robust.

(For a more complete version of what happened and how the tools were developed, please see the Joan Johnson-Porter Bio on this site.)

Over the years the materials have come into categories of Maps and Methods.

The Transition Point Maps are physical, on paper, maps of non-physical thought systems that we usually have no way to put onto paper. I have named the maps “Transition Point” maps because they not only make it possible to take a snapshot view of a moving, changing dynamic system, but they also make it possible for us to make changes in what we are doing and how we are doing it in response to what is revealed in the mapping process.

The SuperWinning Methods include basic premises and ways of thinking that give us a different perspective on what is going on and what is possible. In expanding the way we look at situations, additional resources, that we have always “had” but not been aware of, become visible.

These ways of working I call “SuperWinning” because they move us into a realm beyond either win-lose or win-win ways of working. A SuperWin is one where we not only create the best potential next step given the circumstances, but in the way we work we address dissolving the underlying issue that caused the current problem.

What follows is a short overview of the five Transition Point Maps and some of the SuperWinning Methods. Longer articles are elsewhere on the website. Check out the tabs at the top of this page for the pages that are available.

What is Transition Point?

The term “Transition Point” is utilized in a couple ways.

1. There are Transition Points in our life where we graduate to a new level of awareness and understanding in a way that changes our outlook, point of view and way of seeing the world from that point on.

2. We are Transition Points in the universe… the all that is. We take in information and experience and in that engagement we observe, evaluate, derive meaning and then take action in ways that contributes to and changes the world/universe we live in.

Every experience that we have can be responded to in a great variety of ways from the worst, most debilitating to the best, most empowering. And the way we choose to respond makes a difference in the world around us.

Different people can take in what looks like the same information and similar experiences and respond in ways that make different differnces in the world around them.

How we engage, collect, process and then contribute back into the world makes the differences in the world.

It is somewhat like sea water…where the chemistry of the sea water is made up of the sum totals of what has happened in that water from the time it came into existence.

What we choose matters…we are transition points in space/time.


from Reports From the Valley Floor, © 1995 Joan Johnson-Porter

Daringly they challenged
all our problems
with our fears.
Putting into words
what we
could only dare
to dream.
And through them we
became more
of what we really were –
the writers and the poets of
our restless,
youth-full years.
Gathering together
we remember
where we were,
when first
we heard the hopes
behind the music
and the words.
But knowing heights
we soared to,
and, then, to where we fell,
there are bitters
in the memories
of the words we loved so well.
We lived through them,
then beyond them,
though some changed
more than the times.
The writers and the poets
seem to age as days combine,
and we become what
we once honored…
the makers of new lives…
writing the sons, and
telling the tales,
translating
what is in time.



What is SuperWinning?

The oldest method of operation is win-lose. It has been around for as long as we have recorded history, and we do not know about before then, but it probably was around then, too.

It used to be referred to as “the rat race.” And the verdict was that the rats won.

In the last few decades another form of interaction has come into our vocabulary: win-win. It was supposed to be a step up in effectiveness and betterment of outcome from the win-lose of the past. And in many cases it was an improvement even when the people involved did not achieve everything they wanted the way they wanted to achieve it.

It is a difficult method to use because everyone involved must agree not only to work to a win for everyone involved, but they have to have the skills to do it as well as the meta-skills to figure out what to do when they run out of already acquired skills.

Often it operates as “win-win or I’ll take your face off.”

SuperWinning, on the other hand…

· …can be unilateral if need be

· …and also works where partnership is present or available

· …works at a level that can resolve problems at their source instead of just battling with symptoms and presented problems

· …and goes for solutions that prevent the problem from coming up again

The 5 Transition Point Maps

Each of the five maps addresses at least one key question and makes it possible to put thought systems…idea systems…onto paper in a way that reveals new information and relationships and makes new kinds of solutions possible.

Why do people argue very emotionally and sometimes are willing to do great damage to another person about issues that seem to have no intrinsic importance…like which way the toilet paper roll is in the holder… wrapping over or under?

The map that reveals the answer: 2 Points of Reference Construct Map

We generally acknowledge that we need two points of view to have perspective. Without both of our eyes we lose depth perception.

That principle has wider and deeper applications when we apply it to how we think and what we recognize in the world.

2 points of reference is mapped in a construct…shown below:

Primary frame of reference -----|-----Comparison frame of reference

In graphics, this is shown as two rectangles connected by a line with a mid-point marked in the center. There are quite a few applications for this simple map. The most common use is to bring up that usually invisible comparison frame.

In the Construct Sharing exercise, (link to that article) we use two sets of constructs to take a look at how the emotional driver in arguments between people is never, or rarely, the topic they are talking about.

If you were to recall a recent incident where you either had a difference with someone that was not resolved or that it did not turn out the way you wanted it to, and sum up your experience in a word or phrase, what would it be?

That word or phrase describes or demonstrates your primary frame of reference.

Let’s say you summed up your experience as “frustrated.”

Primary frame of reference: frustrated -----|-----

Your comparison frame of reference is your opposite to “frustrated” would have been in this situation. If you look for what your opposite of “frustrated” would have been in the incident you recalled, you will know the right one when you get an energy surge…large or small…and more clarity on your primary frame of reference.

You may consider “happy”…but no more clarity comes up….then “appreciated”… but no more clarity or energy comes up. Then you consider “understood”…and Yes! You get a validating surge or “aha!” experience.

Your map in this example is:

Primary frame: frustrated-----|-----Comparison frame: understood

Frustrated-----|-----Understood

This is a map of your experience in that situation.

Usually we only dwell on our primary frame…it is what we say we felt. But the emotional driver in these situations is the unspoken and un-owned comparison frame, because it is what we want and are not getting. It is the name of the loss that we have and perhaps still are experiencing.

Each person in a difference or argument has his or her own constructs for the experience. And each of them are presenting and arguing emotionally from their primary frame of reference…and the emotional drivers for the situation are the secondary frame of reference issues. We defend by presenting our righteous pain, and what we are defending is the loss described in our comparison construct frames.

In the exercise, we map the situation and then do an experiential sequence (a sequence is a series of steps) that changes how we experience what is going on.

I have seen people do this process dealing with current hot issues, and long standing debilitating issues…even ones dealing with others who have long since passed away or moved away…and had the pain dissolve so completely that if they had not written down their experience before beginning the process, they would not have believed that they had been upset.

There are a variety of other uses for the 2 Points of Reference Construct Map from strategic planning to changing your mind. You will find them in the applications on various topics and in the applications sections on the website.

A longer article follows that gives the Construct Sharing Exercise step by step.

Why do things that have worked for a period of time suddenly stop working?

The map that reveals the answer: Action Change by Level of Complexity

Almost everyone has had the experience of having had something they were doing work for a long time and then, sometimes, overnight had it stop working.

Even if they cannot think of a specific example that seems to matter a lot in daily life, almost everyone has had the experience of waking up one day and their hair is too long. It did not grow anymore that night than any previous night, but this one morning it has crossed some sort of marker and now is just too long to do what is has been doing for weeks.

First, I’ll give you the “physics” definition and then I will give you some examples that will make that, somewhat dense, definition clear.

As you change a level of complexity, the action that you must take, to get the same result, changes.

This applies to physical objects like sewing needles. One “level of complexity” for sewing is hand sewing. The needle that is used for hand sewing has the eye at the opposite end from the point.

When we change a level of complexity…from hand sewing to machine sewing…the eye of the needle must be at the same end as the point. The design of the needle itself...where the eye is located…is different based on the level of complexity of doing the sewing. This is true for all inventions and inventing. If an “invention” does not change the level of complexity of doing a task, it is actually not an invention.

In the longer introduction (insert link to the long article here), under the 5 Maps tab on the website, we take a more in depth look at how inventions require that some elements be the same and some “opposite”…how this rule applies in moving around … and for the most important factors of all…

· Why do things that we have done for a long time successfully stop working?

· Why do people who are successful in one area of life…their work, for example…really make a mess of another area of their lives…their relationships or families?

In the Life Choices: The Actress’ Story article, I share how a woman discovered the exact reason she had been successful in her career and had been torpedoing every relationship she had been in in about 45 minutes. After being in couples counseling for a couple of years, she was amazed to find out that it was not a character flaw on her part or her boyfriend’s part…and that once she understood what the structure of the problem was the answer was obvious and rather easy.

The other applications of this map include increasing learning speed and strategic planning that takes this universal rule into account.

Why do we get outcomes that we do not want to call results, and that were not expecting, and that we do not want?

The Map that reveals the answer: The 90 Degree Action à Results Model

There is a cultural bias in the United States and Europe to set a goal and go straight for it.

That is a good strategy for moving a sofa, but goals are thought systems not pieces of furniture. And as revealed in the previous Map, when you change a level of complexity, what you need to do to get the same result…in this case, achieving your goal…changes.

Pushing a sofa in the direction you want it to go works, but we need to utilize another model to get what we want in the non-physical, idea system of goals.

In idea systems, results come off at 90 degrees to applied energy. There are physical systems models that really do work that way…billiards, for example…but they do not give us a good visual model that helps us. I have chosen another physical model that is not as accurate at the physics level, but is a much better visual to use to demonstrate the principle.

The model is a bird flying. The bird moves its wings up and down and flies at 90 degrees to the direction of that motion…forward. Doing the hand motion of up and down…and then pointing an index finger in the direction the bird flies can really help us when we are checking out which actions will get us what results.

In article on this site we will be looking at how this Map works and its applications.

What are the vital choices that we make that set us up for success or failure?

The Map that reveals the answer: The Three Choices

As I was recovering from the worst of the issues that amnesia brought, one of the biggest challenges was figuring out what beliefs, understandings and know-how about life were really true.

Everyone seemed to have a set of beliefs…often presented as platitudes…about how the world worked. Few people wanted to go beyond sharing the sort of canned statements and expecting me to just accept them because they were so true.

With nothing to use to evaluate the various beliefs, I looked at them literally. And those kinds of premises about life do not do well when looked at literally. Partly that literalness does not work because there are almost always special meanings to the terms in those beliefs that are not in the dictionary. And partly they do not fare well because they have been told, retold and integrated to the point that information is encoded into a short form.

That is an effective method of encoding ideas…it is not so great when someone with no history or understanding of the common clichés is trying to unpack those ideas again to understand them.

After a long process of trying to figure out a way to evaluate all the various instructions and resolve the seeming contradictions, I realized that all success instructions in life fall into one of three categories:

· Safety: how to set up our world and how we interact with it so that we have a foundation of safety.

· Control: After we have a safe environment, we turn our attention to directing traffic the way we want it to go. This is not control of other people. Rather it is how we can decide to take an action and then do that action.

· Success: When we are able to direct traffic, we turn our attention to how we succeed in getting that traffic to do what we want it to do, and achieving what we want to achieve.

I also realized that if I were going to be able to evaluate the various instructions, I had to have a scale that each and every belief, or instruction, could be located on.

The scales I came up with are:

Safety

Avoid the Danger ------------------|----------------- Develop the skill to handle the danger

Control

Force ---------------|----------------Power

Success

Defeat an enemy ------------------|----------------------Resolve an issue

There are many applications where The Three Choices quickly reveal the underlying elements that lead to deeper understanding that matters.

For example, if we take six to twelve major decision points in our lives and look at what our attitudes and beliefs were at that moment, and make a tick mark on the scales where we were, we can see in a new light just how we were thinking and feeling at that moment. With six to a dozen life choice points plotted on the Three Choices, we will see clusters of choice points in different areas of the scales. If the clusters are to the right of the mid-points, we have a skill based initial stance in life. If the clusters are to the left, we have made a choice to take on life by avoiding engagement.

In another way of looking at the scales, we can look at different combinations of points…skill-force-defeat an enemy, for example…and make a rather good guess about what kind of career or work a person who made that set of choices would choose. When we do that in seminars, the connections between sets of choices and careers is exceptionally consistent.

And we can look at and compare the choices couples have made and unearth the underlying differences and coherences between them. And, from what I have discovered so far, the only reason that relationships work or do not work is that each one has made a different choice on the Safety scale.

What I have discovered so far is that an Avoid person seeks out a Skills person when looking for a spouse or partner. In the dating phase, it can look like a match made in heaven. The Avoid person has someone who actually likes to go out into the world and take things on. The Skills person feels pretty good about being the hero in whatever form works in that relationship.

It can look like it is working as long as the two do not move in together. As soon as they do…before or after marriage…they find that there are constant clashes of preferences.

The personal space of an Avoid person is set up and works differently than the personal space of a Skills person. Consequently they are always playing tug-of-war about how their living space works.

There are many other applications that The Three Choices plays a vital role within as well as how we can use evaluations from The Three Choices in working with other Transition Point Map…especially in the Stage-Condition Map that follows.

WHAT were they thinking????

The Map that reveals the answer: The Stage/Condition Map

The better question in situations where we scratch our heads and ask “What were they thinking?” is “How were they thinking?” That is the question that reveals what was going on and why whatever it was that “they” did looked like the right thing to them at the time.

This Map evolved from my quest to understand the historical cycle and how change can and does happen in the world. At the time I was working with several groups who were working on the premise of “making the world work for everyone.” At the same time in my amnesia recovery I was coming across the premise of the historical cycle and the often repeated saying that those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.

From my vantage point, it was not looking like learning history did a darn thing to prevent unwanted patterns from repeating. And I guarantee you that I did not get warm receptions when I brought that out and asked questions. Given the rolling eye responses I got, I took my quest private and worked for a number of years to discover if there were indicators that could show up where we were in an historical cycle…and if we could do anything to influence it.

The indicators turned out to be easy to see and measure once I knew what I was looking for. It turns out that where people and groups put their Attention and Intention is a foolproof indicator of where they are in the historical cycle. And with that know-how a great many issues of communication and strategy become visible.

In the second featured article on the site…Point Training: The Stage-Condition Map…the stages and conditions of the historical cycle are introduced. In upcoming articles, I will be showing how The Stage-Condition Map can be utilized to solve conflict, build teams, create and fine-tune strategies for business, community action and a variety of other things.

SuperWinning Methods

In this overview, I will cover two of the SuperWinning Methods…or ways of thinking…that demonstrate some of the key ways they are unique.

The Sanity Sequence

The Sanity Sequence got its name as the opposite of what we, humans, often do…an UnSanity Sequence.

The UnSanity Sequence is what we are doing when we jump on a conclusion before we do any investigation and then spend the rest of our time collecting and polishing reasons about why we were right. So far I have not run into anyone who says they have never ever found themselves driving down the street in a car by themselves talking through reasons about why something they have decided on or have done is right. They…we…keep piling up reasons and clever answers…and no one is asking any questions.

It is called the UnSanity Sequence because it makes us a little nuts when we do it.

The Sanity Sequence, on the other hand, is what we are doing when, in response to a question or problem, keep noticing elements and relationships involved in the issue…we keep putting them “on the table” until solutions and/or answers begin to emerge.

Using The Sanity Sequence puts us into a very different position from the UnSanity Sequence. In The Sanity Sequence we are expanding what we know because we are expanding what we notice and can notice. The solutions emerge from the knowledge base that we build…and there is nothing to defend. If we find that the solutions/answers that emerge need fine-tuning it is just a continuation of the process that produced them in the first place.

And … for the UnSanity Sequence…well, we cannot learn while we are busy defending a conclusion that is not built on the solid foundation of a knowledge base.

The Pain into Power Sequence

The Pain into Power Sequence has two questions…and our job is to keep answering them.

First Question:

If you had access to all the energy contained in all the unresolved hurt, trauma and frustration that you have had in your life…as an energy bank account that you could use to achieve your fondest dreams and greatest goals…how much would you have in your bank account?

Second Question:

What would this…whatever situation or challenge you are looking at at the moment…look like if I had learned the wisest, most empowering lesson from every experience in my life?

A greater Truth of life is that energy is energy…and if we can utilize it, we have a vast energy bank in all that yuck that has happened to us. How much we have and how much we take on using for good purpose are usually very different amounts.

The challenge of the first question is to take on transmuting any and all yucky energy that you may have been hauling around to just energy that you can tap into to achieve your goals.

The second question gives a point of view and grounding to move to a position in space-time where we have already learned the best lesson from every experience in life by choosing to do so.

Every event in life presents us with a buffet of choices about what to learn from that experience from the worst most debilitating choices to the best most empowering ones. It can feel like what we learned…good or bad…was what there was to get out of the situation…but that is not the Truth of the matter. The Truth is that there are many many lessons available from every experience…and maturing is moving from the worse lessons to the best lessons about the same set of events.

We can do processing and therapy…but we do not have to. If we let go of our clasping grip on “what we know” and allow ourselves to already have learned the best lessons, we find that our understandings begin to change around us and we move in the direction of best of the best lessons.

It is not a question to give a definitive answer to…it is, as Buckminster Fuller called these kinds of questions…a question to live within. Each answer…each revelation…moves us to higher ground and further visibility.

In Summary…

Now you have a brief…if 5,000 words is brief…overview of the Maps and Methods that we will be working with, discovering with and applying to the things that have meaning in your life.

My purpose is no less than to make the world a better place for life and living…one person at a time.

The Maps and Methods are presented in two general areas with more detailed applications within those two areas.

Life Edit is the general category for how the tools are utilized in personal development and close relationships. On the site now, the Life Edit application is the Construct Sharing Exercise. That is one of the applications of the basic Map “2 Points of Reference are Required for Visibility.”

Point Training is the general category for how the tools are utilized in and with groups. These groups can be families, community organizations, businesses, communities, states and nations and beyond. The Point Training application on the site now is an introduction to The Stage-Condition Map.

New materials will be added weekly.

If you would like to be notified weekly of what has been added to the site, sign up for our newsletter on the home page. You will get an article titled “Have you noticed that you are black?” which tells the story of one day in Watts, Los Angeles, when I was doing a module from my K-6 curriculum, Project: S.P.A.C.E. when were supposed to be talking about Rules and Agreements. That day the students were not paying attention and about two steps from spit ball stage…and then I asked some questions…and somehow magic happened.

We do not rent, sell or in anyway release our mailing list to anyone for any reason. We keep it private. Period.

I invite you to make comments throughout the site or to email me if you have questions or comments.

I look forward to our journey together into uncharted territory where tomorrow lives.

Many blessings to you and yours…Joan


Copyright © 2014 Joan Johnson Porter