How It Affects Health, Happiness and Performance
People are happiest, healthiest (mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually) and most successful when they are functioning from, and being rewarded for using, their innate skills and abilities.
The experience of flow as described by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, produces optimal outcomes and occurs most frequently in those functioning from their natural lead style. From a place of flow, everyone is more satisfied and exponentially more effective. But flow is a rare experience for most people and the reason is that most people are functioning from a place Swiss psychologist, Dr. Carl Gustav Jung, called Falsification of Type.
Jung used the term to describe people whose most developed and/or most used skills were outside their area of highest natural preference. Dr. Jung believed the problem to be a serious one with both practical and psychological ramifications, and recent research backs up this assertion.
Jung described Falsification of Type as “a violation of the natural disposition,” explaining that as a rule, whenever Falsification of Type takes place, the individual first becomes anxious and irritable then, if the condition continues, becomes neurotic. A “cure” can successfully occur only in the development of the functions and attitude, which correspond to the individual’s natural type.
Jung asserted, “Reversal of type often proves exceedingly harmful to the physiological well-being of the organism, often leading to an acute state of exhaustion.”1
According to the research of Dr. Richard Haier of San Diego, when an individual is functioning from a style other than their natural lead style, the brain is forced to expend large amounts of energy trying to maintain the unnatural functions. The result is that the brain and brain-body system experience stress, chronic anxiety and exhaustion.
According to Haier, falsifying type is so costly that over time it can lead to the development of a syndrome identified by Dr. Arlene Taylor as PASS or Prolonged Adaption Stress Syndrome. According to Dr. Taylor:
• The short-term effects of Prolonged Adaption Stress Syndrome due to Falsification of Type tend to be increased irritability, headaches, and difficulty in mastering new tasks.
• The long-term effects of Prolonged Adaption Stress Syndrome due to Falsification of Type include exhaustion, depression, lack of joy, a homeostatic imbalance involving oxygen, the premature aging of the brain, and a vulnerability to illness.
Taylor’s observations and thinking are supported by the research of Dr. Haier. Using PET scan studies, Haier demonstrated that the brain may need to work as much as 100 times harder when an individual is developing and/or using skills outside one’s area of natural efficiency.
Such a demand on the brain requires huge amounts of energy and oxygen. This not only pushes the brain to “burn hotter”, as it were, but could also over time throw off the person’s innate homeostatic balance in the area of oxygen usage and distribution.
Normally the brain uses approximately 20% of the oxygen taken in through the lungs. This leaves about 80% for the rest of the body where it is utilized in the process of metabolism and in providing energy at the cellular level and overall. As the brain demands more and more oxygen, less and less is available to keep the rest of the body up to speed.
A variety of symptoms can occur due to the oxygen imbalance, such as fatigue, digestive problems, listlessness, anxiety, depression, and over time can even contribute to the person’s body shifting from anabolic to catabolic functioning. In an anabolic state, your body is rebuilding itself—this is a growth and renewal state. In a catabolic state, your body is breaking down.
Over an eleven-year period in which Dr. Taylor worked with patients reporting symptoms of depression and apparent PTSD, she observed that specific symptoms seemed to be present in individuals who were living in a state of prolonged adaption.
Her observations led her to theorize that in some cases, individuals who were being diagnosed with PTSD or depression might not be suffering from PTSD or depression in the classic sense, but rather from Falsifying of Type.
Taylor’s findings suggest that Falsifying Type contributes to the exacerbation of a variety of other illnesses and may be best understood as a separate, discrete, and treatable syndrome. She asserts, and evidence suggests, that for some individuals, Falsification of Type can even be life threatening.
Eight commonly observed symptoms may be present in varying degrees in individuals who have been Falsifying Type. This collection of symptoms can include:
1. FATIGUE. Prolonged adaption can require the brain to work up to 100 times harder, which can result in up to 100 times greater energy expenditure. This can be observed as:
• A growing fatigue that is not alleviated by sleep
• An increased need for sleep but an interference with the quality of sleep obtainable
• Sleep deprivation and decreased dreaming
• A tendency to crave specific foods and/or ingest high fat/high sugar snacks in an effort to get “quick energy.” The result can be a weight gain with all the stressors that being overweight can generate
• A tendency to self-medicate in an attempt to try to alter brain chemistry (neurotransmitter ratios) and make oneself feel better. This is often accomplished through some type of addictive behavior (caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, food, drugs, etc.)
2. HYPER-VIGILANCE. Prolonged adaption can create a state of hyper-vigilance as the brain goes on protective alertness. This is a safety mechanism and can show up in a variety of different ways:
• The brain can be temporarily pushed toward introversion. As indicated by data gathered using the BTSA, this is evidenced as a decrease in the individual’s natural extraversion level. It requires tremendous energy to maintain this state of protective alertness (in other words, to keep the lens of the brain open wider) which can contribute to fatigue
• There can be a temporarily increased sensitivity to environmental stimuli (e.g., light, sound, odors) that can impact relationships both personal and professional
• There may be an observed change in the type of activities the individual gravitates toward. Previously enjoyed activities may be discarded in favor of less gregarious situations. Sometimes the individual appears to be isolating the self from others, (perhaps in an effort to decrease the amount of stimulation that the brain must process)
3. IMMUNE SYSTEM ALTERATION. Falsifying Type can be thought of as the individual living a lie at some level. Lying can suppress immune system function (e.g., can temporarily shrink the Thymus gland), which can negatively impact one’s health. Symptoms that can be seen include:
• Slowed rate of healing (wounds)
• Increased autoimmune disease symptoms (arthritis, lupus, etc.)
• Increased susceptibility to illness (colds, flu, etc.)
• Increased risk of developing diseases (cancer, heart disease, high blood-pressure, diabetes)
4. MEMORY IMPAIRMENT. Cortisol, which is released under stress, can interfere with memory functions.
• Decreased ability to store information in long term memory
• Decreased utilization of blood sugar by the Hippocampus which can create an energy shortage as well as deplete the brain’s ability to utilize short and long term memory functions
• Diminished neurotransmitter functions which reduce neuron communication resulting in muddled thinking and reduced ability to concentrate
• Increased production of free radicals that can actually kill brain cells from within
5. ALTERED BRAIN CHEMISTRY. Prolonged adaption can interfere with hypothalamus and pituitary functions, which can interfere with hormonal balance. This may be observed as:
• Decreased human growth hormone (HGH) which is responsible for cell regeneration
• Decreased insulin secretion which is responsible for blood sugar regulation
• Decreased reproductive functions (egg or sperm development as well as libido)
• Increase in the production of glucocorticoids (can prematurely age the Hippocampus)
• Possible alteration in the permeability of the Blood Brain Barrier (BBB) which protect the brain from harmful chemicals, infections and viruses
6. DIMINISHED FRONTAL LOBE FUNCTIONS. Prolonged adaption is a significant stressor, which can interfere with functions typically associated with the frontal lobes of the cerebrum. Symptoms can include:
• Decreased creativity
• Reduced ability to think through or brainstorm options
• Reduced ability to think quickly (select the best option in a critical situation)
• Loss of clarity in thinking
• Reduced ability to make logical/rational decisions
• Increased injuries due to distraction and/or mistakes
7. DISCOURAGEMENT, FATIGUE AND/OR DEPRESSION. Prolonged adaption can lead to the repeated triggering of the conserve/withdraw reaction to stress. This can be especially true for introverted people although it is commonly observed in extroverted types who have been conditioned to introversion. This is far more common than most people (even researchers) believe.
Discouragement tends to increase as fatigue increases, which often contributes to the development of depression. Estimates suggest that upwards of 20 million individuals in USA report that they are depressed. Fifteen percent of these are suicidal. Prolonged adaption appears to be a key factor in many, if not most, of these cases.
8. SELF-ESTEEM PROBLEMS. Any or all of the other symptoms can be contributed to diminished overall success in life, which directly affect self-esteem. Self-esteem issues can present as lack of confidence or lack of commitment to improving one’s outcomes (low self-image) or it can present as bravado, cockiness or arrogance (inflated self-image). It can also flip back and forth between the two depending on circumstances.
• Taking on “victim” characteristics and/or trying to be all things to all people
• Inflated ego resulting in an individual taking on offensive characteristics and/or becoming defensive quickly (usually as a result of years of invalidation)
• A circular spectrum as the mood swings that go from one extreme to another. (This can sometimes be seen when the individual is invalidated professionally but validated personally or vice-versa. The resulting dichotomy can be puzzling and disconcerting as the individual strives, usually unsuccessfully, to be viewed as successful in both arenas.)
Studies consistently validate the fact that only 5% of what limits us and results in unmanageable stress is due to outside factors; 95% is internally generated. This suggests that:
• Only 5% of the effects experienced in the mind and body are due to actual events
• 95% of the effects experienced in the mind and body are due to one’s perception of the stressor and what we do with the perception. In Falsification of Type perceptions are governed by “shoulds” and ought-tos.”
Environmental and situational stressors include such things as having our outcomes directly and adversely affected by the actions of other people (being fired from a job, trying to mend a relationship when the other is uncooperative, etc.) or having our outcomes directly and adversely affected by environmental conditions (mental or physical impairments, available resources, etc.).
The most common source of internal stressors is a mismatch between who we are innately and what we have been conditioned to believe we should be (through the expectations of family, society, culture, school, church, the workplace, etc.).
Falsification of Type occurs as we strive to gain rewards or avoid punishment (shame, invalidation, rejection, ridicule, embarrassment). Where there is prolonged adaption; that is, when we continue to act on the conditioned expectations far beyond the direct conditioning, the conditioning generally occurred so early in life that the individual is unaware that he/she is not living authentically. Often the only clue is the growing list of symptoms as presented here.
Why You Need CORE MAP
Each of us possesses a natural set of strengths and abilities that correlates to specific functions of the brain. The function set is relatively specialized which is what causes us to favor and use one set of behaviors over another. We have a whole brain and we can (and should) use the whole of it, but as we move from our most preferred style toward our least preferred energy, motivation and drive drop off substantially.
Our most preferred style has the greatest amount of natural energy, motivation and drive around it. These drop off a bit when we move into behaviors natural to our secondary style, and even more when we move into our tertiary (or backup style). We have very little energy around our least preferred style and little to no natural motivation to use that style. In fact, our least preferred style drains us and creates stress rather readily. Yet many people function from their backup and dormant styles on a daily basis as a result of Falsification of Type.
Outside our natural style, most people have strengths and weaknesses which are based on what competencies we have been exposed to, or developed. Dr. Sherry Buffington, the originator of CORE MAP, says these developed competencies can become a trap that keeps us stuck in mediocrity and stress. She calls it “the Competency Trap” and her research suggests that more than 84% of the population is caught in it.
CORE MAP gets past false perceptions and to the authentic type. No other assessment that we have tested (and we have tested hundreds of them) can do that. This is a vitally important function of any assessment. Without knowing who you are authentically, you are doomed to living someone else’s version of who you “should” be.
To be fully alive and highly successful, you must be living, functioning and perceiving yourself congruent to who you really are. The greatest gift you will ever give yourself (or anyone else) is the gift of discovering your authentic self and living your life in accordance with that truth. It is from your true self that you will be most effective, most joyous, most energized and best able to contribute to your own life and the lives of those you care about.
In the Workplace
More than 73% of the workers are working in areas of weakness because the tasks required by their work and/or the environment from which they are performing the work is out of alignment with their natural style. Using the term coined by Jim Collins in his landmark book, Good to Great, most people are not “in the right seats” and there is plenty of evidence for this. An extensive poll of employees taken by the Gallup Organization over the past 16 years consistently points to a workforce that is mostly disengaged, and that number hovers around 73% year after year.
Disengaged employees report boredom, career confusion, diminished joy, diminished energy, fatigue, headaches, irritability, and disinterest. They perform at 40% or less, and most know this and are frustrated by it.
Falsification of Type has a direct bearing upon motivation, energy and effectiveness in the workplace. Proper type placement at work improves engagement, interest, motivation and effectiveness exponentially. It is estimated that engaged employees are 4 to 8 times more effective.
Knowing how an employee naturally handles things like conflict, change, work team interactions, and tasks in the workplace, and knowing the preferred management styles of leaders can help you tap into the strengths, energizers and natural motivators of your workforce and produce a workplace filled with top performers. You will experience greatly reduced conflict, reduced absenteeism, increased performance and production, and climbing profits even an economic downturn.
For more in-depth reading and technical sources, the following bibliography is recommended:
Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience: Steps Towards Enhancing the Quality of Life. Harper & Row Publishers. 1990.
Hafen, Brent Q. Mind/Body Health: The Effects of Attitudes, Emotions and Relationships. Simon & Schuster / Allyn & Bacon 1996.
Jung, Carl Gustav. The Psychology of Type. London 1926.
Haier, Richard. Cortical Glucose Metabolic Rate Correlates of Abstract Reasoning and Intelligence, Studied with Positron Emission, by Haier et al. unpublished paper from January 1988. Haier, Richard. The Study of Personality with Positron Emission Tomography in Personality Dimensions & Arousal, ed. by Jan Stvelan & Hans J. Eyesenck. Plenum Publishing Company, 1987. Jung, Psychological Types, page 415-416.
Resource: CORE MAP