Metaprograms; understand how you make sense of the world and challenge your thinking

Mar 09, 2023

Metaprograms are like the lens through which you see the world.


When we have an experience or an interaction, our brain manages the millions of pieces of sensory information that we receive by putting it through a series of filters.  That is how we transform our experiences into our perception of reality.  What we experience in a certain situation depends on our individual filters.  We use our filters to form our own understanding and beliefs about the world around us.


It also explains how our perception of a certain experience can differ to someone else that may have been in the exact same moment as us but reflect on it differently.


A lot of this happens unconsciously.  Think of your arrival to work this morning.  Most of us will go through the same routine, arrive to our workspace, greet our work colleagues (or not!) log into our computers, grab a coffee, attend your morning meeting.  We do all of this without really thinking about it.  We have a predetermined process and behaviours that we go through, and that is how we spend a lot of our day.


What if our pre-determined processes and behaviours aren’t really serving us and there is a better way to consciously engage?


Knowing what metaprograms are and understanding how you use them is the first step to increasing your self-awareness.  It helps you to understand how you process information, make decisions and solve problems.  It also gives you insights into your patterns of behaviours or where you might sabotage your own best efforts.  It helps you to gain a deeper understanding of others and influence your thinking as well as challenge some of your existing beliefs, values or assumptions.


There are a lot of metaprograms (over 50) that exist however for this exercise we will run through 5 filters that help us to know what to focus on and where to put our energy.  Check out this outline below and make a mental note of how each one applies to you and influences your thinking and decision making:

  1. Towards or away; are you positively focusing on moving towards the things that you do want or are you more focused on what you don’t want? The key here is to actively move towards what we do want and focusing on how we can make that happen as opposed to focusing on what we don’t want or the negative aspect of our situation.
  2. External or Internal frame of reference; are you needing external validation to know you have done a good job, for example you don’t feel good about your work until you receive feedback from your boss or your peers, or do you know internally that you are moving in the right direction and delivering great work? How does this impact how you work on a day to day basis?
  3. Sorting by options or procedures; do you like to follow procedures and know that the same processes are followed each and every time a task is completed or do you like to look at all of the options for a possible way to undertake a task. Do you prefer to maintain tried and true way of doing things or do you prefer to constantly look out of the box for different options?  Which one most represents you?
  4. Matcher or Mis-matcher; do you look for commonality between things or are you looking for differences? Do you like to look for reasons to agree or disagree?  Do you like your day or week planned or do you prefer to work in a dynamic environment where change is constant?  Matchers tend to like routines, mis-matchers prefer a bit of disruption.
  5. Convincer mode and strategy; do you like to gather information and make a decision or do you prefer to process it to be convinced either way? Do you withhold praise or trust waiting to be convinced, or can you be generous based on the information in front of you?


By having these insights you can learn more about yourself and those around you, how you process information and how you make decisions.


It also gives you the ability to challenge ingrained thought processes by asking some of these questions:

  • Am I focusing on what I think wont work or getting stuck in a negative mindset about a particular scenario? How can I focus on what I think needs to change?
  • Is my motivation or confidence low due to lack of feedback? If I am looking for external validation (note there is nothing wrong with this!) who do I need to have a conversation with to make sure I am on the right track and I can move forward?
  • Am I tied to certain processes or ways of doing things because its in my comfort zone, I find it easier or I don’t have the mental capacity to look at things differently. What opportunities may I be missing out on?  Where can I start?
  • Are there areas that are not working now? How can I disrupt the status quo to find new ways of engaging?  Am I arguing a point just to make a point?
  • Are there situations where I need to be convinced before I can make a decision or act? If I am being indecisive, or I am waiting to be convinced, how can I act now?


 Knowing our metaprograms and understanding how they impact our thinking processes is one of the first steps to increasing self awareness of self and others.  With conscious effort we can challenge the ways of thinking that may not be serving us and change our metaprograms. 


As we evolve our knowledge, experience and learn new things over time we can adjust to evolve our way of seeing the world.


Want more information on metaprograms ?  Check out this source here

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