Follow up Question and Answer...

I received a follow up question in relation to a point I made about people being scientifically programmed to look for external validation in my article titled, "we can pay compliments, but we can't spend them". As I care about my readers, I wanted to share my response publicly. The question and answer are shown below...

‘I’d be interested to know where you found the data that some people are ‘scientifically programmed to look for external validation.’
— Valued One Brit, No Bull Blog Reader

Sure, happy to help! Thanks for your great question. 

The development of the Meta Programs on which this point was based has roots with Carl Jung's work (including his book, Psychological Types, 1921). Jung was one of Freud's students and this work gave rise to being able to predict someone’s personality through the elicitation of three basic meta programs.

Around 20 years later, Myers and Briggs (who, actually, were students of Yung) were working on some of Yung’s concepts and they added a 4th meta program, which gave birth to the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (or MBTI) psychometric test and was based on what are now called the “simple meta programs”.

When I was becoming certified as a Trainer of Neuro-Lingusitic Programming (NLP), we spoke extensively about the development of the meta programs and learnt about the additional complex meta programs that were identified in the 1970s by the pioneers of NLP.

Used appropriately (and that’s a big, important caveat), the various meta programs can be used as predictors of personality. The one I was specifically referencing is the Frame of Reference Filter, which allows us to understand whether someone looks for validation internally, externally or a combination of both.

For example, it could be said that it would be better for a self employed person/entrepreneur to have a frame of reference filter that is internal so that they would know themselves whether they are doing a good job, though, of course, an individual with an external validation frame of reference could still be an entrepreneur, but they may keep asking others around them whether they are doing a good job!

Thanks for the great question and feel free to reach out to me if you have any follow up questions!


Rob Whitfield is the CEO and Founder of One Brit, No Bull, a corporate training and coaching company based in Los Angeles and operating worldwide. Rob can be contacted here or on (+1) 518 9NO BULL.

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As well as being an experienced management consultant and energetic public speaker, Rob Whitfield is a certified Trainer of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, a certified Master Coach and a certified Master Practitioner of Hypnotherapy and Time Line Therapy. No Bull.