This isn’t astrology people.

You’re not determined to be one thing or another for your entire life.

Everybody grows up. When you’re a child, probably until 6 or so, you’re family is the center of your universe. It’s all you know, it’s all-important. Then, of course, you go to school and learn that if you don’t behave yourself, you get smacked with a ruler or sent to the coat closet or whatever ineffective disciplinary measure schools take these days.

Yes kids, people will try to dominate you and affect your actions and behaviors. Reactions may vary.

In the dawn of your life, you’ve already been exposed to a kinship and power centered mentality.

Then we run into adolescence--hormones raging, emotions all aflutter. You realize you have some control over your reality and not everything seems as it should be. You go to college, learn a thing or two and you or those you encounter might take up some sort of crusade. Maybe you throw red paint on fur-wearing women as they exit the opera house or chain yourself to a tree so those evil woodsmen can’t cut it down. The cause centered mentality rears its head.

Then reality hits (not that everything else isn’t reality). The bills are coming in. The car needs fixed, the kids want a doll that wets itself, wife doesn’t like her clothes, and your boss goes on and on about profit margins. You’re surrounded by the market centered mentality.

A lot of people might stop here. It’s not surprising. The weight of economics can be overpowering, enough to keep a person engaged for the duration of their life.

Yet for many, the dust settles eventually and they look around and realize that they’re part of a larger system. You might wonder what’s being done with the taxes you pay or why your neighbors refuse to mow their lawn. You might think it necessary to mobilize a group of young men to help an elderly woman with home repairs or something of that nature. You have encountered the community centered mentality.

Being community centered might cause one to look at the opinions and commentary of those who (at least seem to) understand these larger social systems. You begin to comprehend the arguments of political analysts, you follow the news, you see the tension between ideologies, you realize the futility of moralizing to different cultures or trying to forcibly change people or societies. You have encountered the perspective mentality.

Finally, the baggage falls away and you realize what works and what doesn’t in the world. You operate more from a space of observing reality as it truly is rather than what you think it should be. You can predict the behaviors of people and groups. Less and less becomes surprising and the truth of the world around you seems to emerge. This is a reality centered mentality.

So why bother? What good does it do you to know this?

This serves to illustrate that you intrinsically know about these mentalities. You’ve probably personally identified or encountered all of them before. Think about your life; who that you know is kinship centered, power centered, cause centered, market centered, community centered, perspective or reality centered?

How do they act? What stimulates them? What gets them up and moving? What do they want from you? How would you best interact with them to not only get what you want, but to promote social harmony?

Understanding how people interact for benefit simply assists you in getting what you want. And people want different things. Market centered people want money, cause centered people want to be right. What are you? How about your co-workers and family?

It’s important to note that, though this post might seem to imply this, age is not an indicator of someone’s mentality. This isn’t Erikson’s stages of development. People can be kinship centered for their entire life and you don’t necessarily “evolve” from one to the next as you mature. Rather, mentalities seem to dominate a person’s surroundings as they grow and mature.

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