To understand the 7 levels we first must take a look at the types of energy in our lives. No doubt you have experience both.
Bruce Schneider, in his book Energy Leadership: Transforming Your Workplace and Your Life from the Core, identifies two types of energy that are present in our lives: Anabolic and Catabolic Energy.
Anabolic Energy is positive, constructive, and uplifting. It heals the soul. It is the type of energy that allows you to set and achieve goals; provide genuine care for another person; and lead a low stress life. This energy is typically associated with endorphins and oxytocin (the love hormone).
Catabolic Energy, on the other hand, is contracting, draining, and results in a low ability to resolve conflict. It is the type of energy that is present in our fight or flight response and is typically associated with hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. It is a great response to have when you are trying to escape from a burning building – but it often exacerbates tense situations that require a more nuanced reaction.
The 7 Levels of Self Perception
There are several ways of looking at every situation. Have you ever experience something and the person next to you describes the same occurrence so different from what you experienced that you wonder if they even had their eyes open. That’s because they were at a different perception level. There are 7 of them and most people live their lives in the first 2. We will talk about the different levels and how they relate to the scarcity and abundance mindsets.
The 7 levels are:
1. Apathy 5. Peace
2. Anger 6. Joy
3. Forgiveness 7. Absolute Passion
Apathy – The victim mindset. You have resigned that life is hopeless. Bad things always happen to you. Life was made to make you miserable. You have just given up and are walking around not caring about anything. You have lost hope. If I didn’t have bad luck I’d have no luck at all.
Anger – Conflict is the key action here. Lashing out with insults, blaming others, living with the belief that it’s a dog-eat-dog world. The good news is you are showing emotion. That you care. You are just not sure how to deal with it so conflict is the easiest way.
Forgiveness – In a word, responsibility. You take responsibility for what happens whether it was your fault or not. You forgive other’s actions. You work with those you like and can tolerate those you don’t. You learn to cooperate.
Compassion – This is a great level. It’s a level you can operate at a large part of your day. You show concern and you genuinely want, and like, to help. You don’t waste time worrying about what others have done, but instead how you can be of service. How you can add value to their lives. At this level you are able to just help, because helping is the right thing to do. Matters not if they can help back.
Peace – You reconcile differences instead of identifying and focusing on them. You view things as not god or bad, or right and wrong, but rather as, things just are. This brings inner peace and acceptance. This is when you are driven more by opportunity then by fear. You aren’t worried about failing or what might happen. You know that whatever happens you will find a way to deal with it.
JOY – Synthesis and wisdom. You exhibit the ability of forming a coherent whole from separate elements.
Absolute – You have touched the core of who you are. You have the potential to manifest almost
Passion anything you want in an instant. You are able to use any of the lower levels to your benefit.
Real time example
As I sit and write this I am in the tire shop. Earlier I scheduled an inspection from noon to 2pm. Then tires from 3-5pm and then my kid’s archery lesson from 5:30-6:30. Well it’s now 4:15 and my truck is still in the parking lot. Some will say it’s the shops fault (Conflict Level 2 Anger) that I had a 3pm appointment and they are incompetent. And because of their slow work ethic and ineptness I have to pay the price or more precise my kids will by missing their lesson. I say it’s mine for squeezing it in between the two. I didn’t give myself enough of a fudge factor when I was not in control of what would or could happen. I think this way even though I asked the question how long will it take and I got the response I’d give it 2.5 hours. See 3:00pm + 2.5 brings me right up to 5:30 so how was I going to make archery anyway? The next time you want to lash out take a deep breath and move from Level 2 anger to Level 3 forgiveness, and take responsibility for your actions. Remember that you are constantly moving through the levels. You are in control of how you react. The key is not to spend much time in level one and two. Move from them as quickly as possible to a higher level.
In the beginning as you implement these levels into your life, it will feel as though you are constantly failing. I fail each day, but not as much as I did yesterday, or the day before, or last week. I am constantly re-evaluating and adjusting how I perceive things and how to react to them. Right now I am working on spending more time in level 3 and 4, no time in level 1 and as little time as possible in level 2. Each time I find myself in level 2 I correct my behavior, make a mental note, and resolve to NEVER let that happen again. It invariable does but not as often or intense. So just like I “never” spend time in level one I will teach myself how to “never” spend time in level 2. You can also.
The 7 levels of self-perception has really changed how I look at life. If it is something you would like to follow up on then I highly recommend the book Energy Leadership by Bruce Schneider. He is an amazing teacher whom created the Self-Perception Chart and for which I have gather this information from. The book is a very easy and quick read that will help you prosper.
To show you how hard this is and how much you have to work on it I will share a quick funny story with you. As I was writing this article and talking with you about deep breaths and moving up the ladder, spending more time in the upper levels and less in level 2. I lashed out in conflict at my son. NOT what you want to do. My point is this isn’t easy and it takes a lot of work and even with that you will slip. Move to level 3 forgive yourself, take responsibility for your actions and move on.