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Developing, Improving, and Using
Synergistic Life Skills
This book covers concepts, principles, and methods for developing or improving eight of the most important life (coping) skills. What’s so exceptional, unique, and special about it? It integrates all the concepts, models, methods, and practices into a step-by-step, building block system that (a) promotes and enables mutual, synergistic complementarity and reinforcement among self-awareness, personal motivation, thinking (i.e., problem solving and decision making), learning, interpersonal relations, communication, behavior modification, and time management), and (b) presents one basic but adaptable methodology for all of them (instead of having to learn and use a different methodology for each--as happens now).
Chapter 1: Personal Development and Your Future
The Individual: A System of
Self-Awareness manual, including a
These are the basics for better managing one’s own life.)
(Includes addenda on The Socialization of Children and Interpersonal Styles)
Appendix B: Brain Structures, Functions, and Processes
Appendix C: The Process of Mental Development: How Your Brain Becomes Your Mind
Pages: 365 total 2-column, 8½”x11” pages (339 printed); manual/workbook in a 3-ring binder
Illustrations: 95 (54 figures, 35 tables, and 6 exhibits)
Personal Traits Inventory (to fill in)
Personal Goal Setting and Planning Worksheets (to fill in)
Chapter 1 (a) describes the book's contents, (b) explains underlying concepts, and (c) in discussing implications for the future, anticipates and describes a “mind-technology spiral.”
This updated version, which is easily three times as good as the original, has been rewritten largely for high school students, who would take a course with at least one parent (who studies the manual with the child so that he or she is able to reinforce the child’s learning at home). Students each get a book. Parents get their own copy or copies. And the teacher/instructor has a copy. Even teachers and students in university education programs might use this reference.
Several important points:
This book (manual) is so important because teenagers aren’t learning how to: (a) understand themselves in beneficial detail (in terms of many specific traits and their cause-effect interrelationships); (b) do the personal motivation (goal setting and planning) that enables them to begin planning and managing their own lives to a greater extent; (c) structure their own learning, thinking, and communication situations; (d) better understand and interact more effectively with others; (e) better manage their time and effort; and (f) use all of the associated knowledge and skills in a far more integrated, synergistic manner than any other book has ever described. The book is also written for (a) self-improvers, and (b) the many people who have never been exposed to anything like this synergistic system, and, therefore, are not coping very well with life’s trials and tribulations—or even opportunities.
This serious and in-depth work can be called a “manual” because it not only presents the textbook concepts and principles (the “what” and “why”) of developing various knowledge and skills, but it also goes on to outline “how to” continuously acquire and reinforce knowledge, acquire and further develop skills, and modify certain traits. It does all the above using 100 figures, tables, and exhibits!
In addition to describing needs/drives, knowledge factors, skills, personality traits, and interests, Chapter 2 (The Individual: A System of Characteristics) covers three frames of reference concerning values—including the six values covered in the Alport, Vernon, Lindzey Study of Values.” (At one time the SOV was the third largest-selling psychological measurement instrument.) Those six values appear later in Chapter 6 (Interpersonal Relations), which describes our interpersonal styles model, The Interpersonal Target™. R.D.Cecil's name is now on the SOV’s copyright, because he helped to rewrite much of it. Because of that fact, our computerized version of the test may someday be included on a CD-ROM accompanying the book). With that test’s results, the user could fill in the computerized version of The Interpersonal Target™, which is self-calculating and could also be on the CD-ROM, to see the implications for his or her tendency to use a particular interpersonal (and managerial or leadership) style.
Importance of the Manual's Concepts, Methods, Practices, and Tools
The contents of Psycho-Synergy™: System for Developing, Improving, and Using Synergistic Life Skills can help bring about many necessary, even momentous changes in the world, perhaps even more dramatically than money alone can do. Certainly causes involving the reduction of human suffering are important, but improving Americans’ minds has enormous potential to ripple across and improve all facets of life in the U.S.—and throughout the world.
Rewritten primarily for high schoolers, this book covers concepts, principles, and methods for developing and improving the eight most important life (coping) skills—the very skills that most teenagers (and others) are not learning. While it is true that kids these days are being taught various study habits and basic phases of the analytic approach to problem solving, Psycho-Synergy goes much further. For example, teens are not now learning the what, why, and “how to” of doing the following anywhere near as effectively as the manual can teach them to do:
A. Understand themselves (and other people) in beneficial detail—i.e., in terms of many specific (rather than vague or general) traits and their cause-effect interrelationships.
B. Do the personal motivation (goal setting and planning) that enables them to begin (a) increasing their motivation, and (b) planning and managing their own lives both more effectively and to a greater extent.
C. Vastly increase the effectiveness and efficiency of their mental processes—especially during important learning and thinking situations—by....
1. Becoming more active and effective participants in the development of their knowledge and skills in these key areas: self-awareness, personal motivation, learning, thinking, interpersonal relations, communication, behavior (traits) modification, and time (and effort) management.
2. Structuring mental processes—by (1) increasing the likelihood that they will actually stop to think what they are doing and how to do it better, and then (2) applying the advanced steps, principles, methods, tools, and practices for mentally dealing with the situation.
3. Compensating for major mental limitations, such as the human mind’s inability to handle more than four or five bits of information at a time on its own, by using diagrams to visually (1) analyze hundreds (or more) possibly causal variables and the mountain of associated bits of qualitative and quantitative information associated with those variables, and then (2) formulate, analyze, test, and select among various (sets of) possible solutions.
4. Learning the principles, methods, tools, and skills for more effective mental process while young, so that less than effective bad habits are not constantly learned and reinforced well into adulthood, when they are extremely difficult to unlearn and replace with far better habits.
5. Replacing any existing bad habits with good ones. For example, instead of simple-mindedly saying, “The problem is,” and then coming up with a single solution for just one cause, think in terms of multi-causality and formulate an actual system of solutions to deal with a system of causal or influential factors—and thereby reduce the need to fight the innumerable, recurring fires attributable to previously poorly solved, smoldering, festering, continuing problems.
D. Use all of the associated knowledge and skills in a far more integrated, synergistic manner than has ever previously been described.
A forty-year management consultant and trainer, a retired Naval officer, and the author of 32 books (including three college texts), I know whereof I speak. I have witnessed countless business and military situations where underdeveloped skills and the development and reinforcement of poor learning and thinking habits have so often resulted in disastrous mistakes and problems. For example:
In both organizational and social settings, it nearly always happens that someone says, “The problem is....and this is what we ought to do about it.” Invariably, someone else will say, “No, I think this is the problem.... and what should be done.” However, there is no such thing as “the problem.” There is a problem situation brought about by some system of causal and/or influential factors. So each of the above people was probably right when identifying a causal factor (“the problem”); but each was also wrong when citing only one cause. As a result, they end up arguing over who’s right rather than what’s right. While egos are obviously involved, the individuals did not approach the problerm-solving situation methodically—that is, by performing each phase of the analytic approach in its turn. However, they jumped right from a simplistic analysis to formulating a single solution. Instead, they should have first thoroughly analyzed the situation (by identifying the possible factors involved), then formulated solutions (including plans for implementation) that dealt with each cause/influence identified, and finally made a decision (by analyzing the pros and cons of each proposed solution, testing scenarios involving what might occur as a result of each solution’s implementation, and then selecting a system of compatible alternatives to implement). Again, systems of causes require systems of solutions.
Thinking takes (a) knowledge and proper execution of the methodology, (b) self-discipline, and (c) mental effort. But as Henry Ford once said, “Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is the probable reason so few engage in it.” In fact, article after article has bemoaned the fact that ours has become “the mindless society” or “the mentally lazy society”—as well as “the permissive society.” Just imagine the looming, potentially terrible implications for global warming, passage of broadly beneficial legislation, national security, and the futures of all Americans—even all humanity.
The rather obvious point: As Alvin Toffler said in his 1960s best-selling book, Future Shock, we must learn how to learn better, think better, and relate better—or existing problems will become insurmountable, making the future bleak. The self-perpetuating cycle of underdeveloping skills and developing and reinforcing bad habits must be broken. And that cycle can only be broken successfully by starting with today’s young. So, from childhood on, people must learn, practice, and reinforce more insightful self-awareness and better personal motivation, learning, thinking, interpersonal, and communication skills, methods, practices, and habits. Period.
What’s so unique and special about this book? It integrates all the basic and even advanced concepts, models, methods, and practices into a step-by-step, building block system that (a) promotes and enables mutual, synergistic complementarity and reinforcement among self-awareness, personal motivation, thinking (i.e., problem solving and decision making), learning, interpersonal relations, communication, behavior modification, and time management, (b) presents one basic but adaptable methodology for all of them—instead of having to learn a different methodology for each (as occurs now), and (c) enables teens and adults to better structure their own motivation, learning, thinking, interpersonal, communication, and behavior modification processes. Furthermore, Chapter 1 anticipates and describes a “mind-technology spiral” and explains why the mind is the ultimate weapon for war, instrument for peace, and instrument for..... everything that needs solving or doing far better in this complex, problem-riddled world. Consider for a moment how impactful this book could be—e.g., how many complex, knotty problems could be solved by people who can (a) learn more and learn it better, and (b) analyze situations, plan, make decisions, and solve problems more effectively. The ripple effect and overall impact could (can) be absolutely phenomenal—by accelerating interactive technological advances and reducing ignorance, hunger, poverty, bigotry, global warming, and even international hostilities!
Again, the manual is largely for students in grades 9 through 12, who would take an instructed course—perhaps with at least one parent, who learns the principles, methods, and tools so that he or she can (a) help teach the student, (b) set a good example for the student to follow, and (c) reinforce the student's learning at home. It is also written for self-improvers and the many people who are not coping very well with life’s trials and tribulations—or even opportunities.
To make the book easier for teens to study, and realizing that many if not most will simply skim it rather than reading it carefully, I purposefully underlined major points so that students would at least focus on and absorb them. In addition, there are 100 figures, tables, and exhibits that visually communicate major concepts, methods, and practices so that they will better “sink in.”
Copyright © 2023 by R.D. Cecil and Company Last updated: 3/02/2023