What's a default mindset?

Primal Process Theory posits three biologically-determined mindsets which are derivative of the famed "Fight, Flight and Freeze" instinct. The corresponding mindsets that came into being over the course of evolution are "Fighting", "Defeated" and "Appeasing". Although the terms used connote a very limited range of mental and emotional functionality, each of these terms is essentially a stand-in or placeholder for a wider, more subtle range of mental capabilities, as the graphic below implies.

Word Cloud

Each of these other qualities of consciousness are tightly associated with their respective 'Fight', 'Flight' and 'Freeze' instincts of origin. Indeed, as we discuss in our book, research on children suggests that most of us are likely born with a genetically-determined temperament that tends to see us preferentially operate out of one of the three mindsets. Yet while each mindset undoubtedly bestows upon us certain useful skills and character strengths, each onto itself also reflects a limited range of mental and emotional capability. When a person begins to over-rely on one particular mindset function, the habit of doing so results in the formation of a default mindset. This can have the effect of denying that person access to the skills, capabilities and adaptive functionalities available in the other mindsets. Thus a lop-sided personality begins to entrench itself.

Primal Process Theory daringly suggests that most psycho-pathologies are a by-product of the overuse of a particular mindset. Thus knowing what one's particular mindset tendency tends to be, provides enormous insight into the types of mental and emotional challenges one is apt to encounter throughout life. Our on-line questionnaire is designed to give you a reasonable gauge of where you stand in this regard, while Book One -- particularly chapters 7 and 8 -- provides even more insight into what tools you can use to address these issues.

So what's your mindset?