Spilled M&Ms© 7 – Character, Integrity, and Behavior [FPs]

Ever find yourself wide-awake at 3:00 am or thereabouts?  There are a few reasons for this, generally found among the following: bad pizza for dinner, a McDonald’s Frappe after 8:00 pm, taking a sleeping pill with a Red Bull, a really bad dream, the Spirit just moving you, or in my case, a white-board blank mind with nothing to contemplate other than the question at the end of my last blog:

What’s the relationship between Character, Integrity, and Behavior?

I must warn you, that at 3:00 am in the morning for a wide-awake absolutely blank mind with a bent for numbers this word “relationship” does not head towards touchy-feely concepts.  It heads immediately to those things with equal signs (‘=’) in them, which means for the bulk of us who now rank about 32nd in the world in mathematics, it might not be pretty.  But then for the rest of us, it’s music; an unspecified genre perhaps, but music still.

I’ll make it up to you by the end.  I promise.

Conservation of Values

This was the initial insight for Fundamental Principle 13, Values & Self.  It begins with the following (~3:00 am) thought process:

-Down in our Behavioral Framework’s ARE level, along with Character, we each have some Values that we affirm, whether we recognize them or not;
-We also have some hidden or “sleeper” Values that surface under certain conditions, sometimes adverse;
-We also possess a certain amount of self-interest, which may surface occasionally (as with “sleeper” Values), or fully and completely, as in an intense survival situation (really adverse).

But emotionally and mentally we only have room for a small set of Values (including Self) to be top priority and occupy our thoughts and behaviors at any given time.  This situation deserves special recognition, so I decided to call it the Conservation of Values.

How to summarize this in some easily remembered way?  The following thought filled the void on my blank and idle mental white-board: for whatever measure of importance we choose to put on our Values and Self,

Self(internal) + Values(external) = 1                                                                       51.1

(Since this is my 51st blog, for the mathematically minded readers we’ll refer to this as Equation 51.1.  Why?  See this post.  This is the second part of Fundamental Principle 13)

What this implies, I think, is that within our limited emotional space for really top priority Values, there is a “maximum capacity” for the Values we can hold to at a given time.  Certain circumstances will push up lower priority Values (the “sleeper” ones, including Self), and displace downward other Values that are ‘professed’ to be normally near the top, resulting in behavioral shifts (i.e., the spilled M&Ms©, apparent from Practiced Behaviors being distinct from Professed Behaviors).

I certainly have experienced exactly this in others, and upon occasion, done it myself.  With the right trigger, sometimes things can get ugly.

The Integrity Relationship

I posted earlier about Integrity and that this can be conceived as a “straight stick,” a strong vertical relationship between who we ARE (Character, Values, and Principles), what we actually DO, and what we SAY, the Say-Do-Are relationship in a Behavioral Framework.

There is another aspect of Integrity, which is possessing and standing firm on commonly held social, cultural and moral Values, such as honesty, trustworthiness, etc.  For this aspect, my completely blank mental white-board leapt to the following relationship between our external Values and our internal regard for Self (the next part of Fundamental Principle 13):

Integrity = Values(external) / Self(internal)                                                        51.2

This relationship matches fairly well with our regarding a person as having high integrity who upholds social and cultural (external) Values for the common good over self-serving ones.  On the other hand, it yields a low integrity measure for someone who puts self-interest ahead of social, cultural, clan and tribe Values.  In other words, the survival of self over others.

Keep in mind, it’s now about 3:30 am.

Conservation of Behavior

At this point I strongly desired the sugar plum fairy to appear, but to no avail.  Instead, I somehow sensed that a similar Conservation argument could be put forward for behavior: we are emotionally and physically only capable of expressing or practicing a limited number of behaviors at a given time (try both laughing and crying at the same time).  I realized that this was the birth of Fundamental Principle 14, in a relationship I suggest can be expressed as:

Sum of Behaviors = 1                                                                                       51.3

(The 1 just represents, for each of us, a similar “maximum capacity for behavior” at any given moment, which also includes the Games We Play.  It might actually be higher for some people, lower for others, but taken individually, “that’s all there is.”  And that’s what is important for what follows.)

When circumstances change or stress or adversity appears, our response to this change causes a change in our behavior, represented as follows (remember, it is now about 3:47 am):

Behaviors + ∂ Behavior  = 1                                                                          51.4

(Now you see where this is going.  It was so incongruous at the time that it had me laughing enough that I had to go into the bathroom with a pad of paper and the lights on to keep from waking my wife.  Anyway, the “” simply means “change in,” as in “a Change in Behavior” triggered by the event, and could be either positive or negative).

The next thought that drifted across the bow of my now-not-so-blank-white-board-mental-vessel was, what is the Change in Behavior related to?

My mind went back to the earlier thought above (51.2 or “you know who”), and the fact that we tend to associate high integrity with persons who stay cool calm and collected through adversity (firmer external Values and lower Self-Interest), to lead me to suggest the following relationship between “,” or “Change in Behavior,” and Integrity:

∂ Behavior  = 1 / Integrity                                                                             51.5

(It works because the higher the integrity, the smaller the change in behavior, an inverse relationship).  Now I can substitute and make 51.4 become,

Behaviors + 1 / Integrity  = 1                                                                        51.6

Since under adversity our behaviors tend to migrate into the various Games People Play (+∑, 0∑, -∑), we’ll make that substitution and then rearrange 51.6 to become,

Games People Play = 1 – 1 / Integrity

Since we know from 51.2 what Integrity is, we can substitute for it and get,

Games People Play = 1 – 1 / (Values(external) / Self(internal))

which, because the inverse of X/Y becomes Y/X (of course!), then finally rearranges into,

Games People Play = 1 – (Self(internal) / Values(external))                        51.7

This I decided to call The Inversion (Self dominating over other Values) because it was now 4:15 am and I am laughing hysterically. (Note: real mathematicians do not laugh at their work, their hearts palpitate and they drool).

What relationship 51.7 appears to mean, or at least be “qualitatively consistent with” (meaning we don’t have any numbers to stick into the relationships, just general feelings of magnitude), is the following:

A small promotion (increase of importance) of Self over other Values drives a much more significant negative change in behavior.

This appears to be a clear consequence of Fundamental Principles 13 and 14.

For average people with a reasonable balance between their value of Self and broader cultural Values, the Self/Values ratio would generally be about 1 (give or take a bit above or below).  Because the right side of the relationship 51.7 is close to 0 (1-1=0), these people would gravitate to playing 0∑ games in a given situation, or behaviors clustered around 0∑ games (slightly +∑ or slightly -∑).  A 0∑ game is where”If one person gains, another person must lose.”  A win-lose situation.

For people with good solid external (cultural or clan/tribe) Values, the Self/Values ratio would be small, so the right side would be positive to very positive (1 – a small number).  I would expect them to demonstrate more +∑ behaviors, that is, more altruistic and supportive of common Values of the clan or tribe that promote the general welfare.  In +∑ games, there is enough added value that everybody wins.

However, people who hide their selfishness under a cloak only to have Self-survival surface in adversity or challenging situations, would exhibit a high Self/Values ratio, one that is greater than 1.  The right side of relationship 51.7 would then be negative (1 – a number greater than 1), which is consistent with the appearance of –∑ behaviors.  In
games, someone takes from the total available value before anyone else can get to participate.

Then I went back to bed and finally fell asleep.

Now I have to pursue testing this stuff to see if any of this has some predictive or correlative merit, or truly was due to bad pizza.

The Lessons

The more Integrity you have, the less you need to Play selfish ∑ Games.

The more selfish ∑ Games you need to Play, the less Integrity others presume you have.

If you didn’t follow all of this, don’t worry.  I hope you at least found its presentation entertaining.  But don’t loose any sleep over it.

Final thought: If you feel that its contents are completely alien, just remember it is Blog 51 (and that is a very obscure reference).


About Jim Edmonds

I am a husband, father, mentor, who once was a chemist turned physicist turned marketer turned executive turned missionary turned professor. And survived it all.
This entry was posted in 10: Integrity, 12: Character, 13: Values & Self, 14: Behavior and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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