Monday, May 9, 2011

How Dr. Wm. Glasser Helped Put me on the Road–Part Two

If you haven’t read Part One, just scroll down to the Search box and type in ‘Dr. Wm. Glasser, Part One’. You’ll have to scroll up for the answer.

In Part One, I delineated what Dr. Glasser terms our Quality World. This quality world consists of the pictures of people, of things, of ourselves, and of our beliefs that we seek to fulfil throughout our life.

The natural sequel to this proposes that ALL WE DO FROM BIRTH TO DEATH IS BEHAVE.

We choose what we are doing. Therefore, we are the victims of OUR bad choices or the beneficiary of OUR good ones.

In rereading my previous post, I realized that I had made a mistake in putting the previous sentence in the negative. The heat got to me, I guess…. To continue:

The 10 axioms of Choice Theory 1

The only person whose behaviour we can control is our own.

  1. All we can give or get from other people is information. How we deal with that information is our or their choice.
  2. All long-lasting psychological problems are relationship problems. A partial cause of many other problems, such as pain, fatigue, weakness, and some chronic diseases-commonly called auto-immune diseases- is relationship problems. I do personally have a problem with this one…
  3. The problem relationship is always part of our present life.
  4. What happened in the past that was painful has a great deal to do with what we are today, but revisiting this painful past can contribute little or nothing to what we need to do now: improve an important, present relationship.
  5. We are driven by 5 genetic needs: Survival, Love and Belonging, Power, Freedom, and fun.
  6. We can satisfy these needs only by satisfying a picture or pictures in our quality worlds. Of all we know, what we choose to put into our quality worlds is the most important. The most freedom we ever experience is when we are able to satisfy a picture or pictures in our quality worlds. If we put pictures in our quality worlds that we cannot satisfy, we are giving up freedom.
  7. All we can do from birth to death is behave. All behaviour is total behaviour and is made up of four inseparable components: acting, thinking, feeling, and physiology.
  8. All total behaviour is designated by verbs, usually infinitives and gerunds, and named by the component that is most recognizable- e.g. – I am choosing to depress or I am depressing instead of I am suffering from depression or I am depressed. Another one that gave me a problem. Some genetic traits are beyond our power to correct without help, even with the best of intentions and the greatest of willpower.
  9. All total behaviour is chosen, but we have direct control over only the acting and thinking components. We can, however, control our feelings and physiology indirectly through how we choose to act and think. Understanding that we cannot directly control our feelings and physiology, only our actions and thoughts, free us to avoid what we cannot control. It is not easy to change our actions and thoughts but it is all we can do. 

I would like to add that what precedes makes this post much longer than I would normally want. But for me, these axioms opened such a wide door in determining what my personal freedoms and responsibilities were that I put these axioms integrally. I hope that they might help others.

Assessing the Needs


More willing than most to take risks = low need for survival.

Less adventurous = higher need for survival. I equated survival with security in my decision to leave the Seniors apartment, and NOT that I ever considered that I was putting my life at risk by full-time RV’ing. I had more accidents living stationary than on the road, where I had none. This is an important point.

Love and Belonging

Willingness to give compared to family and friends = higher need to love. Such as, few but very close friends, low need for belonging.

Need world to be filled with people one gets along well with = high need for belonging.

For example, lots of people in quality world but not close to any of them = high desire for belonging but lesser desire for love.

Few people and not close to any = low desire for love and belonging.


Need to be right or have own way = high need for power, as having the last word.

Not caring much about having own way – low need for power.


If you can’t stand the idea of following rules, conforming, or even staying in place or with one group of people long = high need for freedom.

If it doesn’t bother you to follow rules or to conform = low need for freedom.


If you enjoy learning and laugh a lot when you do = high need for fun. If you’re sort of the entertainer of the class = higher need for fun.

If you don’t want to make too much of an effort at learning and depend on others for enjoyment = low need for fun.


I’ll venture an educated guess here. Most, if not all, those who yearn for trekking and roaming have a higher need for freedom and a lower need for survival. Not that I equate full-time RV’ing with survival, but more with the (at times dubious) assurance of security. To me security begins with knowledge of and confidence in oneself, adaptability and flexibility, and willingness to learn.

To paraphrase Socrates, a character in “The Peaceful Warrior”, I’d say that there are many ways of being rich. One is to work harder and get all the toys one’s heart desires. The problem with this one is that we sometimes confuse needs and wants, or desires, and end up increasingly dissatisfied with life… but with a ton of pricey toys. And awfully tired.  The other is to recognize one’s genuine needs. Usually, these can be satisfied much more cheaply than all one’s desires. A question of adaptation.

I’m sharing all this because Dr. Glasser did in fact contribute to my recognizing some basic needs that could not be fulfilled by remaining in the security of the seniors’ apartment. The price was too high. In the end, taking to the road for some years, ending up in Central Mexico and building my own house, met with those basic needs of mine that had never been met otherwise. Thanks to Dr. Glasser, I acquired a new concept of myself and found happiness and fulfilment. Not rich in $$$ but rich with life.

I highly recommend it.

Note: 1.- Quoted from Choice Theory, Dr. Wm. Glasser.Comments in italics mine.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is a crazy, busy week here, but I just wanted to tell you that I found this post very helpful. Please keep writing.

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