Primary Interest

Primary Interest: People, Place, Activity, Things, Information

The primary interest Meta programs determines what we pay attention to, what we find interesting and motivating, or boring. This Meta program is a sort rather than a filter. What is the difference I hear you ask?

Imagine you need have a box of ribbons. You take out the ones you don’t like – this is a filter. Then you sort the others into categories. Your categories might be color, width, type of fabric or some other thing. You can change the categories, but you can’t sort something that hasn’t been included. Our Representational Systems are a kind of filter

We sort what is left of our world after we have deleted, distorted and generalized the incoming information. We can’t sort what we haven’t coded. You will not be able to remember someone’s name if you haven’t coded it in the first place.

When we decide to sort our box of ribbons for the red ones, this creates a focus of our attention. We stop searching for other ribbon properties such as wide pieces. If this doesn’t suit our purpose, it is easy to change to a different sorting category. I can then sort for all the silk ones, or within the category such as red silk ones.

Our interest categories or motivation preferences evolve from our early experiences. Our positive associations or anchors act like a magnet to draw us to them. They then become the focus of our attention and motivations. Our minds become stuck and unable to see other possible categories. If we wanted, we could focus on different categories for a time to achieve a certain purpose.

We generally have a primary focus and then other secondary ones. Someone with a primary sort of people and a secondary one of activities will have a different world than a primary sort of people and a secondary of information.

primary interest diagram

People Motivation Preference

With a people preference as a primary interest sort, you would be outgoing and friendly and do well in people oriented jobs. Your focus would be relationships and relating.

Place Motivation Preference

With a place preference as a primary interest sort you would have an strong awareness of your location. Certain places would be important. Where you did or were going to do something would be a key factor in your decisions.

Thing Motivation Preference

With a thing preference your primary interest focuses on what is in the location or environment. You would direct attention to having, owning or collecting things. I love my iPad.

Activity Motivation Preference

With an activity preference as a primary interest sort, you would focus on what you or others do. This sort likes to be active, going out and doing things.

Information Motivation Preference

With an information preference as a primary sort, you would focus on ideas and learning. You might even be a nerd like me.

Other Sorts

Michael Hall in his book “Figuring out People: Reading People using Meta Programs” proposed two additional primary sorts – of systems and time. My Grandson sorts by food – he gives directions like “You go along this road until you get to Kentucky Fried Chicken. Then turn right past the Chinese restaurant – it’s opposite the fish and chip shop”

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  1. I wonder how you would classify introverts, who are mostly interested in thoughts or feelings and pay little attention to the external?

    1. The Introvert/Extrovert scale relates to how we get our energy. Although it seems as though Introverts shut themselves off from people and the world, they just don’t get energy from it and can find it overwhelming. The best way to tell if someone is Introverted is the ask “when you are tired, do you want to go out or stay home? How do you recharge?”

      Uptime and Downtime relates to whether we are paying attention to our own thoughts and feelings or the outside world. You might think of Uptime as when you are the hypnotist noticing the changes in your client, and Downtime as being the client in trance.

      Unless someone is catatonic, or maybe in solitary confinement, they will respond and sort the external world. While an Introvert is interested in what is going on inside, it doesn’t mean they don’t pay attention to the outside world, they still have to navigate it. Consider – what does she do when she is home? It is unlikely she will be meditating or sleeping 24/7.

      For instance I am fairly strongly Introverted and my Interest Sorts are Information, then People and then Place. Some course or book comes to my attention and I am in there like a moth to a candle. When I talk to someone I am interested in knowledge about anything, but also about what makes them excited, who they are as people, where they have been.

      So what do you pay attention to, or are most motivated by when you are externally focused? What do you talk about to other people? If you were telling someone what you did on holidays, would it be about what you learned, what you did, where you went, who you met or went with, or maybe all the awesome souvenirs you scored?

      Introvert/ extrovert are classified as Meta Programs, so they are a preference or filter

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