Lessons From Las Vegas 10: Keep Score

Continuing with the 12 elements of Flawless Living that I was immersed in during my Vegas trip last August, I arrive at element 10, possibly my least favourite, because I don’t do it naturally and all my associations with keeping score seem to be connected with the pain of keeping track of objective metrics. At a very basic level Keeping Score is as simple as balancing the chequebook and being aware of one’s financial reality: are my incomings exceeding my outgoings on a month to month basis, or am I steadily getting into ever increasing debt/overdraft?

If you work within a managerial system, some kind of organisation then you will be familiar with various forms of keeping score from supervision sessions with the line manager to sales figures and/or client feedback.

The challenge for NF (Intuitive Feeler) preferences (Myers Briggs Typology) such as myself is that we don’t keep score on verifiable data naturally. My scorekeeping is mostly intuitive such as when I am doing bodywork and I place my hands in certain positions on the clients head at the beginning and end of a session. What I am ‘listening’ for is a relative comparison of their energy pulse upon arrival and then again after the bodywork/healing which give me information. With techniques such as Cranio-Sacral Release one is listening for the whisper, sometimes, the energy is so subtle it is difficult to be certain what was felt or palpated, and it is quite possible that another person palpating (another energy system) would pick up different energy/information. That’s the challenge with energy work: in order to ‘measure’ one needs to interact with the other system, quantum physics tells us that merely observing affects the outcome. I believe one of the primary functions of an energy worker is to ‘witness’ or observe, trusting that the system is innately self balancing and will seek to right itself, therefore many ‘symptoms’ of ‘dis’ease are the body’s way of coming back into balance. Whilst it is true that energy can (and often does) get stuck in patterns of dis’ease and stagnation through habitual grooves, the role of the energy worker is to hold a safe space and to enable the unblocking, by facilitating the expression of that which wants to emerge into the light.

5% of the population will keep score naturally: those with a need for high tranquility on the Reiss Desire profile are driven to keep score because they need to know where they stand in objective (consensual) reality to maintain their strong need for emotional calm. The TJ (Thinking, Judging) preferences (Myers Briggs) are the natural scorekeepers of objective relationships. According to Mike Jay in the 1990’s 70-80% of executives assessed were TJ preferences.

Keeping Score, doesn’t actually mean YOU have to do it: if like me you are not a natural at it, FLOS (Flawless Living Operating System) says find someone who does it naturally and partner with them. The key is this: to stop pretending (element 4) one needs accurate information about one’s external reality. Most of us -70%- are not motivated by goals (this would be a motivator to keep score on verifiable objectives). Those who are not motivated by goals are often motivated to solve problems, and respond to ‘data points’ so that’s a useful reframing of perspective (see lesson 5 on ‘Yes and No’ for more info on perspective taking and how important it is to both your sense making of your world and the decisions you make).

Chris Argyris talks about the Ladder of Inference (http://www.systems-thinking.org/loi/loi.htm for more info), in which he elucidates the cycle of real data & experience as opposed to selected data & experience which leads to our meaning making yet our ‘selecting’ process (which data we pay attention to) is influenced by our assumptions and beliefs about ‘Reality’. In a nutshell we have a tendency to select data to pay attention to that supports our beliefs (is the glass half full or half empty?)

What’s important here is the decision about what data to pay attention to, and if its not objectively verifiable we are prone to pretending. In Flos it’s essential to make sense of our world without pretending. A prime example is the Blank Slate Operating system, which says that we can all, any one of us be, do or have anything we want if we just work hard enough and make the right connections. If we operate according to that belief, what are our options for  meaning making when we fail to ‘make the grade’ or find we can’t do what we’d imagined we could with enough learning and practice? I’m thinking here of me trying to learn snowboarding; my daughter was a natural at it age 6, she made it look so easy, I was sure I could do it too with the right teaching; took me three days of severe bruising on the slopes and not one serious joyous glide/slide down any decent sized slope to eventually, painfully accept that I actually preferred my legs to be on two different bits of wood- skis! I love them: my body just cant get the hang of having both my feet attached to same board, and my body endured lots of pain in the attempt.

The way I keep score naturally is often through my body: I pick up signals and information about my environment (internal and external) via sensations and contractions in my physical/emotional body; it has taken me years of experience to learn how to interpret the signals my body receives not to mention paying attention to and learning the skills to interpret accurately.

Experience is a wonderful thing, knowledge can help, but experience ranks higher in terms of what I can actively put to good use. The challenge for me with my innate ways of keeping score is that I am often subject to it; it’s really been engaging with the 12 elements of FLOS that given me a handle on that: initially I just couldn’t see that I kept score at all apart from the essential bank account and google stats to do with my website.

At the simplest level, keeping score is about what you are paying attention to: by paying attention to your success requirements and attending to those activities and relationships that enable your happiness you can better design the gap. The gap is the space where what you need to do for your happiness and what you must pay attention to, for your success lacks congruency or may even be in conflict.


  • clarify your success requirements (if ‘woolly’ about these, get feedback from your partner/spouse, boss, colleagues);
  • know yourself and what makes you happy.
  • Don’t initially try and close the gap (it may not be possible, apparently only 5% are naturally wired for happiness AND success); work instead to ‘design the gap’.
  • What I mean by ‘design the gap’ is recognise, acknowledge and accept that just because you CAN, doesn’t mean you WILL on a sustainable basis. There are many things you can do once in a while or once or twice if necessity requires it, but expecting yourself to do it over a prolonged time frame, and then giving yourself a hard time when you don’t/cant ‘stick at it’ is unrealistic and undesirable.

There are many things I can do, but doing them doesn’t give me a lot of free energy if I am not naturally motivated to do them. I can do my accounts, I do in fact do my own book-keeping as it’s a good way for me to consciously keep score of the financial flow of my business, however I outsource the accounts for the purpose of my tax return. What takes my accountant a few hours would take me days, so it’s worth paying her.

Keeping score (or paying attention to data points) enables you to orient yourself to ‘reality’ and to better navigate your path amidst a myriad of ever increasing information overload. The challenge for some of us, is working out what to keep score on.

Also important is recognising that we are inevitably subject to the various ‘realities’ we ‘find’ ourselves in. It therefore supports us enormously in clarifying our meaning making to Reach Out and Get Feedback; others can feedback to us information that we cannot even see due to being subject to it (like the fish is subject to living in water, it doesn’t even know the vitality of the water it’s submerged in until it’s suddenly cast upon the shore).

Key to creating reality is recognising that our own values may not concur with the dominant cultures values of success, self-confidence and rugged individualism. If you ever get round to doing the Reiss Desire Profile you will see that there is a possibility of people being high interdependence (low independence) and high acceptance (which also translates as fear of failure and often into self doubt). If you happen to be prone to self-doubt by virtue of your intrinsic motivations, and yet you live in a culture that values self-confidence, then your self-doubt could be seen as pathological. Brings us back full circle to Self Knowledge, the hardest thing for high acceptance motivation is to accept themselves when their innate motives  manifest needs that oppose what is accepted by the dominant culture.

Lessons From Las Vegas 11: Recalibrate Often
Values Matter (part 3):