pyramid to dna

brainroads-toward-tomorrows mental patterns

Life lines

Who we are is a function of where we are in life (or maybe where we are on a life line).

If we sat in a chair and did nothing we would move further down the time line, but we would just be older versions of who we were when we stopped developing. Also we wouldn't have anything more to draw on.

(naming) People behavior

In order to make concrete the values of the positive revolution we need to name categories of behaviour.

Once we have these named categories we can talk about them and think about them.

We can set up nine categories of behaviour.

People who show a certain type of behaviour can be perceived as being in one of these categories.

There are four positive, four negative and one neutral category.

CATEGORY ONE: Behaviour that is constructive but also very effective.

The effective part is very important.

A person who is a leader and organizer.

Taken all together this is a person who can make things happen in a positive and constructive way.

Because of these qualities this is a person who contributes.

If a person has all these qualities but is not in a position to contribute at this moment, we might say 'potential category one'.

Find "contribution" in What do you want to be remembered for?

CATEGORY TWO: This is a person who is actually contributing a great deal at this moment.

Such a person may have none of the qualities of category one but nevertheless is contributing.

For example, a rich man who has inherited money may give a lot of money to help the poor.

A talented artist may use his or her talents to contribute to society.

A famous sports star may use his or her talents to contribute.

The contribution is great but the qualities of category one are not present.

CATEGORY THREE: This is someone who is hardworking, cooperative, helpful and also effective.

The difference between category one and category three is that in category one there are also the qualities of leadership, organizing ability and constructive initiative.

Someone in category three might be very good in a project team or when the task has been defined for him or her.

CATEGORY FOUR: This person is positive, agreeable, pleasant and cheerful.

This person does the job he or she is doing just well enough.

This person is nice to have around but is not very effective.

CATEGORY FIVE: Behaviour that is neutral, behaviour that is passive.

You cannot say anything positive about this person but you cannot say anything negative either.

A person who is apathetic and content to drift from moment to moment with no sense of involvement and no sense of control over destiny.

This is the neutral category.

CATEGORY SIX: This behaviour is critical, negative and destructive.

The person may be highly intelligent but uses that intelligence not to build but to destroy.

In a group this person does not make proposals but attacks the proposals of others.

In attitude this person may be gloomy or depressed or may not.

Some negative people enjoy being negative so much that they are not gloomy.

Category six people still believe that negativity is the best way towards progress.

CATEGORY SEVEN: Behaviour that is totally selfish.

Behaviour that is exploitative or corrupt.

There is a wide range of behaviour from simple selfishness to extreme corruption.

This person is not seeking to hurt others and may be within the law.

The characteristic of category seven behaviour is that it is totally selfish.

Category seven behaviour is the exact opposite of contribution.

CATEGORY EIGHT: This is the behaviour of the bully.

This is the behaviour of the person who seeks to get what he or she wants by demanding it from others.

The category eight person uses force to get his or her own way.

Both category seven and category eight people may be exploiters but in the case of category eight it is a deliberate exploitation of other people and the use of force to achieve that.

CATEGORY NINE: This is the behaviour of the outlaw.

This is the behaviour of the person who has no respect at all for other people or the rights of other people.

This is the criminal who has no conscience and no morals.

This is the sort of person who would murder for a small sum of money.

Note that category eight people may acknowledge the rights of others but are capable of infringing those rights from time to time.

Category nine people acknowledge no rights at all except their own intentions.

In time there may arise a name for each category.

For example the behaviour of category seven is parasitic so we might call such people 'cockroaches'.

The behaviour of category six is to draw their energy from others so we might call them 'ticks' or 'leeches' that live on the blood they suck.

There could be competitions for people to find the best names for these categories.

We can use the categories right away without special names.

'He's a category four person.

He is nice enough but he won't get anything done.'

'He is not really category one.

He does contribute but that is because of his position, not his constructive energy.

He is more category two—but that is very valuable.'

'I have heard that he is definitely category seven so we shall have to keep an eye on him.'

'You would not think so to look at her, she is so small and frail, but she is definitely category one.'

'We need to find a lot more category three people in order to get this project moving.

We are not short of ideas but we need action.'

'Don't invite her—she is pure category six.'

Once the categories are there we can use them to praise and reward behaviour.

We can use them to encourage behaviour because if someone knows that he or she is regarded as being in a certain category then that person will try to live up to a good image.

We can use the categories to blame people and to point out to them their failings.

We can use the categories to let people know what other people feel about them.

We can use the categories to encourage people to try to move upwards out of the category in which they are placed.

In moving upwards you do not have to move only to the category above.

For example, a category six person could jump to category three immediately.

The categories provide a language in which the members of the positive revolution can value the behaviour of other people.

It is important to make clear that the person is not locked into the category for ever.

These are categories of behaviour, not of character.

So we should really say: 'You behave like a category six person.'

There is always the option of change.

If a person shows no inclination to change then we perceive that person as within his or her category and treat that person accordingly.

By virtue of their positions teachers, doctors and journalists could be category two people because they are in a position to make significant contributions.

But a teacher may be category four or even category five.

Many journalists are category six.

The heroes and villains of the positive revolution are defined according to the values of the categories.

So people who are selfish are villains.

People who are constructive and effective are heroes.

The vices and virtues of the positive revolution are also defined by the categories taken together with the basic principles.

Being negative is a vice, so is being passive and apathetic (even though this is neutral on the category list).

Being effective is a virtue.

Being positive is a virtue but not as high a virtue as being positive and also effective.

A person need not be entirely within a category.

For example, you might say: 'Sometimes he shows category eight behaviour.' In this way the categories also become adjectives.

Could there be more categories?

Yes, and in time there may be.

For the moment it is enough to become familiar with nine.

Handbook For The Positive Revolution
Edward de Bono

A milestone along our life lines is the awareness that informed time-life navigation thinking followed by appropriate action can make a substantial difference. A part of this action is the design of our life management system (LMS) or life navigation system (LNS).

Conceptual resources and a work blueprint give us more to draw on and new choices. They also increase our range of vision and redirect our attention. Be sure to explore the Peter Drucker links.

We have life lines for every life area and dimension.

Every life line can have a work map.

As we move further down the time line what capacity changes (enhancements, additions, abandonments) would serve our long-term self interest?

Further thinking points:

  • All we really have in life is the time between now and when we die.

  • What do you have to DO (informed) to have the kind of life (informed) you want (informed)?

  • Can you get to tomorrowS by piling up more todays?

  • What's on your radar?

  • How do you balance destination thinking and destination "travel" (closing the gap between current location and desired destination)?

Life lines are determined by our mental patterns, but they are not the same.

Life lines are embedded in the Changing Social and Economic Picture

changing social and economic picture

The Nine American Lifestyles (only a "milestone" attention directing tool. Not referenced as indisputable science)

Start working on The Second Half of Your Life early in life.

Bob Buford: Make retirement the better part of your life.

Also see: "The Second Half of Your Life" in Chapter 21, The Essential Drucker and in Managing Oneself by Peter Drucker.

Jane Fonda's My Life So Far (letter to Amazon customers)

The settings and stages in George Foreman's life (from anger to joy) — Knockout Entrepreneur (Nelsonfree)

Loggins and Messina: The childhoods, intertwining, separation, indiidual paths, and reunion in the lives of Kenny Loggins and Jim Messina—from business partners to eventual friendship.

Reinvention: Drucker makes an intriguing point about the need for reinvention. The person you are reinventing is no longer who you were when you were younger. It sounds obvious, but makes the most sense only in retrospect and with reflection. We must reinvent ourselves for our new circumstances. What we learned in school and through experience has brought us to a certain point, but now it's time for new learning and experiences.—Living in More than One World by Bruce Rosenstein


One of the purposes of this site is to help with the challenges of moving further down your life lines before you become lost in unimagined futures. Starting points for this preparation—Time-Life Navigation.

Conceptual Resources for developing a work plan

bbx Early Career Work

bbx Managing Oneself

bbx Living In More Than One World : how Peter Drucker's wisdom can inspire your life by Bruce Rosenstein

bbx Managing Oneself for Effectiveness (Effective Executive: Preface)

What do you want to be remembered for?

Ideas on this page are part of a foundation for Life Design work


TLN Keywords: tlnkwlifelines


“The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not turbulence; it is to act with yesterday’s logic”. — Peter Drucker

The shift from manual workers who do as they are being told — either by the task or by the boss — to knowledge workers who have to manage themselves ↓ profoundly challenges social structure

Managing Oneself is a REVOLUTION in human affairs.” … “It also requires an almost 180-degree change in the knowledge workers’ thoughts and actions from what most of us—even of the younger generation—still take for granted as the way to think and the way to act.” …

… “Managing Oneself is based on the very opposite realities: Workers are likely to outlive organizations (and therefore, employers can’t be depended on for designing your life), and the knowledge worker has mobility.” ← in a context




These pages are attention directing tools for navigating a world moving toward unimagined futures.

It’s up to you to figure out what to harvest and calendarize
working something out in time (1915, 1940, 1970 … 2040 … the outer limit of your concern)nobody is going to do it for you.

It may be a step forward to actively reject something (rather than just passively ignoring) and then figure out a coping plan for what you’ve rejected.

Your future is between your ears and our future is between our collective ears — it can’t be otherwise. A site exploration starting point



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