First of all, we must admit that we claim these discoveries with a certain sense of discomfort since we believe that most discoveries are the result of many people’s work. Also, it could be said that ideas and discoveries arise spontaneously when their time comes. Perhaps many people think of a certain concept but the credit goes to the one that makes it real. Or, more accurately, the one who manages to convince others that they were the originator. For example, Harvard professor Howard Gardner, who is a brilliant and terrific guy, claims to have created the theory of multiple intelligences, when in fact we were testing for multiple intelligences, and it was a major part of our methodology before Gardner published. And others were testing for multiple intelligences many years before we did. During Al Gore’s presidential campaign he claimed to have invented the phrase, “practical idealism.” We promptly let him know we had created it years before and he dropped the claim. Later we found out that Richard Nixon had used the phrase in a speech years before we did. Oops! Caught with our arrogance flying high.
Some of our claims of original authorship are completely defensible, especially the first in this list. Other claims include the work of so many other people that it is hard to know who did, thought, and said what first. Our founder’s book, The Pathfinder, lists some of the sources and mentors that have played a part in the creation of this body of work. If you know of someone’s work that predates ours, please tell us about it because we do not mean to make false claims of authorship.
1. Rockport founder Nicholas Lore created the first truly effective holistic career choice process in 1980. He was the first to theorize that both fulfillment and success depend on choosing a career that fits well with several key elements:
- Natural talents and innate abilities (in-born aptitudes)
- Personality traits
- Traits you were born with, such as your temperament (personality type).
- Traits developed during your lifetime as a result of your socialization, upbringing; the experiences you have had, the choices you have made and what you decided they mean; your identity and life view (personal philosophy).
- Sense of purpose, meaning, contribution
- Workplace ecology – all the external factors in your environment and workplace
- Harmony between your goals and values and workplace rewards
He developed the practical methodologies and tools necessary to choosing a career that fits these elements. These methods are the heart of Rockport Institute career programs and are described in depth in his book, The Pathfinder: How to Choose or Change Your Career for a Lifetime of Satisfaction and Success. Equally important parts of the “Rockport Method” involve tools that help clients get through their doubts, fears and uncertainties. See #2 below.
The Rockport Method includes a system of inquiry/design in which the client designs his or her future career by creating individual commitments (elements they are absolutely sure must be a part of their future career) that add up to the larger design of that career.
2. Along with other contributors Rockport co-created the practical psychological model of “equilibrium” as the inner force that produces many of the actions and the thinking we believe we are actively generating. All life is controlled by bio-mechanisms – comparators (like thermostats) that seek to return to a previous “setting.” Living things naturally return to a state of balance. When we are disturbed by forces acting on us, our inner machinery kicks in and returns us to a balanced state, equilibrium. Homeostasis is the word we use to describe the ability of an organism to maintain internal equilibrium by adjusting its physiological and psychological processes and generating actions designed to return it to equilibrium. Most of the systems in animal and human physiology are controlled by homeostasis.
On a purely physical level, if you walk outside in your underwear on a cold winter day, your system’s thermostats, which are set for 98.6F, register a disparity between what they are set for and what they perceive. This is interpreted as a threat to your survival and turns on your “furnace.” Among other reactions, you start to shiver. You are shivering because your system registers an error between what it is set for and what it perceives. The error is what produces the action. This is how the body knows to heal itself and how many biological processes operate.
The above has been known to biologists for a long time. Rockport’s contribution is applying this to successfully moving clients beyond the doubts that hinder forward movement in their lives.
Except for extraordinary exceptions, when people find ways to intervene using methods more powerful than our tendency to equilibrium, our habits, behaviors, thoughts and quality of life stay pretty much the same. We say, “I’m in a rut,” or “I’m stuck in the same old groove.” In fact, we tend to do and think the same things over and over. Every time something in our lives gets out of balance, our internal machinery sets off behaviors designed to return us to equilibrium. So, whether your life has hit the skids or is on cloud nine, powerful forces of homeostasis are at work to return you to equilibrium.
When we seek to make changes in our lives that take us into unknown territory, our inner survival systems set off “threat to survival” alarms that produce fearful feelings and thoughts we call “Yeahbuts.” As a consequence, we often manage to talk ourselves out of what might give us the kind of lives we most want. Or as Shakespeare said it so eloquently, “Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.” We didn’t play a major role in developing this view of human psychology for some dry academic goal, but because we needed to understand how humans behave in a practical way that would allow us to develop more effective counseling tools. These tools and methodologies play an important part in several Rockport career programs. [Read more about "equilibrium."] LINK
3. Developed the theory and showed in studies that discovery number 2 (above) actually operates in important areas of our lives. For example, previously, extroversion and introversion were thought to be fixed, solid: You ARE an extrovert or an introvert. But people wondered why they sometimes behaved in ways that were not explained by Jungian theory. Why would a high extrovert sometimes need a lot of private time, etc. We said and proved that people are born with a natural place on the scale from very extroverted to very introverted. When their everyday lives do not match this natural balance point, they seek to regain this balance point or homeostasis and, consequently, their thoughts, desires and actions lead them toward this balance point, which sometimes seems to be exactly the opposite of the behavior expected for their type.
4. Created a large percentage (perhaps 30%) of the understanding of how individual aptitudes and combinations of aptitudes function, interact, and how all this plays a large role in the total fabric of career and life satisfaction.
5. We developed methods of communicating to individuals about their innate abilities that transcend what has gone before in two ways:
- A more in-depth interpretation of testing results
- Interpretation done in a manner that goes beyond mere data, so a client can actually experience the validity of test results by looking back over his or her life.
6. Created and communicated an important paradox. There are essentially two opposing views of life. One viewpoint is that we live in a clockwork universe and are totally limited by that. The other and opposite view is that people are free to create anything they are willing to create as a possibility. We say, in order to have a fully lived life you need to live as if both are equally true. Recognize that you are a critter, limited by your talents and traits. Choose a career that fits your natural talents and other traits. If you are three feet tall it is unlikely you will ever be a professional basketball player. At the same time, we say you are able to create anything you can dream of being, doing or having so long as you are willing to be an unstoppable force in making sure what you dream of actually happens. (A client has told us of a professional basketball team of midgets who go around to high schools and colleges and beat the pants off the school team in exhibition games.)
7. Wrote a national best-selling book that has often been called the best career design book ever written. It is essentially an entire library on creating a life you love, disguised as a career book, which has a rich set of tools that many people have used to create wholly new, highly fulfilled lives.