From Maps to Mastery: the Role of Perceptual Style Theory™ as a Compass in Personal Growth

Perceptual Style Theory as a compass

Picture of Gary M Jordan Co-author of Unlock the Power of Your Perception and Your Talent AdvantageOver the last several months Lynda-Ross and I have been involved in a marketing campaign for our book. We have written guest blogs and participated in radio interviews and podcasts, all to increase awareness and interest in Perceptual Style Theory, the book, and the work we do.

Some of these have been fascinating and rewarding experiences with well-informed hosts, insightful questions, and good dialog. Others have been strange and uncomfortable experiences that reflected a lack of familiarity with our material or an attempt to apply Perceptual Style Theory inappropriately.

What insight can Perceptual Style Theory offer on AI? None.

What do Perceptual Style Theory and Attachment Styles have in common? Nothing.

Recently we received an invitation from a sex coach with the pitch that a collaboration with him had the potential to “create some educational and entertaining content for both your clients and listeners.”

After a few chuckles and a little research, we gently but quickly declined the offer. While we promote that we offer “integral, trustworthy, and actionable advice”, it was not the type of action we had in mind! It did cross my mind that a collaboration would make the Neighbors, Opposites, and One-Offs concepts take on a whole new meaning!

In my experience, most of us want easy answers, and the self-help industry is more than happy to oblige us in our search for a shortcut. This is inevitably a promise that there is a way to “get there” without doing the work. The problem is that there are no shortcuts to what most are looking for.

The self-help industry is always coming up with the latest and greatest. Each new book, seminar, and self-help guru promises that happiness is just around the corner if you diligently follow their plan.

Every now and then, one of these really takes off. Suddenly it seems that everyone is reading the book, practicing the advice, and using the new lingo. After a while, the excitement fades until the next latest and greatest comes along.

As the creators and marketers of Perceptual Style Theory, Lynda-Ross and I have been invited multiple times into this dance by those that are looking for “The Answer”. Inevitably, there is disappointment when Perceptual Style Theory cannot deliver an instantaneous miracle.

Perceptual Style Theory is useful in a lot of ways. It can help you to validate the way you see the world. It can help you discover your natural talents and put them to use in your life. It can help you to build effective communication, mitigate conflict, and understand those with a different perspective.

However, Perceptual Style Theory does not do these things by itself. It is a tool that can be used to better understand the territory by providing a map, but it is a map and not the territory. It's not the only map of the territory, just the one that Lynda-Ross and I created and that we find useful enough to offer to others.

Like all maps, Perceptual Style Theory is external. The territory, on the other hand, is internal. The territory is inside of you. It is complex, fraught with complications, challenges, life pain, and contradictions. Understanding the territory is a big part of the life work that we are called to do.

Too often, we get caught up in the quest to solve our lives. By this I mean that we buy into the self-help idea that it is possible to figure things out to the point where life is easy and we are “happy” all the time.

I believe this is an illusion, and it is the inability to achieve it that brings clients to my professional practice. They are busy trying to figure out why life continues to be hard and how they are falling short of what they need to do, be, or discover to make it easy.

They keep looking for answers “out there”, but, as I tell them, the answers are never out and away, they are always in and through.

Making this shift from outside to inside is the work. It requires that we give up demanding, expecting, and hoping we can find an answer to life that will make it what we want it to be and what we expect it to be. It requires that, as much as possible, we are open to life as it is.

Doing the internal work of facing life as it is, healing your life pain, and growing up emotionally is, as Lynda-Ross so aptly puts it, “like getting a Masters degree in you”. Perceptual Style Theory can help you earn that degree!

Life is complex, often very challenging, difficult, often painful, and without clear answers. Perceptual Style Theory is a tool that can help make better sense of some of life’s challenges, but it is only a tool.

Perceptual Style Theory is a resource that, like any map, can help you explore the territory. It can give you a new way of looking at things, provide a new vocabulary to make sense of your experience, and point to parts of the territory that are currently unexplored.

The more you understand what Perceptual Style Theory has to say, and the more you understand its strengths and limitations, the more effectively you will use it.

Perceptual Style Theory can be a valuable resource, a compass to navigate the complexities of life. It offers fresh perspectives, a new language to interpret your experiences, and insights into unexplored aspects of your life. However, it is essential to recognize its limitations and understand its strengths through practice and continuous learning.

Life is multifaceted, and clear-cut answers are often elusive. Perceptual Style Theory provides a framework to better comprehend some of life's challenges, but ultimately, it is your commitment to self-growth and exploration that leads to a profound understanding of yourself. Perceptual Style Theory can serve as a guiding companion in your ongoing journey of self-mastery, helping you navigate the vast and intricate landscape of your inner world.

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About Dr. Gary M. Jordan, Ph.D.

Gary Jordan, Ph.D., has over 35 years of experience in clinical psychology, behavioral assessment, individual development, and coaching. He earned his doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology – Berkeley.  He is co-creator of Perceptual Style Theory, a revolutionary psychological assessment system that teaches people how to unleash their deepest potentials for success. He’s a partner at Vega Behavioral Consulting, Ltd., a consulting firm that specializes in helping people discover their true skills and talents.  For more information, visit

For additional information on Dr. Gary Jordan, please click here

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