Choice Theory is actually an explanation of all human behavior developed by Dr. William Glasser.
There are basically five components of this theory—the basic human needs, the quality world, the perceived world, the comparing place and total behavior. I’ll give a brief overview of the first three today and then my next post will talk about the other two and the implications.
The Basic Human Needs
We are born with five basic human needs—survival, love & belonging, power, freedom and fun. We are all born with these needs but we experience them to varying degrees. One person might have a high love & belonging need, while another person is high in freedom. We are born with these needs and are biologically driven to get them met in the best way available to us.
The Quality World
This is a place that exists inside all of us where we store pictures of things that have satisfied one or more of our basic needs in the past or things we think may satisfy them in the future. These things do not have to meet society’s definition of quality. Alcohol is in the quality world of an alcoholic, steeling cars in the quality world of a car thief, and domestic violence is in the quality world of a batterer. The only two requirements for entry into the quality world are that it meets one or more of our needs and it feels good.
The Perceived World
There is much to be said about the perceived world but for the purposes of this post, all I want to say is that we each have our own perceptions of the world. Our sensory system takes in information through sight, touch, sound, taste and scent, however we all have unique ways of processing that information based on our life experiences, our culture, and our values.
The main thing to remember about the perceived world is that if you encounter others whose perceived world doesn’t match yours, it doesn’t mean one of you is wrong. It simply means you are different. Remembering this simple statement will reduce much of the disagreements and fighting that occurs in people’s lives. Acceptance of this fact would mean we could give up the need to convince others of our point of view. We could simply accept the fact that we see things differently and move on. Have you ever argued with someone you care about over a difference of perception?
Look for the rest of this explanation of Choice Theory on March 6th. In the meantime, sign up for our free newsletter to the right of this post.