What is driving our Behaviours, from Needs to Consciousness

June 2, 2016  |  Uncategorized

If you’ve read my books, then you already know that I was a fat kid, and so as I was growing up, my self-esteem was plummeting with each aspect of puberty kicking in. My parents were wealthy and we lived in prestigious condominiums around Orchard Road in Singapore, so survival wasn’t on my radar back then, but as my dad went through his upsets as a businessman in Lucky Plaza, together with being an obese young woman, I also had to deal with depression of not gaining the affections of my first teenage crush to having to let go of my “Uptown-girl” status and adjust to a new life in a new country amongst people I didn’t fit in with.


Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 19.34.07Looking at the Values chart, and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, you will see that my level, 1, 2 and 3 needs were being challenged all the way. Then came the clincher when I was 26, still over-weight and divorced with a young daughter. From survival, to belonging to self-esteem, my un-met needs kept me in a web of despair. But then, luckily for me, I have truly been blessed with an inner drive to not just survive but also an inner knowing that I had a purpose and was going to live it. Struggling just to get my needs met was not enough to keep me busy. You see, I was living in a space of victimhood where I blamed everyone and everything around me for what was not working in my life. I look back at that time now with gratitude for the invitations that came to me to explore myself deeply. I was blessed to be open to re-discovering myself and asking different questions instead of “why me?” I was introduced for the first time to asking, “what can I do with what I now know and what I now have?” Looking at the chart again, this was the stage of transformation – and in Barrett’s terms, Level 4.

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Now, after years of seeing my challenges in new light, from responsibility, from acceptance and from gratitude, I am at a space where I welcome the perceived challenges and ask myself another question, “What is great about this situation?”
This question always helped me to find a lesson and a way forward breaking through my fear barriers and venturing outside my comfort zone.




As part of my personal evolution and my work, I am developing the habit of remembering to frame my life experiences into modules that we share so that I can breathe life into them. Since I started using the iceberg model more frequently, I can’t help but be aware of not only my own iceberg but I also see people walking around with their icebergs, then when my over-active imagination starts to work, I see our icebergs touching and then I get this feeling of “rubbing each other the wrong way”.

I’ve also been “ice-berging” taxi drivers when they make the “mistake” of asking me what I do on a day when I’m not busy with my phone. Many of my friends have experienced me drawing icebergs on paper napkins too. Yes, I have become obsessed by the iceberg. The good news is that it has helped to reconnect me more fully with my values of empathy and compassion which according to Barrett belong to Level 6 and 7 consciousness.

I have become more sensitive to what drives the behaviours in the people around me and yes of-course, when I have my introspective balcony camera on, or as we say in Newfield Asia, when I look a the Observer that I am, I am able to see my own behaviours from a higher balcony and am compassionate towards myself for acting the way I do.

We are all walking around with our thoughts and feelings, values and priorities, our beliefs and mindset that lead us to act in the way we do. This awareness has helped me to acknowledge that people especially the ones who are behaving in ways that trigger irritation, anger or annoyance in me are merely just trying to get their perceived unmet needs met. A mother trying to protect her child, a father just trying to put food on the table, a husband needing to show his wife he can be leaned on or a business owner just trying to make a profit.

Without meaning to sprinkle quotes that most of us already get enough of through our Facebook feeds, one quote that I happened upon just outside an airport in India comes to mind strongly right now, “Be kind, everyone you meet is carrying his own heavy load”. As I read this, happily strolling my four-wheeled luggage, waiting for my car to drive up, I became intensely aware of elderly couples with heavy sacks bogging them down on the streets stricken with poverty and those who had a permanent hunch as if there were a ton of bricks still literally on their shoulders.

No I am not a fully evolved human being and I get triggered often, but by looking through the lens of my values, I am able to see which values are being challenged when I’m at the verge of having an impulsive reaction, I am able to pause and ask myself a transformational question like, “What is great about this?”, “What can I learn here?”

Lately, the upsets I have had which I’ve been able to catch have been around efficiency – (level 3) and respect – (level 2). I noticed that I become self-righteous when I judge others for not being respectful towards me in a way that I hold “respect”, or undervaluing my efforts with thoughts like “How dare they?”, “They have no respect for my time” The flipside to this awareness is that I also then feel bad and become “self-wrongeous”, a

Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 19.37.46term coined by Dr. John DeMartini in his book, “The Breakthrough Experience” and this model was created by Corporate Evolutions based on his work. The thinking, when I become self-wrongeous is along the lines of “I don’t matter”, “I’m not worthy of respect”, “I’m not good enough…”

It’s only when I reconnect with my higher values of wanting to make a difference, of courage and of compassion that I’m able to feel that empathy and forgiveness (level 7) for others and for myself and respond to situations and people from a much more empowered, loving and joyful way.

By judging myself and others I remain stuck in a loop and when I choose to be trusting and fair, I release myself from that loop and am able to evolve consciously. I am not saying that I don’t get triggered, and like anything it is still a muscle that I am building by being aware, by moving to the balcony and introspecting on how I could be causing or why I may be attracting these upsets into my life. I am immensely grateful for being introduced to the Values framework as it continues to guide me to evolve my consciounsess towards humility-(Level 7).

Each and every set back I’ve had truly urged me to live my values more fully and stay focused on my purpose, even when I could not entirely articulate what that purpose was, it remains the light that beckons each one of us to keep at it, to keep moving on. Once we accept the past regrets with gratitude, we will have strengthened the belief that it is really all good and that we are supported in being able to live that purpose, it is an internal guiding GPS that will always keep us headed in the direction of inner fulfillment.

Newfield Asia – For more about coach training www.newfieldasia.com
Aberkyn Change Leadership Partners – For your organizational needs around transformation www.aberkyn.com
Barett Values Centre – For more about Richard Barrett and the 7 Levels of Consciousness www.valuescentre.com
Corporate Evolution – For facilitator training in “Facilitating Transformation Through Values” www.corpevolution.com
Malti is Professional Certified coach with the ICF, an accredited Facilitator of Transformation Through Values by Corporate Evolutions, she’s an Affiliate Facilitator with Aberkyn – Change Leadership Partners co-founded by McKinsey & Co in 2012, a Newfield graduate, an author of several books including “Don’t Think of a Blue Ball” and “The Mind Spa-Ignite Your Inner Life Coach” 
For your organisational needs, contact Malti at Aberkyn, malti.bhojwani@aberkyn.com
For WPO, YPO, EO and other forum retreat facilitation or for a 2.5 day deep dive into your Values, email connect@maltibhojwani.com for details or see: http://maltibhojwani.com/index.html
For personalised executive and life coaching, email mb@maltibhojwani.com or see: http://maltibhojwani.com/index.html
To become an Ontological coach, email malti at mb@maltibhojwani.com to find out more about Newfield Asia

1 Comment

  1. When one reaches a conscious level of wanting to move from a place like “why me?” to answer for the hand they’ve been dealt, where do they look for those answers? How do they sift through the pains and discomforts to channel those memories and experiences towards transformation? What might be a few resources to help guide in that process?

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