Tony Robbins: (Eco) Intelligence is Measured in Distinctions

Tony Robbins: (Eco) Intelligence is Measured in Distinctions
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Tony Robbins: (Eco) Intelligence is Measured in Distinctions

  • What can Eskimos (Inuit) teach us about eco-influence?
  • Why is “snow” a metaphor for environmental issues?
  • How many words do you have in your eco-influence vocabulary to connect with people?

My sister, her husband, and my new niece — Tempest — are in the lower 48 states for 2 more weeks.  Then, they head back to Alaska.  So, I had a family visit this weekend, and grabbed a new audio program for the 2-hour drive to southeast Iowa and back.  This time it was Unleash the Power Within by Tony Robbins.

Boring?  Maybe to some.  But I actually LOVE digging for these nuggets of wisdom to share with you.  This one is incredibly simple and powerful.  What is intelligence?


My apologies if your browser doesn’t support this Audio plug-in.  Click here to listen (1.5 minutes) to Tony Robbins_Number and Quality of Distinctions.mp3.

You can’t do the same thing, again and again, and expect a different result — that’s called insanity.  Yet, as an environmentalist, odds are that you feel caught up in a pattern that isn’t producing the results you are looking for.

Why is that?  If you knew, you’d have done something different by now.

Intelligence is the measure of the number and quality of distinctions you have in a given situation.

~ Tony Robbins

The answer is simple — lack of distinctions.  That is why you (and everyone… including me) gets into a “stuck” pattern from time to time.  And not in the way you may think.

You have to have refined distinctions to be effective in the world of “environmentalist” — community organizer, energy efficiency expert, land and water steward, conservationist, animal rights activist, health coach, etc.  Each area of specialty has its own language and associated definitions.

Eskimos (Inuit) have over a dozen words for “snow.”  Why?  Because in their environment, their culture, they have to if they want to achieve specific outcomes.  They need to be able to describe to themselves and each other: what kind of snow they can build an igloo out of, what kind of snow you can take your dogs through, what kind of snow you can eat, what kind of snow you are going to fall through…

inuitYour culture, as an environmentalist, includes communicating in a way that will persuade others.  You have to understand the people you are trying to persuade.  They are your “snow.”

  • How many words do you have to describe a non-environmentalist?
  • Specifically, one that you are hoping to influence?

Some environmentalists have a short list of words to describe a non-environmentalist that they were unsuccessful at influencing — and it’s not a flattering one.

It may include a four-letter word, or words that (when shared with friends) have the tone of a four-letter word.

  1. “Republican”
  2. “Conservative”
  3. “Capitalist”
  4. “A-hole”

Ask yourself this.  Who would be more effective in a given situation hoping to influence someone?

  • You, with the above list of 4 words, or
  • An environmentalist who has 60 combinations of words, and the appropriate strategy to fit each?

What internal self-talk would be more helpful to you in gaining the outcomes you desire?

Who has more intelligence in this given situation?  More power?

It’s not your fault if you weren’t taught psychology and influence techniques by your parents, or in college.  Who was?  Not me.  Most of what is being shared today on my site — and by environmentalists all over the world having massive breakthroughs — is cutting-edge research, and barely taught in psychology classes — let alone environmental science.

But if you get clear that you are not getting the results that you want — you are the only one who can take responsibility for adopting a different approach.  You must learn more refined distinctions specifically related to what influences people.

You don’t have to get it here — from me — but you need to get it somewhere.  If you want different results.

But I guarantee you can greatly expand your vocabulary for describing non-environmentalists (ecofluencePRO gives you 60 different combinations).  And, the distinctions you make can be directly applied to influencing that person — with relative ease.  Without a doubt, you can transform you ability to make a difference in any area you are passionate.



Adam Hammes is the executive director of the Iowa Sustainable Business Forum, a consultant, author, and motivational speaker. He specializes in helping businesses and sustainability professionals with environmental and social performance.

Check out Adam's new book on Amazon, Audible and Kindle: Sustainable Business in Iowa.

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