The Value Of Evolutional Thinking For HSPs

Does the world sometimes seem ridiculously messy? Does it seem impossible to deal in an effective way with the infinite number of different human beings?

Do you ever want an easier way?

What Is Evolutional Thinking?

Evolutional thinking is a way of getting a handle on the complexity of the human race. Evolutional thinking is how one uses the new research on evolutional psychology to manage people and situations better.  It provides a lot of insight into how people come to be who they are and think how they do. It gives you a window into the ever changing nature of human identity so that you can feel less “at sea” in working with people differences.

The value of evolutional thinking is in how it help HSPs navigate different cultures and social situations with improved decision making and social skills. What is it? Evolutional thinking is a different and more complete way of thinking about the inevitability of differences in people, communities, organizations and countries in all areas of life.

It is a tool that makes it possible for highly sensitive people to be more easily constructive in their interactions. Evolutional thinking helps HSPs process social information so that they become less stressed and can handle information more easily. Evolutional thinking considers the context of any situation so it accepts each person and situation within the larger human evolutional framework.  It is a way of having and maintaining perspective which helps to reduce stress.

Where did this come from? During the last half century, one of the most important areas of research has been psychological and human evolutional patterns. One of the most important  researchers was Dr. Clare Graves, a psychology professor at Utica College in New York.  Dr. Graves conducted many studies to identity psychological identity.  In doing so he identified the evolutional model that became the basis of the book, Spiral Dynamics by Don Beck and Chris Cowan.

Dr. Graves evolved a different idea about intelligence.  According to Chris Cowans’ website on Spiral Dynamics, the Gravesian model integrated biology, psychology and sociology into what he called biopsychosocial systems. This approach sees different and multiple intelligences at work at all times based on the realities of the life conditions at hand.

The Spiral Dynamics website elaborates further: “The term, bio-psycho-social, reflects Graves’s insistence on the importance of a multidisciplinary, multidimensional approach to understanding human nature:

  • “Bio” for the neurology and chemical energy of life and the organismic part of us
  • “Psycho” for the variables of personality and life experiences, our temperaments and sense of self and relationships to other
  • “Social” for the collective energy in group dynamics and culture as the interpersonal domain influences human behavior in collective settings ranging from small groups and families to corporations and entire societies
  • “System” for the interdependence and action/reaction of these three upon one another in a coherent whole according to principles laid out in General Systems theory and other approaches to how things work and interact”

Graves demonstrated that there are certain stages of human evolutional development that become the basis of our self-identity. These stages of human evolution arise from the current living conditions of the people which results in a world view that then creates a social, cultural and economic structure. The worldview also is the basis for defining the identities and behaviors of the people in the system. The person it defines is the person who will support the structure, so the person and the structure are mutually reinforcing.

Since these cultural structures have values, feelings that support the society are supported and feelings that are not are rejected.

The Emotional Values Of Spiral Dynamics

The emotional values that Spiral Dynamics identified emerged from the real living conditions of the people and their interpretation of those living conditions which gave rise to their worldview. Each worldview was limited by the existing knowledge and experience of the people involved, and as we learned more was revised or discarded as new more up-to-date world views emerged. We are a work in progress.

This table is a very simplified view to give an idea of how identities and strategies are related to the stage of human development and evolutional thinking:

StageInterpersonal Strategy
Tribalappease: individual participates in tribal life to
appease spirits
Conquestdominate: exploit, act egocentrically
Religiouscontrol: authoritarian, demands total obedience
and conformity
Entrepreneurialwin: pragmatic, results oriented, achievement
Communalshare: life is fluid and we are all in this
Chaoticopen: flexible, questioning, accepting
Chaordiccollaborate: interconnected and

Using Evolutional Thinking

Highly sensitive people are naturally attuned to more holistic views of reality.  The Graves Model is a more holistic view of human nature and be useful when trying to understand people who are different.  It is particularly beneficial for highly sensitive people who are seeking a way to handle a complex social world with greater ease and reduce their social stress and anxiety as a result.

Fabulous Reviews For The Emerging Sensitive!


The Emerging Sensitive is now available and getting wonderful reviews. Here are several from Amazon.

The Review Of The Emerging Sensitive By Ane Axford, Sensitive Leadership

“The Emerging Sensitive is an essential resource in supporting highly sensitive people in showing up in relevant ways, and not at a cost to them. It is full of great resources to help a spectrum of highly sensitive people in finding their place and bring their gifts to light.”
“The Emerging Sensitive is an essential resource in supporting highly sensitive people in showing up in relevant ways, and not at a cost to them. The culture we live in has created many challenges to sensitivity and those who are more highly sensitive. Connection has created pain and therefore avoidance for many highly sensitive people. The cost to being present has been the sensitive self. But, it is changing. It needs to change further. I believe our culture will change the more highly sensitive people can join in and offer themselves genuinely, without compromise. I believe strongly in changing the way we all use sensitivity, and this book is a solid contribution to that effort. It is full of great resources to help a spectrum of highly sensitive people in finding their place and bring their gifts to light.”

5 Star Review by Hilary Hawkes for Readers’ Favorite Of The Emerging Sensitive

Maria Hill’s book will be immensely useful and enlightening for anyone who knows or who suspects they may be HSP. The Emerging Sensitive draws on a wealth of well-researched information and it is written in a positive and empathetic style, with terms and theories explained. This will enable readers to begin to understand their innate traits, heal their past hurts, and learn how to function alongside others in a way that is authentic and true to themselves. I was fascinated by the author’s explanations of the way in which humans and the way our societies have been made up has evolved and changed and is changing still – and that movements away from materialistic and cultural systems to more egalitarian and inclusive societies will favor the contributions and abilities of HSPs. The sections on advice on self-care, developing self-assertion and turning sensitivities into assets are sensible, inspiring and doable, and should help HSPs begin to deal with the learned negative self-image, shame and lack of belief they may have spent their lives struggling with. Maria Hill understands the Highly Sensitive Person and the challenges they have always faced – and her hopeful book offers a way to heal emotionally and begin to become “who you were meant to be”. Recommended.

5 Star Review by Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite Of The Emerging Sensitive

Your Place in the World is a self-help book written by Maria Hill. Hill discusses a subset of the population who she and others have defined as being highly sensitive people based on Dr. Elaine Aron’s DOES model. She then offers readers who feel they fit within the spectrum a number of ways to understand and function in the non-sensitive culture they find themselves in through the use of frameworks. Many Highly Sensitive persons may find difficulty fitting into the competitive world of business; however, Hill shows how our culture is slowly evolving into one in which the skills and enhanced perception of the Highly Sensitive person will be more in demand. She also discusses ways for such people to develop and apply their unique skills in today’s culture. The author provides a wealth of links, books, and other resources in her appendix.

Maria Hill’s non-fiction self-help book, The Emerging Sensitive: A Guide for Finding Your Place in the World, is a fascinating and well-researched work that will help Highly Sensitive people understand who and what they are, and how their abilities can make a difference in their lives and the lives of others. I recognized in myself some of the traits Hill discusses, and found I was finally able to understand why I seemed slow to process new information or make decisions compared to others, while being a relatively intelligent person. Hill’s work sometimes seems like a sociological or an anthropological treatise, but, at all times, her message is clearly and effectively communicated to the reader. I loved reading her analysis of the history of human culture and was heartened by the optimistic predictions she offers. Her appendix is outstanding and chock-full of resources and support. The Emerging Sensitive: A Guide for Finding Your Place in the World is most highly recommended.

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