The Central Question Of Productivity With Peter Demarest

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TBT 119 | The Central Question

The truths that belie the things we do and the things we long to achieve are buried, and in order to function our best, we must seek out these truths. While it’s a tough process, it’s something that’s achievable by answering what is called “the central question.” Peter Demarest is one of the world’s leading pioneers in the science of neuro-axiology and the author of the definitive book on the science, Answering The Central Question. Peter joins Penny Zenker in a discussion on how seeking out answering the central question relates to productivity. The truth is closer than you think, so let Peter help you find your way.

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The Central Question Of Productivity With Peter Demarest

I’m always looking for people who are thinking and offering different solutions. I’m excited that we’re going to talk about productive thinking. It’s important to me since I did a TEDx and it’s called The Energy of Thought. I do believe that we can control and direct our thoughts, and so does our guest. He’s going to give us some scientific proof behind that and some tools and strategies for suggestion. We’re talking to Peter Demarest. Peter is one of the world’s leading pioneers in the science of neuro-axiology. That’s brain science and value science combined. He’s the author of the definitive book on the science of Answering the Central Question, which is the name of that book and it was written in 2010.
He’s also the Cofounder of Axiogenics LLC. His passion is the application of neuro-axiology to personal leadership and organizational development. He and his partners are developers of the VQ Profile Assessment System, and pedagogy for transformation called Neuro-axiological Cognitive Remodeling. Peter has been a coach and a consultant to senior executives and other leaders within global organizations, nonprofits, SMBs, and hundreds of entrepreneurs. He’s trained and mentored coaches and therapists around the world in the science and applications of neuro-axiology of the VQ Profiling and the NCRT. He’s been featured as a keynote speaker at international, national and regional conferences ranging from the International Coaching Federation, HR, Talent and Development, Organizational Development and industry-specific events.

Peter, welcome to the show.
Thank you. It’s great to be here. I’ve been looking forward to this and your gracious and wonderful invitation.
I’ve been looking forward to this too because we’re going to be talking about productive thinking and how to think smarter. I’m passionate about that aspect. It’s about The Energy of Our Thought was my TEDx and to understand how we think and how that impacts everything that we do. Before we get into that, how did you get into this? Why are you so passionate about this?
I have to take you back to 1972. I won’t show my age but I was in tenth grade and I found myself sitting outside the principal’s office. I got caught doing something I shouldn’t have been doing on school grounds. I did inhale, to give you a hint. It was tenth grade in 1972. It was a good time. I was sitting outside, waiting to go in to talk to the principal. The school secretary came in with this poster that she hung up on the wall. It turned out that it was the brand-new United Negro College Fund slogan that they had come out with. Almost everybody that’s over the age of 40 or 50 probably knows what it is because it starts with, “A mind is a horrible thing to waste.”
At that moment, I thought that was pretty funny because I inhaled and I was wasted. I sat back and thought about it later on. In fact, the principal and I had a little conversation about the mind, not relevant to the poster itself because he didn’t even know it was there. I also realized that that was peer pressure that had been doing it to start with because I wanted to belong and be cool and all that thing. I later found out that I was pretty much allergic to it any way, but that that whole idea of, “The mind is a terrible thing to waste,” stuck with me. It’s not that I pursued it as a career for the first 25 years or close to 30 years of my career but it did inform all of the things that I was doing. It was an area of curiosity and avocation of what is success? What’s the motivation? Why do people do things and make the choices they make?
It wasn’t until the late 1990s that I was involved in technical education and realized there’s plenty of evidence that the field of education wasn’t putting out enough people that knew what was needed at the time in terms of computer programming. We had Y2K going on. The internet was starting to boom, and technology was changing so fast that teachers couldn’t keep up with it. If teachers couldn’t keep up with it under the instructional model of teachers’ expert, then the students weren’t learning what they needed and literally couldn’t get ahold of jobs. It dawned on me that the problem wasn’t about the learners, it was about the teaching methodology. I started to think about what we could do differently, how can we do it better, the whole concept of critical thinking and the mind. I had been exposed to this crazy thing called coaching back in the ‘90s.

TBT 119 | The Central Question

Answering The Central Question

I realized, “What if we could turn the teachers into coaches rather than experts and support them with training on how to do that and a curriculum that they could use that would enable a student, even a high school student to become certified?” At the time, Microsoft computer programming. We set out to do that and I was the head of a division of a company that did that. It was successful on a national scale and we ended up selling it back to Microsoft. At the same time, my wife was re-diagnosed with what turned out to be terminal breast cancer. It metastasized. That was a real wakeup call and I had caught the bug of the coaching industry, but I wanted something that was more objective, scientific and more than a conversation like, “What do you want to talk about?” I saw the power of a structured approach to learning and development such as what we did in the IT world. I left the corporate world to start a company and around that same time discovered the science of axiology.
People probably previewed you and looked at the science of axiology. What is that?
It comes from the Greek word axio or axia, which means worth or value. It dates back to Plato and Socrates as a philosophy and it’s the philosophy of what is good, what is bad and it gets into morals, ethics, value and valuing. In the mid-1900s, Doctor Robert Hartman, who you can also google, Robert S. Hartman, is credited with being the Father of Formal Scientific Axiology. He applied scientific methodology and mathematics. The question of what is good and what is value, then it turns out he discovered that there is a structure to how value is created and destroyed in the universe, in the world, and in our human experience. He also recognized that in human experience and in the human mind is highly subjective. It’s an interesting thing. How can you make something so intangible and seemingly subjective and turn it into something tangible and objective? That’s what Doctor Hartman did.
I remember that he did a values test.
Not values, but value. It’s called the Hartman Value Profile. Let me take one small step back, one of the things that Doctor Hartman discovered is what’s called the Hierarchy of Value. In the Hierarchy of Value, he says that there is a structure and part of that structure, for example, proves that the intrinsic value of people, the human being, is infinite. Anything with infinite value has more value than anything that isn’t of infinite value. He didn’t prove that. He also gave us an understanding of why, 60 years later, people are starting to realize that when an organization puts the intrinsic value of its people ahead of all else, you’ll see dramatic increases in performance, productivity, and engagement. In fact, Doctor Hartman pegged it at 40% on average. Organizations are a great place to work and have documented how powerful that is, although they don’t know about axiology.
In my research on applying what are the measurements that great places to work uses, it turns out, there are metrics that show that the organization operates in high alignment with the hierarchy of value. Those organizations dramatically outperform the standard, of course. There’s a lot of good data around that. What Doctor Hartman created was also an assessment called the Hartman Value Profile Assessment Instrument that helps a person where we’re able to identify what your personal value hierarchy is. We match those things up, we look at how much in alignment is your thinking, how you judge and perceive things and the meaning that you make of them. Not only the meaning but the value that you place on them compared to the objective hierarchy value. There’s an enormous amount that we can tell.
They’re weird questions. If you’ve ever taken a personality profile, and I’m going to ask you what’s the difference between the two, they’re questions that you could infer what they’re trying to get at. Therefore, there’s also a problem with that, because if you want to sway it, you can answer it any which way. I was like, “These questions are weird.” You rank them 1 to 20 or something like that. He came up with these to match them. This is my personal value based on these things and they get matched. I want to come to understand what’s the difference between a personality profile and value profile.
It’s not measuring your values as in moral and ethical values. It’s measuring how you value things. In fact, in your TEDx Talk, you were talking about the meaning that we give to words and the power of them. It’s not only the meaning that we give to words, but it’s also the value of the meaning of the words relative to us. Is that a good thing or is that a bad thing? It’s not only the definition of those words or the story that’s behind the words. It’s the meaning and the value that we give to the story that we make up about those words.
That’s what creates meaning. Let’s take an example so that people can relate. If somebody said that they couldn’t relate to me, I could interpret that in a couple of different ways. You can tell me if I’m wrong or whatever, but this is my perception. What I value will dictate which meaning I choose. I’ve got a couple of different meanings.
That’s a way to put it.
It could mean if somebody doesn’t relate to me that they say that, it could mean that they come from a different background and they have a different opinion or a different view. It could mean that I said something that put them off that they can’t relate to me. It could have a lot of different meanings. It could mean that they didn’t understand what I was saying. If I took the perspective of looking at what all it could mean, what I value is going to determine where I had with that. Is that right from the science in the way that you’re thinking?
The semantics create this unfortunate circular thing. It’s the meaning of the meaning that you gave to the meaning which could be all kinds of things. You left one out and that is that they’re an idiot for not relating to you. Some people would go that way or I’m an idiot because I can’t relate to them. I can’t figure out how to make that connection.
People go to those places. They’ll go to those and beat themselves up and say, “I must be an idiot that they can’t relate to me.” It’s important and when we’re talking about this idea of thinking productively is how we also support people that have sabotage thinking and how they address that. I want to go in that direction.
We’ll definitely get there. Back to the assessment instrument, there were questions on it. If you think about it, there were no questions on it at all. There were statements. It is the meaning-making that we give those statements and the relative value that would have a person rank them higher or lower. That’s exactly how it works and it’s been scientifically validated for 60 years or so. We at Axiogenics have a way of interpreting those results that are greatly informed by neuroscience, which is why our branch of the science is what we call Neuro-axiology. It’s informed by modern neuroscience and cognitive sciences that Doctor Hartman didn’t have back in the ‘60s and he passed away in 1973. What we’re able to measure is what we call your cognitive assets or your best ways of thinking and your cognitive biases, which become your liabilities that are those things you alluded to a little bit before, that sabotage us. When it comes back to productivity, the biggest killer of productivity is our less than good ways of thinking that we also know to dominate 85% to 95% of all of our thinking, emotions, choices, behaviors and reactions. All the time that we are of our behaviors, choices, actions, emotions and everything is dominated or dictated by even at a subconscious level, our less than best-biased ways of thinking. Which means we’re only at our best about 5% to 15% of the time. That’s it.
Finding your central question is highly valuable in comparison to something like light affirmations. Share on X That’s depressing.
Here’s the good news. If you added another 5% to 10% of that, you could double your effectiveness.
Maybe that’s when they say that we only use a part of our brain that is related to that. If we only use and we’re focused on the assets and the best parts, imagine if we got to 50%.
We’re always using significant portions. I don’t believe the old 10% thing that we used to get. What is more accurate is we’re only using the best parts of it about 10% of the time and the rest of the time, not so good. There are biological reasons for that too. The brain develops habits of mind because it takes a lot of physical energy to think consciously. A lot of our thought processes are habit driven, essentially so because if you have to think about every single little thing, you’d be exhausted. We couldn’t do that. By habituating so many things, it leaves that reserve of energy available for conscious thinking. The problem is a lot of our subconscious meaning-making also informs our conscious thinking and we don’t even know it. There have been so many and I’m sure you’ve seen some of the studies about conscious or unconscious biases.
There was this one study that was fascinating that’s why I remember it. They did a study of bringing a whole bunch of people into a conference room and they would sit them down at one end of the conference room. It was 8 to 10 people and they would have them engage in discussions about how to solve some problem. They did multiple groups and the only difference between the groups was in half the groups, they had a briefcase like a formal fashion briefcase sitting at the one end of the table. It’s only sitting there. There were no words about it, nothing. It was sitting like somebody left it there. On the other half, they had a backpack sitting at the end of the table. What they discovered was that in the rooms where it was a briefcase, the people took a much more authoritative meeting to be right, less collaborative approach than the groups where there was a backpack in the room.
It represented, essentially, how formal was the meeting going to be versus informal. People tend to be more friendly, open and collaborative in informal settings than they do informal settings. The only difference was the objects sitting in the room and the subconscious meaning that they gave to that. There have been many studies about how powerful these are. The other thing that we’ve discovered after diagnosing the thinking of tens of thousands of people is that 85 to 95% of the time is dominated by what we’re able to measure is cognitive biases that become our liabilities and that they are almost always what we call self-centric, meaning their primary focus is on, “What’s in it for me? How do I get what I want? How do I protect myself? How do I get my way? What’s in it for me?”
Everybody’s familiar with that.
Everybody is. We don’t even realize that what’s fascinating is that even things that we think are not that. It’s like, “I’m going to help this person.” When you get down to what’s motivating a person to offer help, it’s because oftentimes, their own self-esteem requires that they be helpful. They want the reward, the thank yous, and the pat on the back of the recognition. It makes somebody owe them a favor but a healthy person doesn’t need that. I didn’t say they don’t want it. They don’t need it and the need is the important thing. I need to feed the hungry in order to feel good.
Some people are filling a hole and they need that to feel whole versus it would be nice to feel good about it, recognize it or whatever.
Statistically speaking, about 83% of all coaches we’ve ever worked with have that issue.
I’m not surprised because they do say, “They teach what they need.” I do a lot of work around time management but the truth is, I’m extremely disorganized and can get all over the place. I have to put structures in place to keep me focused. It’s an adaptive thing. I’ve met a health coach who was not healthy.
I don’t want to imply that being helpful is a bad thing but there’s a dynamic that often occurs that when we need it badly, sometimes we push too hard to be helpful and it ends up backfiring and we end up not being helpful. As we put it, we end up not creating value besides our good intentions to do so.
When the focus is on you, you’re not going to serve at the highest level. The focus has to be on the other party and what they need and what their outcome is.
There are these two mindsets. The self-centric mindset, where we’re focused on our own stuff. Not necessarily selfish but it’s, “What’s in it for me?” The other is what we call the valuegenic mindset. The focus is on how do I create value? It’s not only for me but for everybody concerned, short and long-term, all things considered, and we get to choose between the two. Going back to that question or that statement, “This person isn’t relating to me.” From a self-centric standpoint, it would mean something completely different than it might mean if you’re in a valuegenic mindset where you’re focused on, “How do I create value in this moment when this other person and I aren’t connecting or relating?” How you approach that could be completely and likely would be completely different depending on which of the two mindsets you are in.
It’s because the questions we would ask would be different and the focus that we would come from would be completely different. It’s like looking at a window from one angle and what you see and looking at another angle and seeing something different. There’s a bush on one side and a tree in another house on the other side.
I realized, Penny, we got through this because you asked me how did I get into this.
That’s good. It’s developing along, so that’s perfect.
Axiology is one of my first exposures but then that whole question that I always had about the mind and that got me interested in neuroscience that people like David Rock were coming out and Science Magazine. There were so many things coming out about the brain that were showing a lot of what the so-called success gurus had bought into and were selling for decades was contrary to what science was finding out.

TBT 119 | The Central Question

The Central Question: There is a question that underlies virtually everything we do, and it’s based on the recognition that our perceptions and judgments of value are our fundamental driver.

When you say the success gurus, what’s an example that’s not of a person, but a philosophy or something that was proven by science not to be true?
At the risk of sounding blasphemous, we know from science that positive affirmations used to compensate for negative voices in our head don’t work well. They work short-term but we’ve shown it over and over again. I can show you thousands of assessments of people who have practiced that, and it did damage to their psyche long-term.
Was it in belief? That’s what I’ve always thought. If you say something, a positive affirmation and if you don’t believe it inside, it’s going to negate itself anyway. Is that where it comes from and why it’s proven?
Yes, it does negate it but if you’ve got this habitual voice in your head that says something like, “I’m not good enough or I will never be this,” that is your belief. One of the other things that have come out in neuroscience is we don’t multitask. These belief systems are deeply held.
To clarify for the people who are reading, we don’t multitask because we do a task and we shift our focus to another task. It’s more the lost time and energy that goes from shifting that’s the issue, not doing multiple things at the same time because we’re not doing that.
Sure. There is an interesting time gap. You’ve probably heard the saying, “What fires together, wires together.” Have you heard that?
The reversal is also true, what wires together, fires together because they’re wired together. The dynamic of what often happens with things like positive affirmations to compensate for negative beliefs, particularly. I’ve got this voice in my head that says, “I’m not good enough,” so we’re taught, you have to say, “I’m great. I can do this,” because you’re putting those two things into a tight, almost simultaneous thing, you’re wiring them together. The way the brain works, if you study things like neural plasticity, synaptic morphologies, and synaptic pruning, which is the younger kids, what you find out is that the brain physically wires those neurons and those neural pathways together. At some point, you might somewhat bury the negative voice in terms of maybe not hearing it as much but whenever you say the positive affirmation, subconsciously it’s also lighting up the neuron associated with, “I’m not good enough.” You may hear it so it goes, “I’m great. A little voice says. “No, you’re not. Liar, liar. Pants on fire.” It becomes like a drug that we become addicted to literally. We become dependent on this to keep ourselves going.
What’s an alternative strategy for somebody who in the past thought that was going to be a positive influence and it’s not the best way? What’s an alternative strategy that’s value-based?
Questions are how we control our own brains. When you woke up this morning, the first thing you did most likely was to ask yourself a question. What time is it? Do I have to get up? Is it daylight yet? For some people, it’s, “Who’s that next to me?” We do it thousands of times a day.
I’m a believer in that depending on the question you ask is going to shift you in completely different directions.
I want to drive the point home that we asked ourselves thousands of questions a day. Before you ask me any question in this conversation, you ask the question yourself in some form, “I wonder what he would say to this question or I wonder how that works,” and you ask the question. That’s how it moves to different parts of the brain. One of the most important questions is what we call the central question. This comes out of our research that there is a question that underlies virtually everything that we do. It’s based on the recognition that our perceptions, judgments, and value is the fundamental driver of the human spirit. You’ve never done anything in your whole life. You’ve never made a single decision or taking a single action. You made a choice in your whole life that at that moment, you didn’t think it was the right thing to do. You may discover moments later that it was a mistake. At the moment, it’s what we do. It’s virtually impossible for human beings to do anything that they aren’t able to justify as a good thing.
I’ve heard different philosophies on this, Tony Robbins talks about a primary question that we each have our own primary question that drives us and I also believe that there’s a central or universal question and that can drive it.
That’s why we call it the central question. It’s the same for every human being in one form or another. It’s this, “What choice can I make and action can I take in this moment to create the greatest net value?”
Let me tell you something, we’ve got to purposely practice that question because it’s long.
Let me address that a little bit. People will shorthand it eventually but we started out talking about meaning. You can shorthand it all you want. I certainly do, oftentimes, but it’s because I also have the fullness of its meaning engraved in my heart. If I say value, I know what that means. We purposely left the question long to cover all the bases of what it takes to answer it. Life is fundamentally about the choices that we make and the actions we take. We can only make choices and take actions in this moment, not the last moment and not the next moment. Every moment is an opportunity to make a different choice. Why would we make any choice or take any action? It goes back to the self-centric versus the valuegenic mindset. Are we going to put a for me at the end of this question to create the greatest net value for me or just to create the greatest net value?
We said net value because it’s important to note that every choice and every action does have a cost to it, even if it’s an opportunity cost because we were not multitasking. It’s important to be able to consider the pros and the cons for all people concerned, ourselves, others and both the short and long-term. Net is a little teeny word that means a great deal, and the truth is, we’d have to be all-knowing to answer it properly or accurately all the time. What we have found is that human beings are extraordinarily capable of answering the question out of their innate wisdom, higher intelligence or intuition, if you will, they possibly could know until they start to ask the question. We are so capable of answering the question, but we don’t ask it enough. That’s it.
Positive affirmations used to compensate for negative voices in our heads actually don't work very well. Share on X This is the best and most productive question that we can ask that’s going to be highly valuable in comparison to something like affirmations or something like that and that are not. For people to understand, this is a tool and a resource strategy. It’s also the title of your book, Answering the Central Question.
Which gets deep into the science. Asking the question earnestly, intentionally, not as a rhetorical question and hoping the heavens are going to open up or something. You have to think about what choice can I make and what action can I take in this moment to create the greatest net value. Let me give you an example of it. People who are needing to stay home and are telecommuting, even if they were at the office, the same thing still happens. You get bombarded by emails or a whole bunch of different things and it’s so easy to get distracted, overwhelmed and easy to figure out what’s the priority. We get into this machination, where we may even freeze and say, “I’m going to go get lunch.” “Let me get a cup of coffee because I don’t know what I’m going to do right now.” Procrastination may set in but if we take that time to ask the question here, it’s even on the back of my business card, “What choice can I make and action can I take in this moment to create the greatest net value?” Think about that and you already know the answer pretty well.
We’re just going to do what we know.
What’s important is about creating the greatest net value no for me at the end of it so you’re included in the evaluation. To think literally means to evaluate. Look at the word, it’s in the middle of evaluate. It’s the word value. That’s what thinking is, it’s evaluating things. Evaluate things in the context of how do we create value. We call it the central question of life because the success that we have in life is based upon how the quality of our choices and actions that we take. It’s the central question of love, because if a relationship doesn’t create value for both people, it’s not a good relationship. Imagine a marriage where you’re thinking about, “How can I create greater value for my significant other?”
It’s also the central question of leadership. Leadership is fundamentally about creating value and oftentimes through other people or helping other people to create value for the organization or for the mission, whatever that may be. That’s the one thing that we want to get out to 100 million people is to ask the question. You’re already so much more capable and automatically engage more of that better thinking that you can do and keep yourself, maybe add another 5% on to bringing your A-game instead of being sabotaged by the biases.
It’d be interesting, maybe you’ve done this already, to interview highly successful people and to identify what questions they ask themselves and how they’re value-oriented. One of the things, when I said I believe that there’s a universal question that we all ask. It’s like this question that you’re talking about is one that we can practice and continue to drive ourselves into one direction. I also believe that we have a universal question, that in every moment we ask ourselves and that goes back to what I said before with how I might interpret it. It’s, “What does this mean?”
We ask it all the time. We don’t realize because it’s unconscious. If we take it one step further and ask it a couple of times and say, “What else could this mean?” That for me has always been value-driven to say, which is the highest value meaning I can give this for me and for others? Can I give somebody the benefit of doubt and ask a question versus get angry at them? That’s been my practice. I didn’t even realize that that was my practice until I went to a program where they taught this idea of asking this question or any question like Byron Katie does with, “Is this true? Is this really true?” That opens up our perspective and makes those choices to our awareness. They take those choices and make them conscious. That’s one of the key things. We’re not even aware of what our choices are.
There’s one little thing I might add to that question of what does this mean, and maybe you’re doing it already. It’s the word, could. “What could this mean?” By extension, “What else could this mean?” It’s easy if we ask what does this mean and draw a conclusion. We run the risk of what we call systemic thinking is not the same as systems thinking. Systemic thinking is black and white. Once we’ve made a judgment, we think it’s the right judgment, but if we take the time to say, “What else could that mean?” Not, “What does it mean?” but, “What could it mean?” It opens us up to being able to look at it from more than one perspective to reconsider. Oftentimes, this person doesn’t relate to me. That could mean lots of different things.
In addition to that one word changes it so you’re directing the focus. It has the same impact when you ask it several times so, “What else could this mean?” Which is in the second part, but I like what you’re saying is added to the first part and there’s an implication or an inference that there are other meanings and that sparks the next question and so forth. For people who are looking to add these practices to make their choices more conscious, to be more productive in their choices and their actions and create greater net value, these are giving them some valuable tools. We could talk about this all day because this is super fun and interesting for me and for you too. What would you say for people who are reading because there was so much value here in this conversation?
This is directed to the whole audience. Think back about your life and all of your life experiences, one of the things you’re likely to discover is your best life experiences. The times that were most meaningful and impactful on you, not only joyful because sometimes those life experiences aren’t joyful. The things that formed your life in the most positive ways and the ways that you’ve been able to use in positive ways in your life are times when someone created value for you or you created value for someone else.
It is the source of some of the greatest joys in life is giving and it’s not about giving the greatest good and self-sacrificing. We are in this together, particularly at this time of this pandemic and how enormously important it is. Another part of your website talks about stress. What’s also interesting is other than physical work stress, but almost all stress, comes out of our biases. It comes out of that self-centric mindset and our perceptions of things that are wrong. They’re threatening that we’re going to lose something, we’re not going to get what we want or we’re not going to achieve what we want. It’s all this threat response is where a lot of the stress comes from.

TBT 119 | The Central Question

The Central Question: Leadership is fundamentally about creating value and helping other people create value for the organization or for the mission, whatever that may be.

When you ask yourself the central question and you move into a valuegenic mindset, you will feel the stress melt away. It helps you be more productive. It allows you to reduce the stress and use the best parts of your thinking and access more of your wisdom and innate abilities. Connect with other people, and of course, be more productive. Make better use of your time, make better choices around what your priorities are because I don’t believe we can manage time. We only manage our choices and actions relative to time or within time and space and what our priorities are.
I don’t know any other time in my lifetime that collectively been valuegenic and not been self-centric is more important for the future of the human race. Ask the question. There are other things that science allows us to do. We can measure an individual person and identify the best ways of thinking and teach them what questions to ask that will instantly have them engage their best ways of thinking without having to fake it until you make it, pretend or anything like that. “I’m a great strategic thinker,” and they’re not. We can tell you whether you are or aren’t so you can stop trying to be as much or use other ways of thinking to think more strategically. There are all kinds of cool things that teach in our self-leadership process, but it starts by asking the central question. If that’s all somebody does as a result of reading this, then we’ve done a good job.
Where can people go to find out more information about you, to get your book and check it out?
The website is The other thing that I would invite people to do if they want to, there’s a certain limit to the number of people that I can do this with, but I would invite your readers to take the assessment and I will spend about an hour with them on the phone free of charge. It’s going through an introduction, a mini version of their report and teaching them how to access one of their best ways of thinking. In the process of that, when you access your best way of thinking, you will automatically, in a sense, disable your biases, your worst ways of thinking and it will instantly make a difference in your life. The way they do that is go to Be forewarned that it is a different assessment. There are no questions on it. It’s not a personality or behavioral assessment. It’s measuring how you think, not your behavioral tendencies or even strength as in StrengthsFinder or some personality assessments. This is completely different than that.
Thank you so much. First of all, that’s a generous offer. If you’re reading, you better jump on that. I don’t know how many hours he’s going to be able to give away, so you want to be one of the first to jump on that, right after me.
One other thing, they’ll be able to set up an appointment with me on my online calendar. You have one too. After they take the assessment, there’s a button there to do it and if it fills up, which it often does, then they’ll have to stretch it out into the future.
Finding your central question is highly valuable in comparison to something like light affirmations. Share on X Thank you so much.
Thank you, Penny. It’s a real pleasure. It’s a good slice.
You guys got the central question. You’ve got what you needed and there’s more. Go and check it out with Peter on his site, Thank you for being here and investing your time because what you’re learning here is going to help you in the future to take back time. That’s working smarter and being more productive with the time that you do have. We’ll see you next time.

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About Peter Demarest

TBT 119 | The Central QuestionPeter is one of the world’s leading pioneers in the science of neuro-axiology (brain science + value science), author of the definitive book on the science, “Answering the Central Question” (2010), and co-founder of Axiogenics, LLC. His passion is the application of neuro-axiology to personal, leadership and organization development. He and his partners are the developers of the VQ Profile® Assessment system and a pedagogy for transformation called Neuro-axiological Cognitive Remodeling (NCRT).

Peter has been a coach and consultant to senior executives and other leaders within global organizations, non-profits, SMBs; and hundreds of entrepreneurs. He has trained and mentored coaches and therapists around the world in the science and applications of neuro-axiology, VQ Profiling, and NCRT. He has been a featured or keynote speaker at international, national, and regional conferences ranging from coaching (ICF), HR, TD, OD, and industry-specific events.

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