Your development through life will normally take you on a journey through various thinking systems. Less complicated thinking through to more complex thinking as you develop as a person. Your thinking “level” or system can be influenced by your environment and by the people that you associate with. Clare Graves hypothesised Values Memes and this system is used in NLP to explain why we do what we do.  Here are some thoughts on this:

Here is the way that I see my development to date. Levels one and two can be entirely related to infancy and childhood. From the stages of food and water and safety through to 7, 8, 9 years old and collecting things like lucky charms, making ‘clubs’ with friends at school, to 11 where you become interested in superstitions and mystical cultures.

Teens is level 3, huge ego, influenced by life’s conditions, living in the now. Immediate pleasure, respect, rambo. I never thought about consequences, was loyal to my friends, my crowd, respect was huge and not being humiliated! My ego was somewhat oversized then too. Oh dear! Twenties was level 4. My ex husband became extremist and eventually attacked me and there was a lot of police involvement. I had to follow the rightful higher authority, the courts (both police and courts failed me). My subsequent partners were in the military, and as all was going on I found faith. But everything became having to wait as the two children came first, divine intervention played a big roll as the following three years ensued, and God knows how that happened but it all saved me. I became fixated with Truth.

So late 20’s to now I have been working my way through stage 5.

I would say that I am predominantly Level 5, as primarily I am very adaptable, although I am on the cusp to level 6. I hate to admit that as I know I want to be at level 7 already and not spend too much time on level 6, as I crave the intellectual connections, I get bored quickly, I like solutions, I adore complex thinking and yet somehow I really am tied down to 5 predominantly. At the moment it is about “how can I succeed?”, setting up my business, as a family, in my relationship making it successful. And the stress of my life and not having much help has held me here. I have used a hypnotherapist/NLP practitioner to get over past traumas, so tick that box. I am in control of my destiny (as much as I am in control of my decisions now) and try to dress for success. A lot of labels do currently fit me very well. I am very aware of Level 6 though. I am becoming bad at time keeping, which is a bit scary that it’s on there, almost predictable!

Meditation has become a huge focus of mine as I try to shed the level 5, as is peace and harmony, but I haven’t yet fully embraced it.  Progression of mankind is very relevant to my thoughts, but not yet my actions, as is believing everyone is equal. With prejudices that you can unconsciously grow up with, it’s actually scary how these are in our minds and how difficult, in the moment, they can be to shake. But I do not agree with thinking I am better than anyone, we are all at different stages of our evolution of the self, spiritually, career wise, in all contexts.

I need more down time, meditation. A calmer more boring life. I am currently in the process of house hunting, creating security, a new relationship and settling down. As well as starting up my business. So with my personal life it is not only wanting the meditation and relaxation and also the opportunity to be of service to humanity, but doing it. Which will come once we have moved and our house is ours and the basic human needs have been addressed (shelter, security etc).

Business wise, I need to see my worth. I have seen it personally in my relationships, but not professionally. I almost don’t believe anyone is going to come and see me, or value me. This goes back to my dad’s permanent reinforcement through childhood that I shouldn’t try because no one will find value there. I was stopped from going to university because I was not ‘clever’ as a female, in his mind. Anyhow, I have memories as young as 4 of this, so I am re educating myself, here actually ;) and placing my value in my training and that is equipping me. Professionally I am going to work under a business name, rather than my own name, until I build that confidence, as a disassosiation from those fears that are incongruent with my true ability, which I really do know is wonderful! I’ve been practicing on friends and I’ve seen the changes they experience as a result.

So my intellectual is incongruent with what I am feeling on an unconscious and now conscious level.

My father in-law is very level 4. He is Evangelist. Obsessed that Jesus Christ is the only Truth in the world and the good book has the answers for all, and like communists, you must not operate outside of that. Living in the most expensive area in America, he claims he is flat out broke and has screwed anyone and everyone over, so he does transfer slightly in to level 3 with his godly ego and lack of any guilt. But on level 4 the church is everything, and faith is, because even though he is ‘broke’ God will provide for him. He is still waiting 5 years on for that by the way, but god wants us to wait, to teach us patience. And so we must follow the higher rightful authority and follow the rules – what not to do, e.g. be a heathen like me because the good book states that Jesus is coming, and he is my insurance policy if I want to seek salvation and at present I’m going to burn in hell. Truth. Although from what I can see all the fun people are going to hell too then ;)

My brother as well as myself. He has his own business and thinks of profits, he wants to be the best, he strives to be and is very competitive on any level (especially drinking games!). He works hard and is in control of his own destiny and is very adaptable, last minute or pre-planned, I haven’t ever seen him phased and always flexibly fits to the situations as they arise. He works hard and questions how he can succeed above where he is now and always sets himself goals, usually old cars to get running again.

Level 6 is my brother’s wife. Believing everyone is equal, is nicknamed eco warrior, very concerned with the progress of mankind and the environment, (although attending an peace out retreat doesn’t really make one truly influence these). She is always talking about vibes, and thinks of herself very much as a leader often talking down to me on NLP (having done a ‘retreat’). She does everything to reduce the carbon footprint, including them living in an old little flat despite being able to afford a large house as she doesn’t want to consume electricity heating it. She is suspicious of level 7, who is also my fiance, and is judgemental, of myself and him.

And my fiance is level 7. He knows who he is and has nothing to prove to others (he self evaluates). He thoroughly enjoys intellectual connections, you can see him light up in such conversations and has a vast knowledge of many things, particularly space and physics. He is competitive, but does not lose compassion, sometimes we goad each other on to a goal, but never to leave one behind and win. He can get bored quickly, if something does not stimulate him intellectually or engage him enough. He is definitely done with levels 1 to 6, and can reflect well on them – we’ve been talking about these values levels and who we know, he is detached from levels one to six where as I am still associated, as I explained above. Level 8 he sees as off with the fairies. We did actually discuss the evolution of religion, seeing each prophet as an update of the previous one, humanity itself is progressing through these levels, becoming more spiritual and less the need for the communist authority.


I move between levels 5 and 7. I can motivate myself, I am competitive with compassion. I know myself well. I am very solution oriented. I like efficiency and results. I want to make the world a bit better place to live. I am not sure if I have or not unresolved negative emotions from the past. I might have them but I am working on it. I think I sometimes go back to level 5, because my financial goals are very important to me. Me and my husband we want to buy a flat in Prague, we want to start family in a few years. Yes, I have to admit, I still want to be rich, because freedom is biggest value for me that is why Oprah Winfrey is good role model for me. My goals are very important for me and I feel great desire to reach them. What is your secret to your success, Anthony? I would like to have such a successful mentor as you are.

Some people can think I am cocky and arrogant, egoistic. I would like to have attitude: “I don’t care what you think of me” all the time, but sometimes I am too external and it slows me down in my life. I know I can use the work on submodalities for that.

I also work hard. I am not sure If I am done with level 5, so I am not 100 % sure if I am on level 7. I want to be integrated self, but I might still be on level 5. I will use timeline technique to help myself to be more congruent. I am bit workaholic; I work even on my holiday, when I don’t work on holiday I read books from the area of personal development, which is in fact my work too. I hate doing nothing. Time is important to me. Commitment can be issue for me, I have amazing team with my husband, but beside it I am not good at cooperation with other people long term, because they don’t work as hard as we do. I still have a feeling I have to prove myself to others, because If I prove them I am good coach, they will trust me with their problems and they will buy my info products and they will use my services. I still need to be in charge. I don’t work very well in team long term, even though I learnt to be more tolerant and diplomatic. I am very proactive. I am not waiting for somebody to save me but I work very hard every day to reach my goals.

When I was a teenager I used to be very religious Christian, I was at level 4. I went to very religious grammar school, but I wasn’t happy there, after finishing that school I started to go to personal development courses and I moved to level 5. I studied university, I was an employee with fixed salary for almost 5 years and I worked as financial adviser in my spare time, but because I wasn’t on level 4, I wasn’t very obedient employee, I wasn´t the kind of employee, who bosses like, I am afraid.

I found out about myself, I work best alone without having a boss. My husband is big exception to the rule, he is my only boss, who I listen to and I can take orders from. I was shortly on level 6, but now I don’t like group meetings, where I am forced to speak about my feelings all the time- it is waste of time for me, except I can practise my presentation skills in front of group there. I don’t like to listen to anybody, who preaches dogmas and forces to others his “truth.”

My development: I decided to work with my coach every week. We are going to train my presentation skills together, because I think If I am excellent presenter, I will be more successful too.

To be more congruent, I will be less option oriented, because it creates problems in my life. I want to use NLP techniques more often in my life, I created my NLP audios for better confidence and performance on stage and I listen to it every day. I very often listen to hypnotic audio to program my subconscious mind to reach my goals. I will control my emotions better (anchoring). To be more congruent, I study NLP. To be more congruent, I learn from my mistakes and I am becoming more and more professional.

I will not speak badly or critically of people even though I think I am right about them, because I attract bad energy if I say negative things.

Level no 4. That would be my mother in law. She is consumed by guilt whenever she makes a mistake. She goes to church often and faith is very important to her. She doesn’t like to change things, she keeps old house equipment, which should be replaced by new one. She relies on the state for her retirement money. She feels she needs to be insured against the problems. Rules are very important to her. She doesn’t like me to question church dogma so I stopped doing that to keep peace in our family. She wants to keep the things as they are, she doesn’t like to travel to new places, she doesn’t like to try new things. She likes her rituals for example at Christmas. She likes her traditional role of woman in her family, she doesn’t question it she never asks her husband to help her with housework. She is not a racist, but if her child would marry a black or a Muslim, she would be very upset. She loves rules, she works for a mayor in administration, so her world is all about keeping rules and laws. Rules are very important to her.

Values 5. I know one guy, who is very famous in the field of internet marketing in. He is very successful and goal oriented and he bends the rules for his own gain. He is workaholic and he wants to be perfect. He would betray his friend for the money sake if it was necessary. He manipulates with people and he promises things, which he can never deliver to them. He uses too much hype.

He is very materialistic and he is very interested in profits. He is very competitive. He believes he controls his destiny. He is very competitive and he wants to be the best. He is very adaptable and he regularly comes with new projects to make profits. He dresses for success and he believes in his charisma. He tries to be diplomatic, because he believes the wars with competition could harm his business. He would do almost anything to make profit. He will do anything, which is good for business. He is very demanding to work with.( well me too) He buys the most expensive cars to show people his power and success.

Values Level 6. It is quite difficult for me to describe somebody like that. I know many people on level 6 on surface level, but I don’t know even one person on this level personally. There are many people like that in area of personal development, who are loving and caring and they would sacrifice themselves for others. Groups of likeminded people are important for them. Everybody is equal there, although there might be one or a few natural leaders. (Every group needs a leader, right?)They usually don’t like entrepreneurs and rich people, because they think of them, they will destroy the planet. They share peace and harmony. They want to save our planet. They just want to help everybody for free and they are offended if you ask money for coaching or therapy. They say you are not good person, if you ask money for your help even though you make living as a coach. They love everyone, who loves them. They believe in law of attraction and they believe in not creating bad energy, because whatever they send out, it comes to them magnified. They can feel energy of others and they decide according to their feelings. They are very interested in environment and they want to save our planet. They are interested in living things. They feel bad if they put a plant out into the cold weather, because it dies. They feel bad about eating meat. They feel connection with nature.

Values no7.My husband is on level 7. Or at least he has got the sense of value 7 awakened. But I think we haven’t earned enough money yet to overcome level 5 completely. I imagine somebody, who is on level 7 as somebody, who earned a lot of money in the past, so he gained success and he decided he wanted more from life.

He is very solution oriented. He is not interested in profits, as much as I do. His work must make sense to him. His work must be meaningful for him.

I think Jan Muhlfeit, who is a boss of a division of Microsoft is on level 7. He has experienced huge financial and career success. I guess “those values of level 5” are not important to him anymore. Now he devotes a lot of his time and energy to improvement of Czech educational system. He is very solution oriented. He works on solution of the problems of the educational system. He is confident. He knows who he is.

I like his self confidence, because it is not egoistic and he acts in very friendly way. He is sure with himself. He knows his abilities. He seems to be at peace with himself. He seems not to care what other people think of him. He eats meat. He is a giver. He likes to contribute to society. He is active in solving problems in society. I am sure he is not sitting at home doing nothing. He might be at level 8 too.


NLP Values levels – Tina’s story

I think I am in transition from level 6 to level 7, predominately thinking on 7 already.

After studying all the details very thoroughly I can clearly see that I am in this transition state. I felt for a long time that something needs to happen and I know it has something to do with achieving results and making more money and being myself. I can clearly see my development from my birth on. Going through stages 1 and 2 as a baby/toddler and relatively quickly/early moving on to level 3. I don’t think that I was a strong 3, but have showed definitely much stronger attributes than the children I grew up with. Of course 40 years ago parents were much more strict than today and I can vividly remember effective and consequent disciplinary from my parents. I adapted level 4 around 3 years old and stayed there for approx. 10 years. At 3 I joined kindergarten and after that the schooling system. From my point of view level 4 thinking is a typical way to think from my country, in addition to that my blue collar family background manifested these values even more.

In hindsight I was pretty conform but my personality and mind always sensed that this is not the right way for me and that there should be something better and bigger – intellectually and monetary. By the time I was 14 and hit my teenage years the demand for more became so strong, that it got to a rebellion state – and because my parents were not able to provide me with more money for my ever growing needs I went and got myself my first job (definitely transition into level 5). And yes, I did it all, the status symbols, the arrogance, the ever-growing hunger for more. I loved to work and the power and independence that I gained.

I worked every free moment that I had besides school. My work ethics and my personality made me very successful for my age. All the accomplishments that I had were all mine as I didn’t have any support. That made me very proud. It was very interesting to hear that regimes try to suppress 5s down to level 3, which happened to me when I was bullied for my success at school. The pressure got so overwhelming that I actually went back on level 3 – to be conform with all the other kids on level 3. Again the disciplinary of my parents kicked in alongside with finding new friends who were at level 5 and I managed to make the transition through 4 up to 5 again. By this time I literally despised level 3s and 4s very much and proclaimed/articulated my superiority at every possible opportunity (not very much to the liking of my parents). I fell so in love with level 5 that I decided to do my A-level at a business school promising me the best chances into a high flying career.

I associated myself even with young entrepreneurs that were running their own business by the age of 20 refusing the traditional educational system of apprenticeship or university. After passing my A-levels I somehow sensed that the pure business way would not satisfy my intellect and that I need a proper foundation to build a career on. I decided to go to university and study sociology – the opposite of what I was studying at school. That came shocking to everybody as at that time in Germany you had no chance to earn a good income or have a big career with that kind of degree. So first I thought this would be going backwards to level 4, but actually, it is already moving on to level 6? But a part of me still remained on level 5, as I still was working my job all the time, earing good money and I also founded my own little company that I was running for 3 years. This by the way got me into trouble with the other sociology students for whom I clearly was too materialistic and career oriented. Again I found myself as an outcast. After Uni I had the offer to do my PhD but I rather went into the real world and joined a banking consultancy – the most materialistic level 5 environment that I can think of.

The reason for not going back to 5 100% was that by that time despite of enjoying status and money, I clearly demonstrated level 7 thinking and behaviour. My success was founded on flexible thinking styles (I had to deal with various personalities) and also on achieving a common good. Whilst working in sales I always saw my clients as partners, not as people to get commission from which resulted in trustful relationships that made them buy from me anyway. When I look back, then money was never really important, more the things that I could do with it, like independence, security, travelling. Up to today I am still very considerate with my spending habits and love a bargain. All in all I spent the next 2 jobs in this state until I left my management position after 5 years with a huge worldwide corporate that could have offered me a steady uphill career path and lots, lots of money and status. Again everybody around was shocked to see me take a huge risk by moving to London without having a job. In fact they tried to pull me back on level 5 and 4. I made the move to London and to stabilise my life I went down to level 5 (or 7?) working in a consultancy again until I decided this is not my life anymore. Due to the fact that I gained so much from changing my life and all the new extremely positive experiences I quit and enrolled into a training programme for coaching which I had my eye on for a while. I deliberately decided to do this the proper way and take time for this development. I also wanted to clarify a few things for myself. So I went on level 6 and took that time – but always with the plan in my head to build a business out of this and earn at least – if not more money as with my former position.

I am now 4 years into business and have amazing results and success. It was hard to go through all the ups and downs of building a business and the hardest things was to force myself to stay on that thinking level  even if it was really tough.

Now I feel that I am at a stage ready to take my business to the next level.

The reason why I think that I am still in transition to level 7 is because you mentioned that level 7 needs to be done with all the negatives of levels 1-6. There are still some topics I need to work on and I do, but I can feel that I am very close!

I know a lot of level 4s, all my family members are level 4 and level 4 is the preferred value level of my home country Germany. Let’s take my father for example.

My father spent his entire life on level 4 (levels 1-3 when he was a small child I am sure). Properly programmed by good old German level 4  values he questions some political parties but believes that there should be some kind of authority that does the thinking and handling for us – as only this will bring the higher good for everyone. He never questions laws or “the way this is done”. He accepted to work in jobs that were actually not suitable for him and underpaid, but the thought of change and taking risks was too scary and dangerous. Even decades before retirement he used the reasoning “But when I am in retirement, getting my pension (which is quite high in Germany compare to other countries), then I can do whatever I can.” Today after 8 years in retirement he is doing nothing really active, again a false understanding of retirement in my view…enjoying doing nothing because I have slaved all my life. He thinks he earned this and who could blame him? From his point of view there is only one truth and it is his (or his programming) and he lets others know that they are so wrong for thinking otherwise. To be consumed by guilt is another big issue of his. He was never able to live his life as he was always so consumed to feel guilty about the wonderful things that he has in his life. Until today he avoids praising his wife, daughters or grandchildren in front of others. The relationship between him and I is very troubled as he was never able to deal with me being different and wanting more for myself. Leaving Germany to live in a different country was the last reason that he needed to give me trouble. He perceives everyone who is different to what he is living as threat.

My cousin is a high 5 and he always has been since a very early age. Not being born in a wealthy family he got his first job when he was 7 years old and worked like a maniac ever since. He didn’t go to University as he considered it a waste of time because he would not make any money and the sheer thought of living on a budget horrifies him. He is self-employed since he was 23 years and still is today. He managed to accumulate a good amount of money including properties. He is not very big on status symbols besides his car, but loves the sheer thought of his money in the bank. That’s why I always compare him to Dagobert Duck as he is literally sitting on his money. He works like a lunatic but doesn’t really spend his money. No holidays of course. Even if he is not big on status symbols himself,  he is showering his little daughter in the best and latest – from branded clothing to i-Phone at the age of 6. He despises everyone who is not such a big earner as him. His greed even got him in serious trouble. He lost a vast amount of money in high-risk speculations and even got convicted and ended up in jail for a crime that promised a quick win. At this time he didn’t even considered what his parents and family had to go through during this time.

My friend is on level 6. He spent some years in London on level 5 but decided that he needed a different lifestyle and moved his family to Ibiza. He tried to set up some businesses but they all failed more or less. They bought a wonderful house over there but are currently in year 5 of renovating it. And of course he thinks he is level 8! He talks a lot about vibes and how destructive a life in London is. He also talks a lot about what is wrong in society and that he is fed up with it all. He does a lot soul search and they moved to Ibiza because of the great energy and because everyone there has a great aura. He is smoking weed ;.-). Everything in his house is about feeling good, relaxing and energy – but it is a great place to be…I am privileged to stay there sometimes. His wife is the same. They consider playtime and total freedom for their children as more important than school time and have even decided to take them out of school to home school them. Nature and environment is very important to him. He loves the sea and the beach and his gardening skills are exceptional. He refuses leadership in any way.

One of my clients is on level 7, probably half way to level 8. He is 56 years old and an architect running his own studio. He lived quite an interesting life so far with all ups and downs that life has to offer (has seen it all). He is able to combine his absolute passion for architecture with commercial success and makes a good living for himself. He is very selfless and has an exceptional positive and considerate way to view other human beings.  He is a highly intellectual character who always thinks creatively and strategically on such highflying levels that sometimes I have difficulty following him. Even though he has 50 employees he refuses to be “the boss” and trusts instead in everyone’s brain and emotional power. He sees himself as equal amongst them. He speaks of ethics all the time. He is able to motivate himself by always seeking the next interesting challenge. Also his aim is to make London a better living environment by designing very people friendly buildings. He even calls himself “urban designer” rather than architect. His mind produces very quick and precise judgement and decisions. He always says that it was serendipity to have found my a his coach. He is very secure and does not proof anything to others, he is successful but not very competitive. As a proper 7 he likes to teach or share his great ideas, therefore he is currently writing a book and has already ideas for 2 more. His brain is producing thoughts and ideas at such speed that he always carries a notebook. He uses our coaching session also as opportunity to share and filter his thoughts and as a sounding board.

The reason why I think he could be already on his way to level 8 is the fact that he is never about “me” but all for “we”. He also talks more and more about mankind and the world itself. He is extremely holistic in his view. He is a very dedicated father and partner to a woman who is very sick and much older than him. He is also a strong Labour supporter.