The Experience Equation: You Plus Me Equals Us

Steve Williamson, VP Digital Marketing and Content, eRep, Inc.
Monday, June 10, 2024
The Experience Equation: You Plus Me Equals Us

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What someone says to you matters. Your frame of mind when you hear it matters, too.

Think about politicians. A group of 100 people can hear a politician say, "I feel ___ about ___ and this is what I think we should do about it." Ask each person in the crowd how they feel about what the politician said and you'll get 100 different opinions.

Objectively, the politician's statement was the same for everyone. Each person heard the same words with the same inflection and tone of voice. Yet each listener will give you a different subjective opinion of what they heard and what it meant.


Objective vs Subjective Experience

Everyone experiences the same objective events. Two people can look at the same artwork yet have different impressions of what they see. This is because every person sees the objective world through their own unique subjective lens.

At eRep, we talk a lot about personality and how understanding your hardwiring and the hardwiring of others can help you navigate this thing called life with greater ease and accuracy. Our psychometric assessment, the Core Values Index (the world's most accurate and reliable assessment of its kind), is at the heart of this mission.

What does personality have to do with the subjective reality each of us experiences in our daily lives?

Let's go back to the politician. They are an individual who is using words, tone of voice, and body language to convey a message. Their personality and how they convey it will have a big impact on how their message is received by those in the audience. Is that politician meek and timid? Do they exude confidence or even arrogance?

The speaker's style is dictated not only by their motive, but even more by their personality. The way they are emotionally hardwired will play a huge part in the way they communicate with the crowd.

Every person in the audience will receive the speaker's message and delivery in the same way but they will process it and value it differently based on their own emotional hardwiring.

The message given is shaped by the sender's personality. How that message is perceived is shaped by the recipient's personality. It's like a mathematical formula with two variables.

If X is you (the listener) and Y is the speaker, then X+Y equals your unique experience.

To use a very simple example of this two-way calculation, if your friend made spaghetti and offered it to you, your response would depend on whether you like spaghetti or not (and if you're hungry at that moment).

Spaghetti is spaghetti, but your predetermined view of it will determine the quality of the experience when someone offers it to you.

You see the world through the lens of your innate and unchanging nature. Your personality's DNA shapes how you receive information.

Know Your Audience

We've often said the key to being a great communicator is knowing your audience. If you want to be a great chef, present your dishes to people who are hungry and like your particular style of cuisine.

Understanding the different personality types people can have and how to recognize them is a huge boost to your ability to communicate, motivate, persuade and inform.

But what about your own personality? Understanding your emotional hardwiring is profoundly useful when navigating your way through your personal and professional life.

Your personality's DNA is the starting point of everything you do.

Your personality will shape your preferences both consciously and unconsciously, not only in what you do but in how you perceive the actions and communications of others.

If you know that you have a particular fondness for Italian food, that will shape the kind of restaurants you choose when hungry for dinner. It may also explain why you're "meh" about eating at Cracker Barrel or Taco Bell.

Understanding Your Unique Experience Equation

If you want to be more successful in life, here are two things you can do that will make that effort more effective.

Define X - Your Perspective

First, understand your own emotional hardwiring. Take the Core Values Index psychometric assessment and learn how your personality shapes your preferences. Your CVI report will describe the lens through which you see the world and how you will best enjoy operating within it.

Learn Y - Others Perspective

Second, learn how the CVI defines the personality of others and how to spot their likely CVI profile. There is nothing more effective at helping you know your audience than the CVI.

X + Y = Your Unique Experience

Once you understand your own starting point and the lens through which you see the world, and then apply that knowledge by recognizing the lens through which others see the world as well, the two-factor formula of how you interact with others will be profoundly more effective.

The next time you're having a conversation with someone and what they're saying seems to be impacting you in a meaningful way — good or bad — consider that what they're saying and how they're saying it is only half the equation. Your own personality is also shaping and influencing how you receive it.

Core Values Index™ and CVI™ are trademarks of Taylor Protocols, Inc.

Go to to learn more about the CVI or to take the Core Values Index assessment.

Employees hired with a CVI that closely matches a Top Performer Profile often outperform candidates hired without a TPP match by 200% or more. → Learn more

Steve Williamson

Steve Williamson

Innovator/Banker - VP Digital Marketing and Content, eRep, Inc.

Steve has a career in project management, software development and technical team leadership spanning three decades. He is the author of a series of fantasy novels called The Taesian Chronicles (, and when he isn't writing, he enjoys cycling, old-school table-top role-playing games, and buzzing around the virtual skies in his home-built flight simulator.

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