"Social Stuff" and other "stuff" too

[From Fred Nickols (970520.1827 EDT]

Bill Powers (970519.0622 MDT)

I mean it when I say I wonder how many secret PCTers there are. I've been at
this for 44 years, not publishing a great deal, but certainly enough for
lots of people to have heard my pitch. And I've talked a lot and written a
lot of letters; B:CP sold somewhere over 6000 copies, and I keep running
into people who have heard of my ravings and liked them but never thought to
mention it to me. I've seen lots of oblique references to PCT ideas in the
literature, not so much citations as just an attempt to deal with an idea
that I've told a lot of people about (often an attempt to refute it). So how
many people have secretly got the main idea, but have been in a position
where talking about it would be, shall we say, not in their best interests?
I have this fantasy: somewhere in the world there is a department of
psychology in which every single member goes around thinking, " Gee, this
PCT stuff really makes sense -- I wish I weren't the only one who thinks so."

Ah, well, the imagination connection is a wonderful thing.

Be of good cheer, Bill. I tout your book every opportunity I get, and I just
had one.

The folks at Dell University invited me to Austin to discuss with them a paper
I wrote titled "The Autonomous Performer." (Anyone want to guess at the
underlying theoretical basis for that piece?) Frankly, they were quite taken
by the notion that anyone would stand up and assert that people are indeed
autonomous, self-governing, and in control of their own lives (if not their

The other point of interest on the part of the Dell people is the concept of
"configured work" as opposed to "prefigured work." Prefigured work consists
of routines that have been determined by someone else, usually an industrial
engineer. Configured work routines are anything but "routines." They are
the actions of folks who have to figure out what to do instead of doing what
someone else has figured out.

The long and the short of my visit to Austin is that they liked what they
heard and I'll be going back to say similar things to others at Dell.

Timing, as the comedians say, is everything. I think the time is right for
PCT. The old models and theories don't work and everyone knows it.

My very deepest admiration and respect for your work undergird what I say
and do. As for your other concern (which has to do with people standing
up for what they believe instead of what they think is proper or acceptable
to believe), I think that, too, is consistent with PCT. People who do that
are simply controlling for their own survival is the way I would put it.

That said, I have profited immensely over the years from being able and
willing to stand up and say, "I don't share that view" or "I don't hold
that belief." Those are powerful statements. They garner, focus, and
hold attention. In those few moments after uttering them, incredible
opportunity exists. As you point out, few make such utterances; fewer
still know how to exploit the opportunity that exists immediately
afterward (including me on more occasions than I care to recall).

Fred Nickols