ORIENTATION5 (pronounced Orientations) are a set of comprehensive worldviews defined as the fundamental cognitive orientations of an individual encompassing the entirety of the individual’s knowledge and point of view (i.e. personal perspective of reality).

An orientation (worldview) includes the individual’s beliefs of nature, society, culture, existences, and other fundamental, existential, and normative postulates or philosophies such as themes, values, emotions, and ethics.

An orientation (perspective or reality) is expressed by a comprehensive set of opinions, seen as an organic unity, about the world as the vehicle, purpose, and exercise of human existence. It is a framework that is consciously (actively) or unconsciously (passively) employed for generating various dimensions of human perception and experience like knowledge, politics, economics, religion, culture, science and ethics.

Example: Universal Causality

An individual’s perspective (reality) of causality as uni-directional, cyclical, or spiral generates a framework of the world that reflects these systems of causality.
  • A uni-directional view of causality is foundational to some monotheistic views of the world with a beginning and an end and a single great force with a single end (e.g., Christianity and Islam)

  • A cyclical or spiral worldview of causality is present in religious traditions which are cyclical and seasonal and wherein events and experiences recur in systematic patterns (e.g., Zoroastrianism, Mithraism and Hinduism).
These perspectives, realities, worldviews, or orientations of causality do not only underlie religious traditions but also other aspects of thought like the purpose of history, political and economic theories, and systems like democracy, authoritarianism, anarchism, capitalism, socialism and communism.

EP3.dk ORIENTATION5 is also a process that is developed with my clients to help them transform, or reorient the way that they see their own reality. Individually and collectively, ORIENTATION5 are not rules but a framework of exploration that helps to discover, define and develop the client's personal expression of each orientation.

I believe that every individual quite literally lives in their own reality as defined by how they engage and value every internal and external component of their lives. I help my clients, in part, by improving their awareness of their own orientations, but then actively work with them to help them learn to transform their realities.

1. Present and Progress Orientation

There are many who say that time is a resource, that once spent you can never get it back. So, use it or better still, use it wisely. However, the reality is that time doesn’t exist. There is no past and there is no future. There is only present. There is only right now. As soon as the present has passed, there is a new present. When the future comes, it is no longer the future but a new present (a future present). In short, existence is only IN the present.

It is literally impossible to live in the past or in the future (You can't exist outside of existence; outside of time). But we all try to, don’t we? Some of us have a past that we can’t let go of, so we aren’t fully here, fully in the present, living right now, in this moment. Regrets, mistakes, wrong directions or mis-directions…, our mind can be hopelessly entangled in things we cannot change since they are behind us and beyond our reach. But instead of living, we stay stuck in the past, a present that has come and gone. We are the walking dead. Then, there are others who are living in the future. Yet no matter how hard they try, they will never ever get there. It will always be out of their reach. It will always be ahead of them.

Learn to be in the present, regardless of how you value your life (PRESENT ORIENTATION).
Begin changing your life presently if you don’t like it and if the end result is worth the work (PROGRESS ORIENTATION).
• It might not happen in a moment, but it WILL happen if you don’t quit.
Don’t wait for something to happen (FUTURE ORIENTATION)
• Or the life that you are living now, will just be added to the regrets of your past (PAST ORIENTATION).

2. Outward Orientation

When we walk through our lives, believing that others are always taking from us and never giving, that we deserve better, hate our jobs, or that we are underpaid and underappreciated, or that everyone else is treated better or noticed more, or live a better life than we do, one that we feel that they don’t deserve or that we deserve more, we are demonstrating a LACK MENTALITY.

When we believe that people aren’t taking, but that we are willingly giving, when we believe that our lives, jobs, and pay is great (maybe you just got a raise), or celebrate when others we know (or don’t know) get a promotion, a raise, a new apartment, or recognition for their accomplishments (even if we helped), we are demonstrating a SURPLUS MENTALITY.

When we feel that we can’t give anymore, that we always fail, that others are "attacking" us with no reason, we begin to develop an INWARD ORIENTATION in a process of self-preservation (protecting ourselves).

When we feel that we have a surplus, that we will eventually succeed, and that an "attack" is merely a misunderstanding and isolated from all other "attacks," that the person who did it must have been going through something, or that their perspective is just as valid a reality or maybe they ARE right, we are showing an OUTWARD ORIENTATION.


Living with a lack mentality has been definitively proven to cause impulsiveness, instant gratification, and overindulgence; all of these caused by a fear of the future. Per capita spending on gaming, gambling, lotteries and similar activities are statistically higher amongst people with lower incomes and levels of education. However, a lack mentality has less to do with our circumstances and more to do with our perspective; our orientation. A poor, uneducated man can be outwardly-oriented and living in surplus (but not rich) whereas a wealthy, educated man can be obsessed with perceived lack, a constant dread of impending poverty and doom, and unhealthy inwardness. (e.g. wealthy tax evaders or eccentric wealthy recluses).

3. Life (Growth) Orientation

I work a lot and no matter how much work I do, there is always a pile of more work supporting the pile of work that I just finished. That’s the nature of work and it’s never-ending. I also have a lot of responsibilities, commitments, and relationships that all demand more of my time, energy, and other resources than I ever have to give. I'm sure I'm not alone. After all, that’s the nature of life.

But have you ever said, “I won’t be finished,” “I wish I had more time,” or “I am always exhausted?” These statements show the frustrations that all of us feel every day. But what do we do when the expectations on us exceed what we are capable of doing or providing? When our work demands more than we can give, what does it cost us in our friendships, families, or personal health?

A LIFE ORIENTATION is one where we develop the habit of making the hard choice of choosing the most life giving option, always. When you are tired, do you snuggle into a warm chair with a selection of junk food and a movie, or spend the effort and time to catch up with a friend that you’ve not seen in ages? When you are working on a long-term project, one that can take weeks, months or even years to complete, do you work overtime every day?

A LIFE ORIENTATION is one where your perspective of time, distance, and effort changes from hours, days, and weeks, to months, years, and a whole lifetime. You begin to ask what can I do or what needs to be changed for this (whatever it is) to be sustainable?

When we balance using and replenishing our resources between work and pleasure, time with others and time alone, time devoted to developing our mental, emotional, physical, social, and even spiritual reserves (replenishing our resources) and time spent on using them on others, we begin to develop our endurance and our energy; we begin to develop a sustainable effort. Instead of a daily sprint until we go to bed, we begin running the proverbial marathon. This is life training; a LIFE ORIENTATION. It is the hardest training to develop but by far, more rewarding and useful than any other.

4. People Orientation

Isolation can be caused by living in a remote area or by the perception of being removed from a community, such as when a person feels socially, mentally, or emotionally isolated from others. But it can also occur within an intimate relationship. Even though relationships are necessary for our well-being, they can trigger negative feelings and thoughts, and isolation can act as a defense mechanism to protect a person from distress, particularly as a result of infidelity, abuse, or other trust issues.

Solitude (temporarily taking time to be alone) can be a healthy, rejuvenating experience that allows us to reconnect with our own needs, goals, beliefs, values, and feelings. However, when people experience too much solitude, particularly when it's no longer beneficial, or feel isolated from others, they typically develop feelings of loneliness, social anxiety, helplessness, or depression, amongst others. Those feelings can then cause people to stay at home for days and avoid all contact with others. When people feel isolated, they generally keep to themselves, are unable to receive support from others, feel “shut down” or numb, and are reluctant or unwilling to communicate. Any form of contact, however limited, is likely to remain superficial and brief and more meaningful, extended relationships eventually disappear.

Actively develop strong, trustworthy (reliable) relationships with others, whether the interaction is personal or professional.

We're all surrounded by people and the more we become interdependent on others (in a healthy way), the stronger the bond and the greater the trust and security. We're also able to multiply our efforts, energy and ability when we actively partner with the right people. Lastly, when we begin to see ourselves as a part of a whole, we tend to find a greater purpose and value in our own lives and tend to view others with less suspicion.

5. Habit Orientation

In 2005, the late writer David Foster Wallace shared the following cautionary tale with a group of graduating college students:

“There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, ‘Morning boys, how’s the water?’ The two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, ‘What the hell is water?’”

Wallace was reminding the students that, just like the fish, their lives were largely determined by factors they never fully noticed; their habits (those unthinking, automatic choices that surrounded them every day).

Habits guide how we get dressed in the morning and fall asleep at night. They affect what we eat, how we do business, and whether we exercise or have a beer after work. Some are simple and others are complex. but every habit, no matter its complexity, is malleable. The most hopelessly addicted alcoholic can become sober. The most dysfunctional families can transform themselves. A high school dropout can become a successful executive.

Changing habits is not just a matter of willpower, despite what you’ve probably learned. Sure, we all have habits we’ve tried to break and failed. And good habits we’ve tried to acquire and dropped. But the real obstacle to change for most people is not a lack of determination — it’s a lack of understanding how habit works.

During extensive research on habit formation, a simple neurological loop at the core of every habit was discovered. All habits consist of 3 parts; (1) a routine, (2) a reward and (3) a cue. The researchers dubbed this the “habit loop.” As they studied people and organizations that had successfully changed stubborn, pernicious behaviors, they learned that they all followed more or less the same steps:
  • Identification of the routine around the habit (PRESENT ORIENTATION),
  • Experimentation with different rewards to satisfy the craving the behavior was trying to fulfill, and
  • Isolation of the cue that triggered the behavior in the first place.
Those who successfully changed a habit had put a plan in place that would help them respond differently to the cue (strategy planning) and nudge them in the direction of the new habit (PROGRESS ORIENTATION), thus preventing an unconscious return to the old behavior.

If you have a behavior (good or bad) that you want to change in some way, having a HABIT ORIENTATION will help you develop your own strategies to create lasting change and provide a framework to progress little by little.