How to Work With Character Recommendations


The recommendations you receive from your interviewed characters represent priorities that may be different from your own.

While finding your life compass involves deep listening to the priorities of your interviewed emerging potentials, following it involves acting on those recommendations that make sense to you. 

Here are some guidelines: 

Choose recommendations that speak to you

Recommendations need to pass the three tests of triangulation: 

  Do they make sense to you?

  Do they make sense to authorities that you respect?

  Are they priorities that are recommended by one or more interviewed character? 

If they are repeatedly recommended, all the better.

How to operationalize your recommendations

Recommendations are often fuzzy. If you are told, “Meditate more,” what does that mean? Longer times or more often or both? And what does “meditate” mean? Are you sure it means the same to the character that is making the recommendation as it does to you? 

To “operationalize” means to put the recommendation in a form in which others can see change.

An operationalized recommendation answers questions like, “How much?” “How long?” “How often?” “What’s different?” 

You can always ask the character what they mean and, more specifically, what they are recommending. Future interviews can clarify recommendations you are acting on. 

How to track your recommendations

Create a grid.

Place Monday through Sunday across the top and the recommendations down the left margin.

Track “How much” with √ or a self-scoring of 0 – 10.

Track “How long” with the time you spent doing the recommendation.

Track “How often” with √ on the day or multiple √ if you did it a number of times in one day.

Track “What’s different” with a word or two to note what changes you experience.

Normally, one of the above is enough for a particular recommendation, but you can add more.

It is also helpful to note who recommended what: “Dump Truck: Clean up language.”

Here is an example:

Aug 20-26 Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri  Sat Sun
Dream recalled & written      
Created DSMX/SEI     Peacock Feather Tree Power Cord SEI   Conduit & Sprinkraut DSMX  
Became Peacock Feather Tree       √ √ √    
Became cord when needing to simplify            
Be clear conduit             √√√
Drama 0-10 2 3 2 2 2 4 3
Read over Dreamage pre-sleep      

Examples of tracking recommendations

If the goal is weight loss there is weighing and recording of weight. Generally, once a week is plenty. There are excellent free on-line programs for tracking calories consumed as well as nutrients.

For nutrition, there is some measurement going on: amount of chocolate eaten; amount of alcohol consumed. 

For exercise, there may be number of occurrences a week, minutes of cardiovascular/stretching/muscle building, or number of calories consumed.

If you want to stop biting your nails, you might count the number of times a day you do. Or, you might count the number of times that you substitute some alternative for biting your nails, such as filing or clipping them. 

If you have a social phobia you might count the number of times you smile and/or maintain eye contact with people. 

If you are a chronic liar and want to stop, you can count the number of times a day you lie. 

If you want to stop drinking alcohol, you might count the things you do instead of drinking (substitutions) as well as the number of drinks you have.

IDL recommends that you check your own goals with those of various interviewed characters. It may be that you are setting goals that are not in alignment with your life compass. For example, an anorexic will have a strong goal of losing weight, but interviewing will demonstrate this is not a priority and why it is not.

How many recommendations should you track at a time?

Your charted recommendations will be a subset of a much larger set of recommendations of interviewed characters. IDL recommends that you keep a separate list of who you interviewed and who recommends what. This way you can look for patterns of repeating recommendations as well as for which ones drop out over time.

Most recommendations, like “remember and write down dreams” or “floss” will become more routine simply by keeping the chart week after week. Most changes occur simply by increasing your awareness of them. Therefore, making and keeping a chart week after week is the most important recommendation of all. 

Your highest priority needs to be tracking your recommendations before sleep every day and revising your goals every week. 

Your second goal needs to be to find and use an accountability person to help you stay on track.

Regarding major life changes, like “exercise more,” or “lose weight,” studies have shown that focus makes all the difference. Setting and focusing on one goal creates an 80% likelihood of maintaining it after a year; two or more goals means a 20% chance of maintaining it after a year.

Revising your chart

Take one time a week, like Sunday evening, to create a new, revised chart for the next week, deleting, changing, and refining recommendations.

As changes become habitual, you can drop them off your chart.


We all set goals with enthusiasm and the best of intentions. However, something called “approach-avoidance conflict” inevitably catches up with us. At some point, the discomfort and inconvenience of change kicks in and can stop us in our tracks. Having someone to report your changes to, who can help you problem-solve when you get stuck, will vastly improve your chances for progress. 

It is not so important that this accountability person gives you feedback; the most important thing is that you send them a copy of your application grid every week.  Ask them not to give you feedback except on the areas you ask for it! 

Who should be your accountability person?

Anyone is better than no one. 

A non-critical person who does not volunteer their interpretations is better than a critical person or someone who wants to rescue you by telling you what they think. 

Someone who is working with IDL interviewing is recommended, because they already know what your process is. This could be a fellow student, an IDL Coach, Practitioner, or Teacher.

Avoiding Sabotages

Reward yourself. For example, for filling out your tracking grid before you go to sleep you might reward yourself with a piece of chocolate. For revising your tracking grid on Sunday evening for the next week you might reward yourself with a favorite treat or by sharing what you have done with friends on Facebook or other social media. 

Self-criticism is a common sabotage. Most of us are already pushing ourselves to do better. Tracking grids tend to remind us of what we aren’t doing, which only makes us feel worse. This is discouraging and it is normal to want to drop off tracking. 

Deal with this by treating tracking as a game rather than as a discipline or work. Make it less important, merely interesting. Be objective about it, as if someone else was being tracked instead of you. This will keep you from personalizing discouragement when you backslide or are confronted with your imperfection.

Set realistic goals. Think small and incremental, allowing for slippage and regression, both of which are normal. If you keep tracking and your goals are realistic, you will gradually make progress.

Aim for gradual change, not huge, monumental transformations. You learned to walk and talk gradually, over long periods of time, not all at once. The more radical a change is, the less likely it is to last. Focus on patience, persistence, and consistency, not siddhis or good feelings. You want a structure you can stick with even when you don’t feel good. Again, think small and incremental changes.

Get support! If you get stuck, frustrated, or overwhelmed, ask for help. Don’t give up! Most people fail by thinking they have to achieve their goals by themselves to prove they are strong, confident, independent, or an “adult.” It is much more adult to ask for help than it is to stay stuck due to your pride or embarrassment in disclosing your stuckness to others. How do you feel when others ask you for help? Consider that others may feel the same way. 

Misery loves company. Don’t share your goals with people who don’t support them or will attempt to sabotage your goals in order to comfort themselves in staying stuck in their own rut: (“Ha ha. You failed, so why should I even try?”)

Turning your work into a research project

If you want an objective measure of your progress, take simple pre- and post-tests. 

We recommend you complete the following now as a baseline for your progress:

Burn’s Anxiety Inventory

Burn’s Depression Inventory

If you have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (repetitive nightmares with daytime anxiety):

We recommend you take your inventory again after six weeks and six months to see if you are less anxious and happier. 

How often should you complete interviews?

Good: One Single Element Interview (SEI) a week.

Better: One Dream Sociomatrix (DSMX) a week.

Best: One self-interview and one interview of another person each week.

How does interviewing others speed your progress? 

  1. You are interviewing those aspects of yourself that person represents. Therefore, to interview another person is to interview yourself;
  2. You will increase your confidence in both the method and your ability to help others;
  3. You will become a more skilled and competent interviewer.

Help us help others!

When your pre- and post-tests and weekly tracking are automatically forwarded to us it allows us to give you feedback and to combine your results with those of others to improve IDL and to create published studies which will make the work available to therapists, teachers, and other professionals who can in turn help parents and children to find and follow one’s own unique life compass. 

Providing your consent

I give IDL permission to collect and use my work on this site, as well as any information conveyed to IDL via other methods, such as emails or internet video, for publishing and public dissemination on the condition that it is anonymous. I am also free to withdraw my consent at any time. 


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