The 5 Ps exercise by Josh Bruce


When 8fold considers bringing in a new Practitioner we go through this exercise with them before they participate in an 8fold event.

Please list your top three-to-five in the following areas:

  1. Passions: Things you do without any more of coercion or motivation; the thing itself is the reward.
  2. Pensives: Things you are willing to do but usually requires a bit of outside influence.
  3. Prohibitions: Things you won’t do regardless of coercion or outside influence.
  4. Peeves: Things others do that bother you.
  5. Pedagogies: Things you are wanting to learn more about or teach others about.

What we often find is that many of us perform our “pensives” in order to afford our “passions”; a project manager who uses the money earned to pay for their music passion. Further, the pedagogies area is often used to increase knowledge and earning capability in the “pensives” area, while people tend to want to teach others about their passions; paying for courses in project management to increase salary and pay for instruments that students can use when teaching them music.

This exercise tends to be seen as more difficult than the Motivators exercise because you’re starting with a blank slate. However, when done together, we find the two are complimentary.

Run through the motivators exercise, then look at your top motivator and list activities that demonstrate this in the “passions” bucket. For the “prohibitions” you may decide to list the inverse of the “passions.”

Another way to overcome the writer’s block that can be associated with this is exercise is to treat it more like a brainstorming exercise. Don’t limit your number of responses, just list everything that comes to mind and don’t edit. Once you have a fair amount of items, review regular and iterate on them.

For me, just off the top of my head and limiting myself to one each:

  1. Passions: Helping others make peace with space and time.
  2. Pensives: Software development.
  3. Prohibitions: Lying - specifically, speaking what I know to be counter to reality; I may be wrong about something, but it’s because I’m coming from a place of ignorance.
  4. Peeves: When people assume to know my “why” or speak on my behalf without my consent.
  5. Pedagogies: Learn to become a better storyteller and teach others how to design their lives.

If you look at my motivators, most of these should not come as a surprise, given my primary motivator is purpose and my second is typically autonomy.