“SIMA is a process that discovers and describes the unique pattern of behavior that motivates individual people.”
Our faces are the parts of ourselves that we present to the world, and yet we cannot observe them for ourselves—not without a mirror, that is. Without that tool, we could come to a close approximation of what we looked like. We could ask others to describe us, or we could use our fingers to explore its contours. Eventually, we might be able to come to a close approximation of what our own face looks like. Yet this process would be time consuming, difficult, and prone to errors. If what we want is to know our own face, then, a good tool—a mirror—quickly solves that problem.
In a similar way, it can be a challenge to discover the unique pattern of behavior that is motivating to us. What are the skills, circumstances, subject matter that are enjoyable to us? What is it that we want to achieve through our work, and how do we want to relate to, and interact with, others as we do that work? Without some sort of tool, we could eventually come to a close approximation of that pattern of behavior. We could use self -reflection, trial and error in our choices, or the testimony of others. But again: it would take quite some time, be very difficult, and (worst of all) subject to mistakes. In order to solve this difficulty, the Antioch School makes use of a powerful tool: the System for Identifying Motivated Abilities (SIMA).
SIMA is a process that discovers and describes the unique pattern of behavior that motivates individual people. Through the SIMA process we discover what skills you gravitate toward and are prone to be talented in. We find out what environmental circumstances constitute a good fit for you, and what subject matter captures your interest. We discover what you want your relationship to others to be like, and what fundamental results you want to come from your work. This behavioral pattern represents the range of activity that you do well, find genuinely enjoyable, and in which you are prone to experience success. SIMA is a tool to help us to identify that pattern to equip people with knowledge about who they are.
Like a mirror reflects a face, SIMA reflects a reality that already exists: the unique pattern of behavior evident in your life and your activities. SIMA does not impose its own artificial categories on individuals. Rather, the SIMA method strives to be the most accurate, and detailed description of who you really are and how you behave, and to present this information to you, for the benefit for your decision making process.
The Antioch School uses SIMA because when a person is equipped with this sort of knowledge about themselves, they are in a position to make the best decisions about directing the course of their studies, and using their new-found knowledge (and eventual degree!) to maximum effect. If we know who we are and how we’re put together, we’re equipped to make the choices that best reflect the sort of work that we find most enjoyable, and in which we will experience the highest degree of success.
Again, much like a mirror, the SIMA process can reveal things to ourselves that we either did not know, or only understood partially. And, as with a mirror, SIMA is a useful tool to use in order to see ourselves objectively, in order to make decisions, adjust our course, make necessary changes, or even embark on a new trajectory in life. In future posts I will unfold some of the ways that the SIMA tool can be used in order to do all these things based on an accurate, detailed understanding of ourselves, and how the tool can be used to avoid potential pitfalls.