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Saturday, September 5, 2009

Life Positions and OKness

You may also like to read: (Self-concept)

Life Positions- A Part of Transaction Analysis

Transaction analysis (TA) deals with:
  • Ego states
  • Transactions
  • Life positions
  • Psychological games
  • Psychological strokes
Refer: (Transaction Analysis- TA)

Four Life Positions

There are four life positions (as per Eric Berne):
  1. "I am OK, you are OK" (I+U+)
  2. "I am OK, you are not OK" (I+U-)
  3. "I am not OK, you are OK" (I-U+)
  4. "I am not OK, you are not OK" (I-U-)


  • As per Novey, OKness mean: I am an acceptable human being with the right to live and meet my needs and you are an acceptable human being with the right to live and get your needs met. As you can see, here, "rights" and "acceptability" are used in defining OKness.
  • Harris and Harris saw OKness almost as a comparison of strength, power, and dependency between a child and his or her parents.
  • Stewart and Joines define the degree of OKness a person feels relates to the value he or she feels about self and others.

Four Life Positions Explained

I am OK, you are OK

  • Healthy, optimistic and confident attitude towards self and others.
  • As a realistic assessment, it means that in my opinion I am OK inspite of my deficiencies. I will neither punish myself for these deficiencies nor totally I will ignore their existence. Other people too have deficiencies but this does not mean that they are second class citizens ans cannot be trusted.
  • Conflicts and criticism tackled from this life position aim to achieve results with underlying message that I care considerably about you to argue and fight with you rather than criticize you to belittle you.

I am OK, you are not OK

  • I am better and you are no good.
  • Attitude of superiority and distrust.
  • Operating from critical parent and also, nurturing parent ego state.
  • People with this attitude follow McGregor's Theory X style of management.

I am not OK, you are OK

  • Feeling powerless, depressed and inferior.
  • Self deprecating and readily accepts criticism and negative strokes from others.
  • Cannot accept the positive strokes easily. Will discount the positive stroke by saying, "No, I could have done better." "I don't think that I look as good as you describe me."

I am not OK, you are not OK

  • It is the black outlook.
  • Fortunately not frequently encountered.
  • If a person demonstrates this image for a long time, he is likely to show extreme apathy and will not be productive.

Behavioral Attributes of Life Positions

I am OK, you are OK

  • A person accepts others in spite of their shortcomings and feels OK about himself despite not being perfect.
  • Well thought of.
  • Makes good impression
  • Able to give orders forcefully.
  • Self respecting.
  • Independent- able to take care of self.
  • Can be strict if necessary.
  • Firm but just.
  • Appreciative.
  • Cooperative.
  • Friendly.
  • Affectionate.
  • Understanding.

I am OK, you are not OK

  • Comes over as distrustful, arrogant superior. Thinks that others are inferiors.
  • Can complain if necessary.
  • Able to give orders forcefully.
  • Independent.
  • Can be indifferent to others.
  • Can be strict if necessary, critical of others.
  • Businesslike.
  • Hard to impress.
  • Always gives advice.
  • Bossy.
  • Dominating.
  • Impatient with others’ mistakes.

I am not OK, you are OK

  • Recognized by attitudes of depression, powerlessness and inferiority. Thinks that others are better.
  • Apologetic.
  • Normally gives in.
  • Very anxious to be approved of.
  • Touching and easily hurt.
  • Lacks self-confidence.
  • Very respectful of authority.
  • Passive.
  • Unaggresive.
  • Meek

I am not OK, you are not OK

  • A position of thorough hopelessness and despair.
  • Can be indifferent to others.
  • Critical of others.
  • Can complain if necessary.
  • Able to doubt others.
  • Irritable, skeptical.
  • Impatient with others’ mistakes.
  • Often unfriendly.
  • Bitter.
  • Complaining.
  • Cold and unfeeling.
  • Frequently angry.

For More Guidance, Assistance, Training and Consultation


Also refer: (Prodcons Group), (Training Programs by Prodcons Group), (Productivity Consultants)

The training on all the aspects of "Transaction Analysis (TA)" and "Life Positions (OKness)" is imparted by Prodcons Group's Mr Shyam Bhatawdekar and/or Dr (Mrs) Kalpana Bhatawdekar, renowned management educationists and consultants and trainers- par excellence with distinction of having trained over 150,000 people from around 250 organizations.

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