Psychological Stage 3.0

3.0 Stage of Development (Expert)

Subtle. Individual. Receptive

Transitioning into the 3.0 Expert stage, you begin exploring the boundaries of your new subtle self. This is a new identity, and it takes much trial and error, and experimentation for you to distinguish the contours of this new subtle identity, which includes subtle thoughts, subtle feelings and visual glimpses into the future.

This is a receptive stage so it may feel like these new, subtle ideas are raining, uninvited, into your mind. You realize the difference between rules that were pre-established for you by others and these new, fresh, exciting, ideas that are yours, being received from within, rather than from others. You can also begin to visualize the future and an explosion of subtle internal emotions occurs, such as anxiety, empathy, compassion, suffering, panic, freedom, despair or independence, all of which go beyond any connection to rules or expectations. These emotions with such subtle distinctions expand exponentially.

Subtle reasoning is available to you and gives rise to the entire world of technical expertise of all kinds – engineers, architects, medical doctors, dentists, software programmers, accounting, for examples, which require attention to subtle details. These are examples of symbols of symbols, which tend to support technological engagement and precision. Because this is a receptive stage you tend to be focused in the moment on your inner experience much of the time, and the future may at times be hazy for you. Thus, you may often lose track of time on projects and have a hard time predicting how long things are going to take. This leads to you being highly effective, in that you usually deliver perfection, but you may not be efficient—you may not deliver on time.

Tending to use trial and error, you may learn by copying the ideas and actions of those people you feel are an authority in an area of your interest, dismissing ideas if they do not come form someone who is credible to you. Since this is an individually oriented stage, your focus is on yourself, and not as much on others, so you may not work as well with others who do not see things the way you do.

You will tend to hold only one subtle idea about a topic in your mind at once, so you may argue your side without taking into account the other side, insisting on your position over others, when making your points.

This is a stage that foregrounds the individual, so you begin to understand human rights; since all people's interior subtle selves are seen as essentially the same, it makes sense that people should not be discriminated against because of external differences, such as gender, race, color, handicap, and age, even though those may be different.

Teenagers and adults of all ages can hold the views, behaviors, relationships, and social experiences of the 3.0 stage. Older people at this stage have much more experience and while their general views remain the same, they have often established a successful productive career that supports them in their family and lifestyle.

People experiencing this stage

  • Are learning the contours of their subtle self: who am I within?
  • Have flashes of the subtle interior of others – getting a sense of what others are thinking and feeling.
  • Operate in a time frame that includes past, present and months into future with a focus on the next 1-3 years.
  • Desire and demand for their individual rights begin to be protected.
  • Recognize symbols of symbols (maps, models, theories, designs), which brings technical expertise.
  • Begins to understand intellectual, emotional, physical, and social power and control that comes from subtle ideas, knowledge, and ability.
  • Sees many options for action, but strive for perfection (110%)
  • Have a multitude of ideas but can have difficulty prioritizing amongst them.
  • Take feedback personally, defend their position, and dismiss feedback from non-experts.
  • Can be entrepreneurial, but may be unaware of the effects of their actions upon the whole system.
  • Because this is an individually focused stage their view comes from “me” so they work hard—tend to take over, micromanage; may not work well with teams.


  • Begin to realize that they have a personal truth that may be different than others; begins to identify their own individual subtle needs and desires.
  • They may have anxiety for the loss of the secure structure they had at the previous stage. Trauma at this stage can tumble them back into the Conformist structure to regain that sense of security.
  • Because they begin to separate from their conformist communities which offered them strong boundaries, and can only see into a limited future, they may have trouble discerning their own appropriate boundaries, including boundaries on spending, time, relationships and saying "no".
  • Can have difficulty with understanding their own and others subtle (internal) boundaries causing inter-personal difficulties.
  • Can have difficulty with regulating feeling states (or even naming them) so can rely on defenses of intellectualization and rationalization.
  • Interest in developing self and individuality, enjoyment in asserting self.
  • Can get trapped in perfectionism and getting it "right" so can also be quite critical of self and others.