How Aspies Think, Why We Do Weird Stuff, and Why We’re Important, by Sharon-Drew Morgen

Imagine being in a strange country where you don’t understand the mores – and aren’t aware you don’t understand them. Say, waiting for scrambled eggs to show up for breakfast in Tel Aviv (They eat salad for breakfast), or saying a friendly “Hi” to young indigenous men in the jungles of Ecuador, wondering why they then followed you in a pack (Looking into a man’s eyes means a woman is ready for sex.).

The events can be interpreted by both cultures. But in the case of Aspies, we’re sort of stuck: you NeuroTypicals (NTs) make the rules. And they are crazy.


As an Aspie, my internal rules, my assumptions, my responses, and my perceptions are different from a NTs. I hear metamessages primarily, content secondarily, and I respond according to what the Speaker intended rather than what (biased) ears interpret. I think in systems and experience the world in patterns of entirety, not segments of sequences.

In other words, my world is comprised of wholes, whereas NTs seem to speak in progressions of thoughts, and I have difficulty understanding meaning without the underlying system included. Without a view of the full picture, I end up making assumptions that can be inaccurate. I wonder if NTs make flawed assumptions also, based on the pieces they perceive or omit.

From my vantage point, NTs – largely thinking in a horizontal world that compares everything against a standard norm – make rules that fit a norm I cannot fathom. Yet somehow, with the majority of humans on the NT scale, there’s agreement that those rules make sense. In my mind, they don’t.

Why should I reply “Fine, thanks. How are you?” when someone asks how I am? It’s a real question that should be answered with how I’m faring, right? If they don’t want to know how I am, why did they ask? And how did it get agreed that a meaningless exchange is an authentic greeting? I’ll never understand.

Why am I labeled inappropriate when I respond to something differently than ‘expected’? Who says NTs are the ones who understand accurately? Maybe my references and responses are the correct way of seeing. Maybe my references and responses are a great ‘add’ to a conversation that expands the scope of the subject.

Why am I the one being too direct? Why aren’t NTs more honest?

Why am I the one who’s deemed too intense? Why are NTs so superficial?

I recently watched my 7 year old friend throw a small toy across the room where his four younger sibs played on the floor. Stop throwing that, said Dad, afraid the little ones might get hurt. My friend again threw the toy. Stop, or I’ll take it away, said Dad. Again, the toy went across the room. Give me that. No more toy.

I said to my young friend, “Your dad was afraid the toy might hurt your brothers and sister. What were you hoping to accomplish by throwing that toy?”

“I wanted to understand how it was spinning.”

“So next time, tell Dad what you want to do and he’ll let you go outside to throw it.” Why didn’t Dad get curious? Why was removing the toy without understanding the reasoning the only option?


My Aspie brain perceives a wholly different culture from the world of NTs, with different expectations, referents, assumptions, thinking systems, rules, and interpretations. My systems thinking and different understanding of what’s happening has enabled me to develop new models for conscious choice, different from the long-held biases and assumptions built into conventional business, personal, and healthcare models. Indeed, I have devoted my life to unraveling, (de)coding, and inventing models for, each step of unconscious systems and brain configurations so everyone can make congruent choices.

  • I recognized that the sales model merely places solutions, overlooking the Pre-Sales change /risk management issues involved when anyone seeks to resolve a problem but faces the challenges of the status quo. I invented Buying Facilitation® 35 years ago to enable sellers to lead people through the decisions necessary to fix a problem (13 stages), changing the process from a ‘needs’, solution-placing focus to entering first by seeking would-be buyers early in their decision making and facilitating their change/risk management process. (Note: I realized that selling doesn’t cause buying.) Buying Facilitation® closes 8x more sales in 1/8 the time while using values of Servant Leadership.
  • Because of the way I listen I clearly recognize the gap between what’s said and what’s heard. I developed a road map so people can hear each other without bias and wrote a book on it. Conventional communication specialists continue pushing Active Listening which hears words and overlooks the deletion and distortion problems our brains cause during the listening process.


  • People make decisions via their unconscious mental models and habitual neural pathways. Yet influencers merely lead Others to where the influencers think they should look, rather than where in their brains Others hold their own answers. To resolve this – a bias/assumption problem coaches, sellers, doctors, parents, etc. face – I developed a new form of question (Facilitative Questions) that facilitates others through to the neural circuits where their own values-based answers are stored.
  • I noticed that people seeking to change behaviors and end habits effecting their health had trouble keeping their changes because real change involves generating wholly new synapses/pathways. I’ve successfully trained many thousands of people to change habits and behaviors permanently via discovering, and consciously managing their unconscious brain circuitry.
  • The training model offers content, assuming that learners will accurately hear, understand, and store the incoming knowledge. Yet the words, information, intent, and goals of the trainer may not match the way a learner’s brain is set up, causing misunderstanding and a lack of retention. I designed Learning Facilitation, an addition to standard training that first generates new circuits to house, retain, and understand the new knowledge.
  • I noticed how change agents, healthcare providers, coaches and leaders posed biased questions to promote change and modify behaviors but ignored the systems involved in neural circuit change and generation. I developed a way to avoid trying to change behaviors by trying to change behaviors and enable Others to change habits and behaviors permanently, directly from their brains. Healthcare providers and OD change folks continue to assume their leadership will cause habit change and wonder why their clients resist!
  • Recognizing that current AI models generate content and doesn’t manage personal issues, I am currently developing a FacilitationAI model to generate sequences of user-prompted Facilitative Questions for folks seeking to solve personal problems based on their own criteria.

Thinking in systems has made my life rich and creative. I have the ability to translate, develop models to scale, and write books on, how brains make decisions and how systemic change occurs. And while I’ve trained my models to sales folks and leaders in global corporations for decades with highly successful results, I continue to be judged negatively against the norms of the NT world. One noted neuroscientist said my thinking, my models are not possible, although he never asked what they’re comprised of. Somehow, ‘different’ goes with ‘aberrant’ or ‘eccentric.’

How, I wonder, does the world change unless the outliers like me instigate radical change? You can’t do that from the middle. And if more NTs were willing to be curious, look through a different lens, it wouldn’t take people like me decades to instill productive ideas.


So that brings me to my question: How do Aspies end up being the ones who are wrong or on the wrong side of normal? I’ve been shunned at invitation-only conferences of author-colleagues (when I was the only one with a New York Times bestseller), ignored at parties, thrown out of events (by very, very famous people), not invited to an event every other person at the table was invited to – and invited in front of me, while I was the one person obviously, meticulously, excluded.

Why? Because my ideas, my speaking patterns, are different? Because they challenge the norm? Why isn’t that exciting? Or fun? Or interesting?

Geesh – I show up in nice clothes, I’ve got a respected professional reputation, I speak well, wrote a bunch of books and train global corporations in my original models. So I guess I’m a bit smart. I don’t harm anyone, have a decent personality, am generous and supportive. I’m even funny.

And yet. And yet, I say ‘wrong’ stuff, and tell unseemly stories when my brain references something that others don’t reference. And instead of going ‘Cool Beans!’ ‘That was interesting!’ Or ‘That was weird, SD. Where did your brain go on that?’ My work gets overlooked, although it can make an important difference in several fields – sales, healthcare, coaching, management, leadership. What rules am I breaking that aren’t worthy of curiosity? Or kind acceptance? Or humor? Or excitement?

I heard a comic once ask why men were the ones in the wrong for leaving the toilet seat up. Why wasn’t the woman wrong for leaving it down? Same toilet seat. Up. Down. What makes one wrong?

The good news about Aspies is that we’re often pretty smart. Because we think in systems and can see all aspects of something (NTs think sequentially and miss whole swathes of real data – the reason Aspies often think NTs are dumb.), we often are the innovators, the visionaries, who notice, invent, code stuff decades before academics or scientists. Yet folks like Tesla, and Cezanne die without their work having relevance. I read that the only painting Cezanne ever sold was to Matisse who wanted to study the painting to learn how Cezanne did what he did. Why didn’t others recognize Cezanne was to be learned from rather than derided? Why is the easiest route the one that ignores, avoids, derides?

I was running programs for internal sales folks at Bethlehem Steel. After a year of working successfully with Dan at their Sparrows Point, MD group, I was being handed over to the Burns Harbor MI group. Dan invited the new manager to lunch to meet me as a hand over. We all spoke for a bit of time, and as I got up to go to the restroom, I heard the Burns Harbor manager say to Dan, “Is she always like this??” to which he replied, “Oh yes! And you’ll learn to love her.”

In these days of more openness and a real desire to accept minorities, to communicate and live without bias, maybe it’s time that Aspies are acknowledged as well. Maybe when NTs hear someone say something that’s a bit off the mark, or rattle on about a topic that’s interesting albeit a bit long winded (We get SO excited by our topics!), maybe they can just say, ‘Hm. Sounds like an Aspie. I wonder what I can learn here. I wonder if I can be curious about something new.’ Then we, too, can have a voice. And just maybe we can become a welcome addition, add our two cents, and maybe make the world a better place because of our differences. Just sayin’.


Sharon-Drew Morgen is a breakthrough innovator and original thinker, having developed new paradigms in sales (inventor Buying Facilitation®, listening/communication (What? Did you really say what I think I heard?), change management (The How of Change™), coaching, and leadership. She is the author of several books, including her new book HOW? Generating new neural circuits for learning, behavior change and decision makingthe NYTimes Business Bestseller Selling with Integrity and Dirty Little Secrets: why buyers can’t buy and sellers can’t sell). Sharon-Drew coaches and consults with companies seeking out of the box remedies for congruent, servant-leader-based change in leadership, healthcare, and sales. Her award-winning blog carries original articles with new thinking, weekly. She can be reached at

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