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Perfectly Obstinate People

with Kathy Kolbe
Listen every week as Kathy Kolbe, the world's leading expert on human performance, explores how being obstinate can be a powerful and necessary aspect of creating positive change.

Each episode provides tips and tricks that empower you to be you.

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How I Figured Out What I Was Measuring

Many have asked me, “How did you come to the conclusion that you were measuring conation with a Kolbe A™ Index?”

I used Karl Popper’s falsification process from his book, The Logic of Scientific Discovery, to discover I was measuring conation. Popper’s model is built on the understanding that it’s impossible to “prove” almost anything. So instead, falsification provides all the possible explanations of something and then seeks evidence to disprove those explanations.

Comparing Kolbe Index Results with Cognitive and Affective

Let’s start with the brain. There’s a cognitive part of the brain. It’s measured using IQ tests.

Highly gifted people, average IQ people and people with lower IQs all completed the Kolbe A Index. None of those ranges had any correlation with the results. This proved that the Kolbe A Index results did not correlate with IQ or other cognitive testing results.

After IQ, I looked at social style. There are many different social style assessments. All of them basically measure affect, desires, preferences, and beliefs. I ran correlations with Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®, with DiSC® profile, and with other affective instruments. No correlation existed between those results and the results of the Kolbe A Index. This made it clear I wasn’t measuring personality type.

Correlating with Other Human Factors

No genetic link was found when I looked at physiological factors. Results from parents didn’t predict the results of children. When identical twins completed the Kolbe A Index, one twin’s result did not predict the other’s.

I compared women’s results to men’s results. There was no difference by gender. Looking at a broad range of ages, I found the same distribution across all age groups. I also looked at race and found no correlation.

None of these factors – age, gender, race, personality, IQ, genetics, physiology – correlated with the results I was getting with this instrument. I, therefore, knew I was measuring something, just not any of those things. I gave the algorithm to students in the University of Illinois’ Department of Mathematics Doctoral Program. They verified I was using an actual algorithm. They informed me it was a very, very unique and unusual algorithm, one that they said was among the rarest of rare. Nevertheless, a bonafide algorithm.

Measuring Conation

So, what was I measuring? I looked at the only other known or discussed theories of the brain or mind – the conative. Ancient philosophers had discussed this part of the brain and called it the conatus. Over time this concept became known by very few people. It was mostly known by Germans in the mid-1900s and some American researchers in the early 1900s. Having found no other area, anywhere in the history of the study of the brain or the mind, I zeroed in on conation tying to insights. And sure enough, I found what I was measuring.

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