Heuristics is discovering the solution to a problem by looking for it in places you never imagined you could find it.
Open a book, put your finger randomly on a word, then use that word to guide you as you write your speech, or start the awkward conversation you’ve been avoiding, or begin that difficult project.
‘Trusting your gut’ ‘First thought, best thought’ ‘Forget everything you think you know about this situation’ – are also forms of heuristics.
If you have a problem which is abstract, or if your understanding is unclear, look for another problem that is more specific and use it as a clue on how to proceed.
Draw a picture, or a map, to represent a situation you don’t fully understand yet.
If you have a problem that can be represented by two individuals, choose two people in a crowd, at a shopping center perhaps, or in a bar. Watch how they move and stand, how they interact with each other.
Heuristics can be a Constellation. Constellations are heuristic.
We imagine that the world is more linear, more coherent, more bounded by fixed rules, less interconnected than it is.
We assume that our problems are unique and specific to us. Imagine that we spend our lives representing different elements within countless constellations, for countless others. Imagine that the parts we play, while unknown to us, may be as essential to those in whose systems we serve as the air they breathe. While we, unbeknownst to ourselves, help them navigate their way through the mystery of their lives?
We’re so excited to be doing the Soul Work NLP training again this year. And to teach ways for coaches, speakers, team facilitators, healers, and conscious leaders to explode their skill and earning power.
Of course, there are lots of great coaching training programs available today but nothing teaches you how to help your clients, students, or team quite as effectively and rapidly as this.
We hear words like ‘miracle’ and ‘magic’ from our clients and from our students more often than we can count.
Coaches, consultants, workshop facilitators, and speakers graduating from this program have felt confident doubling and tripling their fees with the work they are now empowered and skilled to perform.
Here’s what some of our graduates are saying about this program:
I’ve invested thousands of dollars in other high-level coaching programs .. and I’m blown away. I will use this material above all the others .. I can’t recommend this training highly enough. — Kathleen Mulcahy. Santa Monica CA
The decades ahead of me are in no way going to be the same .. I have learned tools and techniques that have transcended anything I could have imagined .. they have given me a great opportunity to grow myself, my marriage, and my business. If you are interested in learning skills to help people overcome limiting mindsets, beliefs, and attitudes that have been holding them back then do this training! Caitriona Reed and Michele Benzamin-Miki are masters at rapid change .. I recommend this training to coaches, teachers, healers, therapists.. there’s no application I can think of where you couldn’t use what I’ve learned in this training. — Geoff Laughton Boulder CO
I teach and coach actors, and also coach executives in public speaking. This NLP training will be transforming my entire practice. This is information that I will use every day. Thank you! Thank you! — Jeffrey Marcus, Los Angeles CA
I studied with Richard Bandler (one of the original creators of NLP). After meeting Caitriona and Michele a few months ago, I wanted to continue training with them. This past two weeks has changed me at the core. I am so excited to share the tools that I have learned with my clients and also to apply them personally. I am going to be forever grateful for these learnings. — Kathleen Nelson Troyer, Half Moon Bay CA
I can’t even imagine NOT having done this training. Everything has changed. — Emily Steinberg, Austin TX
‘Your emotions are everything. But if you let them control you, they will eat you alive.'”
You are not broken. Negative emotions, and your body-memory of old traumas, can color your experience for years, even for a lifetime. But they don’t define who you are. You are always more than your emotions, more than your memory, more than your thoughts. Once you get the big picture and understand that you are more than whatever you imagined you are, it’s much easier to heal than most people imagine.
Negative emotions and traumas from your past do not define who you are. A traumatic event solidifies into a pattern of negative emotion by freezing your thinking – like a deer in headlights. Your memory becomes frozen in time. You are always more than who you think you are, because the sort of thinking that unconsciously identifies with that moment in time is always incomplete.
Negative emotions are not hypothetical. Do you have money issues? Do you have a problem translating you talent into abundance? Do you have difficulty finding or sustaining a good relationship? Do you have a challenge with relationships in general? Do you sometimes wonder if it’s just ‘bad luck’, or if there’s something you’re not quite seeing?
The reason may be simple – trauma and unresolved emotions hidden just beyond the range of conscious awareness. Perhaps you’ve become so used to them you can’t feel them any more. But you always experience the residue, because they will continue effecting your life in significant ways, until such time as you address them.
A negative emotion, experience, habit, or trauma lost in the murky past can easily be located because it’s still alive in your body and your unconscious mind. The origins of many negative emotions are sometimes lost in a murky past, before conscious memory, or when your were too young to fully make sense of them. But somewhere back there you learned to take on those emotions as if they were a part of who you are. You kept them alive, all the way into the present, and you keep on feeding them unknowingly. When you identify them and learn to stop feeding them, everything changes.
It’s not about stuffing your feelings. Actually it’s the opposite. When you open to the emotions that you have been stuffing because you thought they would destroy you, they become a source of strength. You open the door to resources of insight and energy, that those old patterns of thinking and feeling were blocking you from using.
You can’t ignore emotions and feelings. You might think that this is about something that doesn’t have anything to do with your business, your relationships, your health, or your creativity. This has everything to do with those things. If you ignore them you might be able to get by through your cleverness, charm, strategy, education, connections, or any number of your assets, but in the end it catches up with you.
Are you someone who has different compartments for money, love, health, family, art? Really!? Are you? Most of us were brainwashed into thinking that everything should be put into separate compartments. But when you are the same person in all situations, when your ideals and values show up in how you treat others, no matter who they are, when everything is available and not locked away in boxes .. something magical happens. You have more energy, clarity, and more importantly you become a magnet for good things to happen to you. It’s weird how that works, but it does. And it all comes down to your ability to resolve those old traumas and negative emotions.
Walk your talk. People sometimes tell us, “You two really walk your talk.” Is that something people say about you ? For me that’s the greatest compliment anyone could give.
Be transparent. One of the hardest things for me to learn was to show my vulnerability. It was a left-over from my past. Growing up it was definitely not safe for me to show my vulnerability. I learned the piece about trusting the negative emotions and healing the trauma. But the other piece about vulnerability is still a lesson in progress.
It’s the same for all of us. Some things we’ve managed to learn and understand, other things we’re still learning. The work of healing and growing goes on for your lifetime. Don’t wait for some imaginary perfection to mark the end of the journey. Don’t think you’re ever finished. Trust that there’s always something new to learn. Trust that whatever you think you are, you are more than that.
How many times do you hear people say: “I’m tired of going round in circles.” ”I wish I could change.” “Nothing works.” ”I never thought it was going to be this hard.” “Something keeps stopping me.” “I’ll make do.” “It doesn’t matter.” ” Maybe something will shift soon.”
Perhaps you have said some of it yourself.
What if it were possible to flip a switch to take you, or your clients, from negative to positive, from anxiety to calm, from frustration to confidence, from stagnation to resourcefulness?
There is only one way to create permanent positive change,to have ongoing emotional resilience and vitality, and to have explosive creative energy whenever you need it.
It is to become aligned with your unconscious mind — your heart, your spirit .. it doesn’t matter what you call it.
And there’s really only one way to maintain this inner-outer balance, though it can take on different names and forms.
We’re talking about hypnosis or trance, the state that bypasses reasons and excuses, analysis and second-guessing, and gives you the magic keys to make deep change real.
It’s how you can sweep away the old obstacles and stories of what’s possible, and what’s not, and what you can, or can’t, should, or shouldn’t do.
For centuries, for as long as humans have been around, hypnosis has allowed people to dive into their sou, and do the healing work of making evolutionary change real.
Unless you can create trance in yourself and for others, unless you understand the power of words to evoke instant hypnosis you are missing a HUGE opportunity to help yourself and your clients live a happier, more integrated, and successful life.
This three day training at Manzanita Village is an immersion that we guarantee will change your life!!
There’s a reason why affirmations are hit-or-miss, a temporary stop-gap, and why New Year resolutions usually fall by the wayside. Willpower might work in a pinch, but not for very long, and you’ll wear yourself out with it. And affirmations can be like blowing into the wind.
Without the brain-mind science to support them, these things are little more than wishful thinking. There’s a science to how well-considered outcomes, and clear intentions, turn into reality. It’s what visionaries and evolutionary leaders have always done, often intuitively, in order to realize their goals.
In this video we take you through the basic process of fully immersing yourself in you desired outcome, experiencing it as though it were happening here and now,and then distancing yourself from it, and sending that energetic “inevitability package” to yourself at that future time.
If this sounds weird or unlikely, know that skepticism, and wishful thinking are even weirder strategies to navigate a life where the positive impact you have in the world is dependent on your positive aspirations.
Let 2015 be the brilliant year in which you actualize realize real change
for yourself and others!
In Greek mythology Sisyphus was condemned to roll a huge rock to the top of a steep hill. Before he ever reaches the top it rolls down and he must begin again. Sisyphus was sentenced to do this for all eternity for the sin of arrogance and pride. He believed that he was cleverer than Zeus himself, the father of all the Gods.
The classical myths are metaphors for life. You may recognize Sisyphus in the person who never reads instructions, or who doesn’t ask for help from others. He is the person who starts a business without a business plan; or the person who engages on an important project without addressing his own unconscious conflicts, and hidden agendas. Like Sisyphus, he, or she, is doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over again.
Many of our own clients find us because they have something in common with Sisyphus. They may have recognized that there are unresolved mindset issues; unconscious habit patterns, gut reactions that are holding them back, limiting beliefs that are still playing out and getting in their way. They know that unless they get help addressing them, they are doomed to continue repeating them. Or they may be lacking clarity about their true capacity, the direction they want to take, and how to get there. They may be still tolerating intolerable situations, their own counter-productive habits and behaviors. They may have realized how much they themselves are getting in their own way.
People ask us whether our company mentors people for Business or for Personal Mindset issues. The truth is, life is business, and business islife. Regardless of the work you do, you are the boss of your own life, or you can be, or you shouldbe. And if you’re running your own business, then you definitely must be, as it will be disastrous if you’re not.
What we do for our clients, and what we teach our students to do for theirs, is to address these two key touchstones:
1. Congruity.Truth is not about subscribing to an external belief system, and then doing your best to fit your life into it. Truth is being in agreement with yourself, with your own mind and heart. Congruity is the expression of that inner truth. It’s having an open line of communication between your conscious and unconscious mind.
Truth is knowing what you want, and doing it, with your eyes wide open, with integrity, and by your own clear choices. You will still continue to learn, you must still address all the challenges that emerge; the fears, the beliefs that no longer serve you, the old habits, and whatever breaks your connection to your own intuitive intelligence .. in other words, you still have to deal with the untidy flow of life and all that it brings. The difference is that when you are fully congruent, you know you can’t fail. You can only learn. What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?
People sometimes call this “Living Your Life’s Purpose”. Only you can find that road. Only you can know what it is. It is uniquely your own. It is the expression of the congruity between inner and outer; conscious and unconscious; body, mind, heart, and spirit. It is the whole of you traveling together.
The alternative is to continue like Sisyphus, on the endless uphill struggle that repeats itself time after time. You can’t do it on your own. You need consistent support. Sisyphus never asked for help, so his task never ends. That was his his mistake. There are many things we can get on our own, but perspective is not one of them.
Consistency. Success is achieved by using strategies that work, and consistently following through. It’s not magic. It’s not an accident. There’s an old story about a person who had acquired a new farm, but who grew frustrated by the labor of clearing land for new fields. He sold the farm. The new owner continued the work of clearing the land, and found, just beyond the limit of where the first owner had stopped, untold quantities of diamonds. If the original owner had continued for just a little longer his efforts would have paid off a thousand fold. But he gave up just short of realizing success. How often do we lose sight of our goals because we’re overwhelmed, or because we don’t have a clear system or a clearly defined goal. So we stop just shy of realizing it. In the story the goal was to make a farm. If the original owner had just followed through, he would have exceeded all his expectation, beyond his wildest dreams.
There’s an order and a sequence to most things. You don’t go for a PhD before you have graduated; you don’t launch a business without a clear business plan. You don’t sign up for a marathon without making a training schedule. You don’t ask someone to marry you on a first date. And you don’t get busy just for the sake of doing something and to avoid the discomfort of the unresolved issues I was talking about in the previous section. You have to deal with them first.
Worse than not having a clear plan is thinking that you don’t need one; or thinking that things will work out, or that someone will come to your rescue.
Doing what you do consistently doesn’t mean following a monotonous routine. On the contrary, it means continually adapting and changing, but doing so in a consistent way. It means doing what works and making it work better. If it stops working, change it.
These two keys, Personal Congruency and Consistency, are essential for you to NOT be like Sisyphus. Sisyphus’s pride was such that he never asked for help, never admitted that he was anything other than infallible. He was self-centered, short sighted, and his own worst enemy. Don’t be like that!
To be personally congruent and to be consistent in the things you do for yourself, for your clients, and in the world, is living your purpose. Living your purpose is living at choice, living by your own best values and having the greatest possible positive impact.
Five Changes NLP Training and NLP Coaching and Mentoring are centered around teaching, and helping you implement, these two keys for your own, and your clients’ well-being.
NLP Training is a little like getting your hands on a user-manual for your imagination, or a handbook for your mind, or a practical guide to Neuroscience in action. What if old limitations that you had come to believe were who you are, turned out to be things you could easily change – quickly, decisively, and permanently? What if you could utilize the same powerful creativity, focus and energy that had marked the most decisive moments of your life? (You know the ones we mean) What if happiness and freedom became the very air you breathed?
Imagine hearing about a shortcut that halves your daily commute time. How long would you wait before using it? Would you have to give it some thought first? Would you argue that you weren’t the sort of person to take shortcuts? Perhaps your driving instructor had showed you a route when you first learned to drive, and out of loyalty to him you prefer the longer route? Perhaps the long route is familiar and you’d rather not bother with changing it. After all, you’d been using it for years, and it has served you perfectly well up until now.
Three Reasons for Taking the Five Changes NLP Training
1. For Yourself
The Map is Not the Territory – Alfred Korzybski
What we know, how we experience the world, what we take to be real, is more fluid than we were taught. We grew up learning rules to help us navigate our map of the world. We assumed that the map, and the rules that made it, were absolute. What began as necessary boundaries, like training wheels, turned into limitations. Add to that all the emotional and behavioral patterns we learned from those close to us, and we end up with a map of a reality that is far away from what is actually possible.
Unlimited happiness, creativity, and freedom are all within our reach. We are like the elephant, trained from infancy with a chain tied to his foot. He gave up trying to pull free long ago, and resigned to a life of captivity.
Freedom means becoming your own mapmaker. In other words, it means becoming master of your emotional state and your creativity, how you respond to experience – with choice – rather than reacting with long forgotten decisions, like the elephant, who still thinks the chain can hold him.
2. For Other People in Your Life
Always pass on what you have learned. – Yoda
To be at cause is to respond rather than to react. It is to live by your own choices rather than the choices of others. It is to be the Leader of your own life.
The Five Changes NLP training is specifically aimed at helping you be fully at cause in all the circumstances of your life, with specific tools to give you the resources to continually refine that ability. It is also geared towards you teaching others to do the same with specific tools and skills.
Everything we are and do has an impact on others. You owe it to them to become the best possible influence – no more complaining or blaming, no more bonding through mutual commiseration! From now on it becomes a celebration of accomplishment and possibility. Imagine!
Regardless of your work, you lead by example and you have specific lessons that you can give to others; your clients, patients, students, team member, associates, customers, friends, and family.
3. For a New Brilliant and Impactful Career
There is a solution to every problem! – Keys to Transformational Leadership
As a Certified Five Changes NLP Master Practitioner, you will have a template for working with clients in a therapeutic context as a Mindset and Life coach. The skills you will learn in NLP and Hypnosis will give you the ability to succeed where others with less developed training have failed. We will give you all you need to begin a $500 an hour (and up) an hour business, helping people transform their lives and work, helping people with their own user-manual for the mind. It is one of the most profoundly ‘spiritual’, holistic, and satisfying career choices you are likely to make.
A mentor we knew, who was well-known for speaking directly, often said that the only reason people didn’t change was that they were so attached to their excuses and self-imposed limitations that the imaginary, and blown out of proportion, fear of change stopped them in their tracks.
The reality of our lives is that it is constantly inviting us to change, learn, and grow. It’s what we do best. So why not learn a skill-set that will truly serve you well.
NLP Training in Southern California at Manzanita Village and Five Changes
When the university of Paris was being built in the middle of the twelfth century there were complaints to the architect from the faculty because the windows were too large. “We want the windows high up and very small because we don’t want people taking notes. They might steal our ideas.”
I knew someone who returned a lawn mover back to Home Depot complaining that it didn’t work. It had sat in his garage all summer long, and the grass had grown longer and longer. To cut the grass you have to use the lawn mower. To do anything you have to learn and use the tools you need to do it.
Five Changes NLP Training in Southern California is as much about learning how to use the tools, and manage your own mindset, as much as it is about the tools themselves. Because without learning that, the tools themselves are not that useful.
NLP is short for Neurolinguistic Programing. Unfortunately that might still have you wondering! Five Changes sometimes defines NLP as Now Live on Purpose, which may explain a little more ..
NLP is a system that was co-created in the early 1970’s. A linguist and a computer programmer put their heads together to learn how certain individuals, in the fields of psychotherapy, hypnosis and cybernetics, achieved the extraordinary results they were getting with their clients. The guiding question was whether those results could be replicated.
NLP began as a science of modelling what worked best, and then applying or adapting it to different arenas. Is it possible to re purpose your best attitudes, performance, and skills from one area of your life, and use them to help you in other areas? Is it possible to take what really works well for one person and learn what it is they do so that you can learn the same skills yourself?
The answer is yes. NLP is a science allows you to take something that works rea
lly well in one area of your life, and bring elements of it across to another area of your life. For example, the shy athlete can learn to bring the confidence she might feel on the playing field into the boardroom or onto the stage. You could take the wonder, curiosity, and excitement that you feel in your most inspired moments and bring it to an area of your life where you are challenged. Most importantly it teaches you to do so precisely and reliably and for the greatest positive long-term effect. In addition it reinforces the understanding implicit in this work that change really is possible, and that often means change that goes way beyond what was previously anticipated. We’re talking about the achievement of excellence in any area you like: professionally, personally, romantically, creatively. Human beings, that means you and me, have the capacity to lead extraordinary lives!
For example, in the area of therapy, NLP can work to help someone overcome a phobia, by using some of the innate skills that already exist in their imagination. In the days of behavioral therapy it might take months to help someone overcome a phobia. With NLP it can be done in minutes.
Many of the current revelations of neuroscience simply confirm observations and skills that have been used in NLP for decades. Many things that are theoretically possible are made effective because an attitude, unconditioned by fixed assumptions about what is or isn’t possible, or what is or isn’t wrong with a person, is implicit in the work of NLP. That attitude .. that change really is possible bears fruit through the skillful use of NLP, Since NLP is hypnosis’ Cousin.
In addition, NLP lets you take the excellence embodied by others; the communication skills of Martin Luther King, the creative imagination of Stephen Hawking, or the creative daring of Lady Gaga, the determination and dedication of Mother Theresa, or the fearless curiosity of Emelia Earhart, and adapt them so that you can use elements of their brilliance yourself.
NLP is based on a foundation which recognizes that each person is made up of a unique set of perceptions, strategies, attitudes, beliefs, assumptions, and behaviors .. as unique as your fingerprint .. and that much of it can be changed.
It assumes that how we respond to the circumstances of our life, though based on what we learned in the past, is entirely up for change .. if we choose to see it that way, and it then goes on to provide the tools for us to embody that change.
A definition that I like of NLP is “[an]attitude followed by a trail of techniques”. The attitude is one that is determined to live ‘at choice’, and ‘on purpose’, rather than as the victim of circumstances.
We say that the future is fixed. You can’t change it, you can only change the past. Unless you change the past the future will be the same. It sounds counter-intuitive, but unless you change your perceptions and reactions that you have accumulated from your past experience, you’ll keep on making the same assumptions, holding the same beliefs, and repeating the same strategies and mistakes, to get the same results. Some of that ‘trail of techniques’ consists of specific ways to change the past, using the imagination, trance, and age regression in very specific ways, to allow you to access resources that have been blocked.
What’s love got to do with it?
If the above sounds a little dry and clinical it’s because the work of NLP is very specific. NLP is geared towards adapting and discovering the very best way to work with any individual regardless of where they’re at. It starts with where you are, and it proceeds from there with the idea that anything is possible.
Just as in the past, NLP is applied in the realm of therapy, education, leadership and business, and public speaking. It is guided by what’s possible: What might work better than you ever imagined? What works well here that we can apply there? How can we let go of what doesn’t work well anymore, simply and rapidly? It is guided by limitless empathy and a limitless desire to do the greatest possible good. In other words, it is guided by the most practical sort of love.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that practical love is a watered down version of love. It’s the most sustainable and powerful kind there is.
What is NLP? Simply put, NLP is based on the understanding that our reality, and our experience of the world, is made up of the words and pictures through which we perceive, remember, hold, and revision it. The work of NLP is the science of changing those words and pictures, as well as the emotions that are rooted in them.
This is a natural manifestation of love because it works towards greatest possible good for the individual, and ultimately for the planet.
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NLP Certification and Coaching Credential Training with Five Changes
We often meet people who say, “Oh yes, I do NLP,” or “I’ve taken some NLP” or “I’m a certified NLP practitioner.” Those people may have trained with a reputable teacher. They may have lots of ‘techniques’ at their disposal. But what is often ignored or misunderstood is that NLP is more than a skill-set and the Neuro-Linguistic Programming Training Techniques cannot be simply learned. It is a revolutionary approach to learning and change. Techniques and skills are important, but they’re useless without the inner shift that makes using them really effective. And that’s not something that’s usually taught. NLP skills are astoundingly impressive and effective. Naturally, they work exceptionally well in an environment where personal change is expected, like in a training. But what about when you have to face a difficult client who requires that you draw from your own creativity to create a new version those skills? What about instilling in yourself the mindset that allows you to approach any client free from expectations of what is possible for them, so that you no longer limit the situation by your own past experience?
You might say that that are two kinds of NLP. It’s the same with any art. Neuro linguistic programming techniques and skills are essential. Whether you’re playing music, painting, practicing medicine or any healing art, flying planes, leading a team. The right kinds of skill are essential, but to really transform, or heal, or have a positive impact on the life of others, something else is required.
1. MEANING. Joseph Campbell once remarked that it’s not the meaning of life that people are seeking so much as it is the experience of being connected. Connected to what? To the inner feeling that lets you to know you are living in integrity with yourself, your values and ethics, your passions and desires? That you are connected to the world around you in a way that fits who you are, and who you are in process of becoming? That you feel safe, loved, creative, useful; that life is inherently pleasurable, joyful, ecstatic, and fun.
2. MINDSET. That you are not looking outside yourself for reasons why you’re having trouble with #1. That you trust your experience without resigning yourself to any idea that it might hold lasting reality. That you live ‘at choice’ with all that happens, and trust that everything, and every experience, could be a gift in the making.
3. PERSPECTIVE. Have you ever been in an argument? Have you ever watched other people in an argument and realized that everyone wanted the same thing in the long run but were caught up in details (.. and resentment, pride, belief systems etc.)? One of the keys of leadership, aka of being an effective human being, and of practicing NLP well, hinges on holding the big picture while remaining aware of the details. Some of us tend to be better at one than the other. Some of us are big picture oriented while others are detail oriented. The key is to be both, and to know when to focus on details and when to focus on the big picture. This is just as true for working with clients , NLP or otherwise, as it for running a business, or mediating a disagreement. It’s like having a zoom lens attached to your perception of everything.
4. PASSION. Knowing that everything is interconnected and that everything therefore matters means that you understand that you work impacts humanity and the world. Sometimes you might slip into resignation, feeling that problems you or your clients face are so enormous and say, “What’s the point?” Passion for what you do, and your passion to continue learning and challenging yourself, are contagious. You passion will have a positive impact on everything you do, on your family, friends, and colleagues, and most certainly on your clients.
Let’s just say that there are two kinds to NLP. One is holistic and recognizes that there is a quantum dimension to the work. In other words, it recognizes that your work, your life, and the life of your client are interconnected (think of the term entanglement as it applies to sub-atomic particles).
The other is piecemeal, hit-or-miss, learn a technique or two and hope that it works.
As you might guess, we recommend and emphasize the first approach in our NLP training.
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Here are a few stories about the practicality of Big Picture thinking
Many years ago, a cargo ship with a consignment of toilet seats was washed ashore on the Pacific nation of Tonga. Western toilets were unknown on the island at that time. But these were put to good use. For many years, through the eighteen hundreds and into the early part of the twentieth century, photographs of the Tongan king could be found in houses across the islands, neatly mounted in an oval wooden frames. If you’re resourceful enough you can make good use for just about anything.
The Japanese poet Nanao Sakaki came to stay with friends in California. While Nanao was sitting in a corner of the room translating his poems into English his friends were busy planning a local action to protest the proliferation of nuclear arms. Nanao looked up and said, “Hey guys, you know we don’t haveto survive!” He wasn’t questioning the value of what they were doing. He was suggesting that big picture thinking could empower any plan, and usually allows for more choices and more options.
Once at a retreat at Manzanita Village, someone working in the kitchen threw out a bag of avocados. She explained by saying that there were no lemons for her to make guacamole. It was a breathtakingly clear example of how easy it is get stuck in self-imposed limitations. How many ways can you use avocados? She was so focused on guacamole that she forgot to ask?
A traveler walking through the Amazon forest realized that he was being stalked by a large panther. The huge cat was about to leap. The traveler began meowing like a kitten. The panther turned and darted back into the forest, as though chased by an invisible force. Was it the surprise of hearing a meowing primate? Was it the absence of fear in the eyes of its intended prey? Was the panther wondering how enormous the mother cat must be if the kitten was six feet tall?
If we get into trouble in life it’s often because we lose perspective. We can often get out of trouble best by changing how we think, changing what we think we know. Asking “Why?” and “How?” finding new answers, and removing some of the imagined limitations and beliefs that had been holding us back.
Just look at any political discussion on Sunday television in the U.S. and it soon becomes clear that most of the arguments are based on unexamined assumptions. It’s like three people arguing about the shape of an elephant, one looking at it head-on, one from the side, and one from the rear. They are all looking at the same animal, but they assume that theirs is the only possible position on which to stand.
I was speaking to someone today about Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP), and saying how people get confused by the many brilliant techniques it is known for, and think that’s what NLP is. All those amazing techniques are simply the products of NLP. They come out of NLP. The essence of NLP is much simpler. Part of it has to do with looking for the big picture, looking at what works, howit works, and then finding ways to change your own actions based on that, in order to get more effective results for yourself. For example, a person standing in front of a charging elephant needs to know how to get out of the way. NLP is concerned first with how to move from A to B, how to get out of the way of that charging elephant, and how to stay out of the way. Knowing why the elephant is charging may be useful information, even though it’s not the first question to ask.
One of the key principles of NLP is flexibility, knowing what question to ask and when, being willing and able to change your perspective and acting accordingly. Like using a zoom lens, to zoom in or out. It’s essential to be able to do both and it’s essential to know when to do so. Seeing the big picture is important, and so is filling in the details. The key is to know when to apply what. Confronted with a charging elephant the issue is one of survival. At another time you can ask a question other than the one your body answers automatically when confronted with that charging elephant,
Once you’ve saved yourself from being trampled by the elephant, a good question to ask in order to see a bigger big picture is “For what purpose?”
For what purpose ..
.. do I unconsciously put myself in the path of charging elephants?
.. am I getting into a dysfunctional situation just like others I’ve been in?
.. is that person spending time doing something they detest?
When we take a less than perfect course of action, in any situation, it’s often because we have not yet uncovered some of our hidden motivations and agendas. “For what purpose am I doing what I’m doing?”
We tell our clients that they are doing the best they can according to what they know, or according to what they think is possible. And that our work with them is to help them to know more .. not just knowing intellectually, but tapping into a deeper knowing and trusting. It means learning to look at a bigger picture so that they have more options and choices. Asking the question, “For what purpose?” is a great place to start.
For more information about learning the tools of Neurolinguistics (NLP) follow this link.
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First of all, unless you are familiar with NLP, the name itself is daunting .. Neuro-linguistic Programming!!!
neuro, as in neurology;
linguistic, as in language;
programing, as in .. changing how you think ..
We’ve adopted our own acronym, NLP as in Now Live on Purpose! .. but that still leaves the big question: How do you do that?
There are a number of misconceptions about NLP I’d like to clear up first:
NLP Misconception #One: NLP is manipulative.
One student told me that someone on her street used NLP to sell cars. He eventually sold one to all her neighbors. I asked her if her neighbors were happy with their new cars. She told me they were delighted with them. The truth is, you can’t make people do things they don’t want to do, not for long at any rate. More than that, NLP has always taught that you work towards the best possible outcome for everyone and everything concerned.
Was Martin Luther King manipulative because he was a great orator? One of the foundations of NLP is to adopt what works best, to emulate the best .. Martin Luther King, Meryl Streep, Buddha, Mother Theresa, Richard Branson .. to figure out how they got the results that worked best for them, so that you can get the results that can work best for you.
NLP Misconception #Two: NLP is superficial.
Actually the very basis of NLP comes from asking how to make fast permanent change for everyone from the mentally ill, and the severely disabled, to artists, communicators, and business people. So much NLP has been integrated into contemporary training for personal and business development, sports coaching , public speaking etc. that it’s often not recognized for what it is. Far from being superficial, NLP has become established as part of elite methodologies across multiple disciplines.
NLP Misconception #Three: NLP is voodoo psychology, based on unverified beliefs.
As new research in neuroscience becomes available and accessible we hear of “breakthroughs” that many of us have been using effectively with our clients for decades. There has always been a small group of dedicated change-makers who were ahead of the curve. Time and society usually catches up in the end. The originators of NLP were considered marginal, but then so was Freud and Jung, not to mention Galileo, Picasso, and the Rolling Stones.
NLP Misconception #Four: You can learn NLP from books.
If you can learn it from books, then there’s no point in getting Master Certification, or even working with an experienced trainer. But can you learn how to be a parent from a book, or play in an orchestra? You can learn something; but it’s not parenting or musical virtuosity. In fact, you can learn very little from books. The same is true with NLP because a lot of it has to do with the underlying understanding. Being a good parent is valuable, playing music to move hearts is valuable, creating fast permanent positive change in others is invaluable. But to master those skills, you need to rub shoulders with, experience and learn form those who have already embodied those things.
NLP Misconception #Five: NLP is geeky, Intellectual and not at all spiritual.
Nothing could be further from the truth. One definition of spiritual truth I have always liked is from the Plotinus; “Truth is the mind in agreement with itself.” If there’s one thing that NLP does it is to create congruity, wholeness, and alignment, so that you are in agreement with yourself, inside and out, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. If spiritual means learning to appreciating the miracle of living, respecting the humanity of others, respecting life itself, celebrating your highest values .. then I know of nothing more spiritual than the outcomes people achieve through NLP.
NLP, Now Live on Purpose. Once again, how do you do that in a world which constantly pulls you in many often conflicting directions. Well, that is the question NLP actually allows you to answer for yourself, in your own way, so that it works.
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