Podcast and Blog
“What do you want meaning for? Life is desire, not meaning.” —Charlie Chaplin
It was many years ago, when I was living in London; early on a summer Sunday morning. The sun was just touching the rooftops. The streets were quiet. I was woken by loud banging on the door of the flat downstairs. The banging went on for several minutes. I got up and opened my door, and called down that my neighbor was away for the weekend, and anyway, you shouldn’t go around waking people up at the crack of dawn! A young man came up the stairs, walked into my flat, sat down and said, “Wake you up? Wake you up? Nothing could wake you up, mate!” Then he stood up, walked back downstairs, and left the building.
I went back to bed and imagined that perhaps the stranger had been a messenger. Perhaps he was giving me a messages from the universe. Was there a hidden meaning here, something he knew, that I didn’t? Or had I, like him, simply had too much to drink the night before?
I told the story to my friends and it became an ongoing joke. So it has stuck with me, a reminder to ask what ‘waking up’ could even mean.
We all invent our own unique meanings for life, and for the things that we experience. It’s how we make the map that we navigate by. That summer, in the late 1970’s, I had spent the past several months at silent meditation retreats. I was learning to question a lot of what I had previously taken for granted. ‘Meaning’ was already up for grabs.
Milton Erickson, the man who helped make hypnosis acceptable in the world of medicine and psychiatry, and who was to become one of the original inspirations for NLP, said that everyone walks around in a trance of disempowerment, and that our work is to change that trance, to a trance of empowerment – in other words, to wake up. His genius in helping his clients was in his ability to recognize the maps they used to navigate the world, the meanings they gave to things. Waking-up was simply waking up to the possibility of making new meanings, new maps. and opening yourself up to doing things in new ways.
We are meaning-making creatures. It’s what we do. It’s how we learn, communicate, and create. As children it’s how we define who we are, and who we will become. It becomes a problem when the meanings we attribute to things make us feel bad or do harm to others. Fear, and our longing to make the world safe, causes meaning to coagulate into fixed beliefs, and fixed beliefs to become assumed truths.
It’s clearer if you consider the words of Charlie Chaplin,
“What do you want meaning for? Life is desire, not meaning.”
Meaning hesitates, desire acts. Meaning doubts, desire loves. Meaning is a mirage, a trap, that takes you round in circles. Desire goes straight to the source. It’s the old dance between the Apollonian and the Dionysian, between Logos and Eros. It’s NOT a battle between opposites. Desire is not a pathway (as some fear) towards losing control, or to indulging in unbridled appetites, and losing yourself to addiction. Desire is how you cultivate your creativity, vision, integrity, and sense of being connected to the whole.
If there’s a clear message from the universe it’s that you have a choice as to how you shape meaning; so that the meanings you make, carry you forward, rather than hold you back; and NLP is a useful messenger that brings you the skills to help you turn desire into creativity, and your vision into reality.
NLP, Neurolinguistic Programing, has had a huge impact on public speaking, education, business, and therapy for over forty years. For those of us who can see its all-pervading influence, it’s hard to imagine how things were before NLP became part of the current human environment. NLP continues to evolve, and to provide cutting-edge skills that help top leaders, speakers, sales-people, creative artists, teachers, and therapists become better at what they do.Yet, to most people it still remains invisible.
I first came across NLP through the recommendation of a Buddhist monk I met in Sri Lanka in the 1970’s. I began by reading the handful of books then available. Later in the mid-1980s I attended my first NLP seminar. The trainer was remarkably uninspiring and dull, but I was intrigued, and started using elements of NLP in my Hypnotherapy practice, even though I wouldn’t fully appreciate its brilliance and power until years later.
When NLP is being used well, you don’t notice it at all, because NLP is more than just a technique or a skill. Actually, it’s not even really a modality in the usual sense. It’s like a chameleon. When used well it can enhance any situation to help you to communicate, influence, heal, or effect change in yourself or others, remarkably quickly and effectively. It has been called “an attitude followed by a trail of techniques.” But the techniques are only the beginning. In the hands of an experienced practitioner, NLP is a truly improvised art.
Much of contemporary Neuroscience only affirms what NLP-trained therapists, teachers, leaders, and group-facilitators, have been doing to help people change their lives for forty years, based on precise observation and intuition.
NLP was born from the simple inquiry, “Is it possible to reproduce the results of the very best contemporary therapists (at the time that was Fritz Perls, Virginia Satir, Milton Erickson) by copying what they did?” NLP was created by learning the art of copying effectively (Modelling), and then from the specific details that were discovered from doing so. The emphasis on modelling, or emulating, what works, rather than getting rid of what doesn’t work, sets NLP apart from many other approaches to change that rely heavily on theoretical analysis and the diagnosis of what’s wrong.
Modelling in NLP doesn’t stop with the luminaries that inspired its creation. There’s no limit to what, or who, you can model in order to be effective – visionaries, innovators, therapists, healers, scientists, artists; Socrates, Mozart, Mother Teresa, Einstein, Korzybski, Jimmy Hendrix, Oprah Winfrey. NLP existed long before the term Neurolinguistic was coined. It’s as ancient as the first time someone systematically began to exemplify or copy others in order to improve their own performance. Contemporary NLP is simply the ongoing refinement of how you can do so most effectively.
The Spiritual Side of NLP Training
Michele and I both became serious about NLP after we had been teaching meditation and leading retreats for many years. We were feeling stagnant. We needed a change. We were noticing that many people used meditation not to transform their lives, but to reinforce who they already were, and what they already believed. In the words of our teacher of many years, Thich Nhat Hanh, they were practicing ‘bomb-shelter’ meditation.
The effect that we noticed NLP had, both on ourselves and on our students and clients, was that it accelerated deep transformation and change in ways that meditation alone usually could not.
Here are three examples of some of the many ways \NLP supports systemic and spiritual change.
Big Picture Thinking
Among the principles we teach our clients and students is the importance of seeing the big picture. When you see the big picture and have greater perspective, you have more choices. Having more choices, you learn to recognize the opportunities that life is continually giving you, as well as the long term consequences of your actions.
Most errors of judgment, missed opportunities, regret and unhappiness, are the result of failing to see a bigger picture. I remember a French movie I saw many years ago. It is the story of an illicit claustrophobic love-affair in a claustrophobic provincial town. The two protagonists eventually murder their respective spouses. At the end of the film, when they are arrested, the detective ask them, “Why couldn’t you just elope?” They had failed to see the obvious solution. They had missed the big picture. How many times do we miss the big picture because we are so focused on the problems immediately in front of us that we miss the obvious solution?
Awareness and Meditation
Mindfulness and Meditation have become part of our collective culture in ways that we could never have imagined a few years ago. Although we no longer teach mindfulness or meditation as we used to, we have taken elements from traditional Mindfulness training skills and combined them with elements from NLP – Expanded Awareness, Anchoring, and the use of Sub-modalities – to help people develop sustained focus and awareness. (You may not know those technical terms yet, but you’ll certainly appreciate them when you understand what they mean)
The results have been extraordinary. We have seen students raise their grade-point average by one or two points; and we have seen how NLP, in conjunction with enhanced awareness, can address chronic anxiety, emotional trauma, as well as panic attacks and phobias.
Most people are controlled by their emotions, even though they’d like to think that they are not. Suppression is often the only option they know. But when you learn that emotions are messengers, and that the information they bring is always relevant, you can free yourself from being held hostage by them.
Every emotion is connected by association to other emotions, memories, and expectations. When you learn to navigate through the intricate tangle of your emotions and mental states, you create a chain of positive emotion that can liberate you from the emotional maze that the majority of people spend their lives in. This is a central aspect of NLP – how to be the architect of your own emotional state.
Michele and I tend to avoid the word ‘spiritual’ because it creates a division. The biggest so-called un-spiritual experience can also provide a priceless opportunity for change; and transformational change is inherently ‘spiritual’. Whatever broadens your perspective teaches you something you didn’t know before, and if you’re really paying attention it will enhance the quality of your life. Creating a split division between spiritual and not-spiritual is how we have created war, environmental destruction, and our own human alienation from the fabric of life on the planet.
I knew a dedicated spiritual seeker who meditated in a closet because the birds outside the window disturbed his meditation. As an ardent twenty-year-old meditator I would swear at the neighbors’ children for disturbing my tranquility. I had no idea that ‘truth’ and ‘spirit’ are everywhere. Decades later, to my surprise, I noticed how going back and forth between the serenity of Manzanita Village and Los Angeles made no difference to my mental equilibrium. Apparently something had rubbed off on me.
‘Truth’ is not a rule book, or a story about an extra-terrestrial supreme being. Truth is what is useful to help you lead a better, more beneficial life, for yourself and others, here and now. Your spirituality is whatever leads you to do so most effectively.
Because NLP helps you to obliterate emotional baggage, break through limiting beliefs, presumptions, and self-negating behaviors, and to recognize your greater potential, it is a very real spiritual discipline. Perfectionism and self-judgment are obstacles that get in the way of understanding that everything you experience is a way forward. Inherent to NLP is the recognition that there is no failure, only feedback. When you are able to learn from the feedback you become like an engineer of your own human potential, and you move forward, spiritually, and in every way, because every way is connected.
I grew up in a middle-class family. At aged eight, to my dismay, I was sent to boarding school, feeling confused and abandoned. At the start of each school term, before putting me on the train, my well-meaning parents gave me pocket money for the months I would be away. It wasn’t long before I began to confuse money with love.
THE FORMATIVE YEARS: As a rebellious adolescent I saw myself as a vagabond, and a starving poet. Then, as an aspiring Buddhist, and later when I became a professional Buddhist Meditation teacher, I believed that self-denial was inherently virtuous. Add to that a lifelong commitment to social justice, driven by misplaced guilt and confusion about my place in the world. Then add to the mix the shame that I had carried for years as a closeted transsexual. Everything that I valued and believed in had become mixed up with feelings of worthlessness and confusion, especially when it came to money.
On the surface my life was fine. I had a great partner, interesting and creative friends; I traveled and led workshops in Europe and the US. It was only later, when I hit an invisible wall, that I could look back and see how much of a gnawing disquiet there had been. I hadn’t believed in the truth of what I was doing because what I was doing was not in alignment with who I was. I felt like a fraud.
My world-view was supported by beliefs like:
If you’re a good person you make do with what you have.
Money is bad.
Wealthy people are greedy and exploit others.
If someone has money, someone else goes without.
Making money means compromising your integrity.
What is truly valuable in life has nothing to do with money.
By the way, do any of these sound familiar to you?
By the time I finally grew tired of reaping the rewards of these beliefs i.e. frustration, disappointment, denial, and fear, I realized that they had completely blocked any positive impact I aspired to have in the world. As long as I still held onto those beliefs, even unconsciously, any action I took to circumvent them was just like beating my head against a wall.
Sure, it’s easy to understand that beliefs are self-constructed, and that the only power they hold over you is the power that you give to them. But it’s one thing to recognize limiting beliefs; it’s something else to transform them on a deep unconscious level!
AN AWKWARD GAP: It was painfully obvious that my own limiting beliefs were incompatible with my new work. I was no longer a Buddhist Meditation Teacher. I was now an Executive Life Coach using NLP Coaching and I had even started to teach NLP Certification Trainings. I aspired to work with clients and students of the highest caliber; people who truly recognized the value of investing in themselves, who were committed to transforming their lives and the lives of their own clients. But how could I start attracting such clients when I had not yet learned to value myself and my work, and hadn’t transformed the beliefs that still guided my unconscious life?
I had invested hugely in trainings and mentorship. But it just made me more aware of how blocked was. It wasn’t just about money, thought money is often a good barometer. Our new business model and our new aspirations were simply not working.
All the training, qualifications, skills and marketing gimmicks, even a lifetime of helping other people, means nothing until you fully embody beliefs, values, and actions that correspond to your potential and what you aspire to accomplish in the world. Unless you completely transform your old limiting beliefs on the deepest unconscious level they act as a deadweight, dragging you down.
Then I hired a mentor who said: “How many people are you screwing over by NOT being able to sell them on your services?”
Those words turned everything around. It was both a challenge and a relief. It was no longer about me. It was about what I could actually do for others (and help them do for themselves) if I could just get out of my own way. How can you serve other people by playing small, or by pretending that things are okay when they’re not, or feeling so unclear about what you do that ‘selling’ feels like a lie?
WHAT I LEARNED: It was like an instant download that bypassed all my old resistances. It declared, “Get over yourself. Do the work that reflects your full capacity! Do what the world is calling you to do! Embody who you ARE. Don’t rely on tricks, second-hand information, or marketing and sales gimmicks. Stand by who you ARE so that what you DO is obvious. Then sell that!” Actually, it’s not even ‘selling’ anymore in the way that people usually think of selling.
Everyone’s story is unique. I don’t think mine is particularly unusual. Okay, so I am a woman of transsexual experience. I faced a big challenge and had to make some big changes, but don’t most people have do that at some time or another, in one way or another?
We live in a society that gives us a lot of mixed messages about money. Most of us inherit ideas and beliefs about money and self-worth that do not serve us. I’m sure that I’m not alone in some of those old beliefs I adopted about money and value.
A GOOD QUESTION: Someone once asked, “If you are uncomfortable when someone is selling something to you, ask yourself, in what ways are you NOT selling yourself?”
When Things Change, They Change Very, Very Fast
Once at a training seminar, we were being guided through an NLP pattern designed to identify and change an old limiting belief. After identifying the old belief, you design a new one to replace it. I had identified one of those old beliefs from my childhood, that: “Money is hard to come by.” I chose to replace it with a new belief, that “I am a People and Money Magnet.”
At the moment the NLP exercise ended, someone who I had met at the seminar turned and told me how grateful she was for something I had said to her the day before. She had decided to train with that same seminar company and to designate me as the recipient of the commission that would be generated. In the two or three seconds that it took her to tell me, I had earned $2500!
How is it that when you change your mind, something changes in the world around you as if the world were fluid in ways we can’t usually recognize? I don’t like magical thinking. But when magic happens, it’s hard to deny it.
On another occasion, my partner Michele and I had made a thirty thousand dollar commitment for training and mentorship that we hoped would transform our business. We did not have the slightest idea where the money would come from. It was a leap of faith. Then within two weeks we received an unexpected gift of just over thirty thousand dollars.
Once we had made the decision and taken the leap; in other words, once we had made the decision that WE were worth investing in, the money found its way to us.
I don’t know how this sort of thing happens, but it does. And it seems to be in direct proportion to how you perceive and value yourself, and your work in the world.That’s the magic, right there!
My first Hypnotherapy teacher used to say, “It was a happy day for fools when modesty became a virtue!”
As a child I was very shy. I would blush to speak to more than two or three people at one time. If the phone rang I would walk away, rather than speak to some unknown friend of my parents.
Invisibility has merit only for those who have been brainwashed or coerced into submission, resignation, or perpetual fear, and who imagine it is safer to keep quiet than to speak. This has nothing to do with being introvert or extrovert. Some of the most visible and influential people in the world are, by nature, introverts. They have simply learned to balance their personal lives with their need to serve the world in the most effective way.
If someone’s sense of purpose makes you uncomfortable you say that they are driven. But they are no more driven than a well-tuned engine that is working at maximum efficiency.
So many people undervalue their gifts. The powerful catalyst they can be for others remains invisible. They live with false modesty, cheating themselves and others, ashamed to call out to the world and affirm their presence.
WHY PEOPLE UNDERVALUE THEMSELVES AND WHAT IT COSTS. NLP PERSPECTIVEs:
People continue to undervalue themselves because they have not found the means to identify and transform the beliefs that hold them captive; or the fire to do so.
What it costs is everything, the world! Because the world is cheated of seeing you stand in your power and beauty – brave and free at last, living at your peak, giving your best, living in sustainable joy, enjoying generating the value that you know you are worth. For more click here
If your life, your business, your relationships, and everything else, is consistently flowing well, then you probably already have the two things that I’m going to write about in this post.
If you don’t, then you may be wondering why your life is often so much more challenging, frustrating, overwhelming, and disappointing than you’d like.
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.
is the science of expressing what works best. It is individually tailored, and it recognizes what’s possible is limited only by the imagination.
We wanted to write something about the neurology of love, given that it’s Valentine’s day, but a couple of people were asking us to define what is NLP. So we’ll start there ..
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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