Four years ago on a work trip to Holland my friend lost an earring. Not just any old earring either. A diamond earring. A precious gift from his husband.
My friend told me that losing such a precious thing had sparked feelings of self-doubt and loathing that had stayed with him ever since.
But here’s the thing.
The earring was never really lost, because four years later it has turned up. It had worked its’ way into the lining of his suitcase. It has travelled with him for work and pleasure many times since, close by and invisible. Its’ loss was a mistake in perception because it was there all along.
Could that not now also mean that the self-doubt and loathing were also a mistake?
What if so many of the conclusions we have drawn about ourselves over the years are also mistakes? Errors of our understanding in a single instant, given what we believe to be true at just one moment in time.
What’s possible for the self-doubt and loathing now? They have no basis, no justification, no origin, no place.
Our lives offer us plenty of opportunities to lose earrings and draw conclusions about ourselves. Perhaps if we were able to free ourselves from harsh self-judgement long enough to realise it has no real basis, no real justification and no useful place, life might just be a little lighter.
After all, my friend’s suitcase is a few grams lighter forever.
Doing the washing up and listening to Radio 4 this weekend I became aware of an unfolding story centering on a school in a refugee camp.
Education, the narrator maintained, was the key to transforming the lives of the children. But what do you teach them? That was simple, ‘I teach them to make good choices’.
In NLP we learn from the Presuppositions that having a choice is better than not having a choice and that everyone makes the best choice they can at the time. So why did the idea of making good choices resonate so strongly with me?
I mulled this over a cup of Earl Grey. How do we know we are making a good choice?
A quick Google (other search engines are available) later and I uncover some quirky facts about making choices including:
• An un-cited reference that we make 35,000 a day
• That leaning to the left helps us make better choices…
• …and so does having a full bladder!
It occurs to me that we can only know if a choice is ‘good’ if we are working towards an outcome e.g If I am going on holiday next week (which I am) and want to get into last year’s linen trousers (which I do) then eating a green salad instead of chips is a good choice.
Is it possible that we can only know if a choice is ‘good’ if it helps us towards our desired outcome?
So next time you are required to make a choice, notice how you know it’s a good one, and we’d love to know what you discover.
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Now that the modern world can be communicated on the go via smart-phones and social media, you may be more familiar with the hash tag symbol #
Used to ‘tag’ or code posts so that they can be found more easily (where have we heard language like that before NLP’ers?) ‘hashtags’ have found their way into the everyday. I digress with a purpose, I’m still talking about filters.
For the sake of this blog, filters work in two ways; helping us to sort information through a process called “delete/distort/generalise” or to change perception – like a polarising lens on a camera like the picture above. We want a distortion so we apply a filter. In social media the #nofilter is used to show others that the photo has not been changed in any way, and it remains as a code or index so that the post can be found by others (the social element).
In our world of NLP the Communication model is used to show how language, metaprogrammes, values, personal history and more can all act as a filter, or sieve, allowing our mind to delete information, or change it through distortion and generalisation so it can be more easily coded for retrieval later. Understanding this is important as we seek to understand our world and the other people in it.
What we look for is what we find; how many of us have been told to wait on a corner for a friend in a certain colour car, only to literally see more of that colour than we think possible? The same principle applies to positive things in the world and in our lives, we will find what we filter for. What do you want to see?
Make your choice a wise one.
At this time of the year one of the great linguistic truths of NLP emerges; the concept that words can be “semantically packed”.
What do we mean?
We mean they can be rich with intended and unintended meaning (and understanding that we all use words in this way is a gift NLP can give us)
Let us explain….well, for one person the word Christmas can mean warm fires, the smell of a roast in the oven and genuine feelings of joy – all in an instant.
Some others are not so lucky.
Hang on though.
If we are “meaning making machines” and all meaning is context dependent in a world where our reality is constructed by us – we can re-engineer what Christmas means for ourselves, heck anyone.
If you could look back in a year and laugh – why wait?
If you can pick up the ‘phone and say hello (or send an email if you’d rather) – why wait?
So whether you are with friends or family, volunteering at a shelter, out carolling for charity, or under the covers in your fleecy jim-jams on the big day, make it just right.
For you. Now.
Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year – we’ll be seeing you soon.
It feels so good when we get what our heart calls for, the journey may be tough it may be easy, it is our own and we make of it what we can.
We were privileged to spent 3 wow weekends with another group of (now newly graduated) Practitioners of NLP, what they taught us, and showed themselves and each other will stay long in our memory.
So whatever you have earned, learned, or shared take pride (yes really) in your achievements, as well as those plans – and buff up your invisible crown and make it shine.
You never know who needs to see it, and when they do they will – be who you would most like to meet, and because P is P, you will.
A physicist will tell you that it comes from the sun, a biologist will tell you from the food you eat. How would you answer that question?
In NLP we might look at the first 2 answers in the form of ‘chunk size’ (something our new students of NLP will experience from the 18th September when our Practitioner course begins) the physicist has a higher chunk size view – yet they are both right and their answers are connected.
Perhaps if I asked you “where does your energy go?” you would find that an easier question to answer. On challenges at work, mind freezing homework with the kids, charity work in your community? Or something else?
Wherever you get your energy and wherever it goes, make this week the week you start to be more certain that you can have flow in both directions. So our gift to you is this; find a quiet space where you can’t be disturbed. Sit comfortably in whatever way suits you and close your eyes. For the count of 3 in, a pause, and then a count of 3 out just be aware of 10 breaths. Allow yourself a moment and then open your eyes, more ready for the rest of your day. Enjoy.
In conversation with one of the founders of a charity I am working with, he turned to me and said “I used to think I was good with change, now I realise I’m not necessarily”
This got me thinking about our appetite for change, the types of change we have in our lives and if I would comment in the same way.
How do you see change? Is it something you dread, run from, choose to ignore? Maybe look forward to, perhaps you initiate it?
Do you think of your home town, and what is different? Perhaps we are all drawn to think of a beautiful butterfly emerging from a chrysalis – we have metaphors for change.
What is change? It is defined as “to make or become different” and we all know it can be evolutionary with periodic incremental differences rather like that of our planet over time, or it can be abrupt, revolutionary, seismic in how if feels, sounds and appears to us.
Singer song writers are inspired enough by change to write about it; David Bowie, Cheryl Crow, The Sugababes and Taylor Swift to name but a few. Why would this be?
Organisational change is a great example of perhaps change that is needed, there is recognition that it will be disruptive and often there is someone responsible for managing it to completion. All of the organisations LBC has worked with have gone through this process a number of times. What have we learned through observation? That well managed change can be positive and in most cases essential to organisational success.
Personal change is with us throughout our lives, in our bodies our family relationships, our brains as we learn at school and our emotions as we develop new relationships – we are in this together so perhaps this is why we are all expected to ‘get on with it’ and manage perfectly well. Then of course there’s the big stuff, and sometimes there is no one else in our lives to look to for guidance on that. A feeling we are all familiar with.
We have a group of future Practitioner’s of NLP starting with us on the 18th September for our Autumn course. Those of you who have graduated know what profound and glorious change will come from their exploration of themselves and how they construct their reality – what they typically learn from change and of course how they respond in the future. We are excited for them.
So whatever change means to you, it invites you to move from the current status quo, experience a process and establish a new order of things, a new start point to move from.
This is what we aimed to achieve with the LBC website, we wanted something familiar that our frequent visitors would recognise, and of course something updated so that we might keep up with a fast moving pack. Most of all we wanted something that would maintain a pace of evolution such that there was a reason to return time and again. So welcome to our new website, we hope that you like it (and yes, of course it will change)
The Buddha once said “If you hate your job, leave. If you hate your hate, leave that too”.
I couldn’t help but think about the sentiment of this quote when I read this. In it the author seems to suggest that if you work in advertising, like I do, you are never going to be happy; that you will always be grumpy.
I don’t agree.
I believe that grumpiness [or any other emotion we experience] is a choice we make depending on how we interpret what is going on around us and inside of us. I know it might not feel like a choice sometimes but lets consider, just for a moment or two, that it is. A choice, that is.
The immutable Law of Cause and Effect tells us that if something happens, something else will happen as a result. For every stimulus there is a response. For every cause there is an effect. In the words of Victor Frankl
“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
So, when we apply the Law of Cause and Effect to ourselves as human beings, we might begin to think of ourselves existentially as taking a life position that means we are either “at cause” or “at effect”. When we are at cause we place ourselves at the center of our own power – things in life happen because of something we did, or did not, do. When we are “at effect” things happen to us.
At cause it is impossible to say “She made me feel angry” or “He made me feel glad”. What other people do or say is simply what other people do or say. What you do with it, how you interpret it and the meaning you make of it is all yours.
The problem here, though, is that we human beings are meaning making machines. We are all having our own subjective experience of reality. We can’t not give our experience meaning.
The way we do that is by deleting, distorting and generalizing our experience through a number of unconscious filters [for example our memories, our values, our beliefs and attitudes] in order to “make sense” of what is happening to us right now and to predict [or hallucinate] how we think our immediate, mid and long term future is going to pan out.
These perceptions and predictions become our reality. And because we like to be right, we continue to reinforce these perceptions and predictions with our own self talk, or we will go out and find people who will collude with us in order to reinforce our perceptions and predictions.
And these perceptions and predictions become the lens through which we look at [and judge] the world around us. So, [and I make my apologies to him when I say this], I think The Buddha kind of got his thinking muddled.
I think leaving your hate is the first step. Once you’ve let that go, you might just be freed up enough to realize that you don’t hate your job at all. It was just the lens you were looking at it through.
A Course in Miracles puts it quite nicely,
“Projection makes perception. The world you see is what you give it, nothing more than that. But though it is no more than that, it is no less than that either. Therefore, to you it is important. It is the witness to your state of mind, the outside picture to your inward condition. As a man thinketh, so does he perceive. Therefore, seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about it. Perception is your result, not a cause.”
Remember, you are who you are today because of everything you have [and have not] been, everything you have [and have not] done and everything you have [and have not] had…not in spite of those things.
I invite you to challenge your perceptions and predictions. Are they accurate? How do you know? Are you making meaning using an out-dated reference system? Are you unaware of the choices you are making?
I’ve just experienced one of the nicest, most fulfilling weekends in sometime.
I wonder why. Was it the sunshine? Was it sleeping in without an alarm? Was it drinking Albarino by the glass. Was it the craft fayre and the purchase of some gorgeous trinkets for gorgeous people?
Yes. But probably, no.
I reckon it has much more to do with the absence of expectation.
I entered this weekend with an open mind. Without a plan. My only desire was to experience. To be. To enjoy. To take it as it came.
And I did. And as a result I’ve just experienced one of the nicest, most fulfilling weekends in sometime.
I think the width of the gap that exists between happiness and not-happiness depends on the level to which we desire an specific outcome; the level to which we expect.
With expectation, we’re most likely going to find disappointment or we’ll be let down. How can anyone, or anything, ever meet expectations, fantasies and hallucinations we hold in our minds?
Without expectation, we experience wonder, joy and smiles.
Without expectation, I’ve just experienced one of the nicest, most fulfilling weekends in sometime.