NLP articles that are written by working professionals in the Neuro Linguistic and Hypnosis fields.

Do you have questions about the study or application of NLP?

Are you interested in discovering more about true human potential?

Would you like to learn NLP or Hypnosis in a way that allows the possibility of good things to just begin elegantly turning up in your life?

You’ve come to the right place!

The difference between a real advantage or disadvantage – and how you can learn it

Context – keep it in mind

In the western world we are accustomed to experiencing life in terms of pros and cons, advantage or disadvantages and other similar categories.

What we tend to forget though is that when it comes to labelling a quality as an advantage or disadvantage context is king, followed second by our outcomes and intentions in that specific context.

Being able to choose how and when to put those qualities to use can be very liberating, to say the least.

However, that choice takes place first inside your own experience and having a point of comparison tends to be the driver for choosing. For example, if you only have ever been exposed to one single style of transportation (say walking in this case) in your life you will most likely lack the contrast between how walking and others like flying, a pushbike or a car, can have advantages and disadvantages given your specific situation.

Hence your choice will be limited to the ones you have experienced or been exposed to.

As noted in the article The advantages of Dyslexia By Matthew H. Schneps, published in American Scientific Mind Magazine:

“Nothing productive takes place when everything is the same. Neurological differences similarly drive the engine of society and create the contrasts between hot and cold that generate new ideas. Impairments in one area can lead to advantages in others, and it is these differences that drive progress”.

In short the article proposes how in a variety of contexts Dyslexia can give people who ‘suffer’ from it major advantages in the way they process their thinking.

These advantages are varied and go beyond the scope of this article, however the point of this article is to illustrate how it is up to each of us to build the awareness needed in order put our skills to use with reference to our intentions and the situation we are in.

Please note that the way in which you can do this is not only by building contrast. This is just one of an array of options you can use.

Your turn

Before you go ahead and start putting this to practice here is a quote from the article mentioned above, that you may find inspiring.

“After all, our conceptions of ‘advantage’ and ‘disadvantage’ have meaning only in the context of the task that needs to be performed”.

Now it is your turn, start paying attention to the meaning you give to things and how you can change that meaning to suit your intentions and context.

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Edited by Jules Collingwood, NLP Trainer at INSPIRITIVE

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This can give you more options in responding to what you feel – once you start to use it

Choose the meaning of what you feel

We have touched the topic of reframing many times in the past and from my own experience I know that it certainly works.

However, recently I came across an article that discusses a study carried out at Harvard University where it was found that interpreting sensations differently from the way we do normally; an action also known as reframing, does bring about improvements in performance for people.

In the article Performance anxiety by Tori Rodriguez published in American Scientist magazine she writes:

“Anxiety or excitement? New studies at Harvard university found that by interpreting these sensations as excitement instead of anxiety, people performed better in three types of stressful situations: singing in front of strangers, speaking in public and solving difficult math problems”.

Interestingly, in the article there is no evidence of how you can do this. However, to those who have had proper NLP training this can be almost second nature. We know from previous studies in psychology that the physiological components of anxiety and excitement are exactly similar. Therefore the perception of anxiety or excitement is open to interpretation as either, depending on the context and the personal meaning and preferences of the experiencer.

The first couple of ways in which we can change our perceptions are altering the sub-modality structure of each sensation or using a using a pattern called perceptual positions; and there other options as well. I’ll go into a bit more detail further down.

What is even more interesting is that there are more results of studies published in the same article also carried out at Harvard University, that link effective performance in social situations to the ability to reframe.

In her article Tori goes on to elaborate another Harvard study published in August 2014, also found performance-boosting effects for people with social anxiety who thought of their stress as helpful during a public performance.

Learn to choose

Reframing can be done in many ways by those who have been properly trained in NLP.

You can use your physiology, language, time line (the way you experience time), values, sub-modalities (the structure of how you experience sensations, images and sounds inside yourself) to mention but a few.

Reframing is about creating flexibility of behaviour and adapting your internal experience so it matches your higher intentions. It is a tool used by all exceptionally effective people I know.

As I like to always say “Life is what you make out of it”. So do yourself a favour and do exactly that.

Now it is your turn, ! start paying attention to the meaning you give to things and how you can change that meaning to suit your intentions and context.

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Edited by Jules Collingwood, NLP trainer at INSPIRITIVE

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For those of you who believe in it – here is how you create your own luck

Awareness – the key to creating your own luck

As members of at least one culture, we all engage in identifiable culture specific behaviour almost as if we were running on auto-pilot.

We grow up imitating our elders and so we learn behaviour that we do automatically without even realising it is happening. We tend not to think about these acts, but just perform them. Sometimes this behaviour comes in sequence and forms a pattern, which can vary between contexts.

For example, when you hear a telephone ring, you might have an urge to pick it up. When you hear a doorbell ring you will probably feel a desire to go and see who is there. If your culture places great store on courtesy, you might stand up when someone you consider senior enters a room you are in.

This is called anchor in the fascinating world of NLP. It is nothing new to you or anybody else, you just did not have a name for it even if you observed it happening.

But, how is this relevant to anything or how can this affect your everyday life?

Scientific research about luck – and how it is perceived

Here is some research shown in an article called Bad Luck Begone published in Scientific American Mind magazine by Tori Rodriguez to help you understand.

In her research it is shown how triggering an anchor, in this case the western world anchor referred to as ‘touch wood’ to prevent or reduce the likelihood of inciting disaster – can affect the way in which you experience luck.

Investigators at the University of Chicago and the National University of Singapore first engaged participants in small talk then turned the conversation to a topic pertaining to a specific misfortune. In one experiment, for example, a researcher talked about car accidents and then asked:

Do you think that there is a possibility that you or someone close to you will get into a horrible car accident this winter?

Some subjects choose one of three neutral answers; others chose from one of three answers that could be construed as presumptuous, such as:

No way. Nobody I know would get into a car accident. It’s just not possible.

A pre-test had confirmed that these answers effectively triggered the sense that participants had temped fate.

“For participants who knocked on a table, however, the perceived likelihood of an accident happening was reduced to a level similar to that of people who had not temped fate”.

Surprising, right?

How can doing something like literally ‘touching wood’ have any relation to how you perform in your own future events?

It makes no sense. However some people live by such systems of belief and in the believing, they can create the very opportunities they want to avoid.

Create your own luck

In the world of NLP, those who have been properly trained have the capacity to display an array of states that are congruent with their intentions within a context. They are either free of or minimally aware of externally set anchors on their behaviour and that gives them the flexibility to act or not upon those anchors being fired.

In other words, they have learned to create their own ‘luck’.

Now it is your turn, take your next step towards Exceptional Effectiveness., and learn how to start creating your own luck. Remember to be aware of those things around you that elicit a response in you. You will be amazed of what , you find out.

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This one secret may make you very successful – only if you use it

Success – It’s all about people

A lot of research has been conducted on the subject of management over recent years and it all seems to be pointing out the same patterns.

It is all about people and how you manage them.

In December 2014 the Harvard Business Review (HBR) published an article called Talent. Why Chief Human Resources officers make great CEOs. In this article they put forward some research that may influence the way you see your workplace from now on.

“Over the past 20 years Jim Collins and other management theorists have focused on talent management as the prime determinant of corporate success” (HBR 2014)

Once you read it, it all seems like common sense.

Well have a look around you next time you are at work and really check for how this common sense principle is being applied by managers.

The article goes on to explain how

“If you don’t have the right people in the right places. the right talent strategy and the right team dynamics in the right culture – and if you manage how an organisation works proactively from a cultural and people oriented perspective, you could be on a serious path to disaster”.

A good example to illustrate this is being a sports coach. If you have a talented left wing player playing as a full back, you are probably not making the best use of your resources.

But how do you put this strategy in place at work?

Learning about people’s outcomes and intentions as well as the values they hold in life outside work, will for example, give you a good idea of how to keep them motivated and responding to useful talent strategies and team dynamics.

Being aware of individual people’s patterns of human experience can give you a great competitive advantage.

Someone who values praise and high quality results will have a different motivation for doing certain tasks than someone who values money over anything else, for example. Not that one is better that the other, but they will both work better when offered frames and conditions that fit for them.

So go ahead and coach your team to victory and let us know if you would like our help. To receive more articles like this one or to learn more about our courses, subscribe to our free newsletter by contacting us here.

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If you want to be at the top of your game technical skills are merely a starting point says this man

Things have changed

The world keeps moving, things keep changing and the corporate world is no exception.

The skill set that once might have taken you to the top of your organisations is not necessarily the same one nowadays, shows the latest research.

The article Talent; Why Chief Human Resources officers make great CEOs published by the Harvard Business Review (HBR) illustrates this trend by showcasing some very influential views and research on the topic.

The article reads Peter Goerke, the London based director for HR at Prudential, agrees that although deep skills in marketing or finance might once have given CEO aspirants a significant competitive advantage, today a broader set of people-focused skills can be more useful.

That being said it is of outmost importance to be able to manage an organisation’s number one asset: Its people.

But, what about technical skills, do they matter anymore these days? Do you just forget about them? Of course not.

“Succession to a CEO role requires a balance of technical and people skills” says Goerke. (HBR 2015)

The point here is that once you get to the top of your organisation or department you will not be ‘doing’ the technical work but managing the people who are doing the technical work. This means you still need to know how the technical part is done, but you need to be able to ensure that whoever is doing it, they are getting results.

Where do you start?

When managing people it all comes down to communication and how adaptable you can be when dealing with them. This includes not only communicating clearly yourself, but also drawing out of others the relevant information and questions they have to contribute.

To paraphrase Ashby’s law of requisite variety: In any interaction the element in the system with greater flexibility of behaviour tends to have more control over the outcome of the interaction. Or to put it another way, if you are embarrassed by a two year old’s tantrum in public, the child wins.

The necessary flexibility can come to you as a result of your capacity to apply your technical skills and your ‘softer’ skills together when managing people.

As the article published by HBR emphasises:

For all C-suite roles, and often at least one level down, there has been a gradual shift in requirements toward business acumen and ‘softer’ leadership skills. Technical skills are merely a starting point.

Now it’s your turn!, take your next step towards Exceptional Effectiveness. You now have a new way in which to learn new skills that will take your game to the next level.

Remember this is practical advice not just another theory, so do go out and try it, and, let me know how you went., 

Edited by Jules Collingwood NLP Trainer at INSPIRITIVE.

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What they do not teach you at an MBA

What they don’t teach you at school

The world of business has always been geared to acquiring a competitive edge, improving your capabilities and moving up the ladder to more prestigious and better paid work.

Credentials and expertise carry a great deal of weight as the world becomes more competitive, and so does the ability to engage and inspire other people.

Becoming a master in your area of expertise and being backed up by a number of credentials will certainly give you part of that competitive edge. But there is more to thriving in the world of business than that.

As stated in the article Leading Your Team Into the Unknown published by the Harvard Business Review (HBR) in December 2014 even the likes of Billionaire Elon Musk (Co-founder of Paypal, Tesla and Space X) believe there is more to success in business than just qualifications and expertise.

“Elon Musk downplays credentials like MBAs, which may or may not apply to the task at hand. Instead he asks candidates to describe in detail how they solved a complicated problem in order to see what approach that individual is likely to take when moving through complexity and uncertainty”. (HBR 2014)

Don’t get me wrong, I believe having an MBA can do a lot for you but as times change and people start catching up, it is important to maintain your advantage. Otherwise, what is the point of working for one in the first place.

Having an awareness of how people process their thinking and how they structure their internal experience can create a cutting edge advantage, to put it mildly.

How can you learn to do this?

There are many ways in which you can assess somebody’s subjective experience. Language, physiology, gestures are a few elements of human communication which can give you an insight into how somebody is processing their thoughts at a particular moment.

Even more important is to have the capacity to calibrate someone else’s thinking process, in order to respond effectively and eventually improve the structure of your own subjective experience “while moving through complexity and uncertainty” as Elon Musk puts it.

Calibration is detecting patterns in others’ presentation based on your prior experience of that person’s posture, breathing, movement and choice of words when they have been in a similar state to the one they are in at the present. It does not imply the capacity to know what someone else is thinking, just how they are processing whatever has their attention now. You can learn to recognise when someone is, for example, interested, receptive, otherwise engaged, willing to learn, dismissive, available, under pressure or demonstrating any other state by observing them through time without attributing meaning and discovering what happens when they present in certain specific ways.

One person’s presentation does not map onto another person. Each one is best calibrated independently of others. Collapsing similar looking or sounding presentation between people leads towards profiling or typing, which does not lead to the level of clear and useful communication you can achieve with good calibration.

To learn more about how you can build this skills set, sign up to our newsletter or learn more about our courses by getting in touch with us here.

Edited by Jules Collingwood, NLP Trainer at INSPIRITIVE., 

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The one reason I do not believe in personality types

Don’t take it personally

Have you ever heard about personality types?

I came across a study the other day that showed there are only sixteen types of personalities and how we all are either one or the other.

Something that does not stop to amaze me about us humans is that we constantly try to come up with set models that define us or the world around us, forgetting about the only variable that doesn’t change: continuity.

The world is constantly changing and so are we. There is an element of continuity to life and ‘putting people in boxes’ completely misses the point. As our environment changes our behaviour changes in order to adapt and survive.

As Charles Darwin put it ‘It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.’

I’ll give you an example of this.

When I was about fifteen years old I got introduced to the whole concept of being ‘shy’ or ‘outgoing’ or whatever else. According to the test I was a rather shy person, which at that point sort of resonated with my own experience.

When I told my friends and family about the results I had got from that test they were astonished. According to them there was nothing ‘shy’ about me, as they perceived me as a very ‘outgoing’ person.

Apparently when I took the test I was just considering situations in which I was not surrounded by my friends and family as a context for answering the questions.

What I’m saying here is that I used to act in a more reserved or ‘shy’ way in front of people who I did not know very well and was very ‘outgoing’ in front of people like my friends and family.

My behaviour was (and still is) relative to the context in which I am.

Saying that someone has a ‘dominant’ personality or whatever other kind is to forget about the elements of continuity and relativity present in the environment.

How labels affect perception

Words are anchors. They gives us an idea of what to expect and how to act in a certain situation.

Here’s an example

My friend Daniel is coming for dinner. He’s quite shy but I like him anyway.

My friend Daniel is coming for dinner. He’s quite arrogant but I like him anyway.

My friend Daniel is coming for dinner. He’s quite dominant but I like him anyway.

My friend Daniel is coming for dinner. He’s quite outgoing but I like him anyway.

Do you find any difference in how you feel about the sentences above? Did you notice that the only thing that changed in every sentence was the adjective I used?

Furthermore, do the adjectives I used (shy, outgoing, arrogant and dominant) change your expectations about Daniel?

If you were going to meet him in reality, do you think those descriptions would affect the way you went about treating him.

People are just people and they behave according to the environment they are in, and as that environment changes whether physically or psychologically their behaviour changes to match those new conditions in the environment.

So next time someone labels you be aware that it is only a label and not a reality. On the same token, next time you are going to ‘put someone in a box’ think twice before you do it, as you are now aware of how your words can affect your perception of the world.

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The metaphors you use are a doorway to your inner world

Step into a world of possibility

Metaphor is a part of everyday communication between people. Frequently we use expressions like ‘a glass half full/empty’ or ‘time is of the essence’ or even things like ‘that shirt is to die for’.

You may find it interesting that the things we say are very closely related to the way we process our thoughts and how much they affect the way we experience the world around us.

To some people ‘life is a struggle’ to some ‘life is a journey’ and to some ‘life is a game’. These are all metaphors about the way people experience the world and at times they can be generative and at times not so much.

Be aware of the metaphors you use

Becoming aware of the metaphors we use to communicate the way we are experiencing a specific situation is the first step towards generating more options in our behaviour.

If somebody can shift from an experience where ‘life is full of pain and struggle’ to experiencing a ‘life full of lessons’, which one do you think will generate more positive emotions in them?

Exceptionally effective people are aware of this pattern of communication, whether consciously or unconsciously, and they put it to use at every opportunity.

Here are some examples:

“Business opportunities are like buses, there is always another one coming”
– Richard Branson

“An eye for an eye ends up making the whole world blind”
– Mahatma Gandhi

“Boil things down to fundamental truths and reason up from there”
– Elon Musk, co-founder of SpaceX and CEO of Tesla Motors.

“My Brain and my heart are my temples”
– The Dalai Lama

Having read this, can you get an idea of how exceptional human beings might process their thinking and live their lives? It can give you a clearer idea of where they place their attention.

You turn

Now it’s your turn. Try it for yourself.

My life is/can be/will be like __________

So now you know what to do if you ever find yourself describing your life as a ‘glass half empty’ or as a ‘battlefield’. Remember you can always change what happens inside your head and that will be reflected in the feedback you receive from the world.

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Even in theory practice will help you learn faster

The Theory

Theory and practice are both essential to optimise any learning process. Although I believe one is more effective than the other, and with good reason.

Reading is great. Exploring new concepts and theories and finding patterns across different categories is a good way to learn about something. Theory is a great way, in my own personal opinion, to become aware of ideas and perspective that I might never have had the chance to encounter otherwise.

However, reading can only make you aware but does not teach you practical skills and live application.

If it were otherwise all it would take to become an expert at something would be to read a series of books about it.

As much as reading is a wonderful activity, practice is at the core of learning skills. All the theory in the world about being exceptional at something will not take you anywhere without any action on your part.

“The best way to learn about anything is by doing it”
– Richard Branson

The Research

Here is some research done by Rackham, the author of the bestselling book ‘Spin Selling’ that serves as an example.

In his experiment they were doing some research on catching smugglers. The outcome was to find out how some customs officers had a much higher hit rate than others.

They found 23 customs agents who each had a consistent and outstanding record in stopping and detecting smugglers. After interviewing them all they found that 18 out of 23 said that ‘it was all in the eyes’.

What the research group found after putting their findings to the test was that what these top performers claimed was surprising. It had no effect whatsoever.

So after obtaining these results, the research group decided to go out in the field with the top performers and assess them while they were working.

This time they found that the top officers were looking for signs of conscious bodily control in the potential smugglers, such as tighter neck muscles and upright posture.

Isn’t that interesting?

The Practice

This example shows how in theory the top performers thought they were looking for certain signs in people although in action they were actually looking for something else.

The point of this article is do not take anyone’s advice as a sole source of knowledge. Go out there and test it for yourself.

No amount of theory willcome even close to learning directly from an expert while they are engaged in their specific behaviour and in that specific context.

So you can act the same way you’ve been acting so far, or you can choose to change the way you act from now on, and into the future. More importantly, whatever you choose to do remember that it is just acting and not ‘who you are’.

Now it’s your turn!, take your next step towards Exceptional Effectiveness. You now have a new way in which to to learn new behaviours.

Remember this is practical advice not just another theory, so do go out and try it, and, let me know how you went., 

Edited by Jules Collingwood NLP Trainer at INSPIRITIVE.

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Forget about contingency plans – do this instead

On how to plan

Planning for success is recommended by many people. The advice is to make a plan and a contingency plan in order to allow for some flexibility in the event of unforeseen circumstances while continuing towards success.,  The idea is to create one or more outcomes and pursue them relentlessly.

It all sounds good, except that planning does not accommodate changing values, circumstances and opportunities with much flexibility, in my experience. Planning usually results in expectations that if unmet, can affect our state negatively.

An alternative to planning

A great alternative for planning is setting a clear intention. Knowing what you are doing things for will give you all the flexibility you need in order to succeed in what you are doing. To discover your intention, imagine you have achieved your outcome, experience it as if you were there in real time. Then you can become aware of what you want it to give you or do for you. That is your intention. Notice an intention is different from a reason (why you wanted the outcome).

Recognising your intention can give you more options than planning does.

Planning does not provide room for variables and sudden changes, whereas having a clear intention does. Additionally, knowing your intentions does not lead to unfulfilled expectations. Intentions allow you to work in the present with whatever resources you have, instead of relying on future events happening to order to fulfil certain criteria.

Let me show you how this works.

When I first started writing, I used to get mental blocks and stare at my laptop’s screen for hours looking for ways to create content that would fit the structure I had planned to use. I thought that consistency was about how the articles looked rather than their functionality/intention.

These days I have found a much better way to go about writing. I find my intention for writing something and then adapt the structure of the writing to match my intention.

The result?

When I sit down to write I have a clear intention, in this case to provide you with the most useful and practical information I can articulate based on research and my own experience.

Now, having that intention has helped me greatly to reduce the frequency of mental blocks while writing.

The way it works is that I do not have one set structure or a single way to go about writing my articles. All I require is that they match my intention. This gives more flexibility and room to be creative while writing. This is quite liberating, as you can imagine.

You may be wondering how to apply this concept if you are doing something other than writing.

It does not matter what you are doing. It can be writing, working, training, choosing a career path or your dinner.Anything that comes to your mind that would have required some planning can be approached through your intention.

Having a clear intention for what you want to do will provide you with more flexibility and make you more effective than most people who function without knowing their intentions.

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