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?

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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?

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The 2 most common ways in which people become stubborn and how you can avoid them

It happens to all of us, at times we can get stuck in our dealings and not even realise how we got to a dead end.

It can be frustrating and it can affect our state. So after a few days of being stuck myself on a project I’ve been working on for a while I found a few ways to avoid getting stuck.

The other day I was reading a book by Richard Bandler, one of the co-creators of NLP in which I found some insightful comments on how most people get stuck. The name of the book is Using your Brain for a Change and I personally found it a very empowering read.

Being Right or Certain

The first way in which Bandler finds that people get stuck often is being right or certain of something. As he puts it “certainty is where people stop thinking and stop noticing”. Which in my experience does resonate. How many times have you felt so certain or right about something that you decide to shut down, and stop thinking?

It’s like having an argument with a loved one and solely because you are ‘right’ about your point of view, you completely shut down to any options, ideas or opinions that might be brought up in conversation, even to the point of acting stubbornly about your position only because you are ‘certain’ or ‘right’ about your point of view.

One time I was travelling to the airport by bus. I jumped on, gave the driver some money and then he gave me back some change which I put in my pocket and then sat down. It wasn’t until I sat down that I decided to count the change that I realised he had given me back less than he should have. I went up to him and explained the situation but he was so ‘certain’ that he had given me the ‘right’ change that he would not even consider what I was saying. It even got to a point where he started raising his voice to put his argument for ‘being right’ forward’: ‘I’ve been doing this for twenty years, I know very damn well how count money’.

Instead of working at a higher logical level and finding an outcome that could have made both parties happy, he just shut down to anything I had to say because he was ‘right’.

Can you see where this can be a problem when dealing with other people?

He missed the whole point which was not for me or him to be right or wrong, but to find a solution to the situation at hand.

Bandler goes on to say “Any time you feel absolutely certain of something, that’s a sure sign that you have missed something”.

Importance and self-importance

He explains how ‘as soon as one thing is important, others are not’. I personally find this point useful. When we qualify something as important we tend to give it our attention in a different way, which usually results in our giving less attention to ‘less important’ things. What is interesting about this idea is that most of the time what we think is important is nothing but a matter of perception (our own perception).

So by putting too much attention on what we think is ‘important’ we take attention from other relevant things that may provide us with useful resources to move forward rather than being stuck. As a friend of mine says ‘sometimes the answer lies right under your nose’.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it is useful to have priorities but keep in mind that the concept of ‘priorities’ is only an idea.

Take this home

So if you find yourself getting stuck in your description of the world again remember Bandler’s advice and explore the situation to find out if you are just trying to be ‘right’ or you actually want to get an outcome at a higher logical level. Or think about how much attention you’re putting on the things that seem ‘important’, and if there are any other ones that you may be neglecting.

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

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One effective way in which you can use your brain to learn

How you learn

Learning does not require conscious attention on the topic., Whether consciously or unconsciously there is not one living being out there that has not had to learn something at some point in their life. All our behaviour has been learned.

What I find interesting these days is how much emphasis people put on learning things consciously, and how much they forget about just letting your unconscious mind take it all in.

In my own experience learning takes much less of an effort when done unconsciously, and is far more effective too. As Allan Watts illustrates in his great book The Wisdom of Insecurity:

“The rapid, effortless and almost unconscious solutions of logical problems are what the brain is supposed to deliver”.

A good example of this is when you get stuck with a problem that you cannot solve and then you find yourself in a completely different context (like exercising or walking home) and the answer just ‘hits you in the face’.

Give yourself some time

Sometimes learning comes to you in the moment and sometimes it does not. Sometimes your unconscious mind might need some time to reorganise and to provide you with some options. What I find interesting is how in this day and age where the world seems to be moving so fast we act as if there is no time to wait for an answer ‘because we need it now‘.

Again quoting Allan Watts in the same book:

“More and more we try to effect an adaptation to life by means of external gadgets, and attempt to solve our problems by conscious thinking rather than unconscious ‘know-how’. This is much less to our advantage than we like to suppose”.

Getting a quick fix to a rather important situation in your life ‘because you need an answer now’ is likely to bring you only temporary results. On the other hand letting your instinct or unconscious mind take over and provide you with a range of learning options can be far more generative.

Being able to access your unconscious mind and let it provide you with all the resources that it already has is something that exceptionally effective people do on a consistent basis. In order to do this you have to be aware of the signals that your mind and body give you at the time of making decisions.

“The brain can only assume its proper behaviour when consciousness is doing what it is designed for being effortlessly aware of it (the present).” – Allan Watts

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

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This principle is a key resource in becoming exceptionally effective

On getting results

‘Getting results is matter of persistence’ is a phrase constantly repeated by people and literature. I’d have to say that I agree with that, although I would add something to this phrase.

It’s not only about trying and trying and hitting your head against the wall and hoping for things to work out. I’m not saying stop trying, I’m just saying change your approach if you0re not getting the results you want.

You might be thinking ‘duh!’, that’s only common sense. Regardless of whatever ‘common sense’ might mean to you, you would be amazed by the amount of people who do the same thing over and over again, and wonder way the keep getting the same unwanted results over and over again.

Here is an example of this pattern in action.

Imagine that in order for you to get home everyday you had to walk down a dark alley late at night. Everyone knows this alley is quite dangerous, and in fact, every time you walk down that particular alley you get mugged.

But you keep on doing it, because is the way you have taken your whole life and it is the only way you know so far. Furthermore, it is the only way that shows up in your GPS system when you are making your way home.

What else are you going to do if either way you have to get home, right?

Now, one day you bump into your neighbor and you tell him your story. You tell him you are tired of getting mugged every night on your way back home. To that he responds with ‘there is another way’ and he describes it to you and shows it to you in his GPS system. You look at it and think, ‘wow that looks like something I could do’.

The next day comes and you open your GPS looking for that same way and you realize that it is not showing in your map. So you decide to stick to the one you know instead of trying out (if even just for the sake of experiment) to go a different way.

I mean, what would you do that for? You already know the one you’ve taken for years and although you know it will mean you will be getting mugged, you think ‘at least I already know what is going to happen’.

And so you keep behaving in the same manner, obtaining the same results over and over again. Regardless of all the other options that you could possibly try out there.

Which brings us to the main point of today’s article.

Flexibility is key

Although you certainly cannot know what results you may get from taking the other road on your way home, what’s wrong with experimenting?

In the fascinating field of NLP there is powerful principle that says the following:

“If what you are doing is not working do something (anything) else”.

Think about it, who knows what you can find? If you get more unwanted results you simply go find another one again, and if they get better you can also check out other ones as well as things might just get better and better.

The most exceptionally effective people I know consistently work out different and more effective ways to do things by taking in feedback every time they try. As Thomas A. Edison said once “I have not failed, I have found 10,000 ways that don’t work”.

What’s important is not that you try, but that you take in the feedback from your attempts and create new options based on that.

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

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This one belief will give you the strength you need to thrive even in the face of the toughest situations

When things get tough

Problems are a part of every day life. They at times come up unexpectedly (and sometimes not so unexpectedly) and we just have to deal with them. Now, in order to solve problems we all need to have a way to come up with a set of resources that will simplify our lives at the time of dealing with these specific situations.

But where do you find this resources, who do you attend to in order to find what you need to move form an undesired state to a desired one.

Well, you don’t have to go to far. I’ll tell you that much.

Right under your nose

Some time ago I remember being in a situation that was causing me a lot of pain. I did not know where to go in order to find help, it almost seemed like nobody could actually help me get out of that situation. I felt like I was lost.

After running around and asking people for advice and trying too find answer everywhere except for where I should’ve started looking for them in the first place, I felt exhausted. I thought to myself, if nobody can help me I am going to have to come up with my own resources and guess what?

I did.

After all this time I had not been looking at the things that really mattered and I was putting all of my attention in finding resources that people with different problems had used to solve theirs. Don’t get me wrong, I‘m not saying don’t ask people for advice ever again. What I’m illustrating with this example is a powerful phrase that I learned from the fascinating field of NLP, which says:

“Everyone already has all the resources they need to solve their problems”.

How empowering is that? Think about it.

This is one believe that the most exceptionally effective people I know apply on a consistent basis. It doesn’t matter how overwhelming a situation may seem to be when you can hold a belief like this close to you.

Again, I’m not saying stop taking advice from other people. When things get tough go out there and look for more information and find different descriptions of the world, but ultimately you’re the only one who is responsible for your results. Nobody else can live your life but you, so it’s always useful to remember that you can generate all the resources you need in order to thrive in any situation.

The resources that you need in order to face any situation that presents itself to you are within. All you have to do is find the leverage to bring them up to the surface and put them to good use.

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

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This principle will make you more flexible than you ever thought you could be

We all have goals, target, outcomes or whatever you want to call it. We are constantly striving to reach our outcomes in different areas of our lives. However, sometimes we find ourselves too caught up in the content of what we are doing and we forget what we are doing things for. In other words, we forget our intention for having a particular outcome.

Intentions matter

It is important to know what function that outcome plays in fulfilling your needs at a higher logical level. Otherwise we end up just doing things for the sake of doing them.

Having an intention is something most of us do. What happens is that we are not necessarily aware of them at all times – and that can lead to confusion.

It happens way too often. You see people trying to get an outcome just for the sake of getting it and they don’t even know what they are getting it for. Before they know it they’re stuck and start behaving in stubborn ways, they forget that the outcome is nothing but a vehicle to meet a higher intention.

Having clear intentions leads to flexibility of behaviour

For example let’s say that you want to buy yourself a hat. If your intention is to buy a hat with the intention of protecting yourself from the sun you will go about finding that hat with a different mindset that if that your intention for wearing a hat was to look fashionable.

I’ll give you another example form my own experience.

I train martial arts practically on a daily basis and I like to compete. During competition season my outcome is to win whatever tournament is ahead of me, although my intention for doing this is at a higher logical level. My intention this year is put my mind and body to the test against the toughest competitors out there in the circuit, and ultimately to get out of my comfort zone so I can consistently improve my game.

Now, last year a suffered a couple of injuries and could not train for a period of about three months, which meant also missing out on about four main tournaments as well.

Given that I had clear intentions, I found multiple ways to still put my mind and body to the test and get out of my comfort zone and keep improve my game. Even while being injured.

One of my injuries was on my right shoulder so I decided to still train and spar at the gym using only my left hand (I would tie my right hand to my hip using my belt) and I would consistently ‘lose’. However, if at times I felt like I still needed to give my shoulder a rest I would just sit down and coach my training partners while they were sparring. Another activity I would engage when I couldn’t make it to training was to watch videos and study moves that I could then model and memorise by using some powerful visualisation techniques I’ve learned.

The result was that when I came back to training full time my game had not only improved but I was fighting better than ever. It was almost as if I never took time off competing or training.

I could have sat down and just say, ‘I’m injured I can’t train or compete so I’m just going to sit a home waiting until I get better’. But having clear intentions led me to find other ways in which to fulfil my higher intention.

Give it a go

Having clear intentions can help you develop flexibility of behaviour to a point you couldn’t even imagine. It can help you be more creative and generate alternative behaviours in order to surpass any obstacles that may come your way, and ultimately it can lead you to live your life at a higher logical level than before.

So next time you find an obstacle in your way, remember to ask yourself: what do I want this outcome for? You’ll find that keeping your intentions in mind will help be generate more options and become more flexible in the way you go about achieving your outcomes.

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

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Would you take this piece of advice from Pablo Picasso?

Human experience broken down

In human experience there are countless elements that make up its structure. It is important that you become aware of which elements are important in order to take an effective inventory and organize yourself to achieve results, according to the context.

Exceptionally effective people are very aware of this (whether consciously or otherwise) and reorganize the structure of their experience consistently for it to become and remain congruent with their intentions.

Once again here is an excerpt from an article that explains this in a simple, sharp and concise way, by NLP Trainer Chris Collingwood.

Patterns of Organisation of Expertise and Expert Performance – Click here for full article

The sets, isolates and patterns that constitute expert performance we refer to as the patterns of personal organisation of the expert in the context where they perform. The model of expertise and expert performance is comprised of these sets, isolates and patterns.

The key components or isolates of the expert’s patterns of organisation can be described usefully in the following way:

  • Mindset: What are the frames, beliefs and values that inform the expert’s expertise?
  • Frameworks: What are the overall frameworks , for the capability?
  • Linguistic Patterns: What are the key language patterns used by expert each stage of the framework?
  • Non-verbal Behaviour: What are the key patterns used in the high performing expert’s non-verbal or paralinguistic behaviour in communicating to others at each stage of the framework?
  • States/Emotions: What are the patterns of organisation for the expert’s performance state when performing?
  • Managing State: How does the expert manage their emotions to maintain a high performance state and overall performance?

So next time you are working towards a goal, pay attention to the elements and the way you use them. What can be even better is if you can find someone who organizes these parts of his or her experience in an exceptionally effective way to get results in a particular context and do what they are doing.

As one of the greatest artists, Pablo Picasso used to say, “good artists copy, great artists steal”.

Go ahead and ‘steal’ an exceptionally effective way to do things, and give it your own twist.

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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The difference that makes the difference

The little things..

How is it that some people can be exceptionally effective in their field while others seem to struggle everyday just to get ordinary results?

Have you ever wondered about this? If your answer is yes, you are in for a treat.

Becoming exceptionally effective is what it is all about. Every day, most of us strive to fulfill our potential and become the best we can be and there are ways to create leverage to do this.

Here’s a powerful article that I particularly enjoyed from Chris Collingwood, MD at INSPIRITIVE on the differences that make the difference and how you can learn to copy them.

What is Modelling? The Heart of NLPby Chris Collingwood

Our experiences comprise various elements: patterns of behaviour, patterns of states, patterns of thinking, and the frames (beliefs or assumptions) within which those patterns occur. Differences in the quality of experiences are the direct results of differences in how these elements are organised.

That is, your behaviour, what you are feeling, what you are thinking, the frames you are using, and the interactions of all these elements with each other, combine to give rise to your experience at a given moment in time.

How you represent that array of content and the relationships between its elements constitutes the pattern of organisation (or structure) of the experience.

“Within these structures we find the differences that distinguish someone who is adept at a skill set from someone who is not”.

In modelling, we are “mapping” out the underlying patterns of organisation of experience that make it possible for an exemplar to manifest his/her particular ability.,

“If we organise our experience to match that of the exemplar, that pattern of organisation will enable us to manifest a similar level of ability”.

Modelling, then, is the process of creating useful “maps” (descriptions of the patterns of organisation of experience) of human abilities. Such maps are useful because they provide the frames to enable us to replicate the experiential structure that makes it possible for a person to manifest a particular ability. When we make that map our own, we can have the necessary experience naturally and on demand.

Modelling is a doorway into the vast storehouse of human experience and abilities, providing access to anyone willing to turn the key. , For the individual who pursues modelling, this enables:

  • Access to an ever-widening range of new experiences and abilities.
  • An increasing ability to bring those same experiences and abilities to others
  • A finer understanding of the patterns of organisation underlying unwanted experiences and behaviours so that you know precisely what to change in those experiences and behaviours.
  • Ever-increasing flexibility in your experience and responses.
  • A growing appreciation of the beauty to be found in the patterns of human experience and appreciating the “patterns that connect”. (Bateson)

Your turn

Can you start thinking of ways to put this into use now? How can having this ability take your life to the next level?

Now it’s your turn!, take your next step towards Exceptional Effectiveness. You now have a new way in which to assess your behaviour and create more options., 

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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You’re never too old to learn – unless you believe so

Too old too learn? – It’s not about your age

Have you ever heard anyone say ‘I’m too old to learn this’ or the all time classic ‘You can only learn things when you are young’

Whenever I hear someone say something like that I can’t help but think ‘how can you possibly do that to yourself’?’ What would you hold such a belief for? Is that really going to help you get to where you want to in life?

Some years ago, when I was twenty-three years old, I heard a dear friend (who was the same age) say; ‘I’m too old to learn new things’, when asked if he would like to learn to cook.

Yes, you read twenty-three years old. Shocking.

What I find funny about this situation is that at the time he was attending a very prestigious university to get his MBA. Talk about being incongruent.

Learning is at the core of human experience. Giving yourself excuses like you’re too old, or whatever else you could use as an excuse is going to hold you back from achieving your full potential.

Exceptionally effective people know that life-long learning is fun, rewarding and keeps our brains working. Following is a very inspiring article by Chris Collingwood, MD at INSPIRITIVE in which he explains the process of modeling – an extremely powerful learning strategy.

What is Modelling? The heart of NLP – you can read the full article by clicking here

The world is filled with human beings manifesting an endless variety of behaviour and abilities.These human abilities are as diverse as the ability to negotiate effectively, tell a joke, empathize with others, manage a large group, compose music, write a book, pay bills promptly, be thrilled by an abstract painting, plan the future, learn from the past, or ease the fears of a child. , Every human being is a repository of abilities at which they are expert, or in our terms, an “exemplar.”

Is there a way to transfer the ability of an exemplar to someone who needs and wants that ability?

The purpose of modelling is to enable us to answer this question with a confident “Yes.”

The fundamental presupposition of modelling, the act of creating models of exceptional effectiveness, is:

Experience has patterns of organisation (structure)

NLP modelling is the process of representing the patterns of organisation of the specific skills and results of excellence of an exemplar; first in one’s own system, then subsequently in a form which can be taught to other people. The evidence of successful modelling is when the modeller’s performance achieves similar results within the same context and time frame as that demonstrated by the exemplar. It requires an extended tacit modelling phase of unconsciously taking up the skill, followed by a period of use before a final a phase of building an explicit description for transfer to others.

NLP modelling is the core activity of NLP and is the process that led to the applications of NLP that exist currently. The ability to work well with one’s unconscious is necessary for NLP modelling.

How powerful is the information you just read? How much different can life be once you turn your attention to this type of knowledge?

Next time you think about learning something, no excuses. Go out there and become exceptionally effective.

Edited by Jules Collingwood, NLP Trainer at INSPIRITIVE.

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Behaviour Vs Identity

Identity and behaviour – not the same thing

Have you ever met someone who has got a ‘type of personality’ based on their behaviour? Someone who ‘is’ an introvert, or maybe somebody who, ‘is’ , an extrovert. How about someone who ‘is’ smart or someone who ‘is’ dumb.

I’ve heard that too many times, and in my own experience I’ve found that when people are given a label and they accept it, they tend to actually behave in ways that are consistent with what people expect from them after having been given that label.

As explained by Robert Cialdini in his bestselling book Influence, we have a deep desire to be consistent. For this reason, once we’ve committed to something, we’re then more inclined to go through with it.

Too many times I’ve seen people do things and then rationalize about them saying something like ‘Well that’s just the way I am’ or ‘I’m just not smart enough, everyone knows and stupid’. I’m sure you’ve heard it too.

One of the most painful things I have heard coming for a person I feel immense appreciation for was saying the following words:

‘There’s no point in trying, everyone knows I am just a mess’.

Well apparently this is a person who’s been called ‘messy’ or ‘a mess’ a few times in his life and decided to accept a repetitive behavior as his ‘identity’. Therefore he behaves in a consistent way that represents that behavior. Until the last time we had a chat.

We sat down together and started exploring a couple of things and at some point I decided to present him with a curious idea that I learnt during my early days in the fascinating field of NLP. It says:

“There is a distinction between you and the behavior you exhibit. Behavior is something you do, not who you are”.

Have you ever thought about this? If you haven’t please take a minute to do so, you’ll thank yourself later.

Just because you’ve felt sad for some time doesn’t make you depressive and just because you’ve made a few mistakes in the past doesn’t mean you’re a mess; and it certainly does not mean that will keep on being a mess in the future!

Exceptionally effective people know this. They know that behavior is contextual and that no matter how generative or sloppy their behavior might seem today they can always improve it at any time. Their behavior is not who they are, it is simply how they act in a given 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 assess your behaviour and create more options., 

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

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Feedback Vs. Failure

Reframing – failure seen as feedback

Have you ever felt like you failed at something, that regardless of how many times you have tried to achieve your outcome you just keep failing.

We have all been there in the past. We try and fail so many times that we decide to give up.

But what we are actually failing to do is to realise that the results we are getting, or not getting are nothing more than feedback framed in a disempowering way.

I am constantly amazed by the number of people who give up on something just because they are getting different results from the ones they were expecting and then call that feedback ‘failure’.

The frame you place on the circumstances or events you go through directs your thoughts and ideas about them.

By choosing to call ‘unexpected results’ feedback rather than failure you are already setting yourself up for more success. It puts you one step closer to achieving your outcome.

Feedback allows you to review what you did that did not work and change your approach, whereas failure invites you to do the same thing again with more intensity, so of course failure leads to more failure. If you do the same thing overand over, you can expect similar results each time.

How’s feedback different to failure?

These two words have completely different meanings and therefore we represent them in our inner maps in different ways. So by choosing which one you use, you choose whether you have options about it or not.

According to the dictionary here are the definitions of these two powerful words:

  • Failure:, Lack of success
  • Feedback:, Information about reactions to a product, a person’s performance of a task, etc. which is used as a basis for improvement

Exceptionally effective people know this very well. As billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk says “I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better.”

So choose your words carefully next time you’re not getting the results you wanted.

Failure is mostly represented as definite, feedback isn’t.

Now it’s your turn! take your next step towards Exceptional Effectiveness. Start choosing the words you use more carefully and experience the changes for yourself.

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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