How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. -Anne Frank
Last week we talked about your “happy spot,” and whether you are spending enough time in it.
For several weeks, we have written this blog toward to the person who can most use it: You.
This week, I want to invite you to apply this wisdom to others in your life whom you influence. If you are in a position of coaching or consulting people and organizations who are facing a lot of change, find creative methods to help your clients embed these “basic presuppositions” from NLP in their day-to-day behavior. (including those from last week’s blog “Are You Happy?”). Not only does teaching these to someone help you integrate them yourself, but they gain a powerful perspective that will change their life too.
In last week’s blog, I promised to share two more of the most powerful presuppositions from NLP that have been instrumental in helping me navigate hard times — in relationships, and in life.
People always make the best choice available. There are often better choices, so how do we find them? Kids are infamous “violators” of this rule, right? They make all kinds of impulsive and crazy choices that endanger themselves and others. (There is a lot of research behind why this is so, regarding teenagers and impulsiveness). But as learners, we adopt better choices when we find the incentive or benefit of doing so. Until then, we’ll keep making the same not-so-effective choices.
A fellow student in an NLP workshop related a story about an intruder who had come into her home one night, and the experience that followed. As this “people always make the best choice possible” perspective was being taught in the class, she turned 10 shades of red with anger. “How can I believe that person was making the best choice available?”
There is no way to reconcile the wrong, bad, and evil things people do as making a “good choice.” There is a very important distinction between “best” and “good”. You have to dig deeper into how someone is wired (or how they were raised) to see they don’t have a better choice than to violate boundaries because they were never taught what boundaries are. This takes a mature viewpoint and lots of practice.
A dear family member of another good friend was killed by a homeless man high on meth-amphetamine. Accepting the “truth” that the murderer “he made the best choice he had” was a healing balm that led to forgiveness. She could easily have lived the rest of her precious days bitter and angry. Instead, she decided that person must have had it really rough. In a way, he was as much a victim as the person who died. She worked hard to make sure the legal system put him away for life and wrote him a letter of forgiveness. The rest was between he and his maker – not her concern.
Greater Flexibility = Greater Influence. The element in a system with the most flexibility will control the system. Think of a 2-year-old. Ever met one who was NOT willing to do whatever it took to get their way? If the parent has only one conditioned response, who wins?
Are you the most flexible or the most rigid person on your team or in your family?
In my consulting practice, I see teams and organizations regularly get mired into ruts of non-flexible expectations and results. Once a process or strategy is put into place, getting people to change it is like asking them if they would fly off a cliff using their arms as wings. They think you’re nuts. They nod politely, and go back to doing it the way they always have. Part of this is because people in general, are not practiced at the art of “being flexible.”
I often advise clients to do things like: “Attend improvisational theater. Observe carefully preschool children, if you have one in your life and tell me what you learn from them. Find 100 ways you can say “hello” to someone.” And, a lot of creative strategies to break them out of their daily, conditioned grooves and patterns. The depth of these ruts prevent them from seeing out into a world that is constantly changing. I have found that you need to infuse new energy and life into a system, in order to convince it that it can embrace change on its own.
Plus, there are benefits in the ROI realm too: As a leader, if you practice flexibility on a daily basis, you will naturally find new ways to get an idea across to someone, versus reverting to a 400-slide Powerpoint trance. (Please, help more people in business become willing to do flexibility drills!)
I know that making conscious change can be tough.
The important thing is this: To be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become. — Charles Dubois
This week’s blog explores the “NLP Presuppositions” which can be found in pages 4-5 of the Introductory section of The Living Encyclopedia — one of the highest quality Practitioner Trainings available in the field. Some describe NLP simply as the methods to “own” your happiness.
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