Another Way To Un-Stick Someone’s Mind

We have a follow up to last week’s story “How to Lubricate A Mind”
by Tom Hoobyar. This story is another great example of how surprisingly
simple using NLP can be.

In this story Tom blends two NLP models, language and submodalities,
seamlessly and easily.

This is also a very graceful and accessible explanation of the “Submodalities”
model – one of the most important models that make up NLP.

The Submodality model is the basis for many of the most well-known NLP processes
such as the famous Swish Process used in “Heart of the Mind
and “NLP: The New Technology of Achievement,” and demonstrated in detail in our
NLP Portable Practitioner Training


Tom Dotz

PS:  We had a huge response to the new Mixed Media Fitness and Weight Loss Product
we featured last week.  If you missed the notice, click here and check it out!

Another Way To Unstick Someone’s Mind, by Tom Hoobyar
Part of my time is spent working with clients who want to
make a change in their businesses or in their business

Over the years I’ve learned that people don’t really gain
very much by having their problems solved for them.

It’s better if they discover things for themselves.

In fact, I’ve found that in many cases, a little “verbal
Judo” will help people step back, question their
assumptions, and make better choices.

I think it’s easier to influence people’s thinking by being
respectful and suggestive instead of hard sell or

Here’s a little language trick that will help someone else
change their thinking without feeling like you hammered them
over the head.

First I’ll show you the technique. Then I’ll explain why it
has the effect that it does. Then you might try it and see
for yourself how it works.

Try this little experiment:

I invite you to pause and look into your own mind in a new

Instead of just focusing on the CONTENT of your thoughts,
I’d like you to look at the PROCESS. I’ll explain more as we
go along.

Pick a small to medium problem or a complaint in your life.
Pick one that’s about a “three” on a scale of one to ten,
one being almost nothing and ten being a major deal.

So now you have a small issue, right? Notice what images,
sounds and feelings come up when you think of it. Try to
notice how big it appears and how close it is to you.

Okay. Now think of it as “This problem.”

Doesn’t that make it feel closer to you and more important?

Now think of it as “That problem.”

Doesn’t that move it a bit away from you and perhaps even
make it smaller?

“This is a major problem.”

“Oh, that. No, that used to be a major issue, but now it’s
on the list with those other problems that we’ve almost

Same thing applies to the plural versions; These, and Those.

“These are the first things we need to focus on.”

“Actually, those things need to be on the list but they
don’t have to dominate our thinking.”

Moving a problem up to center stage with the words “This”
and “These” enlarges them, doesn’t it?

But when you put them in a more comfortable place by using
“That” and “Those” they are a little further away, aren’t

And don’t you get a better feeling when you can view things
from a little distance?

I noticed this kind of wording by a hotel manager in Phoenix
years ago.

He was able to put our complaints into a “That” instead of
“This” frame, and then proceeded to resolve them.

But the thing that stuck in my mind was how, as soon as he
said, “Oh, that computer glitch”, I began to think that he
was going to fix things up to my satisfaction. And he did.

I think that my satisfaction was somehow prepared by his
first words. They moved the problem a little further away
and made it seem smaller and less dangerous.

As I said, this is a quick description about This and That.
It’s a small technique but an very useful one.

Here’s why it works.

Our brains create a little model of the outside world in our

And they place ideas in that model as if they were things.
Problems are just ideas, aren’t they?

That’s right. Problems are treated like “things” in the
brain, so they have a location, a size, and a color. They
may also have sound effects, perhaps a voice telling you
what will happen if it doesn’t work out.

Of course, we are usually completely unaware of these little


Frequently the first step in resolving an issue is talking
and thinking about it in a way that allows it to become a
little smaller, so it doesn’t overwhelm us.

Then you or the other person can “get some distance” on the
issue, and “get a better grip” on a solution.

You can’t get a good hold on something that’s too big, too
close, or towering over you.

Try it next time you’re discussing something that needs to
be sorted out. And see if, by changing “this” problem to
“that” issue, it doesn’t get a little smaller and more

It’s amazing how often the solution to a problem or a
difficulty will become easier when you just shift it a
little further away by your use of language.

You might think of it as “mental hygiene,” gently
detoxifying your life and the lives of those around you by
turning the alarms down just a little.

Try it and decide for yourself.


Tom Hoobyar

0 thoughts on “Another Way To Un-Stick Someone’s Mind”

  1. Thanks Bonnie. I thought it was pretty cool myself. The “other Tom” – Hoobyar – has a gift for writing that makes things really clear and simple.
    Tom Dotz

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