Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Awareness without Analysis...

[Quick note- this is a great example of a short metaphor that was created on the fly by Dr. Mike Mandel. I will not be posting an analysis of this metaphor, but may post articles on metaphor basics, social contracts, and [hypnotic] context someday in the future. Well-delivered metaphors are more than just words - there's tonality, the body language, a lot goes into them. I've captured it in print as best possible, just keep in mind that when presented with energy, passion, and with the listener's curiosity engaged - this sort of work can have a huge impact ! Enjoy ! ]

True story....  (From the teachings of Dr. Mike Mandel )

In late November, 2011, I was taking a refresher of my hypnosis training with Dr. Mike Mandel. It's a good experience, going as a "resource person" to these classes. A fantastic chance to improve one's skills, and help the younglings learn how to work with the unconscious mind.

The night before, I had tried a new technique that Dr. Mandel had shown us as a demonstration. It's relatively simple, the end result is that the person "forgets their own name" briefly. In the right time and place, it's a fun experience for the person - they get to experience something that they would previously have believed to be impossible, and for the audience, seeing something that normally doesn't happen. Humour can be blended in, and everyone has fun.

When I tried the technique myself, it was with the friend of a friend. We were outside of a restaurant, a chill fall night, the ground still damp from the rain. I wasn't able to generate the same results (but did leave them with a good positive feeling afterwards), yet I got a lot of feedback from it, a step closer to succeeding the next time.

Something that every hypnosis class brings up, yet never really gives us practice drills for, came alive that night. The whole concepts of "context" and "social contracts". I gained a new awareness of these two things, their importance to both communication and change work. A deep level awareness, not just the surface understanding I had previously..

The next day, I mentioned it to Mike in our class, during the break.

Mike's class was then at the University of Toronto, right by Queen's Park. The class was on the morning break, and outside, people were getting ready for the Santa Claus parade.

"I'd like to show you something", Mike said to me, with that smile he has when he's up to something. We went out to the front steps. And proceeded to tell me this story....

"Here's everyone out here, getting ready for the parade. It's still early, folks are still arriving."

"There's a set of bleachers, benches for people to sit on later as they watch the parade. People probably worked on them yesterday, during the night, setting them up."

"And there (he points to a little stand next to the bleachers), are people setting up to provide refreshments for others. A healthy bit of capitalism at work, making a living working for someone.”

"And next to them are people with some other items, maybe drinks or snacks they are selling, working for themselves. That's probably the competition."

"Here (and he pointed to people in front of us, setting up two ladders with a board between them) are some people setting up their own little bleachers. Free enterprise in action."

"These people over there, they’re setting up chairs, getting ready for the parade. They'll be comfortably seated, and have a good view.

And those over there, they brought their own blankets to keep them warm while the parade is going on.".

At this point, Mike paused for just a moment, while I was taking in everything he said...

Then, looking straight at me with a "I'm up to something" sort of smile, he said...

"And some people just come to watch the parade."

He turned and slipped away before I had a chance to say anything.

Perhaps, in sharing this story, it will help share the insight he shared with me that day. Perhaps even the same shifts that I got from that metaphor. There is no way to truly know just how far a change will go…..

[Dr. Mike Mandel has been teaching a high quality hypnosis class twice yearly for NLP Canada Training for about 15 years now. His free podcast software gives a very good overview of "hypnotherapy, stage hypnosis, covert hypnosis, NLP and much more" .
Link to Mike's Brain Software podcast :


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Game : Spirit Journey

Game: The Spirit Journey

This is a fun little game that will teach you something about yourself, perhaps something you never knew. And it's a lead-in for a future article on "The Law of Association" (a property of the unconscious mind, usually shows up in the field of Hypnosis), and eventually "Modelling" (another property of the unconscious mind, one of the foundational NLP skills). But for now - read the story, play the little game, and see what you learn about yourself... you may be surprised !

Let's begin...

Many of the ancient tribal cultures were far more connected to the world than our current society is. The world around them was not just a physical thing, but also a thing of spirit, of mystery, with man being a part of the cycle of things, both taking and also giving back to the environment. There was a great deal of respect for the world... sometimes respect of fear, sometimes gratitude for what was given. When an animal was slain for food or clothing, it was thanked with gratitude and honour for what it provided for the tribe, and it's life was taken out of necessity.

People in these tribes worked together, not just for survival, but for growth, the continuance of the tribe, and the future.

Being an adult member of the tribe is not just a matter of age, it was also a matter of certain shared experiences. When a child, male or female, would reach adulthood, the child would embark on a spirit journey. This journey would often have perils on it, challenges that were within the individual's reach yet required effort. In facing these challenges, the child would mature and gain wisdom that mere teachings could not provide.

The young adult would be given a small amount of food, a knife to use as a tool and weapon, and clothing, and then would embark on the journey. Although typically they would bring back something from a distant location as proof of the journey, the whole point of this journey was the journey, not the end goal, and the return back to the tribe, where they would be welcomed as a new person, an adult of the tribe. No longer needing protection, but making a contribution in whatever way their abilities dictated.

This journey was not simply physical... they would be open to everything the mind offered, anything in the imagination. This was called the "spirit journey", where the archtypes of the mind would come alive. Everything would be looked at with a sense of "how is this connected to everything else ?". The rains giving water, the animals being prey, or hunters, or guides. Caves being gateways to the depths of the earth. Everything had meaning. Sometimes the journey is purely in the physical realm, sometimes it is in the spirit realm....

Imagine you are there, now, and embarking on your spirit journey.

At one point, you find yourself journeying through the spirit world, drifting through a beautiful fog. The fog is your favourite colour.

Now: Write down what colour it is.... and give three words that describes that colour. Any three words.

(Go ahead and write it down before carrying on....)

You continue your journey. It seems like it will be a very long journey, and you have no idea what you will encounter, or what will happen.

While you are journeying, you are joined by your faithful animal spirit guide, your companion for your journey through both the known and unknown. It takes the form of your favourite animal.

Now: Write down what animal it is. The first one that came to mind.
Now: Write down three words to describe your faithful animal spirit guide. Just three words.

Put the paper aside for the moment, and come back to the present....

[Read past this point only after you've gone ahead with the above game]

What you have Learned About Yourself

In the first part:
The three words you used to describe the fog is how you see yourself. Your inner self-image, even if you don't feel that way on some days.

In the second part:
The three words you used to describe your animal spirit companion describes your ideal companion. It's not so much the animal you choose - but what that animal means to you, what qualities you see in it, how it makes you feel.

Disagree on the first part ? Then what's happening is you're listening more to the world's opinions of you, or measuring yourself against the standard the world is trying to have you believe in. But what you came up with is your inner self-image, the things you resonate most with. You resonate with them because they are your qualities as well, regardless if you are able to express them or not.

Disagree on the second part ? Then what's happening is you are consciously looking at what society is trying to impose on you for relationships, or expectations of others you are trying to live up to, or you are mixing it up with past relationships (good and bad). The result from the exercise is revealing what your unconscious needs for a lifelong companion, what it (and you) are really most comfortable with.

How does this game work ? It'll get explained in a future article.

Generally - it`s about how "what we think we want" and "what we really need" can be two different things.

We get to this information, which can sometimes be nearly impossible to get to any other way, by using the "Law of Association".

In a future article, I'll explain the Law of Association more fully (and that`s when I`ll explain how this game works). There is a lot of information that can come from these "Games" that you simply can't get any other way. It can also be used in a different way to not only get information, but to connect you with skills and abilities you have inside you that you may not realize you already have (that`s when it becomes `Modelling`) !

Cheers !

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Will and the Word Part 2 - Exercises

In Part 1, I outlined how people can train their unconscious minds to disregard their intentions, or even undermine them.

In this post, I'll outline how you can re-train your unconscious mind to work with you- to support your intentions, and your goals.

This will increase your ability to manifest your intentions... in other words, it'll make goals come easier, and things will get done easier. After doing the exercises I outline (trust me, they are very easy), it'll reduce barriers inside you that may be holding you back... it becomes much easier to get things done, and also makes it seem like there's a lot more time in life for doing things.

It'll also have the net result of increased rapport with your own unconscious. And build up intrinsic self-esteem, the self-worth that is completely independent of what goes on in the external world.

The way you strengthen this quality, your "will", is very simple. Here's the starting point:

1. Do what you say, and say what you do.
2. Do things for yourself just as you would do for someone you love and truely care for.

"Do what you say, and say what you do"

This covers being honest - and direct - to others. And just as importantly - yourself !

It doesn't mean you make your life an open book for everyone, or let people walk all over you, and yes, sometimes being direct means opening yourself up to critisism, but you want your inner mind to learn that your words mean something (you can be diplomatic, though - it's very possible to be completely honest, and also diplomatic).

It's also about keeping committments to yourself and others. Notice the word "yourself"... many of us find it easier to keep committments to others, and neglect to do the same for one's own self.

The guidelines:

1. Start off small. Pick things you have to do anyway.
2. Be persistent. Always do a few of these every day.
3. Progression and creativity: Gradually create and do exercises that have increasingly more impact in your life, build up to actions that make a difference to you and others around you.

The exercises - you'll have to create them for your own life. It's easiest to show by example.

Exercise #1:
Statement: "I'm getting up at 5:30am with the alarm, first thing is shower, make bed, get everything ready I need to take to work. Then have the morning coffee."
Change from "Normal Behaviour": Well, I'm already going to get up at 5:30am. So it's no extra effort - but I'm practicing making statements, and carrying through with them. Normally I'd wander around in a daze until after the morning coffee. Or I might hit snooze on the alarm clock. Sometimes I'd have things ready the night before - but with this statement, I'd hold off and do it in the morning... in the order I stated.
Effects: The whole thing presupposes an "order". So there is the additional (long term) side effect of squeezing out procrastination, and building up an organized lifestyle. By shifting around the order of what I'm doing, stating it first and then carrying it out - I'm establishing a new pattern... training my unconscious mind that what I say I'm going to do is going to happen.
Comments: And the whole thing is "no extra effort". All I've done is made a statement of what I'm going to do, and carried it out exactly as stated. I had to do all of the above anyway - but now I'm putting it to words first, then actions. That's the key to establishing a new pattern. The next day, I may say the exact same thing. Or not - but regardless, I will follow through with my stated actions, exactly as stated.

Exercise #2:
Statement: "I will have my stuff ready for work the night before. Tommorrow morning I'll be up at 5:40am, shower before anything else is done. I'll have my coffee on the way to work, not before. I'll be out of the apartment at 6:05am, no sooner and no later."
Effects, Comments: As exercise #1, but the shift is to prevent this from being a singular new pattern formed (the above exercise) to the pattern being following through the words, so if the words change patterns change as well. It's very important to "mix things up" occasionally this way. Note the statement "out of the apartment at 6:05am, no sooner and no later.". So if you're ready to go at 6:00am... wait till 6:05am !!

Exercise #3:
Statement: Pick something you usually indulge in, and then pick a small period where you will deny it for yourself. For a smoker, this could be cigarettes. For a coffee drinker, coffee. "Between 9am and 11am, I will not have coffee. Anytime after 11am, I will have my coffee".
Effect: You are training your unconscious to follow your stated intentions... but you are also leaving room for ambiguity. "Anytime after 11am" does not mean you'll have your vice at 11am, just that it will be at that time or later.
Comment: It is very important to "not script your life". Life is improvised, there has to be space for random events, or taking advantages of opportunities. The above "Statement of words" establishes the pattern of your words meaning something, it commits you to "not have your <vice>" during that timeframe, you can indulge as opportunity presents after.

Exercise #4:
Statement: "This morning, I'll drive to work without making any side trips.". The next day - "I will drive home from work without making side trips". On some other day - "I will drive home from work, and stop at <whatever store> for <whatever item I need at home>.". Then follow through.
Effect: Three different examples, really. The first one ("without making any side trips") trains up a pattern of directness. Ie, no distractions, no getting sidetracked. The second one is much the same - but there's usually more temptation in the drive home, since we usually aren't as scheduled... so there's more "weight" to that exercise. Here's the catch : If something comes up during the day - no matter how important - you MUST carry through. Even if the moment after you get home, you have to go out again ! In the final statement, where you state you'll make that ONE stop, you are training your mind to REMEMBER stops along any journey or goal that are necessary for that journey or goal... provided you outlined them ahead of time !

The above exercises are good "samples", outlining the various scenarios - I will give more advanced exercises later in a follow-up to this article. Creating exercises similiar to the above that apply to your life (more than just four - the four given were just to illustrate that it's easy to do, and the different types), and following through with them, will gradually strengthen your ability to "make things happen". You may even get comments from others on your "self-discipline" or "strength of will". Effects will ripple out to other areas of your life - but for now, just do the above.

There is one VERY IMPORTANT POINT : Shifting Priorities. Sooner or later, there will be times that something happens where you have to "break your word". Keep these times to zero. Because then you are training "exceptions", which defeats the whole point of the above. Whatever causes you to "break your word" will become part of the pattern, so choose consciously "Is this an exception that is permissible?". Then next time work that into your statements. ("I will go straight home from work once I finish work for the day. The only exception is if my child calls and needs a ride home.").

"Do things for yourself just as you would do for someone you love and truely care for"

It feels nice to look after someone we love, be it by giving them time, or helping them out with something. We feel we've added to the person's life, and feel happier ourselves for it. But how often to we take the time, or make the effort, to do something for one's own self that is an act of love ? Not materialistic - but something of value.

Buying someone something nice is an act of materialism. That's ok, but for our purposes, we need to switch to "valuable yet not materialistic". What we want to do has more to deal with "effort".

Look around the house for simple little things you can do NOW that will make your life easier LATER. For example - sorting out the mail/bills/budget so you don't have to worry about it later. Pick one. Just one.
Statement: Then say "I'm going to do this <pick date and time to start, perhaps number of hours you'll spend on it - whatever fits best>. I'm doing this because it will make my life easier later, one less thing to have to do in the future, because I'm worth the effort.". The carry through with it. For this sort of exercise, it is VERY important to do it !!!
Effect: Besides it actually making your life easier, and strengthening the "will", it will start building up (or rebuilding, or strengthening) intrinsic self-esteem, self-worth. This will ripple out to many areas of your life over time. And make it easy to spot someone trying to take advantage of you, and resist their manipulations (it won't make you immune - but it will defeat manipulation attempts that are based on selling you something "for you to feel worthwhile"... you'll have a sense of self-worth, and be able to see through these attempts).

Troubleshooting, and Additional Tips

I'm throwing this in as an afterthought.

1. "I've made my statements, but have problems carrying through with them."
Solution: Go smaller. If you're a smoker, and say you're going to quit - that HUGE. Pick really small things, and work up to the big things. That's good common sense. Yes - it is possible to build up the will to the point where you can say "No more smoking. I can go without, and any side effects will not bother me at all, I can ignore them". But that'll take time. Start off small with the things you need to do anyway, then add more gradually.

2. "Is it possible for this to backfire ?"
Unfortunately, yes... that's how the will gets broken down in the first place. Saying things, and not carrying through. In the second exercise, this is particularly dangerous since it sends a message to your unconscious that you "aren't worth it". So it's really good to start small. Build up over time. If you stumble, go back to things a bit easier, and continue to work upwards.

Often, when we forget things - this is self-sabotage. It's an expression of the pattern we "accidentally" installed. So, for some of these exercises - make up a list. Then go through them and check them off as you do it. This will prevent the previously installed pattern, the one of "not following through with the will", from manifesting through "bad memory". Eventually, you will not need lists anymore. (And you can add "I will follow through this list" to your statements as well, use the pattern to strengthen the new pattern of "strong will").

4. Leave space for "random events" and "opportunities".
Remember life is improvised, not scripted. You don't want to make a list of everything you will be doing for the day, and then make up exercises for them, you just want a few things each day. It's the "meaningful events" you want to set the patterns for. Conversely - you may want to say "I will go out to the bookstore - and look for an opportunity to change someone's bad day to a good day". This is "leaving a space for something eventful to happen, if opporunity permits". This is a more advanced exercise that really warrents it's own article. The real point I'm making is to leave space to enjoy randomness in life. Don't box yourself into a static life.

5. Keep a Journal
This isn't really necessary - but it is a nice to have to look back on later. It's a re-affirmation that you did it, that you can do it. And if you falter someday and need to start again - it's proof that when you put your mind to it, you can and will do it.

The most important thing : Be persistant. Keep at it.

Hope these exercises will lead folks to a better future, one where they can dream up good things - and then make them come true !

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Will and the Word - Part 1 (or: How to manifest your goals and dreams to reality)

How would you like to be able to choose your own destiny ? To be able to set intentions for a goal to turn out the way you want, and have it happen ?

For many people, their lives are run by fate. Sometimes things work out, sometimes they don't. Sometimes they have no control of their lives at all. Occasionally their plans work out, often they take much longer than they wanted or planned, or turn out completely different from expected. Some people, on the extreme side - "Anything that can go wrong, does go wrong".

What is the difference between these two groups ? The ones that have full control of their destiny ("Movers", people that make things happen), and those unfortunates that don't ?

It's one simple ability: "Will". Specifically, "the will to manifest their thoughts into reality". It's the part of you that takes your intentions and makes them real.

This is not the same "will of the moment" (ie, a burst of stubbornness or determination). This is the ability to state a goal, or intention, or something we want to have at some point in the future - and have it happen, somehow. Ever notice how some people get all the lucky breaks, and other's don't ? It does, however, provide the ability to resist when someone is influencing you to some action that is more in their best interest than yours. It all ties in, keep reading and you'll see... .

Bluntly put - we are all born with this "will". Yet very few actually develop it, and many of us erode it. We have only a fraction of this "will to manifest" than we are capable of. And many of us, through bad choices, actually what "will" we do have.

Throughout this article, I'd like to show you how "will" becomes damaged or eroded, how "will" works to impact our lives, and what YOU can do to rebuild your own "will" to fantastic levels so that any goal, every intention, that you set happens. Easily, and almost like magic.

How "Will" works, and how we Destroy it

For this article, it's easiest to describe how people can destroy their own will. That will also explain how it works. First off, no one can damage your will except you - it's impossible. Only you can destroy it, only you can repair it.

The most damaging thing a person can do to destroy their own will is to lie.
Next most damaging is to break committments, or any sort of mismatching of words with actions.

When a person lies, their unconscious mind is fully aware of what they are saying. Simply put - they train their unconscious mind that their words do not matter. That what they say is really meaningless. The unconscious mind learns extremely well. So when you establish patterns that your words mean nothing... it will follow that pattern without prejudice. Every lie made strengthens the pattern. The unconscious mind gradually learns to ignore an individual's words, and intentions. Worse - if the words used were exact opposite to the truth, their unconscious mind establishes a pattern of reversal - "do the opposite of what I say" gets set in place.

The unconscious mind is powerful... it has all of your strengths, resources, abilities, it's the source of your emotions, 95 percent of your thoughts are their... it's main goal is to assist you in life, and living.

Think of the conscious mind as the captain of the ship, and the unconscious mind is the navigator and the crew. The conscious mind sets the direction, the course, the unconscious mind makes it happen.

What happens to a ship when the crew stops listening to the captain ? Well... it would continue on it's last set of valid directions, maybe... or drift around, just reacting to obstacles. I'll leave the rest to your imagination.

So by lying, a person trains their unconscious mind that their words are meaningless and can be ignored. Or to do the reverse.

Later on, that person may say "Oh, I want to achieve <whatever>". Their unconscious mind hears the words, the intentions, yet ignores them... because that person, through lying, has trained their unconscious mind that the words are just sounds without meaning. Worse case scenario, it may have learned to do the opposite... in which case they will definitely not achieve <whatever>, they will get the opposite result.

Breaking committments, or mismatching words (and intentions) to actions, is the next worse. It basically teaches the unconscious mind that goals don't matter. That a goal or intention can be ignored if something else comes up, or if it's too much effort. If a person trains their unconscious mind enough this way, it will simply ignore any goals that go beyond the immediate moment, and just deal with the goals of the moment until the moment passes.

The most dangerous part of damaging one's own will is that they can generate patterns where their unconscious mind is more receptive to instructions from others in the world around them than their own instructions. They become people of reaction rather than people of action.

Patterns such as procrastination, disorganization, forgetting things, and other self-sabotage or limiting patterns are the outcome of this sort of self-training. Even bad relationships, or losing good ones (the unconscious ignoring our intent for healthy relationships). It starts slowly, but over time will have huge limits imposed on oneself. It even accounts for why addictions (food, substances, etc) can be hard to shake. (I'll make a seperate post on this, in Part 3).

Essentially what has happened is that we have damaged our ability to have rapport with our own unconscious mind. This rapport is one of the elements that give us the ability to have our unconscious mind co-operate with us, and follow through with our intentions. Simply put - our own minds no longer take us seriously.

We all make mistakes over time, no one is perfect, yet our unconscious minds are always active, always learning... anytime we stretch the truth out, or mismatch actions to words, there's a small erosion of our ability to bring about our intentions.

Enhancing our "will", our ability to manifest our intentions

So - How do we increase our "will", our rapport with our unconscious minds, and our ability to make our intentions (dreams, goals) really happen ?

It's easy - do the reverse of the above. When you say something - follow through with it. Follow through with committments. Do what you say, and say what you do.

In the next part - I'll give some exercises that help with rebuilding or increasing "will". It is very easy, almost effortless, and over time will replace the bad patterns with good ones. You want to get to the point where "will" is effortless, and automatic. This will make it much easier to reach goals and achieve whatever it is you'd like to achieve in life !

Monday, April 18, 2011

Confirmation Bias : Instead of "I Can't", question with "Why Not ?"

Today's post is just going to be a short one.... "Confirmation Bias".

I was at a course recently, and the instructor presented us with this term. I'm very familiar with the concept, but this is the first I've heard it explained in a very simple way....

"Confirmation Bias : It's when a person has a belief in something, and then tends to see, to really notice and become aware of, anything which supports that belief (conversations, events, objects, anything), and filter out, to no longer notice, anything that contradicts that belief." . Wonderfully simple explanation.

A really good simple example (analogous, not quite the same, but a good starting point)... if you buy an item, say a Honda Civic, you will tend to notice a lot more Honda Civics on the road... or similiarly shaped cars especially if they are the same colour. And if you really believed it was the best car available (at least for you) and had put a lot of thought into buying it, this effect will amplify even more.... you'll notice it *much* more than you would have otherwise !!!

So... confirmation bias is when you've unconsciously decided on what's true, and filter out that which contradicts it, seeing only what supports it.

Remember- a belief is just a representation of "truth" - it is not necessarily what the "truth" is, just what you think it is.... . It's what is "true for you" at that time, and could change as you grow and learn more.

It's why many people hold themselves back. They believe "they can't", and they unconsciously notice only that which supports their belief.... and ignore any evidence that "they can". In NLP terms - they've adjusted their filters to exaggerate what they belief in, and delete or distort anything that contradicts it.

It's something that any NLP practitioner or Hypnosis practitioner has to be aware of - how to spot it, how to break it down, how to re-open the person to possibilities of change and growth.

Very wild stuff - a simple change to the confirmation bias opens a huge doorway to change in the mind !

Having a confirmation bias will limit what you see as available options. This will affect your actions, your choices, and how you react to a situation. If you believe a situation is bad and hopeless... you'll overlook the ways the situation can be changed or improved.

It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy !

For the layman - learn to be objective ! When you believe you can't, question that belief with a "Why Not ?". Look for the reasons you "Can" and start focusing on that, put your attention on the "why you can" instead. If you believe someone doesn't like you - look at the evidence to the contrary... or ask someone to point that out to you, and look at it instead. You may end up changing things, and breaking out of the self-fullfilling prophecy !

For the practitioner - Use your meta-modelling skills ! Look for the generalizations, they will have a lot of inclusions there ("all the time", "you know" (implies a common knowledge everyone shares), etc). Start breaking them down, that'll start fragmenting the confirmation bias. They can have all the resources in the world, but if they can't see that they can be applied to their situation, then they won't be acting resourced in the situation. Once the filters are cleared up so they can see they have options, then you can move on to attaching more resources.

There is one possible exception to the above for when you'd want confirmation bias. It can be used to lock in a highly resourced state, and lock out any beliefs of failure (especially when combined with "failure to feedback" strategies). If someone has a task, and you (or they... this does happen naturally on it's own sometimes) set up a confirmation bias that they can only succeed at it, especially if they never give up, then they will succeed. And any failures won't be seen as failures, just lessons on the path to eventual success. That's a positive application of confirmation bias.

Final Note:
The concept has been around for awhile, using terms of self-sabotage, or self-fulfilling prophecy... usually associated with terms like "filters", "generalizations, deletions, distortions"... but I've never seen it called "confirmation bias" before. It's so much easier to call it that, and then explain it afterwards. And the simpler it is, the easier it is to utilize !

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Storytelling Part 1 : Stories Change People

Stories are wonderful things. Whether is stories from classical literature, or children's tales, there is something magic about reading them.

They are fiction, we suspend our disbelief and take a little vacation from reality, relate to some of the characters and situations, forget all about our worries in every day life, and enjoy.

And get changed by it - but that's something most folks never think about, right ?

Stories can be simple or complex, they can be many levels deep, but every single one of them produces a change of some kind... changes ranging from huge and profound to a simple nudge that causes you to turn left instead of right.... perhaps changing the course of your entire life !

Here is a really short and sweet example, it's a children's story - but can change the entire direction of a child's life :
 The Lion and the Mouse

  Once when a Lion was asleep a little Mouse began running up
and down upon him; this soon wakened the Lion, who placed his huge
paw upon him, and opened his big jaws to swallow him.  "Pardon, O
King," cried the little Mouse: "forgive me this time, I shall
never forget it: who knows but what I may be able to do you a turn
some of these days?"  The Lion was so tickled at the idea of the
Mouse being able to help him, that he lifted up his paw and let
him go.  Some time after the Lion was caught in a trap, and the
hunters who desired to carry him alive to the King, tied him to a
tree while they went in search of a waggon to carry him on.  Just
then the little Mouse happened to pass by, and seeing the sad
plight in which the Lion was, went up to him and soon gnawed away
the ropes that bound the King of the Beasts.  "Was I not right?"
said the little Mouse.

That story was written by a man named "Aesop". If you have children, and wish to teach them some very good life lessons, I'd suggest checking out his other stories here : .

Within that short little story, was lessons about being kind to others, and not judging others. About how a single act of generosity, with no expectation of return, could come back when you least expect it. Reading that to a child (or adult) - there is entertainment, and the teaching of a profound lesson.

I'll be posting more advanced storytelling concepts later on, things like how metaphors can change entire lives, bring failing organizations back to a healthy state, how our lives are stories, and even non-verbal stories.

There is a profound link between Storytelling, and any Change Work - NLP, or Hypnosis. This I will cover in future posts.

For now, I think I'll call this post finished. The story, and what it does, speaks for itself. I'd rather you simply read and enjoy the story one more time, aloud this time, and feel the magic it works on you, and would work on a child.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Hypnosis/NLP - What can it do for you ?

You've probably read or heard about Hypnosis before. Maybe even NLP. If nowhere else, then just from here on my blog.

I'd really like to define it, but that'll definitely have to wait for another day. All I'll say for now is that it is about increasing your choices, your options, and reconnecting you to strengths you've always had. It is not at all like what gets portrayed on TV, and if you've ever been to a stage show - that's a different form of hypnosis completely, nothing like what takes place at a Practitioner's Office.

So what can these two "change tools" do for you ?

Quite a bit, really.
Here's an example....

Consider someone that has the condition known as depression (the lawyers make us say it that way). We can't cure depression, we aren't doctors (lawyers make us say that too). But what we can do is teach someone "Happiness".

Happiness is good, isn't it ? When a person is in the state known as happiness, they can do more, things become easier, the world becomes a nicer place. So, we leave "treating depression" to doctors and talk therapists. If you want to talk about depression, or get medicated, go see them. Instead, a good change agent will simply teach you how to be happy.

Happy and [the state often called] Depressed really don't mix too well. Unless you are happy about being depressed, in which case you aren't really depressed, just a wee bit confused. Confused about a negative state can be a good thing, imagine wanting to be depressed, but not able to quite figure out how to do so, and just settling for happy instead since it's more useful, and easier to get to.

We haven't taken anything from you. Or mind controlled you. All we did was teach you something so you have a new option - you can now choose to be happy, or not.

The mind is a pretty neat thing - it is fundamentally positive. And once you know how to get back to positive states, every time you make the journey there it gets easier.

Negative states tend to be more of a defensive reaction, or a "signalling" from the unconscious mind that simply won't let go until it's properly acknowledged. Sometimes, just acknowledging and questioning the "feelings" that signal the negative state can cause it to go. Or bring into awareness what it is you need to be doing.

The role of the Change Agent (Hypnosis or NLP Practitioner) is to guide you to your resources and strengths. You'll be surprised at how much power the most forgotten resources can give a person. It takes skill, training, experience, but what it all comes down to is we are guides, and we help fuel the change. It is still your choice in the end to accept the changes.

That's one of the many things a Change Agent can do - help you find the resources you need, the states you need, to reach your goals and overcome problems.

Change your mind for the better, and your life will change for the better as well. It all begins with the decision to make the change, and that is a choice you have to make, no one can do it for you or impose anything without your explicit consent.

And that's what "Hypnosis" and "NLP" really is - the tools to make changes. To give you a better life. To give you a path you can walk that will make your dreams reality.