Daily Archives: March 26, 2015

Artful Seduction Of Communication

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Exceltions to NLP Presuppositions

When And Where Do The NLP Presuppositions Not Work?

When NLP first seduced many of us by its invitation to modeling excellence, to state management, to running your own brain, and to the exploration of the structure of subjective experience, it was the NLP Presuppositions that allured us away from our previous models of human functioning and psychology. What great principles we have in those NLP presuppositions! What empowering frames of mind!

And so they should be. John and Richard got them mostly from the three therapeutic wizards, Fritz Perls, Virginia Satir and Milton Erickson. In previous articles on modeling and on the spirit of NLP, I’ve noted that it was through these NLP Presuppositions they snuck in the theory and theoretical foundations of NLP. Simultaneously they distracted people by saying that they are not a theory, just a model. I’ve also written a few articles on these NLP Presuppositions being the only facet of Perls, Satir, and Erickson, which actually models them. Bandler and Grinder mostly modeled what they did, the products of their genius, the patterns that they used with others, not how they did it, their personal strategies, their supporting beliefs, etc. In the NLP Presuppositions, we have a glimpse into the attitude and spirit that drove and governed the communication wizards and which made them so creative and cutting-edge.

The NLP Presuppositions then give us a lot. In them we have the foundational principles of NLP, some of the theory of NLP condensed into short memorable sentences, the attitude and spirit for doing NLP, and the highest frames of mind that allow us to continue the adventure of discovery and modeling. Yet because the original co-founders and developers never wrote or said much about them (it has fallen into the hands of others to do that), we don’t have a fully explicated presentation of those presuppositions as principles. And that has generated some misunderstandings.

For example, recently after the article, “Who Owns NLP?“, several people said that perhaps we should apply the NLP Presupposition, “The meaning of your communication is the response you get” and assume that we are just not effectively communicating, and that if we were, there would be no lawsuits.

That got me thinking.

Are there any exceptions to the NLP Presuppositions?
Are they always and completely true for every situation?
Are they laws of human functioning similar to the “laws of physics” and cannot be broken?
Or are they general guidelines and principles that have to be contextualized and considered in interaction with each other as well as other principles?
Obviously, these “presuppositional statements are not absolutes, they are not divine commandments, they are not the final word about how the universe works, how human thinking and emoting works, nor even how neuro-linguistic states work. They are just great principles that function as wonderful guidelines for doing NLP. John, Richard and Tony Robbins spoke of them as “lies.” By that they meant that they are just good guesses, fine hypotheses, marvelous guidelines, but that they cannot be proved.

“The Meaning of Your Communication…”

This was the very first thing I ever heard about NLP. I was studying communication theories, and researching processes for facilitating more assertive communication when I came across the NLP Presupposition.

“The meaning of your communication is (or lies in) the response you get. To see what you communicated to another person, observe the responses you’re getting.”

In reading that I immediately recognized it as a great guiding principle. When people accept this principle, it completely undermines, The Blame Game. It also establishes the rules for a completely new communication game, The Evoking Game, “I evoke responses by my words, gestures, tones, etc., if I want a new response, I’ll have to change what I’ve been doing.”

In the context of working with clients, customers, students, employees, jurors, constituents, family, loved ones, friends, etc., this is a great principle. It encourages us to own our triggers and responses, and to assume that what people hear from us arises from the interactions between message sent and message received. In other words, I truly never know what I’ve “communicated.” That’s because I don’t know what the other hears. I can only begin to figure that out when I pay attention to how the other responds. The responses I get from the other indicates to me what I must have “communicated” whether that was my intention or not.

This distinguishes between our stimuli of talk, gesture, tone, posture, context, etc. and “communication.” I can know precisely what I said, how I said it, etc. All I have to do is audio and/or video record the sensory-based triggers, however, no cam-recorder is going to let me know what another person made of my words and my non-verbals. I never know what message was input and processed. I never know what Meta-Programs, Values, Frames, Assumptions, Memories, Fears, Angers, etc. the other person uses to input and process my message. That’s why I have to calibrate to the other’s responses. When I do, I can pick up hints about the “communication.”

As a guideline for communication with our constituents, this leads to several enhancing results. It opens us up to the mystery of communication, the systemic nature of communicating, the importance of attentive listening, inquiring about feedback, refining messages that we send, taking the other’s filters into account, etc. This makes for better relating and understanding. It prevents us from reacting, jumping to conclusions, assuming that others use the same filters that we do, blaming when we don’t get through, etc.

But all of this only works when we have a person who is generally operating from the frame of wanting to relate, understand, do business, etc. When we have someone who has no intention of engaging in a conversation, dialogue, relationship, etc., then this principle does not work. Without the most basic agreement frame of wanting to do business together (personal or financial), the response we get may have nothing to do with us, with our messages, etc., it may reflect the different frames that we have.

If a person wants to create hurt, insult, manipulate, etc., then the response we get may tell us that the other doesn’t want an honorable exchange of ideas. It may inform us that the other wants to rattle our cage, knock us off-balance, and pry some information from that they can use against us. Couples who go through divorce often end up playing these games of hurt. Parties and governments taking rigid positions in negotiations often play zero-sum games. And in doing so, they may use all kinds of maneuvers that seem to convey good will, collaborative negotiating, etc. Yet it’s all a ploy, a seduction.

The no-fault, no-blame principle of communication then applies and best fits in situations of common decency when people are truly willingly to be forthright, honorable, and working within a Win/Win framework. Step outside of that framework, and the principle becomes less useful, less effective. It worked wonders when Satir used it in Family Therapy and when Erickson used it with clients.

It even works very well for trainers, coaches, teachers, principals, mangers, employees, therapists, etc. deal with “resistant” clients. As a guideline, it enables one to first stop, re-calibrate, listen, meta-model, pace, etc. Yet even here, after half a dozen to a dozen attempts to match message sent and message received, and one party continues to not become more aligned, we can suspect that something else is probably at work. That’s when it’s valuable to check and/or create an Agreement Frame about outcome.

What are we seeking to accomplish?
What business do we have with each other?
What outcome are you seeking?
How can we work together toward that end?
This means that “The Communication Guideline” of this NLP Presupposition works best when embedded inside of several higher frames of mind.

An agreement frame to communicate, relate, do business.
An openness frame about being forthright and honest.
A Win/Win Frame of truly wanting the best for all, or no deal.
A investment frame to engage in the process of dialogue, listening, and adjusting in order to understand.
A respect frame that is willing to restraint anger, frustration, and upset, so as to not flame the other with emotion laden terms of insult.
The fact that there are exceptions does not create a new rule. Surely we know that. And yet, as Houston Vetter has reminded me, some people will read about an exception and then use it to fall back into the Either/Or Blame Game. So I offer this caveat: Use the NLP Presupposition communication guideline again and again and again until you have plenteous evidence that there’s something else going on in the communication exchange. And, as you do, use the other NLP presuppositions to support and back you up: There is no failure; only feedback. The variable in a system with the most flexibility will have the most governing influence in that system in the long run. All behaviors are driven by positive intentions, etc.

Back to the Wizards

Wouldn’t it have been wonderful and insightful if Bandler and Grinder had not only modeled what the three therapeutic magicians did and said, but also what they believed, valued, their resourceful states, their meta-states, etc.? NLP might have left a different legacy than what we see today, twenty-five years later.

Actually, from what I know of Perls, perhaps there was too much modeling of his attitude, and too little of Satir and Erickson! From my readings into the two latter persons, I think that their magic with people was to a great extent a function of their attitude about people: their respect, honor, collaborative attitude, willingness to invest themselves mind and heart into others, their attitude of professional honor, etc.

Recognizing these higher frames of mind, these higher levels and the states (“core” states) or meta-states that they imply tells me that the NLP principles or presuppositions make the best sense when we contextualize them. Apart from the heart of caring for people, and being willing to invest in people, and walk our own talk¾ many of the principles lost their heart, and become mere techniques. When that happens, we lose the truest “spirit” of NLP.

So, Are there Exceptions?

Yes, of course. You bet there are. Most of the time the meaning of our communication is seen in the response we get. This is especially true when we’re dealing with any context where people are genuinely open, seeking to communicate, developing some relationship, and engaged in business. Even when people get into stressful states and are feeling angry, frustrated, and fearful, etc., the meaning of our communication to them will be discovered in the response that we receive. This principle works very well as a general guideline maybe 95% of the time. But it does not always work.

Sometimes we have to take other factors into account. Sometimes we have to take other contexts (external and internal) into account to guide our subsequent communicating. Sometimes when we communicate, the response we receive may mostly indicate the other person’s state of not wanting to communicate, wanting to undermine our influence, and operating from other hidden agendas. It is possible to get into a conversation with someone and find out that they are playing us as targets. This happens whenever someone is “running a scam” on us. In that rare event, the meaning of our communication is not seen in the response we receive. Sometimes the response we get is intentional and designed to anger, upset, confuse, frustrate, or manipulate us in some way.

In such a situation, seeking to continue the exchanges while assuming the best of the other would not be ecological. It might create more harm for ourselves and support the other’s toxic games. If our response keeps a manipulative game going, then it undermines our own resourcefulness. The best thing to do in that instance is to Stop Communicating. Step back, reorient to your own values and visions, and to then engage in the other in some meta-communications about what’s going on. Bateson (1972) described this as the very technique that breaks up schizophrenic communications. He also noted the nature of hurtful double-binds, when one feels so connected and dependent upon another that he or she doesn’t have the courage, confidence, or skills to question the other person’s frames.

Note: Read Dr. Houston Vetter’s article “Frame Games and Exceptions to NLP Presuppositions” for his response to this article.

References:

Bateson, Gregory. (1972). Steps to an ecology of mind. New York: Ballatine.

Hall. L. Michael (2000). Meta-States: Managing the higher levels of your mind. Grand Jct. CO: Neuro-Semantics Publications.

Hall, L. Michael. (2000). Secrets of personal mastery: Advanced techniques for accessing your higher levels of consciousness. Wales, UK: Crown House Publications.

Hall, L. Michael. (2000). Frame Games: Persuasion Elegance. NS Publications.

The Presuppositions of NLP

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NLP Presuppositions form the basic beliefs and attitudes that effective NLP Practitioners work and live by. The 14 presuppositions below are the central principles of NLP. They form a set of ethical principles for life.

1. The map is not the territory.

People represent the world internally to create their own personal and subjective realities. We respond mainly to our internal experience (map of reality), not to the external reality itself.

How we represent things in our mind are our interpretations. Interpretations may or may not be accurate. In any case, these interpretations determine how we experience each moment, and therefore lay the foundation for our experience of reality in the future too.

Having choices about how to interpret your reality now, changes your experience of it. And having more choices available to you begins by choosing to interpret each experience in a way that frees your thinking to explore different points of view. So, how else can you look at your situation, and how else, and how else?… In this way your map of reality expands.

2. We respect each person’s model of the world.

We could sum it as “we respect each other”. Just because someone else has a different point of view (map of reality), it doesn’t mean that they are wrong or you are right.

3. Aim to increase choice.

By aiming to increase choice, you’re choosing expand your map of reality. Expand your map to one that gives you the widest and richest number of choices. The more choices you have, the freer you are and the more influence you have over yourself and others.

Greater choice comes from being able to change your perceptual position. The 3 main perceptual positions in NLP are:

. Associated to self. In your body, looking at the situation from your point of view.
. Associated to other. Taking the other person’s frame of reference.
. Associated to the “observer” or “witness”. Taking the meta or objective perspective. Being the “fly on the wall”.
Familiarizing yourself with being in all 3 perceptual positions and becoming comfortable doing so in all contexts broadens your scope of choice.

With practice one can assume multiple perceptual positions simultaneously. With that comes the freedom to more consciously choose your thoughts, feelings and actions in all types of situations.

4. People make the best choice they can at the time.

A person always makes the best choice they can, given their map of reality at the time. The choice may be self-defeating, bizarre or evil, but for them, it seems the best way forward. Give them a better choice in their map of reality and they will take it. Even better – help them upgrade their map to one with more choices in it.

Another way of putting this is: We all act according to the level of awareness that’s available to us in that moment. The reason why people regret certain past actions is because they have greater awareness now, and because of this phenomenon, they eventually overcome their current regret too.

Based on the premise of this presupposition, whoever caused us pain in the past, did so based on their level of awareness at that time. They were trying to fulfill a certain value in their old map of reality and never knew how else to go about it back then. Looking back on that past hurt from a broader and resourceful perspective in the present can enable healing and release of stuck emotions.

Therefore, the broader our perspectives now, the more choices we have – in the past, present and future…

5. People work perfectly.

No one is wrong or broken. People function perfectly even if what they are doing is ruining their life. All behavior has a structure. When you understand the structure, you can change the behavior into something more desirable.

People carry out their behavioral strategies perfectly, but the strategies may be poorly designed and ineffective. Finding out how you or others do what you or they do, enables you or them to change the ineffective strategy to one that is more suited to achieving useful and desirable results.

6. All actions have a purpose.

Our actions are not random; we are always trying to achieve something, although we may not be aware of what that is.

Behind each behavior there is a positive intention. This may be the anticipation of pleasure or avoidance of pain. People want to achieve something that they value and which benefits them.

NLP separates the intention or purpose behind an action from the action itself. A person is not their behavior. When a person has a better choice of behavior that also achieves their positive intention, they will take it.

When the behavior is undesired, find alternate ways to achieve the behavior’s positive intent. Seek to add choices and resources. When you take away choices, other compensating behaviors can occur.

Internal conflicts, indecision, procrastination and lack of motivation are often the result of conflicting values in our unconscious awareness. Establishing the highest intention or purpose of each conflicting value enables integration and inner alignment that results in greater choice and freedom.

To change unwanted behaviors, start by eliciting the highest positive intention that drives that behavior, and then seek to satisfy that intention through more appropriate means.

In order to be more understanding and compassionate towards others, seek to establish what their highest positive intentions are.

We act according you our current level of awareness. By bringing the underlying purpose of particular actions into awareness, we create more possibilities for our clients and ourselves.

7. The meaning of your communication is not simply what you intend, but also the response you get.

Resistance in others indicates a lack of rapport, or that the other person doesn’t get your meaning. We all resist when we don’t understand. Your intended communication is not always what is perceived.

You cannot not communicate. We are always communicating either verbally or non-verbally. Even the absence of a response is information. Each person deletes, distorts and generalizes pure sensory information (input through the senses). Our nervous system is conditioned to filter information in this way. These filters are triggered by both verbal and non-verbal behaviors in others.

Which is more important: What you intend to communicate, or what you actually communicate? Flexible communicators change what they’re saying (and how they’re saying it, as well as their body language) until their desired results are obtained.

8. We already have all the resources we need, or we can create them.

You already have it in you. Everything a person needs to effect a positive change is already in them. They may, however, not be consciously aware of it. Often people have resources that they haven’t considered or are available in other contexts. Resources mean the internal responses and external behaviors needed to get desired results. Our most basic resource is our ability to learn.

There are no unresourceful people, only unresourceful states of mind. As response-able people, we can run our own mind and therefore move toward getting the results that we want. The key to achieving this is through knowing how to change your state, as specific resources are accessed only through being in the appropriate state. States are the keys that either open or lock the door to the infinite reservoir of resources inside you.

Appropriate states are those that match the kind of resources that you would like to gain access to. For example, to be in a confident state shift your bodies posture, breath and internal dialogue to that which matches confidence. You will immediately begin to feel more confident.

In the above way you can, through changing you body posture, breath and internal dialogue, assume any state. Through assuming appropriate states, your thinking becomes clear, new creative choices arise into awareness, and empowered actions are the result.

Conversely, we’ve all had the experience of being in a miserable state, and you know how resourceful you felt then!

The hypnotic state is highly versatile state, since it’s often referred to as the “master key” to your inner resources. Hypnosis enables people to have direct contact with the level of their awareness that’s usually unconscious. Hypnotherapy leverages the hypnotic state for the purpose of healing.

So, whichever way you choose to go about it, states are the way in which you tap your inner wisdom and productive levels of thought to deal effectively with any situation.

9. Mind and Body are connected, and form a system.

It’s clear how the mind-and-body affect each other: Prolonged stress or heavy emotional spells often result in physical sickness. Likewise, positive attitudes, joy and laughter are not only healing for the body, but also help prevent sickness.

NLP eye patterns reveal our internal sensory processing. Some of the other physiological cues that indicate our mental processes are posture, speech and breathing rate. Since physiological cues reflect the functioning of your mind, by changing particular physiological cues you can affect the functioning of your mind. For example, slumping in your chair can make you feel tired, or taking a walk can uplift your thoughts.

Mind and body interact and mutually influence each other. It is not possible to make a change in one without the other being affected. When we think differently, our bodies change. When we act differently we change our thoughts and feelings.

Treating only mental/emotional or physical symptoms without taking responsibility for the underlying reasons why such symptoms have manifested, may disrupt the mind/body system. Ignoring the subtle causes of unwanted symptoms can result in more complex complications later. For example, regularly taking sleeping tablets to get enough sleep at night, without addressing the mental/emotional causes (like stress or dissatisfaction) of not being able to sleep, may lead to burn out and/or disease.

Consciousness expresses itself through the system of your mind and body. Mind and body are therefore intimately linked, and ultimately, they’re two aspects of the same source. Any healing program must aim to optimize the flow and balance of consciousness in both the mind and body in order for healing to be effective and complete.

10. There is no such thing as failure, there is only feedback.

Legend has it that prior to Thomas Edison inventing the light bulb, he was interrogated by a probing journalist who demanded to know why Edison had failed something like 200 times to invent the light bulb that Edison claimed was an imminent reality. Edison´s reply went along the lines that he hadn’t failed to invent the light bulb 200 times, instead, he’d discovered 200 ways not to invent it.

With that kind of attitude, Edison was quite likely able to maintain a resourceful state and be positively motivated to persevere until his goal was reached.

The attitude that we bring to a situation determines our response to that situation.

Every result gives you feedback, maybe information about how to do something differently next time. Feedback is helpful and sets direction. This kind of attitude toward “failure” produces results that allow you to improve. Results are the means by which you measure your progress and adjust your behavior in order to achieve your desired outcomes.

Every experience offers a positive learning, one from which we can grow intellectually or in terms of emotional intelligence. Living is learning, even if you loose, you don’t loose the learning.

11. The person or element with the most flexibility in a group or system will have the most influence.

This is the Law of requisite variety from systems theory. It means the person with the most options and behavioral choices will control the system. In any field, the top people in that field are those who have the most variety in their behavior. They have choices of behavior that their colleagues don’t. Any time you limit your behavioral choices you give others the competitive edge. If you’re able to respond to any situation in a variety of ways, you are more likely to get your outcome.

12. Modeling successful performance leads to excellence.

No matter how you define success, many successful people have got to where they are through modeling the successful performance of others.

Modeling is not copying. Copying how someone became successful in the 80s is unlikely going to make you successful today. Modeling in NLP is the process of identifying and replicating both the conscious and unconscious competence in another, which results in that person’s excellence.

Unconscious competence (what we do effortlessly, without conscious awareness) can be identified through careful observation, questioning and strategy elicitation. Once you know the thoughts, beliefs, values and behaviors that result in excellence, you can test the model and refine it to fit with you. Once you’re able to replicate the same degree of success in a specific context, you’ve got that model.

If it’s possible for someone else, it’s possible for you, and teachable to others (provided they don’t have severe physiological or neurological damage). In this way most people can learn to get better results in their own way, you do not become a clone of the model – you learn from them.

Find a model of excellence in a field that you’re interested in. Identify the sequence of components (thoughts, beliefs, values and behaviors) that are necessary to achieve the desired result. Apply that model in a way that enables you to get the same kinds of results, and success is yours.

13. All processes should lead to integration and wholeness.

Many of our personal issues and challenges in life are the result of parts of our unconscious mind becoming dissociated from the flow of neural information that’s available to our whole Self. This essentially leads to the formation of sub-personalities in our unconscious awareness, each one essentially with its own values system. All unwanted behaviors that we have little or no conscious control over are driven by parts. Conflicting parts are also the cause of indecision and procrastination. Integrating parts is therefore an important part of most coaching and therapy sessions.

In NLP, a variety of methods have been developed to integrate parts, including finding new solutions for a parts using the Six Step Reframing technique, and creating oneness between two or more parts using the Parts Integration or Visual Squash technique.

14. If you want to understand – Act

Real learning is in the doing. Through application you will soon discover what works and what doesn’t work. Keep doing (and refining) the things that get you the results that you want. Remember, there is no failure, only feedback.

Your Global Blueprint

Values-Beliefs-LOGO

BELIEFS, VALUES, AND NORMS

http://lisachristiansen.com/

It is a well-known fact in hypnotherapy that in order to create productive change we have to clearly picture and imagine what we want, not focus on what we don’t want. The mind cannot distinguish between the two when we focus strongly on images and feelings. So we have to quit obsessing on what we don’t want, and focus on and motivate ourselves toward the positive expression of our desires.

Nothing at last is sacred but the integrity of your mind.” 
(Ralph Waldo Emerson–from “Self-Reliance”)

PARTICIPATORY WISDOM: We are entering an era where more people are interested and concerned about the shift from super-imposed myth to awareness of the character of the creative process itself.

Control of the state of your mind body is the single most important aspect of self-regulation and self-care. It may be as simple as breathing in serenity and breathing out anxiety, simple exercises or other interventions in your cycles of pleasure/pain. The levels of intensity of pain pleasure motivate most of our behaviors. Your state of mind and the self-talk it generates are intimately linked to your values and beliefs.

You can find your global beliefs by filling in the blanks to “Life is ________” “I am _______” “People are ________.” Your beliefs target your values by the rule: if ________, then I’m ________. It is not that these beliefs are necessarily true. Most often they aren’t but are biased by negative self-image and external familial, social, cultural influences.

If you change your misaligned or obsolete values, you change your destiny. You can change “This is what I do” to “This is what I did”, and move on in your life. Values have means and ends. You need to target your ends, rather than listing means as values. Family, friends, money, relationships all give you something you desire from or through them, such as power, choice, freedom, passion. Even if we hold similar values, we may weight them differently, value them at different levels. The same values can be determined, governed and applied by different internally adopted “rules” by different individuals.

Which is most important to you? Love, security, adventure, success, comfort, outrageousness? What are you trying to avoid by that desire? Frustration, anger, pain, depression, humiliation, embarrassment, disappointment? Which do you want to avoid foremost? Blocks include

Fear of failure
Fear of success
Self-sabotage
Unmanaged guilt
Distractive lifestyle
Chronic depression
Poisonous pedagogy
Professional discouragement
Overwhelming responsibilities

You may find you have conflicting beliefs about yourself, others and the world that handicap your self-expression and integrity. Once you consciously align your values and beliefs you free up the energy of that conflict to direct it toward your goals.

THE BIG PICTURE: 
Purpose, Values, Beliefs, Strategies, Decisions, Action.

“A living symbol does something to us; it moves us, shifts our center of awareness, changes our values. Whether it is just looked at, or heard, acted out, painted out, written out, or danced out, it arouses not only thought, but delight, fear, awe, horror, perhaps a deeper insight.” –C. G. Jung

Where are the boundaries of conscious experience and self, and why do these boundaries exist? What is beyond this mystic veil? How do boundaries, roles and pathology develop in interaction with parents, caregivers and others? In what ways are they conditioned by prevailing systems of belief, philosophy, sociocultural history, and environment? 

How is adult experience and sense of self altered by physical, psychological, social or spiritual development? How does subjective experience relate to intersubjectivity? How do changes in conscious experience affect one’s sense of self, for example through meditation, mysticism, or in pathological states? 

NLP 

When Staying Safe means Staying Stuck your solution IS the problem, it is time for change. We create an internal map of reality so we can feel safe in our family and environment as children, but it is the viewpoint of a child that becomes outmoded or obsolete. Beliefs can come from the inside or outside. We filter sensory input and focus on certain details and delete others, unconsciously, missing the big picture that can challenge and foster our growth. 

What is, IS as much as we may try to spin-doctor, edit or deny it. The old self must “die” for the new self to emerge from the pain and fear. We can focus on this natural filtering process and decide how to focus and what to delete to serve ourselves best. Make and apply the details to the Big Picture by chunking information (hierarchies of detail) consciously in your complex internal map of reality to make what you want. 

BEGIN WITH YOUR BELIEFS

Values control and organize our beliefs associated with those values. They tell us what’s important and help us create operational rules for our lives. Some are empowering and some are disempowering. Values determine what we spend our time on by creating what’s important to motivating us to spend time on certain things. 

How we evaluate that can lead to conflicting values. They arouse emotion. When you are totally motivated what feelings do you have? Notice how important it is and find its value. If something isn’t on your list of values, you won’t be motivated. If there is conflict, sometimes you do one thing while other times you do something totally opposite. You spend more time on the most important values whether they contribute or stand in your way of taking action. 

Value hierarchies are created in youth (uncritical, unfiltered imprinting up to age 7; modeling and hero worship at ages 7-14; chosen socialization from society at large, 14-21) but the conflicts can be resolved by focusing on their order of importance. Safety is the biggest criteria for value choices. Parents, peers, media, church, local culture are effects. So are historical events and cultural differences. 

The part of you that creates a sense of safety also resists positive change, consciously and unconsciously. Part of us wants to remain the same despite our conscious desires. There is a price to pay for changes because it involves moving through the fear and pain to create the results we want. 

VIEW IT AND DO IT

Our way of storing, categorizing, and retrieving information can be changed. Outgrown maps disrupt the creative process through which we realize our values and beliefs. Changing beliefs, cognitively and behaviorally, is quite possible with a few simple techniques, such as being the Watcher, overwriting old patterns and behaviors. Focus on what you want, not what you don’t want. 

You can create the life you want as long as you aren’t attached to the outcome. Your feelings don’t need to be egotistically attached to or identified with the results. It doesn’t affect your peace and happiness at the core level, though emotions still arise and fall away. 

We all have an internal map of reality and our beliefs generate our reality. Our main agenda is to be right about our beliefs. Values are the source and desire for motivation. Motivation comes from values; sense of safety comes from beliefs. If you create a 1-minute movie internally about what you WANT it is more effective than obsessing on what you don’t want. It is even more effective when you are in a meditative state.

THE WHOLE IN YOUR SOUL

1. WHAT IS IMPORTANT ABOUT LIFE?

2. Look again and add more values later; they may be more important than your first thoughts.

3. Think about when you were highly motivated and what values drove you.

4. Which values are most important? Rank them in order and re-compare them.

5. Compare each to all the others: If I could have this and not that…would it work for me?

6. IS THIS ME? What is the thing that generates what I ACTUALLY spend my time on, not what I think I should spend it on?

7. Identify conflicts in values. Am I moving away from any values? WHY is that important? Don’t pretend or censor yourself.

8. Frame values positively.

What you FOCUS ON is THE secret of life. You can EXPAND your internal map of reality. The most important variable is how you spend your time and EVALUATE what you’ve done. You can feel bad or guilty if you act on others’ values, not your own. Values tell you the deeper structure of how you create your life. Ask yourself WHY each value is crucial and what you fear without it. If a caring partner is important, have you had uncaring partners? If you crave financial security what would it mean to be poor? Would you rather be happy and poor or rich and unhappy? What do you want to avoid? What are you with or without it?

How do you rank the values of happiness, guidance, learning, career, money, renown, success, good relationships, mentoring, balance, integrity, novelty, excitement, comfort, service, compassion, IF those are some of your values? Is balance or success more important than family or communication? Is peace of mind more important than a partner? Than personal growth? Can you have money and integrity at the same time; money and family; money and happiness; freedom and relationship simultaneously? Health, avoiding failure, or avoiding pain?

WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT IN LIFE? If you could have balance but not family, or family without health or health without family, what would you choose? Family or security; success or family? Which would you choose first? Family but not love; fame but not family? Family or financial security? Family or social camaraderie? How do you rank your values? Is excitement, challenge or opportunity more important than balance, honesty, integrity, and security? Using your own values, make your own comparisons between them to determine your own ranking. Are there any values you are trying to avoid? Dig deeply within yourself.

Is security more important than challenge, excitement more important than love? Accomplishment more important than romance? Personal fulfillment more important than family? What works for you? What two are in conflict and how do you resolve that dissonance? Are security and excitement compatible for you? Are spirituality and financial security incompatible for you? Can you identify your conflicting values and the dissonance that creates in your mind/body and life?

We all have an M.O., a method of operating in the world at large.

How we act is governed by our motives and opportunities.

Beliefs and values direct our M.O. and WHY we do what we do.

Do you value excitement more than family, peace of mind more than truth or love or financial security; or balance, devotion, learning, honesty, integrity or friendship more than romantic love? Pair them and ask yourself which you want more, to be loved or to be honest? Can you be dishonest to be loved? Can you be loving if you are dishonest?

Whether you think your top values SHOULD rank that way or not, for example, peace of mind over family, it motivates you anyway. You need to know yourself, to know your M.O. in an accurate, considered way to achieve the life satisfaction you seek. If a value leads to another value, it ranks higher. Examine WHY certain values are more important to you.

Are you living an authentic life, doing what you really want? What do you move toward, and what do you move away from? Is that 90-10% or 50-50%? How much is what you move toward and how much away from? What makes you depressed, restless, frustrated, and anxious? Behind what’s important can be something you want to avoid. What’s holding you back? Do you stand up for the values you hold?

If you focus on what you don’t want, it’s because you had a negative emotional experience, wounding, or trauma. You watch out for it by focusing on what you don’t want – a negative experience. You focus harder on the path you don’t want to go down. You must heal the emotional trauma and root causes, initial events and neutralize the emotional charge. This eliminates the emotional charge and you don’t move away from it and you can focus on what you WANT. Once you remove the charge, it seems like something that happened to someone else – you no longer identify with it and aren’t motivated by decisions you made about yourself or the world in that root cause. Coping mechanisms (ego) can buffer us from true feelings, creating unwanted outcomes and feelings.

Once you clear these charges, your values list may change; some things may drop off and others change their order, through resolution of conflicts.

MISSION CONTROL

Values and goals interact to create a MISSION infused with a deep sense of personal satisfaction. You can formulate your own Mission Statement with a few simple steps:

1. Identify a goal or desire, then ask yourself “What do I want or need from this selected goal? What is important about it; what do I value about it?

2. Higher, more important, values can be discovered by asking, “What will these higher values do for me?” They may reveal greater happiness, success or achievement, but will reveal the direction your motivation comes from: Toward (achieve, attain, gain) or Away From (avoid, relieve, out).

3. Your highest value is found by asking, “What will having the highest value do for me?” Your answer helps you determine your Mission, your creative passion.

4. Your MISSION includes and fulfills all of your highest values.

SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINE

Discipline, Practice, Service

Prayer and meditation technology can be practiced in a religious or non-religious context. It becomes an even more powerful force for change in your life with a spiritual outlook. Discipline is necessary for spiritual progress. This is why most Christians, Yogi’s and authentic systems of spiritual practice activate the third chakra early in their training. It creates spiritual will power. Also, for those of us who at times feel anger, a tendency to be control freaks, anxiety, resistance or stubbornness, activating this chakra gives us something spiritually constructive to do with this energy.

Many people feel they just don’t have enough time in their lives to put something else on their “to do” list. Of course, it is not that there isn’t enough time; we have all the time that we have. It is lack of direction, motivation, commitment and discipline where we fail. We have plenty of time for careers, family, reading, TV, shopping, vacationing, talking on our cell phones, emails and the internet. These are just a few of the seemingly infinite multitude of diversions available. Let’s be honest, most of us just haven’t made consistent spiritual practice a priority and more than bodybuilding.

In a way, our material culture diverts us from our spiritual nature and commitment. We invest a lot of our time and vitality in acquiring possessions, social status, and power. We feel we need to invest a lot of time and energy in careers, or at least good paying jobs. As we become more jaded, desensitized to our affluence, and still yearning for the elusive “something else”, we need more and more time and money to collect more possessions, or to have more experiences in an attempt to feel alive, to satiate our yearning. This yearning, which is of the spirit, can never be satiated solely through materialism and the lust for new experience.

We also can have a certain “spiritual” materialism and spiritual dilettantism. This can be an expectation of instant gratification / enlightenment, salvation from outside, attachment to dogma or philosophies, the reading thousands of books, attending lectures, and continually collecting self improvement courses, etc.

6 Simple Rituals To Reach Your Potential Every Day

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Becoming and staying productive isn’t about hard-to-follow programs or logging your every move in an app. It’s about self-care. Here are daily to-dos to get you started.

It’s Tuesday morning at 8 a.m. Two San Francisco entrepreneurs are pitching their ventures to potential investors today. They’d both agree that this is one of the most important days of their lives. This is the story of Jane and Joe…

Jane was up until 4 a.m. putting the final touches on her deck. In fact, she spent the entire weekend fixed in her apartment, preparing the presentation. This morning, she woke up late and rushed putting together her most “investor-worthy” attire. She slammed a shot of espresso, grabbed her computer, and ran out the door feeling hungry and tired. She arrived right on time but felt anxious and flustered about the events of the morning.

Joe, on the other hand, went to sleep last night at 11 p.m., as he does most nights of the week. His presentation was ready Friday afternoon, after seven revisions thanks to feedback from advisors. He spent the weekend in nature connecting with friends. This morning, he woke up at 7 a.m., had a glass of water, ran two miles, meditated for 15 minutes, and drank a smoothie. He put on the outfit he picked out the evening before, grabbed his bag, and walked out the door. He arrived 10 minutes early, feeling confident, calm, and eager to share his vision with potential investors.

Which entrepreneur would you bet on?

And, which entrepreneur most closely resembles you?

Jane and Joe are fictional characters but having been immersed in the world of startups in both New York and San Francisco, I see a lot of Janes. They work 16-hour days, seven days per week, and wonder why they aren’t getting the results they’re looking for. The truth is, results don’t come through hours spent. Great results often come by doing less and working smarter.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to speak with my friend Mike Del Ponte, who resembles the character of Joe. Today he launches a Kickstarter campaign for his company Soma, which aims to revolutionize the water industry using sustainable design. (It’s awesome. Check it out.) Surprised by how cool, calm, and collected Mike was so close to launch, I asked him what his secret is.

“Every day I need physical energy, mental clarity, and emotional balance to tackle everything that comes my way,” Mike said. “Self-care is the secret to performing at the highest level.”

Here are the six simple rituals he uses to perform at his highest, which you too can begin implementing right away:

1. Drink a glass of water when you wake up. Your body loses water while you sleep, so you’re naturally dehydrated in the morning. A glass of water when you wake helps start your day fresh. When do you drink your first glass of water each day?

2. Define your top 3. Every morning Mike asks himself, “What are the top three most important tasks that I will complete today?” He prioritizes his day accordingly and doesn’t sleep until the Top 3 are complete. What’s your “Top 3″ today?

3. The 50/10 Rule. Solo-task and do more faster by working in 50/10 increments. Use a timer to work for 50 minutes on only one important task with 10 minute breaks in between. Mike spends his 10 minutes getting away from his desk, going outside, calling friends, meditating, or grabbing a glass of water. What’s your most important task for the next 50 minutes?

4. Move and sweat daily. Regular movement keeps us healthy and alert. It boosts energy and mood, and relieves stress. Most mornings you’ll find Mike in a Cross Fit or a yoga class. How will you sweat today?

5. Express gratitude. Gratitude fosters happiness, which is why Mike keeps a gratitude journal. Every morning, he writes out at least five things he’s thankful for. In times of stress, he’ll pause and reflect on 10 things he’s grateful for. What are you grateful for today?

6. Reflect daily. Bring closure to your day through 10 minutes of reflection. Mike asks himself, “What went well?” and “What needs improvement?” So… what went well today? How can you do more of it?

Whether you more strongly resemble Jane or Joe, these six rituals will help you up your game, taking your performance to the next level.

I would absolutely love to know the rituals that are most valuable for you! Leave your tips in the comments below.

Money Makeover

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It’s that time of year again where everyone sets new years resolutions they will abandon in less than a month, the time where you are pressured to give an answer to the daunting question “so, what is your new years resolution?”
What if this year you set a new years resolution to keep your new years resolution by setting a schedule to take at least one action towards achieving it everyday even if it is as simple as a phone call and revisit it twice a week while making yourself accountable o someone who will support you, get a mentor who has already achieved what you desire. Is your goal to achieve financial success and get your finances evolving into a reciprocal stream that offers you opportunities for multiple streams of income? If your answer is yes then let’s begin your money makeover.
With you in mind I have put together a list of the 10 essential resolutions that you need to make this year to get a firm grip on your finances, work out a cost-effective way of managing your debt, and make the most of any savings.

1. Get your finances sorted

Spend time getting details of every bank account, savings account, vehicle loan, mortgage/rent, credit card agreement, insurance policy, and pension that are in your name. To help with tracking missing assets down you can use the Unclaimed Assets Register (http://www.unclaimed.com/ in the united states and governing countries) or (www.uar.co.uk for a fee of £25 per search.)

List all your assets and liabilities, ideally using a basic spreadsheet as this will not only enable you to see at a glance whether your finances are healthy or in crisis, but also assess the potential impact of any changes made to your income or expenses.

This exercise will give you a detailed insight into your finances and could highlight discrepancies such as being double insured. For example, your mobile phone might already be covered on your home contents policy so a separate dedicated policy will be a waste of money.

2. Reorganize your debt

How much do you owe on credit cards and what rate of interest are you paying? Do you have any other outstanding loans? Have you been sweet-talked into opening up store cards that are charging eye-watering high sums for the privilege?

Clearing your debts, especially credit cards and overdrafts, should always be a priority and be willing to ask for interest reduction because more often than not companies will accommodate you for various reasons such as to make payments easier on you, to keep you as a loyal client or both. “Check that any debt you have is as inexpensive as possible by checking and comparing APRs and potentially consolidating various debts into a cost saving personal loan from a bank.

Existing credit card debts, for example, can be moved to rival providers offering 0 per cent on balance transactions. However, you’ll need to bear in mind that you’ll be charged a handling fee, a percentage of the existing debt, to take advantage of such an offer.

3. Analyze your expenditure

Every organization needs a balance sheet and a household is not any different. Using the spreadsheet you made for your first resolution, start by analyzing how much you are spending each month, including noting what happens to cash withdrawals, says Justin Modray, founder of website Candid Money.

“If you’re consistently spending less than you earn, that’s a good start,” he says. “If you’re spending more than you earn you’ll definitely need to make some cutbacks or seek out better deals. There’s no magic solution so agree where to cut back and be disciplined.”

Divide your monthly expenditure into essentials, such as mortgage repayments, and non-essentials, including meals out, and make cuts wherever possible without completely depriving yourself. Always pay yourself first by placing a minimum of 20.00 or 20% whichever is greater into a CD or money market account where the investment earns slow and steady.

Also, identify agreements, such as direct debits for magazines you no longer read, and cancel them, paying attention to notice periods.

4. Become a smart shopper

For those items you still need the answer is to shop around for less expensive deals. Bargain hard with retailers if you need to buy big-ticket items, such as televisions, and use online comparison sites to find the best prices on everything from cars to pairs of shoes.

There are plenty of other ways to save money. For example, it is worth picking up loyalty cards in favorite stores on which you can earn and later redeem points for buying certain products. Pay particular attention to buy-one-get-one-free deals on favorite items.

Such attention to detail can be applied to other products, such as insurance policies. You can save a lot of money by researching the market to see what’s available well in advance of the renewal date of various policies. Check comparison sites and individual firms for the best deals.

5. Establish your financial goals

Before deciding what investments will meet your needs you will need to establish how much money you need to make and what aspirations you have for the future, according to Jason Witcombe, a director of Evolve Financial Planning.

Think about what you want from your life, not just next year but in the decades to come, and what is important to you and your family. Few people actually do this and without taking time to prioritize it’s very easy to get stuck in the daily grind in which you will find yourself right in the same financial stranglehold until you take action and make the decision to begin income-producing activities.

Knowing what you want out of your life and, perhaps even more importantly, what it’s likely to cost will help you establish how much risk you are willing to take with your money and which investments are likely to best meet your needs.

6. Set up an emergency fund

You never know when a crisis will happen, anything from your boiler breaking down to a member of your family needing an operation, so it’s best to be financially prepared to avoid plunging into debt to solve the problem.

Everyone should build up cash savings before looking at higher-risk options such as investing in shares. It is sensible to try and get a good return on your cash savings and you can do this by looking for accounts that are paying competitive rates of interest and holding the money in a money market account (if you live in Europe a cash ISA,) where all interest generated is free of tax.

Look for the account that gives you a competitive rate of interest and lets you get your hands on the money quickly. If you have used your MMA or ISA allowances then consider an instant-access savings account with a high street bank or building society.

7. Plan for the longer term

While 30 percent of people quizzed in a recent study for Financial Planning Week were planning to reduce their monthly spending next year and 20 percent to increase the amount they put away, only a small four percent were planning to contribute more towards, or start, a pension.

It’s not a surprise to John Ions, chief executive of Liontrust.

It is not difficult to understand why so many people who are struggling to make ends meet today have little focus on tomorrow. This is why it is so important to communicate the message that doing something now is vital to provide more security in later years.

The fact is that the earlier you start saving for your future the greater the opportunity you are giving the funds to grow in value. At the very least start building up a pot of money in a MMA or an ISA and other accounts, even if you distrust investments and don’t want to tie up every last penny.

8. Make sure you’re tax efficient

Many people are paying too much income tax, which is dictated by which tax code they have been assigned. Check to see if you’re paying the right amount by contacting the IRS (http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p15.pdf) or HM Revenue & Customs (http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/incometax/check-right-tax.htm).

Once you have done this you can turn your attention to making sure your money is in tax-efficient wrappers, such as the aforementioned MMA’S and/or ISA’s.

There are other tax planning techniques too, For example, husbands and wives (as well as civil partners) are taxed independently so each will have their own personal allowances. If they are on different tax rates then consider moving assets to the one paying a lower rate.

9. Keep track of your investments

It’s important to regularly review the performance of your investments, with the most important factors being whether they’ve made you money and how well they have done in comparison with rivals. Keep track of them and learn to understand what has caused the outperformance or underperformance. Jason Hollands, a managing director at Bestinvest, said a study the firm recently carried out with YouGov revealed that one in five people have never re-examined their investments. “Review your portfolio before putting any new cash into the market,” he insists.

10. Revisit your decisions

If you’ve reached this stage then congratulate yourself on beginning your financial makeover. Stand vigilant, revisit your investment decisions at least once a week and keep an eye on your expenses. Review your finances and enjoy the year ahead.

It takes less than an hour a week to remain on top of your assets, which will prove time very well spent because of what you gain.

7 Things Great Entrepreneurs Have In Common

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All the greats Bill Gates, Donald Trump and Mark Zuckerberg have these 7 things in common, and this list is what makes them better than all the rest.

Silicon Valley has billions of successful entrepreneurs and brilliant innovators. You can’t walk down the street in Palo Alto or Mt. View without bumping into two or three top executives who started out in a little garage shop, research lab, or college dorm room.

Funny thing is, they all seem to have unique outward qualities, some more eccentric than others. Marissa Mayer is a high-fashion workaholic. Mark Zuckerberg is obsessed with the product. Larry Page is a geeky introvert. Larry Ellison is an adrenaline freak that races yachts, flies planes, and buys entire islands.

All that may be true, but it’s a big mistake to think that defines them.

You see, everyone gets so caught up in the public personae and the hype that it’s easy to forget just how much these folks have going on under the hood. I’ve worked with loads of them and one thing I can say for sure, they will surprise you.

One minute you’re getting grilled about your crazy idea and the next minute the guy’s not only on board but asking why you can’t get it done sooner. It can really freak you out if you’re not used to it. Not only that, but it’s dangerous to take everything they say and do verbatim. They’re not infallible. They don’t walk on water, you know.

In any case, if you want to know more about what makes these people tick, what makes them the way they are, here are seven things that, in my observation, successful entrepreneurs seem to have in common.

They all have their own process. It’s the strangest thing but every single one of them seems to have their own process for thinking things through, making decisions, whatever. They’re very process-oriented. Sometimes they don’t even know it. Also they definitely do not want you inside their heads so mum’s the word, if you know what I mean.

They trust their instinct. It seems they’ve spent their entire lives being self-absorbed or self-sufficient. As a result, they’re extremely self-confident when it comes to trusting their own instincts and following whatever it is that inspires them. They will listen to others — a trusted few — but they’ll still make the final call in the end.

They are passionate about what they do. That’s why they do it. Whether it’s writing software code or coming up with the next hot gadget, they love it. It inspires them. It makes them feel safe, comfortable. It draws them like a powerful magnet. They feel at home doing it. And there’s nothing else they’d rather do. Nothing.

They’re unusually quick on the uptake. They can assimilate data, come to grips with a situation, or grasp something that took you two hours to understand in what seems like a heartbeat. It goes without saying that they’re unusually smart.

They’re born problem solvers. To them, problem solving is a fantastic game. They get off on it. They live for it. And they’re the best at it. Once they understand the problem, they revel in bringing their intellect, inspiration, and observations to bear in coming up with the right solution, plan, decision, whatever’s appropriate for the situation.

They’ve got something to prove. It’s not usually clear to you or to them who they need to prove it to, but I really don’t think it matters. They all just seem to have this relentless need to achieve, to make things happen, to do great things. It drives them and motivates them.

They work their tails off. Their work is, to a great extent, their life. That’s sort of an obvious result when you consider how passionate they are about what they do and how driven they are to accomplish great things. And you won’t always see them working, either. Day or night, at work or at home, they usually have a hard time turning it off.

One more thing, if you end up working with some of these folks, the worst thing you can do is be in awe of them. They don’t generally like yes-men and are quite impatient with folks who don’t add value. They have you around for a reason. Do what you do best and be straight with them. That’s the only way to go to ensure success.

To YOUR Continued Success,

Lisa

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