NLP Beliefs and NLP Belief Change
In this video, Michael explains how beliefs have an impact on the likelihood of success.
In NLP we explore the impact of beliefs. We are interested in how they affect us, and we are prepared to examine and ‘try on’ different beliefs to see what works best.
If we believe we can, we probably will.
If we believe we can’t we’re likely to not even try, or try with an attitude of apathy and reluctance.
What’s so important about beliefs and NLP belief change?
Some beliefs are a mental habit, without any real-world evidence supporting them. This is natural, and even the most sceptical-minded among us have some beliefs like that. One of the really interesting qualities about beliefs is that we can hold them at a deep level. We assume that they are ‘true’ and don’t realise how they are affecting what we do. We can even hold them in such a way that we get really upset if someone dares to question them.
There are two aspects of a belief to be aware of:
- the belief itself, and
- the implications of that belief.
The belief itself is normally a generalisation about someone or something.
“I am always bad at job interviews.”
“Senior managers don’t listen to me.”
“No one from X Company will fit in here.”
The implication of a belief is the effect that belief has on what we do. I can believe all sorts of things, but if they don’t impact me or others they’re not really relevant for this discussion.
We’re not necessarily worried for now whether things are true or not, what’s more important is the question:
If the things I believe are not demonstrably true and are damaging or hindering those around me, why do I hold onto them?
The co-founders of NLP discovered that the people they modelled (Milton Erickson, Virginia Satir, and Fritz Perls), who were very successful at helping others change, had a number of similar, useful beliefs. These are useful beliefs for us to adopt when helping other people develop and change.
We have reworded them slightly.
We connect to the world through our senses.
This is obvious, however the implications aren’t always thought through. We build our maps of reality based on our sensory input. The better we see, look, hear and connect to our feelings, and the less we filter the information we receive, the better our maps will be. The better we’ll connect and communicate with the world.
Our memories are built from this sensory input. When we change some of the qualities of this sensory input (for example, we make our mental images more or less colourful) we change the experience itself. This means we cab learn to boost and reinforce our good and useful memories and reduce the impact of our less useful ones.
Our map is not the territory.
The representation we hold of the world is our internal map based on our experiences and filters. It is not the same as the next person’s map, and neither of them are the same as reality.
When we don’t communicate with others it is not a permanent problem, it’s to do with our model of the world – our maps. We communicate better when our maps are aligned with those of other people and the world itself. The better we acknowledge the other person’s map, the more they understand us.
For example, if our clients are more visual we’re better off using visual words. If they’re motivated towards pleasure, we should use some of exactly the same words and similar postures.
Even if somebody has a map that is flat out wrong, it’s often better to start from wherever they are and then lead them to somewhere more useful.
One of the benefits of exploring NLP is that we become more aware of our internal maps and those of others.
The ability to change the process by which we experience reality is often more valuable than changing the content of our experience of reality.
Bad things happen. That’s the content of reality sometimes. We can’t change that content and not accepting it can be harmful to us. However, do have some control. We can change how we react to it. We can change what we learn from it.
NLP has lots of tools we can use to change the process of how we react and act to whatever happens.
We cannot always control the cards that we are dealt; our key choice is how we play them.
The meaning of the communication is the response we get.
If people don’t react in the way we want, it’s a sign that we need to change the way we communicate. I don’t judge how successful my communication is by what I think; it’s about how others react.
If at first I don’t get the result I want, I simply keep coming back with similar and different approaches until I do.
The resources an individual needs for change are already within them.
When we have total faith in someone it can make a huge difference on how quickly and well they succeed. When we believe someone has all the resources they need, it changes the way we relate to them. We’ll tend to lightly coach and encourage rather than put them down.
There is a secondary point to this. The best change always starts from within, not from outside. Trying to change others can work, however, it normally disempowers the other person. Believing in someone is empowering.
Feedback is always useful.
We can view success and failure as inevitable parts of life. We don’t learn to walk without falling over. The moment we stop making mistakes is the time we stop learning.
When we fail, feedback can show a route to success instead. When we’re successful, insulating ourselves from feedback sows the seeds of future failure.
Maybe the real fear to overcome is the fear of failure. In its place we want a great strategy for making good decisions. That’s what stops us being as successful as we want.
The positive worth of the individual is held constant, while the value and appropriateness of internal and or external behaviour is questioned against a specific outcome.
We know this is a mouthful!
We hold the individual in constant high regard whilst still being able to explore, question, and challenge if what they’re doing is helping them to achieve what they want.
Our job isn’t to make personal judgements or comments: It’s to uncover accurate information to help them to achieve what they want.
There is a positive intention motivating every behaviour and a context in which every behaviour has value.
Behaviours are only good or bad in the context of achieving some result. We’re not into removing ‘bad’ behaviours, as they might be really useful in other times and places. However we may suggest more useful behaviours depending on the task at hand.
Sometimes it’s really useful to uncover the positive intention behind our behaviour.
When we have real choices, we’ll naturally make the best one.
Or job is to give people real choices – not just dilemmas. Dilemmas rush you into considering the lesser of two evils, whereas the choices that we want to create have at least three alternatives, and we know not only know the why, what and how of doing them, but we also know that we can take them.