This week’s blog continues to explore how the outer world is a reflection of the inner world, focusing this time on the behavioural aspect. It is worth noting before I continue, that beliefs do influence behaviour, therefore read the following remembering that my comments from last week still count!
Consider the experience of the person who reports that they find it hard to make friends,
that others do not find them interesting or even like them. There will clearly be beliefs attached to such statements however behaviour is also involved.
This same person goes to a social event. They enter the room avoiding the eye contact of others,if anyone speaks to them they answer in monosyllables with low energy. Very quickly others give up trying to engage and he is left alone again.
Often there is a failure to recognise that behaviour creates responses in other people as
described above. By continually behaving in the same way we get to have the same experience over and over again. We do the same thing and yet get surprised when the response stays the same!
As a species we all play out repeating patterns of behaviour, these are our strategies for
interacting with the world. From a behavioural point of view these patterns arise from our conditioning in childhood. As children we learn how to interact with others and the world, we develop strategies that form the patterns we will act out. Many strategies will be positive and helpful, others will not.
In NLP, the phrase “if you keep doing what you’ve always done you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got!” This phrase can be applied to our repeating patterns, so how do we change those that are unhelpful?
Dr Phil McGraw developed, what he called “Life Laws” and one of the most powerful of
these is “we teach others how to treat us!” Here he is highlighting how often we give others permission to treat us in certain ways. There is a lack of awareness in most cases when we give this permission This is particularly true when we unconsciously invite others to treat us badly.
Approaches, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Assertiveness training and various behavioural models teach people how to change their behaviour and in changing their
behaviour they get different results. In NLP, we might task someone with a behavioural task with much the same intention.
Alternatively, we can teach people “state control” as a way to alter behavioural responses. In NLP, state control includes managing body language, physiology and focus of attention. These three elements influence a person’s emotional state. For example, a person who is assertive and confident moves differently to someone who is shy and lacking in confidence.
The first step is to learn how to adopt the physiology and body language of the desired state. This will have an impact on how we feel and will be firing off different neural
connections to those normally triggered. The simplest way to do this is to observe someone we consider to have the qualities we wish to embody. Notice how they move and their posture. Follow this observation with modelling, take on the same posture and movements. Fake it until you make it!
The second step is to change the focus of attention. Our internal dialogue, what we say to
ourselves drives our focus. This internal dialogue or self-talk can be positive, negative or even neutral. So identifying the content of self-talk allows you to change unhelpful internal dialogue and this will change the focus.
Changing self-talk from self defeating criticism to positive, supporting statements will change how we feel about ourselves. This is then further reflected in our body language and behaviour.
Once the new behaviours have been identified they can be consolidated using the NLP
technique of “anchoring”. I will discuss anchoring in more detail in later blogs.
Returning to the example from earlier, consider what would happen if this person were coached on how to behave differently. They enter the room with a confident, relaxed
posture and make a point of making eye contact. They approach other guests and introduce themselves. Their focus is on listening to what others have to say, showing interest and asking engaging questions. The chances are this person will now have a new
When we adopt new strategies or behaviours we will often notice that other people seem to change. One possible reason for this is that by changing behaviours we are altering the dynamics in our relationships with others.
When we behave differently we invite others to behave differently too. This can be very powerful and may cause an individual to re-appraise a limiting self belief. For others, although a new experience will be generated they may still need help changing underlying beliefs.
If you would like to know more about how to do that join us on an NLP training course starting with Practitioner, Master Practitioner and then leading to Trainers Training. Follow the links below to find out more.
Next week we will explore the transformational aspect of the Outer World as a reflection of the Inner World.