The way you give meaning to an experience will determine the way you respond in the future.
In the process of moving towards your outcome you will invariably experience results that are not moving you towards what you expect. When you experienced this result and begin to label it as failure then your next response will likely to be negative towards your outcome. It will literally stop you on your tracks!
On the hand, you can also label the experience as feedback. The results let you know you are not doing something right. It is a feedback for you to change the way you are doing it.
Jane is an entrepreneur. Lately, she has been feeling demoralized because her business is not doing well. On top of it she feels she is losing interest in it. When coached on the business challenges she begins to share her failures. She mentioned that she is losing customers to her competitors despite the excellent service she has been known for and gotten results in the past. She does not know what to do. These negative experiences have taken away the sparkle that she had when the business was doing well.
To help Jane, I got her to firstly hold the frame that there is “No Failure, Only Feedback”. With this frame in her mind she starts to look at possibilities of building her business. The exercise gave her some very good ideas to work on. More importantly, this frame provided her with hope and positive feelings.
“It is inherent in our intellectual activity that we seek to imprison reality in our description of it. Soon, long before we realize it, it is we who become the prisoners of the description. From that point on, our ideas degenerate into a kind of folklore that we pass on to each other, fondly thinking we are still talking of the reality around us.” ~ Aneurin Bevan, British statesman.
John (not his real name) is a childhood friend. We grew up together in a small little town in Malaysia. When he was in his early adults he was diagnosed with Schizophrenia. He went through periods of trauma and ?nally stabilized with the help of medication. He has been stable for more than twenty years now. He is physically healthy and mentally ?t. However, every time I see him he will says he wish he can have a normal life with family and children of his own. “Who will want to marry me? I have no hope”. On the hand, I have a neighbor living upstairs and also suffering from Schizophrenia. He will occasionally show physical symptoms like shouting and singing out loud. So I thought, “who will marry him?” Lo and behold, suddenly I notice he got married. He even has a kid!
We give meaning to events that happen in our life and represent it through language. As Bevan says, language can imprison us and stops us from doing things. In NLP, there is a category of linguistic patterns called Generalization that can be particularly limiting or empowering. Statements such as “He is always late?” “This country is not safe?” “She is always nagging?” are some examples of generalization. A person who holds this generalization and responds to the world in this manner can sometimes limit the potential for choices of actions. On the other hand, it is not uncommon to notice successful people saying to themselves “there is no failure, only feedback”. This is a generalization that empowers people to continue to progress. Simply replacing the word failure with feedback allows the person to continue with the process of pursuing goals or outcome. As soon as the process is labelled as failure, it becomes an event with a label of ?nality. The process is implicitly stopped. The word feedback turns the event to process again and therefore there is hope for achievement. Is like magic!
In the context of coaching, language becomes a tool that opens possibilities for the client. In the hands of an expert, it can unveil the cloak of darkness with just a word or a question. Sigmund Freud, musing on the origins of language in his introductory lecture in psychoanalysis in 1915, wrote, “Words were originally magic and to this day words have retained much of their ancient magical power.” Beware of what you say to yourself. Slow down your thoughts and notice the language you use in your head. You may catch the culprit that has imprisoned you for a long time. Change the language and change your life. We all deserve a great life!
Simon Wong, NLP Trainer and Coach
Choose the way you want to feel.
If you were to ask ten people what they want in life you are likely to get answers like happiness and peace. These are higher goals that most people aspire to have. Obviously, there are spiritual goals too. Let’s bring our attention to happiness and peace. These are examples of feeling good. If you were to think of a situation in which you feel happy you will likely cast your thoughts to sometime in the past that you felt happy. You will remember where and when and perhaps with whom you were with. As you begin to immerse yourself into this memory you will regain the happy feeling you had then, now. In essence you are able to feel this happy feeling anytime you want.
To illustrate this point further, imagine you are attending a wedding dinner. With a camera in your hand you decided to take some pictures. You scanned around. You proceeded to snap away. A few days later you fished out your camera from your bag and thumbed through those shots. Each shots reminded you a specific moment in time during the party. Some shots brings back moment of joy and laughter. Some shots bring back memories that go way back and connect to some nostalgia and etc. The effects of thumbing through those photos evoke a range of emotions. Think for a moment. If you have not thumbed through those photos you will unlikely have experienced those emotions during and after seeing it. With this awareness, you have some control on what you choose to feel anytime you want. It underscores the point that the mind and body are connected. What you think can produce feelings. What you choose to think will produce the feeling that you want.
Would you like to feel wonderful, now? You can. Here is how.
How to Feel Wonderful
You do not need to have a reason to feel wonderful. You can feel wonderful any time you want. This is how you do it:
- Think of a situation in which you felt wonderful in the past.
- Notice the surrounding, the people (if any), the sound and the feeling.
- If you see yourself in the picture, float into it and be in the picture. See what you see, hear what you hear and feel what you feel.
- Notice the location of this wonderful feeling in your body.
- Touch the sensation with your hand and notice which direction it is moving.
- Whichever direction it is moving, spin it faster.
By spinning it faster you get a more intense feeling of wonderful. Think about feeling gorgeous. You can have this feeling anytime you want. You don’t have to wait until you are dressed up for it.