About Joy Livingwell

An NLP developer since 2003, I use the tools of NLP modeling to explore the underlying patterns of how people think. I love to improve NLP techniques and create new ones. I am fascinated by the capacity we all have to function far beyond the level where we function now.

Redefining mental illness

Psychological researchers are finally making some major and much-needed changes in how they look at and classify anxiety, psychosis, and other problems: Two months ago, the British Psychological Society released a remarkable document entitled “Understanding Psychosis and Schizophrenia.” Its authors … Continue reading

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Does new blink science explain eye-closure fractionation?

You blink far more often than necessary to keep your eyes clean and moist. Scientists have discovered that the timing of your blinks relates to what you’re doing and experiencing.

Now new research suggests that each blink allows your brain to rest momentarily.

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Study: Empathy represses analytic thought, & vice versa

Research in neuropsychology continues to shed more light on how and why NLP processes work:

Empathy Represses Analytic Thought, and Vice Versa: Brain Physiology Limits Simultaneous Use of Both Networks

ScienceDaily (Oct. 30, 2012) — New research shows a simple reason why even the most intelligent, complex brains can be taken by a swindler’s story — one that upon a second look offers clues it was false.

When the brain fires up the network of neurons that allows us to empathize, it suppresses the network used for analysis, a pivotal study led by a Case Western Reserve University researcher shows.

How could a CEO be so blind to the public relations fiasco his cost-cutting decision has made?

When the analytic network is engaged, our ability to appreciate the human cost of our action is repressed.

At rest, our brains cycle between the social and analytical networks. But when presented with a task, healthy adults engage the appropriate neural pathway, the researchers found.

The study shows for the first time that we have a built-in neural constraint on our ability to be both empathetic and analytic at the same time.

This study has a lot of interesting implications.

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Why inner game ISN’T everything

As a NLPer I see and hear a lot of “do your inner work and the outer will take care of itself” type of advice. I think it’s crap.

While inner game alone can dramatically change how you feel, it’s only when you change what you do that you start affecting other people and the world, and generating better real-world results. Inner game can help you act more easily and more effectively… but only when you actually get off your butt and take action.

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Can you really unjam traffic by driving smart?!

Stuck on long commutes, engineer William Beaty did some elegant analysis of driver behavior and its consequences. He figured out how even one driver can sometimes unjam traffic jams.

I have tried Beaty’s methods myself on a few stretches of San Francisco Bay Area freeway where traffic tends to jam up. And while I can’t unjam a big jam, there have been times when I’ve been able to unjam small jams, or at least make a jam smaller or get it to move faster.

A lot of NLP is about changing other people’s behavior and improving their outcomes by changing your behavior. I like to think of Beaty’s driving technique as NLP for traffic.

To understand more about how you can unjam traffic, with diagrams, visit Beaty’s website TrafficWaves.org

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The right way to speak to yourself

I’m always on the lookout for ways to build people up and encourage them, rather than shutting them down. That’s why Peter Bregman’s post The Right Way to Speak to Yourself delighted me. Excerpt:

It felt so good to be in that classroom, I didn’t want to leave. Eventually though, when it was clearly time to go, I left with a smile on my face that remained long after I had gone.

Sitting in that classroom was a lesson in people management; the positive way Dorit interacted with the children is a great model for how managers should interact with employees.

But, for me, the morning was more profound than a lesson in managing other people. It was a lesson in managing myself.

As I left the classroom I found myself thinking about whether I treat myself the way Dorit treated her students. Am I encouraging? Do I catch myself doing things right as often as doing things wrong? And when I do something wrong, do I simply move on or do I dwell on it, haranguing myself?

In other words, what kind of classroom is going on in your head?

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Lessons learned from Tom Hoobyar

This is my tribute to the late Tom Hoobyar — a wonderful, generous, warm-hearted man who died 25 September 2011. Tom’s daughter Tracy asked people to post lessons they’d learned from Tom, who was an entrepreneur, NLPer, and teacher and mentor to many. Here are mine.

The main lessons I learned from Tom were:

  1. Tom didn’t let his own mistakes or setbacks prevent him from being a leader, teacher, and mentor. I used to think I had screwed up too much to teach or lead. Tom was one of the people who helped me learn that my mistakes and challenges, lived through, become benefits with which I can help other people deal with similar issues more gracefully.
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Love is more than a feeling or good intentions

From an Inherent Excellence blog post by NLPer and life coach Erol Fox, who writes some good stuff:

People just don’t understand what love is, so they suffer. Most Westernized people think love is when you can’t live without someone or some object. Any doctor will tell you that actually sounds like a disease.

Atisha, a Buddhist monk in the 10th Century echoed what love really is:

“Love is the wish for others to be happy.”

Really? I disagree.

Merely wishing others to be happy, without taking tangible action to help them achieve happiness, is not love. It is mental masturbation. And delusional, if a person thinks that intending love makes up for their unloving actions.

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