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.
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
Today I’m going to remind you of a simple NLP pattern that can help you:
- Make friends and keep them
- Become more popular and attractive to others
- Get dates and keep partners
- Reduce conflict and negativity in your life
- Get more support from others
- Keep people around you happier
You already know this skill. You learned it during NLP training, and use it during interventions.
But you probably haven’t generalized it to everyday life. (Most NLPers don’t.) This subtle shift in language can make a big difference.
In a previous post, I discussed the problems of learning skills and attitudes from role models who aren’t competent. In this post I’ll discuss how to find real experts to learn from.
What makes an expert?
To find good exemplars (examples of a skill or ability) to learn from, evaluate their results. Ask:
- How good are the person’s actual results? It doesn’t matter if Rowena thinks she is the world expert in good relationships; it matters whether she has good relationships. Judge only by results, not by what you, she, or other people think will work, does work, or should work.
- Does this exemplar get consistently great results? Someone who has excellent relationship skills will tend to have lots of good relationships: with their spouse, parents, children, friends, neighbors, etc. They’ll also have minimal problems with bad relationships, quarrels, firings, and people doing nasty things to them.
Imagine that you are about to learn to drive race cars or speed boats. You probably wouldn’t pick as your driving teacher:
- The town drunk
- A blind person
- The neighbor who has crashed their car into every trash can and sign pole in the neighborhood.
And yet most people learned at least one important life skill from someone that unqualified to teach it.
How a person structures “now” on their timeline has a big effect on their quality of life.
- If they are in time, with their timeline running through their body (or they stand inside a “time tube”), they are probably good at being present in the moment. However, they may stay so in the moment that they have trouble keeping appointments or planning ahead.
- If they observe time, standing outside the “now” so they have perspective and can see the future from now, they can probably remember appointments and plan ahead. However, they might find it difficult to enjoy the moment because they always see, hear, and think about their future and/or past.
Each option has useful elements, and it would be nice to have them all, rather than having to pick one or the other. That’s why I developed the following technique.