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.

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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How much do you care what other people think?

Recently I assisted at a workshop designed to help singles gain social skills and connect with each other.

At the end of the evening, an attractive young woman said she is usually shy because she cares too much about what other people think. During some of the workshop exercises, she was able to not care what others thought of her, and found it liberating. She wanted the ability to not care what others think in the rest of her life.

I gently pointed out that while not caring what others think can be liberating, it can also be problematic. Would you really want ignore how your actions affect other people to the point that you hurt or offend them? Or maybe suffer serious consequences, such as getting fired? Probably not.

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Re-traumatized by old memories

When Gary recalls a negative memory, he re-experiences the emotion he felt, and gets upset. Since he is prone to obsessive thinking, once a negative emotion triggers, he can obsess about it — and stay upset — for hours.

Tabitha gets trauma flashbacks. She re-experiences events so vividly that they re-traumatize her. Afterward fear, anxiety, depression, and crying jags can debilitate her for days, and affect her mood for weeks.

Emotionally loaded recall is especially common in people with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), a learned trauma response. It’s also common among people with Asperger syndrome. Like Gary, Aspies are prone to obsess over negative emotions and make them worse.

Of course, re-experiencing remembered emotions can be an asset when you recall pleasant memories. But with negative experiences — especially traumas — it’s usually preferable to get the useful life lessons from less-than-positive memories, without getting upset or re-traumatized.

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Forget what you know about good study habits

From an article in the NY Times:

In recent years, cognitive scientists have shown that a few simple techniques can reliably improve what matters most: how much a student learns from studying.

The findings can help anyone, from a fourth grader doing long division to a retiree taking on a new language. But they directly contradict much of the common wisdom about good study habits, and they have not caught on.

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Powerful persuasion technique used by successful companies, individuals

“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it,” Simon Sinek explains in this fascinating TED Talk:

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6 time orientations — how they affect people & cultures

In “The Secret Power of Time,” professor Philip Zimbardo discusses how ways of representing of time affect people’s work, health and well-being. A fascinating non-NLP view of time:

Have you read the book Zimbaro mentions, The Geography of Time? (I haven’t.) If so, what do you think of it?

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Relationship chemistry: What is it? How does it work?

After getting my final chemotherapy treatment at the beginning of May, I experienced ongoing problems with tiredness. Curiously, mental fatigue severe enough to keep me from writing blog posts had little effect on my ability to date and socialize. Which makes sense, I suppose; our ancestors spent millions of years socializing, not blogging.

My busy dating life gives me plenty of opportunities to learn more about relationships. Which brings me to today’s topic, personal (relationship) chemistry.

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Love convincer strategies: the Love Languages meta-program


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Gary Chapman’s book The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts explores common convincer strategies for love. Chapman calls them love languages.

When someone gets plenty of convincing evidence they are loved — evidence that fits their convincer criteria — they feel loved and appreciated. In Chapman’s words, their “emotional gas tank” gets filled.

When people don’t get convincing evidence of love — or worse, when they get convincing evidence that they are not loved — their emotional gas tank gets depleted and they feel unloved, unappreciated… and often hurt, hostile, resentful, etc. This can happen even when they are receiving lots of love — because it’s in a form they don’t recognize as love.

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