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. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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 his fascinating TED Talk:

If you’re marketing to get clients, you can use this to stand out from the crowd and attract clients who are a better match for you and your services.

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?

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

What is personal chemistry?

My dictionary defines personal chemistry as the emotional and psychological way two people relate to each other, especially when experienced as a powerful mutual attraction. Example: “Their intense sexual chemistry almost tempted them into an affair.” When you’re not attracted to someone, that’s “no chemistry,” and when you dislike them on sight, that’s “bad chemistry.”

Take a moment now to vividly recall 3 experiences:

  1. A time you met someone with whom you had great chemistry.
  2. An interaction where you expected good chemistry, perhaps because the other person was smart or physically attractive, but instead you felt no chemistry.
  3. A time when you had bad chemistry with someone. You immediately felt uncomfortable or disliked them — perhaps before either of you spoke!

Now compare: How easy was it to get and stay in rapport with each person? Continue reading

Love convincer strategies: the Love Languages meta-program

Updated 14 August 2015, version 1.1

Gary Chapman’s book The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts explores common strategies people use determine whether or not they are loved — what NLP calls 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. Continue reading

Disassociation is association!

One of the most fruitful parts of my modeling work involves unpacking aspects of NLP that most of us NLPers don’t question.

Take disassociation, for example. In your NLP training you might have learned that disassociated = not associated.


When my research buddy Jan “yon” Saeger and I started investigating disassociation, Jan quickly realized that, strictly speaking, disassociation doesn’t exist. Continue reading

NLP and hypnosis-related scientific studies

For me, brain research provides a fascinating peek into what goes on “under the hood” when we do NLP. Sometimes the information is useful for doing NLP. Often it verifies what NLPers have known or suspected for years. Sometimes it’s just interesting or fun.

Abstract thought prompts literal physical responses

Researcher subjects literally lean forward when thinking about the future, backward when thinking about the past. According to Nils B. Jostmann of the University of Amsterdam, “How we process information is related not just to our brains but to our entire body. We use every system available to us to come to a conclusion and make sense of what’s going on.” Continue reading