When Does Different Mean Better?

We all know someone who views the world differently than we do, don’t we? There is always someone in every group who tends to be the funny one, the sensitive one, the logical one, the illogical one, or something else that differentiates them. Does the fact that they are different, in whatever way they are different, matter? It takes everyone to make the world go around, as the saying goes, yet the news is full of people fighting each other because of differences, so is being different good or bad?

It is human nature to notice the differences between others and ourselves. From a sociological standpoint, it is quite clearly demonstrated demographically, geographically, culturally, and otherwise. Having grown up in Europe, lived in different parts of the US, and traveled rather extensively around the world, I may view the world a bit differently than many. That experience has taught me, not only about the differences in people around the world, but I believe more importantly, about the similarities.

quo_gandhiWhen we notice differences, and if we then create an “us versus them” mindset, we foster a competitive, and potentially alienating environment. When all we see are differences, and when those differences are viewed as “bad” or “wrong,” it is impossible to create an environment of trust and goodwill. Clearly there are some beliefs and political systems around the world that are difficult for us to agree with or even comprehend. But this isn’t about that. How do we, as the kind and generous people we are, live our lives genuinely and joyfully? Think about people you know, and think about what you know about them that differs from you. Then think about what you and they have in common. Which makes you feel more connected with them?

We have all felt joy, pain, sorrow, adoration, anger, jealousy, and more. We all love our children and want them to be happy and healthy. We all want to feel valued and to be treated with respect. Our blood is red, and we need food and water and shelter. From Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, we know that we all share the same needs. The difference is where we are in the hierarchy. The truth is, we have much more in common with each other than differences that drive us apart. What might happen if we all concentrated on the things that we have in common, those things that connect us all? When we realize that we share more than just the air we breathe, that we share feelings and dreams and needs, then we can begin to feel more connected, more a part of the good that we share. Once we embrace that, the possibilities are endless. How cool is that?

More Than A Hollywood Philosophy

It’s hard to believe how time flies by.  Most of us have certain memories that seem from long ago while others seem like they were just yesterday.  One of the most interesting things to me is that some things can seem like a long time ago as well as having happened just yesterday.  That’s all the time we have for that, though I could go on forever.

Have you ever noticed that when someone says something that catchers your attention, you seem to think about it again, seemingly “out of the blue?”  Isn’t it amazing how the mind works?  Having had an interest in the mind and behavior for most of my life, I have studied many theories and philosophies and have come to the conclusion that there is so much more to learn.  I also know that I have learned many valuable lessons and practices that serve my clients and me quite well, and that, even the most practiced need reminders from time to time.

The mind processes language in a variety of ways, which along with our emotions and other related factors, determine how we react or respond (behave) in given situations.  Some words are simply ignored by the mind, which can cause us to misunderstand an intention spoken by another.  When that happens, it creates a mutual misunderstanding, which can cause a chasm between those involved.  Not good for rapport to say the least.  They may “try” to do better the next time, but that could makes matters worse.

When at first you don’t succeed, try and try again, right?  Wrong!  Trying has never accomplished one desired outcome.  Trying is simply making an attempt.  Why do you think Yoda said, “Do or do not, there is no try,” to young Luke Skywalker?  Because Yoda knew, as any good Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) practitioner knows, (and in Yoda’s case, a Master Practitioner), that the mind understands “try” to mean, “to make an attempt.”  To “try” at anything will never get you what you really want.  You must do!  Even Nike® understands you have to “Just Do It®” because they know that to “Just Try” would never cut it for Michael Jordan or anyone else they were going to sponsor.

So the next time you hear yourself saying, “I’ll try….,” catch yourself, smile because you did, and then tell yourself to go do whatever it was you were intending to do. Imagine yourself succeeding, and then imagine yourself having succeeded. It may take some practice, but you will find that you can accomplish anything you want to when you do.  How cool is that?

Lost & Found

Have you ever found yourself in a state of confusion, not knowing what to do next, wondering which path to take, having lost that illusive joy in your life, and yet you know that it surely must be out there, somewhere?  I think most of us have experienced that state at one point or another.  If you have never experienced any of that, then you are among the lucky ones, and I offer my congratulations.  For those of us who have, there is good news.

As what goes up must come down, I believe that nothing is ever truly lost but simply misplaced or otherwise out of reach for the time being.  Since our thoughts determine our reality, every aspect of our lives was first created in our minds and made true by our actions.  Our actions are determined by our beliefs, which are formed due to various forms of programming and transformed or molded by our model of the world and emotional states.  The communication model presented in NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming) illustrates this quite well, but suffice it to say that all of our actions and behaviors have a basis in our beliefs.

When we feel lost and are in a place that is not where we want to be (in a poor relationship or job, for example), that is a wonderful indication that we will soon find our way back, because it is in being lost that we find ourselves.  What I mean is, when we are unhappy, we have an opportunity to recreate, to figure out what got us where we are and to ask questions for which we find answers so we can get to where we want to be.  Norman Vincent Peale said, “Every problem has in it the seeds of its own solution. If you don’t have any problems, you don’t get any seeds.”  When things are going along relatively well, we tend to not challenge ourselves to create something better.  It is only when things seem bad that we are driven to want to make a change.

So, the next time you are lost and don’t know what to do next to have the joy you deserve, remember that it is really a blessing in disguise.  Remember that in total darkness, a single candle creates light, that it is darkest before the dawn, and that when you seem most lost, the joy you are about to find will be the sweetest.  How cool is that?

A Lesson in Understanding

Have you ever been in a discussion with someone and they disagreed with your point of view or didn’t even understand how you could have the opinion that you held? Have you ever had someone angry with you and all they could say was that they didn’t understand how you could have said or done what you did? How did that make you feel?

To “understand,” according to the Oxford Dictionary, means to perceive the intended meaning, significance, explanation, or cause of something. When someone says they don’t understand something you’ve said (or done), do they simply mean they don’t perceive your intended meaning, or are they saying more than that? Might they mean that it doesn’t make sense, based on their model of the world, and that since they don’t understand you from your perspective, you are wrong and they are right? Might it mean, especially if they are angry, that they believe you must have intended something else, something that you did not intend, perhaps even something unkind or hurtful? When someone is angry with you because they don’t understand what you have said or done, the underlying cause is fear. They are afraid of something that is based on a belief (possibly, even likely one that is unconscious), about themselves or others and, therefore, about how they are going to be treated.

What I believe to be vital is to recognize that our beliefs can and often will actually have us believing things that are not true. In NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming), one of the presuppositions is, “The map is not the territory.” What that means is that our perceptions (the map) are not the reality. They feel like it and appear to be so, but they are based on many things that actually mask reality. My perceptions are based on my experiences, my beliefs, my filters, my model of the world, my state at the instant moment, and more. All of those are different than yours, and therefore my perception of the same event, phrase, discussion, article, color, and so on will be different than yours. That does not make mine any more right or wrong than yours, just different. Since our beliefs and where we direct our attention will create our reality, it is also likely that if we are concentrating on something, we will bring it into our being. For example, if I am looking for something to go wrong, for there to be something negative about another person, I will bring that into being. But, since “the map is not the territory,” I will only be perceiving it to be so.

Imagine that you have green-colored lenses on your glasses and your friend has rose-colored lenses. Are you going to see the same thing? Will you perceive a flower or the grass the same? No, and that is how we see the world: in our own way, from our own point of view, through our own filters, based on our own experiences and beliefs. What is important to remember is that we see things differently, and different is just that, different. If I don’t understand what you mean, it doesn’t mean you are wrong, it simply means that what you see or hear is different from what I see or hear. If we trust each other and ourselves, then there is no cause for anger, because we know that the other person only means well and isn’t out to hurt us.

Remember to not take anything personally. If you have read “The Four Agreements,” you recognize that. If you haven’t, remember to never take anything personally. A friend and teacher, Helene Rothschild, wrote, “The truth is that no matter what anyone else says or does, you are okay, worthy, loveable, attractive, intelligent, and good enough….” By allowing yourself to understand this truth and to see what is new, what is different, and what is possible, you open up to a whole new world.

“In dreams and in love there are no impossibilities.” ~ Janos Arnay

How cool is that?

Why We Do What We Do

Do you ever wonder how the dimension of time seems to be so dynamic and unpredictable? Well, I have an answer but that isn’t what this post is about. 🙂

Do you know why you do the things you do? Do you ever wonder why you continue doing things that aren’t good for you? For those of you who always do everything right, whose only actions are those that support your health and happiness in every way, please pat yourselves on the back and write a comment to me about why you think that is and how you have come to be so good. For the rest of you, you can keep reading.

One of the presuppositions of NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming) is that every behavior is supported by an unconscious belief that the behavior provides a benefit. We also know that every action is based on a motivation to either gain more pleasure or to experience less pain. The NLP Communication Model further explains how our behaviors are created by how we process the millions of bits of information coming at us every second, even though we can consciously process only about 134 bits of information per second. Ever feel overwhelmed?

Can you think of a behavior you exhibit that you wish you could eliminate from your repertoire? If so, would it help to understand why you do what you do? Every behavior is a result of a decision to act, driven by your physiological state (which alters brain chemistry), and based on an unconscious belief. Have you noticed that the best advertisements are those that are designed to evoke an emotion in you? There are many catchy ads that you remember, but those usually don’t cause you to go out and buy the product. Think about the process of buying a car. The salesperson always encourages you to go for a test drive (if she believes in the car she’s selling) because she knows that once you drive it and experience the feel, the quiet, the sound system, etc., you are no longer in a strictly analytical state, your are in an emotional state. Every “buy” decision is an emotional decision. Emotion is the reason you do what you do.

Of course, in this limited space, we can’t get into the details of why we do what we do, but this gives you a good primer that can help you pay attention and listen to the cues that you have about why you do certain things. When you find yourself doing something that results in an undesirable outcome, you can now ask yourself how that behavior is serving you by asking, “What am I gaining from this behavior.” Also, notice the emotion you were feeling right before you exhibited the behavior. I think it is also important to ask yourself what you could gain by no longer performing that behavior. An example might be to ask yourself, “How might my life change if I no longer….?” Finish the question with the behavior or condition that results from the behavior.

Once you have begun to notice more about your behaviors and how they serve you and you begin to behave in ways that do support you, your life will begin to unfold in ways that will bring you more energy and more joy. It will become easy and natural, and after a while, you will look back with pride and awe at how much you’ve accomplished. How cool is that?!

All the best,

Karl
comments@talktokarl.com

Be Careful What You Wish For

We have all heard the expression, “Be careful what you wish for.” It has been attributed to Aesop’s Fables, and is completed by, “lest it come true.” Have you ever wondered how that works, in other words, what the mechanism (or Universal Law) is that makes it important to be careful what you wish for?

Surely we don’t wish for things that we wouldn’t want to come true, do we? Actually, most people do it every single day? By now, most of you have heard of “The Secret,” the book and movie by Rhonda Byrne. The main topic of that work is the “Law of Attraction,” which basically says, “we attract to us what we pay attention to.” Put another way, “what we concentrate our attention on will draw more of the same toward us.” So what does that have to do with being careful what you wish for?

Have you ever wished that something not happen? Have you ever worried about something? Have you ever though to yourself, “I sure hope that doesn’t happen?” You can replace “that” with whatever it is that you might have worried about. If you knew that “worrying” was the same as praying (wishing) for something you do not want, would you begin to see things differently? The mind processes information by a method that deletes certain words, especially “don’t” or “doesn’t” and similar negatives. So what you worry about (pay attention to) actually become things you attract. If I were to say to you, “Don’t think of a pink elephant,” you have to think of a pink elephant before you can “not” think of a pink elephant. Another example to illustrate the point is when we tell young children, “Don’t touch the stove.” We are basically telling them to touch the stove, and that is why 98% of them, if not 100% of them, will touch the stove.

So what can you do to begin to change things for the better? Put all your wishes in positive terms and use the words and terms that relate to what you want to attract. Realize that your life is a result of your beliefs and thoughts that cause actions and behaviors that cause outcomes. When the outcomes are different than what you want, realize that the only way to get different outcomes is to use different actions which will be directed by different thoughts (beliefs). If you want to know more about how to change your beliefs, write me or talk with an experienced, certified and licensed hypnotist or NLP practitioner.

Albert Einstein said, “Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them.” One of the most empowering thoughts you might begin to believe, if you haven’t realized it already, is that you have inside of you everything you need in order to solve every problem and to create the life you want. How cool is that?!

All the best,

Karl
comments@talktokarl.com

You Can Change Your Mind

Have you ever made a decision that didn’t turn out the way you hoped? Perhaps you felt as if you had failed, yet again. Were you repeating a pattern of behavior and perhaps sabotaging yourself because of a limiting belief? Were you making a decision based on your feelings and intuition or based on what others were saying?

One of the presuppositions of NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming) is, “There is no failure, only feedback.” As a recovering perfectionist, I really like that saying. I had allowed myself to get to a point where I hesitated to do anything out of fear of making a mistake. There are some other reasons for my having gotten that way, but suffice it to say, that was how I was. More than 20 years ago, when studying NLP, I began to realize more about why I was behaving the way I was and about my limiting beliefs and their impact on my life. I realized that I could change by changing what I believed about myself. There is new science to back this all up in a big way, but at the time, I just had a sense (call it an intuition) that I really could change myself and my life by changing my thoughts and beliefs.

I was right, and my life changed for the better as my beliefs about myself changed. Along the way, I still made some choices based on old, restricting beliefs, and as I looked back at those decisions, I realized that none of them were based on my true feelings and intuitions. They were based on “shoulds” and fears. I wasn’t quite at the point I could simply shrug off those decisions and go on, because I still felt as if I had failed, somehow. But the great thing was, I did realize that I could make new decisions based on what I knew to be right for me (based on my intuition, my heart) rather than staying stuck in the consequences of the former decisions. I began to realize that I could change my mind and my decisions to ones that would support what I really wanted.

Each decision that we make results in some information to analyze. We don’t really need to do much analysis to assess certain outcomes. It isn’t like a scientific experiment or an engineering project or mechanical process when we have to measure outcomes with sophisticated equipment and do statistical analysis and calculate standard deviations. Many decisions, likely most decisions, can be assessed rather quickly and easily with how we feel, how much joy we have in our lives after the results are in. Few if any good decisions will result in our feeling miserable or being unhappy. This is not to make light of making certain tough, life altering decisions. It is simply to say that we have the ability to make decisions based on what is best for us and others (for the highest good of all), and the results can be assessed rather easily by paying attention to our bodies and by listening to our hearts.

It is not a failure when we make decisions that don’t turn out exactly the way we would want. Doing so allows us to learn, to grow, to become more of who we are. It allows us to learn to pay more attention to our selves – to our hearts, our intuitions, and to that which brings us joy. So when you make a decision and it doesn’t bring the joy you thought it would, make another decision. You can change your mind.

All the best, always,

Karl
comments@talktokarl.com