A life of freedom
It’s true that we all want to be happy, successful and free. We all want a life that is full of choice, love and possibility.
Yet so often something comes along and affects our mood. It could be the workload, our boss, the weather or even that family member. The list is endless. We all get stressed, overwhelmed or frustrated from time to time. It’s natural. Like clouds passing overhead, the sunshine and our ideal life somehow become obscured and out of reach.
Many people believe that these external events – the clouds in our life – make us feel a certain way. That somehow the reason for our suffering is the outside world. It rarely is. There is always a gap between the stimulus and our response to the outside world!
It is in this gap between the stimulus and our response that we process how to respond to the external world. The internal processing in this gap happens very quickly and largely unconsciously. This is our thinking.
And that is what this book is about – how we think and how we can transform our thinking – so that we can create a life of real freedom, possibility, choice and much more.
So that rather than being ‘at effect’ of the external world, we can begin to navigate our ‘internal world’ and be ‘at cause’. To put it another way – to take control of the things we can control which is our thinking, emotions and responses. How does that sound?
I see so many people living a life of mediocrity, or worse, suffering emotionally, financially, physically and even spiritually. I’ve been there, got the t-shirt. In fact I used to run a t-shirt printing business! I’ve had my fair share of failure and suffering. It doesn’t have to be this way.
I’ll share more about my life as we journey together through the pages of this book, but suffice to say, I understand from very personal experience about loss, anger, rejection and a whole host of other things that we as humans all go through.
I’ve been stuck, lost, unsure of myself and depressed. The list goes on. What I’ve discovered however, in working with thousands of people over the last 15 years is that we play a part in our own suffering. And if we play a part in our demise, we can also play a part in our success.
As Tony Robbins says “success leaves clues”. I’ve been studying and modelling people from all walks of life for well over a decade now, understanding the strategies they have for success in many fields – health, finances, property investment, trading, healing, coaching, communicating… living!
So join me on a journey towards freedom and begin defining a wonderful life on your terms. There was a time when I believed I’d never be happy or successful. Believe me, we can ALL achieve way more than we think we can. So let’s jump in!
- There is always a gap between what we experience externally and our response to it.
- The only part of the system that we can really control is ourselves – our thinking, emotions and our responses.
- When did you last consciously change an automatic reaction and choose to respond differently?
- How would your life change if you were able to able to control your responses to situations and people consistently and effectively?
“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.” Jim Morrison
What is NLP anyway?
NLP is a methodology that provides a way of understanding the essence, or structure of our subjective experience.
To use a metaphor, if you think about the inside of a car, there are many different components that give the car structure, or form. From the outside however, you can’t see these different components. The engine, gearbox, drive shaft and all the other things that enable the car to do what was designed to do, are beneath the surface.
Likewise, there are many different (less mechanical) components that give our subjective experience structure, or form.
When we understand the mechanics of how we think; when we understand how we are organised beneath the surface; when we understand how we do what we do – we can do more of what we want.
Like the car, beneath the surface of the human experience are components that make us function, or dysfunction. Some examples of these components of our structure could be the way we store our memories, our emotions, beliefs, values, imagination, attitudes, internal dialogue and our patterns of thinking and behaviour. [INSERT COMMS MODEL?]
When you change the oil or the engine of a car, the performance changes. When we change how we think, our performance changes.
“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.” ― Wayne W. Dyer
Imagine changing the way you store a traumatic memory or the way you talk to yourself. It would make a big difference, right? Think for a moment of something you wish you could do but can’t. Now, imagine what would happen if you changed the belief – so that you really could achieve this!
That’s the power of beliefs. And beliefs are just one component of our internal world. When we change the core components of our experience – such as beliefs, imagination or how we talk to ourselves – we change. And life changes!
As you read this book you’ll discover more about how you think and how you can change your thinking easily, effortlessly and enjoyably. How?
Well, we have strategies for everything we do. NLP is the study of these strategies. It is essentially the exploration and modelling of how we do what we do. It is the study of what works; the study of excellence.
Just like you taking your car for a service, I like to think of NLP as providing the time and space for us to have a ‘service’ – to improve our performance in any and every area of our lives. When we improve how we function, we find ourselves a part of a magical cosmic dance. We find ourselves aligned with a deep truth and essence within ourselves, which aligns with the outside world. We come home to ourselves.
So buckle up and get ready for a ride into your internal world, the likes of which you’ve never experienced!
- NLP is the study of how we do what we do, so that we can do more of what we want.
- NLP is the study of strategies, especially those related to excellence.
- What are some of your most empowering beliefs?
- What are your core competencies or natural talents? In order words, what are you naturally great at? What do you love doing?
- What larger purpose so these empowering beliefs and talents serve?
Richard Bandler said this about NLP – “the attitude is about curiosity and wanton experimentation. The methodology is about modelling; extracting the thoughts and behaviours that create success. Having the first two leads to a trail of techniques that ultimately help you to succeed in whatever endeavour you are looking at”.
How do we think?
Our internal world – or subjective experience – is comprised of our five primary senses – visual, auditory, feeling, smell and taste. It is the combination of these five senses that makes up our thinking and creates our internal world.
Seems simple, right? And yet this is a profound reality.
Bob Gass once said that “what we see and hear is what we think about. What we think about is what we feel. What we feel influences our reactions. Reactions become habits and it is our habits that determine our destiny.”
It all starts with what we see and hear in our thinking. Most of us are only too aware of the outside world and the demands and challenges it places on us. We tend to be much less aware of our internal world – our thinking. Yet this is what we experience in each waking moment of our lives, be those joyous or painful moments.
We don’t experience the world as it really is. We experience the world as we perceive it. One way to think about this is in terms of primary and secondary experience.
Primary experience is what happens before it goes through our five senses and we make sense of the world. It is the world of undifferentiated experience; independent of consciousness where no meaning and no emotions are attached to the experience.
In order for us to make sense of the world – or primary experience – we filter what is happening through our senses. We can’t pay attention to everything so we select certain aspects of primary experience. We then re-present the world internally – through what we see, hear and feel inside. In other words, we live in a world of secondary experience where we represent what we perceive has happened in the outside world.
Secondary experience exists because of consciousness. It’s subjective consciousness where we construct or represent what we perceive through our senses; it’s where we organise our experience into categories and put language to it.
“Each of your brains creates its own myth about the universe.” ― Abhijit Naskar,
“The concern of your brain is not to see the actual nature of reality, but to represent the reality to you in such a way that suits your needs.” ― Abhijit Naskar
“All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.” ― Edgar Allan Poe
“The more I see, the less I know for sure.” ― John Lennon
“The limits of my language means the limits of my world.” ― Ludwig Wittgenstein
We’ll be going into much more detail of how we do this and why this is such an important concept to grasp (it’s where freedom resides!). For now, you can just begin to become aware of the three primary senses that make up your internal experience – the visual, auditory and kinaesthetic:
Auditory: the voice in your head (as you’re reading this) and…
Visual: the images (memories and imagination) that you might start becoming consciously aware of and…
Kinaesthetic: how you feel as you continue this journey into the essence of your experience.
[insert EYE ACCESSING QUES]
Just like the car, we can get right down to the nuts and bolts of our experience.
We’re not just going to change the oil or the engine. We’re going to upgrade every component and have you flying along in no time at all.
Let’s break NLP down for a moment so you can think of it another way:
Neuro could be described as our thought processes or how we think.
Linguistic is the way we use language to describe our experience and navigate through the world of experience.
Programming refers to the strategies or habits we have that enable us to do everything we do.
So NLP is a way of studying thinking. Studying the way we use language to shape experience and our patterns of thinking and behaviour, so that we can create more choice, freedom and possibility in our lives and the lives of others.
- We don’t experience the world as it really is. We experience it as we perceive or think it. Our thinking starts with what we see and what we hear.
- Our perceptions are secondary experience – our way of filtering primary experience.
- When was the last time that you perceived something differently to someone else?
- Who do you think you are? And why do you think you exist?
- What could happen if you fundamentally changed the way you thought about yourself and the purpose of your life?
“All things are subject to interpretation. Whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche