Easy As One-Two-Three
Someone asked me recently which coaching tip or technique has made the biggest difference to my life. Well, from the very beginning of my NLP journey, I recognised that all successful change can be attributed to one single thing: being willing to think differently. Albert Einstein said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” That is because a certain mindset will create a certain experience. If you want to change the experience, you have to change the mindset. So, the method I use consistently for myself is like this:
1. Understand that no event or situation in your life has any in-built meaning.
2. Understand that only the beliefs you hold about the event/situation create its meaning.
3. Understand how to recognise and change negative beliefs to create a better experience.
Number one is a big one, because we are so used to viewing life through the lens of our filters – we learn pretty early on that some things are good, some are bad, and there are accepted behaviours for all which we should follow. As in: don’t laugh at your grandmother’s funeral, because dying is sad. Don’t make jokes about Jesus, because religion is serious. And it is totally healthy and even desirable for you to feel full of despair when you fail your maths exam, because formal education is important. But really, what’s the meaning of life? In this method, we decide that there is none; we say that any situation is at its core completely neutral.
Then, we look at our feelings and emotions. Do you feel good or bad, happy or sad about a situation? Nervous or excited? Are you asking, ‘Why me?’ or saying, ‘Great, it’s me!’? We believe situations carry meaning and create feelings, but in fact, it’s the other way around. And your feelings come from your beliefs. So, depending on your mindset, you will have specific feelings about things such as money, death, divorce, religion, etc. For example, most people view the end of a relationship as a bad thing. But what if instead of seeing a breakup, you saw a completion instead? How different would you feel? What if you realised that maybe this relationship was there to teach you something, and now that it has, it’s okay for it to end. What positive things did you learn? How will it enrich your journey going forward? It’s all linked together: we learn to apply specific meanings to neutral situations, and then, those generate feelings. We forget that we create the meaning through what we choose to accept is true or not about the situation.
To address the last part of the method, I would say this: do Time Line Therapy™ first, to let go of negative emotions and limiting decisions, so you have a solid, clear foundation to build on. And then for the day-to-day nitty-gritty stuff that will come up (that’s what life is all about after all!) I’ll give you a personal example. For the past year or so, every couple of months, something’s been going ‘wrong’ at home. It’s been the roof, my shower, the floor underneath the shower, and now my toilet… All very minor stuff that has the power to undo me completely. I’ve been experiencing stress, worry, and a negative attitude. There’s been some heavy ‘Why me???’ going on! So, let’s apply the method.
Step 1: if a hole in the roof is a neutral situation, how come I feel so bad about it? What belief(s) must I have in order to create such a negative meaning? How can I turn it around?
Step 2: I believe it’s bad when things break down because I have to spend money to fix them. I believe I will run out of money, and that financial lack will spread to all areas of my life.
Step 3: challenge those beliefs with the right questions: have I ever experienced financial lack in my life before? Not really – just the fear of it. What are the chances that it would happen now? Pretty slim. If it did happen, would I be able to do something about it to bring abundance back into my experience? Yes, definitely. So, now I’ve let go of the limiting beliefs. The situation is neutral again. Can I make it positive? Yes, by applying gratitude. When so many people in the world are so poor that they live in the street, I am lucky to have a roof problem!
And there is the method in a nutshell. I apply it to everything. It’s challenging sometimes, which makes it even more precious, and worth practicing. I don’t believe suffering is the goal of our existence. Learning is. So, if you’re suffering, look at your beliefs. Be willing to let go. Be willing to change. Everything will change for you then.
“If you can’t change your mind, then you’re not using it.” – Bashar