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If your Life was a Movie what kind of Movie would it be?

Monday, July 16th, 2018

cinema

 

If your Life was a Movie what kind of Movie would it be?

 

Last year I recommended a film to one my friends – Birdman, starring Michael Keaton. He hated it so much he decided to send me an email. It was succinct and the point, and simply said this:

“Your taste in films is shit. Birdman was crap…”

This hopefully tells you more about some of the friends I hang about with than it does about my taste in films.

A couple of weeks later I bumped into him and we engaged in a healthy debate about movie preferences.

Clearly we had different tastes. It emerged that he liked faster moving films, with powerful heroes and more engaging, action oriented plots, whereas I tended to go for more character driven stories; ones with a slower pace that focused on developing the emotions and deeper intentions of the main characters.

I did my best to convince him he was missing out but it didn’t work. Off he went to go watch the latest Avengers movie…

I’m not sure what Sigmund Freud would have said about the link between movie choice and a person’s psychology but the discussion did get me thinking:

If your life were like a movie, what kind of move would it be like? Would it be ‘plot’ or ‘character’ driven? Or something else?

Do you see it as an exciting, thrill-seeking, roller coaster of a ride? Like something starring Liam Neeson or Dwayne Johnson?

Or is it one where the characters within it are more at the forefront? One that contains an array of interesting and deep personalities…

And do you find that your preference of films in anyway reflects your personality and outlook on life?

For me, my choice of movies definitely resembles some of my life preferences and thinking styles. In general, I’m quite reflective, philosophical, and above all, utterly fascinated by people.

There’s something I find obsessively intoxicating about human behaviour and interaction. It’s been there since I can remember and I don’t think it’s going away anytime soon. It’s no wonder really that I like deeper, character driven stories.

I also like “difference, “uniqueness”, and I tend get bored quite easily when I see the same thing done over and over again in a similar, formulaic way.
So you’ve probably guessed I’m not a big super-hero movie fan - Well, actually, I did love the film “Logan” but, surprisingly enough, it’s highly character driven.

My aforementioned friend is starkly different. He goes more for fast plot, action and all-powerful heroes that have a drive for significance. If it’s character driven then it’s too slow for him. He doesn’t get it. If something hasn’t been blow up within 5 minutes then he starts checking his phone. Interestingly enough, he’s not the most people oriented person and seems to constantly look for ways to show off his significance.

There’s no right or wrong, of course, just different ways of experiencing the world.

We could even expand this a little bit further and ask, “If your life was a style of movie, what style would that be?”

A comedy? A rom-com? A thriller? A thoughtful drama? A work of Fantasy?

I certainly hope it’s not a disaster movie!

And what, if anything, might that say about the way you currently view life?

I’m not suggesting that this is some kind of pinpoint, accurate psychoanalysis but it is an interesting thing to reflect on, especially if an obvious pattern starts to emerge.

It might also be useful to look at it in the other direction: what would happen if you changed the types of movies that you watched? What if you were to start watching films that were starkly different to those you currently watch?

Would that then have an effect on the way you experienced the world? Might it broaden your perspective? Do you think it could open up areas of your experience that you weren’t aware of before?

Personally, I think it would.

If you ask any storyteller or film director worth their salt they will tell you that a good film is not just meant to entertain: it’s meant to expand the viewers mind. It’s one of the – often hidden – underlying purposes of cinema.

One of the most bizarre films I’ve ever seen in the cinema is called “The Tribe”. It’s a Ukrainian film set in a school for deaf children. The entire movie had no dialogue. All the characters used Ukrainian signal language to communicate, and there were no subtitles – which I only found out 5 minutes before it started.

It’s not exactly the kind of film you’d expect to see at the top of the blockbuster list but it was absorbing. I left feeling like my world had been expanded a little.

Okay, maybe my taste in films is shit. Most likely by most mainstream standards anyway. But, the thing is, I don’t consider myself to be a ‘mainstream type guy’ anyway, and I’m not sure I want to be…and that’s kind of the point.

Hmm, interesting…Freud would likely have a field day.

 

So if your life were a movie, what kind of movie would it be?

 

And what would it be like if you expanded your choice and looked beyond?

 

 

All the Best,

Steven Burns
NLP Trainer, Coach & Hypnotherapist

Would you pay interest on money you haven’t borrowed?

Friday, October 23rd, 2015

Bio Picture

 

Author: Allison Sutherland, NLP Coach. For more information on Allison or click here

 

No?  I wouldn’t either.  In fact, nobody in their right mind would do that – it’s crazy!  It’s just like spending lots of time and energy on worrying about something that hasn’t happened yet and might never come to pass.  Isn’t it?

 

Don’t get me wrong, we do need to prepare ourselves for future situations such as interviews or difficult conversations.  It would be silly not to, but what I’m talking about isn’t planning; it’s just worrying.  I’m talking about when we go round in circles asking “what if” again and again without actually deciding what to do.

Take a moment now to honestly consider how much time you spend worrying about what might happen tomorrow, next week, next month or next year.   If you’re completely honest with yourself you might be surprised at how much time and energy you waste on such a fruitless activity.  I’ll wait a moment while you let that sink in …

As you’re thinking about that, you might also want to consider that your brain doesn’t know the difference between something that’s really happening, something that you’re watching (i.e. a film) or something you’re imagining.  When you spend time worrying you trigger exactly the same physical responses in your body that you would get if it was actually happening.

So, as you’re imagining that difficult conversation or potential bad news  your body is releasing cortisol (stress hormone) and possibly adrenaline, triggering your fight or flight response, suppressing your immune system and generally just messing up your physical health.  If you tend to be a worrier, there’s a high chance that you are doing this to your body a lot of the time.  Is that what you want?  How much interest have you paid on that non-existent money already?

The good news is that there are ways to stop this cycle and train your mind to find better things to do with your time and energy.  If you’re wondering how, read on!

 

So how do I stop?

The first trick to learn is identifying those unhelpful thoughts.  You can practice this by exploring some of the common thoughts you have.  Maybe they go something like this:

“Oh no, I might have to speak to him tomorrow and he might be in a bad mood and say something about “that thing” and then I might get upset.  Maybe I just won’t bother going.”

“What if I get made redundant?  What will I do?  Could I get another job?  What if I can’t?  OMG I’ll end up losing the house and I’ll be homeless and won’t be able to feed myself …”

“I’ve got that interview tomorrow.  What if they ask me something and I can’t answer the question?  I’m going to look stupid and then I’ll screw the whole thing up.  It will be a total disaster.”

Did you notice that those thoughts are full of what ifs and maybes?  None of it is fact, it’s all just speculation and building things up out of all proportion.

Once you’re able to identify when you’re catastrophising like this, it is easier to take control of those thoughts and to question their validity.  You can start to ask yourself what facts the thoughts are based on; how likely it is that these things will happen; where is the proof; and whether it’s even your problem to worry about.  Challenge your mind to prove to you why these things are even worth considering.

 

Develop strategies

If you do decide that there is a valid reason behind those thoughts, develop strategies for what you’ll do if it does come to fruition.  Let’s use potential redundancy as an example.  There are many ways that you could devise strategies so that you are prepared for any outcome that you can imagine.

Maybe you could choose to look at the job market to see what options are available; perhaps you could submit your CV to some agencies and let them do the legwork; when they offer interviews you can decide which ones to attend; if you do go for interviews it’s then up to you to choose whether you accept any job offers.

By taking these actions you will be able to stop worrying because you’ll know what job options you’ll have.  Other things you could do include reviewing your household budget and identifying where savings can be made; looking at alternative housing to see what’s available; looking at jobs closer to home to reduce travel costs.  There are always options that can be considered, even if they’re not perfect it’s still better to have alternatives to fall back on.

 

But I’m not being made redundant so this doesn’t apply to me

Great!  In that case, think about what areas of your life you DO feel anxious about, identify those “what if” thoughts, challenge them and think of strategies you can put in place.  You can decide how you will handle all sorts of things that we fret about such as health, relationships and money.  By taking time to think through some strategies for your “what ifs” you will feel much more in control.

 

Strategies provide calm!

Now that you have your plans in place, take a moment to assess how much better it feels to know that if one of these events happens you know how you’re going to deal with it.  Notice how much calmer your mind is now that it has plans instead of worries.

If you find that you’re still struggling to do this on your own, it might help to talk it through with a trusted friend or family member.  Of course, if you want completely impartial assistance it will be worth investing in some coaching to help you focus and find the strategies that will really work for you.

Whatever you choose to do, choose now to stop paying interest on that money you never even borrowed.

 

All the best,

Allison

 

 

What if David Beckham had decided to be a train driver?

Friday, July 24th, 2015

Bio Picture

 

Author: Allison Sutherland – NLP Coach & Therapist; for more info on Allison click here.

 

Could you imagine what it would be like if Andy Murray had chosen a career in public relations or David Beckham had decided to be a train driver?  I’m sure they’d both have given it a good shot, but I’m not so sure Andy would be great at press releases or media conferences or that David would be happy in a solitary job like driving a train.

 

What these guys have done with their lives is play to their strengths.  Andy Murray is talented, hard-working, dedicated and single minded about his sport (but not brilliant at interviews), whilst David Beckham is equally talented, hard-working and dedicated as well as being sociable and a great team player (and much better at interviews).  I wonder what it would be like for those guys if they had chosen careers where those strengths weren’t required and I can only imagine how miserable they would probably feel.

 

Just like Andy and David, we all have strengths as well as weaknesses and it’s often easy to focus on the negatives and forget the positives.  Do you know what your strengths are?  I know that three of my top character strengths are kindness, honesty and gratitude so being a coach and NLP practitioner allows me to use those strengths to help my clients – and I’m grateful for that.

 

On the other hand, criminal law would have been a very poor career choice for me as I’d have been faced with people committing acts of cruelty and dishonesty which would have posed a challenge to my main strengths on a daily basis, just as David Beckham being stuck in a train cab for 8 hours a day would have challenged his strength as a team player.

 

Life is less satisfying when we have to live in ways that challenge our core strengths and values.  For example, think of someone who is really creative and loves to let their imagination run riot – now imagine they have a career or a home life where everything has to be done in rigid routine and fixed processes.  How miserable would that creative person be?

 

When you think about your day to day life, are there things that don’t quite seem right?  What situations or people really “grate” on you? It could be that your core strengths or values are challenged by these situations or people and that’s why they make you uncomfortable, sad or even downright upset.  So do you actually know what your strengths are?  Think now about what makes you tick, what you enjoy doing, and how those things fit with character strengths like honesty, kindness, prudence, humour, love of learning, humility, perseverance, teamwork, creativity or zest for life.

 

Now imagine what life would be like if you could live it in ways that play to your strengths.  Imagine how satisfying that would be.  Often we fall into the trap of thinking that a job or a life situation is just the way it is and we can’t change it – that may be true about the job or the situation, but it isn’t true about us.  If you’re able to identify your strengths, then you will be able to find ways to do the job or get through the situations by making use of those same strengths.

 

But life isn’t just all about what you’re best at – your weaknesses can also be great assets.  If creativity is really low on your list of strengths you’re probably good at applying routines and processes.  If teamwork is low on your list of strengths then you might just thrive in a job where you get to work on your own and shine on your own merit.  Just by looking at it from a different perspective, your weaknesses can become strengths.

 

Looking back at Andy Murray and David Beckham, despite their very different sports and personalities, something they have in common is that they both have coaches.  Their coaches have helped them to focus on their strengths and build up on their weaker areas until they’ve excelled in their chosen fields.

 

Coaching isn’t just for top athletes or top business leaders – it’s for anyone who wants to improve or change their current situation, or get better at what they do, and doesn’t quite know how.  Whether it’s a career change, fitness, business or any other goal, a coach will help you to focus on what it is you want to achieve, your motives for wanting it, how you’re going to get there and what you’re going to do once you get it.

 

So, if you’ve taken a career as a train driver instead of a Premiership footballer, why not book a session with a coach and get started on playing to your strengths?

 

All the best,

Allison

 

 

The Power of Useful Thinking…

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

emma

 

Author: Emma Gwynne – NLP Coach & Professional Dancer; for more info on Emma click here…

 

Recently life threw a huge spanner in the works for me. Just to give you a bit of background, on top of doing this NLP stuff, I am also a professional dancer. For the best part of the past year – alongside other projects – I’ve been working towards a contract performing out in China over the summer. It’s a contract I delightedly took on last year, is my largest earner, and pretty much my dream job. I got to travel China doing what I love with my closest friends, and had been offered the same opportunity again this year.

 

Through unforeseen circumstances out-with my control, the contract was cancelled 4 weeks before I was due to leave; all the hours of work, my full wage for the summer, my dream job, all gone, just like that. Not only did this mean going back to the drawing board with bills to pay and no form of income, but it also meant – because of the other opportunities I was getting while out in Asia, and the time I would have had to work on them – that I had to completely scrap my business plan for the rest of the year.

 

Understandably, my initial reaction was panic: what the hell was I going to do now? I was devastated and couldn’t believe this had actually happened; something I had been looking forward to, and working towards all year.

 

I spent a few days moping around as you can imagine; I was utterly bewildered as to what I should do next, and, although it wasn’t anything I could have controlled, I felt like a failure. To make things worse it is my birthday soon and I am turning 28.

 

Now that may not seem old to a lot of people but in my industry it’s ancient, especially when girls a decade younger than me are coming in and booking the same jobs as me. The thought of starting from scratch at this stage was making me feel like I wanted to give up; to chuck it all in. I’m sure there are other jobs out there that are not so difficult, not so cut throat and full of rejection, but I know that not pursuing my passion and doing what I love will make me feel rubbish, so it was a catch 22 really.

 

I was at the point where I had no answers, so I did what is normally done when you are looking for answers: I went on Facebook!

 

Over the years – as I am sure many of you have too – I’ve seen loads of articles on positive thinking and they often have some good points; but in a situation like this, when I am still feeling immensely disappointed, it’s not easy or even natural to think positive.

 

That’s when I released that I didn’t need to think positive: I needed to think usefully!

 

It is entirely ok to feel upset when something doesn’t turn out the way you had planned or wanted, but there comes a point where the only option is to accept what has happened and move on. Years ago I would probably have given myself a hard time for feeling bad, but again what would I gain from this? Absolutely nothing!

 

Continuing to feel like a failure or dwell over what could have been will not bring my contract back, or get me other work; it will only prolong my anguish so what’s the point of thinking like that?

 

Instead I decided to think usefully; I decided to look at what my options are now.

 

OK, they may not be as appealing as what I had originally planned, but all I can do is make the most of the situation that I am in, and use the skills I have to get me where I want to be.

 

Ok, I may be 10 years older than some of my peers and competitors, but I also have 10 years more experience that I can use to my advantage.

 

I may have bills to pay and my largest form of income has now disappeared, but I will find work; the type of work I want without settling. I may need to be slightly more creative in how I go about it, but if I want it enough I will find a way to make it work.

 

You don’t always get to choose what happens in your life, things constantly change and I’m sure at some point, in most peoples’ lives, they will experience disappointment or set backs, in either their personal or professional life, but you do get to choose how you deal with it.

 

So what do you do when life throws a spanner in the works?

 

1. Let yourself be annoyed, pissed off, disappointed, angry, sad etc. It’s normal to feel upset when things don’t go to plan.

 

2. Think usefully: are the thoughts you are having about the situation giving you anything? If the answer to this is yes then that’s fine, even if they are negative thoughts – that can sometimes motivate people. If that works for you, then that’s good, but if all they are doing is making you feel bad then what is the point?

 

3. Turn your focus to a solution: what other options do you have, and how else can you get what you want or to where you want to be? Remember, you will only fail if you give up, or put a time-frame on your goals.

 

4. Remember the other things in your life that you have to be grateful for: When something happens we are often so focused on that one aspect of our lives we forget about everything else. Although you may not be in the situation you want to be in, I am sure there are still people out there in the world who would give anything to be in your shoes.

 

5. If all else fails speak to someone: friends, family, the lovely people here at the Scottish centre of NLP. There are plenty of people, including myself, who coach others purposely to achieve the goals they want, or in dealing with difficult situations. There are also loads of tools you can use to aid progression in achieving success in all aspects of life; but that’s a whole other article, for another time. So……

 

When life throws a spanner in the works you can let it knock you down or you can think usefully, using it to build something new. The choice is yours. I chose to build .

 

All the best,

 

Emma Gwynne

There’s life in the old dog yet…

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

olddog

 

You know what? I just decided the other day that I really hate the phrase “Back in the day”.

 

On a recent night out with old school friends we started, as we often do, reminiscing about the past. One of my closer friends that I’ve known for close to 3 decades started entertaining us with stories about the various shenanigans we used to get up to. He kept on starting each story the same way, using the phrase “Back in the day”

 

I’m sure you know the line and may have used it yourself… “Back in the day when we used to <fill in the blank with something you used to do when you were young> etc”.

 

I don’t know about you but every time I hear someone use that line I get a sudden jolt of anxiety. I know for many it’s just a turn of phrase but the thought that instantly goes through my mind is

 

“Today is the day! Not some time 15 years ago!”

 

Whenever I hear one of my friends use the phrase ‘back in the day’ I always feel that the silent implication is that our best years are behind us. That just because we are rapidly heading towards 40, some of us are going bald, some are going grey and some are going bald and grey that we no longer have the ability to be as engaged and connected with life as we used to.

 

I hate this implication. I also find it to be mostly untrue. So many things in life get better with age. As we gain life experience and our mind develops over time we open up the potential to appreciate layers of pleasure and meaning that we simply couldn’t see when we were young.

 

I remember the first time I went to see the film ‘Pulp Fiction’. I was 19 and I hated it. I just didn’t get it.  I’d heard all the reviews and acclaims of creative brilliance but the only thing that surprised me as I walked out of the cinema was how boring and pointless I thought it was.

 

The scenes were too long, there was too much talking and it didn’t even appear to have a coherent structure. John Travolta gets shot dead half way through the film and then miraculously appears in another scene right after it! I had absolutely no idea what the heck was going on!

 

It wasn’t until years later when I watched it for a second time that I realised the scenes weren’t meant to be shown in chronological order and the film did actually have a very deliberate and quite innovative structure. As I watched it through older and wiser eyes I suddenly appreciated the brilliance of the film. The acting, the dialogue and the quirky atmosphere Tarintino had created, it was utterly absorbing. Why on earth hadn’t I noticed it the first time around? Why hadn’t I saw and appreciated the genius?

 

The reality was the genius had always been there, it had always been a brilliant film…I just needed to age a bit to see it.

 

I don’t think we’ll ever gain a full appreciation of everything life has to offer but I’m pretty sure more layers of pleasure and meaning become available the older and wiser we get. As we become more ‘experienced’ we start to see layers of appreciation we couldn’t see through younger eyes.

 

It’s not just with films but with most things we do. If we are open and willing to look deeper then there will always be greater depths of enjoyment and fulfilment to find. There will always be more to see, learn, explore and experience, in both our current activities and the things we are yet to do.

 

If we start buying into the illusion that we are past our prime, in decay and that ‘today’ is no longer ‘our day’ though, then we start to close ourselves off to these layers. We’re on, as many pre-retirees, say ‘the run down’. We might as well pop into a pair of slippers, grab a cup of Ovaltine and start watching re-runs of ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ and ‘Cocoon’.

 

There will obviously come a time when our body is failing and our mind is nowhere near what it used to be but let’s not speed it up on purpose shall we?

 

That’s why I really don’t like the phrase ‘Back in the day’. Sure, it’s great to reminisce about past pleasant times and it’s wonderful to share memories with friends but I don’t think it’s particularly healthy to start believing that ‘our day’ has gone.

 

Today is the day! And now that we are a day wiser, it’s got the potential to be even better than yesterday.

 

 

All the best

Steve

 

Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

 

She burst into tears. I replied “Interesting!”.

 

Have you ever considered how liberating it would be to not get involved in any emotional drama…especially your own!?

 

Here’s my version of the drama process; an emotion happens because of something daft e.g. trains, work, relationship, money whatever. A wee voice inside our heads starts asking over and over again something along the lines of ‘Why me? Why does this always happen to me?’.

 

This begins to turn the volume up on the emotion at ever increasing rates and, before we know which way is up, we are wrapped up in an emotional drama which, of course, only serves to make the emotion worse, the voice louder and the drama complete! Sound familiar?

 

One concept I remember being taught a long time ago, by an excellent Yoga teacher, was the concept of witness consciousness; the understanding that the dramas of the physical world, both positive and negative, were not who you are. You are more than all of this and if you could meditate and connect enough with ‘spirit’, or whatever you personally call it, you could attain a state of witness consciousness, realise that ‘life’ as we know it is a transient phase of your existence and, therefore, you could watch your physical life unfold before you without ever getting involved in any drama.

 

Why would you, the dramas are mind stuff and the mind isn’t who or what you are?

 

It doesn’t fit me to take it quite that far but that doesn’t change the fact I loved the concept then, I still love it now and I’ve worked with it ever since albeit I’ve twisted it a bit.

 

So let me ask you, what would happen if you became a witness to your own thoughts? What would happen if, rather than losing yourself in your daily dramas, you stepped back as they began and just witnessed their emotional roots from a position of curiosity, like an emotional David Attenborough, fascinated by the curious behaviour of the creature that is you. What would Sir David say if his next epic programme was all about you?

 

The word ‘interesting’ is one of my favourite words and its one I use with myself and my clients all the time because, in my book, it’s a word of a witness. You see when I help someone hit an emotion, either positive or negative, it means we’ve discovered something together, maybe we’ve found something new, maybe it’s something old but I know we’ve discovered something! Now the fun is finding out what it is and how to make it do what we want!

 

So here’s a wee task for you tomorrow, or tonight if you still have time to fit in a drama before bed (if you’re in one just now even better!), feel what you feel as it starts, inside your mind step back from letting it consume you or acting on it (that doesn’t mean the feeling will go away, just you’re doing nothing with it) and just witness it. Watch it, see what it does. Don’t ask ‘why me?’, ask ‘why do that? What does it achieve?’.

 

One thing the great Sir David would think if he was studying the average person today? He’d be fascinated why, at times, they put so much energy into things they can’t change and so little into the things they can. But it wouldn’t bother him. He’d just think it was interesting.

 

After all, he’s only a witness. It’s not his drama.

 

Brian

 

Do you see the world in HD?

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

So I finally decided to bite the bullet and go for a long overdue eye test today and I am now the proud owner of a lovely pair of designer prescription specs. (I look super intelligent btw)

When I tried them on for the first time the words that instantly came to me were -

 

“Ahh, so this is how the world is meant to look!!”

 

My eye sight wasn’t that bad but seriously…it was like suddenly seeing the world in HD!

 

I spent at least 10 minutes staring at this tree in the picture. I couldn’t believe all the details I’d been missing and how beautiful it looked.

 

 

tree

 

 

It goes to show that you really don’t know what you’re missing until you’re suddenly made aware of it again.

 

I guess it can be a bit like going for a massage to release a knot in your back. You don’t know how physically tight your body has been until you experience the release.

 

It’s the ‘Law of Familiarity’. When we’re in pain our body and mind finds a way to manage and cope with it and we sometimes start believing that’s the way it ‘should be’. Everyone has their burden to bear in life right?

 

It’s only when we resolve the pain and experience the relief and benefits that come with it that we realise how much we’ve actually been struggling and just ‘making do’.

 

I think it’s the same with psychological change work.

 

You don’t fully realise how much you’ve been struggling and ‘just getting by’ until you experience resolution.

 

You really don’t know what you’re missing out on until you’re suddenly made aware of it again.

 

I guess it’s also relevant to your potential. You don’t know what you’re capable of until you let go of the things that hold you back.

 

So the question to ponder is this – What’s the thing you ‘manage’ or ‘just make do with’ and what steps do you need to take to start making it better?

 

Perhaps it’s a physical thing you’ve been dealing with, perhaps it’s psychological or maybe both…

 

Perhaps there’s a quick simple solution to it or maybe you have a journey of healing ahead of you. Whatever it is, now is the time to start.

 

If you’re already on that path, what’s the next step? The journey of a thousand miles always begins with the first step and then continues with the next one. What’s the next step for you that will make the biggest difference?

 

Think about it…

 

What do you need to do to start seeing the way the world is meant to look? To start seeing it in HD again…

 

Take Care
Steve

 

Are you ready to make a REAL decision?!

Monday, June 17th, 2013

 

How good are you at making decisions? If you are still pondering the answer to that question then you already have your answer…let’s move on!

 

Making decisions is actually, in most cases, really easy to do. You know what to do, more importantly, you know what you *want* to do, you decide to do it and, as has already been said, you move on. Decision made.

 

But that’s not what happens for many of us, is it? In fact what actually happens is we know what to do, we know what we want to do…then we look to see if there is an easier or less scary way to do it, we ask some other people in the hope they will make the decision for us, we worry about it for a bit, we procrastinate, worry, ask about, worry and then we then make a half ar$ed, safe decision that goes just some of the way, but never all of the way, in the hope that ‘it will do for now’ and then, when it all goes t!ts up, we decide we’re crap at deciding because we didn’t do what we knew we wanted to do in the first place and the whole cycle becomes even more difficult next time.

 

Sound accurate!?

 

The two places I see this strategy carried out most often is giving up smoking and losing weight. Both of these things are big things. Especially with weight loss, it can take time and both require lifestyle changes. But they are things that people all around us want. So why don’t they get it?

 

My opinion? It’s simply because they never truly decide to do what needs to be done.

 

I totally promise you, when you truly decide to lose weight or give up fags, you will. The biscuits will stop miraculously jumping in your shopping trolley and even Jim in accounts offering you a fag on that night out, when he should have known you were two weeks into giving them up, won’t be enough to make you go ‘aye, alright then, just one’. But to make these changes, it takes YOU to decide.

 

A decision is a moment of certainty. A moment when you draw a line that you want go back across. It is a moment of power where you gain a clarity and focus, where a switch flicks in your head and you just know, you don’t know how you know but you know, something has changed.

 

You don’t have to fight it, you don’t have to be told, you don’t need to feel good or ever feel like you’re cheating, you just choose, completely and congruently, to live life a certain way and, from that place, I promise you, even changing the big stuff is easy.

 

I know if you think about your life there will be times when you made a decision like this one. You’ll recognise that nothing would have ever undone it even if the results of that decision were painful or sore. You will remember just being focused on keeping yourself safe, happy or free and that made even the sore bits easy to cope with. So, you have the ability, now all you need is some practice!

 

Try it on. I dare you! Give it a shot tomorrow. Just for one day, decide to make a change. Doesn’t have to be a big one, but make is a good one. Decide right now that you are going to stick with it. Feel free to post it here in the comments if you want all of us to see how well you did tomorrow. But decide.

 

There’s a wee phrase I remember picking up a long time ago; baby steps lead to miracles, miracles don’t lead to baby steps.

 

Time to just find your feet tomorrow. Than maybe the next day you can decide to walk a little further. Who knows where you’ll be by the end of the week…

 

Do Good Things

 

Brian

 

 

Who ever said change HAD to mean ‘burning your bridges’?

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

So anyway…I’ve been meaning to ask this for a while -

Have you read 50 shades of grey? I haven’t and don’t think I will…but I DO really like the title!

When Brian and I were running our Licensed NLP Master Practitioner Course last week a theme popped up every now and again that seems to affect quite a lot of people.

It was the notion that people are scared of and can also sometimes be threatened by change.

The idea of change can seriously raise people’s ‘stuff’.

Change has mostly very positive associations for me but I know that’s not the case for everyone. In fact, for most, it can be pretty scary.

Perhaps it’s an unexpected change in your personal or work life or that you see the people around you changing while you seem to be standing still, it can often create angst and jealousy at a pre-conscious level out with most people’s awareness.

Why the heck is that? What about you…how are you with change?

Do you thrive? Does it always excite you? or does it sometimes freak you out a little?

What about your friends, family and work mates? When YOU change does it unsettle them? Do they embrace it or does it sometimes feel as if they try and ‘bring you down to earth’?

I’ve certainly found the later of these pretty common in my own life and it can definitely be quite difficult to manage at times.

I think there are lots of reasons why change can unsettle people but I find it mainly comes down to two things.

Firstly, a person’s threshold for difference and secondly, the idea that change HAS to mean that you are about to lose something.

In life we are constantly balancing the two forces of familiarity and difference.

On one hand we all need a base level of familiarity to function, feel comfortable and secure while, at the same time, we need an element of difference to create variety and spice things up a little.

Too little difference and we start to feel bored while too much can make us stressed or sometimes totally freak out!

If you’ve ever had a life changing event like the ending of a long term relationship or suddenly losing your job you’ll know the feeling.

In reality it’s not necessarily a bad thing (in fact most people in hindsight say lots of good stuff come from such events) but, at the time, it can be massively stressful simply because you just don’t know what the feck is going on!

So much difference and unfamiliarity has suddenly been thrust into your life that it can be hard to adjust initially and find your balance.

Most people find their balance eventually but it can take time to re-establish.

Everybody has their own threshold for difference…Some people can take lots of it and generally thrive on change and variety (these are also the people who have a low threshold for boredom) while others start falling off the edge with very little.

How is your threshold? How much familiarity do you need to feel comfortable exploring something new and different?

The second main reason is a trap that lots of people fall into.

The belief that change HAS to means we are about to lose something.

This is one most of us succumb to at some stage. It’s very easy (especially if you’re into self help!) to buy into the illusion that change HAS to mean the disintegration of one thing with the replacement of another.

Sometimes of course it does but a lot of change is actually about learning something new IN ADDITION to what you already do well.

Whoever decided it always has to be all or nothing?

This is actually one of the main reasons why ‘you changing’ (especially when you change dramatically) can often freak out your friends and family.

It’s not because they don’t like you and want to ‘bring you down a peg or two’ it’s that they don’t want to lose you! They think that just because you’re changing it HAS to mean they’ll in some way lose the special relationship they have with you

Again, sometimes this can be the case but it’s most certainly not the only path.

To completely obliterate an old behaviour and replace it with a new one is often called in NLP ‘sloppy work’.

To create new more empowering choices so they rarely if ever have to use the old way is much more elegant and healthy.

I love the metaphor of the shapes.

If you were an unhappy square who desperately wanted to change you might decide to become a triangle. For a while you’re a blissfully happy triangle, life is good!

Then, after a while you start to become unhappy again. You yearn for the ‘good old days’ when you were a square but you don’t want to go backwards so you decide to change again only this time you become a circle.

Again life is good! It feels different, fresh and new…being round is good!

Then after a while you start to get restless again…

You think to yourself, ‘what the &^*! I’ve changed twice now I’m still not happy! What’s next? A hexagon, pentagon? A two-dimension regular polytope? (it does exist btw!)

Well perhaps rather than changing to another 2 dimensional shape you could move to the wonderful world of 3D and become a cube…

Because within a cube you can also fit a circle, a square, a triangle or perhaps even a teradecagon if you wish.

By becoming a cube you increase your depth…you open the avenue for additional choices without necessarily destroying the old.

Sure, you might never want to be a circle again but you still have the choice if it feels right.

In actual fact, you’re not really changing at all, you’re transforming.

You’re increasing your flexibility and range of choices rather than replacing old with new.

Sure they’ll be times where ‘burning your bridges’ is the most useful thing to do and there’ll be times where a problem really does need to be exposed and extinguished but to suggest these are the ONLY avenues for change is nonsense.

There are *cough* ‘50 shades of grey’ in most things if you open your eyes and do a bit of exploration and there is often a way to include new ways of being in the world without destroying the old.

Maybe I will read the book after all, what about you? :-)

Take care
Steve

 

Confidence and Self Worth – Were you part of the ‘cool crowd’?

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

When I was in secondary I used to struggle badly with ‘the cool crowd’. (I know you’ll find that very difficult to believe :-) ) I never really seemed to fit in with them.

I soon found my comfort with a slightly less ‘cool crowd’ but one where I felt appreciated and valued.

I’ve since re-evaluated those memories as I now realise ‘the cool crowd’ actually weren’t as cool as I initially thought!

I met one of them recently on the train coming back from Edinburgh. His nickname at school was ‘Kempy’.

I thought he was super cool and, at the time, believed he was much more socially valuable than me.
(more…)

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