The greatest obstacle to living freely and intentionally that you face may be a simple lack of good options. From the moment you gain consciousness each day, you have the potential to make choices in how you think and act.
Without a doubt these choices will determine the quality of your life. Most of us, however, lack the awareness of the best alternatives available. This is where Neuro-Linguistic Programming shines like no other personal development tool.
Is it better to view the activities of the day that you look forward to, or consider the negative things that may happen if you lie in bed for another hour? Should you talk to yourself in a calm tone of voice or command yourself to get up immediately? Are you aware of what works best for you and how your current method of communicating with yourself affects what happens next?
When communicating about something important to a family member or co-worker, are you choosing wisely when to seek information vs. give information? Does it occur to you when it is best to speak in vague terms and allow the other to fill in the details? Do you know when it is better to be very specific and are you thoughtful about when to do what?
Are you consciously choosing when to immerse yourself in your passion and feelings vs. when to take a more objective viewpoint? Do you know how to intentionally do either of these? Do you choose when and how to take another point of view as you make decisions or propose ideas?
When you are deciding whether or not to do something specific, are you focusing your thoughts on the doing or on the end result? Which of these is the better choice, given what you want to accomplish?
Do you choose words that will lead others to experience their feelings, or their internal sense of imagery or sound? What is the benefit of communicating in such a way as to invite others to experience any of the above?
Do you often think in terms of what you want, or what you don’t want? What is the value of both of these viewpoints and when do you use each one to motivate yourself and others?
Where is your attention at any given time? Are you focused on the external environment or on your internal world? Are you considering the past or the future and where it is most productive to be focused as you move through various situations in your day?
The list of questions could go on and on. As we teach NLP, we find that most people most of the time are simply not aware that these choices exist. We simply are not taught how to use our minds, bodies and our mouths intentionally.
When we aren’t even aware that we have choices, we tend to react to others and the environment in whichever ways we have picked up over the years by observing others who didn’t have many choices either. Sometimes this works out fine. At other times it is disastrous.
When you set goals, do you get in touch with the specific, personal resources that you have which will be helpful? Do you consider what, specifically, you will need from others? Do you carefully reflect on how pursuing and attaining the goal will affect other areas of your life and make plans to accommodate any ill effects?
You already know, consciously or unconsciously, how to do it all! Life becomes so much easier and your effectiveness within yourself and in the world increases ten-fold when you become aware and merely apply what you know in each situation as you encounter it.
Here’s the scene: your spouse is upset because of something you have done (or failed to do). He is verbally attacking you. Naturally, you defend yourself by giving lots of information to justify your actions and prove yourself blameless. This only fuels the fire and creates greater argument and tension.
Imagine instead choosing to seek information rather than give it in this case. You calmly ask three or four thoughtful questions that allow him to completely explain his case. Naturally, he calms down once he feels understood, at which point you switch to giving information that he should know. Is this easier or more difficult?
Learning and choosing the most effective way to communicate makes life so much easier! Here is another scene: your child is distracted, playing with toys and not listening to your request to get ready for bed. You get upset and begin yelling. At this point your child begins to cry and is so upset that he doesn’t want to go to bed.
Imagine instead directing your mind to the past. In your own childhood you remember how easy it was to get distracted while playing and how hard it was to go to bed sometimes. You immediately take your child’s point of view and feel compassion.
You then take a few minutes to play with him before gently reminding him that it is bedtime. This takes about the same amount of time that the yelling and crying scenario would take. Instead of anger and tension, however, you feel connected and at peace with your child.
Nothing has a grater impact on our quality of life and happiness. It seems absurd that we don’t spend much time learning how to communicate well.
Learning and applying NLP may be the single best investment you can make to bring your life and your relationships in harmony with your deepest desires for happiness and productivity. With a knowledge of NLP, you understand the structure of communication and this understanding creates choices that may have never occurred to you before. It’s all about living intentionally, which is knowing what to do and when to do it.
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Last reviewed: 24 Mar 2013