The news is everywhere, the musical genius that was Michael Jackson is
no more, yet his music lives on. There is no denying that Michael
Jackson was an extremely talented performer. So many of us grew up listening
to his music, and as we are seeing on the news, he was a huge influence
and inspiration on so many of today's top pop performers.
His sad death brings is a big loss for many and from an NLP perspective
we can also learn much from this superstar .. really!
Firstly, Michael, in his own way was a modeler, of dance, showmanship
and performance. In his early years he would spends countless hours
around other top performers and stars, and literally absorb how and
what they were doing. This won him the affectionate term of 'the
sponge'. He had a phenomenal interest and desire to learn the
behavioral patterns and skills of others including Fred Astaire and
Ginger Rogers. If you are looking to model someone yourself, these
would be good traits to bring with you.
And from what has been recorded about that time, we know he
didn't try to get inside their head, rather, just like a young
child he observed very closely what they did, without much
conscious processing. He outputted the behaviors he observed
(a key skill in testing any model) and when he didn't get the
result he wanted he went back to the source and repeated the process.
Over time he had so tightly honed this skill, that Michael was able to
quickly pick up entirely new dance styles very quickly.
But like the best NLPers he didn't stop there. He built on the things
he learnt from others, expanded and stretched the styles, and made the
output very much his own.
On another level, we could also say that Michael was a classic example
of having enormous freedom in one context (being a stage performer)
and in another context chained and deeply shy (meeting and interacting
with new people). The paradox of loved by almost everyone yet inwardly
Michael could electrify and completely captivate crowds of 50,000
people or more, yet could just as easily feel uncomfortable talking
about himself or opening up in front of new people in a non performing
I imagine it would of been quite magical to understand the unique
'map' Michael had. In ways, his mapping massively imprisoned
himself in, as we all have in our own ways from time to time.
Of course, there was also the massive public interest in 'wacko', which
Michael was happy (it would appear) to play up to.
And finally, from an NLP perspective we have the biggest impact from
the loss of Michael: the worldwide experience of shock, loss and
disbelief by millions of people.
From a physical sense we could say a person called Michael Jackson died.
Yet the global response, indicates that much more was occurring in the
cultural and individual maps of all those who have admired him and enjoyed
From an NLP perspective, it is pretty amazing that one event (his
death) could bring up so many different feelings in literally millions
and millions of people. The most common initial response appeared
to be shock and disbelief.
So the question is 'how did that occur?, "What would have to be
occurring in so many minds, that would trigger that as the right response?'
Chances are the strategy experienced by so many was structurally very
similar. Here is one strategy I noticed several times.
The person heard the news of Michael's death
Accessed a reference experience of MJ, often visual internal or Ve/Vi comparison
The internal representation (having been conditioned and installed
from hundreds of hours of seeing Michael perform on TV or be in the
news etc during a lifetime) seems MORE real than the static headline
of 'Michael Jackson dies, aged 50'. The active image you have in your
mind is still moving and perhaps seems larger than life
Therefore you get the feeling that, Michael still seems real and you say
'he must be alive, I can't believe it..'
Of course there are many other variations possible, but the above
example repeated etc would easily describe why so many people
experience disbelief. Their internal reference experience seems more
Unfortunately as the news continues to flood through people experience
a new experience and begin to turn from disbelief into a sense of loss.
And during this process, we have examples of Polya Patters of Plausibility
come into effect …
TMZ website says Michael is dead (but may not be that plausible)
CNN says MJ is dead (more plausible)
BBC says he is dead (additional playability)
All channels say MJ is dead
Coroner confirm MJ I'd dead etc etc (almost complete certainty for everyone)
As A appears to be true, then B, then C, then D and finally E (the coroner)
therefore millions of people suddenly have to reevaluate their previous thought
(that MJ can't be dead). This is a good example of how we "take on ideas" as
true and the more the more pattern in effect.
By this point, there have been so many sources and indeed reliable
sources say it, and back up with other apparent statements of fact
that it causes masses of people to re-evaluate their frame of
reference and begin to accept that this isn't a sick hoax. They now
believe Michael is dead.
By the way, along the way different people will have had different
threshold levels and strategies for being 'convinced' that he was
dead. For some it was immediate, others needed to hear it, see it etc
several times before it "sunk it" and "became real".
Seeing large patterns at work is one of the cooler things that we as
NLPers can be attuned to, and also learn a lot from how our consciousness
appears to work and indeed how to influence and effect the emotional states
of others en mass.
Yet the sad news remains, Michael Jackson has died. For me, like no
doubt millions of others, Michael was the number one dancer and overall
brilliant stage performer of our generation.
Rest in peace.