Get A Grip On Reality, Really!
I was reading a story on Sky News recently, under their Strange News section about
"Britons are losing a grip on fact and fiction" where almost 1 in 4 of a recent survey thought Winston Churchill never existed and it got me thinking … How do you know what is true, real or simply something you've powerfully imagined?
If you've never studied NLP, then chances are such a question seems a bit bizarre, yet it's a really important one. Regardless of your profession you need to be able to figure out quickly what's real vs. not real and pure imagination. And to be able to walk the tight rope between the two.
About two years back I had a very real experience where my mum was involved in a very serious traffic accident that left her in a coma with severe brain damage. She went out on a short errand and five weeks later woke up in a trauma ward bed with almost no movement in her body and fighting for her life to recover after several near misses with Death.
I'm very relieved to say she lived and is doing well today and that period of my life proved a very fertile opportunity to put my NLP skills to tremendous benefit for my entire family. I won't go in to every detail on how I used NLP in health and in crisis situations but I will share with you a couple of distinctions about how to shape anyone's reality.
One day early after my mother came out of the coma, my younger sisters came to me and were crying .. when I enquired into why, they said, "mammy is annoyed that we didn't compliment her on her bed" .. I replied by going "what do you mean?", to which they said, "she thinks she left the hospital the other week and visited Doctors in London and Switzerland and bought her bed in a furniture store .. it's so upsetting that she doesn't know it isn't real".
My first thought was a little disbelief, "how could she not know that her trip isn't real," and I was curious to find out more. I realised that my own 'map' of my mum hadn't changed and just because she could talk to me didn't mean that things weren't the same. So I began a little investigation …
Brain damaged is known as the "silent killer" in that to the ordinary person the patient of a brain injury can look entirely "fine" but beneath the skull the brain can have changed radically. In my mum's case, although she had suffered extensive brain damage I was fully confident that she has an amazing ability to heal and I was sure to do everything I could to help her.
So I started talking to her and I relayed how I had heard that she thought she bought the bed on a trip out of the hospital .. and she nodded that she had, along with getting a 2nd and 3rd medical opinion about her situation. I shared with her how as surprising as this might sound, she hadn't left the hospital; indeed, she had been in this exact bed [unable to move] for weeks.
In actuality in life you are either setting the frames that shape the groups and indeed your own, or you're letting circumstance and chance decide what people and you will believe is real for their life.
She was a little taken aback and as I began to elicit her reality strategy conversationally (by getting her to identify what common sub-modality patterns were present for specific events I knew from personal shared experience were real) and then compared that against the several "false memories" of travelling to London and Switzerland I then helped her collapse those non real events from the real (by using a mix of time line, guided sub-modality reality integration suggestions through conversational trance). And five minutes later she was then awe struck by how she for a time really, truly and wholeheartedly believed those other false events had happened.
So what's the take away from this? Reality is what your mind makes of it. I could just as easily now believe I am writing this post in a igloo in Siberia, hearing planes flying over head as I could to believe that I am tucked away in my nice apartment that happens to be on the flight path to a major London airport.
The people who took that Sky News survey and believed that Winston Churchill was a work of fiction simply didn't have a good reality strategy for remembering history, and chances are represented it in that fuzzy way that gave them an emotional signal of "not sure" or "no". So next time you're working with friends, clients or patients, remember that with grace and ease you can install new memories in people at any time. Repetition is key as is intensity .. along with the absence of no counter representation that disagrees with the one you are building for your clients.
There is no reason why you couldn't drop positive "false" memories of better times, better decision or any other number of resources in a client's mind through skillful storytelling where you draw the client's unconscious mind into your narrative and bypass the conscious "critical reasoning" machine that we all have.
What fun and positive gifts could you make available to others by being an agent for good and helping construct a powerful reality your friends, family and colleagues want to be drawn toward?
In actuality in life you are either setting the frames that shape the groups and indeed your own reality or you're letting circumstance and chance decide what people and you will believe is real for their life.
The creation of memories and installing new ideas and beliefs isn't something that only happens whenever there are NLPers around. It's something that is happening all the time!
The press, your friends, your family are all involved in creating a 'shared reality' that you too are part of. So before you think "gee shaping someone else reality could be difficult" remember that you're doing this to yourself every day by the things you say, the habitual ways you look at things. All you are looking to do from this post is develop your skill in how to do that more consciously.
First off, if you don't know your own reality strategy, get a pen and paper, or better yet a voice recording device and elicit your own reality strategy. Then ellict your strategy for knowing if something is real or not (by comparing the sub-modalities of two to three "real memories" and comparing them against two to three "imagined" memories and notice what is different.
Secondly, pay attention to the news and notice how they "frame" a news story or ongoing news story that spans weeks such as the "Race for the White House." By observing how the press frame and re-affirm a story, you can become more skilled at how you will express your own stories. Partly what is key in news stories is the powerful presuppositions used and the fact that the anchorman or anchorwoman rarely questions the "angle" a new story is delivered from.
Finally, go out and practice sharing stories with friends, but share it from a 2nd or 3rd position and see how that alters the experience of the story but also how you can express a very different representation of the story that builds a whole new "shared reality" for your listener to join you.
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