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Study Tom Cruise: Tracking & Patterning 101

They say ignorance is bliss.


But self-awareness is real power.


And Tom Cruise displays both in an interview which went viral.


Information about how we and other people tick is power.


Thankfully you don’t have to have a genius to get good at patterning behaviour.


Here’s a fun skill building experiment you can do while watching one of TV's most memorable celebrity interviews.


In my previous article, I shared how to begin to develop the skill of observing and remembering more of what you see.


Here’s the next step in the process if you want to begin to track like a pro…


Watch this Oprah interview below.


Then write out this formula on a post-it note and put it where you can see:

Then write out this formula on a post-it note and put it where you can see:

O.M.R: Observe -> Mark-> Remember

I’d like you to pattern Tom Cruise.


This won’t be mission impossible. You’ve got some help.


First things first, what you don’t notice you can’t pattern for.


So put any distractions to one side.


Watch the video the whole way through as a ‘regular viewer’.


Then go back and watch a second time and this time MARK out the changes in state Tom Cruise demonstrates from the moment he walks on set.


Changes of what specifically?


That depends on what you are looking to pattern.


But for now, begin to notice the BIG changes in how Tom uses his body, changes in his auditory volume, pitch, tone and changes in his facial expressions.


(In real life - it can help in the early days to pattern for just one type of information change. As you develop greater skill over time, you can capture changes in body, posture, space, tonality and gestures as one unit.)


Here's the thing: People display patterns all the time.


We each demonstrate a set of behavioural patterns in a given context.


Those patterns leak information about the kind of states we are in.


As a people helper, noticing changes in states, both large and small can be very useful.​


As you watch the video a second and third time and have:


Step 1) Observed a change in state


Step 2) Taken a mental snapshot in your mind and assigned a number to it.


There are several ways you can mark it. You can...


Hallucinate a number on top of Tom Cruise and give it a colour Assign an auditory sound to a unique location Use one of your five fingers to mark out it out kinaesthetically by tapping it on a table or surface within your eye line ...among several other options.


Each time you notice a significant state change - mark it using your chosen method and assign a number to it.


Step 3) Continue to remember what you observed/marked. When you notice a change of state, repeat the process.


(If you struggle to track it in your mind, you can record it to paper.)


People frequently will go back and forth between states as Tom Cruise demonstrates.


And Tom does it with so much energy in this video the process is easy to see.


Watch the video one more time through, this time begin to track things at a meta level.


Identify the bigger patterns a given chunk of behaviour is part of.


What function do they serve?


What impact do they have on Tom, Oprah and the audience?


The more you practice OMR, the more capable you will become at patterning on the ‘fly’.


And will be able to track for longer periods and across more systems at once.


It’s a very cool and useful skill to develop, and something that should be in every NLPers toolkit.


In time, you will be able to quickly track important distinctions in a sequence of events that are happening right in front of you.


And even anticipate state changes before they happen!

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Everyone has something they’d like to change in their life. I’m here to help you transform the behaviours that get in your way so you can have the life you really want.


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