NLP & Resolutions
Believe it or Not The turkey has fattened the New Years resolution and the party spirit waned and in need of vitality for the year ahead, while on the shelf dusty and hidden lay the resolutions from new years past. How do you plan to make this year’s resolutions different?
Are you going to achieve them this time? Are those pounds going to fall off? The smoking notes put back into the bank account? or the new you with preened feathers ready to seize the skies and make trails to your new continent of hope?
If you have already made the change, what was different than before? How did you make that decision this time to actually achieve your goal? Resilience? Power of the mind? Sheer will and determination? Or perhaps something more fundamental and deeper lasting? Something that when you changed it you can never go back to where you were before?
A trip down memory lane
Remember when you were young, Christmas was just around the corner and presents were busily being prepared for you by those merry workers in the North Pole ready to be delivered to you on that eventful day. Four months later another lot of very helpful people were making eggs out of chocolate and leaving them for you too.
Delighted and surprised at what you received you never gave them a second thought. You never thought about the reality of the situation, how could you? Father Christmas and Easter Bunny were as real as the people you lived with. Until something changed..somehow you were presented with evidence that initially you may have wanted to ignore, hide from and refuse. You then became open to the possibility of another truth; though not yet ready to fully enter into it, you stood with one foot in one world and another in the other. Later on at some point you changed, your world changed, you changed, forever now different. How?
A Compass Without North
They are everywhere, they surround us, imbue us and make us act or not. They stalk our very being and soul, make us fight and be free, hate and feel love, want, need and possess or let go and be. Beliefs form the very fabric of who we are, our family, friendships, society and culture. Without them we would be a compass without north.
In their very existence they let us know how to open doors and operate elevators, discover relationships that match our needs and wants, know where we want to go on holiday and what clothes to wear. Because beliefs are our little helpers that bring everything to you just for you; they sort out the world into components and compartments, boxes and bins, labours of love and all sorts of things. They work day and night insidiously quiet, resolute and loyal, making the world just right for you so that you won’t boil.
Beliefs will partition and segment things for you, filtering out what does not match before. But in their labour of love they leave behind the truth, the truth that can harm or the truth that acts as a charm.
Acting upon the un-reason of the world
Beliefs do not act upon reason or a logical framework of ideas, but upon the unreason of the world so that we can navigate our way through it. Since we do not know what is real (the map is not the territory) we have to form beliefs. These beliefs are our interface with the world. They let us sort out what is important for us and continually deliver the same things that match our needs. Beliefs are our self fulfilling prophecies. They provide the evidence back from the world confirming that what we thought was true is true, but this truth is only a construct within ourselves and not in the world.
Consider the fact that two people can have fundamentally two different beliefs about the same experience. Who is right and wrong? Both and neither. This leaves us with the thought that if beliefs are surely only that, just beliefs and not reality, then just dump them and get something that is going to be more positive, exciting and fulfilling. But is it as simple as that? Just dumping them and getting new beliefs?. ‘yes’ though you may wish to ‘exchange them’ as you would foreign money after an excursion abroad. Just ask yourself these questions:
“If the world is more than what I believe it to be. If I only have access to a portion of the world through my senses and even less through my beliefs, do beliefs act as a filter? If so, what would happen if I were to change some of them, would I gain more access to the world and would my perceptions of it be different? Would I then act and be different? Would I start to make the changes that I wish?” Can it be that simple.
In part it already is, you will have had changes of beliefs all through your life. In some way you could say you have had a change of mind or thought or opinion about something. But what we are concerned with here, is not the everyday thoughts and opinions but beliefs that are buried deep that stop us from achieving what we wish to achieve.
Luck or determination?
Many people try desperately each year to change their unwanted habits, to make their new years resolutions come true or aspire to be someone new. And yet only a proportion of them will achieve their goal. What therefore is the difference between those who succeed and those who don’t? Can we just put it down to luck or determination, or is that just too vague and mystical. Some will be a little more accurate and say, “Well they just knew that they had to change, or that they could change”
Something changed in that persons world for them to make the change, something enough that moved them from a place of wanting to change to can change. When we look at beliefs, fundamentally there are three types of forces that act upon the change process:
a) Whether we have to change
b) Whether we can change and
c) Whether the change is external to us over time
For instance some event or series of events act as a counter example of what we believe, as in the Father Christmas or Easter Bunny episode, we either saw our parents as Father Christmas, or were told by them or told enough times by our friends at school. Either way, in the example of c) we would have had to have moved from believing through to the possibility of not believing to being open to believing something new and then believing that.
Red herrings and smoke screens
Beliefs are notoriously hard to find, and find cover behind smoke screens and provide red herrings to the lay person. It is not within their interest to change because they are serving some purpose that is being fulfilled through the person’s behaviour. This is called the secondary gain or more accurately the primary motivation for the belief to wish to stay in existence. Given the Father Christmas episode, perhaps the wish of the child to not to want to believe anything else is the sheer magic and joy of what Father Christmas represents, a person who is magical, flies and does these amazing things and brings happiness to the child. Finding out that Father Christmas is not real takes destroys all that the fairy tale means.. The fundamental world of the child’s beliefs have been taken down as quickly as the Christmas tree upon which they stood. While for an adult this may not be a life shattering moment, for a 6-10 year old, where their very existence and world of fantasy of dreams lay this can be quite traumatic, as much as to carry a new belief into their adulthood that the world is mundane and uninteresting.
Going beyond the Edge of Reason
Believing things about the world is not enough, taking your beliefs to the edge and finding out the validity behind them can be quite a revelation. When you have a belief that has been with you for a significant portion of your life and affects the very being or who you are what you do and perhaps more importantly what you will not do, and then having it change can have monumental effects upon your life and they way you are.
Beyond the edge of reason is about not accepting your fate or destiny because it has been written in your past, but knowing that not only events change how you see the world, what you believe and how you act but also what you choose to believe in.
Going beyond the edge of reason is about looking at the fundamental ways we are and act as people, about who we are and the beliefs that no longer serve us as individuals. Taking a deep look at the pervasive attitudes and thought virus that surround us in our culture and daily lives through the media and having the knowledge, experience and skills to say “no not anymore, I can change now”.
Believe it and do it
It is all too easy to accept the habit of having the same pattern of behaviour or belief that we have, than to go beyond the reason behind it and change it. But the technology for change is here today to change the beliefs, to act upon what we desire and require. To make sure the new years resolutions happen only once. To know that what you wish and desire is not only achievable but holds a better promise of tomorrow today than yesterday. Let Christmas be everyday and your new year’s resolution be that you can change. Don’t just wish it; believe it and do it. Go beyond the edge and reach to find your own vistas of possibility. Venture forth and be alive.