How NLP of­fers dif­fer­ent ways to get you out of trou­ble

Some­how it seems like we, the in­di­vid­ual peo­ple, have lost track of our­selves. Neuro lin­guis­tic pro­gram­ming (NLP) shows us why we let our minds fall prey to bad strate­gies and bad thoughts.

Living Now - - Coaching - By Adri­ana James

On tele­vi­sion and ra­dio sta­tions, politi­cians and pun­dits con­struct images of tough­ness to help you out – tough on crime, on ter­ror­ism, on hu­man­is­tic-in­spired ide­al­ism, on eco­nomic re­cov­ery, etc. They are all tap­ping into sen­si­tive spots, emo­tion­ally loaded with fear that blocks crit­i­cal thought among the public.

They pro­pose brute and harsh re­ac­tions on ev­ery mis­deed, but the re­al­ity is that we’re not get­ting any bet­ter. The public is left with a gen­eral sense of hope­less­ness and a vague hope for a bet­ter fu­ture – but in fact not much changes.

“Some­body, some­where will do some­thing for you”

Is­sues like “There is noth­ing we can do”, “Things are bad and this is how it is”, “Ev­ery­body ex­pe­ri­ences the same but in some fu­ture time there will be some help” were in the public de­bate and they all were re­framed in favour of “Just wait – some­body, some­where will do some­thing for you.” And most ev­ery­body ac­cepted this new way of think­ing. Why did this hap­pen?

The shift to­wards “we can do noth­ing in­di­vid­u­ally and on our own” is man-made. It is not real. If we all wait for some­body else (politi­cians, cor­po­ra­tions, in­sti­tu­tions, me­dia pun­dits and other cul­tural icons) to be able to find so­lu­tions for us, we will wait for a very long time – gen­er­a­tions maybe.

Crit­i­cal think­ing neu­tralised

Our abil­ity to think for our­selves has been made even harder be­cause we are bom­barded by mar­ket­ing tools to se­duce us to buy prod­ucts or even into their ways of think­ing. For ex­am­ple, in the ad­ver­tis­ing of fast food chains, a mes­sage was re­peated over and over again over years un­til ev­ery­body bought it. The re­sult is that every­one who is in a rush, every­one who wants a sim­ple, quick and in­ex­pen­sive meal will end up “lov­ing it.”

In NLP this is called ‘an­chor­ing’. The link­ing of great images, in­duc­ing happy emo­tional states, re­peated on and on for­ever ended up in the com­mon be­lief that fast food is a great way to have a meal. It is this on and on rep­e­ti­tion of an idea, linked to cer­tain images and cer­tain emo­tional states, that ef­fec­tively neu­tralises crit­i­cal think­ing.

The law of mere ex­po­sure

Psy­chol­o­gists, by ex­per­i­men­ta­tion, dis­cov­ered that it is a nat­u­ral ten­dency of peo­ple to be­come more re­cep­tive to what­ever kind of mes­sage the more they are ex­posed to it. This is called “the law of mere ex­po­sure.” We should ques­tion our­selves whether this habit is healthy for our gen­eral well-be­ing.

Be­cause we bought into the fear, many of us fear­fully went along with the new think­ing. Hope­less­ness and help­less­ness fol­low just be­hind.

The do-noth­ing at­ti­tude

The fa­mous Amer­i­can psy­chol­o­gist Abra­ham Maslow was clear about the fact that that there is also some­thing else which stim­u­lates our ap­a­thy – the do-noth­ing at­ti­tude.

Be­sides our sense of en­ti­tle­ment (“I de­serve that oth­ers do this for me” at­ti­tude), we are some­times tempted to do noth­ing but wait in ap­a­thy and in­dif­fer­ence for some­thing to be done. Maslow was also acutely aware of the im­por­tance of re­lax­ation and time off for our abil­ity to think clearly about dif­fer­ent so­lu­tions to our prob­lems.

Our own per­sonal well-be­ing, as well as the well-be­ing of the com­mu­nity as a whole, is based on each of us find­ing so­lu­tions by mak­ing well in­formed de­ci­sions. Cur­rently our re­lax­ation and time off – time in which we can just think about so­lu­tions – is un­der as­sault. Most peo­ple have to strug­gle to earn a liv­ing and this means that for most of us there is less time for crit­i­cal thought.

NLP can as­sist in de­vel­op­ing new strate­gies for ef­fi­ciency in deal­ing with time – how to make things hap­pen faster and eas­ier so we can have more time off. Psy­chol­o­gists have also dis­cov­ered that our abil­ity to think crit­i­cally and for our­selves is se­verely lim­ited when

we act un­der stress. Fright­ened peo­ple tend to per­ceive events and sit­u­a­tions through sim­plis­tic right and wrong an­swers, al­most child­like, leav­ing out the abil­ity to find so­lu­tions. Scared, we are eas­ily fooled into wrong think­ing. Politi­cians, news me­dia and cor­po­ra­tions can’t re­sist the temp­ta­tion to ma­nip­u­late this ten­dency. We have been slowly con­di­tioned to watch the news al­most as en­ter­tain­ment. You can­not blame the news me­dia for do­ing this. They have a busi­ness to run, and the more en­ter­tain­ing they are, the more we like to watch them.

How­ever, our think­ing be­came the big­gest vic­tim f this still on­go­ing process – if we are en­ter­tained by the news, care­ful scru­ti­n­is­ing of so­cial prob­lems, in­clud­ing our own, goes down the drain.

Will we be­come sim­ple ro­botic be­ings without any abil­ity to think on our own?

Taken to­gether, an as­sault on re­lax­ation and time off, rep­e­ti­tion of in­for­ma­tion, fear poli­cies and the trans­for­ma­tion of real in­for­ma­tion into en­ter­tain­ment cre­ate a sit­u­a­tion wherein our spirit for the com­mon good slowly dis­solves into an ocean of noise, dis­trac­tion and mis­in­for­ma­tion.

To put it more bluntly: Will we be­come sim­ple ro­botic be­ings without any abil­ity to think on our own? ■

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