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.
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? ■