Rewiring and Changing Beliefs and Belief Systems

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Jonathan Altfeld
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Rewiring and Changing Beliefs and Belief Systems

Rewiring and Changing Beliefs and Belief Systems

How can Knowledge Engineering or Belief Craft help us change beliefs & belief systems?

Here's a slightly simplified version of how we use Knowledge Engineering to rewire someone around a "problem" or "limiting" or "stuck" belief or set of beliefs. Instead of using Sleight of Mouth to challenge or attack or undermine the problem belief.... we use Sleight of Mouth instead on the LINKS between beliefs... so as to rewire completely around a problem belief. Then, while the "wiring" for the problem belief is still there... no one uses it anymore, because they'll have other, better resources to choose from.

The OLD method of Sleight of Mouth would have been to undermine that red belief structure repeatedly until the subject or client found an alternative. The KE-and-Sleight-of-Mouth -based Belief Craft approach to this is to leave the red one untouched, but offer new wiring around it that will always be preferable, and thus, always chosen instead.

What do we mean by Links?

The links between beliefs are ephemeral, or virtual. What is more accurately meant, is that the results of one belief... (such as what would normally be written into the square of one of the white beliefs up above)... will be "reflected" or "picked up" by the conditions of one of the subsequent or next beliefs (such as the green or red beliefs above). The conditions are what would be written into the triangle of each 3-part belief structure. 

Something happening in the squares of the white beliefs... may then enable something in the conditional-triangle of any other beliefs. So if one of the conditions (triangles) of the red or green beliefs... 'becomes true' or is enabled by something happening in the results (squares) of the white belief(s)... then one belief firing off leads into another belief firing off. That only happens through the passing of time. So the links are *implied* as a time-dependent sequence. Change what happens first and the actual sequence of which beliefs fire or lead to other beliefs firing... can and often does change. So the links BETWEEN beliefs are not hard-wired, they only exist through time.

There's a genuine challenge with conveying "just a bit" about KE via text, where you can't see me pointing to specific points on a diagram while I'm describing certain aspects of a belief. In person, this is easy! Via text... not so easy. I've always found it a challenge attempting to train that "simply" via text, because often, giving any examples usually lead not to simple understanding, but more questions about how it works. This process takes 3 days minimum to train. But I'll give it a shot! 

Also, the following examples presume we skip ahead into the middle of a simplified coaching conversation in which I'd already done the "conversions" -- and in which someone's problem boiled down to a single belief statement (it's usually more like a cluster, in "real" examples).

For the moment, think of beliefs more like floating molecules of water... in a cloud. No order to them. But sometimes... lightning strikes... connecting them up in a certain order... at a certain moment. Sometimes lightning splits and takes two paths or more paths and not just one. How we move through the world in terms of how our beliefs guide us is very much like that.

And while in the past you may have thought of beliefs as feelings or values or any of those things... for me in KE, a normalized belief statement (3-part NBS) is like a conscious or unconscious fork in the road. It guides our behavior in a given context... and that choice has some form of meaning for us (either a lot, or a little). 

Some normalized belief statements are procedural, like, "once I go up from this tax bracket to that tax bracket, I should give away $X, which means, I like keeping money from the gov't." 

Some normalized belief statements are more emotional or threshold based, like "if I bump into Fred and Fred pushes my buttons again, then, I'm finally going to give him a piece of my mind, which means, I'm mad and not going to take it anymore."

A high-chunk belief like "God Exists" would likely be translated/converted into 1000+ normalized belief statements about how having that high-chunk belief causes them to act or not act when facing specific situations. So this huge cluster of beliefs would be more like a moral compass consisting of specific preferred choices. Each choice would likely have its own NBS.

If a belief only has one condition it's "waiting for..." and one result... then that belief will likely be part of a linear process, step by step.

But most belief statements are not linear. Most have several conditions... any of which may "be satisfied" by results from potentially multiple lead ins... and at least one result but possibly several results. And any one of those results may potentially enable any of several other beliefs to fire.

That's why the diagram is a bit oversimplified. In reality it's a bit messier than the above, but the principles are the same if you're rewiring around one problem belief... or 10 clustered beliefs that make up a problem.

So -- that's my preface for the example.

Read the ABOVE comment first, before reading these examples!

So -- let's say a person has a "limiting belief" that is successfully converted into these two constructs. These would potentially be examples of the "RED" beliefs structures. That doesn't make them bad beliefs, just... potentially unresourceful ones.


NBS #1:

IF: I'm working at the binding machine again
AND my boss sees me
AND I'm making mistakes again
AND my boss notices those mistakes
THEN: Get Nervous
WHICH MEANS: "Pressure makes me nervous."

NBS #2:

IF: I'm working at the binding machine again
AND my boss sees me making mistakes
AND I'm Nervous
THEN: Get Flustered
AND Apologize
AND ask for a Different Task
WHICH MEANS: "I can't learn under pressure"

Again, these are oversimplified examples.

Notice that each of these NBS's has multiple conditions (that are unrelated until they happen to occur all at the same time). In the diagram above, it would be WHITE beliefs that might lead to these conditions being true. An example of a WHITE belief in the above diagram is... "If we have a customer expecting their package by 5 and Sally who normally does the binding work is out sick, then "I'll go work at the binding machine, which means, we cover each other as needed." There's no emotion to it, it's more like a rule than an emotionally-charged belief. But that is a belief that would lead to ONE of the "important" conditions in one of the problem beliefs... becoming true. If all of the conditions for any belief become true... we say "it fires." Or, "it fires off." And then the results of that belief occur.

If a person is "stuck" with the above emotional pattern, we would want to propose alternative emotional resourcefulness in place of the problem. So we MIGHT want to check for or propose some alternatives...

IF: Great Learners make a lot of mistakes
AND they learn from those mistakes with glee...
THEN: They get better fast
AND they begin to desire making more mistakes
WHICH MEANS: "The best learners make the most mistakes."

IF: I make lots of mistakes
AND I learn from them
THEN: I'm becoming a great learner
AND great learners enjoy making mistakes
WHICH MEANS: "Learning MUST involve mistakes"

IF: I'm working anywhere on a task
AND my boss sees me
AND I'm making mistakes
AND I enjoy making and learning from my mistakes
THEN: Maintain my cool
AND Enjoy my job and productivity
AND Take pride in getting good at different things
AND My boss remains happy.
WHICH MEANS: Everyone makes mistakes
(or: I'm a great learner!).

I know -- this really needs a visual display to show how I would propose alternatives where every result from "white" beliefs might lead into "red" beliefs can alternatively lead into "green" beliefs.

In KE & Belief Craft, we do all of this visually using big blank sheets of paper -- and 2.5"x5" post-it notes. Each NBS is diagrammed out on a post-it... and then they can be moved around as needed, as they're individually elicited.

Hopefully you can begin to get the gist from this about how this process unfolds.

Learning Belief Craft after working for years with less elegant belief work in NLP... is a lot like finding a tiny sweet spot on a tennis racket. When you finally hit the ball in the perfect spot... you hit an unstoppable shot, and it feels "perfect" -- for both coach & client.

I recognize there's an initial hurdle to thinking this way, until the penny drops. But literally "everyone" who takes KE or Belief Craft eventually says "Oh wow, it really is a lot simpler than it first seems."

I find that for most of my students, getting from 0 to 5mph (beginner understanding) with this is a challenge.

Then, getting from 5mph to 30mph (functional with KE for basic coaching purposes) is really easy!

Then getting from 30mph (beginner understanding) to 100mph (gifted at using it in coaching etc) is more like a linear process that takes a LOT of practice.

But then... if that first hurdle were really easy... you wouldn't find SO much confusion "out there" in the NLP world... about how the heck to work with beliefs *effectively*. I'm offering what I believe is the gold standard in belief work.