NLP... for living a more Heroic life. - NLP Article

By Jonathan Altfeld

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Are you living a -heroic- life,
in the way you'd always dreamed about?
In a way that inspires ourselves & others?

      I'd like to take some time today to discuss NLP in the context of living a more heroic life, and beginning to embark on your own hero's journey. Maybe it will offer you some insightful ideas as to how to create your own wake-up call and get moving in a useful direction!

      Let's start by exploring these questions:

  • What are your favorite movies or TV shows?
  • What are your favorite books?
  • What are your favorite fictional characters in books &/or movies?
  • What makes them your favorites?

      Usually we will find something heroic in these materials with which to measure what's important to us. Often we find characters who embody the behaviors, abilities or values that either guide us -- or those with which we WISH we behaved more in accordance. In the western world, plainly stated, many have lost sight of their own personal place in the world -- or they've never found it in the first place.

      Throughout history, mythology has been used to identify and celebrate the purposes we each choose for ourselves.

Mythology is a yardstick for measuring how or even if we live in alignment with our dreams.

      Mythology by itself is not where the gold is, of course -- it's one method of expressing what's heroic about or in each of us. So let's explore that idea further.

      In the western world, the more we spend time at computer keyboards or in cubicles, or in our own home offices disengaged from other people, the harder it becomes to measure our own heroism, and how far we are from living our dreams. In a day-to-day fire-fighting mode of handling whatever problems arise one after the other, the less we take stock of whether or not we're living our dreams.

      Are you living your dreams? If not, don't ask "why not?" That focuses on the problems, rather than the solutions.

      Instead, simply ask, "What can I begin to do, now, to find the hero or heroine inside me, and begin living more in accordance with my dreams?"

      I personally found that NLP was an exceptionally useful methodology for systematically getting me more in touch with my own mythological hero(es), and making the changes necessary to align me more with the heroic path I had chosen long before, but for years failed to even see, let alone implement. I'm serious -- the underpinnings for what was truly most important to me were there -- established -- for years before I noticed them, recognized them for what they meant, and then acted upon them. Are you in that same boat now? What will your own hero's journey be like?

      I find it fascinating (but not surprising) how often I'm asked "can you give me some examples of NLP in movies?" In the past, I've given a couple of movie names where specific NLP techniques can be seen. I'll do that here too, but I'm going to take it further. In point of fact, anytime you see a hero doing something heroic, expertly, and seemingly without effort, it could be painted as an example of NLP in action (NLP is about doing what works, more effectively, with less effort, and, having learned it far more quickly using accelerated learning methods). After all, every NLP Practitioner learns how to elicit strategies of genius from any other person, and then try them on, rapidly getting to similar results the expert gets, in years less time/effort.

Here are some concrete examples of
NLP in movies:

  • Legend of Bagger Vance: The NLP Golf Strategy: "How do you know when to swing?" 'When everything else goes fuzzy, my head gets quiet, noise fades away, the fairway shrinks, and the pin gets life-size right in front.' In this movie, Wil Smith explains something very similar, which he calls being "in the field."
  • The Negotiator: Samuel L Jackson gives a basic (though flawed) description of an NLP lie-detection technique based "from Neurolinguistics" on where a person looks, left vs right, when asked a question. In practice, that's not quite how it works, but the idea is close.
  • Meet the Parents: Robert DeNiro interrogates Ben Stiller with a lie-detection technique that, though presented in campy fashion, more closely approximates how NLP lie-detection is accomplished (by comparison to the over-generalized comment in Negotiator).
  • Don Juan De Marco: The power of beliefs in action (not to mention seductive language patterns). Congruence even in the face of overwhelming odds -- can be inspirational.
  • K-Pax: For the same reason as above.
  • Field of Dreams: For the same reason as above.

Here are some great examples of
NLP in television shows:

  • Ally McBeal -- virtually every episode in the first season had multiple great examples of NLP in action. If Ally McBeal's first season ever becomes available on DVD -- it ought to be a must-have item in every NLP student's library. :) Watch what attorney "John Cage" does. He thinks of himself as a "specialist." Odd, but effective.
  • Lie to Me -- Similar to NLP, this involves micro-calibration of emotional responses, to determine lies from truth.
  • The Mentalist -- As an NLP Trainer, I'm noticing NLP in MANY of the sorts of things the main character (Patrick Jane) does. I could even have written many of those scripts.

      Perhaps more interesting than all of the above specific examples or NLP in movies or NLP in television would be something a bit larger in perspective. Here are two film 'events' that have touched many of us recently and reached farther than have many others -- in both scope and meaning.

      In particular I'm speaking of the MATRIX trilogy, and also, of the "LORD OF THE RINGS" (LOTR) trilogy. I would describe both productions as being of epic proportions, with significant mythological importance for us today.

      One could easily make the argument that one is not remotely in the category of the other, but the global success of both trilogies speaks volumes about how well they speak to us about our humanity, today.

      If you have avoided seeing either, I would suggest you stop doing so! :)

      I readily would understand if you say you don't like the violence shown or implied in either of them, or, maybe you don't like computer graphics, or ancient fantasy tales, or whatever. I suggest to you that these stories transcend those boxes into the realm of the mythological, and if you are today seeking your own heroism in any way shape or form, then these films may very well inform your future or at least get you thinking 'outside the box' in a useful way. See all 3 movies within each set, in sequence. Better yet, see them with friends who are NOT cookie-cutters of your own personal style or preferences. Engage them in dialogue throughout.

      You may align most closely with one hero/heroine, or another. Maybe the reasons are obvious to you, maybe not. After all, wanting to have/exert 'super-hero' -like powers is nothing new in human mythology. This goes to the center of who we are and how we'd like to evolve.

What are some of the 'super-powers' you wish you could have/exert upon the world around you?

  • Do you wish you could fly?
  • Do you wish you could slow or stop time and move at the speed of light?
  • Run faster? Swim like a dolphin? Stretch limbs? Climb like a spider?
  • Do you wish you could turn any material into any other?
  • Do you wish you could cast magic spells?
  • Do you wish you could bend 'weak minds' to more congruent positive aims?
  • Do you wish you could curb injustice and create more harmony?

      Maybe your wishes are more grounded than that -- like...

      Attract a romantic partner (or several). Make friends instantly. Know truth from lies. Magically be at ease, let alone own, any conversation. Train people to thoroughly enjoy meeting your wants and needs (and to get value in return as a result).

      If there are any others... what are they?

      I am often asked which of the characters in either the Matrix or LOTR story lines, that I most align with. My answer is rarely as simple as they seem to hope, because I see value in many different roles, and see immense value in the systemic interaction of those roles.

      I see value in Neo... the savior/messiah: Finding the ability and willingness and wisdom inside to sacrifice in order to achieve great aims.

      I see value in Moorpheus... the guide: Finding people who don't see the brilliance in their greatness, yet.. and setting them on their most heroic path, on a hero's journey.

      I see value in Trinity... the Nurturer: Supporting the weakness in someone who is on a great path but cannot reach it alone without help

      I see value in the Oracle... the Omniscient: Knowing what's likely to happen, and then enabling it to happen not by telling people a series of steps to follow, but rather by leading people gently into their own timely discovery of what will be required.

      In literally thousands of circumstances since 1997, NLP has helped me to take on these and many other often disparate roles, and act in accordance with what "the moment" most required. In fact, without having learned NLP, I don't think I would have been anywhere near as resourceful in all these rich memories. I think I would have continued to blindly behave according to years of built-up habits.

Here are two specific examples of fictional epics that have been highly inspirational and influential to modern generations.

      One, the Star Wars movies. How many of you wished you could become a Jedi? I wanted to have "The Voice" -- being able to use Jedi Mind Tricks, and move objects in space with my will alone. Being able to feel the presence of another or cause them to feel my presence.

      I have found that SOME of these skills are not fantasy -- but reality -- through NLP. I'm still working on Psycho kinesis, with no real results yet. :) But many 'Jedi Mind Tricks' are real, as is the ability to become so congruent that there can be no argument with your position. Not fictional, thanks to NLP.

      I was also fascinated by the DUNE series by Frank Herbert. There is a great deal of NLP to be found in any of the DUNE books. One of my colleagues suggests the 6th book, "Chapterhouse Dune," is one of the best for finding examples of NLP. I think the first book, "Dune," offers ample examples. Here are some:

  • The Bene Gesserit Sisterhood: They teach their members skills for physiological control at the cellular level. We know that the mind affects the body, and that good suggestions can change us at the biochemical level. Not fictional, thanks to NLP. They teach their members mental patterns to affect and control their emotional states (like the 'Litany of Fear'). We use all kinds of linguistics and other skills like anchors to affect/control our emotional states. Not fictional, thanks to NLP.
  • Mentats. The ability to set up a mental state in which vast computational power becomes available. Granted, they used chemicals to induce that state, but with NLP, we can use our language patterns, or self-trance, or anchors, etc.
  • The SPICE: Alters the consciousness to be able to see patterns across patterns, hidden intentions, clues across time. With NLP, we have time line patterns to see/experience time differently, and we have the ability to create and access a wide range of "states of Excellence" which can help us see/do virtually anything more optimally.
  • Not to mention the central character's transformational shift, which becomes the centerpiece against all other changing backgrounds. The message becomes, change consciousness, and everything else changes as a result. Definitely not fictional, thanks to NLP.

Find the Motivation inside...
to Achieve Greatness!

      The bigger lesson afforded by exploring any and all of these examples is that becoming better than who we are today is a universal fascination that emerges across cultures and generations. It is supremely human to want to evolve! And most of us have found through studying those who seem to evolve the most, that the optimal way to do so, is to find our own heroic life, our own hero's journey, and take that journey as fully as possible.

      We'd like to be one of your partners and mentors in your efforts to begin and maintain that lifelong heroic journey! Give us a chance to help you evolve!

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