By Monika Nygaard, 
Published in Alderlea Magazine October/98

NLP counseling believes strongly that you get what you focus on. Whether it's a relationship problem or you're looking for life coaching, business coaching or personal coaching, NLP believes there are no unresourceful people, only unresourceful states.

Many people resist change because they feel too ashamed of  their issues to face them and deal with them, and even if they have the desire to, they may feel helpless and hopeless in finding any way of adequately resolving them.  So some people may try escaping or avoiding their issues; meanwhile the problem doesn’t go away and the it quite often grows larger or snowballs.

 These very outlooks are the biggest barriers to making any changes.  There is the story of a man who could no longer drive his car to work because parking rates had gone up and his car was becoming unreliable.  His easiest solution on his limited income was to take the bus to work.  However, he had a tremendous fear, almost a phobia, that he would end up sitting next to some crude punk.  So, he felt very uneasy and only went on the bus because he had no other choice.

 Fortunately, he lived at the outskirts of the city, so there were few people on the bus and he could pick where he wanted to sit.  He thought to himself, “God, please don’t let some crude punk sit next to me.”  As the bus slowly filled up with people, his anxiety grew and he kept saying to himself, “Please, God, don’t let some crude punk sit next to me.”  Finally there were only a few empty seats left, and into the bus came a very large man dressed in black leather with chains on his coat and arms, tattoos, purple spiked hair, and a very menacing look on his face.  Again, our passenger thought to himself desperately, “Please God, don’t let this crude punk sit next to me!”

 To his horror, the punk sat down next to him.  Our passenger turned to the punk and asked in a pleading tone, “Why don’t you sit in that other seat over there?  Why did you sit next to me?”  The punk just looked at him and grinned and said, “God told me to sit here.”

 This is a good example of a self fulfilling prophecy.  Shakespeare said, “Nothing is good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”  Because the unconscious mind does not hear negatives, our passenger was unwittingly creating this negative image repetitively.  It would probably have been more helpful to not ask for what he didn’t want, and instead ask for what he wanted, such as “I wish someone peaceful and quiet would sit next to me.”

 One of the first steps out of a negative state is to focus on what you do want (not what you don’t want).  One of the main principles of NLP counselling is there are no unresourceful people, only unresourceful states.  All people need is new information or different strategies to assist them in making the change. 

 Change is always possible.  In this there is no failure, only feedback and learning.  People are always doing the best they can with the inner resources they have available.  Hindsight may be 20/20, but during an event people respond in the best way they can.  If it doesn’t go the way they want it to, it just means there are new things to learn.  We don’t have to look at this as failure, we can see it as learning, so that we can respond more appropriately in the future.  In learning any new skill, one usually starts off awkwardly.  A child must first learn to walk before he can run.

 Equally important is knowing that people are NOT their behaviour.  People HAVE behaviours.  Just because you “screw up” doesn’t mean you ARE a “screw up”.  We can change that.

 After all, what is a good experience and what is a bad experience?  How do you define it?  Everyone will define it differently.  What is good for some is bad for others.  That we learn and what we learn are what the true value of the experience is.  So, in reflecting back after an event, it is important that we choose our reflective lenses carefully.  True happiness lies not in having what you want, but in wanting what you have and learning and growing from life’s lessons.  Happiness is an inside job.

Monika Nygaard is a Certified Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) Trainer, Time Line Therapy® Master Trainer and Hypnotherapy Trainer. She can be reached at nlp4change@shaw.ca
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