I received an email last week with an interesting structure to a problem. It gives me the opportunity to unpack some material about belief changes and some general ideas you can use when covertly changing beliefs.
Let’s start by examining the email I was sent.From: Bryan Sent: 19th 00:32 To: Rintu Subject: Re: The Secret Sauce that Lets any NLP Technique Work
Here’s a question for you: I understand the usefulness of influence and persuasion in both business and other situations to benefit both myself and others.
However, I find myself dealing with two beliefs that aren’t serving me, and I’m not sure how to change. Specifically, I have a belief that it is morally wrong to change someone’s mind because it violates their ability to be self-directed, which I hold in high value. The other belief is that it takes overwhelming effort to bring and keep belief change / persuade someone / make and keep the sale. So much effort that I don’t want to or can’t bring about these results.
Logically, I know both of these beliefs to be untrue, however, as I mentioned, I’ve had difficulty changing these beliefs and keeping the change. This obviously hampers my persuasive ability and negatively impacts my income.
Do you have suggestions on how I can change these two specific beliefs?
This is a common issue with people. They have a belief that they know isn’t serving them or is not true but they still believe it. It is an interesting structure because it really highlights the issue between the logical and emotional aspects of people. Logically Bryan knows this is not useful or true but emotionally he is held to it.
The good thing here though is Bryan obviously see the logic in believing differently. Have you ever met those people that are so emotionally invested in what they believe in that they won’t even look at the logic or the evidence to the contrary? That would be a lot harder to deal with but on the same grounds they are unlikely to come to you for belief changes.
For Bryan to hold these beliefs in place when he logically knows that they don’t serve him he must on some emotional level gain something from them. As such there is no point in assailing him with more logic or challenging his beliefs directly.
The Quality of Your Thinking is Based on the Quality of the Questions That You Ask Yourself
The question I have in my mind was, “What has to be in place with his thinking for these beliefs to still hold true for him?” Once you have an answer to that question you can leverage the change Bryan is looking for from there.
Obviously Bryan was not in the room with me so I took a leap of intuition as to the answer to the question and then formulated a response based on an idea. Here is my response:
Sorry I’ve been a bit busy and therefore slow with emails. My initial thought is if you know that logically both these thoughts are untrue then what benefit are you getting from keeping them in place. Let me explain why I am asking you this question. If you already know there is no logic in not letting go of the position you must be gaining something from keeping it.
For example smokers know how harmful smoking is for them but they must be gaining something from it to keep the structure in place. And take this the right way this could be a positive or a negative thing. If I go back to the smoker they might be getting space between tasks to collect their thoughts or some sort of stress release (positive things), or they might be hiding from the fear that they don’t have the will power to stop. But whatever it is there is something you are not yet letting go of that holds these beliefs in place.
Based on the way that you have structured your question if I were to take a wild guess I would imagine that the real issue is that you would like to be self-directed and imagine that it would take a massive amount of effort to change your will once you have set it. If that is the case then surely the idea of self-direction also includes the idea of changing direction when you are presented with information about a better direction. Let’s face it you are not in control of your direction unless you have the ability to change direction. And if that is the case how would your self-esteem grow if by your dealings with people you were helping them to be as self-directed as you are with yourself?
Hope that helps.
What We Think, We Are
In case you are not following what is going on here is generally the process I am taking Bryan through. The first two paragraphs are about pacing where Bryan currently is and making sure we have a common understanding of the issue. We are also getting him to focus on the thing that is stopping him from making the change.
The third paragraph is about leading Bryan to a change. The truth is I don’t really know what is holding this all in place but based on his email this would be my best guess. He has all but said he is conflicted about his values and the way he has written his emails gives me the idea that he is a man that likes to be in control.
It is always a lot more hit and miss doing this remotely by email but I am reasonably confident that I have the right issues and reframes for this area. Often so long as you are in roughly the right area it will work. So I have reframed each part of Bryan’s issues. I have reframed the values conflict to say meeting his values involves using these skills rather than not using them. And I have used an ‘apply to self’ pattern on the control issue (how can you be in control if you don’t know how to let go of control).
Hypnotic Future Pace
If I were properly bolt and bracing this email intervention I would end it with a future pace. For NLP Jargon Junkies this is just a pattern that would get Bryan to think about how much better he is with a new belief / way of thinking. But sadly I was working fast and needed to get on so forgot to add that line.
Consider this, we know the way Bryan is thinking has separated the logical and emotional components of his beliefs. And that the emotional end is being held together at a logical level that is not being expressed consciously.
How useful would you find it if you knew a bunch of preframes that you could say to people that ex pose the structure of what is holding their beliefs together and then gives you the opportunity of reframing them, in just the way that I was doing in this email?
But here is the difference the preframes I am talking about are covert trance inductions that that generalise a lot of these issues and allow you to blow them out before even the client has the opportunity to express them.
These preframes don’t always work but when they do you will gain the reputation of being some sort of magician…people will be saying that they come to talk to you and ten minutes later all their problems disappear. And the ones where it doesn’t work first time you always have the opportunity to help your clients in more normal ways.
Here is a short clip of me playing with some spatial anchors and these preframes. As you can see from the very first comments from the student he has already been tranced through the floor and been through some significant change work.
I have these preframes recorded, demonstrated in front of a live audience where you can note the precise tone, body language and phrasing that I use. But in reality once you have the general idea you will come up with your own ideas, metaphors and ways of delivering this to make them total your own. Click through here to find out more: