NLP is essentially about three things, deciding on outcomes that we desire for our life, noticing where we are on our progress towards achieving our outcomes and having flexibility of thinking and behaviour that will enable you to change path if need be to get your outcomes. This is about getting your life the way that you want it.
One of the keys to achieving outcomes is to understand how you are currently producing the good and less good behaviours in your life and understanding your inner communication mechanism. Here we discuss how this mechanism works and how we can put ourselves at cause for our results in life.
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Our mind represents what we see, or have seen. If we were to go on holiday and walk along the beach, you would feel the sand within your toes, the wind blowing on your skin, the smell of freshly applied sun screen, and maybe the crashing sounds of the waves as they break on the shore. All these representations determine what it is we focus on.
Your mind filters the information and it is then represented to us which determines whether we are happy, sad, angry or relaxed. The Mind will filter the information as a result of life events, beliefs, decisions, attitude, memories, values, language, all of which will have an impact of the way it is represented to us.
A good example of representation could be a red bull with horns. When I was a child I was told that bulls with horns will charge at you, so as someone living in the country as a child I should avoid putting myself in a situation where I would be faced with this type of danger. This instilled belief meant that whenever I saw a bull, I assumed it was not safe to cross it’s pathway as a result of it charging toward me. In this example the beliefs were instilled by my parents as a child and the memories I had of that situation affected my decisions moving forward.
Your internal representation creates a state, a feeling or emotion, so in this example when I need to cross a field which had a bull in it, I became very apprehensive, scared and possibly frightened at that time.
As a result of this state a physiology would have been created. If I recall the time where I had to contemplate cutting through a filed with a bull in it, I have no doubt in my mind that my expression would have been vacant. I would have probably licked my lips as I do when in an uncomfortable situation, I would have blinked a lot less than normal as I contemplated what I should do, a vacant stare of contemplation.
This physiology then creates behaviour, so in this case it was to run as quickly as possible passed the field until I felt safe.
What is interesting is that our representation system determines what we focus on, and as a result it will determine how we act immediately following that chain of thought. What is interesting is the way in which your mind generalise certain things. Like the way a door opens, or even the way in which you assume the steering wheel to be in a car. Only yesterday when parking my car I saw a woman get into the left side of her vehicle before driving away. I had to take a double take, you guessed it the car was from America. This was a classic generalisation where I assumed the car would be right handed as this is the way my mind has previously represented it to me based on repetition.
For me where I have previously woken up in a bad mood, or felt like today is going to be a bad day, then I can be curious to think about what’s caused this? What’s triggered this?
If my thoughts have been constructed in a way that is formulating a negative connotation, then I can change what I focus on to change this feeling. Representation is not the reality, there for I can change it.
If I think about it I will create it, if I use my internal voice to project positive ways of thinking, such as “I’m going to have a great day” then I know I will.
For me the real eye opener is my own unconscious mind, if I don’t want something to happen then the chances are it will because I’m focusing on it subconsciously. As the mind takes everything personally, it sees this as an order as a type of instruction. There for if I can reprogrammed the way in which I represent the situation towards something positive, then the mind will take this as an instruction and it will happen.
You can choose to take control/be in charge of your life and make things happen (Cause) or you can sit back and watch as your life evolves (Effect). If you stay in your comfort zone you more or less know what to expect, it feels secure, requires little effort but limits your options, you stay in at “Effect”. However if you go to your “Stretch Zone”, challenge yourself, take small steps towards your goals and the outcomes that you want to achieve, then you are at “Cause”. You are the one creating your own success, progress and/ or achievement.
A core theme of NLP is that successful people make things happen. This is at the root of the concept of Cause and Effect, where Cause is ‘active’ and about results and success, whereas Effect is ‘passive’ and about reasons and excuses for not achieving (and perhaps having a victim mentality).
The Comfort Zone is a familiar and predictable place where people often stay without thinking about it. There are many reasons why people stay in the Comfort Zone, including fear and habit. For me, stepping out of the Comfort Zone is about active, conscious choice – choosing to be ‘great’ when someone asks you how you are, as opposed to ‘not bad’.
Being at cause is about taking responsibility for your actions, empowering yourself, taking control of your life. People who achieve success tend to do that. People get what they focus on when they make the decision to be in charge.
Being at effect is blaming other people when success is not achieved, making excuses and not taking responsibility for events.
The Comfort Zone can be summed up by the colour grey. People are in the comfort zone when they muddle along. They are only partially happy because they do not want to ‘upset the apple cart’. Sometimes it is necessary to do this, and leave the comfort zone by taking risks, in order to achieve success and real happiness. People live up to their expectations, i.e. if people expect to achieve, they will achieve. In order to move fully to the Cause position and meet your expectations, it is necessary to leave the comfort zone.
Cause is taking responsibility for our own actions, decisions and choices and making things happen in order to be in control of our own destiny, while Effect is losing concentration or focus on life and not taking responsibility or making decisions to help us move on, whilst always blaming other people for our emotional state or for what is going wrong in our lives.
Our Comfort Zone is where a lot of us like to be, otherwise known as the Grey Zone, where we continue with our lives where its comfortable and we’re content with what we have got at that present time. We don’t take any risks or change anything that could potentially help us achieve greater happiness or move on with our lives.
The two may be related as they both focus on the choices we make in our life, or if we choose not to do anything, which have an impact on our success or not, which also allows us to achieve our desired outcomes in life or not. In other words, in order to live the life we would like to, we need to know and focus on what exactly it is we want out of life and what choices are available to us in order to have the best chance of success.
Being at “Cause“ is to be self empowered and to take responsibility for ones life and own actions. Making decisions and being in control is important. Taking responsibility for ones decisions and actions and not blaming anyone else for things or situations that have happened in their life. Successful people are always at “Cause“, as they make things happen.
Being at “Effect“ is just being in “Victim mode“. Most people spend most of their time here. Others and life situations are normally to blame for these individuals who have not achieved their goals or the outcomes that they expected.
The Comfort Zone is also a zone where many individuals spend most of their life. For most people, being in this “grey“ zone is comfortable, meaning that they sit and accept that life is good although deep down they know that they can do better but they just don’t feel comfortable going beyong their limits. Taking risks and jumping out of this zone is difficult for most.
In relation to Cause and Effect, if one is able to take the risk and jump out of their comfort zone they would most likely be at “cause“ as they are taking responsibility for their lives and doing something to change their circumstances. They have decided to jump into the drivers seat and take charge of their destiny.
Whereas, staying in the comfort zone will promote more of an “effect“ state as they would probably blame someone else for not being able to jump out of the zone. They would be happy to settle for less and stay in the comfort zone. Using Self doubt, situations of the past, their past experiences will be good excuses for staying where they are.