My understanding of behaviour is that it is something we can decide to change, by changing our state and internal representations. Our behaviour is something we do – not something we are. Our state is also something we do and can be changed. Both behaviour and state can be changed if we change our internal representations.
Example: Two people go to the same restaurant. They both feel like having Italian food, as they are really hungry after a long hard day at work. They both are looking forward to relaxing at a good restaurant. Person “B” suggests a restaurant he has heard of, and recommends they decide to go there.
Person “A” and person “B” both order the same meal – let say they get lasagna. The first person “A” sees the lasagna and interprets the restaurant as unsatisfactory. There is only a small side salad included, the are not given enough attention from the waitress, there are children making noises at a table nearby and there is live music in the background that is quite disturbing. This person does not feel relaxed as expected, and regrets not going somewhere else to eat. It seems to this person, that the food takes forever to be served; due to what this person believes is due to being understaffed. They should hire more people. How annoying is what this person would think. This person goes into a stressed state, wanting to just finish up the meal as soon as possible, leave and never return. The person´s behaviour is almost rude towards the waitress and body language “uptight”.
The second person “B” orders the lasagna and is happy that the plate is filled with more lasagna than salad. The same person enjoys the live band and thinks the restaurant has warmth about it, everyone is welcome, business people as well as families with children. The waitress/staff are interested in getting the orders fast put through, even though they are not too many people working. Person “B” admires the staff for multitasking, serving meals, taking orders, clearing off tables etc. It seems they are doing the best they can do and doing a great job. This person is more than planning on returning, smiling while enjoying his/her meal and in a happy state. His/her body language is totally different, and the waitress even receives a quite handsome tip.
Both guests were at the same restaurant and experienced the same surroundings, food, music, staff and other guests. They had different internal representations, were in a different state and had different behaviors. Their perceptions were also projected differently in their internal representations.
Person “A” may feel at effect by person “B” and give that person the blame of their restaurant experience, which was poor. On the flip side person “B” will feel at cause for his/her experience for taking action and recommending the restaurant, which appears to be super in his/her experience.
It is clear that the one person had positive internal representations, whilst the other person didn’t. By changing our focus and state we can choose our behaviour. Our internal representations can be trained; we need to take action and alter our state if we do not like the feelings we are presented.
This is an example of my understanding of the relationship between internal representation, state of mind and behaviour:
If I wake up in the morning knowing I have to deliver a presentation and having an negative internal dialogue about it may be because to a past presentation that did not go so well, may be because I am or somebody else is putting a lot of pressure on myself or am a bit of a perfectionist I will then be quite tense for the presentation and am much more likely to deliver a poor presentation (panic and have a blank or stuttered…) than if I have built myself up through visualisation, positive thinking, good preparation …and challenge my belief that I could do it, put the presentation in context and prepare to do my best. I will then feel much more confident and positive about the presentation and am more likely to be relax and able to think on the spot.
I found this section to be quite amusing as I really do see how one constructs their own reality through their internal representations. I have done this soooo often!
I believe that whatever you tell the mind /brain to do, it will do. There is a very close relationship between the internal representations and the state of mind. For e.g. If I get up and I’m grumpy, my state of mind stays in the grumpy, miserable mood and it affects the rest of my day. My internal representations will tell me that today is going to be a bad day and if I listen to them long enough…..it will surely be a bad day……then I say to myself “See, I told you today was going to be a bad day“!! If I change my state of mind straight away then my behaviour will be different. I will feel better, walk better, communicate better because of the change of state. I see internal representations, the state of mind and behaviours as a linked-chain. One just affects the other. I had a client who said that the weight management program would not work for her as she has tried so many other programs. I told her that she was probably right and that she should save her money. She will quite bewildered . I did inform her that if that was her thought then she was right….she had already convinced herself beforehand that it wasn´t going to work. With a little work, she was able to work on the internal representation and tell herself that the product would work for her, much better than any other…….and she lost weight………….RESULT!!
I am finding the NLP Communications Model really useful. I think I was aware of some of the aspects, such as taking in an event through my senses and needing to filter it through a range of filters such as beliefs and values.
The new part for me is what happens beyond that. Information about that event is filtered, some of it having been deleted due to too much information or irrelevant information, some of it being distorted due to our biases, and some of being generalised as a result of it being compared to previous experience and expected outcomes. The unconscious mind then re-presents this event as an impression, or ‘internal representation’, perhaps as a picture or a sound or a feeling. The internal representation then influences the person’s emotional state, which in turn influences their physiology, resulting, for example, in a change in facial expression or breathing.
By the time a person is aware of experiencing something (ie conscious of it), it has already been through these filters and re-presented by the unconscious mind.
The way we delete, distort and generalize life events will determine the internal representations and therefore my behaviours. These will be part of the internal representation of people for whose life I am an event and will thus result in their behaviours. If my behaviours are not positive and successful, I will not obtain what I want. By changing what my mind focuses on, I can issue clearer instructions to my unconscious mind and introduce a positive impact on reality.
People who are depressed may feel ill and tired more than people who are not, whereas people who are happy may feel more active, more confident and able to relax easily. This is related to the chemicals secreted in the brain. It seems that our health reflects our emotions and the way we are feeling and the emotions we feel follow the thoughts we think and our behaviour is determined by this.
The internal representation, which is our personal feeling about ourselves, affects the way we see the outside world. Everyone has different internal representations which affect how we perceive things. Our internal representation is usually based on our beliefs, values and previous life experiences. It is very important to focus on the things we want, because we get what we want.