NLP Presuppositions (7): I am in charge of my mind, and therefore my results

This ‘NLP presupposition’ (a convenient term for a working assumption you need to make in order to really get results with NLP) is essentially about putting yourself “at cause” rather than “at effect”.

If, as we’ve discussed in earlier articles on other ‘presuppositions of NLP’,  you have all the resources that you need, if mind and body are one system, and if your state is a response to your internal representation of the world, then you can put yourself in the best state to get results by changing what you do and the way that you think.

In principle you can overcome any limitation; of course, this doesn’t mean that it will always be easy, or that you won’t decide that the energy it takes to overcome a limitation would be better used elsewhere. You always have a choice.

You are also in charge of improving your mind, so you can get better results in the future. You have a choice about what you learn about and how you spend your time. Just as an example, someone who has watched every episode of Eastenders has given over 2,300 hours of their life so far to learning about the famously depressing lives of fictional characters in a soap opera. Is that the best use of their time? They, like you, had a choice.

It’s not just about results. In his ‘Don Juan’ series of books, Carlos Castaneda (a big influence on the founders of NLP, though the books should definitely be taken as metaphor rather than non-fiction, and the first four or five books in the series are better than the later ones), discussed the concept of ‘impeccability’. Essentially, this is being free from self-importance, not expecting the world to owe you anything (and hence not complaining when things don’t go the way you want), and absence of ego. If you know that your decisions have been impeccable, you will have no regrets.

More recently, Don Miguel Ruiz has distilled Castaneda’s teachings on impeccability into ‘The Four Agreements‘:

1. Be Impeccable With Your Words.

2. Don’t Take Anything Personally.

3. Don’t Make Assumptions.

4. Always Do Your Best.

If you want to explore this topic further, The Four Agreements would be a good place to start (not every reader will want to read Castaneda‘s tales of sorcerors, drug-induced visions and trickster teachers, although personally I loved them).

In practice, impeccability may be more of an aspiration than something that can be realised 100%, but I have found the concept very useful for getting myself out of the traps of self-importance whenever (like most human beings) I occasionally fall into them.

Once you realise that you are in charge of your mind, and therefore the results you get, you can’t take your own self-importance seriously. Your heart just won’t be in it.

In the end, it comes down to Richard Bandler’s question – “Who’s driving the bus?”

© 2011 – 2023, Andy Smith. All rights reserved.

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