Have you ever wondered how some people seem to breeze through life with ease? Everything falls into their lap, what they want miraculously appears or just happens. Even when something tricky happens, they come up smelling of roses and for the better! I bet you know someone like this.
Well, those people have been studied, and one thing they often have in common is how they think and what they 'tell' themselves in their head.
They typically have similar belief systems. I’m not talking about religious beliefs, more like guiding principles they believe to be true. They are sometimes called the Presuppositions because people who hold these beliefs presuppose them to be true. And sometimes they are called the Beliefs of Excellence.
I like to think of these beliefs as different imaginary jackets that I can try on and change to suit different situations, just as I would wear different jackets in different weather. And if one belief doesn’t work for me, I try on another.
One of these beliefs is, “there is no failure, only feedback and learning.” So, when people who hold this belief make a mistake, rather than thinking of it as failing, they think of it as learning and another step closer to success. Rather than beating themselves up they likely ‘tell’ themselves that they are making progress. You might have heard of an American TV artist called Bob Ross. He used to call his mistakes, “happy accidents,” and would enjoy learning from them. He encouraged his students to make, “happy accidents,” and through their, “happy accidents,” they would discover a new painting technique or effect that was both beautiful and unique to them.
If someone reacts to something I’ve said in a way that surprises me, I now know they have understood something different to what I meant to say. I know this might seem like common sense, but I didn’t always react with patience and take ownership of what I said. Sometimes I would show my frustration and repeat what I’d just said only louder or slower. I cringe now thinking about that. Now I’ll try on my, “the meaning of the communication is the effect,” jacket and think of it as my responsibility to be clear rather than their responsibility to understand. And I’ll check with them that we are on the same page and my message is clear. I’m definitely more patient than I used to be by thinking this way, and of course not all communication is verbal and with people. It’s also a great belief to hold with my dog… and that’s for another blog!!
And those people who live life with ease. I’m sure you know or can think of someone like that. Well, another belief is, “what we recognise in others mirrors the structures we hold within ourselves.” In a nutshell, if you can spot it, you’ve got it. So, you too have that quality, skill and way of being, that living life with ease, within you. If you didn’t, you simply wouldn’t recognise it.
I’ve literally just spoken to one of the kindest people I know. She dropped off some freshly baked bread for us! How lovely is that! I now know that to recognise what I call kindness in her, I must have experienced that kindness, and at some level have that same kind of kindness in me. And even if I don’t act on it, I have the ability and capacity to be kind in the way she is.
Of course, very uncomfortably, the reverse is also true. So, when I see narcissistic, rude, arrogant, bullying behaviour, I know at some level this is also true of me, and I have the ability and capacity to be narcissistic, rude, arrogant and a bully. Ouch!! However, spotting brilliance in others, and holding the belief that I too have that same brilliance at some level, can give a huge confidence boost and opens the possibility of being brilliant too!
These are just three of the Presuppositions or Beliefs of Excellence and there of many more which we cover on our NLP training. Experiment with these and try them out for yourself.
Go on, try on a belief jacket and notice what happens.