Odd encounters … visiting a relative recently, I discovered a foot high pile of large fresh ginger roots sitting on the kitchen counter.
‘Why such an enormous quantity of ginger?’ I asked.
‘Mmm, yes, er, internet mistake …’ came the slightly embarrassed reply.
I didn’t even know you could order ginger on the internet. My curiosity was rewarded with a gift, and I went home with a lovely plump root, keen to try it in some Thai cooking. What resulted was the best Thai dish I have ever tasted. I mean the best. I always use root ginger, but I had no idea that good quality fresh ginger could make such a difference. I mean, I don’t want to overstress the point, but I would have continued for the next thirty years to adjust the flavours of my oriental cooking seeking for better flavour without once realising that just because something is called ginger doesn’t mean that it’s the same as that something I used to call ginger.
… or that we always know what we are talking about when we use a word to talk about it. I’m referring to our tendency to stay inside the Matrix or system and a restricted way of thinking about things. As if that were all there were.
The news example
Take the Matrix called ‘the news’ for example: the journalist in the matrix knows that in their version of ‘the news’ the economy has a label called ‘problem’.
Being a problem, someone must be to blame, so he asks an economist whose fault it is.
That – even with its strong slant – being much too large a question for an 8 second sound bite, the economist replies that bonuses are too high.
Within a few days, there’s what Chris Mullin used to call a ‘feeding frenzy’ over bonuses, ‘symbolic’ stripping of knighthoods and the whole shebang -and we’re nowhere nearer to improving the economic situation.
We’re inside the Matrix – where ‘the news’ means problem and ‘problem’ means there must be a culprit, and ‘culprit’ for some reason is the main interest of the exercise.
The 17 camels example
Take the camels story as another example, do you know it? A man leaves 17 camels to his 3 sons. He leaves half his camels to his first-born, a third of his camels to his second son and one ninth of his camels to his third son. The sons are nonplussed, for the number seventeen doesn’t divide by 2, 3 or 9, and they can’t bring themselves to divide a live camel in pieces. They are stuck inside the dilemma.
But they step outside the dilemma and consult a wise old woman.
‘I can’t solve this for you’, she says, ‘But I could lend you one of my camels if you like.’
With 18 camels, the first son takes half – 9 camels, the second takes a third – 6 camels, and the third takes a ninth – 2 camels. That adds up to 17. There is one camel left over. So they give the old woman her camel back and everyone is happy.
Inside the Matrix of a particular way of thinking, it’s impossible. Step outside, or add something else to the mix, and it does become possible. It used to be called lateral thinking.
The problem person example
And finally a people example. I once had a real problem with a colleague. He was just difficult. I thought of many different ways to tackle the problem and improve my relationship with this person but nothing worked. I didn’t really expect it to because I was in a box which contained me and a ‘difficult person’.
That summer I went to America for a whole month, and broadened and changed my outlook in many ways. I had a wonderful time, and didn’t think once about my difficult colleague.
But on my return, he had changed without my doing anything. I wasn’t the person in that Matrix any more, and therefore he wasn’t the person of that Matrix any more.
In the NLP Diploma
One of the many things we examine in the NLP Diploma is systems theory -aka ‘escaping the Matrix’ – which enables you to debunk some current thinking around cause and effect and problem solving, for example:
- Other people can make you feel bad – not true.
- Trying harder is the key way to overcome lack of success – very often not.
- Your problems are what they are irrespective of you – incorrect, you are affecting your problem by your relationship to it.
- If you tackle a cause C, you can achieve an effect E. True, but you won’t do that without also causing possible negative side effects X, Y and Z, so it would be a good idea to discover what these might be before going ahead.
I sometimes ask myself when I encounter a problem, ‘If I were outside this matrix, what might it look like?’ You might like to try it if you get frustrated at some point later this week!
The NLP Diploma starts on 1 March with the first module, Communication & Relationships. The other modules are on 29-30 March (Leadership & Influence), and 17-18 April (Coaching & Change). You will pick up a load of useful leadership, management and relationship skills, plus invaluable personal gains including increased self knowledge and purpose, and a sense of ease and confidence in your everyday life. These are great tools for succeeding in whatever you dream of achieving in life.
Anyone who has done a good NLP course raves about it, and with good reason. It feels like common sense – but that commodity is not quite so common as we might think!
This is my well-known course for confidence, speaking and presentation skills. You could just get onto the 9-10 February workshop if you apply today. The following one is on 17-18 May.
25 Sure-Fire Ways to Speak and Present with Confidence
I’ve just sent off the final edits and checked the final illustrations. I believe it’s going to be an invaluable little book which you’ll want to keep by you every time you have to speak or present. Order yours today here on Amazon. It will be available on Kindle too – as is my first book, Voice of Influence.
Someone asked me about coaching groups. Three that I always find excellent when I attend are:
London Coaching Group www.londoncoachinggroup.co.uk
Next event 28 Feb.
Guildford Coaches Group http://guildfordcoaches.org
Next event 23 March.
Soul of Coaching Group www.alternatives.org.uk/Site/CoachingCircle
Next event 22 Feb.