Happy Groundhog Day!
Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this morning! Aren't you thrilled we're getting an extra six weeks of winter?
Today is one of my favorite days of the year. Yes, because of the movie! And yes, I did drive all night through a blizzard when I was in college to go to Punxsutawney and take part in the festivities!
So before I take the groundhog out of the oven for today's feast, let's talk some NLP...
(Just kidding, by the way... No groundhog was hurt while I wrote this email...)
In the movie, we witness Phil Connors completely rearrange his model of the world, including his key drivers, values and beliefs. The whole package.
As NLPers, one of our goals is to expand and enrich the NLP alphabet to make explicit every single component of a human model of the world, and turn it into a parameter or variable. Every new variable we come up with gives us deeper programmatic access into the system.
Here's a great story that the wizard John Grinder shared in his book "Whispering in the Wind" on the origin of the second parameter he and Richard Bandler came upon, and then turned into code:
"It was late one pleasant afternoon in the middle 70's when I (JG) picked Richard up at his place at 1000 Alba Road in Ben Lomond, a small mountain community up the San Lorenzo Valley some 8 or so miles from Santa Cruz. We were to begin a new group that evening - the first meeting of such groups is especially amusing and charged with expectations, as first meetings tend to be. We had little if any knowledge who the people who would show up would be, but we were certain that since they were from Santa Cruz, it would be at least amusing.
Richard asked me to stop at the Ben Lomond liquor store so that he could buy some cigarettes. As I sat in the car in front of the store waiting for him to complete his transaction, I mused over the events of the last few months as well as speculated where we were headed next. We had completed The Structure of Magic, volume I with the Meta Model and we were flying. The response to our work, both by local aficionados and professionals from around the country had been immediate and extremely positive.
We were jamming - we seemed to do little but eat, drink and sleep patterning - well, maybe there were a few other things. As Richard stepped back into the car, interrupting my reverie, he was laughing. I asked what was so funny. He said (more or less):
— You know, John, people say the weirdest things, the woman I was talking to at the counter. She said, " I see what you are saying."
He then relapsed into convulsive laughter. As I pulled onto Highway 9 heading for Santa Cruz, I watched him in my peripheral vision, wondering to myself what it was that made the statement so funny to him. After several moments, I said to him:
— Does the statement, "I feel that what you are saying is unclear." strike you as funny as well?
Bandler looked at me sharply, appearing to be simultaneously bemused and startled. We then began a very special and very typical game between us: as we drove toward Santa Cruz, we presented one another with example after example of the "same" pattern. Yet again, the game was afoot!
Please understand that neither one of us could have at that point defined what this pattern was that we were generating examples of. This intuitive opening gambit in patterning was very common between us. Both of us recognized that we were tracking a pattern and while at some point it would become useful to explicate the pattern itself, that that point still lay some distance in the future. In the interim, we were content to pursue the game.
The journey was hilarious as we continued amusing one other and ourselves with more and more outlandish examples. As we approached Santa Cruz, I pulled into the parking lot of a general store and several minutes I later emerged with a sheaf of colored paper, green, red and yellow.
When we got to the place where the group was meeting that evening (a private home), we positioned ourselves as was our custom at the front and watched and listened to the interactions among the people present while waiting for the last few to arrive. In those days in Santa Cruz, it was de rigueur to begin the first meeting of such groups by inviting each of the members of the group, one by one, to stand and present themselves, usually announcing their name and what idea, if any, they had about what they were doing there. This evening, however, as each member of the group finished their short self-introduction, either Richard or I would reach down, touch one of the three colors of paper lying on the floor in front of us. If the other one of us nodded, the one touching the paper would tear off a piece of that paper and present it meaningfully to the participant, naturally without explanation."
What a cool way to come to a breakthrough!
This variable is known, of course, as representational systems.
In the decades that followed, more variables got brought into the coding repertoire. Variables like sub-modalities, perceptual positions, TOTEs, criteria, beliefs, timelines, values, strategies, and meta-states (just to mention a few) would enrich the NLP alphabet.
Whereas most NLPers today think of these parameters as ways to do therapy or changework, I invite you to look at them as key components when modeling exemplars and installing performance patterning in your clients. The greater your understanding of the code, the greater will be your ability to code and transfer performance patterning.
This will make you an even better coach and allow you to speed up Phil Connors' journey from mediocrity to excellence.