Category: Neuro Linguistic Programming

Mindset Matters

Posted on 10/19/11 by admin

EagleI am constantly amazed by the impact of a mindset. I see it in business. I see it in with my friends. I see it in rugby all the time.  Often success is a result of the view we have formed of ourselves and our norming behaviour ( behaviours that move our outcome up or down towards our expected outcome).

In business it’s seen in the can-do attitude of for example a Saleperson, in Rugby the reaparrance of a bogey team that we lose to again and in some friends their refusal to “go for it” feeling they are not good enough.

This is of course not a new idea. Henry Ford is famous for many things especially his production line processes that brought motoring to the masses in the US. One comment he made is well quoted – “whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t you are right”.

A friend of mine Declan Coyle who gives courses which involve internal change often says to his class “If you think this is Pop Psychology – you will probably prove yourself right!”.

I came across a very nice story recently told by Tony De Mello:

A man found an eagles egg and put it in the nest of a barnyard hen.
The eaglet hatched with the brood of chicks and grew up with them.
All his life the eagle did what the barnyard chicks did, thinking he was a barnyard chicken.
He scratched the earth for worms and insects.
He clucked and he cackled. And he would thrash his wings and fly a few feet up in the air.
Years passed and the Eagle grew very old.
One day he saw a magnificent bird above him in the cloudless sky.
It glided in graceful Majesty among the powerful wind currents with scarcely a beat of its golden wings.
The old eagle looked up in awe. “Who’s that?” he asked.
“Thats the eagle, the king of the birds,” said his neighbour.
“He belongs in the sky. We belong to the earth – we’re chickens”
So the eagle lived and died a chicken, for thats what he thought he was.

If we think about it we can see that this behaviour is entirely internal and therefore a choice. We may have been listening to those voices who point to our flaws and never our brilliance or who continue to tell us why we can’t do something they never will. These are the people Teddy Roosevelt called those that “dwell in perpetual twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat”.

Because its a mindset matter its internal and therefore under our own control. Positive thinking and a reset of our norm can bring great results. First however we need to wake up to its existence and to observe it in action. Once again awareness is critical. Its easier of course for those of us with confidence but its just a longer journey for those who don’t.

My mother always told me I could do anything. I believe her!

Aidan Higgins

First Published Feb 2008

A trip through Gestalt

Posted on 07/10/08 by Aidan

Mist Rolling Down a MountainI just spent nearly a week with Dick McHugh doing Gestalt. Wonderfull stuff. Gestalt is a therapy that focuses on ones experience in the present moment and on taking personal responsibility for our thoughts and actions. The course focused on the work done by Fritz Perls and Laura Perls with whom he worked in the US.

Again around one of my favourite themes, personal mastery we covered a lot of ground and many ideas new to me. Dick summarised it nicely when he said it was about “living life in the present because thats where the power is”.  Gestalt theory offers that Freudian Psychotherapy models of looking at historic events were not as effective as looking at the “now”. This emphasised to me the continuing importance of Awareness and Presence of course, themes we touched on with Emotional Intelligence, NLP and the Enneagram in earlier posts.

A most important part of Gestalt is seeing one’s behaviours are Holistic in that there are many parts but they work together in a Whole. Further this behaviour is understood only in context (the events surrounding the behaviour) and this is termed Figure and Ground – behaviour and background or context. What was interesting is that this relates to the basic Taoist theory of Ying and Yang- foreground and background – one element only existing because of the other  (the mist does not exist without the mountain) and given that the originators were of German origan, far removed from Taoism in the early 1900’s its interesting that there was an overlap in concepts. Behaviour and Context can be likened also to Leadership in Context, however thats for another article I think.

So moving into opposites existing together we explored Polarities within us, which was very interesting.  Polarity theory is based on exploring two sides of one element of ones behaviour. An example might be when troubled or stuck on something to examine the emotional and logical resoponse to it as opposites. Dick had a great exercise. One sits in a chair looking at another chair and imagines the opposite sitting there, so taking the example you play the emotional role and make your point to the Logical. Then you swap roles and speak to the emotional as the logical. The argument is brilliant, bringing out both sides until there is a powerful consensus or resolution in the centre. As Dick said “thats where the power is”.

Gestalt is used to help people become real – from “paper people to real people”. For a personal journey for managers, leaders or employees this can lead to greater things, not least important, happiness. 

Great working with Dick again too.

Aidan Higgins


Posted on 11/27/07 by Aidan

There is a story that tells of an old Entrepeneur, nearing the end of his years, being asked what he might have done different in his life and answering sagely that he would “pay more attention to his instinct” next time around. By this he meant following his gut, taking notice of what his heart was telling him, listening to his own inner voice.

Instinct or intuition is what you know but don’t know how you know it. Sometimes you don’t even know that you know it. If you are still follDr Richard Mc Hugh SJ PhDowing after that tongue twister let me tell you about one of the many things I learned from Dick McHugh or to give him his full title Dr Richard McHugh SJ PhD.  Originally from the US, and now based at the Sadhana Institute in India where he worked closely with Tony de Mello, Dick is one of the worlds foremost teachers of NLP and has played his part in developing its practice on a global level with, amongt others, Dr Richard Bandler and  John Grinder I have been lucky to meet Dick and worked with him during his summer courses here in Ireland and I remember how I struggled initially with the concept of the sub-conscious.

Most of us who go through the standard academic route develop the mathematical, verbal and logical centres of the mind that reside in the left hand side of the brain. Creatives and Artistic types tend to develop the other side of the brain, the right side, and for the most part the rest of us do not. The old wisdom of there being a link between left handedness and an artistic temperment are true in that the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body. However the point of this is that the right side also has direct access to the sub-conscious and therein lies our instinct.

NLP is a branch of Cognitive Psychology developed from ideas originally conceived by Milton Erikkson and is based on the understanding that we are the sum of our experiences, and thats our body is linked directly to our subconsious and therefore provides a gateway to read its messages and also alter our reactions.  These experiences are laid down over the period of our life and form our emotional and sometimes reasoned reaction to places, people and things. Many of these experiences are not remembered consciously but in the sub-consciuos and Dick’s course centred on reaching the more negative of those laid down memories and altering our emotional reaction to them, thereby altering the relevant actions.

With much time spent reaching into the sub-conscious one finds that pathways are built which make it easier to reach in and/or listen to the sub-conscious on a minute by minute basis and thereby gain direct access to an area full of learning and buried lessons.  This is important, especially for those “head versus heart ” decisions.  And this is where the sub-conscious learning comes into play.

Often you hear about people using intuition or gut feeling to make decisions in business and personal life. Sometimes when asked they do not know how they formed the decision to act. What is often the case is that if thinking is not funneled through the logical left brain it is not classed as thinking. Not true. Often for example we make decisions which protect our very lives using just the sub-conscious, and if its good enough for that then why not less important decisions?

How you “see” what others don’t, know when others are stumped and make decisions when there are no “facts”……

That’s instinct folks.

Aidan Higgins

An Introduction to NLP

Posted on 09/18/07 by Aidan

NLP is about how the mind works, how language works and how we affect ourselves and other people. It is tool which explores HOW we think and HOW we behave and discovers the most effective patterns of communication, behavior and thinking.NLP is an attitude and methodology, which originated in the 1970’s, when Richard Bandler and John Grinder discovered the patterns of the most successful communicators and human change experts – most notably Milton Eriksson. From this grew a system of understanding excellence in any area. Science Digest has described NLP as “the most important synthesis of information to emerge in the human communication area”.

Our beliefs make us what we are. These have been laid down through life subjectively and are interwoven with emotion and subconsious attachments. Understanding these is the key to allowing us to reach our full potential.

At present, NLP is being used extensively by millions worldwide in business, sales, health, therapy, education and their personal lives for personal enhancement and improvement. Such big names as Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Greg Norman and Andre Agassi to name but a few have used NLP to improve their performance.

Aidan Higgins