Original image by MC EscherWelcome to NLP Life Coach. I’m Zain – an NLP Master Practitioner -and I thought I’d start this new site by publishing something a little different to the other NLP “Welcome” blog posts you’d normally find. Anyway, have a listen to the podcast (and read along if you like). I hope you enjoy it!

Notes: Apologies for the muffled sound quality – I’m using a headset mic that makes me sound like I have a cold. Also, feel free to download this podcast (and PDF) and listen to it on your MP3 player!

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Our Story Begins…

It all began in a usually unremarkable corner of the internet on a blog post with a podcast where something remarkably unusual was happening…

Not that there was anything particularly unusual about a blog post or podcast as these were very common at the time. What was unusual (and had initially roused the Listener’s interest) was the title of the piece. It was called “2011: A Retrospective of a Wonderful Year Ahead”.

The Listener stopped to consider the title again, just for a moment.

It was early 2011 and the year had only just begun. How could it be possible to look back at a year that wasn’t even yet complete?

The Unconscious Mind
The Listener’s conscious mind woke up for a moment to try and puzzle this out. With the exception of some form of supernatural clairvoyant power, the Conscious Mind – unable to grasp the unusualness of the situation – thought it wasn’t really worth puzzling over and decided the best solution was to roll back over and settle itself into a very deep and restful sleep.

Lying next to the Listeners slumbering Consciousness, the Unconscious Mind fidgeted. It was having particularly anxious time trying to make sense of it all. In the light of recent events, how could it even be suggested that year-to-be would be a wonderful one – remarkable, perhaps… but “wonderful”? Being the type of mind that loved things to have a sense of completion, the open-endedness of the title gave it too much to think about. It lay there, vulnerable and open. It decided to see if the situation would resolve itself naturally by giving it a bit of time. This decision came easily to the Unconscious as it had a particularly habit of using inaction as a form of action, reasoning that “If I don’t do anything about it, perhaps it will just go away?” Or so it hoped.

The crisp, clear, voice of the Presenter was pleasantly warm and inviting. The Unconscious and Listener listened intently as the Presenter had already easily guided them into unusual thoughts while making them seem quite normal and perfectly reasonable. Perhaps it was the wonderfully English, almost old style BBC World Service accent that made the Listener feel very much at ease and comfortable with the ideas that are being presented?

The Listener’s Unconscious Mind liked the Presenter’s voice. There was a story-like quality, which was reminiscent of childhood times – being read a good book at bedtime before being tucked in and kissed goodnight. While the voice was calm and reassuring, the Unconscious Mind thought it detected a certain a sense of authority and so resigned itself completely (as Unconscious Minds do) to the ideas that the Presenter was presenting. It obliged and obeyed – only slightly sceptical and doubtful – and it did as it was told, much like a subject in a Milgram experiment.

NLP Life Coach: What Was To Be
Until now, nothing had actually been said about the subject to which the title referred. Nothing had been said of the “retrospective” or the “wonderful year ahead”. The Listener and the Unconscious Mind both wondered if the Presenter would mention anything about the new NLP Life Coaching website where they happened to be listening.

It was true – the Presenter hadn’t mentioned anything about how 2011 had been a wonderful year ahead. No mention had been made to the insightful and illuminating blog posts and videos that were to come during the course of the year, nor had there been any reference to the excellent Life Coaching service that the website provided. Nothing was said of the tools of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (or NLP) or of how those tools could be extremely effective in helping to guide troubled Unconscious Minds to places of restful completion. The Presenter hadn’t even posed the question:

“If you were to imagine that you were looking back at a very successful and productive year, what would you need to do right now in order to make sure that future becomes a reality?”

Yes, it was true. Nothing had been mentioned… apart from the self-referential last paragraph that the Presenter had just read aloud a moment ago.

Approaching NLP
The Listener paused again. The Presenter seemed to move so easily between ideas of “what was” and “what could be” and spoke of them as if they could all, somehow, be happening “right Now”?

Unlike other dull, dreary blog posts in same NLP field – which often spoke of how the Practitioner could easily help you get rid of problems such as phobias, grief, anxiety, low self-confidence etc. – this unusual article easily introduced concepts while making the subject light-hearted and rather fun (and without requiring much effort). The Listener couldn’t help but be impressed by this first entry on a rather unassuming, partially built website.

Another unusual thing about the podcast, thought the Listener, was the approach of the piece. It seemed to assume – or rather assert – that the Listener was also a character in the story. How did the Listener manage to become so entangled and so much a part of the storyline… and yet was still able to easily understand that they were, simultaneously, both a character in the story as well as the perceiver of that character at the same time?

A Matter Of Linguistics
There was a linguistic cunning being employed – something about the language being used. To the uninitiated the linguistic techniques – like the shifts in perceptual positions and the trance-like states induced from storytelling – went completely unnoticed. At times, the use of language would seem ungrammatically yet – to those with experience – it was a well accepted fact that this was often the case with trance inducing language. The technique of “future pacing” where the subject was asked to “think about future events like they’ve already been successfully completed” had been overlooked. What was evident was the degree of skill being employed.

The Listener was also unaware of the idea that problems could be simply de-constructed by using very precise language (as it was necessary to use language to construct Problems in the first place).

All of these things were overlooked… Until, of course, it was realised that the Presenter had just pointed it out, right now.

In Conclusion or In-Conclusive?
The Listener’s Unconscious Mind didn’t know quite what to make of it all. Curiously, it had learned several things very easily and in a way that was appealing. It had been guided to understanding various techniques of NLP without really requiring much effort and felt that this was a completion it had been looking for. The Unconscious Mind felt very satisfied with what it had heard so far, although secretly it felt that this was probably enough learning for today and hoped that the Presenter would soon stop. There was a certain amount of synchronicity – this also happened to be the point at which the Presenter acknowledged that the podcast would soon be coming to its end.

“We’ll soon be coming close to the end of this podcast”, announced the Presenter.

The Unconscious Mind was relieved. It had been a very unusual time -“remarkably unusual” as the Presenter had mentioned way back at the beginning.

The Listener turned and asked their Unconscious Mind: “So… what did you make of that?”

NLP Unconscious Learnings
The Unconscious Mind paused to think then replied:

“I’ve come to understand a few things today. Firstly, just by using language, possible to play with the idea of time in the mind. and so change what seems to be real – what “was”, “is” and “could be” can all be changed depending on how you see it. I’ve also discovered that it’s easy to be part of the experience and, at the same time, be a perceiver of the same experience in a very detached way”.

“The other thing I noted was that the Presenter suggested that Problems are nothing more than constructs in the mind – in some way, they’re created by language. So if we were to fully take that assumption on board and add it to the experience of being easily guided to seeing various solutions, then it would suggest that the techniques of NLP can be extremely fast when it comes to resolving problems and issues”.

“It’s funny how you make those associations so quickly?” said the Listener, congratulating their Unconscious Mind on the observations. “Then again, you would say that… only because the Presenter has sown the seeds of what you think you should be thinking!”

“Anyway, all this playing with time and ideas has left me feeling a little uncertain about what to make of all of this. I suppose it’s time to wake up the Conscious Mind so everything starts to make sense again!”

With those magic words, the Conscious Mind woke up.

While the Listener, the Unconscious and the Conscious mind pondered on the certainty and uncertainty of things, one thing was certain: this was just the beginning and – for those who would choose to regain control of their internal experience and overcome their problems – it would be an unusually wonderful year ahead…