Easy change starts with a flexible mindset.

Just as it is harder to bend an iron bar than to bend rope, a fixed mindset is harder to change than a flexible mindset

To understand what makes a mindset we start off with understanding the fundamentals of mindset.

The fundamentals of mindset are presuppositions.

Presuppositions are the assumptions that are made to support a thought or idea. In practice they are the perceptual filters through which we interact with the external world. To find useful presuppositions we will look at Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). NLP is the study of excellence and has collected a number of presuppositions that form the basis of a mindset geared toward achieving and maintaining success. The number of presuppositions in the NLP have grown since its beginnings in the 1970’s, all of them are relevant to creating excellence however there are core presuppositions are essential to success in by understanding oneself and others.

The Core Presuppositions of NLP

The map is not the territory

This comes from the founder of general semantics Alfred Korybski. Simplified it means that we as human beings cannot know reality, we can only know our perceptions of reality. Many people believe that their own internal map of reality is a true representation of reality when in fact it is only one interpretation.

This leads onto the next presupposition

Have respect for the other person’s model of the world

We each have our own internal map called a ‘model of the world’, made up of our own personal history.

As a result we need to respect the other.

We do not have to agree with or even understand another’s model of the world, only respect it. When we respect the other persons model of the world we can then create a connection on a deeper level without judgement labels such as ‘bad’ or ‘good’.

There is no failure, only feedback

Failure only exists where there is a time limit. Without time limits, failure to achieve an outcome does not exist. For example if a child has not learned to spell by the age of 8, this does not mean that they cannot spell, it may mean that they have not yet learned how to spell in that time and need specific assistance to use their mind in a way that enables them to break down words into smaller parts and those smaller parts into sounds.

Thomas Edison, the creator of the light bulb tried more than 10,000 different experiments before making a working light bulb, when asked about how he viewed the failed experiments his reply was ‘I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work’.

Behind every behaviour there is a positive intention

Behaviours do not exist by accident. They exist to help a person get their needs met and at some point in a persons life the behaviour they exhibit got them their needs met and as a result it stays with the person until a better way is discovered by the person.

Every behaviour is useful in some context

Though at times it may not seem obvious, every behaviour is useful in some context. By repurposing behaviours into suitable contexts we can understand how behaviours have benefited us in the past and how we can benefit from their use in the future.

People work perfectly

No one is broken. People are doing exactly what they need to be doing even if it is ruining their life. All behaviours have a purpose and when that purpose is understood, new behaviours can be generated to meet that purpose and create a more desirable outcome.

People make the best choices available to them at any given moment

Any behaviour performed by a person, no matter how strange was the best possible choice for that person to do at that particular moment in time. This presupposes that people would do better if they had better options available to them and allows room for forgiving the actions of another or ourselves.

Anything can be accomplished if the task is broken down into small enough steps

Also called chunking, this presupposition refocuses a person to break down tasks into the steps small enough to understand and execute.

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

Possible in the world, possible for me

This presupposition comes as a result of the previous. If one person can do something, then it can be modelled and taught to another.

The person or element with the most flexibility in a system will have the most influence

This presupposition comes from the first law of cybernetics and is known as the law of requisite variety. We can understand this when we look at children who are free to exhibit behaviours that adults would not dare to. Children will jump on the floor and scream, hold their breath until they turn blue and display a variety of other behaviours in order to get what they want. Over time an adults ability to produce behaviours to control the situation will be outweighed by a child’s ability to produce behaviours to get what they want and the adult may give in to the child’s influence.

Choice is better than no choice

Stemming from the law of requisite variety, having choice gives more flexibility and flexibility is the key to being influential in a system.

People have all the resources they need to achieve the results they desire

Everyone has everything they need already to achieve what they want, if they do not have a certain skill set they will have the resources required to learn it.

Body and mind are one system

While this concept is new to Western culture, the idea that the mind can directly influence the body and vice versa has been in place for millennia in eastern culture. You can change the way you feel by changing the way you think and what is happening in the body is affected by your thoughts.

Communication is redundant

In 1967 Albert Mehrabian, a non verbal communication researcher broke down communication and concluded that when comparing the relative importance of communication channels 55% of communication is body language, 38% is the tone of voice, and 7% is the actual words spoken. While the numbers are impressive, this experiments demonstrates that there is more than just the words being spoken when a person is communicating. Just in body language alone there are gross expressions with the hands, facial expressions and posture, all creating meaning. Meaning is communicated though many channels.

The meaning of communication is the response you get

More than the purpose of being able to express our feelings and understandings, the purpose of communication is to create a response in someone else. By Keeping this in mind, if we do not get the desired response from the person we are communicating with, we should be willing to change our behaviour and communication until be get the response we desire.

 These presuppositions comprise the core of the mindset for NLP the study of human excellence and are the basis for running a flexible mindset that has the ability to recover from failure and refocus on possibilities.

 Don’t just take my word for it, try them out for yourself.