Constructive Thinking Patterns-Modeling-Another Way of Combating Fear
I wrote about “Peeling The Onion” as a technique to discover a state of anxiety disillusionment resulting in inner peace. Starting with a projected future outcome that creates a heightened state of worry one slowly asks what would be so bad about each outcome, until one arrives at a place where one says to themselves, “ I can live with that.”
Because this blog is dealing with “ practical inner tools we can use” I wanted to briefly visit another area which adds to one’s self empowerment tool kit. This is the idea of “Modeling.” Neuro-linquistic programming, better known as NLP was founded by Richard Bandler and John Grinder, psychologists, in the 1970’s as a way to demonstrate how we could have fuller and richer lives by modeling successful behaviors.
Tony Robbins became the champion NLP proponent who took extreme conditions and showed people how they could do something they thought impossible if only they could see perfectly how to do it. Tony became a supreme modeler. That is: (1) he became an expert at what it is he chose to model, (2) he perfected the actual teaching model so that he could transfer the knowledge, and (3) he was a gifted teacher.
The first evening of the NLP training we were to show up at a ranch in Hawaii. A blazing fire was going as we turned in. I said to myself, “ There is no way I am walking on those coals now or hours from now.” Yet something inside of me was profoundly curious. I knew that the 150 or so people who had shown up were just as apprehensive as me. But I would have put money on the idea that they also were thinking he couldn’t be doing this if a lot of us were going to get burned. The program would just be a bit flop. So I rationalized that we were going to indeed be enlightened as to how to do this.
Over the course of the next six hours I hung on every word. The gist of this was that there was very a specific technique. The idea was to gain enough confidence to walk on the coals. We were asked to imagine what failure would look like: burnt bloody flesh, intense pain, and weeks of recovery time. Then we were asked to imagine how we would feel if we accomplished this: something we never thought we could do. I must admit it was a truly exhilarating and empowering feeling. I resolved to put myself half way in the line, watching intently how those in front of me had done, and not to waiver on any of the instructions.
Tony had been very clever. He had made anybody who decided not to do it a hero. That is if they had any doubt or hesitancy then to continue on could have been a disaster for them. It was simply not their time, and there was no shame in that.
When I stepped up to those coals, I wet my feet on the ground, focused intently on the light some 100 yards in the distance determined to go there, and then stepped on to the coals. Crunch, crunch, crunch, like potato chips beneath me, I stepped on to the grass, wiped my feet and threw my fist in the air yelling, “Yes.” I had done it. I had been given modeling by competent trainer, had practiced over and over in my mind, and then done it. I indeed felt estatic.
I had at one level changed the hard wiring in my brain, enough to do this. Ultimately we can do anything we are shown how to do. As Tony said, “We could walk on water, but the model was not revealed.”
My point is that one of the most useful exercises one can engage in is to ask the right questions. One great question with regard to any gripping challenge to over come is “Who has the best model, who best teaches it, and how can I access him/her/them?