Using NLP for Continuous Change
We all know the saying that change is the only universal constant. Several people are not able to progress in their life because they are afraid of change. When we think of change, we start thinking of the accompanying uncertainties, which causes a sense of anxiety. We become afraid of facing the unknown, and resist to embrace it. Technical programmers and software developers have to undergo different levels of change in the organization and their personal lives. If we do not let go of our comfort zone, we will never achieve anything in life.
Technical professionals need to change themselves to fit into the roles of mentors, interviewers, presenters, leaders, managers, marketers and reviewers. They need to let go their fears and take on new responsibilities, otherwise, they will remain in the same position, whereas others will go ahead of them. Several Neuro-linguistic courses teach us how to understand and embrace change in our lives.
Logical Levels of Change Model
The logical levels of change is a model developed by Neuro-linguistic expert and anthropologist Gregory Bateson. It was further developed by Robert Dilts, an innovative developer of Neuro-linguistic Programming applications. The model can be used for various applications including determining to what extent you have developed a rapport with yourself. The levels of this Neuro-linguistic change model are:
1) Environment: This element determines whether you are influencing the environment in the way that you want to.
2) Behaviors: This element determines whether you are behaving in a way that is true to who you are.
3) Capabilities and skills: This element determines whether you are realizing your true potential in life.
4) Beliefs and Values: This element determines whether you are being true to your beliefs and values in life.
5) Identity: This element determines whether you are living out your mission in life.
6) Purpose: This element determines whether you are fulfilling your sense of purpose in life.
These elements of the Neuro-linguistic model can help determine whether you are in rapport with yourself, by determining whether the elements are in alignment and line up with each other. If you have rapport with yourself, then you can build rapport with others as well. If your heart and mind are not one, you need to change these Neuro-linguistic elements so that you feel happiness and peace with yourself and with others.
Bringing Continuous Change
With the help of the logical levels of change model, as described in Neuro-linguistic courses, we realize that change happens at several levels. Change is not limited to skill or behavior, but goes much deeper into our minds. The degree of change, learning potential, performance and state of mind depends on our internal levels of thinking and feeling. For example, if we want to learn a new sport, we can observe professionals play the game, noting down the technique and style. However, by learning just the technique, we will not be able to play the game efficiently. What is amiss is the belief that we will be able to play exceptionally well. Without the belief, skills and experience do not matter much.
The combination of skills, belief and tactics can bring out exceptional performance. By understanding each Neuro-linguistic level of change, we can understand how we can modify it to suit our needs. A detailed analysis of each level of change follows:
1) Environment: Where?
As per Neuro-linguistic courses, our environment is an expression of who we are. The environment is a reflection of what we believe or value, and the way we think. What goes on inside our minds, determines how our environment is perceived and organized by us. For example, if you observe how a programmer organizes his desk, computer files and tasks, or how he dresses and interacts with others, you can find out how he thinks and organizes thoughts inside his mind. If a person organizes his files in an orderly fashion, it means that he is used to having a structured way of thinking and behaving. This Neuro-linguistic Programming element answers the question “where” of the change ladder.
2) Behavior: What?
Neuro-linguistic training regards modeling behavior as whole body listening. For modeling behavior, we need to observe what we saying or doing, and how we are doing different things. For example, we can observe how a person reacts when we ask him a question. The reaction is not just in words, but also using eye movements, facial expressions and body language. Neuro-linguistic courses can be used to understand the meaning of each reaction.
People speak using gestures. By observing these patterns over time, you can gain valuable insight into their unconscious mind and thought processes. Sometimes, we can find out the true meaning behind a statement, by observing the body language, even if the words indicate otherwise. Neuro-linguistic training explains that behavior is not the same for all people, and there is no standard gesture used by everyone.
For example, the gesture used when a person is telling a lie will be different for different people. In order to interpret the body language effectively, we need to be sensitive to these unique patterns used for communications, for ourselves as well as others. With increased level of precision, there will be greater accuracy. Once you pay attention to your behavior and that of others, you can notice the subtle differences that indicate the underlying meaning and state of mind. This Neuro-linguistic Programming element answers the question “what” of the change ladder.
3) Capabilities: How?
Our capabilities now go far beyond intellectual intelligence. They now include emotional intelligence as well. These include the skills we require for everyday situations. Technical professionals might have gained tremendous technical experience and qualifications, but they need to develop their skills in handling other people on a daily basis as well. Capabilities are our inherent skills, used for achieving tasks every day. Neuro-linguistic training suggests that we all have the capability of excellence within us, although we might not be using this skill to our best advantage. By understanding our hidden or latent capabilities, we can channel them to bring about change in other walks of life. This Neuro-linguistic Programming element answers the question “how” of the change ladder.
4) Beliefs and Values: Why?
As per Neuro-linguistic training, our beliefs and values form the backbone of our thought processes. These are the core elements that we rely upon for all our major decisions. If our beliefs or values give importance to a particular thing, then it is very difficult to act otherwise. We reveal our beliefs and values in everything we do, say or act. What we believe might not always be true or correct. It is an emotional opinion that we have formed. It could have been imbibed in us in our childhood by our parents, teachers and elders, or it could be something we derived out of a life changing experience. A belief will determine the capability, which will result in behavior that affects the environment.
A value is the underlying need that motivates us to do what we do. It tells us what is important to us. The best way to find out the values of a person is to ask them what is most important to them. Values are closely connected to the way we feel about things, and the way we react. If we understand what our values are, we can understand the reason why we do certain things. This Neuro-linguistic Programming element answers the question “why” of the change ladder.
5) Identity: Who?
As per Neuro-linguistic courses, our identity is who we are as a person. You can ask yourself what you think about yourself, the labels that describe you, the unique characteristics that constitute you. If a person describes himself as an open person, his behavior will be open and flexible in nature. You can find out your identity, and that of others, in order to find what characteristics you can change or alter in order to bring about a transformation in personality. This Neuro-linguistic Programming element answers the question “who” of the change ladder.
6) Purpose: What for?
As per Neuro-linguistic training, a purpose is the most important aspect in anyone’s life. People who have a sense of purpose in their life will strive to achieve it, using either a general idea or question at this highest level of thinking. A purpose that is higher than yourself can transcend all limitations, and take you beyond self-consciousness by releasing your true capabilities. A purpose goes beyond the realm of self, and enters the space where there is no self. People who have identified a purpose in life can lose themselves in achieving the purpose without any inhibitions. This Neuro-linguistic Programming element answers the question “what for” of the change ladder.
We often think that in order to bring about a continuous change in our lives, we need to change the levels of environment, behavior and capabilities. However, such a change will not last for long and we will get back to our old habits, since the change does not address our higher levels of change. The beliefs, values, identity and purpose make us whole. The change ladder is an effective way to assess any desirable change in our life. By answering the questions “where”, “what” and “how” pertaining to the environment, behavior and capabilities, we can then go up on the ladder. The questions “why”, “who” and “what for” will bring out the higher-level motives or underlying issues. By resolving all levels of the change model, true excellence can be achieved.