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The MythoSelf Experience
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The Collected Papers of Joseph Riggio

What Do You Want To Be True For And Of Yourself?

This is a copyright free article. You may publish this article on your own website as content, provided you retain the author credit, bio and link back to contained at the bottom of the article.  

We might have many reasons for not knowing what we want. Most simply, we might not have thought about the question very much. We might have had negative experiences in the past that we'd rather not re-live, experiences that influence us not to think too carefully about the future. Or the number of options we're faced with might make us unwilling to put the time or work into deciding exactly what we want to do or become.

Whatever the reason, though, we need to overcome it. In order to make good decisions, we need to know exactly what we want to be true for ourselves and what we want to be true about ourselves.

The phrasing "true for ourselves" might be off-putting. Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) holds as one of its central tenets the idea that reality is fundamentally subjective. We receive information about the world through our five senses, based on the objective nature of the world around us. However, that objective truth gets filtered by the nature of our sense organs, by the physiological nature of our brains, and by the phrasing and content of our ideas. If we've had a painful car accident at some point, we might view a car as being unsafe-looking, rickety, or large and menacing; if we've just obtained our driver's license, we might view the exact same car very differently. Our resulting experience is still based on the objective evidence of our senses - which allows us a basic ability to communicate with one another - but this is then made subjective and heavily shaded by our minds and our internal programming to the point that two people viewing the same object may have an entirely different sense of the object's reality.

In order to overcome the communication gaps between people that this model of the world implies, NLP offers a concept called "rapport". When we have a high degree of rapport with another person, we share a similar sense of reality with that person. Hypnotist Milton Erickson - whose therapeutic style was adopted by early NLP practitioners as the "Milton Model" - used a number of techniques to build rapport, including the use of metaphor, "hypnotic" patterns of speech, and a willingness to accept the basic reality of his patients.

For example, if a patient smoked too much, Erickson might have encouraged them to keep smoking, but instead of smoking one cigarette per hour to wait for four hours and then smoke four cigarettes, in order to maximize the amount of pleasure gotten through anticipation. The patient would accept the therapy, wait patiently for the four-hour cigarette break, and then decide that smoking four cigarettes at once doesn't seem at all appealing after all, and slowly taper off in cigarette use. Since the therapy fits the patient's basic reality (that there's nothing wrong with smoking too much), the patient doesn't resist applying the therapy to his or her life, only to discover that the problematic behavior has been altered just enough to make it undesirable.

In order to learn what we want to be true for and of ourselves, we need to develop this kind of rapport with ourselves. The way we do that using NLP techniques is to come up with a well-formed outcome. A well-formed outcome, in NLP, is a concrete goal, positively expressed, with a definite time frame set for the goal's completion. For example, a well-formed goal for an early teen might be to earn £50 from washing cars in the space of a month. By contrast, a poorly-formed outcome for that same teen might be to avoid wasting money on useless things: a negatively phrased goal, not concrete (what criteria do we use to determine if money is "wasted" or not?), and with no clear time frame. A well-formed outcome gives us something to move toward; a poorly-formed outcome gives us nothing but a warning and anxiety.

The concepts of rapport and of well-formed outcomes go hand in hand. Our sense of rapport with other people is often stronger the closer we get to agreement on the evidence of the senses - a logical phenomenon, considering that the senses are, in NLP, the foundation of reality. Similarly, we get a stronger sense of rapport from concrete terms than from abstract ones: concrete terms are more "sense-like", and allow our minds to process them much more easily than abstract or negative terms. If we want to develop a strong sense of rapport with someone else - if we want to help someone else find out what they want, for example - we do best if we keep our communication largely centered on unfiltered concretes.

And if we want to find out what we want for ourselves, we should do the same. The questions of what we want to be true for and of ourselves can be thought of as one single well-formed outcome: Who, concretely, do we want to be? If we keep our thinking on this subject positive rather than negative, we can answer the question - we can picture our ideal futures, rather than just worrying about whether we'll get to them (whatever they are) or not.

And we can make decisions. If we know what we want for ourselves and if we know who we want to be, specifically and concretely in both cases - if we have enough rapport with ourselves to answer these questions - then we can look all the options presented to us, decide which ones move us closer to our pictured goals, and choose wisely and without hesitation.

Generative NLP are a refreshingly plain spoken resource and training centre for the MythoSelf® Process that is based in South West London and was founded in 2001 by Charles Moore who is one of only a handful of people who has the privilege of being in a close mentoring relationship with the models creator, Joseph Riggio Ph.D. from the beginning. 

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